An additional 100 new homes reported to be planned for the Millcroft community. Couple of golf holes to disappear

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 21st, 2020



Sometime during Mayor Goldring’s second term he said that the intensification that was going to take place would not change the character of the city.

Guess what – intensification is smacking Burlington where it hurts – in the middle of those upper middle income communities that have made Burlington the city it is.

Residents of the Millcroft community learned this week that the owners of the property are going to apply for permission to add as many as  100 homes to the community by re-arranging the golf course that was the reason for the creation of the community in the first place – back in the mid 1980’s.

A meeting took place recently – it was “private” only for invited Millcroft home owners affected by the changes. The developer is Argo.

Residential blocks

The alphabet letters indicate where the developments would be located.

A Millcroft resident reports that “The letter sent to us was cryptic and the meeting scripted.”

Every household in Millcroft got a hand delivered letter inviting them to the meeting.

“When we got there we were met by security guards” which resident Louise Taylor, a retired nurse said she and her neighbours found “kind of scary”.  “Our names were checked off on a list.”

“After a presentation, that really didn’t say very much, we were broken up into five groups – each group was one of the areas that were going to be developed.

“During the presentation we were told that safety was an issue and then shown a graphic showing how many window complaints there had been.   One woman stood up and asked the people in the room if anyone had had a window damaged by a golf ball.  No one stood up.

Broken window complaints

The red dots indicate where the operators of the golf course maintain there were complaints of golf ball damage.

“When the group presentations were done there wasn’t an opportunity to gather as a large group again and ask questions.”

The audience was told that the ward Councillor was “on side”.  Councillor Angelo Bentivegna has said he had not formed an opinion on the development.  The Gazette has reached out to him for comment.

Bentivegna won the ward seat by a slim 41 votes in 2018.  The challenge for him will be to shore up his support for the people in Millcroft.

We could find nothing on either the Bentivegna Facebook page or his Twitter account.

Tweet to AB

Councillor Bentivegna was asked if he had any comment. We could find nothing on either his Facebook page or his Twitter account on the development.

The Gazette is hearing that “There are a lot of very angry residents”, angry over the “butchering of our beautiful neighbourhood. We paid a premium for our home to back onto a golf course – and we won’t even be on the course if this plan goes through.”

Block a 33 homes

An aerial rendition of where 33 homes are planned. This is block A

“Hole number 6 and 7 are getting wiped off the map (behind Country Club, Hadfield and Parklane) .

The feeling in the community is that the “value of our houses lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in one night.”

Residents believe this “this has all been couched as a safety issue by the course owners when it is truly a plan to jam many more homes into green space area with huge profits for the company – all on the backs of all of the present homeowners.”

There is talk about forming a homeowners association to work together to stop this plan.

Block b aerial view 42 homes

An aerial rendition of Block B – where 42 homes are planned.

Block b 42 view 2

A rendition of Block B where the 42 homes would be located.

The community meeting takes place March 23rd at the Burlington Convention Centre on Burloak.  We assume the Mayor has been invited to this one.

The development was done by Monarch Group in the mid 80’s; they who were bought by the Mattamy Group in 2015.

The Mattamy interests were apparently sold to Argo who are 50% partners with the people who own the golf club – which we assume means the golf course itself.  It is golf course land that is being used for the development of the the 100 additional homes.

That creates some serious hurdles for the developer.  Land that is zoned for recreation doesn’t just get changed to land that is zoned for housing without approval from city council.

Burlington is currently working with an Official Plan that is more than a decade old while they complete the revision of an Official Plan that was approved but not adopted by the previous city council.

This development proposal looks as if it will have to get cleared by the Conservation Halton authority as well.

Related news story:

Integrity of the Millcroft community threatened.

