Could a land swap save the city and keep the waterfront in the hands of the public?

By Pepper Parr

September 29th, 2021



It was during a meeting on that wonderful deck that runs along the north side of Lakeshore Road – across the street from Spencer Smith Park where one can see the ships heading to, or leaving, Hamilton harbour and where, what a long departed friend said, one can enjoy an Adult Libation.

One of the prime places to just enjoy the city is on the north side of Lakeshore looking out over the lake. Great ideas bubble to the surface while enjoying an Adult Beverage,

I was meeting with a couple of friends and talking through possible options and new ideas to keep the Waterfront Hotel site in public hands rather than have a large tower go up.

At the time no one knew that the developer’s plan was for two 30 story plus towers on the site.

Many see the land south of Lakeshore Road as a “public” part of the public realm.  Much of it is land that was recovered and made usable with landfill.

The owners of the hotel do have title to some of the land but surely not all the land right up to the edge of the lake.

My friends, who don’t want their names trotted out at this point – at an appropriate time they will be more public.  These are men who comment intelligently on public matters.

They wondered aloud if there was not some kind of land swap that could be done.

And that was when a light bulb lit up.

It doesn’t function all that well as a place to work and the city is going to need a lot more space.

City hall as a building is not that functional.  It is past its best-before date but, because it is what we have, money is going to be spent on making the best of a bad situation.

It is an awkward building – there was no real design – additions kept being added. The entrance was once on the west side.

The Art Gallery has never been a truly functional building.  It is a collection of additions to a structure that were added on when there was a donor.

So – here is a swap that could be done:

The owner wants to build and has some impressive designs – that will, if ever built, change the heart and soul of the city. There is a chance to give the developer what they want and to save what is left of Burlington.

Exchange the Waterfront Hotel site for the city hall site and the Art Gallery site.

Then design a purpose built building that would house City Hall and the Art Gallery on the Waterfront Hotel site.

Include a band shell and ensure the roof of the structure is environmentally friendly.  And ensure that the building is not more than four storeys.

Two for the Art Gallery and two floors for the city.

Hold a charette and commission some design ideas from architects from around the world.

Imagine for a moment: City Hall and the Art Gallery nestled at the base of the slope of the land immediately south of Lakeshore Road leaving a clear view of the Lake.  Try the idea on for size the next time you are walking along the promenade and talk it up with your friends.

Parking – that is something that would have to be figured out.  The Lotus Street Parking lot is used by city hall staff now – that could continue and there could be some parking beneath the four storey building.

Can’t be done you say?  With the right leadership – it certainly can be done.

Rob MacIsaac, a former Burlington Mayor, took bold steps and changed the city in a way that no one has since his time.

Rob MacIsaac, a former Burlington Mayor, did it when he turned the former police station on Locust into the Performing Arts Centre, then had the building that houses a restaurant along with the tourist office on the ground floor and office for the Chamber of Commerce, the BDBA and the Economic Development Corporation on the second floor with five levels of parking above it all.

Then he got really ambitious and got a pier built as well.

So – never say it can’t be done – think about how it can be done and where the leadership is going to come from.

More on this going forward.

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.


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Federal Minister for Environment decides to study land close to properties where developers want to build home homes

By Staff

March 22, 2023



The federal government has climbed aboard the drive to reverse the land swaps and the Greenbelt Land Grab the Ford government announced in December of 2022.

Minister Guilbeault’s action are being described as a key step on a path to victory for Ontarians working to protect the Greenbelt in perpetuity.

Steven Guilbeault, not yet a politician got himself arrested for climbing the CN Tower. The man clearly knew what a photo op is supposed to be.

The Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Steven Guilbeault announced a new regional environmental study on the impacts of housing developments planned by the Ford government near the Rouge National Urban Park.

Guilbeault has a flair for the dramatic and his intervention certainly won’t hurt in the push to ensure that the Greenbelt is protected in perpetuity.

Today’s Federal announcement is described as a direct result of Ontarians speaking up about the broken Greenbelt promise.

The federal announcement adds to the work being done by Environmental Defence and the several complaints being looked into by Ontario’s Auditor General and the provincial Integrity Commissioner.

Properties that are targeted for development..

Support for the Greenbelt is said to be well understood.  In August 2022 an EKOS poll commissioned by the David Suzuki Foundation found that 75 percent of voters in Toronto’s suburbs wanted municipal election candidates to offer more protection to the Greenbelt

A group working out of Guelph. Greenbelt Promise Campaign, used dramatic language to describe what the issue is and why it is important. Ontario’s Greenbelt created in 2005 has become land that developers have been acquiring.  Residents of Ontario are said to understand that greenbelts are created as guarantees to protect the environment and farmland from profit-driven developers.

“In December 2022, Conservative MPPs betrayed Ontarians when they chose to undermine the environment and the will of the people by selling out the Greenbelt to wealthy developers.

“The Ford government is being pressed to reverse the decision that gave developers permission to send bulldozers into the Greenbelt.

“The Ontario’s environmental community congratulates Minister Guilbeault for this timely intervention to protect farms, forests and wetlands.”


The threat is real – there are specific solutions.

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The way wetlands work and why they are protected and where they are now not as protected

By Pepper Parr

January 7th, 2023



So just why are wetlands really important?

The Premier of the province wants to permit building on wetlands and has passed legislation that opens up parts of the province to development in places that were believed to be protected forever for the benefit of future generations, permanently off-limits to urbanization.

Established in 2005, Ontario’s Greenbelt, a swath of land that encircles the Greater Toronto Area, is an aggregation of farmland, river valleys and other natural features.


They are natural and are essential if climate changes are to be effectively managed.

Wetlands are the kidneys of the planet. Wetlands have the wonderful ability to remove pollutants from water, thanks to their luscious vegetation. Cattails, for example, aren’t just good for entertainment with seedy fluff that explodes in the wind. These iconic wetland plants are able to capture excess phosphorus and nitrogen, thereby preventing harmful algal blooms.

Even more amazingly, wetlands are able to get rid of 90% of water-borne pathogens. For us, this is crucial as wetlands recharge groundwater, which 26% of Canadians rely on for drinking water.

Where a natural wetland does not exist some communities are finding ways to create them.

Wetlands are now being constructed as natural infrastructure to clean stormwater. Canada’s largest constructed stormwater treatment wetland is located in Calgary, Alberta and is the size of approximately 150 football fields.

In the spring, wetlands are brimming with waterfowl, blackbirds and shorebirds as they nest and raise their young in the safety of reeds, grasses and stones. Not only is it a sanctuary for migratory and year-round birds, there are also fish species, frogs, turtles, muskrats, minks and beavers that are long-term residents. With deer mice and ground squirrels living in the grasses adjacent to wetlands and fish swimming in open water, this ecosystem is a favourite of osprey, eagles and hawks.

Let’s not forget about the itty bitty creatures that wiggle in wetland waters. Aquatic invertebrates, such as dragonfly nymphs and snails form the base of the wetland food chain and are equally as fascinating as other wetland life.

We know them as broadleaf cattail, bulrush, common bulrush, common cattail, cat-o’-nine-tails, great reedmace, cooper’s reed and cumbungi; their real name is Typha latifolia

Wetlands are masters at carbon sequestration
This process sucks in carbon and stores it in wetland soil. Unlike when a sibling hogs all the crayons, we are happy that wetlands hog carbons because it helps to regulate the climate. But, not all wetlands are equally skilled at holding onto carbon. Peatlands, including fens and bogs, collect ‘peat’ or partially decomposed plants and other organic matter (aka a wack tonne of carbon).

When peatlands are drained for agriculture, forestry or peat harvesting, carbon and nitrogen are released as greenhouse gases in the form of carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide. Approximately 25% of the world’s peatand are in Canada alone, with the Hudson Bay Lowlands as one of the worlds largest peatland systems.

Wetlands act like giant sponges
Another wetland superpower is their ability to act like a giant sponge. When the clouds open up and rain pours down, wetlands are able to absorb excess water. This means that wetlands act as a buffer against flooding. Now imagine the reverse situation. It’s dry and the land is parched, wetlands are able to release water back into the environment. In addition to their spongy talents, wetlands act as a protective barrier from storm surges along coastlines.

