Infrastructure Ontario withdraws its planning application for Merton Lands

Town Council's decision to protect green spaces from development is up-held by Ontario Government

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Infrastructure Ontario withdraws its planning application for Merton Lands
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Kevin Flynn

Kevin Flynn

Kevin Flynn is the MPP for Oakville. He is the Minister of Labour, and has held the following positions: Chief Government Whip, Chair of the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Transportation, and the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Infrastructure. He has been involved in Oakville politics since he was elected in 1986.

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Mayor Rob Burton, Town Councillors and I confirmed on September 3rd that Infrastructure Ontario has officially withdrawn its planning application for the Merton lands in WestOak Trails/Glen Abbey area. This move builds on the Ontario Government’s and Council’s long history of providing political leadership for those citizens advocating for sustainable development and conservation in Oakville. The Third Line lands include parcels of land owned by Infrastructure Ontario and leased to the Town of Oakville. The news affirms the Ontario government’s and Oakville Town Council’s commitment to the protection of green spaces by keeping these lands in public ownership.

In February 2014, I wrote to then-Minister of Infrastructure to ask that any plans to sell sensitive lands included in the natural heritage system of the Fourteen Mile Creek system be cancelled. As a result, Minister Murray made clear his intent to keep the lands in public ownership by retaining the existing leases per the original agreements. The leases on the Town of Oakville properties run until 2040 and Minister Murray has encouraged Infrastructure Ontario to find opportunities to work with Deerfield Golf Course to extend the lease beyond its current expiry date of 2022.

“Protecting green space has been a key element of Council’s strategy to control growth in Oakville and realize our vision of creating Canada’s most livable town.” – Oakville Mayor Rob Burton

In conjunction with our efforts, Town Council unanimously directed planning staff to add consideration of the impact from the terms and policies in the new, greener Provincial Policy Statement on land use planning, to the terms of reference for the Merton Lands Study. Council also directed staff to consider how the Province’s new policy toward protecting “working landscapes” might apply to the two golf courses, Saw-whet and Deerfield, in the Merton Lands.

Infrastructure Ontario is withdrawing its Merton Lands planning application as a result of action taken by me and Council. This adds to a strong track record of co-operation when it comes to preserving Oakville’s green space. Together the Liberal government and Oakville Council have saved over 2300 acres of environmental lands across Oakville, and protected an additional 124,000 acres of environmental lands across Halton in the enhanced Halton Natural System, including  of over 400 hectares of environmentally sensitive lands including forests, creeks, wetlands and valley lands. By making the right decisions and standing up to opposition, the Ontario government and Oakville Town Council has acted to ensure that future generations have preserved natural lands to enjoy.

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