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31 comments to An additional 100 new homes reported to be planned for the Millcroft community. Couple of golf holes to disappear

  • Alfred

    Samantha; I think you have just made and reinforced James position. Since we don’t have a effective transit system in the GTA. Given the Development guidelines in place in Ontario presently. We have no choice but to cram everyone in GTA/Golden Horse. I don’t like it either, but rules are rules

  • Alfred

    Tom: I agree with you that golf balls hitting peoples houses is not the driving force behind the attempt to develop this property. I agree with you that this issue is crap. I also have no idea how much money this owner had to pay out in compensation to the home owners affected or if someone was hurt badly and a large sum had to be paid. But none of that matters. What matters and is to be determined is whether this land is land that can be developed and what can be built here if anything? This will be determined by the Planning Act regulations, The Provincial Policy statement, Places to Grow legislation and Halton and Burlingtons Official Plan. Intensification (highly concentrated) is to be encouraged. This area is situated in the Designated Growth area of Burlington. Burlington only had 50 single family homes built last year in the whole City. Usually a sign that something is very wrong. My take is the Mayor and some of the councilors will kick this ball down the road as far as they can. But in the end some form of housing will be built at a reduced number than what is presently being asked for. The developers know that so they ask for more. Councilors look like rock stars when they reduce the numbers. It’s all in the optics

  • Alfred

    Correction: Glen Abbey Golf course….

    • Tom Muir

      As always Alfred, you never get any point you don’t want to get, or disagree with.

      My point was the developer stated it was a ball hit safety concern, and went so far as to provide a figure showing their view of the problem areas. It matters because the count of ball hits is vanishingly small in the context of their claim and comparison. Not a real problem as I showed.

      In short, it’s crap, and that deliberate misinformation was the issue the developer led with.

      With such a crap lead, it indicates that there isn’t much else the developer has as argument except hired Planner opinions about provincial and other planning policies as outlined by James, and the backstop LPAT. And as well, they seem to have you as a one-man lobby for free.

      With all the money on the table, that’s likely where this is heading.

      If affected Millcroft residents want to defend themselves, they better get staffed up with a qualified expert Planner to make an argument for them.

      Individual residents, if not qualified expert Planners, have no weight and do not count no matter what they say.

  • Alfred

    To Steve: I enjoyed James academic points. In fact very few have a firm grasp on capitalism and economics. Moving forward let’s forget about the balls from the golf course. Tom below is still counting how many golf balls have been hit in 20 years. Does it matter? I agree with you that the homeowners have the right to challenge the potential zoning change proposed and have the right to protect and enhance their financial positions. No different than the rights of the owners of the golf course. Where we part ways is, what is the cost to the taxpayers of Burlington your rights will impose on them? I understand that the town of Oakville has spent over 9 million dollars to save Glen Eden golf course. It will probably double and the developers will have won after all. The taxpayers will have to pay the bill. Any costs associated with any appeals or costs to the City, if the City challenges this application and loses. The costs should be paid by the taxpayers in Millcroft. That way you can reap the rewards, or suffer the consequences.

  • Joe Gaetan

    I lived on the 14th fairway of Tyandaga for over 22 years and collected over 20 balls a year and never complained about the balls once. I became “engaged” and “enraged” when I got a whiff that someone on council was dreaming about replacing the golf course with realty tax income. Good Luck Folks

  • Samantha

    This isn’t just about a decrease in property values. There are many reasons why people are upset. There will be roughly 200 more cars driving through this neighbourhood (who only has one car these days) Note: this does not include the cars that will come with the 3 storey 80 unit low rise building that is being proposed for the corner of Appleby/Taywood (development separate from golf course development), the impact on local schools; impact on infrastructure already in place (just need to look at other local GTA communities who have over developed and what has happened in regards to their sewer systems etc. and what it has cost tax payers), loss of wildlife and so on.
    This is an established neighbourhood. People chose to live here because they don’t want to live on top of each other. As much as the golf course property owner has the right to propose the development, those impacted by it have the right to fight it.
    P.S. The argument that the increase in development is solely the result of the designated Green Belt is incredibly ignorant. If there was an effective transit system in this province, we would not all have to cram ourselves into the GTA/Golden Horseshoe…. but that is an entirely other debate….

