How we got where we are: Merton Land Development & the OMB

merton
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There has been much debate when it comes to the development of the Merton Lands in Oakville.

The 234-hectare area is made up of:

  • Saw Whet and Deerfield Golf Courses;
  • Fourteen Mile Creek and natural heritage features associated with Bronte Creek;
  • Mid-Halton Water Pollution Control Plant;
  • Halton Regional Centre.

The land has been up for development since November 2012 when council approved a study of the area as part of the Livable Oakville Plan.

The mission statement of the Livable Oakville Plan is: To enhance the Town’s natural, cultural, social and economic environments by ensuring that environmental sustainability, cultural vibrancy, economic prosperity and social well-being are incorporated into growth and development decisions.

The two major landowners in Merton – Bronte Green Corporation, which owns the land of the Saw Whet Golf Course, and Infrastructure Ontario which leases the Merton heritage lands to the town of Oakville – were included in the study to propose development plans for the land.

In April 2014, the Bronte Green Corporation completed and filed their application for the development of the 55-hectare Saw Whet land. Bronte Green’s application proposed a mixed-use development that would focus mostly on residential buildings while incorporating park space.

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The Merton lands

Infrastructure Ontario withdrew their application for development in September 2014 after MPP Kevin Flynn wrote to then-Minister of Infrastructure Glen Murray to ask that any plans to sell sensitive lands included in the natural heritage system of the Fourteen Mile Creek system be cancelled.

“I am very pleased to see the land along Third Line staying as a part of Oakville’s green space. After working with many neighbourhood associations, conservation groups, the town, the region and numerous ministries, we have found a solution that works in the best interests of those in our community who favour responsible preservation of our green space,” Flynn said about the withdrawal in a news release by town hall.

Bronte Green Corporation filed an appeal for their application with the Ontario Municipal Board in January of this year, after the town of Oakville failed to file a response within the time of 180 days.

“The applications we’ve filed, we believe to be in conforming with the towns planning documents and what the town has intended for this particular area,” said Patrick Harrington, a representative from Bronte Green, about the appeal.

Kirk Biggar, Senior Planner for the Town of Oakville was contacted for comment about the appeal, but declined stating legal conflict.

“We want to develop these lands because they’ve been contemplated for future development. [The study] offered a good opportunity and good location as the land is within the urban area,” said Harrington. “After the amount of study we’ve done and the advice we’ve received from our consultants that a development could proceed here, it seems like a worthwhile pursuit.”

“I’d prefer not to see [the development] go in there because I think it’s a problem for traffic and traffic congestion jamming up Bronte road with more stop lights,” said Jamie Vieira, a Century 21 realtor. “That being said it’s a private owner, it’s their land, so they should have the option to do something with it. And of course as a realtor it would mean more inventory for me to sell.”

“There has been a resounding response from our residents that they’re adamant that Saw Whet remains a golf course,” said Shaniah Leduc Vice President of the Fourteen Mile Creek Residents Association. “Going forward we will be represented at the OMB proceedings so that our residents voice will be heard.”

The Ontario Municipal Board will make a decision in October.

The community can voice their opinions at: https://oakville.uservoice.com/forums/213252-share-your-ideas-on-the-merton-planning-study

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