Letter to the Editor: Oakville Town Council Should Be Ashamed Over Saw-Whet

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Letter to the Editor: Oakville Town Council Should Be Ashamed Over Saw-Whet

About the Author

Fraser Damoff

Fraser Damoff

Fraser Damoff is a long time resident of Oakville. He is also a highly skilled energy sector professional with a specialization in the Ontario Green Energy sector. With a keen focus on aboriginal energy project financing, Fraser has been involved in financing agreements with Ontario First Nations all over the Province. He is also a dedicated volunteer and community activist who has been involved with the Kerr Street Mission, the Terry Fox Run and the Oakville United Way.

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Oakville is set to say goodbye to yet another vital piece of green-space after the developers of the Saw-Whet Golf Course lands struck a backroom deal with the Town of Oakville early last week.

Not only is this a horrible deal for Oakville residents, but it will also have lasting implications on our Official Plan and our Town as a whole.

The Town of Oakville’s Official Plan (the Livable Oakville Plan) was developed over months of consultation with Oakville residents. This plan designates six growth areas throughout Oakville where the Town has designated for the type of growth it wants to see for our community. One of those growth areas is Kerr Village, where new development in the form of Condos brings with it new shoppers that will in turn revitalize the Kerr Village.

Saw-Whet is not a designated growth area and should remain as green-space, plain and simple.

Oakville’s Town Council should be vigorously defending our Official Plan at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) and fighting back against the destruction of our green-space.

They should be defending our Official Plan, not making side-deals that undermine the direction of the Livable Oakville Plan.

What is the point of even having an Official Plan if Town Council is just going to ignore it when faced with difficult situations?

Thanks to this new deal struck with Bronte Green, the Town of Oakville has in turn made our Official Plan worth less than the paper it’s printed on and made our traffic issues even worse.

Thanks to an in-camera, closed to the public FIVE HOUR Council meeting at the Town level, we will never know for certain who voted in favour of settling with the developer, Bronte Green.

What we do know, is that at the Halton Regional Council level, we had five of our seven Halton Regional Council Representatives vote to settle with Bronte Green. Only two of Oakville’s Regional Councillors voted against settling with Bronte Green.

To make matters even worse, this deal with Bronte Green, actually raises the number of residential units on the Saw-Whet Lands by an incredible 35%. Originally planned for 875 residential units, the approved settlement now lists 1181 residential units.

Adding even more residents to one of the most congested areas of Oakville is what the Town would have us believe is a “victory”.

I suspect the people already stuck in traffic on Bronte Road every morning and every night, aren’t calling this a victory…

One of the most troubling things about this deal with Bronte Green, is the fact that on Monday December 1, 2014 Mayor Rob Burton stated at Town Council that he would save “all of the Merton lands”. Along with the like-minded Oakville residents who felt strongly that our Mayor and Council would ensure that the Saw-Whet Lands were protected, I am extremely disappointed.

This issue has made one thing very clear. Our current Town Council, many of whom were elected on a promise to protect Green-space, seems sadly unable to fulfil that mandate.

I fear that the treasured green-space at Glen Abbey Golf Course is now doomed to the same kind of closed door deal and same type of “victory” that befell the Saw-Whet lands.

Oakville resident deserve better from our elected representatives if we are truly to be the most livable town in Canada.

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Readers Comments (16)

  1. Ron says:

    Great article Fraser and I agree 100% that these types of side-deals have to stop. Mayor & Council do not care what the citizens & taxpayers of Oakville think or feel. I would encourage you to post this article in the Beaver and possibly as far as going to the TO Sun to raise awareness as to what’s going on in Oakville. Thanks for taking the time to write this post and hopefully it gets out to as many residents of Oakville as possible.

     Reply
  2. John Dinner says:

    Agree 100%.

     Reply
  3. Tracy says:

    Won’t vote for Rob Burton again nor should anyone else. He just doesn’t have anything anymore for Oakville. Just a follower of the larger companies. Shame on him.

     Reply
  4. Dave says:

    As I wrote after receiving an email noting this info from Mr. Allan Elgar, remember this Council and what they’ve done at election time. I strongly believe that notwithstanding, a few Councillors that care, it’s time for the rest of them to go. They’ve become too comfortable in their positions… Rob Burton cannot be trusted.

