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Published on Wednesday, September 27, 2017

No Oakville council vote yet on Glen Abbey

Meeting continues tonight (Sept. 27) starting at 6 p.m.

No Oakville council vote yet on Glen Abbey
— Oakville Beaver file photo
Glen Abbey Golf Course spectators
By David Lea, Oakville Beaver

An Oakville special Planning and Development Council meeting that may determine the fate of the town’s famous Glen Abbey Golf Course has yet to reach its conclusion.

Oakville Mayor Rob Burton brought the meeting to an end Tuesday evening (Sept. 26) after three hours and 13 delegations.

The meeting will resume tonight (Sept. 27) at 6 p.m. at Oakville Town Hall.

The issue at hand is Glen Abbey Golf Course owner ClubLink’s application for a zoning change so it can construct 3,222 residential units, 69,000 square feet of commercial/retail space and 107,000 square feet of office space on the 1333 Dorval Dr., property.

In a presentation to council, the Town’s Planning Services Director Mark Simeoni recommended the application be refused.

Town staff came out against the development proposal for a number of reasons.

One reason focuses on the preservation of cultural heritage.

On Aug. 21 town council voted unanimously to issue a notice of intention to designate the entire 229-acre property, citing its significance to the town’s cultural heritage.

In a related, but separate move, ClubLink earlier this week filed its intention with the Town to seek a demolition permit for most of the property, with the exception of the buildings to be saved under its development plan — including the Raydor Estate and golf museum, as well as stable building.

Arguments for the heritage designation focused on things like the golf course’s ‘spoke-and-wheel’ design and the fact that golf superstar Jack Nicklaus designed it.

Town staff said any proposal that would remove the golf course would not conserve the cultural heritage value and heritage attributes.

Town staff also pointed out that the proposed development would essentially turn the Glen Abbey Golf Course into an unplanned growth area.

They argued this would cause problems as the area is not served by any significant existing or planned level of transit service.

It was also pointed out that attempting to fix this transit problem may draw resources away from other planned growth areas.

“The significant impact that this would impose on the cultural heritage landscape that has been identified on the property is so significant that staff feel the application should not proceed,” said Simeoni.

“The changes that it imposes on the urban structure are so significant that staff feel the application should not proceed.”

The proposed development has attracted considerable attention from the public with more than 100 people attending the council meeting.

Town staff also submitted hundreds of pages of comments made by residents about the development proposal.

Concerns in those comments ranged from worries about traffic impacts and the loss of a world famous golf course and heritage site to issues with the intensity of the proposed development, the potential negative impact on the Natural Heritage System, the loss of green space and the negative impact on real estate values.

Many of these concerns were reiterated by the delegations, which spoke to council.

These speakers included representatives from the Joshua Creek Residents’ Association, the Clearview Oakville Community Alliance, the Oakville Lakeside Residents’ Association, the Fairway Hills Community Association, the Save Glen Abbey Community Coalition and the Oakvillegreen Conservation Association.

“As someone who participated in the stakeholder engagement of the Livable Oakville Plan I strongly believe that the building of our major growth areas and the planning for these areas should be driven by our local government, our mayor and council and not by the whims of any single private landowner,” said Fraser Damoff, Save Glen Abbey Community Coalition spokesperson.

“We in the cycling community work hard to ensure that when this mayor and council plan for these growth areas, Oakville residents who chose to live there have an option to walk, ride a bike, take Oakville transit instead of solely relying on a car. Looking at the proposed development it is painfully clear the only option people would have if they were to live in this community is drive a car.”

Other residents called Glen Abbey Golf Course a Canadian treasure, which makes Oakville known around the world.

Another resident said that in approving the Glen Abbey proposal Town council would basically be stating that they did not believe in the Livable Oakville plan and that developers can build whatever they want, wherever they want as long as they have the money.

Still another speaker called the development proposal obscene arguing ClubLink knew what the zoning was on the Dorval Drive property when they bought it.

Not everyone was against the development.

One resident voiced concerns about the lack of publicly accessible golf courses in Oakville and called on the Town to enter into a deal with ClubLink that would see the development of a residential community and a public Town-owned and operated golf course near Sixteen Mile Creek.

ClubLink representatives have yet to be heard.
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