So much so that the mouth of Riviere du Nord in northern New Brunswick is being converted back to its natural state as a salt marsh.

Part of the Boardwalk at Point Pelee National Park

If we protect wetlands, it means that we get to enjoy all they have to offer! In the summer, they provide endless entertainment for recreational birders, photographers and casual park users with parades of waterfowl chicks and spats between Canadian geese. The water and wildlife can be explored by gliding through the wetland in canoes and kayaks.

Wetlands welcome family activities like pond-dipping to explore and learn about all the little creatures living in the marsh. In the winter, the frozen waters of wetlands can provide a surface for skating while the snow covered grasses surrounding wetlands provide the perfect opportunity to snowshoe and cross-country ski.

The wetlands are now facing real risk as the result of provincial government legislation.

Parts of the province where the risk becomes very real.

Related news story:

Are police investigating the purchase of are pieces of property. 

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Ontario Land Tribunal puts a stop to the re-development of the Waterfront Hotel site

By Pepper Parr

January 6th, 2023



The Ontario Land Tribunal issues an order that puts a halt to the plans to redevelop the Waterfront Hotel site.

What was it all about?

There is a short version and a long version of this story.

Darko Vranich

The short version is that the developer, Burlington 2020 Lakeshore Inc., owned by Vrancorp which is controlled by Darko Vranich.

The owners of the Waterfront Hotel, Vrancor Group Inc., made an application to the city for a change to the Official Plan and a change to the zoning of the property which was on Lakeshore Road at the bottom of Brant Street.

The application was filed (all the relevant dates are set out below in chronological order) on October 22nd, 2021.

The Planning department reviewed the application and sent a report to council saying the application was not complete and therefore should not be approved.

This is where the words “made” and “received “become part of the story.

The City argued that “received” and “made” are different words and that it is impossible for an application to be “made” before it is “received” by a Municipality. The City stated an applicant cannot “make” an application until the Municipality “receives” the materials in support of the application.

And that is where the application ran afoul of the rules.

Because between the date that the development was first filed – and found to be incomplete and the date that a complete application was filed the Minister of Municipal and Housing change a key document – which he had the right to do.

That’s the short version. If you like getting into the weeds – read on.

There are three different levels of government involved in the settling of this issue: The province where the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing has jurisdiction.

The Regional government which is required to have an ROP (Regional Official Plan) that the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing approves.

The city has an Official Plan that must comply with the Regional Plan

Located at the foot pf Brant Street on Lakeshore Road, the two towers would have loomed over Spencer Smith Park.

The development application was submitted by Burlington 2020 Lakeshore Inc. to demolish the existing hotel and restaurant and construct a new mixed- use building in a 2-tower format atop a 5-6 storey podium, with tower heights ranging from 30-35 storeys, and associated underground parking.

The arguments as to whether the application was acceptable were heard by video hearing November 1, 2022 before Ontario Land Tribunal member D. Chipman.  Regional Municipality of Halton, Bridgewater Hospitality Inc. and The Pearle Hotel & Spa Inc. were part of the proceedings

While the OLT hearing began when the city brought before the Tribunal a Notice of Motion dated October 7, 2022 it was the events that took place much earlier that brought things to this point.

This was the Urban Growth Centre boundary in place before the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing moved the boundary closer to the Burlington GO station

Through the motion, the City was seeking a ruling by the Tribunal that an application “made” under the Planning Act is only “made” once all materials required to be filed with the City
The date the Applications are “made” will determine whether the Urban Growth Centre (“UGC”) policies of the Halton OP apply to these Applications.

This was the battle ground – a site labelled as ground zero for Burlington by the developers planning consultant.

The motion is made in the context of the decision of the Minister to approve ROPA 48 with modifications, pursuant to his authority under the Planning Act. The Minister’s Decision moved the UGC in the Halton OP from Downtown Burlington which included the Waterfront Hotel property, to an area centred around the Burlington GO Station, which did not include the Waterfront Hotel property.

The Minister’s Decision included a transition provision, which deems the UGC policies in the Halton OP continue to apply to applications “made” by an applicant on or before the date of the Minister’s Decision, which was November 10, 2021) If the lands that are the subject of the application (Waterfront Hotel) were within the UGC prior to the date of the Minister’s decision. The development application was deemed to be complete on December 17th.

In August 2020, the City requested that the Region adjust the boundary of the Downtown Burlington UGC to generally align with the lands in proximity to the Burlington GO Station.

February 2021 – Region released ROPA 48 for public review. The draft instrument under consideration at that time proposed to shift the Downtown UGC north and remove the Downtown MTSA with no transition provision for existing applications being proposed.

April 28, 2021 – the City attended a pre-consultation meeting with the Applicant to determine the requirements for complete Applications to facilitate the Applicant’s proposed development on the Subject Property.

May 5, 2021 – a pre-consultation package that was provided to the Applicant which identified materials required to file for the Applications to be deemed complete.

June 9, 2021, and June 16, 2021 – public consultation meetings were held.

July 7, 2021 – Halton Council adopted ROPA 48, which introduces 96 amendments to the Halton OP including Strategic Growth Areas, such as UGCs, Major Transit Station Areas (“MTSA”), Regional Nodes and Employment Areas.

October 22, 2021, Developer files application which included the 29 materials, reports, and studies required.  These materials included a Planning and Urban Design Rationale Report, dated October 2021.

October 26, 2021, the Applicant submitted the fees required to be paid to the City in connection with the Applications.

The Urban Growth Centre was moved north – because of the date that decision was made and the date on which the application to redevelop the hotel site was submitted the future growth in the downtown core will not be the same.

November 10, 2021, the Minister approved ROPA 48 with eight (8) modifications, w On

November 10, 2021, the Minister approved ROPA 48 with eight modifications that included the relocation of the UGC from Downtown Burlington to the area centred around the Burlington GO Station which meant the hotel site would no longer be within an UGC or a MTSA..

Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing

The Minister’s Decision was final and not subject to appeal

November 23, 2021 Burlington staff delivered a report recommending that Council deem the Applications incomplete, since certain required information and materials identified in the pre-consultation package had not been provided to the City by the Applicant. These included: (i) a Phase Two Environmental Site Assessment; (ii) a Park Concept Plan; and (iii) an Angular Plane Study.

November 23, 2021 the City notified the Applicant in writing that the Applications had been deemed incomplete on the basis that not all of the information and materials required by the Planning Act and the Burlington OP had been submitted.

December 17, 2021 – The Applicant files the additional information and materials.

December 22, 2021 – Applicant filed a motion with the Tribunal seeking a determination by the Tribunal that the Applications, as filed on October 26, 2021, were made as of that date.

January 18, 2022 – Burlington Council at its meeting of January 18, 2022, deemed the Applications complete as of December 17, 2021

During the hearing Counsel for the City stated that the Applications did not meet the requirements as set out under the Planning Act, prior to the Minister’s approval of Amendment 48 (November 10, 2021). The City stated its position that the Applications, as required by the Planning Act and the Burlington OP were only “made” once all materials been submitted.

The Planning Act and deems that an application is only “made” once it is complete.

City Counsel outlined that this information and material can include, without limitation, the reports, studies and other documents listed in the Burlington OP.

The City submitted that “received” and “made” are different words and that it is impossible for an application to be “made” before it is “received” by a Municipality. The City stated an applicant cannot “make” an application until the Municipality “receives” the materials in support of the application.

It was the City’s position that the Minister’s Decision, made on November 10th, expressly provides that an Official Plan Amendment application is not “received” until all of the information and materials required to be provided to the Municipality are, provided.

Counsel emphasized that the additional information and materials outstanding were provided to Burlington Council through a Planning Report at its meeting of January 18, 2022.
In its decision the Tribunal said: Having been provided a very thorough chronology of the submissions by both the Applicant and the City, the Tribunal prefers the position of the City and in doing so, grants the Motion.