    • James

      “P.S. The argument that the increase in development is solely the result of the designated Green Belt is incredibly ignorant. If there was an effective transit system in this province, we would not all have to cram ourselves into the GTA/Golden Horseshoe”

      The Greenbelt effectively eliminated urban sprawl and placed a hard line in the sand as to where development can and cannot occur. The land area within the GTA is now capped. Greenfield development is pretty much a thing of the past here. With over 150,000 immigrants flowing into the GTA on an annual basis (and rising), they need somewhere to live. We can no longer grow out, therefore we must grow up. It’s simple math. Intensify the limited space that is available. Like filling a bucket of water. Yet you call us “incredibly ignorant” for understanding the basic facts that you somehow fail to grasp, and then suggest transit is the solution to getting more people to live outside the GTA/Golden Horseshoe? We’re talking about a very large area spanning from Durham to Niagara Falls. It already takes an hour just to get from Burlington to Toronto by GO Train. How much further away do you think people are really willing to commute using your problem solving “effective transit system” on a daily basis? Sitting on a train for 2+ hours a day is already bad enough. Transit must improve as the result of intensification, to provide options and relieve traffic pressure from roads and highways, I don’t think anyone will argue that, but improving transit will do nothing to relieve development pressure from the GTA as you claim. In fact quite the opposite. Be careful throwing around the word “ignorant” when you don’t fully understand the facts yourself.

    • Kevin

      @Samantha I 100% agree with most of the concerns that residents have (aside from the golf course view/property values). Unfortunately the reality is that 200 cars will barely be noticeable on the roads, the density proposed is in line with current density and housing types currently in Millcroft. The school boards, emergency services and City Engineering/Planning staff will have their opportunity to review the applications to flag any concerns or items to be addressed, hopefully something is flagged and addressed.

      We chose to buy in the Orchard for similar reasons to people buying in Millcroft, we were in turn surprised with a dense development right beside our house approved by City staff etc… Although the billboards on Upper Middle show a very nice looking development, they had to “re-write the rules” for it to fit it on the property, they reduced lot size requirements, exceeded density allowable, reduced parking requirements and made an “overland water course” to manage stormwater by using a sidewalk as overflow to Upper Middle all to make a dense development fit in the available space. I really hope that the City does engage with the residents in Millcroft than they did with us, even with significant concerns raised from industry professionals the City staff still ignored the concerns.

      I strongly urge the Millcroft residents to hire a Planner ASAP to help them in their arguments, I have little faith anything will be improved over the experience we had without having a planner on board. Because of the issues we experienced with the City Staff a formal grievance has been made to OPPI that governs the professional conduct of Ontario Planners.

  • Jim Ridley

    Interestingly, 2 “adjacent” articles in the Burlington Gazette generate very different levels of interest.

    This article about the proposed redevelopment of the golf course. = 21 passionate comments.
    And I counted and approximately 65 homes may lose the multi-million dollar views from their rear facing windows. I have some sympathy, but like James says “did they sign a contract with the golf course”

    And the second article about redevelopment of the Nelson Agregates quarry = 1 comment
    A potential boon to the city that may be used by tens of thousands of folks (of all income levels) for generations to come, is largely ignored.

    The difference in response levels is very revealing.

  • Alfred

    James for Mayor?

  • James

    It always kills me when people look at new development applications and make statements like “It’s all about the money” as if they’ve uncovered some sort of hidden revelation. WELL OF COURSE IT IS!! Shame on the developer for even trying to make the lame safety excuse. No excuses needed, just call a spade a spade.

