ALL ABOARD NORTHERN ONTARIO ANNOUNCES LAUNCH OF NEW CITIZENS’ RAIL PASSENGER ADVOCACY CAMPAIGN

New group escalates push to revive Northlander and improve other Northern Ontario passenger trains and feeder buses

“The time for a determined and well-researched campaign to revive the Northlander is now.” – Éric Boutilier, Founder All Aboard Northern Ontario

NORTH BAY, ONTARIO – All Aboard Northern Ontario, a new grassroots advocacy group, today launched its campaign for the restoration of the Northlander passenger train and improvements to other rail and intercity bus services across Northeastern Ontario.

“The time for a determined and well-researched campaign to revive the Northlander is now,” says Éric Boutilier, founder of All Aboard Northern Ontario. “After more than two years of working with other groups to bring this about, it has become apparent that polite meetings with the very politicians and bureaucrats who cancelled the Northlander in 2012 result in nothing.

“Meanwhile, the provincial promise to improve intercity bus service in lieu of reinstating the Northlander has produced a reduction in the frequency of those very buses and endless additional studies by Queen’s Park. This madness needs to stop if Northern Ontarians – especially seniors, students and medical patients – are not to become even more isolated than they are now.”

All Aboard Northern Ontario will be increasing its push for equitable investments in public transportation through the professional development and public presentation of a restoration plan for the Northlander. Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act have already produced data that throws into question the wisdom of the train’s abandonment by the McGuinty government.

Says Boutilier, “The way forward is the one now being pursued by the All Aboard St. Marys citizens’ committee in Southwestern Ontario. That group has made the future of their region’s rail passenger service a major issue with the public, the media and politicians of all stripes. If there is to be any progress in Northern Ontario, that’s the route to go – and that is the route All Aboard Northern Ontario is going.”

In the weeks ahead, All Aboard Northern Ontario will release its data-based proposal for the restoration of the Northlander. The group will also be investigating and reporting on other northern transportation issues, such as the dismal performance of VIA Rail’s Canadian, which is leaving Ontarians from Sudbury to the Manitoba border in the lurch.

“The time for action is now,” says Boutilier. “With a provincial election on the horizon, the issue of the Northlander needs to be placed before the public and the candidates of all political parties.

“Action also needs to be taken on the inadequate service provided by VIA, which is deteriorating rapidly. We intend to put these and other public transportation issues before the public and our elected officials before the isolation now being experienced by Northern Ontarians grows any worse.”

All Aboard Northern Ontario has today launched its website and social media pages. The website may be accessed at https://allaboardnorthernontario.com/

The public, the media, and politicians are invited to review the data on the Northlander and the state of the region’s precarious transportation network. Northerners are also encouraged to share their story of how the cancellation of the Northlander has affected them personally.

Switching Gears Transportation Master Plan

Oakville’s TMP, Switching Gears (pdf) looks at all modes of transportation including public transit, walking, cycling and ride-sharing along with strategic roadway improvements to ensure the safe, convenient and efficient movement of people and goods.

Launched in 2013, Switching Gears is the town’s guiding document for developing practical, sustainable, long-term plans to guide the town’s transportation system to meet the needs of its anticipated growth to 2031. It incorporates transportation, land use planning and financial strategy which respects the social, environmental and economic goals as defined in the Livable Oakville Plan, the Halton Region Official Plan and other provincial strategies. It also aligns with other key studies including the town’s Active Transportation Master Plan and Halton’s Transportation Plan – The Road to Change.

It’s time for Oakville to update its TMP

Oakville is growing and changing. Over the next few decades, the town expects to see increased traffic due to population and employment growth. To address this challenge, staff is looking for responsible and effective ways to handle the growing demand including finding a balance for strategic road improvements, with the need to provide a greater range of transportation choices to reduce the number of vehicles on the road.

The 2017 TMP Update will review the transportation network improvements focusing on future transit targets to accommodate growth to 2031, and provide input into the town’s upcoming Development Charge By-Law.

