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Published on Thursday, July 20, 2017

ClubLink presents plan for Glen Abbey Golf Course

Few fans of Glen Abbey development bid at public info meeting

ClubLink presents plan for Glen Abbey Golf Course
Glen Abbey Golf Course
— Oakville Beaver file photo
By David Lea, Oakville Beaver

Density, traffic and the destruction of what some see as a Canadian jewel were among the concerns voiced after residents got a better look at ClubLink’s development plans for the Glen Abbey golf course property Wednesday (July 19).

Property owner ClubLink presented its application data to the community during two public information meetings at Town Hall, which collectively drew more than 100 people.

The Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) deemed ClubLink’s application to develop the Glen Abbey lands complete on June 22, however, Town staff and others are quick to point out the project is far from being a done deal.

The data presented Wednesday showed the property owner is intent on building 3,222 residential units (141 single detached dwellings, 58 townhouse units, 2,434 apartment and townhouse units, 589 mixed use apartment and townhouse units) on the 92.7 hectacre property.

The plan calls 28 four-to-eight storey mid-rise apartment buildings and nine nine-to-12 storey apartment buildings.

Another 69,000 square feet is being set aside for commercial/retail uses while 107,000 square feet (including the existing Raydor Estate) would be used as office space.

ClubLink officials point out 50.11 hectares (54 per cent of the total site) would be made up of publicly-accessible green space.

This includes 34.60 hectacres preserved as part of the Natural Heritage System (NHS), remnant wood area or buffer (including the 31.39 hectacres Sixteen Mile Creek Valley); 10.62 hectacres of parks and open space; 4.32 hectacres of storm management ponds; and a .57 hectacre Enbridge easement.

Despite the greenspace, the plan was not well-received by many residents who attended the meeting.

“We don’t need this in Oakville,” said Steve Cullen, who lives off Neyagawa Boulevard.

“Glen Abbey is an Oakville institution. What else do we have to attract people to this community?”

He also charged the plan is poorly designed, noting it proposes to pack thousands of people into a property that has only three exits, one on Upper Middle Road (signalized) and two on Dorval Drive (one signalized, one not).

“You’re going to put thousands of people in this place. Most of them are going to work so what happens when they all try to leave at rush hour? Traffic on Dorval Drive is already horrendous.”

Woodfield Road resident Julianne Guselle said the proposed development would negatively impact surrounding residents who paid a premium for homes surrounding the golf course.

She said she is not opposed to some development, but argued what is being proposed is simply too much.

Guselle said the Town should actually purchase the property from ClubLink and turn it into parkland.

“I would pay more taxes to keep this as parkland rather than see this happen,” she said.

Robert Visentin, ClubLink senior vice president, said that while the main feedback he is hearing so far from residents is that they don’t want any development at the site whatsoever he is confident that attitude will change as the process moves forward.

“They just don’t want it. It’s not really a dialogue. It’s just ‘No.’ That’s the feedback we’ve been getting so far,” said Visentin.

“I think now that the Town has deemed the application complete, through the OMB process, we’re going to start engaging in a more meaningful dialogue about what is practical on the site if the golf course isn’t there anymore.”

When asked about the density and traffic concerns voiced by residents, Visentin noted the site would have a live, work, play aspect to it that would encourage residents to get out of their vehicles.

“We’ve tried to create a sensitive site. It’s a livable site. The urban design has created many neighbourhoods where you can walk to things,” he said.

“We’re going to have some employment on this site and some residences on this site. We believe there will be improved transit. Better bus routes because of the additional density.”

Other residents who attended the event said they were not getting the full story about what was proposed, finding the information about traffic, economic and infrastructure impacts lacking.

Clearview resident Catherine Wood acknowledged growth is necessary to have a sustainable community, but said a balance needs to be found describing the proposed development as “too dense.”

Still another resident said Oakville is failing as the steward of a Canadian jewel, which regularly hosts the Canadian Open.

“This would not happen with Augusta or St. Andrews,” said one resident.

“But because this is Canada it’s supposed to be OK? I don’t think so.”

Fraser Damoff, spokesperson for the Save Glen Abbey Coalition said the process shouldn’t be moving as quickly as it is, particularly when Letourneau Heritage Consulting listed the Glen Abbey Golf Course property as a place of significant cultural heritage in need of protection during an April report to council.

He argued the discussion should not be around how tall apartment buildings should be until that protection issue is addressed.

Damoff also said it is clear the plan’s creator has no real understanding of the community or what its goals are, citing the community’s single bike lane and its overall design.

“If you wanted to do it right you would have four or five exits from this community, but this just speaks to what they are trying to do here. They want to build so much up in this little parcel of land to maximize the profit and it just doesn’t fit with the community at all,” said Damoff.

Town staff is expected to bring a recommendation concerning ClubLink’s development proposal before Town Council Sept. 26.

For more information about the proposed project, visit www.glenabbeyplan.com.
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