    Real estate development is a business, no different than where you and I work, where the company regardless of what service it offers exists for one reason and one reason only: to make money. That’s the entire point of business! Some may lie to themselves and say that’s not true, but deep down we all know better, if a business isn’t making money, it’s not in business for long. All companies go through good times and bad, so when the getting’s good, they rightfully try to maximize profits. It’s not greed, it’s good business practice. As much as we hate to admit it, money is king. Plain and simple. The ugly truth of life in North America.

    Development companies are in the business of pursuing the highest and best use of the limited land that is available for development. Always have been, always will be. The implementation of the Greenbelt has made land within urban area of the GTA extremely valuable and the supply of land isn’t growing so from a business perspective it only makes sense to get the most bang for the buck. Maybe at one time the golf course was the highest and best use, but things change over time. It happens. Maybe the golf course isn’t making as much as it used to, who knows. It’s not really any of our business anyway. Whatever the reason, it’s privately owned property. Are we to expect that owner to sacrifice so that we can enjoy the view and sell our homes for $150,000 more than they’d otherwise be worth? That’d be awfully nice of them, but totally unrealistic. That owner has every right to try and make the best use of their property that they can obtain municipal approvals for, and if that means they make some money in the process, good for them. Since when did making money become cause for scorn and ridicule? Isn’t that one of the main reasons European settlers took over North America in the first place so many years ago? The land of opportunity. The (North) American dream.

    If you own a home in Burlington, odds are your total household wealth surpasses $1 million. By all accounts you’re doing well, but the cost of living here is very high, so you probably wish you were doing even better. Accusations of greed are more often than not symptoms of fear and jealousy. The have’s versus the have more’s. The fear of losing what we’ve worked so hard for. The hypocrisy towards the development community in particular in Burlington has become mind-blowing, where everyone enjoys the benefits of the developments we live in, work in, play in and shop in every day, yet complain about it obsessively. You got yours, now you don’t want anyone else to get theirs? Come on, admit it, you’ve become content and now oppose anything that might jeopardize you, your family or your investments even if it provides benefit to others. There’s a certain safety in preserving status quo. We all pretend to hold hands and sing kumbuya because in 2020 it’s politically correct to be that way, but deep down we’re all still in it for ourselves. No need to apologize, it’s human nature.

    When you bought your home backing onto the golf course, did you enter into an agreement that said the golf course would be there forever? Do you have a restrictive covenant that says a golf course will be there forever? Does your deed say the golf course will be there forever? Where in the Official Plan does it say the golf course will be there forever? Where in the Zoning By-law does it say the golf course will be there forever? Where in the Provincial Policy Statement does it say the golf course will be there forever? Where in the Growth Plan does it say the golf course will be there forever? Where in the Regional Official Plan does it say the golf course will be there forever? All of these documents are readily available for anyone willing to do a little homework. If you paid a premium for your home, did you ask those questions, did you obtain written assurances or guarantees, or did you just assume the golf course would be there forever? Oops. Buyer beware.

    The fact is this is underutilized land within the increasingly valuable urban area where the land owner is proposing infill development in line with the intensification mandate. We’re not talking about high-rise, we’re talking about 2 storey homes within a neighbourhood built entirely of 2 storey homes. It doesn’t get much more compatible than that folks.

    • Steve

      To James:

      Your preaching of obvious ‘academic’ points is unnecessary, as we all understand capitalism and economics. You must be thinking that you are speaking to a high school class.

      The credibility issue with many, is the stated incorrect objectives of ‘safety’ and ‘broadening the range of golfers’ (with an executive course). More importantly, yes, the home owners also have the right to challenge the potential zone change proposals. We also have the right to protect and enhance our financial positions, and maintain our lifestyle positions with the enjoyment of our property.

      • Rylan S.

