Full house attendance at Bronte Village AGM

Oakville Fare Share President addresses the needs of the community at the Bronte Village Residents Association AGM
Full house attendance at Bronte Village AGM
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Is apathy a problem? Not in Ward 1! was the message to the crowd gathered at 7 West River Street on Tuesday night. The AGM was well attended by residents of the community who wished to learn more about local issues and BVRA’s work in the community.

Special guests and BVRA members included Ward 1 Town and Regional Councillor Sean O’Meara, Ward 1 Town Councillor Ralph Robinson, and President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce John Sawyer. The Bronte BIA were well represented by Ann Sargent (Executive Director), Mary Roberts (Chair), and two board members Paul Cates and Linda Leatherdale.

The BVRA executive members presented a year-in-review. Highlights included an increase in membership of over 200% since May 2014, the launch of a new website and social media campaign, participating in meetings such as the Community Leaders Round Table and community events such as tree plantings at Bronte Bluffs and Shell Park, the opening of the Bronte Heritage outdoor ice rink, Coffee with the Councillors event, and Earth Week Clean Up.

The ongoing issues and current status surrounding the Bronte Village Mall were also addressed. A working group consisting of the Ward 1 Councillors, the Bronte BIA and BVRA was formed in August 2014 to ascertain the facts on both sides of the fence and work with all stakeholders toward a resolution.

The main takeaways are the lack of progress on development plans by property owner Goldmanco despite approval from the Town of Oakville and the Ontario Municipal Board, and that Fineway properties is legally entitled to the installation of the fence. The fence is the result of the ongoing dispute between the property owners regarding underground services and right of way access. The property owners do not live in Ward 1 and appear indifferent to the frustration of residents and the surrounding businesses. Empty storefronts, deteriorating mall conditions and safety concerns were also points of discussion.

The issue of cell towers in the community was another lively topic. The BVRA cited two examples of cell tower proposals in the community which were ultimately cancelled: Shell gas station located at Great Lakes Blvd/Rebecca Street and Bronte Harbour Condominiums on Lakeshore Road West. This news brought applause from those present, confirming that this issue remains at the forefront of residents’ concerns.

The BVRA also recommended the need to update the Town’s Interim Radio communications Protocol of 2012. The BVRA stated that the Protocol should reflect the latest in federal legislation and should exercise the precautionary principle for responsible siting of cell towers as more research about the possible health effects of EMF exposure needs to be taken into account. Councillor O’Meara commented that he and Councillor Robinson would put forth a motion to council that the protocol requires updating, and that it will then be up to council on whether this gets approved.

The Bronte Village Growth Plan review was also discussed. Questions were raised surrounding the validity of including the Bronte Plan within the Livable Oakville Plan when approval for development and funding of fundamental elements to support this growth, such as the Wyecroft Bridge, are not yet in place.

Nancy Bromberg, President of the Fare Share Food Bank, made a special presentation outlining the growing need within Oakville especially leading into the summer where there is typically a critical shortage of donations for over 350 active registered families.

Elections were also held for vacant executive board positions, the majority of which were acclaimed. The roles for Corporate Secretary and Treasurer remain vacant and anyone interested in these positions or who would like to volunteer is asked to contact the BVRA at brontevillageresidents@gmail.com

The BVRA wishes to thank all residents who attended the meeting and registered with the association. It is clear that there are a number of prevailing and complex issues and that the true value of a residents’ association is a collective voice – strength in numbers.

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