THE TRIBUNAL ORDERS that the Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-law Amendment applications filed with the City of Burlington by the Applicant Burlington 2020 Lakeshore Inc. with respect to its lands at 2020 Lakeshore Road are hereby deemed to have been made on December 17, 2021, subsequent to the decision dated November 10, 2021, of the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing approving and modifying the Region of Halton Official Plan.

That was it. To proceed with the development Vrancorp would have to file a new application.

Expect the Tribunal decision to be appealed – in the meantime nothing gets built – no shovels in the ground.

But maybe an opportunity to take a deeper look into just how Waterfront Hotel site can best be developed to keep everyone happy.

Related news stories:

Are there other options?

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The evolution of a piece of land on the south side of Lakeshore Road.

News 100 redMarch 8, 2016

By Pepper Parr


We knew it as the location of the Riviera.

The Riviera Motor Court began operations in 1963. The two level, 32-room motel offered guests a beautiful view of Lake Ontario along the back portion of the motel.

The earliest information for a manager was a Mr. William Dikeman. In 1984 the motel was bought by Mr. John Lee who incorporated it as 558644 Ontario Limited.

Riviera from front

The Riviera on the Lake – lots of stories.

The last managers to operate the business were Peter and Yolanda Piekarski. Annual profits were in the area of $242,000.

Riviera balcony west side

The balconies at the rear of the motel made the room rate worth every dime.

There was nothing exceptional about the motel – it was the view of the lake from the units at the back of the building.

The 0.7-hectare, block-long property between Elizabeth and Pearl streets just east of Brant was assembled over time. The Lakeshore Road portion was part of a land swap that had the city giving some land in exchange for a shoreline walkway at the edge of the lake which has been in place for a number of years.

Sales office Bridgewater

When you reach the 70% plus level in sales you don’t need a fancy demonstration site – it had to make room for the construction equipment.

In 2006, Burlington city council approved plans for a new construction project on the property. The project, now known as Bridgewater, has been delayed over the years due to economic factors as well as difficulty in obtaining a developer and hotel partner.

Bridgewater - sales office gone BEST

Construction workers stripping away what is left of the sales office for the Btidgewater project on Lakeshore Road.

Bridgewater was to have a 7-storey hotel at street level, that got increased to eight storeys; a 7-storey condo behind the hotel and to the west of both buildings, a 22-storey condo. The condo would obscure the view of Lake Ontario for those living in the condos on the opposite side of Lakeshore. The new buildings would feature a central courtyard open to the public that would lead to the walkway along the water.

The property is owned by Mayrose Tycon who, since 1994, were focused on finding a developer to undertake the construction and to take over the property.
Mady Development Corporation was named but they were taken off the site due to a tricky clause in their agreement with Mayrose Tycon.


The motel is long gone but the walkway that will eventually run from this point all the way to the canal was built a number of years ago as part of a land swap with the city.

The project was “in the works” for the longest time; Conservation Halton had informed Mayrose that if development did not occur on the property by the end of 2012 they would lose between 15 to 20 feet of shoreline property under a new Ontario Regulation.

That got things moving – Mayrose had to get an extension from the Conservation people but that didn’t immediately result in shovels in the ground. It wasn’t until New Horizons was invited to develop the site that one got the sense that this was really going to happen.

Jeff Paikin, known for quality work with a number of solid projects under his belt.

Paikin had bought a unit in the project and was later invited to do the development.

It has been nothing but solid progress since then. Sales of the project are reported to have passed the 70% point. There will a planned 150 units in the two condominium towers.

Bridgewater - consruction equipment - 12 pieces

A collection of 12 pieces of heavy duty construction equipment are on the site – they give a whole new meaning to “shovels in the ground”

Paikin’s partner Joe Giacomodonato handles the actual construction work.

At one point the hotel was going to be open for the Pan Am Games in 2015.

As for the Riviera the writing was on the wall in 2010. They began offering rooms on a monthly basis only. The Region of Burlington paid Riviera to house the city’s homeless people and immigrants.

In April of 2012 the municipal building code department and fire department served a notice on the owners that they needed to bring the building up to code or close it down.

The owners decided to close the building which was boarded up.

On August 18, 2012, the building came one step closer to demolition when a fire broke out in the hotel, caused by arson.

The 2015 Pan Am date came and went; the designated developer of the site changed but the project had just too much value built into it to not go forward.

Three structure project has been the "in the works" since 1985 when developers were given the right to build a 22 storey plus building on the property where the Riviera Waterfront Motel used to exist.

Three structure project has been the “in the works” since the early 1990’s when developers were given the right to build a 22 storey plus building on the property where the Riviera Waterfront Motel used to exist.

Last week the sleek sales office met its turn with the wrecking ball. The south side of Lakeshore Road lost its parking meters and traffic is being restricted for a couple of weeks while large concrete pipes get buried. What was the Riviera is now the construction site for an upscale condominium that will consist of a seven story and a twenty two story structure attached to each other by a four level underground garage.

The site will include a four star Mariott hotel – the opening date is still pencilled in as 2018 – those things tend to be pretty loose until construction is well under way.

The four floors down garage work will get started soon; the grade of Elizabeth will change and slowly but surely the Bridgewater will rise out of the ground and reach 22 storeys into the sky.

The 22 storey structire that is due to be built on the waters edge will forever change the look of the city. For the better?

An architectural rendering of an aerial view of the Bridgewater project from the lake side.

The view from the top floor be something to experience.

Paikin, who is a marketer at heart will tell anyone who is within earshot that : “The design is so fantastic and the location is probably the No. 1 location in all of Ontario, if not Canada, as a place to live.”

He might be right.

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With two integrity complaints against the Premier on the go the Commissioner has put one on abeyance until he gets the other one completed

By Pepper Parr

March 17th, 2023



Marit Stiles Leader of the Opposition

The complaints sent to the provincial Integrity Commissioner by Marit Stiles Leader of the Opposition (there are two of them) are keeping the Commissioner busy. So much so that he has decided to put one in abeyance while he works on the other.

J. David Wake , the Integrity Commissioner said he is not prepared to dismiss Stiles’ second complaint “since there is an overlap to some extent with the issue being determined in her first request. Therefore I am placing it in abeyance until I have completed the investigation on the first.”

The second complaint was related to donations that were made to the “stag and doe” event for the Premier’s daughter.

The first complaint is related to the land swaps that were made in the Greenbelt area where there was a concern that developers were made aware of government plans before they were public.

Premier with Steve Clarke, Minister of Municipal Affairs in the Legislature.

In a newspaper report Wake said he has requested documents from government and non-government sources and is reviewing the material gathered so far. His final report will be made public, he said.

As long as the work being done isn’t dragged out for months the public interest will be met.

As for the first complaint the Integrity Commissioner has already said that “the gift rule … is very specific. It applies only to the member who receives the gift. It does not apply to gifts received from third parties to an adult child of the member or her spouse. Even the definition of ‘family’ in the act is restricted to the member, the member’s spouse and minor children.”

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Evidence is beginning to pile up - at some point the public will want to know what came of the complaints

By Pepper Parr

February 11th, 2023



It didn’t tale the new leader of the new Democrats in Ontario to make a mark on the politics of the province.

Marit Stiles will take her seat at Queen’s Park on February 21st, and serve and serve as the Leader of the Opposition.

The day she was confirmed as the leader of the party she was out on the streets of Hamilton doing some door to door campaigning.

The next day she released a statement reporting new revelations about Doug Ford’s relationships with Greenbelt developers.

The Toronto Star reported that:

Developers whose lands stand to benefit from recent provincial government decisions attended the premier’s daughter’s wedding — with some sitting at Premier Doug Ford’s table.

Sitting with Ford at Table 10, according to a picture of the reception’s seating plan, was Mario Cortellucci, whose family’s companies’ have benefitted from at least four minister’s zoning orders that fast-track development since Ford’s Progressive Conservatives came into power.

Also invited to the September wedding, according to the seating chart, was Shakir Rehmatullah — one of the developers who stands to benefit from the Ford government’s Greenbelt land swap. In November, a 102-acre parcel of Markham land he owns through his company Flato Upper Markham Village Inc. was removed from the Greenbelt to be developed.

