See below, how you can send a letter to Council to support preservation of this natural space!
***Key Date: April 14, 2014*** 7pm Please attend this Council meeting. Town Hall, 1225 Trafalgar Road
An important Update from Councillor Allan Elgar:
Merton Action Items and Update
- Thank you! – I asked you to send your thoughts to Council and you sure did! I received over 500 emails and many phone calls. The message was consistent – no development on the Merton Lands – save Saw-whet and Deerfield Golf Courses. At the information meeting on March 19 we had an overflowing crowd of over 375 people. In my 14 years on council, what happened last week is one of the best examples of public engagement that I have witnessed. The resident outcry certainly caught the attention of the Mayor and Council, and I can assure you they are listening. Let’s keep up the momentum.
- Action Item: At the March 19 public information meeting, planning staff requested to see the email comments from the public. Please take a minute to send the comments you shared with council to planning staff at email@example.com This is important. (Confidentiality rules prevent me from doing this for you). If you have not yet sent any written comments (or have additional comments) it is not too late. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
- Action Item: Please plan to attend the April 14 Planning and Development Council meeting, 7 pm Town Hall. Spread the word. A capacity crowd will send a strong message. This is your chance to have your say. You are encouraged to attend the meeting even if you don’t wish to speak.
My thoughts about the March 19 meeting
The capacity crowd caused some of you to be prevented from getting into the meeting room because of fire regulations, and others have told me they went home because they couldn’t find a parking space. That is unfortunate to say the least.
At the meeting staff made a lengthy and detailed presentation. There was little time for questions, and so many of you were not heard.
Please don’t let these frustrations cause you to abandon your efforts to stay involved. The hundreds of emails received by Council are making an impact.
I would like to make some comments about the staff presentation:
- Development of Saw-whet is not a done deal even though staff showed plans for streets and houses. An Official Plan Amendment and rezoning are required before anything is finalized.
- Purchasing land for protection was suggested as an option, but is not the only option, in my opinion. The current zoning of Saw-whet is Private Open Space which does not permit residential or commercial development. The developer wants council to change the zoning. Council can refuse. In my opinion we are fortunate that our Official Plan has already set out a land use planning framework to direct and manage growth to 2031 based on population and employment forecasts. “Zone – don’t own!” worked when we created our Natural Heritage System for north of Dundas.
- Planning staff’s current “preferred plan” shows development of about 20% of the Merton lands, which is basically most of Saw-whet – about 100 acres. That 20% number is under the assumption that Deerfield Golf Course will not be developed. But it is difficult to predict the future of Deerfield as it is owned by Infrastructure Ontario (which is the Province) and studies are being done there as well. So the percentage of land development in Merton could increase dramatically in the future. Fourteen Mile Creek is protected but could be seriously affected by the development around it (drainage, erosion, loss of habitat, trails). At the moment the area under the most development pressure is Saw-whet.
- The technical studies of the Saw-whet area were done by the potential developer and are being peer reviewed. The first peer review report highlights gaps, inconsistencies and concerns in the developer’s studies.
- If council votes to refuse the development application for Saw-whet, the town may be taken to the Ontario Municipal Board by the developer. If that happens I believe we would have a strong defense since we have already met our growth obligations to 2031 based on our Provincially approved Official Plan “Livable Oakville”
- The meeting ended with a moving photo essay showcasing the beauty of the Merton lands and the creatures that live there. This was created by Lisa Kirton. You can watch the presentation on my website.
And finally, by an amazing coincidence, on the day of the meeting a Saw-whet owl was spotted sitting in a tree outside an office building in the Burloak-QEW area. I was sent a photo, and have posted it on my website www.elgar.ca Take a look.
Please share my emails freely. So many people have stated that they did not know about the Merton issue. I will keep you posted as this issue unfolds. Background information can be found at www.elgar.ca
Watch for the latest edition of “Let’s Talk Oakville” coming to your mailbox soon. In it you will find more about the Merton Lands.
See you at the April 14 meeting.
Thank you once again for taking a stand to preserve the beautiful Merton Lands!
July 19 2013
Environmental Assessment Report Released For Burlington’s LaSalle Park and It Doesn’t Bode Well For The Trumpeter Swans
The Environmental Assessment Report that was supposed to be available in April for the expansion of the marina at LaSalle Park in Burlington and the building of a permanent wave break was finally released, no surprise to any of us, in the summer when people are away or busy with their families and have little time to pour through hundreds and hundreds of pages of documentation. We have 45 days from the date of the report’s release to comment. Nevertheless, we are working through it and we are concerned about many aspects of the plan, not the least of which is that construction is scheduled to take place over the winter when the swans are there — something that the Trumpeter Swan Restoration Group (TSRG) has repeatedly said must not happen as the swans will not be able to tolerate this disturbance. We are currently working with the TSRG and BurlingtonGreen to prepare our comments on the report. If you would like to read the EA and its supporting documents they can be found here: http://cms.burlington.ca/Page8359.aspx
Once Oakvillegreen and our partners have completed our comments we will let you know and make them available on our website.
Hunted to extinction is Ontario, Trumpeter Swans were brought back to this Province 30 years ago by a dedicated team of volunteers led by a retired Ministry of Natural Resources biologist who got eggs from Alaska.
With a wingspan of up to 8 feet, Trumpeter Swans are the world’s largest swan, made distinctive by their beautiful white plumage and completely black bills and feet.
After 30 years of effort, Ontario now has a Trumpeter Swan population of between 800 to 1,000 birds. 200 of these magnificent creatures, make their winter home in Burlington’s sheltered LaSalle Park.
Unfortunately, a proposal to expand a marina and create a permanent wavebreak threatens this crucial swan habitat that 200 swans use as their winter resting and feeding spot.
The greatest concerns are as follows:
1. The permanent wave break will stop the wave action that keeps the water open in the harbour making it impossible for the swans to feed.
2. The current fall/winter construction schedule conflicts with the arrival time for the swans.
3. A longer marina operating season and allowing personal water craft will make it impossible for the swans to use the harbour.
4. Spills and pollution from increased boat usage could contaminate the water.
5. The larger marina will confine the swans to a smaller space that is inadequate for birds of their size and species.
6. The permanent wavebreak will interfere with the space they need (about 110 m) to take off and land.
Plans for the marina are supposed to be coming forward in March 2013. Once they are received, the public will have 30 days to comment on them. Then Burlington’s City Council will make a decision on whether the project can go ahead.
Oakvillegreen’s position is that nothing that threatens the Trumpeter swans should be built. After 30 years of deidcated work by volunteers, the population of Trumpeters in this Province is still fragile. We believe the swans have an inherent right to exist and that they should not be threatened for the sake of private interests. These swans are a natural legacy of the people of Ontario and while it may be up to Burlington Council to make a decision on the marina, they need to understand that they have an obligation to protect 1/4 of Ontario’s Trumpeter Swan population for the benefit of all the people of this Province.
Oakvillegreen will continue to work with the Trumpeter Swan estoration Group, BurlingtonGreen and other interested parties to ensure their winter habitat is not destroyed. We encourage our members to do the same. Please read the attachments to learn more and watch for Oakvillegreen’s emails to get updates. If you would like to let the Burlington Council know your views please write the Mayor and Council at firstname.lastname@example.org