Stop the proposed condo complex development in the Historical Downtown Core of Milton

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Speak Up, Milton. It’s now or never!

Whether you grew up in Milton or call Milton home, having your say on the following development proposal will help shape Milton for future generations.

It’s your community, so let’s speak up and protect it.

As Milton continues to expand in accordance to the town’s growth targets, future building developments must consider our history, vitality, unique small town feel and climate change environmental implications – so why aren’t they?

What is being proposed?

Local developer (Vue Developments on Main – Durante Group) has put forth a proposal to build two glass high-rise residential towers with commercial capabilities in the northwest corner of Bronte Street and Main Street. The catch? They significantly violate building height restrictions and in order to proceed and have therefore requested to increase the zone’s current 4-storey height limit five-fold, to allow them to build up to 18 storeys. 

The proposed location is situated on the edge of the town's intensification and historical heritage boundary, which backs onto the Niagara Escarpment – Milton’s most unique natural feature, a UNESCO designated World Biosphere site and a vulnerable conservation area that we know and love. The escarpment is home to the oldest forest ecosystem in eastern North America and provides Milton with a view that we all value dearly.

Cause for Concern

As residents of Milton, we object to the overall negative impact that this proposal will have on our rich heritage and vibrant community. The negatives far outweigh the positives and there is no doubt that a development such as this, situated so closely to the heart of historical Milton and the escarpment, is troubling.

One major concern yet to be considered, however, is the environmental impact that glass high-rise buildings have on our environment. In June 2019, Milton declared a climate change emergency, stating that “climate change mitigation is an immediate and continued priority for the municipality” – so why is this environmentally unsustainable development still up for consideration?

Contributing to Climate Change

With increasingly warmer, wetter and wilder weather every year, the effects of climate change are noticeably evident in the GTA. As the world becomes more environmentally aware, many cities, including Vancouver and New York, are opting to ditch glass buildings for sustainable architecture that will help prevent damaging our climate further. The growing consensus among municipalities, cities, towns and environmental scientists? We should stop building them immediately.

Energy inefficient glass condos have been identified as one of the biggest sources of harmful greenhouse gas emissions. The United Nations states that 40% of the world's energy consumption and around one-third of greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to glass buildings.

In Toronto, research has shown that glass buildings are literally burning thermal holes in the sky. Glass-walled condos are also known for having a shorter life span than brick and concrete alternatives, costing us more money in the long run.

Last year our neighboring Municipality of Peel unveiled their 2020-2030 Climate Change Master Plan ­– a commitment to investing in innovative and sustainable practices. They have declared that Peel will ensure that all new buildings will have high-energy performance to meet their near-zero emissions target. This is a huge step in the right direction.

Similarly, the Regional Municipality of Durham has a comprehensive action plan that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by changing their systems and structures. This includes reducing the effects of urban heat islands that are intensified by unsustainable building materials, including glass.

The Halton Region is currently reviewing our land use policies in the Regional Official Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and our contribution to climate change. Now is therefore the perfect time to take action and evoke change to preserve our history and environment.

Instead of cutting initial building costs in new building developments, we should be investing in our municipality’s long-term ecological gain by using sustainable materials that have minimal impact on the environment. Milton should be joining Peel and Durham in enforcing eco-friendly building designs and developments that we can be proud of.

Other significant concerns with a high-rise development at this location include:

• Significant conflicts with the Town’s current Official Plan, Intensification Study and By-Laws.

• The location, which is outside the Town’s designated ‘Urban Growth Centre’.

• There is no 'crash wall' in the design to prevent a train from rolling down the embankment and through the building. A major concern for CN Rail.

• Seventeen and eighteen-storey towers (or any high-rise development) would be completely out of character with nearby 1 and 2-storey buildings.

• Traffic congestion, which will worsen at an already over-stressed intersection (rated “LOS-F” – lowest possible).

• Endangering children’s safety on quiet local residential streets due to increased cut-through traffic.

• Putting pedestrian safety at risk due to a narrow sidewalk too close to the road because of insufficient setbacks.

• Additional strain on existing municipal and regional infrastructure i.e. sewerage and water.

Shadowing that will impact downtown core and local residences beyond the town’s accepted standards. The developer relies on “existing mature tree canopy” as their “reasonable transition” to residential neighborhood.

Insufficient parking per current by-law, resulting in increased street parking.

Setting precedence along the west side of Bronte Street.

There are also many Town policy deviations regarding Milton’s Official Plan & Official Plan Amendments, which are not being followed or adhered to by this developer.

Just a few Examples:

• Policy # 2.1.1: To maximize the benefits of the Niagara Escarpment and other natural areas etc. This is the first goal that is mentioned in the Official Plan. This proposal reduces the benefits of the Escarpment for Milton’s residents.

• Policy # New development within an existing district or neighbourhood will be designed as an integral part of the area’s existing built form complementing the range etc. The development is not complementary, nor does it transition to the established neighbourhood in height or proportions in the area.

• Official Plan Amendment # 31, Policy # Unplanned commercial development along the periphery of the Central Business District shall be restricted to protect the planning function of the Central Business District. This tall development condo was not planned for or contemplated by the O. P. in this area and is therefore unplanned growth that must be prevented. Milton’s tall building guidelines for developers clearly indicates preferred locations and this location is not included. It is a location for low to mid-rise building.

This intersection is listed as a 'gateway location' in the Official Plan, which indicates an entrance feature which is duplicated on the opposite corner creating a visual streetscape to enhance the entrance to downtown. The new structure on the opposite corner is a mid-rise building and thus the proposed development negates this as a gateway.

Take Action

Milton Council must be held accountable for not considering the detrimental environmental impacts of the proposed development in our town, as well as those concerns listed above. Regulations need to be put in place so that future developments consider our history, vitality and our environment in order to provide a sustainable future.

What can you do to help?

1. Have your say
Please sign the petition and share the link with your friends and families. Don’t forget to add a comment with your reasoning. Use #SpeakUpMilton on your social media posts to spread the word and show that we are taking note of what is happening in our community. Please note: All comments on the petition will be automatically sent to Town Staff for inclusion in its final report to Town Council. 

2. Say it loud
Email the individual councilors personally. Your voice is powerful. Their emails are listed below.

3. Rally together
Involve your neighbours, local community groups, schools and businesses. Together we can help to protect our community and our climate.

It’s your community. Together we can help ensure sensible development within the already proper established planned development areas of Milton, preserve the escarpment and its views which belongs to all Miltonians not just a few self-serving developers and do our part to protect our climate.

Thank you for helping to make a difference and preserve Milton for future generations – Our Milton | Miltonians for Sensible Development 

Town of Milton Contacts

Mayor of Milton
Gordon Krantz
Phone: 905-878-9423

Regional Councillor Ward 1
Colin Best
Phone: 905-878-3623

Town Councillor Ward 1
Kristina Tesser-Derksen
Phone: 905-691-8988

Regional Councillor Ward 2
Rick Malboeuf
Phone: 905-875-5019

Town Councillor Ward 2
John Challinor II
Phone: 416-918-4472

Regional Councillor Ward 3
Mike Cluett
Phone: 647-888-9032

Town Councillor Ward 3
Rick Di Lorenzo
Email: Rick.Di
Phone: 416-821-1219

Regional Councillor Ward 4
Zeeshan Hamid
Phone: 416-823-6993

Town Councillor Ward 4
Sameera Ali
Phone: 416-569-4640

Contact us: 
Our Milton | Miltonians for Sensible Development
@speakupmilton #speakupmiton