The Blue Mountains Council Supports Conserving Green Spaces!

Council voted unanimously to work with regional partners and the province to enhance local land conservation through a formal collaboration process.  

This calls for a celebration! Local residents and environmental advocates were thrilled to witness a 5-0 vote by The Blue Mountains Council to move forward with a proposal to increase the collaboration between stakeholders in order to protect the green spaces along the Niagara Escarpment.  

The motion, put forward by Councillor Alex Maxwell, goes beyond The Blue Mountains and requests that staff collaborate with neighbouring municipal and regional councils and other stakeholders to create planning processes that incorporate natural environment protection and sustainability as guiding principles. The motion acknowledges the importance of our natural environment to all aspects of our regional economy, combatting climate change, and maintaining healthy ecosystems for generations to come.  

The Motion for the Protection of Green Space received strong community support from residents who wrote letters and spoke at the January 23rd Council meeting. Local resident and Escarpment Corridor Alliance (ECA) Director George Knowles informed council members at the meeting that, “we can’t solve all the problems around the world, but it’s up to us to do what we can, where we are, right here, right now, in the Town of The Blue Mountains. And we know that nature doesn’t pay attention to political boundaries, so we need to work in concert with Grey Highlands, Collingwood, and Clearview. As the saying goes, we need to think globally and act locally. This motion offers a chance to act big locally, right here, at home.”  

The ECA is a coalition of local residents, businesses, and organizations who are alarmed plans to turn key parts of the brow and prominent slopes of the Niagara Escarpment into mega-developments. The ECA is encouraged by The Blue Mountains Council’s strong leadership and support of the motion and hopes that it will help municipalities to reconsider inappropriate developments such as the proposal for Castle Glen that would replace over 1,500 acres of forest and ecologically-sensitive wetlands with 1,600 homes, hotels, three golf courses and 54,000 square feet of retail space.   

“Kudos to Town of The Blue Mountains Council for making the right decision and voting to pass this motion recognizing the true value of our natural heritage,” said ECA President Bruce Harbinson. “Land conservation principles don’t necessarily align with political boundaries which is why this motion and having collaboration across all of our region’s municipalities is so important and timely.”  

It’s been a successful year, and we couldn’t have done it without you!

As we look back on 2022, we’re encouraged by all that we’ve accomplished together since our launch in March – and we’re grateful for your support.

Over the past year, we’ve raised awareness about the threats facing our natural lands and connected with residents, businesses and organizations in support of our home! Through elections, outreach, and events, we’ve grown together and are ready for another successful year ahead.

Amongst many other achievements, we’ve:

  • Gained over 20,000 signatures on our petition, highlighting the importance of the Escarpment and the support across Ontario for a responsible approach to development;
  • Led significant legal, public relations, and advocacy campaigns to protect our community;
  • Advocated for land conservation and sustainability to leaders, local representatives, and municipal councils;
  • Built strong relationships with likeminded residents, businesses, and organizations; and
  • Voiced our strong opposition to Bill 23 and other policies and legislation harmful to the environment alongside community members and organizations across the province.

In the year to come, we plan to continue connecting with friends and neighbours while building new relationships in the community. Additionally, and after thorough preparation with our team, we are expanding our outreach with government officials to increase our advocacy for the protection of our region.

We look forward to working with you in the coming year and continuing to protect our community together. Your support, from volunteering to donations and petition participation has been central to our success throughout 2022. In the words of John F. Kennedy, “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.”

Looking ahead to the new year, we imagine how much more we can accomplish – together. We cannot wait to continue our work to protect the Niagara Escarpment.

Wishing you a happy holiday season and our best wishes for the new year.

A Short History of the Castle Glen Development

What started as the Thunder Hill subdivision has turned into a long, drawn out story of a developer trying to get as much as they can out of a highly sensitive natural area. Blue Mountain Watershed Trust has reviewed key documents going back decades, concluding with the powerful statement: “This development is to be located in one of the most ‘sensitive areas of this internationally significant natural heritage area.’”

Their report includes careful assessment of key environmental issues including Groundwater and Surface Water Resources, karst features, wetlands, wildlife habitats, woodlands and trees.

A big thanks to the hard work from our friends at Blue Mountain Watershed Trust for putting together this expert report!

Click here to check out their report on our Resources page.

Castle Glen – What the Official Plan Says (and you’ll be shocked)

One of the region’s most popular outdoor recreation sites is slated for destruction at the hands of a Toronto-area developer. The historic Castle Glen site with its hundreds of acres of forest could soon become a megadevelopment unless our community joins together to protect the area.

The project currently plans to replace more than 1,135 football fields worth of forest (1,500 acres) and natural space with 1,600 houses, 300 hotel units, 3 golf courses, businesses, and other commercial developments. This would be the largest development of its kind along the brow of the Niagara Escarpment since the creation of the Niagara Escarpment Commission.

Here is a map of what is listed for development on the Town of Blue Mountains website:

And here is what is on the Town’s Official Plan:


Excerpts from the Castle Glen Development Overview:

1.2 Residential uses may include single detached and a variety of multiple residential forms. Commercial uses may include resort related facilities, including hotels and other forms of commercial accommodation units, golf course holes, including tees, greens and fairways and recreation facilities, as well as a range of retail, entertainment and service uses catering to the needs of the resort recreational community that are developed in conjunction with the recreational uses within the property. Civic and institutional uses are also permitted within the CastleGlen Resort Community.

1.3 The maximum number of residential dwelling units in the Castle Glen Resort Community shall not exceed 1,600. The maximum number of hotel or commercial accommodation units, shall be 300. In addition, the existing 87 lots in the “Thunderhill Subdivision” (Registered Plans 910 and 921) are permitted and recognized. Single detached residential dwellings and multiple residential Town of The Blue Mountains OfficialPlan June 2016 return to table of contents 273 dwellings shall be developed primarily in cluster form with a large open space component. In addition, a maximum of 300 hotel or commercial accommodation units, a maximum of 5,000 m2 of commercial uses, a beach club, as well as golf course holes, including tees, greens and fairways and clubhouse facilities, and other associated uses may be established. Flexibility shall be permitted to distribute commercial accommodation units and commercial uses within the applicable designations. The majority of the commercial activities shall be concentrated within the Castle Glen Village Core and Resort Commercial designations.