Millcroft Land Tribunal hearing at the end of week 1

By Pepper Parr

March 10th, 2024



It is an Ontario Land Tribunal hearing that could result in the destroying of a community – it has that much riding on it.

The infrastructure that was put in place for the golf course could be damaged were 98 new houses added to the site argues the community. The OLT will decide if the development can take place.

Scheduled as a 19 day event, there is not yet much in the way of a clear picture; opening statements from all the parties and a series of Millcroft Greens’ expert witnesses have been heard. The areas covered were non-opinion overview, Environmental Planning, Ecology, Landscape, and Geotech.

 The hearings resume on Tuesday of this week


Community Group

Community Group

There are two community groups opposed to the application made by the developer, Millcroft Greens.  The unfortunate part of this is that the two groups are indeed singing from the same hymn book but not reading the same music.  The result is that they each have their own agenda and each is in the process of raising funds to pay for the experts that are called in as witnesses – by the time this is over they will have spent $150,000.

The City is onside but hasn’t delivered on several levels, Conservation Halton was at the table but pulled away on Wednesday when they said in a prepared statement that

Conservation Halton reviewed the Millcroft Greens applications based on our regulatory responsibilities under Ontario Regulation 162/06 (i.e., hazard and wetland related matters) and our provincially delegated responsibilities under Ontario Regulation 686/21 (e.g., review planning applications to ensure they do not conflict with the natural hazard policies of the Provincial Policy Statement).

As such, based on our review of the materials submitted, CH staff is satisfied that the submission addresses any fundamental natural hazard or wetland related comments and that any remaining comments can be addressed through Draft Plan Conditions. For this reason, CH did not submit Witness Statements nor reply statements.

The Conservation Authority is in place partially  to ensure that a close watch is maintained over the flow of water through the 13 creeks that feed into Lake Ontario. 

 The Regional government’s interests in this hearing include:Regional Natural Heritage System and demonstrating the ability to establish appropriate limits of development as it relates to Area A;

Ensuring impacts to the Regional Road network and access as it relates to Area E are able to be addressed;

Appropriate extensions to water and wastewater servicing to accommodate the proposed development can be achieved; and,

That appropriate approvals can be obtained as it relates to investigations regarding the potential for site contamination.

Through the review and OLT processes these matters have been reviewed and the Region is working towards having them addressed with the applicant through the implementation of appropriate conditions of approval or planning instruments (such as holding provisions).   It should be noted that the Region has been working diligently throughout the OLT hearing with City staff and legal representatives to ensure they are fully aware of how the Region is managing these matters.

Jennifer Lawrence left Conservation Halton as a planner in 2013

Some people have expressed concerns that Jennifer Lawrence, the environmental planner for Millcroft Greens, was a former employee of Conservation Halton.  It is not unusual for a planner to move from the public sector to the private sector.

The light yellow areas are where new development would take place.

Lawrence, in her testimony said that there are no flooding concerns on areas B – E of the proposed development. When asked if there were any flooding what the impact would be on the ability to get any insurance coverage Lawrence said she was not an expert on insurance matters and could not respond to the question.

Concerns were expressed about some sponsorship support given to the Conservation Halton Foundation.  Both Argo, the people behind the Millcroft Green organization and the Mattamy Group were financial sponsors for the 2023 Foundation Fundraising Gala.

Sponsorship of Conservation Halton Foundation events is not a conflict. CH and the Foundation are seperate organizations.

The Conservation Halton Foundation is in place to raise funds for Conservation Halton that are not possible with the budget CA has.

CH does have representation on the Foundation Board – it is not a majority and it does not set the agenda for the Foundation.

The OLT hearings are public.

Nothing exciting – sort of like watching paint dry.

The outcome could be anything but exciting – a way of life and 4000 people.

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2 comments to Millcroft Land Tribunal hearing at the end of week 1

  • Tom Muir

    One should not doubt that Ford will have his way with anything in his purview. Here is one instance of Conservation Halton following the party line of the new conservation authority act rule changes to “wind down” their activities that might review and delay development. The new mantra of “streamlining things” is now creeping into the consciousness of these agencies.

    The approach to the Millcroft appeal presented in this story is precisely the format that CH has taken to meet the most streamlined approach they could take. They rationalize withdrawal from the appeal on the grounds that undefined enforcement of of undefined rules, in undefined ways by undefined people, based on undefined goals and markers.

    This is what happens when Ford wants what he wants and his Ministers are all on side.

    By Fatima Syed, The Narwhal

    Saturday, March 09, 2024

    In 2019, I broke the news that the Doug Ford government would weaken the role of the conservation authorities that have protected Ontario watersheds for nearly 80 years.
    I learned through a 5 p.m. phone call on a hot summer day: a panicked source read an internal document saying the government would ask all conservation authorities to “wind down” non-essential activities.
    The obvious follow-up question: “Okay, but what does that mean?”
    It took five years to get an answer.
    Conservation authorities are the caretakers of lush natural spaces that stretch through, and beyond, Ontario’s growing urban landscape. They are unique to this province and take a bird’s eye view of how human activity impacts the environment, especially our water. That often puts them in positions of having to say no to things, especially when those things are developers who propose to interfere with floodplains and wetlands.
    Because of this, conservation authorities have often found themselves in the government’s crosshairs. When the Ford government came to power with a mandate to build housing fast, it decided the power of conservation authorities to review development applications was delaying construction and began proposing ways to “streamline” things.
    This tension played out for five years. In that time, conservation authorities tried to work with the government to address its concerns while still protecting watersheds, but Ontario kept reducing their powers. There was plenty of pushback, as we reported on after being leaked document after document. People resigned; the public protested.
    But when the battle finally ended last month, the Ford government’s new official regulations for conservation authorities still limited their powers and reduced their mandates.

    As you’ll read in my latest story, Conservation Authorities Act changes weaken watershed oversight | The Narwhal, Ontario’s minister of natural resources will soon be able to overrule conservation authority permit denials, or the conditions they put in place to protect the environment. Developers can ask the minister to review denials and permits, and challenge the studies used to justify those. It will be easier to build docks and other small structures, even in places prone to floods, and the distance between development and sensitive shorelines and wetlands has been reduced.

    These changes take effect April 1, but they aren’t a joke.

    As The Narwhal’s Ontario reporting has shown again and again, there is a pressing need to consider both the housing crisis and the climate emergency as the province grows. Conservation authorities’ work is meant to ensure Ontario’s homes and ecosystems are more resistant to extreme weather, floods and pollutants — weakening them puts the most populous part of the country at risk.

    To quote one of the dozens of experts I spoke to last week: “This is just setting the stage for a bunch of new problems rather than addressing the problem the government has been talking about — slow development.”

    Take care and wind down your non-essential activities,

    Fatima Syed
    Ontario reporter

  • Daintry Klein

    Two groups can be better than one! It is interesting that there were three groups opposing the Glen Abbey proposed development. In the Millcroft situation, there is very little overlap in the efforts of the two groups. MABD has hired a Planner and a Lawyer, Millcroft Greenspace Alliance has hired a Hydrogeologist/PEng and an Environmental Lawyer. Each group will have their experts present at the hearing for their respective interests and there is almost no overlap. Experts can only speak to their specific expertise and therefore one expert witness would not be able to cover both interests.