On February 21st, the Legislature will reconvene and Stiles will take her seat and serve the public as Leader of the Opposition.  The first couple of hours will give an indication as to what kind of leader she is going to be.  Doug Ford’s political life might begin to change.  Going to be worth watching.

Marit Stiles, Leader of the Ontario NDP, put out the following response:

“There’s mounting evidence that Ford’s cozy relationship with developers has crossed the line.

“These developers include the very people who directly benefited from the Ford government’s decision to carve up the Greenbelt and other special favours – what exactly were they talking about at that table?

“I will be immediately pursuing all options to get to the bottom of what exactly happened here. That includes submitting a further complaint with the Integrity Commissioner and ensuring all the facts that have now come to light are being considered.

“Ontarians deserve not just answers about Ford’s conduct, but a government with integrity that always puts their interests first. I am committed to making sure that they get both.”

The tally of complaints is beginning to pile up:

A complaint to Bonnie Lysyk, the Auditor General of Ontario

Two complaints to the Integrity Commissioner

And questions being asked by the OPP Rackets squad.

Related news story:

Several investigations are taking place.

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A deal has been done for the purchase of the Bateman High Site - now the questions

By Pepper Parr

November 2nd, 2022



So – there is a deal.

For reason that are not clear at this point the information was posted on the Get Involved portion of the city web site – where you could stumble upon it.

We will come back to that.

The city has signed a deal with the Halton District School Board to purchase the Bateman High School site.

The Bateman site is now owned by the city. What will it be named?

The transaction with the HDSB would see the City transfer ownership of approximately five acres of City owned land to the HDSB as a component of a land exchange for the Robert Bateman site. The City owned land in question is located near Central High School and includes the high school football field and running track.

The City has completed a purchase agreement and land exchange transaction with the Halton District School Board (HDSB) involving the Robert Bateman High School property. In the agreement, the City purchased the Bateman property for $29.6 million, while the HDSB purchased a City owned property near Burlington Central High School, which includes the high school football field and running track, for $21.7 million. The difference in price of $7.9 million will be debt financed, with annual debt payments recovered from the City’s capital reserve funds.

Both leases at Bateman are expected to be long term leases not to exceed 25 years.

This acquisition would push forward key objectives laid out in the City of Burlington’s 25-year strategic plan. Key pillars of this Plan include making Burlington a City that grows through attracting talent, good jobs and economic opportunity to the community.

Within the Bateman space, the HDSB will retain a long-term interest at the school to accommodate the Gary Allan Learning Centre. And as previously announced, Brock University will offer their Teachers Education and Applied Disabilities Studies Programs and will be developing professional and continuing studies specifically to the needs of Burlington.

In addition to the partnership with the HDSB and Brock University, the City has partnered with other institutions, ensuring that there is an adaptive reuse strategy for the Bateman site and to create a sustainable community hub which will include community rooms, a triple gym and the existing City pool.

The Burlington Public Library will relocate its Appleby Line branch to this location to develop a place for learning and education.

TechPlace will be located to the site.

How far beyond the concept has the thinking gone?

The city is now looking for residents’ feedback on a proposed land transaction with the Halton District School Board (HDSB) and leasing arrangements with the HDSB and Brock University for the City’s planned acquisition of the Robert Bateman High School building and property.

Public engagement will take place in early 2023 to seek community feedback on possible uses for the remaining space.

Feedback will also be sought on securing leases with the HDSB and Brock University for portions of the Bateman Site. The HDSB intends on leasing space back at Bateman for educational purposes. Brock University also seeks to lease space at Bateman for their long-term educational needs.

The Halton District School Board said in a media release that:  “Securing the lands near Central High School in HDSB ownership has been consistent with the HDSB’s long term intention to continue operating Central as a school. This land exchange component will advance the City’s efforts to secure the Robert Bateman site in continued public ownership, ensuring that the Robert Bateman site is available for continued educational and community-oriented us

Back to the way the information was released to the public.  Normally the city issues a media release and within hours the Mayor has a Statement lauding the decision that was made.

Recall that the decision to purchase the site was to be made public on September 30th.  Why the delay to today?  Because it might become an election issue?

There are some questions:

How much of the gymnasiums and the swimming pool time will be made available to the Brock University students?

Are the sports/recreational facilities going to be operated by the Parks, Recreation and Culture department?

Where did the $50 million price tag that Councillor Stolte revealed come from?  The media release states that the difference after the land swaps is $7.9 million.   Did Stolte just make up the $50 million number.  Highly unlikely.

Which of the city’s capital reserve funds is going to be raided to get the $7.9 million.  All we know is that taxpayers will replace the money.

And why was the news announced on the Get Involved portion of the city web site.

Now that the properties have changed hands – when do the renovations start – will the work be done in time to get the  Brock University students in classrooms on the planned schedule.  And by the way – what is that schedule?

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A Gazette reader has a question for you on the Bateman High School site that the city is in the process of purchasing

By Jeremy Skinner

June 5th, 2022



Much has been mentioned in the Gazette about the Bateman opportunity that is before us. I ask that each person who has contributed a comment thus far and are interested in the issue to respond by way of a comment to this article with your answers to the following two questions.

Question 1:
Do you believe that the City should acquire the Bateman property via a land swap which would enable the HDSB to acquire Wellington Park as part of their Burlington Central site?

If not, do you acknowledge the fact that the HDSB will likely be forced to sell the Bateman property to private as opposed to public interests? Note: Public access to Centennial Pool may be lost because it is owned by HDSB and operated by the City.

A lot of land and a lot of public interest.

Question 2:
(Answer only if yes to question 1. ) What do you believe that the Bateman property along with or without existing 220,000 sq. ft. 2 storey building should be used for?

Consider the fact that the City has received multiple offers from potential tenants seeking long term leases to reside in Bateman. These include:

– Brock University who wishes to relocate their Faculty of Education from Hamilton;
– HDSB who wishes to relocate their Burlington Gary Allan Learning Centre from 3250 New St.;
– Burlington Public Library Appleby Branch who wishes to relocate from Appleby Square Plaza (which will soon undergo redevelopment).
– TechPlace who wishes to establish presence in the East Burlington business community; and
– a City Community Centre complete with gym and pool facilities.

The long term leases from these tenants will cover most, if not all, of the one-time costs required to enable necessary maintenance upgrades required to host these tenants. Think of the financing to that of seeking a mortgage to repair an existing owned house which has a long term revenue stream from multiple tenants.

So is the Bateman situation a mountain or a molehill? Share your answers to the two questions above by adding a comment to this article.

When Jeremy Skinner sent this in we weren’t sure if it was a good idea – then thought that it might be a good idea to let the readers ask the questions and see how other readers respond.

Take it as one of our engagement initiatives.  We will work with what comes in and send it along to Council members.

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Lot of yappity yap over just where things are with the Bateman high school property purchase.

By Pepper Parr

May 20th, 2022



There is just something not quite right about the sale and purchase of the Bateman High School property.

It is monumentally expensive.

It brought about the sanctioning of a council member based on a complaint by two other Council members.

Councillor Stolte was docked five days’ pay for talking publicly about something that was discussed in a CLOSED session of Council – a no no in the municipal world.

Councillors Nisan and Galbraith filed a complaint to the Integrity Commissioner.  The issue was related to comments about the sale of the Bateman high school property n property.

Then there is an announcement that there will be a land swap – the city would sell the sports field to the west of Central High school to the Halton District School Board – the proceeds of that sale would go towards paying for the Bateman property owned by the public Board of Education.

A Gazette reader sent us a couple of tweets that were sent yesterday.

Here we have Lynne Crosby talking to someone with concerns and questions.. Civil enough

But then the following appears.

Were these meant to be assuring words?

Is Councillor Sharman offside on this?  He isn’t just a citizen with an opinion – he is a councillor with all kinds of inside information that a lot of people would like to hear him expand on.

Our faithful reader said: “My take is that the city has too much invested in this already to walk away. Look how they spent dollar after dollar for the pier to nowhere with no accessibility to the upper area for those who cannot walk up the stairs.

“Residents will never know the true cost of the Bateman project.

“Someone suggested to me that one of the reasons why so few people are entering the Municipal race is because they don’t want to have to work with our current Mayor, and presently no one is really challenging her.”

