Let’s call a spade a spade. For over 50 years now, the Castle Glen development, in one form or another, has been “on the books.” Yet, when it comes to the Town of the Blue Mountains politicians and staff, it has long remained the proverbial elephant on the Escarpment. None of them want to touch it. “Keep quiet and maybe it will go away,” has been the historical approach. Castle Glen shows up on page 283 of the Official Plan. It appears a few times in passing and parentheses in the BLUEPRINT, the Town’s 2022 Official Plan Review publications. Population projections through 2046 in the same BLUEPRINT documents don’t even include Castle Glen. As if this will magically make it all disappear!
The Escarpment Corridor Alliance (ECA) wants you to know that Castle Glen is NOT just “another development,” and without our efforts it won’t magically disappear.
Let’s put things in context.
Five Fast Facts
Developed as planned, Castle Glen would represent:
- The single largest development in the history of the Town of the Blue Mountains.
- The single largest development in the future Official Plan planning period (2022–2046) of the Town.
- An increase in population that would exceed the total cumulative population growth for the Town over the past 15-year period (2006–2021).
- An urban area with a population 10–20% greater than Thornbury (based on 2021 census data).
- The single largest new development on the brow and prominent Escarpment slopes in the province of Ontario since the creation of the Niagara Escarpment Commission (the “NEC”) in 1973.
But there’s more. The biggest “single largest” is the most dispiriting of all – given its size, strategic location as part of the escarpment corridor and its exceptional ecological value, the Castle Glen development would be the single most environmentally destructive development, not just in the history of the Blue Mountains, but in the history of the Niagara Escarpment.
Oh, by the way, because the Castle Glen development is masquerading behind resort residential zoning (my emphasis) the developers can be exempt from the planning for infrastructure, schools, libraries, EMS services that would normally be associated with such an urban area.
The ECA is saying “enough is enough.” Our lawyer, David Donnelly, will be submitting our formal response to the recently issued Staff Report on the History and Current Status of Castle Glen Property on Friday August 19th. The ECA will then be making a formal deputation to Town Council when they receive the report on Tuesday August 30th.
From now on, we want Council, Staff and Blue Mountains residents to call the proposed Castle Glen development exactly what it is: a huge and irreparably destructive new urban development on the brow of the UNESCO designated Niagara Escarpment Biosphere.
Having spent the past two decades trying to fight this phantom development there have been many very frustrating moments. Today, I am filled with hope that common sense will prevail. It is 2022 and we do know better!
Do you want to make a difference? Here’s how you can help:
- Your voice – show up to Blue Mountain Council on August 30th.
- Your donations – every dollar helps, especially as we begin to engage legal counsel and professionals and amplify our messaging.
- Your support – please volunteer, sign our petition, register for our newsletter and spread the word to friends, families and your communities.
President, Escarpment Corridor Alliance