Oakville city council voted unanimously Monday to designate the famous Glen Abbey golf course a heritage site – a decision that could stall a proposal to redevelop the site into residential, business and park space.
In packed council chambers, over a hundred local residents came out to support the heritage designation and are calling the decision a win.
Oakville Mayor Rob Burton says the people’s wishes were heard and he’s pleased with the outcome.
“I think I could summarize what I heard as people saying that Glen Abbey is Oakville and Oakville is Glen Abbey,” he said. “Heritage is our past and heritage is our future and I know that this town has taken a strong leadership role in the conservation of its heritage resources and I’m proud of that.”
But the question remains – what does the council’s decision mean for the future of the site?
Over the years, the 2000 acre golf course has played host to the Canadian Open 29 times and is set to host it again next year. But Clublink Corp has forwarded a proposal to the town of Oakville for a development that would include 3000 homes along with office buildings and parkland.
Clublink Senior Vice President Robert Visentin said it feels like the company has lost control of its own land.
“The town has the right to do this if they want but they’re governing a business. We’re a golf business running on that property,” he said. “It felt to me like the way these rules have been written is that we have a new property manager on the property – that you basically have to ask for everything”
However, the mayor said no concrete steps will be taken any time soon.
“This is a long process that actually started eight years ago,” he said. ““The only real thing you can take away from tonight is that it’s a step in a long series and a town that believes very passionately in the conservation of heritage is acting to break new ground for us in the landscape area.”
So what happens next?
After council’s vote on Monday, the next steps are as follows:
- A notice of intent to designate Glen Abbey a heritage site will be published, thereby triggering appeal rights.
- If an appeal is launched, the conservation review board will get involved and provide it’s comments to city council.
- City council will then consider whether or not to adopt a bylaw designating the property as a heritage site.
- If a bylaw is passed, conservation rules and procedures will have to be created that will work to conserve the heritage attributes that have been identified at Glen Abbey.
Clublink Corp’s application will be heard by Oakville city council on Sept. 26. While the heritage designation is entirely separate from Clublink’s development proposal, there is a possibility that it could impact the outcome of the hearing.