The social media types and their networks are going crazy over the Bateman high school and Central High school sports field matter.  Amidst all this there is chatter over it all being a done deal

Don’t think it is a done deal and there might be a chance that it will fall apart.



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Waterfront study and the development application - no recent news on either.

By Pepper Parr

March 12th, 2022



The deadline for responses to the survey put out after the Waterfront Study virtual meeting that took place on February 22nd, was March 1st the last date they would be accepted.

There are two things taking place with the area outlined in blue. The oldest activity is a study of the area outlined in blue which the city says has been ongoing since 2018 – it actually started way back in 2015 when the city had a Staff member doing some work on what would be possible and fit in with the Promenade and Spencer Smith Park when the owners of the Waterfront Hotel decided they were ready to redevelop the property. The area within the red boundary is the property owned by Darko Vranich . In August of 2021 he began the process of providing the City Planning department the information it would need to prepare a report for City Council which would decide to Approve the development, Not approve the development or approve a development with required changes. hotel site was ready. The report from the Planning department has to be before City Council and approved no later than April 17th of 2022

It was a very short survey; two questions – what did you think and where do you live.

The X’s mark the land the city would take as permitted park land allowance.

Shouldn’t have taken all that long to sift through the responses, pass them along to the consultants overseeing the study and share both the results of the survey and whatever the next step was going to be.

There was some interesting news shared during the DATE meeting – the most significant being that the city planned on taking a 20 metre wide piece of land from the west side of the site. The width would run from Lakeshore Road to the southern and of  the the property line.

There doesn’t appear to be any sense of urgency about a study that is intended to “inform” the long term development that will take place.  Wouldn’t the Hotel site development application, if approved, set the pattern for any development in the immediate area.  No?


Related news stories:

A time line that didn’t work for the citizens.

What about a land swap

The Statutory meeting

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Plan B fears the city might have missed the boat on keeping view to Spencer Smith Park as part of the public domain

By Don Fletcher

January 13th, 2022


An earlier version of this article included illustration that were out-dated.  The illustrations have been revised.

We are pleased to learn from this update that Phase 4 of this study has restarted, and to understand somewhat why the study was placed on hold in mid-2018. Given that we’ve suffered through a pandemic over the last few years, it’s understandable why it wasn’t resumed earlier.

A study on the best way to develop this area began in 2015.

The delay in completing the Waterfront Hotel Planning Study as originally planned is still potentially problematic. In Section 3.3 of Bousfields’ Planning & Urban Design Rationale that was part of the Burlington 2020 Lakeshore Inc.’s development application submitted on October 26th, 2021, their rationale for requesting the removal of Policy of the in-force Burlington OP, as amended, was that this study had an “indeterminate deadline” with a further characterization that it “has never been completed, indefinitely sterilizes the subject site from redevelopment and from achieving its highest and best use potential”. It is not clear to us whether the property owner ultimately plans to ignore the guidance of the Waterfront Hotel Planning Study, but it is clear that completing it on a highly accelerated basis must be a top priority.

Citizens’ PLAN B remains committed to the extension of Spencer Smith Park and the enhancement of the Brant Street gateway to Lake Ontario, through the application of the ‘Thin Red Line’ design principle related to the Waterfront Hotel Redevelopment. Yes, we understand the changing context of the NE corner of Brant Street & Lakeshore Road with respect to the origins of the ‘Thin Red Line’, but it still has great utility in its’ application to achieve what most residents want in the redevelopment of the Waterfront Hotel property and remains a simple concept that resonates with everyone.

A citizens group – Plan B – introduced the concept of a thin red line. Will it be enough and will it ever be adhered to?

We understand that City staff with support of project consultant, The Planning Partnership, will resume the work plan where it left off in 2018. This update references Section 3 of Report PB-23-18, which contains 16 key policy directions, as one of those milestones that can be built upon.

PLAN B fully supports PB-23-18.

Application of the ‘Thin Red Line’ will help fulfill Public Realm policy directions 5a, 7, 8 and 9, which in our opinion are not achieved in the current development application.

One deliverable that was not mentioned in this report but should also serve to expedite completion of the project is Emerging Preferred Concept #3. I have attached a Planning Partnership Jan/ Feb 2018 Overview/ Snapshot of its’ evolution for your reference, with some of the rationale for selecting EPC #3 noted there re-iterated below:

Achieves the Urban Design objectives for the Downtown

Achieves a Floor Area Ratio (FAR) that balances the base permissions of 5.0 with the Developer’s Current Concept of 7.5 FAR

Buildings located east of the ‘Thin Red Line’, representing the view corridor south of Lakeshore Road, proposed by the Downtown Mobility Hub Study.  A new significant open space defined by the ‘Thin Red Line’ located on the west portion of the property, contiguous with the waterfront park

Buildings that provide a clear landmark visible from the park, Brant Street, John Street, Lakeshore Road & Lake Ontario

A potential development yield that is viable and provides some incentives for redevelopment.

Panel 1 is what the developer originally proposed, panel 2 is what is permitted on the site, panel 3 is one of the alternatives that didn’t include any resident input panel 4 is the last iteration of concepts being considered in the planning study.

This was the last iteration of conceptual designs that we were party to, and while we fundamentally supported it, we through Ramsay Planning Inc. submitted a few minor improvement suggestions. We are unaware of Vrancor’s feedback.

We acknowledge and respect the current property owner’s right to profit from his investment, and that this will necessitate a “reasonable” amount of massing and building height. We also believe passionately that the impact of this development will be felt by many future generations of Burlington residents & visitors, and collectively we must get it right. Citizens’ PLAN B is completely open to work with all stakeholders to help make this a “win-win” scenario.

Follow Plan B at:

Related news stories:

What about a land swap?

Plan B has been pressing city council for years

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With the horses out of the barn why does Council want to talk about ideas for a different barn design?

By Pepper Parr

January 10th, 2020


Council is going to hear a report this week on the The Waterfront Hotel Planning Study that was undertaken to comprehensively plan the  waterfront site at 2020 Lakeshore Road and guide the landowner in its redevelopment.

Given that the site has been referred to as Ground Zero for Burlington an in-depth study made a lot of sense.

The Waterfront Hotel Planning Study will inform an implementing Official Plan Amendment. Once approved, that amendment will form part of the City’s Official Plan and provide a strategic framework to guide the redevelopment of the subject property.

Notice the space between the southern part of the dotted red line and the edge of the lake. Who owns that property? Is it part of the hotel land or is it controlled by Conservation Halton? That’s an important question.

The Study began in early 2017 and included three public meetings/community workshops (a total of six sessions) and two community surveys. In November 2017, an update on the status and progress of the study was presented to Council at the Planning and Development Committee Meeting. This community and stakeholder engagement phase first explored eight design ideas, which were then refined to three preliminary design concepts, and then two emerging concepts.

As a result of additional community and stakeholder input in early 2018, a staff report was brought to the Planning and Development Committee in June 2018. At that time, a set of key policy directions to guide the development of a final concept were endorsed by City Council. These key policy directions were organized around the design principles of Land Use and Built Form, Public Realm, and Mobility and Access.

In mid-2018 the Study was placed on hold due to other various priorities in the Community Planning Department such as the New Official Plan process and for staff to re-visit the Study workplan while considering the set of key policy directions endorsed by Council in June 2018.

While all the futzing and putzing was going on the developer beavered away at doing the design work and taking part in a pre-consultation meeting required to submit a development application.

The design is world class – the architects have made excellent use of the different views that will be available.

That application was submitted, but deemed to be incomplete by the planning department.

So what is the point of returning to the Study – the developer has wind in his sails and is on his way.

The Staff report makes mention of “height not to exceed three (3) storeys within 20 metres of Brant Street and Lakeshore Road and eleven (11) storeys adjacent to John Street and beyond 20 metres of Brant Street and Lakeshore Road” while the developer presents a plan for two towers that are very close to the southern edge of Lakeshore Road and soar 35 storeys high.  The second tower is just 30 stories high.  Both sit on a five storey podium.

