NW Corner, Dundas & Tremaine, Burlington

I’m easily old enough to remember when Upper Middle Road was the north limit of Oakville’s development envelope. In my opinion, architecturally, with the conditional exception of Sheridan College, nearly everything built on those lands has been wasted opportunity. It is only the next few generations who will have a chance to reverse this trend. As we burden our agricultural frontiers with soulless, thoughtless suburban form, the cost of reversal immediately moves to a point beyond realistic contemplation. With the lands to the north of Dundas Street, this is not the case.

The proposed Concept Plan, which I was commissioned to Peer Review, essentially ignored the history and spirit of the land which it proposed to clear and improve. An order of magnitude estimate of the retail capitalization of this project is between $90,000,000 – $120,000,000. This is a vast amount of money. In less than one year of study, during an unknowable economic downturn, and for much less than 1% of that figure, many intelligent, sensitive, and thoughtful design proposals could be generated as alternate concept plans. This is the choice that faces those with decision-making power: it is the choice of thoughtful sensitivity versus sterile, more-of-the-sameness. Leave the heritage: the topography, the trees, the agricultural remnants, and charge more per house.

My work included a Peer Review of a recently submitted Heritage Impact Assessment.