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Have your say on Bradford Highlands Golf Club redevelopment

Developer proposing 342 single-detached homes, 196 semi-detached homes, 334 street townhouses, and 126 back-to-back townhouses on 60-hectare property

A contentious plan to redevelop the Bradford Highlands Golf Club is teeing up for its second time before council in as many months.

Bradford Highlands Joint Venture (BHJV) wants to revise the town’s settlement boundary to include the golf club property in the urban area and have it rezoned from open space recreational (OSR), agricultural (A) and estate residential to residential one (R1) and residential two (R2), so it can be redeveloped into a subdivision with 998 units. Residents can provide feedback during a public meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 11 in the Zima Room of the Bradford West Gwillimbury Public Library at 425 Holland St. W.

Officially known as 23 Brownlee Dr. (plus 2820, 2824 and 2848 Line 5) and located between Line 5 and Line 6, the property borders 20 existing homes along Brownlee and wraps around a group of 14 more at the end of the street.

BHJV — which includes ICG Golf, Bayview-Wellington (Highlands) and 2523951 Ontario Limited — propose for the 60-hectare property to include 342 single-detached homes, 196 semi-detached homes, 334 street townhouses, and 126 back-to-back townhouses as well as three hectares for parks and more space for stormwater management.

In order to make that happen, BHJV had requested a Community Infrastructure and Housing Accelerator (CIHA) order, but as those are now defunct, they have more recently requested a Minister's Zoning Order (MZO). Prior to Bill 185, the Cutting Red Tape to Build More Homes Act, receiving royal assent on June 6 and eliminating CIHAs, both orders allowed the provincial municipal affairs and housing minister the power to make orders for zoning land to determine the permitted use, size and spacing of buildings.

Council adopted a request process for MZOs in January, and was working toward implementing a separate request process for CIHAs during the April 2 council meeting, based on a report from senior planner Thomas Dysart, and in response to the request from BHJV, which was the first of its kind for the town.

While the council discussion was intended to focus on the process for CIHAs, several residents also took the opportunity to speak out during open forum and express their concerns about the proposed development, and some councillors also shared apprehension, especially over how the newer development would integrate with the existing estate properties.

A little more than one week later, on April 10, Minister Paul Calandra introduced Bill 185 with the goal of building homes faster by changing 15 other pieces of legislation including the Planning, Municipal and Development Charges Acts.

While municipal staff explained the many ways in which the town’s planning policies will need to be updated as a result of the bill, a more recent report from Dysart explains that Tuesday’s public meeting, which would have been required as part of the CIHA, is still needed as part of the MZO process and in keeping with the Planning Act.

As previously reported, this isn’t the first time the public has had the opportunity to express concerns about this proposal, and it comes with a rocky past, including an Ontario Land Tribunal case and difficulties relating to official plan amendments for both Bradford and the County of Simcoe.

Representatives for BHJV are expected to be present to address feedback from the public and answer questions from councillors, but council is not expected to make a decision until after staff review the public feedback and provide a future report.

Anyone who can’t attend the meeting in-person can still provide written submissions about planning file No. D12-24-05 via email to [email protected], and those submissions will be accepted up to the date that council makes a decision on the matter.

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Michael Owen

About the Author: Michael Owen

Michael Owen has worked in news since 2009 and most recently joined Village Media in 2023 as a general assignment reporter for BradfordToday
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