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NATURE WIN!

Very welcome news for Cootes Paradise! 

Public wins Pleasantview fight


Jun 16, 2010

The city and local residents have successfully preserved the Pleasantview area of Dundas from urban development. The provincial government has now refused a developer-sought amendment to the Parkway Belt West plan and is tranferring the rural Dundas lands to the protection of the Niagara Escarpment Commission.
A June 2 provincial cabinet decision signed by the Minister of Natural Resources Linda Jeffrey adds the Pleasantview lands and five other parcels in other parts of Ontario to the Niagara Escarpment Planning Area. The shift takes effect on July 1 and affects “the lands lying west of the westerly limit of King’s Highway No. 6 and north of the northerly limit of King’s Highway 403 to the easterly limits of Olympic Drive and the northerly limits of Cootes Drive” between those boundaries and the current escarpment plan area.
Tim McCabe, the city’s head of economic development and planning alerted councillors yesterday he’d been informed that “the minister has issued a final refusal” on the developer-sought amendment, and that the developers have been so informed.
“So that went out to Ed Fothergill and the owners out there,” announced McCabe, referring to the former president of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce who has been acting on behalf of Mattwood Homes.
Last year, provincial officials sought the city’s comments on the developer amendment application that sought to permit 760 residential units on 60 hectares along York Road. In response, city planning staff advised council to recommend delay of a decision.
That position was approved by a sharply divided planning committee, but subsequently overturned by council and replaced with a motion fully opposing the development and reiterating a 2007 city recommendation that the lands be added to the escarpment plan. Development was also opposed by Conservation Halton, by staff at the Ministry of Natural Resources, and by many local residents.
A report prepared in December by ministry staff noted the receipt of “101 comments from the public, all opposed to the proposed Parkway Belt West Plan amendment.” It went on to list reasons given by the residents.
“The public comments advised the application should be refused given that the area is environmentally significant; the proposed use would have negative impacts on the wildlife habitat of the area; the proposal would affect the watershed into Cootes Paradise; the proposal contradicts the 1995 OMB decision; the area provides a natural corridor between Cootes Paradise and the Niagara Escarpment; the proposal contradicts the Greenbelt Plan; the current infrastructure can not support development; the amendment contradicts the PBWP policy 6.2.3 (n); the site is surrounded by significant features such as Cootes Paradise, Hamilton Conservation Authority lands, Royal Botanical Gardens lands, and Conservation Halton lands; and that the proposal is not in keeping with the low density character of the area.”
Ministry staff concluded that the amendment did not conform with the Greenbelt Plan, the provincial growth plan and the Provincial Policy Statement, and also was “contrary to the city of Hamilton’s long-term preferred growth option” and its new official plan.
The defeat for the developers comes 15 years after a 1995 decision of the Ontario Municipal Board that limited new building on the lands to one unit for each 10 hectares. That came out of an appeal by Dundas residents led by the Conserver Society, but didn’t bring a final stop to the development plans.

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