It’s been a little over three years since Ben Pilon bought a property on the corner of Battersea and Unity roads in Glenburnie to develop it into a spa.
On Tuesday Kingston city council approved a zoning change for the property, essentially giving Pilon the green light to move forward with his plans.
The project has had both supporters and critics.
Countryside district councillor Gary Oosterhof has had his reservations about the project in the rural area of the municipality’s boundaries but says he accepts the will of council.
“Through site planning control, there’s going to be a lot of other things that the development will have to achieve so we’re going to trust in that process as well.”
Pilon says he hopes to begin renovations to the existing farmhouse on the property this fall.
“Next summer we’re going to be starting the inn and the spa in the rear of the property, the northernmost part of the property — we’ll start looking at that.”
The plan includes a 27-room boutique hotel, 40 rental cabins, a brewery, a winery and a restaurant.
Pilon says the construction will roll out in stages over the next five to 10 years.
The development hasn’t been without opposition, with residents concerned about the size of the project, its potential impact on surrounding residents’ wells and the potential volume of traffic.
Glenburnie Residents’ Association chair David Pentney says the organization is disappointed with council’s decision to allow the project to move forward.
Pentney told Global Kingston the group is meeting Sept. 20 and the spa is on the agenda.
He says they will discuss whether to appeal council’s decision to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal.
Pilon says he is willing to continue working with community members to address concerns that have been raised.
“Even the groups that are opposing some of our project and we can start working with them on the site plan and ensure that it’s the best possible project for everyone in the area.”
The Unity Farm Inn and Spa is expected to tap into the growing ‘wellness tourism’ sector and could create 80 jobs when it is complete.