Bronte Green Corporation Settlement FAQs

Why does Oakville have to keep growing?

Oakville is recognized as a great community in which to live and raise a family and this attracts new residents who want to live in our town. We also have current residents who might need a different type of housing as they start their own family, or as they age in the community. This creates demand for new housing.

Don’t we have enough growth already?

The Province of Ontario forecasts growth through its Growth Plan which allocates a certain number of people to our region. This forecasted growth is neither a minimum nor a cap on growth. Oakville, as part of Halton Region, is required to accommodate a certain portion of the growth. How this growth will occur in Oakville is described in our Livable Oakville Official Plan.

The province requires the majority of this growth to be accommodated in areas that are already serviced as part of the town’s urban area.

How come the town can’t just say “no” to new development?

All property owners have a right to make applications for amendments to the town’s official plan and zoning by-laws and to file appeals to the Ontario Municipal Board if the town doesn’t approve these applications. The Ontario Municipal Board has an obligation to consider these applications on their merits.

The Ontario Municipal Board has issued previous decisions that confirm that the issue of whether or not the town has already planned to meet the Growth Plan is not determinative of the issue of whether lands that have been identified for potential future development can be developed.

Aren’t the Saw-whet lands part of the Parkway Belt? Shouldn’t development be prohibited on them?

No, they are no longer part of the Parkway Belt. They were originally part of the provincial Parkway Belt West when this property was owned by the Province of Ontario. After the province sold the land to private interests, they applied to have it removed from the Parkway Belt. Once the province approved this removal, the land was then designated as urban lands by the Halton Region Official Plan. As a result, the town’s Livable Oakville Official Plan identified the need to comprehensively study these lands to determine appropriate future land uses and policies.

Was this land identified for future growth in Livable Oakville?

Yes. While not identified as a “growth area,” the lands in the vicinity of the QEW and Bronte Road on the north side were one of two areas in the town identified for potential future development that needed to be comprehensively studied to determine future land uses and policies. Section 26.6.2 of the town’s Livable Oakville Official Plan notes that these comprehensive studies for potential future development areas should address servicing and infrastructure needs, including a detailed transportation needs analysis, phasing of servicing and development, and appropriate lands uses. Approvals for individual site development applications in these areas shall be considered premature until the necessary comprehensive studies are completed. The town’s Livable Oakville Official Plan was unanimously approved by Council in June 2009.

The town opposed the Bronte Green application as it was premature without the above studies. With the ongoing work that has occurred since May 2016, the comprehensive studies required by Livable Oakville have now been completed allowing for the settlement of the development applications contemplated by these policies.

I thought this Ontario Municipal Board hearing was to stop Bronte Green from developing this land?

The town certainly wanted to stop Bronte Green from implementing its original plan of application because they hadn’t completed the necessary studies and the town felt that it was a flawed plan that did not do enough to protect environmentally-sensitive lands.

The town was opposed to development taking place before comprehensive land use studies could be completed that would ensure environmentally sensitive lands were protected.

On April 8, 2015, Town Council passed the following resolution: “That counsel be instructed to attend the OMB proceedings to oppose the applications as being premature and not in the public interest using an evidentiary approach.” This position was based on serious concerns with the draft plan and the underlying technical studies and was supported by a team of 15 witnesses representing a variety of scientific and planning disciplines.

So why has the town changed its position?

The town’s position has not changed on what was required for this site. The applicant, Bronte Green, did extensive work to complete the required technical studies and made substantive changes to its plan to meet the town’s requirements. Bronte Green made concessions on every issue before the Board. As a result of the settlement, Bronte Green will:

  • Dedicate a significant parcel of land to enhance the woodlands
  • Create a high value habitat for species including snapping turtles.
  • Increase the size of the buffer around the natural features from 10 metres to 30 metres in order to better protect the natural heritage system from the impacts of development and to reduce flood and erosion impacts.
  • Construct storm water management systems which insure that there will be no additional risk of downstream flooding.
  • Remove the vehicular bridge previously proposed over Fourteen Mile Creek which posed a threat to endangered species of fish.
  • Secure a permanent natural heritage linkage to Bronte Creek Provincial Park.
  • Reserve an elementary school site adjacent to a centrally located neighbourhood park.

Did the town consult with the public before agreeing to the settlement?

Public input was received through written and oral participant statements, discussions with participants and past public input in town planning studies was considered and influenced the settlement. Many of the key changes to the settlement plan respond to concerns raised by members of the public.

The actual settlement process was subject to legal rules that prevent the disclosure of information shared until and unless all relevant parties agree. These rules promote the open sharing of information and discussion of options among the parties but do prevent the sharing of information with the public.

The OMB held two days of hearings on November 23 and 24, 2016, to receive participant feedback on the settlement. The OMB will consider this input in making its decision on the settlement.

How much of Bronte Green’s land is going to be developed?

