Ministerial order signed last October
Although official since last fall, it’s only now been made formally public: Pleasant View is part of the Niagara Escarpment Plan.
The plan amendment, posted on the province’s Environmental Bill of Rights registry on July 30, ensures the 400-hectare, rustic Dundas survey will largely remain as is for the foreseeable future.
“It’s quite substantial,” said Ken Whitbread, manager for the Niagara Escarpment Commission. “It’s one of the bigger amendments we’ve ever done.”
Then-Natural Resources Minister David Orazietti signed the order approving the NEP amendment known as PW 179 09 on Oct. 28 of last year and the recent EBR notice notes the decision can’t be appealed.
The move adds two parks to the NEP – 36 hectares along the lower slopes of the escarpment mostly owned by Conservation Halton and nearly 21 hectares between York Road and the Royal Botanical Gardens, acquired by the Hamilton Conservation Authority last year.
They are part of the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System, an ongoing venture by nine local government and non-profit groups to protect and connect 1,900 hectares of natural land in the Hamilton and Burlington area.
Whitbread said any Pleasant View homes, places of worship and light industry that existed at the time of the ministerial order are “grandfathered and protected as a legal non-conforming” use.
The NEP amendment also allows the replacement of single homes, accessory uses like garages, sheds and pools, and new single homes with a minimum lot size of 10 hectares – the standard set by the Ontario Municipal Board during a previous development dispute.
Whitbread said all affected municipalities, conservation authorities, government ministries and the public supported adding Pleasant View to the NEP, avoiding the need for a hearing.
“We did have a few individual citizens that had specific concerns on property, but they were resolved over time,” he said.
“They either grew to understand that the change didn’t really affect anything or they didn’t think the likelihood of getting a plan of subdivision was going to happen, so they sort of said, ‘Fine enough, we’ll live with it.’”