Letter to The Editor, Merton Lands

Re: Mayor comments on Merton land issue

As a Twenty year Resident, Property Tax payer and avid supporter of all that is Oakville, I am very worried. It appears, to me at least, that extremism is alive and well when it involves any type of possible Land Development in Oakville by a select group of people and the organizations they represent. Mayor Rob Burton made his viewpoints very clear in his letter to The Editor on March 21, 2014. “His” Town Council will decide what happens with The Merton Lands, and “His” Council has already decided what land can and cannot be developed over the past eight years. He and his councillors will decide what to do based on the science of the issues over land use. The people who are against Development and in turn, Growth of any kind, are VERY emotional and passionate about keeping any Developer from building on most if not all of what is left in Oakville to develop. Mayor Rob Burton is VERY passionate about all items involving the environment and land usage, and it must fit into his vision and his methods of persuasion. While no-one would argue that “being-green” is a bad thing, there needs to be a “balanced-approach” to it all. With The Towns Director of Planning services stating that only 20 percent of the Merton Lands would be used as Residential Development and the remainder (with the exception of some small pockets of Commercial and a school site) to be all greenbelt protected, this sounds to me like a balanced approach. Many Oakville Green Associates along with their President said only 100% protection is acceptable. In other words, the land should not be touched at all. No Balance.

I consider myself a Liberal Minded Conservative. I prefer balance. I have the unique balanced perspective of being supportive of organizations such as Oakville Green, (I receive e-mails from them for many years now) and understanding the inside business acumen of Developers as I worked for many of them for 27 years, including the Builder involved in The Merton Lands purchase. A decade ago, I telephoned Oakville Green to come and help me save two Frogs from being killed by National Homes Construction crews. Mother Nature had “taken-over” a small amount of land directly behind my backyard that was vacant for two years, and an entire ecosystem had developed behind my new home complete with two croaking frogs, wild bulrushes and a pond with native brush surrounding it. I knew exactly when the excavating machine was coming to dig the basements for my upcoming new neighbours’ homes, and this preserve was going to be wiped out for the new home that was being built. Oakville Green sent a teenage boy over to my home, and he and I captured the two frogs and took them over to 16 Mile creek and gently released them into the water there. I had spoken with the subdivision Site Supervisor earlier, and he gave me one day to evacuate the frogs before he came to dig the basement for my new neighbour. I was impressed and pleased that we saved them both from death. On the flip side, National Homes was delivering a new home to a family that purchased that property and was looking forward to living on that lot and making their new life in Oakville. They came from outside of Oakville’s borders.

In the 2010 Municipal Election Campaign, Former Mayor Ann Mulvale stated that Rob Burton “is dismissive to those who don’t share his views.” It appears she may be correct. In that past election, Mayor Rob Burton received 25,107 votes out of a combined total of 121,330 eligible voters which represents 20.6% of Oakville residents. I would be very interested in what the other 79.40% of Oakville residents think about his decisions on development. Rob Burton is a wealthy man, and I hope that he considers that many other Oakville citizens are not and they may want to start their own business on new development land. I hope that he considers there are thousands of people outside of our Oakville borders who would love to buy a new home here and become part of the Oakville family community. (Beyond just believing that new home purchasers should pay more in their purchase price because of increased development charges since he became Mayor.) Recently, the President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce commented on Development Charges as needing to be competitive, especially among the ICI sectors of Oakville. The Chamber appears to be worried like me that growth paying for growth factors are inhibiting our abilities to compete. Ward 4 Councillor Allan Elgar has stated that he would really like to see the current Development Charges going up from the 60% charged now to 100%. Bye Bye, competitiveness.

Just in case many Oakville Property Owners forgot about a Developers Legacy here in our Town...

Thomas A. Blakelock was one of the most prominent and influential people in Oakville during the 20th century. His construction company built more than 400 buildings in Oakville, which has left a lasting legacy in this community. He served as Town Councillor, Deputy Reeve, Reeve, and Mayor of Oakville, Warden of Halton County and MPP from 1929 – 1944. His record of more than 40 years of public service is almost unmatched in Oakville. Thomas Blakelock was also active on the Oakville-Trafalgar District High School Board, and his service was recognized when the new T.A. Blakelock High School was named in his honour in 1958.

 Rob Burton came to us from the United States of America and I remind him of a famous quote from President Abraham Lincoln, “Government of the People, By the People, For the People.” I submit it should be for ALL the people as well. Protect the 14 Mile creek along with any other environmentally sensitive land masses in Oakville? Absolutely! Disallow a Controlled, Balanced, Change? Not a healthy approach.

Gordon Brennan,

Registered Mayor Candidate.


P.S. For the Record, I am not employed by any Developer anymore.

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