Intensification will creep into Oakville neighbourhoods, mayor says in annual status report
Published September 21, 2022 at 7:35 pm
Intensification will soon impact residential neighbourhoods in Oakville whether we want it or not.
That’s one of the key messages Oakville Mayor Rob Burton delivered in his annual Oakville Status Report on Tuesday night (Sept. 20).
Burton wrapped up his almost 50-minute long State of the Town address from council chambers by expanding on the Ontario government’s creation of a super growth area around the Oakville GO Station.
The province’s vision for what they call the Oakville Urban Growth Centre surrounding the GO Station located on Cross Ave. includes tall buildings with “very high” density. The goal is to have commuters rely less on cars and more on public transit.
“This provincial vision of towers around GO stations is baked into the Ontario Growth Plan,” said the Oakville mayor. “That growth plan is an act of the legislature. It’s not optional. Every GTA municipality has an urban growth centre.”
Burton says the town has been publicly working on planning this Oakville Urban Growth Centre since it was enacted by the legislature in 2006.
“Our goal is to make ours our most liveable urban growth centre,” he said. “We need to get on with it. If we don’t enable the required growth there, the province has the legislative power and the willpower to open up our protected stable, established neighbourhood streets to intensification and still order all the intensification that the growth plan called for in the area around the Oakville GO Station.”
Burton made it clear the town will still get the high density around the GO Station, but will lose its established protected neighbourhoods.
“This is a big deal. It’s a threat,” he said. “I know that vast majority of Oakville do not want the densification of their stable, established neighbourhood streets.
Still, he said Oakville residents love where they live.
“Residents tell us qualities that make Oakville liveable are our trails, parks, our waterfront and our green spaces,” he said pointing out that a planned 2,000 acre park will add to the environment friendly atmosphere.
Other major events in the last year have also helped shape the future direction of the town.
Economically, he said, the saving of the Ford Assembly Plant to make electric vehicles makes for good business and he pointed out that Oakville was again listed among the top 20 regions in Canada for businesses to invest.
Saving the Glen Abbey Golf Course from development, as well as the town being on track to meet 2030 climate change targets with a 20 per cent reduction in energy use and 30 per cent reduction in carbon emissions, were also positive steps.
Other notable council achievements included upgrading 249 Oakville Transit bus stops to ensure full accessibility and the passing of a fully funded “state-of-the-art” community centre on Neyagawa Blvd.
More highlights of the mayor’s presentation:
- Oakville had one of the lowest death tolls in the GTA during the pandemic
- The town has met provincial targets for jobs and housing
- Oakville’s tree canopy has reached 31. 2 per cent
- Taxes have been kept below the inflation rate
Burton said he is proud of council and how they have laid a “great foundation” for the work that is in front of the our town.
“We can keep the Glen Abbey Golf Course saved. Only if a future council repeals our bylaws can we lose Glen Abbey,” he said. “We can keep Halton’s remaining farm land as farm land as long as future councils hold the line. We have the funding in place to finish adding to the Sixteen Mile Sports Fields next year and open the new community centre the year after.
“We can have the future we want for our families, our seniors, our businesses and ourselves. We just have to keep our civic energies dedicated to being Canada’s most liveable town. 2022 has been an amazing year of change and hope and growth for the future.”
Burton then read a quote by legendary Canadian singer Bob Dylan, “If you’re not busy being born, you’re busy dying.”
“That’s why I always keep saying, keep moving forward,” added the Oakville mayor.
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