Letter to the Editor: Glen Abbey a Students Perspective

Glen Abbey Development Application
Letter to the Editor: Glen Abbey a Students Perspective
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Oakville News

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I want to express my thoughts about the potential development at the Glen Abbey Golf course in Oakville. I have lived in Glen Abbey for twenty years and in those twenty years have seen a significant increase in traffic on Dorval Drive, where ClubLink plans to develop what some call the heart of Oakville, the Glen Abbey Golf Course, into 3,222 residential units, along with 176,000 square feet of commercial and office space.

Already cars are backed up by two or three lights during rush hour on this road, and an addition of potentially upwards of 6,000 cars will not help alleviate this issue. And since local schools are already at or over capacity, parents will struggle to get their children to the newer schools that are located farther away. Perhaps school buses will be available, perhaps public transit will rise to the occasion, but certainly, public school children will no longer have the opportunity to walk or bike to their neighbourhood school, forgoing those health and social benefits. As well, let’s not forget the destructive impact this development will have on biodiversity in the area.

Through the town’s Liveable Oakville Official Plan for future growth, Oakville has identified six locations to accommodate the allocated amount of growth from the province, and Glen Abbey is not one of them. As a natural heritage landscape, Glen Abbey plays a special role in the urban structure and culture of the town. Instead of permitting growth because developers are demanding to build, let us protect the stability of our community by abiding by our Official Plan and saving growth for areas that were identified as having future growth potential.

The town council recognizes that this development would take a serious hit on the social, economic, and environmental structure of the community, as well as not adhering to the Liveable Oakville Plan, and recently voted unanimously to reject the development proposal. Many Oakville residents celebrated this short-lived victory without knowing that it was rendered virtually meaningless the moment ClubLink appealed the decision to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). The OMB, an unelected board, has the power to override the democratically-elected town council’s decision. The OMB must listen to the testimony of municipal planners, experts, residents, and council, but often seems to completely disregard that testimony and make a different decision, one that favours the developers. I believe that citizens should be given a stronger voice in the matters of their own place, and should have the freedom to speak out without the fear of being sued at an OMB hearing.

With all that being said, I fully support the OMB reform. However, I believe that new legislation regarding the appeal process be made retroactive to any cases that are currently in the process of being appealed. After all, these are the cases that prompted the reforms in the first place. I find it infuriating that no sooner than the town put pen to paper declining ClubLink’s subdivision request, did ClubLink appeal the case to the OMB, hoping to have the town’s decision nullified as if it meant nothing. Talk about an unfair playing field. A reform affecting future development processes is not good enough. Each day that we must wait for reform, more land is developed, more neighbourhoods are overpopulated and polluted, and more habitats are destroyed. Reform must include development decisions being made today as well as tomorrow.

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Sincerely,

Rosie Heffernan
Student, age 21

Oakville News encourages members of the community to express their personal thoughts about Oakville, Ontario. Here is the latest on the potential redevelopment of Glen Abbey Golf Course.

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