Public consultation

Building on the success of the town’s recent Active Transportation Master Plan update, Goods Movement Study and Pedestrian Safety Study, staff will be seeking public feedback to guide the TMP update. The 2017 TMP Update is following the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (as amended, 2015) process involving two consultation meetings between May and December 2017. Continue reading Switching Gears Transportation Master Plan

ClubLink appeals Glen Abbey applications to the Ontario Municipal Board

ClubLink Corporation has appealed Town Council’s decision of September 27, 2017, to refuse their application to redevelop Glen Abbey Golf Course to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). ClubLink had applied to the town for an official plan amendment, a zoning by-law amendment and approval of a plan of subdivision to permit 141 detached dwellings, 299 townhouse dwellings, 2,782 apartment dwellings with retail and office commercial uses, parks and open space and natural heritage uses.

“The town is not surprised that ClubLink has appealed Council’s decision to the Ontario Municipal Board,” Mayor Rob Burton said. “The town is prepared to vigorously defend Council’s decision that ClubLink’s applications do not represent good planning for this site and are not consistent or in conformity with applicable provincial, regional and town policy.”

Town Planning staff had recommended refusal of the application to Council. According to Mark Simeoni, the town’s director of Planning, “The town’s cultural heritage landscape study identified the Glen Abbey property as a significant cultural heritage landscape that should be conserved. The town-wide urban structure review identified where and how the town should grow, and Glen Abbey was not identified as a potential site for future growth. These conclusions are so significant that staff must recommend that the applications not proceed.”

Two days of public meetings were held on September 26 and 27, 2017, to consider Clublink’s applications for an official plan amendment, a zoning by-law amendment and approval of its draft plan of subdivision. While Council refused the official plan and zoning amendments on September 27, 2017, under the Planning Act, decisions on applications for approval of a draft plan of subdivision can be made no sooner than 14 days after the public meeting is held. The application for the approval of ClubLink’s draft plan of subdivision is scheduled to come back to Planning and Development Council on November 6, 2017.

For more information on Glen Abbey, visit the Glen Abbey Information page.

Council refuses ClubLink application to redevelop Glen Abbey property

Council voted unanimously Wednesday night to refuse ClubLink’s application to redevelop the Glen Abbey Golf Course lands to permit 141 detached dwellings, 299 townhouse dwellings, 2782 apartment dwellings with retail and office commercial uses, parks and open space and natural heritage uses. The motion to refuse the application noted that the applications do not represent good planning and are not consistent or in conformity with applicable provincial, regional and town policy.

“The town’s Livable Oakville Official Plan sets out the vison for our community to preserve the stability of residential neighbourhoods and identify specific areas where growth should occur,” Mayor Burton noted. “ClubLink’s proposal did not adhere to our official plan, nor did it conserve the golf course, which is subject to a Notice of Intention to Designate as a significant cultural heritage landscape issued by Council under s. 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act.”

ClubLink had applied to the town for an official plan amendment, a zoning by-law amendment and approval of a plan of subdivision to redevelop the golf course property into 3222 residential units and mixed commercial and retail uses, as well as a dedication of the club’s valley lands as natural heritage. Council’s decision refuses the official plan and zoning amendments required for the development to proceed. Pursuant to a Planning Act requirement, the application for the approval of a plan of subdivision must still come back to Planning and Development Council on November 6, 2017 for decision.

Town Planning staff had recommended refusal of the application to Council. According to Mark Simeoni, the town’s director of Planning, “The town’s cultural heritage landscape study identified the Glen Abbey property as a significant cultural heritage landscape that should be conserved. The town-wide urban structure review identified where and how the town should grow, and Glen Abbey was not identified as a potential site for future growth. These conclusions are so significant that staff must recommend that the applications not proceed.”

Staff and members of the public also highlighted specific concerns regarding ClubLink’s applications related to various technical matters associated with the proposal, such as traffic, and impact of the development on the Sixteen Mile Creek watershed. These technical comments underscored the community’s concerns that the size and scope of this development would impact the approved vision for the community set out in Livable Oakville.

Earlier this week, ClubLink also announced that while it would not be filing an objection to the town’s Notice of Intention to Designate the golf course lands under Section 29, Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act, it would be proceeding with an application to remove the golf course and demolish all buildings, other than those proposed to be retained as part of ClubLink’s redevelopment proposal, including the RayDor Estate House and the Stables.

“This is a separate application and staff will meet with ClubLink in the near future to begin the process for consideration of this application,” Mr. Simeoni said. “Once a complete application is submitted and staff completes its review, this application will be brought forward to Council for its consideration.”

For more details, visit our Glen Abbey Information page.