Council sets out next steps to protect Merton lands

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 – for immediate release

Council sets out next steps to protect Merton lands

Staff directed to revise study timeline to allow for more work to be done

At the April 14, 2014, meeting, Council directed town staff on the next steps for the Merton Planning Study in the wake of feedback from the public, the town’s external experts (peer reviewers), as well as a new Provincial Policy Statement (2014 PPS) that contains key new policies with significant bearing on the Merton planning area.

“I am confident that my resolution last night will enable us to protect the rest of the Merton lands in addition to the 80 per cent staff and Council identified to date, adding valuable green space to the 500 plus square kilometres that we have already protected across Halton,” Mayor Burton said. “Council, town staff and I share a passionate desire to protect and preserve as much green space as possible. It is very encouraging for us to know that Oakville residents support our vision of Oakville as Canada’s greenest and most livable town.”

Council directed town staff to consider and incorporate analysis of the new 2014 PPS policies, to instruct the town’s peer reviewers to undertake further analysis of water balance, recharge, critical habitats and other issues identified in their comments, and explore the natural heritage functions of the golf courses. Council asked that a report be taken to the Planning and Development Council on June 9, 2014, with a revised timeline schedule that incorporates this work, and that upon completion of the additional work, staff schedule a public meeting to consider the results. Town staff was also directed to discontinue work on the draft plan and policies until review of the June 9 report.

The technical studies identified the need for further work in protection of water balance in key environmental features, the need to preserve recharge to the Fourteen Mile Creek, further field work and analysis of certain species and their habitats. In addition, the new 2014 PPS policy, emphasizes the importance of identification, protection and enhancement of Natural Heritage Systems, and specifically includes provisions for the protection of “working landscapes” which may apply to golf course uses.

“Town staff will be meeting with the peer reviewers, Conservation Halton and Halton Region staff to discuss all of the outstanding technical and environmental issues including those identified in the Council resolution and those raised by the community,” said Dana Anderson, director of Planning Services for the town. “We are also arranging to meet with provincial staff to gain a better understanding of how the new 2014 PPS policies are to be interpreted and applied to the Merton context.”

In 2012, Council approved a town-led comprehensive study of the Merton lands — the undeveloped lands generally located on the north side of the QEW and south of Upper Middle Road between Bronte Road and Third Line. The Livable Oakville Plan identifies these lands as a Special Policy Area for potential future development and directs that the area be studied comprehensively to determine future land uses and policies.

More information can be found on the Merton Planning Study page.

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Council sets out next steps to protect Merton lands