        I agree with the key points raised by both James and Steve. The residents backing on to the course have no guaranteed right to have the golf course there forever. Some comments being made here, on Facebook and in the neighbourhood about the proposed development ruining the millcroft neighbourhood are both ridiculous and self serving. As a 15 year millcroft resident that does not back on to the course, I can assure everyone that backing on to another back yard and home does not bring about the end of the world, and it does not ruin the neighbourhood. Will walking along the streets of Millcroft feel any different after this development occurs? Of course not. It will still be a fantastic neighbourhood that all of us should feel privileged to live in. As James notes, this is self interest wrapped in big broad “the neighbourhood will be changed forever” statements meant to disguise people’s self interest in their property value, their view out their back windows, and their social status of being able to say their home backs on to a golf course. People know that they can’t be that transparent without coming across as entitled, so they have to make the proposal into something big and scary for everyone.

        I also think Steve is bang on about the golf course’s motives here. Suggesting that this proposal is related to broken windows and safety? That’s a bit rich and somewhat insulting to those residents that have an understanding of what is going on here. There is no doubt the golf course wants to make some money out of this proposed development and change to the course. Has anyone stopped to think why? My guess is that the golf course is not exactly thriving. I can tell you that it certainly appears less busy than it did 10 to 15 yrs ago. That is certainly the trend for golf in North America. Young and middle aged people aren’t devoting 3 or 4 hours every weekend, let alone multiple times per week on the course. Golf’s biggest market? Seniors. They have the time and desire, and they prefer shorter courses. In my view, the existing millcroft course was not sustainable and is dying a slow (or maybe more quick than we know) death. It needs to change to survive and hopefully thrive. As a resident of Millcroft, I would much rather have a shorter golf course that will be sustainable than a dying course, even if that means some people no longer back on to the course.

  • Alfred

    Carol. The Mayor is the one to blame for this. She ran for Provincial MPP as a Liberal. The authors of Greenbelt, Intensification and build up not out, save land ideas. Policies which she strongly supported. This Policy is supported by the Liberals and the New Premier.This can in no way be compared with high rise buildings being built in the downtown. These houses will be compatable in heights and lot size with the adjacent and existing houses. Not exactly a life altering problem. To answer your question as to who runs the City. The answer is the Provincial Government be it the Liberals or Conservatives.

  • Kevin

    I had built a home backing onto a golf course when I lived in Brantford, with this home there was a 2 year period guaranteed to not have development. One day after the 2 years were up, the developer posted their signs and I sold my house. Bottom line unfortunately is that any property owner can submit applications to do what they want with their land at any point.

    Speaking from experience in my previous house and our recent failed battle with the development just 2km away (in the Orchard) it will be an uphill battle. If they get a rezoning application approved, the proposed development will be compliant with policy and standards so it will be approved. It must be addressed at the rezoning application stage. I would strongly urge residents to form a neighbourhood association and hire a planner now, you absolutely need a planner based on my experience. My 20+ years in Civil Engineering did not help at all, as all my flagged concerns were ignored by the City throughout the process.

    Prior to the March 23rd meeting I would recommend having arguments based on Provincial/Region/City Policy. The developer is using safety as a concern to drive things, residents need something as well to drive their concerns and to be blunt, it cannot be property value discussions. Unless residents received guarantees the golf course would not be developed when paying their premium for the house, the purchase was at their own risk unfortunately and we have seen examples of this all across Ontario. Being zoned as recreational land would be an ideal starting point.

    I feel for the residents in Millcroft, I would be just as upset if I were in their shoes.

  • Mike Travers

    If it was ever really a concern for safety, they would first address the 1st hole…push-fades and pull-fades down the right side of the fairway are WAY more dangerous than anything conceived on holes 6 and 7. No surprise to anyone reading this article that it’s all about the money.

  • Albert

    This takes NIMBY to a whole new level.

  • Carol Victor

    Now you can understand how residents in the downtown area feel about the ridiculous number of high rise condos being developed in the downtown core…LPAT has been loaded with ex- developers by our “wonderful” premier Doug Ford so that even this process is seriously flawed and heavily biased in favour of development. In the final analysis we must ask ourselves who is really running our City.

