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I write to you regarding Millcroft Greens’ proposal to introduce residential development to the existing Millcroft golf course, as requested by your public notice. This development has the potential to disrupt ecosystems and wildlife, reduce green space, increase traffic, overstress an already fragile stormwater management system, and alter the character of one of Burlington’s most iconic neighbourhoods.
The Millcroft neighbourhood is unique in that, rather than including a golf course as a feature, it was built around the golf course as THE feature – the epicenter; the heart of the community. Millcroft is synonymous with the golf course. Moreover, the golf course is home to many species, providing green space and a wildlife haven in the predominantly concrete-laden north Burlington.
I understand that the key criteria for evaluating the merits of an application is whether the
proposal is in the best interests of the City of Burlington, its current residents, and its future residents. This application fails to meet such criteria for several important reasons:
First, it is in contradiction to the 2008 and 2018 Official Plans, which outline the City’s goals for current and future planning. Section 2.3.5 of the Official Plan states that: “Lands identified as Natural Heritage System, Major Parks, and Open Space, include the City’s Natural Heritage System and lands designated for Major Parks and Open Space. Together they are essential components of a healthy and sustainable urban area and are intended to be protected in accordance with the policies of this Plan.” Moreover, Section 2.4.2.(3)(a)(ii) states that established neighbourhoods “shall be recognized as a distinct area with the city’s Urban Area where intensification is generally discouraged.” These statements substantiate that the City does not intend to introduce residential development on lands designated as Open Space. Section 18.104.22.168(d) in the New Burlington Official Plan confirms this premise explicitly: “A proposal to re designate lands within the Major Parks and Open Space designation to another land use designation shall only be considered by the City in conjunction with a statutory Official Plan Review.” Because these sections remain unchanged from the 2018 Burlington Official
Plan, Millcroft Greens was aware of the City’s objectives prior to their submission. Nonetheless, Millcroft Greens submitted an application that entirely disregards the City’s Official Plan, and have similarly disregarded the opposition of thousands of Burlington residents, both through Millcroft Against Development’s 4,000 petitions and counting, and through the more than 800 outraged participants in its preapplication meeting.
Second, the proposed development would harm Millcroft’s ecosystems. There are almost four hundred 35+ year old trees that will be removed, a realignment of the Appleby Creek, and changing the pond – and with it, a destruction of habitat for many wildlife species that have called Millcroft home for decades, which would be displaced by the development. Another thing that would be displaced – stormwater. Millcroft is already flood prone. In one 2014 storm, stormwater submerged the curbs on Hadfield Court, which is sandwiched between holes 6 and 7 – two of the holes included in the developer’s application. In this storm, there was over 6 inches of water on holes 6 and 7. A similar storm occurred in 2020. Fortunately, the golf course acted as a collection zone for the stormwater, reducing the number of homes to experience flooding. If the development goes through, owners of all homes bordering 6 and 7 will be at an increased risk of flooding.
Third, the application contradicts the original plans for the subdivision. Upon the sale of the golf course to the Liptay family in 2006, David George, Senior Vice President, Legal and Corporate of Monarch Corporation (which designed the Millcroft neighbourhood around the golf course) stated: “The lands on which the golf course is sited are zoned Open Space in the official Plans of both the City of Burlington and the Region of Halton. Accordingly, concerns that the golf course lands might be used for some other purpose are ungrounded. Ownership by a professional golf course operator with a long-term commitment to its operation and improvement should lead to enhancements in the golf course, to the benefit and enjoyment of both golfers and residents of the Millcroft community.” The only thing that will be enhanced by building houses on the golf course is the builders’ bank account balances. This proposed application is to the detriment of wildlife, current and future Millcroft residents, and golfers alike. Contrary to assertions by avid golfers, golf professionals, and numerous published studies, Millcroft Greens claims that a shortened, executive course would drive membership and participation in golf. This
contention is simply false. Tom McBroom, a renowned golf course architect and the original Millcroft golf course architect for Millcroft, states: “It would be an utter shame to begin to dismember a fine and cherished community asset in an era where green and recreational space is quickly disappearing.” I agree – it would certainly be an utter shame.
Burlington was recently voted Canada’s best place to live. I believe the Millcroft neighbourhood, with the golf course at its nucleus, epitomizes this honourable accolade. Our City strikes the perfect balance between urban convenience and access to green space. We retain this balance, despite being ahead of provincial population targets because our City planners choose smart development. Millcroft Greens’ application is the antithesis of smart development. It is my hope that the City staff will preserve our green space and reject Millcroft Greens’ application without reservation.