Development In Milton: Yes, but be smart about it

The towers approved at 130 Thompson Rd.

By: Laura Steiner

How do you grow Milton?  How do you manage infrastructure? How do you make growth pay for itself if it even can?  How do you meet provincially mandated growth targets? How do you preserve heritage, and implement intensification? How do you balance those needs with the constant upkeep demanded by older infrastructure? Milton residents, and council have been struggling to answer these questions since the first houses appeared out in the Trudeau drive area.

Residents have had their chance to be heard through public meetings required on most developments.   But, there’s a sense they aren’t being heard. One development was approved at 130 Thompson Rd. (corner of Drew Centre and Thompson)  Three towers, at 31 storeys, 29 storeys, and 27 storeys.  Residents at the time of the public meeting complained of traffic through that area, privacy complaints from those living on the north side of Childs.  It was approved in April, 2019.  Councillor Colin Best even brought photos of what the traffic was like.  And if you have had to drive through that area, sometimes the lights at Nipissing are red so long, traffic snakes into the Drew Centre intersection going south.     Their concerns on traffic even found echoes in the public meeting on the proposed development at Main, and Bronte on the TSC land.

The other development was the one on the Richardsons dealership lands at the southeast corner of Ontario St and Derry.   Concerns at that public meeting were raised over traffic, schools, and transit. Issues over transit have gotten worse with Metrolinx cancelling the route 20 Go Bus which loops around Oakville coming past that corner.  Anyone living in that development wanting to reach somewhere south like the velodrome,  or Sobeys via Milton transit will have to come north to the Go Station only to go back south.

When the Town first began discussing tall building guidelines, there was some talk about the escarpment as a landmark, and its place as a part of Milton.  There was even some discussion of using it as a height guideline.  The word escarpment only appears in the document twice.  The first on page 9 describing it as a “challenge.”  The second on page 19 describing how different orientations would affect views of the escarpment.  The area east of the Go Station where the Leisure Centre will be walled in by development. Similar concerns exist over the development at the corner of Ontario, and Derry.  The shadows will affect the subdivision east off Derry.

There’s an official plan review underway, and it’s a chance to influence Milton’s future. Nobody’s against development, or tall buildings, but their placement has to be smart.