The year 2018 was a busy one in terms of news for the Halton Region.
We welcomed a lot of new restaurants and stores, and said goodbye to some gems, there was a municipal election, and … well you get it, a lot happened in Halton during 2018.
These, however, were the top five news stories in Halton for 2018.
The future of Oakville’s Glen Abbey Golf Course has been in question since 2015 when a pre-hearing meeting was held with ClubLink.
In September of last year, inhalton.com reported that ClubLink was filing an application to remove and demolish Oakville’s beloved Glen Abbey Golf Course and all buildings on the land – aside from the ones covered under the redevelopment proposal.
ClubLink has proposed a mixed complex which includes 3,222 residential units, 121,000 square feet of commercial space and roughly 124 acres of permanent, and a publicly-accessible green space.
In efforts to save the golf course, town council designated Glen Abbey as a property of cultural heritage value or interest on Dec. 20, 2017.
However, the town’s plan to save the golf course has reached a bump in the road.
A recent decision issued by Justice Morgan of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has quashed the town’s Cultural Heritage Landscape Conservation Plan and the associated by-laws for Glen Abbey.
This decision is being reviewed by ClubLink.
According to the Town of Oakville’s website, a further pre-hearing conference on the development applications will take place on Nov. 15, 2019
The town’s website also notes, “The Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) has scheduled the hearing regarding the Glen Abbey development applications for July 6 to Nov. 20, 2020.”
The legalization of Cannabis has been a hot topic in Halton, and across the country, long before it was legalized on Oct. 17, 2018.
Topics of discussion have ranged from who should be allowed to use it, where should people be allowed to use it, and, as of recently, where should Halton residents be able to get it.
The discussion of retail cannabis stores has become a popular one.
Since cannabis was legalized in Canada, Ontario chose to allow recreational cannabis to be sold online through the Ontario Cannabis Store and in privately operated retail stores.
The location and operation of these private stores will be under the control of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). This private retail model is set to launch on April 1, 2019.
However, the province is allowing municipalities to make a one-time decision to opt-out of having these stores.
This decision must be made by Jan. 22, 2019.
Municipalities that opt-in to allowing retail cannabis stores will not have the option to opt out later, however, they will get funding in order to assist with the legalization of cannabis.
On the other hand, municipalities that choose to not allow retail stores may opt in later but will not be eligible for funding.
The Town of Milton has decided to opt out of having retail cannabis stores for now, and Burlington, Oakville, and Halton Hills have yet to decide.
On Oct. 22, 2018, the City of Burlington elected a new mayor – Marianne Meed Ward.
She received 23,360 votes, or 46.04 per cent.
Meed Ward had previously outlined her main priorities as mayor on her website.
They are as follows:
Priority One: Reasonable Growth, Not Overdevelopment
Meed Ward is aiming to amend the current downtown plan and remove up to 30 more high-rises, and end overdevelopment across the city by sticking to zoning.
Priority Two: Get Traffic Moving and Improve Transit
Meed Ward wants to keep traffic moving in the city. In order to do this, she plans to do this by improving traffic synchronization and intersections, transit routes, implementing free seniors’ fares, and no bike lane road diets.
Priority Three: Reducing Flood Risks
In order to reduce flood risks in the city, Meed Ward is planning to create more building setbacks, ending lot-line to lot-line hard surface coverage, keep water at source with greenspace, and infrastructure.
Priority Four: Reducing Tax Increases
In order to achieve this, Meed Ward will be focusing on residents’ priorities, cutting redundant administration, better business desirability, investing in snow clearing, bylaw enforcement, road repair, as well as family and seniors’ amenities.
Priority Five: Rebuilding Trust and Creating an Open Government
For her last main goal, the new mayor elect is planning to focus on rebuilding the trust between city hall and the public. In order to gain residents’ trust, Meed Ward plans to include residents when it comes to shaping decisions. One of the main ways she plans to do this is by developing a city of Burlington Accountability portal which will feature the administration’s organization structure.
Towards the end of the year, the Town of Halton Hills announced that the McGibbon Hotel project had been be cancelled.
In 2015, SilverCreek Commercial Builders Inc. submitted an application to amend the Town of Halton Hills Official Plan & Comprehensive Zoning By-law in order to construct a residential condominium.
After negotiations, an agreement was reached with the municipality regarding details for constructing a 10-storey, 125-unit residential condominium.
The agreement was approved by the Ontario Municipal Board.
This condominium building was to be located at 79 Main St. S. in downtown Georgetown.
Since its approval, town staff had been working with SilverCreek to move the project forward.
The reasoning for this cancellation was that the project was ‘un-financeable.’ This information was revealed in a correspondence that was issued to purchasers. It has been noted that anyone who had previously purchased units will get their money back.
According to the Halton Hills official website, “Buyers were provided formal notice that their Purchase Agreement was terminated and that they will receive their refunded deposits shortly by registered mail.”
The news of this cancellation, and lack of communication with the town, left Mayor Rick Bonnette quite upset.
“I’m extremely disappointed,” Mayor Bonnette said in a press release.
“There was no discussion with the Town prior to the notice going out to the buyers and being made public.”
Currently, the town is not aware of any future plans regarding this project but if the project were to be sold, Mayor Bonnette said, in a press release, that the town would work towards attracting another developer.
On Sept. 5, 2018, two youths were taken to a hospital following an alleged stabbing at a Milton elementary school.
One suspect was in custody.
Halton police said officers investigated an altercation between youths that took place at Tiger Jeet Singh Elementary School (650 Yates Drive in Milton).
Police said that at 3:35 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 5, officers responded to a disturbance call at the school.
According to police, several youths were involved in the fight.
Two youths reportedly received injuries when a knife was used during the incident.
Police said the two victims were transported to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
A suspect was arrested and a weapon was recovered.
Police said the youths involved in the altercation were known to each other.
There was no threat to public safety and lock down procedures were not applicable.