The design of the buildings is superb, these are very smart looking buildings that would be a delight to live in.  The plan puts them in the wrong place. One wag described the development as “out of proportion; out of place and should be outa here”

The northern edge of the site is very close to the edge of Lakeshore Road. The five storey podium will loom over the street – with no view to the lake. The entrance to the east end of Spencer Smith Park will be through an opening in the podium.

The surrounding context of the Waterfront Hotel Planning Study Area including changes to the northeast corner made through the scoped re-examination of the New Official Plan Project, will be considered in the development of the preferred concept for the Subject Property.

This will also include a review of the key policy directions endorsed by Council in June 2018, including the amended key policy direction #8 which was modified by Council to include the following language in bold text:

Enhance the Brant Street view corridor to frame views to the Brant Street Pier, and require a significant building setback from the west property line and define and consider a building setback from the thin red line and maximize the new and enhanced publicly accessible green/open space.

That “thin red line” concept came from the Plan B, a group of citizens that believe something much better can be done with the hotel site.

It was a solid idea but the city planners found a way to get rid of the idea.

At the January 23, 2018 Planning and Development Committee a council motion was carried to modify the block shown at the northeast corner of Brant Street and Lakeshore Road located in the proposed Cannery Precinct (22-storeys) to the Downtown Core Precinct with a maximum building height of 17-storeys including community benefits.

As a result of Council’s modification, the basis for the expanded public realm at the corner and enhanced setback limit was eliminated.

On April 26, 2018 City Council adopted a new Burlington Official Plan. On December 4, 2018, the Region of Halton issued a Notice of Non-Conformity to the City, which had the effect of extending the Region’s review process until such time as the Region determined that the non-conformity was rectified. While collaborating extensively with Regional staff on the issues of non-conformity the City undertook the scoped re-examination of the adopted Official Plan. This process took place while the Waterfront Hotel Planning Study was on hold.

Through the scoped re-examination of the New Official Plan Project in 2019-2020, the adopted Official Plan policies for the Downtown were studied. As part of that work the north-east corner of Brant Street and Lakeshore Road was revisited and was included within the Brant Main Street Precinct. The purpose of this precinct was to serve as a unique retail destination within the Downtown and city-wide.

The precinct provides a wide range of policies to guide development within the precinct. Specifically, related to built form, this precinct requires height not to exceed three (3) storeys within 20 metres of Brant Street and Lakeshore Road and eleven (11) storeys adjacent to John Street and beyond 20 metres of Brant Street and Lakeshore Road. In November 2020 the Region of Halton approved Burlington’s New Official Plan, which is currently under appeal.

The Subject Property was not included in the scoped re-examination of the New Official Plan Project and the new Official Plan did not change the existing land use designation and permitted building height for the Waterfront Hotel property located at 2020 Lakeshore Road.

Former city Councillor John Taylor in discussion with Linda Davies and Dee Dee Davies during one of the six public sessions that were held shortly after this Council was elected.  The Gazette was asked to leave the room, at the instructions of the Mayor, when the conversation between the stakeholders was taking place.

Next Steps
With the re-examination of the New Official Plan (Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown) Project completed, approval of the new Official Plan (under appeal), as well as the Minster of Municipal Affairs and Housing’s approval, with modifications, of the Regional Official Plan Amendment 48 it is the appropriate time to resume the Waterfront Hotel Planning Study.

City staff with support from the project consultant, The Planning Partnership, the group that is leading the consultation process will resume the workplan where it left off in 2018 to complete the study. The work is anticipated to take 16-17 weeks and will be completed within the original project budget. The resumption of the study will build upon and advance the previous work and community input to-date to develop a final preferred concept.

There is a much better solution on what can be done with the hotel site.

A small group is working at building public support for a different look at the waterfront hotel site that includes possible land swaps and building a new city hall on the property; something that would be four or five storeys high and include a purpose built Art Gallery.

Burlington can do better than the application before the Planning department.   There are limits on what developers should be able to do.

This is a story that is going to be around for some time.  It is your city.

Related news stories:

More on Plan B

Some ideas on what is possible

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Suddenly a development that is very controversial files an application to proceed and no one tells the public

By Pepper Parr

November 23rd, 2021



What is it this time you might ask?

Same old.

Developers doing what they seem to feel they have to do.

The one the Gazette has been watching is what we are calling the two Towers that Darko Vranich wants to put in the space now occupied by the Waterfront Hotel.

Developer filed their application on October 26th – no one told the people who are opposed to any additional high towers along Lakeshore Road.

The understanding we had was that the company, Lakeshore 2020, had yet to file a development application.

Not a bright future for an old hotel – what replaces it is the big question.

Not true – Lakeshore 2020 apparently filed an application on October 26th and at a meeting of City Council this afternoon the city planners are going to advise the Councillors that they do not want to accept the application because they believe it is not complete.

What we would like to know is – why does the public not get to learn the moment that an application had been filed.

One source has advised that the city planning department had 30 days to keep the application to themselves until they had assured themselves that it was complete. WE are not sure that is correct.

Not that it matters all that much at this point – what is really disturbing is the way members of council go mute and do not make any effort to inform the people.

Related news stories:

Plan B – worth more than a close look

Try a land swap and put city hall and the art gallery on the waterfront

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What happened to the Waterfront Hotel study that got mentioned in 2005 ? It doesn't seem to have a timeline - however, the owner of the hotel site has a timeline

By Pepper Parr

October 26th, 2021



This is one of those chicken and egg situations – which came first ?

We’d like to revise that just a little bit and ask – which should come first?

The public was recently treated to a pre-application presentation by Bousfields, the planning consultants hired by Vrancorp to re-develop the Waterfront Hotel site.

The twin towers would change more than the skyline of the city.

The designs that were made public were stunning – but much of the public reaction was less than enthusiastic – what stunned them was the idea of putting two towers on Lakeshore Road, one that would be the highest in the city.

Nice buildings but not in Spencer Smith Park, was the predominant comment.

The two towers were proposed for what the planners called the iconic ground zero location – the intersection of Brant and Lakeshore Road where a 35 storey and a 30 story tower were to replace the nine storey hotel.

The site has been the focus point for a lot of planning – some of it going back more than a decade.

An agreement had been put in place to have a study done on how best to develop the hotel site and have it compliment Spencer Smith Park and the Promenade.

The area to be covered in the Waterfront Study that started back in 2005. At this point there isn’t a completion date – there is a report that is scheduled to go to Council in 1Q of 2022

Vrancor, the corporation that owns the hotel, is reported to have put up the $150,000 to have the study done. They are understandably upset. They paid for the study but the study was not completed. The city doesn’t have a planner assigned to the study – the most recent word is that the planning department will be getting something to council in 2022.
This may be one of those times when the horses are out of the barn and it’s too late to close the door.

In June 2018 Council went along with a revised Work Plan for the study that was to be completed by Q1 of 2019, (This was before Meed Ward became Mayor.)

The re-thinking of what could be done with the site goes back to 2005 with a follow up report in 2006.

There was a subsequent site-specific policy requiring that a planning study process be completed prior to any redevelopment of the subject site.

Residents at a workshop setting out their ideas with planner Thomas Walker.

The 2018 report called for a high quality of urban design reflecting the landmark nature of this site, that “shall be contingent upon the completion of a master plan to the satisfaction of City Council.”

Public meeting to consider what the waterfront area should include.

In 2015 Council approved the terms of reference for the Waterfront Hotel Lands Planning Study.

In 2017 the Waterfront Hotel Planning Study was publicly launched, beginning with a pair of visioning workshops in May.

In November of 2018 the site’s significance was affirmed at the Planning and Development Committee meeting, evidenced by a number of delegations that presented a varied set of interests and development concepts.

A series of drawings that got whittled down to two Preferred Concept – and that as far as the study of the Waterfront Hotel site has gone.

At this point, 2018, the public had a series of drawings that resulted in two preferred concepts for development.

A group known as Plan B inserted itself into the process with their position that a thin red line be drawn beyond which there would be no development west of the hotel site.

