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Published on Tuesday, April 17, 2018

OMB not calling shots for significant Glen Abbey appeals, says Oakville MPP

ClubLink silent on project implications

OMB not calling shots for significant Glen Abbey appeals, says Oakville MPP
Glen Abbey Golf Course - Metroland photo
By David Lea, Oakville Beaver

The Ontario Municipal Board will not be calling the shots when it comes to some of the major decisions surrounding the future of the Glen Abbey Golf Course.

A press release issued by the office of Oakville MPP and Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn asserted Monday, April 16 that the newly created Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) would be deciding the validity of an interim control bylaw and official plan and zoning bylaw amendments, which Oakville town council put in place to maintain the existing uses at the Glen Abbey site.

Glen Abbey owner, ClubLink, has brought forward a development proposal that, among other things, calls for the construction of 3,222 residences at the 1333 Dorval Dr., property.

Many residents have voiced concerns about the size of this development proposal, the loss of green space and the iconic golf course, and the traffic levels the development would bring to the area.

“When I was first elected (to Oakville council) in my 20s one of the impediments to what I thought was good local democracy was the existence Ontario Municipal Board. The elected officials would make a decision based on the rules of the day and by hook or by crook or just by pure process those decisions would end up before some unelected people and the whole decision would be revisited.”

Oakville MPP Kevin Flynn

Flynn has said that in order to change the assigned usage of Glen Abbey to permit ClubLink’s proposal, both of council’s planning measures must be appealed.

Previously this would have meant a trip to the OMB, however, this is no longer an option.

The Province signed the LPAT into law on April 3, 2018 to replace the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

The law received royal assent on Dec. 12, 2017 and the rules state that any municipally-initiated matters such as official plan amendments and/or zoning bylaw amendments adopted after that are subject to the new rules of the LPAT.

Since the Oakville council planning measures were adopted January 2018, any attempts to appeal them will be heard by LPAT and not the OMB.

Flynn talked about the significance of this change at Oakville council’s April 16 meeting.

“When I was first elected (to Oakville council) in my 20s one of the impediments to what I thought was good local democracy was the existence of the Ontario Municipal Board,” he said.

“The elected officials would make a decision based on the rules of the day and by hook or by crook or just by pure process, those decisions would end up before some unelected people and the whole decision would be revisited.”

Flynn says the new rules change that.

“It (LPAT) is going to give far more weight to local decisions,” said Flynn.

“It gives you as municipally elected officials far greater control over local planning and we are hoping as a result of that much fewer decisions will need to be appealed in the first place.”

The demise of the OMB and the creation of the LPAT were well received by Oakville Mayor Rob Burton.

“We will be better able to ensure growth takes place in a planned and orderly manner. We will be better able to maintain the character of the town. We will be better able to conserve cultural heritage and natural heritage,” said Burton.

“As council is aware the Glen Abbey lands are subject to a number of ongoing legal proceedings before the LPAT and the courts. We can expect a legal update in the coming weeks from the town solicitor for council and the public.”

Burton also emphasized that while the January 2018 planning matters will be heard by LPAT under the new rules, council’s decision to reject ClubLink’s development proposal was made before Dec. 12, 2017 and will therefore be heard under the OMB’s rules.

ClubLink declined to comment on the abolition of the OMB or what it means for their development proposal.

Fraser Damoff of the Save Glen Abbey Coalition residents’ group said the LPAT involvement is a positive change.

“The Save Glen Abbey Coalition is very pleased that, while some decisions will be made by the OMB, the most significant decisions regarding the future of Glen Abbey Golf Course will be decided by the province’s new LPAT, ensuring that local planning decisions are made locally,” he said.

“On behalf of the over 10,000 people who have fought to save this historic golf course, we thank Kevin for his tireless work and look forward to working with him and the Town of Oakville over the coming months to protect Glen Abbey for future generations.”
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Author: Mayor Rob Burton

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