Bronte Green’s property consists of 54.79 hectares of land. Of that land:

  • 37.33 ha (68.1%) will be developed for residential units, commercial uses and roads.
  • 10.09 ha (18.4%) will be added to the Natural Heritage System and dedicated to the Town. This includes the natural area originally proposed by Bronte Green and “Enhancement Areas” achieved through the settlement process.
  • 5.53 ha (10.1%) Will be dedicated to the town as Parks (2.5 ha), Open Space (.72 ha), Walkways (.20), and additional open space encumbered by existing pipeline (.14) or as a stormwater management pond (which in addition to the pond, serves an open space function).
  • 1.84 ha (3.3%) Is reserved for a school block for a period of seven years

At the end of the day, 17.46 ha (31.8%) (exclusive of roads) will come into public ownership, the majority of which consists of natural heritage areas that have been saved from development.

How many units are in the settlement plan? How does this compare to the original plan? Why are there more units in the plan?

The settlement plan increased the overall number of units from 875 to 1,181 units by providing more townhouses and low-rise apartment units adjacent to Bronte Road. Given the direct access to the Bronte GO, it made sense to encourage a transit-friendly approach for the site and this type of housing will be very attractive to young adults, new families and seniors who want to remain in Oakville.

Overall we have reduced the footprint of the development to be more environmentally sensitive by protecting natural habitat, and providing more open space to address groundwater concerns. Lower density housing has been located adjacent to the valley lands and set back with a 30-metre buffer to also support the natural heritage system.

How will Bronte Road be able to cope with the extra traffic coming from this development? Was a traffic study completed?

Traffic impact studies were part of the settlement discussions. Since Bronte Road is a regional road, Halton Region looked at the impact on both the current and future capacity of Bronte Road. While there is current capacity for the approved development, the low-rise apartment building at the corner of Upper Middle Road and Bronte Road (180+ units) will not be built until the expansion of Bronte Road is complete.

According to the Region’s capital forecast, Bronte Road is scheduled for expansion to six lanes in 2025.

Will a school be provided?

A site for an elementary school has been reserved in the plan. The school board has seven years after the registration of the plan to buy the site. If the site is not purchased, it can be developed for low density residential uses.

What does this settlement mean for the potential development of the Glen Abbey Golf Course?

These two situations are completely different. Unlike Saw-Whet Golf Course, Glen Abbey Golf Course has never been identified in the town’s Official Plan as having future growth potential. Glen Abbey plays a different role in the cultural, economic and urban structure of the community and this role must be further understood before any proposed changes can be considered. The town is now before the OMB defending a challenge to the validity of the interim control by-law it put in place to complete studies that will inform where these lands might fit into the town’s overall urban structure.

What does this settlement mean for the future of Deerfield Golf Course?

Again these two situations are completely different. Deerfield Golf Course remains within the Parkway Belt. It is owned by the Province of Ontario and currently leased to a golf operator. It is not subject to any applications at this time.

Can I be added as a participant and speak to the Board?

No. Only people who filed participant statements before August 27, 2015, are permitted to speak or submit letters. Participants who spoke to the Board in June may provide comments on the changes to the plan.

Why did Council have confidential discussions on the Bronte Green settlement on May 16, 2016? Can you tell us how Council voted?

Under the Municipal Act, municipal councils may go “in camera” or into “closed session” to discuss litigation or potential litigation, including matters before administrative tribunals such as the Ontario Municipal Board, as well as if the subject matter is advice that is subject to the solicitor-client privilege. This is to protect the best interests of the town. The details of what was discussed in camera or how an individual member of Council voted cannot be disclosed. The minutes for the meeting note that “Direction was provided to staff and legal counsel in closed session.”

Why didn’t the town share the details of the negotiations with the public?

The actual settlement negotiations were conducted “without prejudice” which prevents the disclosure of information shared until and unless all relevant parties agree. These rules promote the open sharing of information and discussion of options among the parties. The town did inform Members of Council and the 51 participants to the process that further work and studies were underway, and that a potential outcome of this work would be to resolve outstanding issues. Final settlement documents are available on this website, and participants were given the opportunity to review the settlement, and provide their feedback to the Board.

Why were the Enns lands (Bronte Road West Lands) included in the settlement? Are they going to be developed too?

There are currently no development applications filed with the town with respect to the lands on the west side of Bronte Road which are often referred to as the “Enns lands” but referred to as the “Bronte Road West Lands” in the draft Official Plan amendment filed with the Ontario Municipal Board as part of the settlement. Applications for zoning by-law amendment and subdivision of the lands would be required prior to any development.

However, the Bronte Road West lands were included in Bronte Green’s application for Official Plan amendment. The Enns, as owners of most of the Bronte Road West Lands have been a party to the hearing before the Ontario Municipal Board seeking Official Plan designations that would permit the future development of their lands.

The settlement, if approved by the Board, would establish land use designations that would apply to the Bronte Road West Lands if the lands are removed from the Parkway Belt West Plan (PBWP) by the Province. An application to remove part of the Bronte Road West Lands from the PBWP was filed with the province in 2005 and has been on hold. The Official Plan amendment submitted to the Board would establish the boundaries of the Natural Heritage system on the Bronte Road West Lands based on scientific evidence, including 30 metre buffers from woodlands. The designations in the draft Official Plan amendment would allow for the future development of the balance of the lands with medium density along Bronte Road and low density at the rear of the property.