Despite extensive engagement opportunities, a clear consensus on direction had not yet been achieved. Staff then built upon the consultation work done through three community workshops (a total of six sessions); what came out of the Planning and Development Committee held on November 28, 2017, and significant contributions from the Vrancor Group and the Plan B Citizen Group; they created key policy directions to move forward.

The key policy directions were intended to align with the vision statement, accommodate an iconic landmark building, and reinforce the site’s unique location as a major gateway to the waterfront.

One of two renderings of what the site might look like. The entrance to the development would be from John Street not Brant


Early concept didn’t have the height that was shown in the pre-application presentation.

The key policy directions have been organized around the study’s three frameworks and guiding design principles of Land Use and Built Form, Public Realm, and Mobility and Access, as follows:  Land use and built form and Public Realm are important and it is vital that everyone share the same understanding as to just what this means.

Land Use and Built Form
1) Create building frontages along Lakeshore Road and Elizabeth Street with building placement that establishes a defining street wall and frames the street zone.
2) Provide active uses at grade along Lakeshore Road and Elizabeth Street.
3) Achieve active and animated edges adjacent to Spencer Smith Park, with a requirement for retail and service commercial uses at grade:
a. Built form next to the south property line shall activate and animate this edge, respect the existing grade, and be scaled to the waterfront trail with higher levels stepping back as necessary.
b. Built form next to the west property line shall activate and animate this edge, respect the existing grade, and be scaled to Spencer Smith Park with higher levels stepping back as necessary.
4) Require a minimum of two uses within buildings and where feasible, encourage three uses.
5) Establish an iconic landmark building on the site subject to the following:

a. A new public, pedestrian space is provided at the foot of Brant Street where public views to the Lake and Pier are enhanced;
b. The iconic landmark building must contain a destination use or function;
c. The iconic landmark building shall enhance the City of Burlington’s image/identity.
6) Require design excellence in all matters of architecture, landscape architecture, sustainable and urban design and require that all public and private development proposals on or adjacent to the site be evaluated/reviewed by the Burlington Urban Design Advisory Panel.

An unobstructed view of the Pier from Brant Street was objective number 1 for almost everyone.

Public Realm
7) Protect public view corridors to Lake Ontario from Brant and Elizabeth Streets, and where possible John Street.
8) Enhance the Brant Street view corridor to frame views to the Brant Street Pier, and require a significant building setback from the west property line.
9) Create new and enhanced publicly accessible green/open space, which would include new north-south pedestrian connections between Lakeshore Road and Spencer Smith Park (mid-block and along the site’s edges).
10) Minimize changes to the existing grade along the southern edge of the site and enhance the interface with Spencer Smith Park.
11) Integrate a public washroom within the future redevelopment; with an entrance that is accessible, highly visible and within close proximity to Spencer Smith Park.
12) Identify opportunities for the placement of public art on and adjacent to the site.
Staff was to continue with background work and in early 2019, re-start the process with a refreshed look and feel building on the above policy directions. This will include a revised work plan and new public engagement plan which leverages the city’s newest communication and engagement software and tools.

Changes to the existing land use designation and permitted building height are not included in the new Official Plan – as it was in the then current Official Plan – not the one that the new Council adopted in 2019.

The process would involve a site-specific amendment to the Official Plan at such time as the study is completed by the City and approved by City Council.

What muddies up a clear understanding was the existence then of a downtown mobility hub, that problem was resolved; then a change in the Urban Growth Centre boundary.

The ICBL – Interim Control By Law was imposed and then the world was hit with a pandemic brought about by the Covid19 virus.

We are now at the point where a sense or normality seems to be returning.

Add to that a frenetic increase in the development applications that required the city to hire more than a dozen new planners.
Then along comes the planner for the hotel site owner saying they were tired of waiting and did a pre-application presentation that shocked many.

That pre-application is the beginning of a process that has a ticking clock.

The towers are closer than many realize – closer to the street than the hotel on the site.

So back to that first question:  which should come first – the completion of the Waterfront Study or the accepting of a development application.

There is an important connection between this Waterfront Study and the City’s new Official Plan, the Downtown Mobility Hub Area Specific Plan, the City’s Transportation Plan, Cycling Master Plan, Community Trails Strategy, the Transit Plan and the Tall Building and Downtown Streetscape Guidelines, all of which are necessary to ensure that redevelopment of the subject property meets the City’s urban design and growth management goals, as well as enhances the adjacent public space and waterfront.

People began asking – what about the Waterfront Hotel Study and wondering how a pre-application presentation could be done before the study was complete.

There is a lot riding on what is to be built on the hotel site; people are getting anxious.

Will the downtown core begin to look like the Toronto waterfront where a lot of the land south of the Gardner Expressway is studded with towers that limit the view of Lake Ontario?

Not much is being heard from the politicians – they have taken the view that they can’t say much at this point without being accused of being biased.

The point at which they feel they can comment is when planning staff produce their report that either recommends that a development proceed, or that the development not proceed or that they should continue working with the developer.

The stickler at this point is this: the city has 120 days to produce their report to council – something that is close to impossible for a development of this size.

Once the 120 point has been met the developer has the right to go to the Ontario Land Tribunal to ask for permission to proceed with the development.

Burlington has not done very well at the tribunal level, partly many feel because of the direction that comes out of Burlington’s legal department.

With all those agencies commenting the project begins to create some momentum that it might not be possible to hold in check.

The Gazette has made the telling of this story a mission.

The people of Burlington are going to have to make it a mission to ensure that Council hears what they think and feel.

In the next 13 months we are going to go through a provincial election and a municipal election.  The strategy for those who care about where growth takes place and the kind of growth that takes place should be a mission as well.

Related news stories:

The pre-application presentation

Is there a different approach to how the site can be used?  A land swap perhaps?



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Ontario Municipal Board hearing on the Adi Development Group proposal to build 26 storeys at the Martha - Lakeshore Road intersection to begin on Wednesday. It might be a very short hearing.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 20th, 2017



Wednesday morning at 10:00 am the person chairing the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearing will call the meeting to order and the scheduled 10 day hearing will begin.

Those attending might see some rabbits pulled out of a hat as the Adi development Group begin their argument that they should be given approval to build their now 26 storey condominium on the comer of Martha and Lakeshore Road.


In terms of design the proposed building i several grades above what Burlington has seen in the past the level o intensification and the location are what have citizens upset.

The last OMB level event was a request the ADI Development Group made to have their argument go to mediation.

There has not been a report from the OMB on how the mediation process went – did it even take place?

If it did was the mediation successful and if it was successful what did the mediator conclude?

The OMB meeting on Wednesday might be to have the OMB officer hearing the arguments decide to accept the recommendation from the mediator.

There hasn’t been a word from either the city or the OMB.

This mess, and that is the only fair word to apply to the 23 month saga that began at the end of March in 2015, when the city failed to make a decision on the application the Adi Group made to build what was originally a 28 storey stricture at the intersection.

The rules call for the city to respond to an application to either approve or not approve an application to revise the Official Plan within 180 days. These are often site specific revisions to the Official Plan.

The city got their lines crossed and was not able to give the developer an answer – the Adi group went to the OMB very shortly after the 180 day period ended.

The Adi Development Group had every right to do what they did even though the practice has been to allow some leeway. It was evident that Adi was quite prepared to bulldoze their way through the process.

ADI Nautique detailed sketch

The site for the planed condominium was enlarged when Adi did a property swap with the Carnacelli group. The block between Martha and Pearl is now owned by the two developers – if the Adi development is approved – watch for a second building the same height to go up in that block. Is there no limit to what the Burlington market can absorb in the way of new residential units?

Adi, perhaps realizing that they had a problem, did a land swap with another developer that had a small property to the north of the site making it larger – they reduced the height by two storeys as well.

The city had every right to ask the OMB to not hear the application because it was now a new and different proposal. The city chose to not force that argument. Had they done so Adi would have had to reapply for whatever they wanted from the city.

The city in essence gave Adi a pass.

It has been a badly managed file on the part of the city from almost the day the proposal was made public at a public meeting at the Art Gallery of Burlington.

Wednesday morning we will see what direction the OMB takes.  This one could go in almost any direction.

The city solicitor, the city manager, members of city council know if there is a recommendation from a mediator.