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  5. Cynthia Baril says:

    As someone who uses Bronte Road on my daily commute I am mortified with this decision. Bring on an election so the two adults in my home can attempt to oust Rob Burton. What is happening to our beautiful town? Disgusting.

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  6. Chris Kowalchuk says:

    Go get’em Tiger! You nailed it Fraser, this deal reeks. Why did hundreds/thousands of residents attend meetings and provide input over years to create “Livable Oakville” , have it approved by the Town, The Region, AND The Province, only to have it secretly (in camera) circumvented by the Council on Town Staff Legal advice ??? WTF??

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  7. Americo silva says:

    Grow up people since when do politicians
    Keep the promises (lies) they make during elections
    People and corporations that donate money to their campaigns win every time over residents

     Reply
  8. John says:

    Will definitely NOT be voting for ANYONE who is currently on council or Mayor Burton for that matter. This is a disgrace and a blatant slap in the face to all of us who care about our beloved town. I use Bronte on a daily basis and at rush hour this road has become total gridlock. Can’t imagine how Bronte will look in 2-3 years!

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  9. Derek says:

    In my teen years I would walk the forested area. I walked into a spot that had many saw whet owls hanging out in a larger bush, there were at least 6 four feet off the ground. Very small creatures that were not spooked by my presence.
    How can you get rid of habitat that is home to a creature that it’s named for? Crazy.
    I haven’t checked but I am sure it is protected and for sure the species is significant enough to save its habitat.

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  10. G Thevenau says:

    My husband and I have attended several meetings regarding the development of Oakville. It was at one of these meetings that my husband shook the hand of mayor Rob Burton, and he assured us that there would be NO development north of highway 5!!!!!! That went well. Later he said he would do whatever it took to sustain the Merton Lands. SMOKE AND MIRRORS. Devastating, disgusting, appalling, abominable!!!!!! I am very, very angry our representatives have painted us fools. We are impotent – politics and greed reign victorious – and those with the softest voice of all do not get ahead: squirrels, coyotes, deer and the like. Might as well shoot them all and get done with it. Give Mayor Rob Burton first shot and then the CEO and CFO of BRONTE GREEN a gun to kill the rest of the poor creatures. I played goldfish at Saw-whet for years. It was a nature’s pearl. This is not over!!!!!!!

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  11. Denis says:

    We can only change this by going out and not voting for these greedy, self-interested and self-serving individuals.
    Spread the word.

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  12. Jana Schilder says:

    I don’t understand why there was a 5-hour “in camera” meeting that the Town Council had about this. That’s a long time to discuss anything.

    Second, why can’t we as taxpayers (i.e. those who pay the salaries of said town councilors) know who voted yes/no.

    Someone is hiding something. Someone got paid off. This whole thing stinks.

     Reply
  13. Eleanor Reimer says:

    As a Winnipegger who frequently visits Oakville, I’ve always admired the green spaces found in your city. We don’t have that here and bemoan the lack thereof. It would be such a shame for your beautiful city to spoil what makes it such a special place.

     Reply
  14. Terry Dubois says:

    “In Camera” “Out Camera”…it doesn’t make any difference anymore when it comes to resident input.
    Sure we had community meetings and input, but we still wound up with a development that looked nothing like the drawings we were shown and they left one lousy tree on the corner fighting for it’s life.

     Reply
  15. JP says:

    Hypocrites! Elected to save green space, but sell out all the same. I used to say that I hated north Mississauga – but that’s what Burton et al are turning Oakville into. One of the reasons that our family moved this year. Oakville is no longer a liveable city north of the QEW. Sad.

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  16. Helen Vallender says:

    100% agree with this article and following comments!!! We have attended all the meetings about Brontegreen and Saw-Whet golf course – kudos to Alan Elgar for rallying public support against the development. We are disgusted with Town Council (except Alan Elgar & Sean O’Mara, who did not vote for this deal). Our voices are NOT heard by our elected officials therefore they need to go as they do not represent their constituents. It looks like Brontegreen has already started surveys on the golf course. BTW – they should be compelled to change their name from Brontegreen to Land-desicrators. As someone pointed out at the meeting in Council Chambers last Thursday, their marketing of the development will no doubt focus on the beautiful nature they are destroying!!!!

     Reply



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