  • Alfred

    The northern nimby’s are awakening and seeing the light of day. Let me give my take on all this. Enviromentalists wanted a Greenbelt, which severely limited the amount of land left for development. This is one of the greatest contributions our generation has made to the future they touted. In 2011 the population of the GTA was 6.1 million. It is estimated to rise to 8.9 million by 2036. Since Burlington has to provide a variety of housing, lots and lots of it for all of the people who want to move here. Enviromentalists cried “we must intensify Burlington”. When it was suggested that some of the restrictions on the Greenbelt be lifted to allow for the pressure on Cities with no land left to be relieved. The enviromentalist cried “never”. So may I make a suggestion. Instead of talking about golf balls hitting houses and whether this is true or not. Or as suggested trying to find out how much money this developer will make. Has nothing to do with this development application as those questions rightly are not on the application form. I am not a big fan of intensication. But the rules of development have been altered and in my opinion as a result of Greenbelts this will cause devastating damage to our immediate living enviroment. Having to live packed in like sardines. Telling someone to move somewhere else won’t work.

  • Tom Muir

    What does the window breaking data actually say to support the pretension?

    Estimate the number of little red circles said to be unsafe hits. How many are there compared to the number of balls stroked per golfer round and then per season day?

    Then how many rounds and balls stroked are there per total season? Then how many stroked in 20 season years?

    I venture the red circles are a vanishingly small number compared to the total number of balls stroked per season, never mind over 20 years of the golf course life.

    This is not even a good try at credibility and just gives the scam away.

    Errant golf balls are an inherent part of life in a golf course.

  • S

    I reside in Millcroft and back on to the golf course. The green space that I currently back onto thrives with an array of wildlife. Are we so consumed in the GTA with destroying whatever few green spaces we have left for the sake of even more residential development? I am absolutely appalled (and so are my neighbours) by this proposal, but especially because it was weakly presented as a ‘safety’ solution. No windows broken, no injuries sustained and only a handful of golf balls collected in my backyard in over 20 years – hardly a safety issue. Really Argo Development? Please be transparent and tell the people of Burlington how much revenue you intend to generate from this for you and your investors. Mayor Meed Ward and Councillor Bentivegna, your leadership and commitment to the Burlington residents who elected you are gravely needed right now to stop this plan for the sake of our community, our city and most of all, our environment!

  • Sharon Picken

    100 new homes!! More students for Haydon. Pack them in!! How many more portables can be placed on the property?

  • Steve

    Burlington was voted as the best city to live in, in Canada, by Maclean’s. Millcroft is arguably, one of the best communities in Burlington. The golf course is the backbone of Millcroft. People have purchased in Millcroft in order to back on to or be close to the golf course. If this venture is approved, residents will lose hundreds of thousands in property value decline. Residents will also lose the back yard views that they currently enjoy, and paid for. This will also have a trickle down effect on all property values in Millcroft. We need to table our views on this proposal at the March 23 meeting.

  • Joe Gaetan

    One 20 storey building in the area would accomplish the intensity objective, would result in the same tax levy and would hurt the least number of people. This is about $.

  • Alfred

    Mr. Bean this development will sell out in no time. A clear indication that it is needed and welcome. Just not by you. The City will collect over 5 million in levies alone. Over 1 million a year in increased property taxes paid by the new home owners. 120 million in new generated business for the City in terms of job creation and business owners. For those of you who are waiting for affordable housing under this Mayor. Good luck.

  • Mr Bean

    Burlington is in desperate need of affordable housing. This greedy development is not needed or welcomed.

  • Steve

    I was wondering when golf courses would submit to the tempation of land developers. Overcrowding, or the orwellian term, “intensification” is ruining our city.

  • Hans Jacobs

    It looks like a case of “bait and switch” to me. “Safety” is a pretty lame reason for turning a golf course into housing. Maybe residents could simply sign a waiver accepting the occasional hit by a golf ball.
    Presumably a loss in property value will result in lower property tax revenue for the City?