If there is – the plot thickens.

Two sources, both close to this story are suggesting that the city has gone along with a structure that will be 18 storeys in height.

Adi - Saud and Tarif

The Adi brothers.

A developer working in the same general area has said that in order to make a profit the Adi people need approval for eighteen storeys.

The Mayor has asked several people what they thought of a ten storey structure.

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward has stick to her guns and said that the Official Plan and zoning for that property allows eight storeys and that is what she wants to see approved.

The property along the north side of Lakeshore Road between Pearl and Martha is owned by two developers.

Should the OMB hearing decide that Adi is to be given the right to build 26 storeys expect to see some almost identical built on the western side of that block.


A 19 storey condominium plus a parking garage plus a medical building approved for this site. One block south and one block west the same developer is proposing a 26 storey tower opposite city hall.

Brant Street rendering

Partial view of a proposed development opposite city hall on Brant Street.

With the Carriage gate development now underway at Maria between Elizabeth and John Street going up 19 stories and another Carriage Gate development announced for James Street and Brant, opposite city hall the downtown core of Burlington will not resemble anything like the city many people seem to want – something quieter and small – and with less traffic.

Speaking of traffic – where do things stand on the road diet pilot study the city is struggling with on New Street between Guelph Line and Walkers Line?

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City gets told to put more money on the table if it wants to own LaSalle Park - and to find another Fire Chief as well.

News 100 redBy Staff

January 23rd, 2017



It was a tough week for city manager James Ridge: he lost his Fire Chief, one of the best the city has had in some time and he learned that Hamilton wasn’t going to sell him the land around LaSalle Park in the city’s west end.

For a number of historical reasons that defy simple explanation – Hamilton owns a chunk of land inside Burlington’s borders.

The city, Burlington has been trying to buy it back – they currently rent the land for $1 a year on a lease that end in 2022.

The waterfront park, just south of Plains Road, includes a marina, baseball diamonds, a splash pad, picnic areas, bocce courts and a pavilion operating as a banquet facility.

Despite painstaking efforts to end a long-standing oddity, Hamilton will be holding onto its green space in Burlington for years to come.

LaSalle Park - aerial

LaSalle Park – a 22 acre property inside city of Burlington borders and owned by the city of Hamilton who rent it to Burlington for $1 a year.

Following a closed-door meeting last week Hamilton Councillors voted 8-6 to reject transferring ownership of LaSalle Park to Burlington in exchange for a complicated cash and land swap.

Details of the proposal remain confidential, but, according to several Councillors, there simply wasn’t enough money on the table for such prime waterfront property.

Mayor Rick Goldring says he’s disappointed the “win-win” deal was rejected.  “I believe what we offered was very fair. This was really a negotiated proposal that came from their staff as well as our staff.”

Hamilton owns the 22-hectare (54 acre) Aldershot park on Burlington’s North Shore Boulevard for historical reasons, but since 1983 has leased it to Burlington, which maintains and operates it, for $1 a year.
The lease expires in 2022. Last year, both councils directed their city managers to come up with a proposal to permanently resolve the anomaly.

LaSalle Pacillion

Operated as a banquet hall and location for meetings the LaSalle Pavilion is popular.

A third party appraiser was jointly hired to assess the value of the land. Because the proposal was presented in camera, the details are not known but it’s believed Hamilton was offered a low-end six figure purchase price.
For reasons that remain unclear, the proposal also included a land swap with the Royal Botanical Gardens, whose lands straddle both cities.

For his part, Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger supported the deal as a “good neighbourly thing to do” based on market value.

“I thought it was fair and equitable, and I thought it was an opportunity to fix an historical anomaly that would create some value for everyone.”

Ridge and Chris Murray - city managers

Burlington city manager with Hamilton’s city manager Chris Murray at a Bay Area Economic Summit last year – they weren’t able to come to terms on a price for the LaSalle Park property which Hamilton owns.

Because Councillors also voted to take no further action, Eisenberger says the ball is in Burlington’s court if it wants to make another overture that might be more acceptable to the majority of Councillors.

Goldring says Burlington isn’t in any rush. “We’ve taken a shot at this. Our lease comes due in 2022. We have a pretty good deal right now. We lease the park for $1 a year so there wasn’t a whole bunch of sense of urgency to deal with this.”

Why does Hamilton own a piece of land inside Burlington’s borders? That goes back to when the Region of Halton was created. A Hamilton resident claims it was purchased in 1915 for $50,000 by Hamilton, the inflation adjusted value is $1,019,000 today.

The land cannot be developed into condos or apartments or housing – it is a park.

Burlington was originally to be part of Hamilton when regional governments were being set up. The province promised Hamilton the Aldershot community (including Hamilton’s RBG lands and LaSalle) if Hamilton would “shut up and go away” – accept regional government without Burlington. Instead, influenced by Burlington PC MPP G. Kerr, the governing PCs double-crossed Hamilton and instead included Aldershot with Burlington and making it part of the Halton Region.

Why does Hamilton own a piece of land inside Burlington’s borders? That goes back to when the Region of Halton was created A Hamilton resident believes it was purchased in 1915 for $50,000 by Hamilton, the inflation adjusted value is $1,019,000 today.

The land cannot be developed into condos or apartments or housing – it is a park.

Burlington was originally to be part of Hamilton when regional governments were being set up. 18

The Province promised Hamilton Aldershot (including Hamilton’s RBG lands and LaSalle) if Hamilton would “shut up and go away” (accept regional government without Burlington). Instead, influenced by Burlington PC MPP G. Kerr, the governing PCs double-crossed Hamilton and instead included Aldershot with Burlington (and Halton Region).

Tony Bavota - fire chief

Fire chief Tony Bavota quite and heads for a senior job with the Toronto Fire department.

As for the Fire Chief deciding there were better career goals for him in Toronto – we lost a good one. Tony Bavota tightened up operations at the Fire department and did the necessary work to ensure that Emergency measure matters were in the hands of the people who had had the experience needed to manage tough situations.

Bavota steps into his office in Toronto on February 6th.

getting new - yellow

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As much as three years of citizens complaints about construction disruption while the smartest development the city has seen in 25 years gets underway on Lakeshore Road.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 12, 2016


This isn’t the time of year for people to be out on the streets all that much – it’s still a little chilly.

For those who do venture to the edge of the lake and happen to wander east of the Waterfront hotel – they find themselves entering the early stages of a construction zone.
That lot that used to be home to the Riviera is now just mud with pieces of equipment scattered around the site.

Bridgewater - drill - bore hole

It could be taken for some kind o armament – but it is a drill that bores into the ground.

Fencing is in place and those “must wear a hard hat” signs are beginning to go up. Earlier in the week there was a tall – maybe three storey’s high – rig on the property. Bore holes were being drilled.

Bruno Kresina, the construction project manager, wasn’t on hand to explain what was going on.

The piece of land was home to the sales office – that was torn down a couple of weeks ago. The large six foot by six foot scale model of the Bridgewater project was put in storage – it will show up again when the new sales office is opened.

For a while the use of office space in the downtown core east of Brant was close to a game of musical chairs. Mayrose Tyco owners of the five storey tower on the north edge of the Elizabeth Street parking as well as the owners of the Bridgewater development, had rented space to the Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation. They were set up on the ground floor of the building while the parking lot at the Joseph Brant hospital underwent a massive re-development re-build that is costing the taxpayers $60 million – with the hospital foundation raising a second $60 million.

Bridgewater Aerial-rendering-1024x758

A drawing setting out where the different buildings will b situated and the open space for public access.

With the hospital foundation out of the space, Jeff Paikin and his New Horizons Development group can move their sales offices into the space. Not they need all that much of a sales office space – they are said to be past the 70% sold point – and that must be true because the bankers don’t release the cash until sales are at that magic 70% level.
And so now the construction begins.


This is what the south side of Lakeshore is going to look like sometime in 2018 – there will be public access to the lake in between the hotel on the right and the condominium of the left. It won’t be a very wide opening.

It’s a complex set up. The development was approved by city council in 1995 – it was to be a “legacy” project that had been in the minds of the Mayrose Tyco people before 1985. There were some land swaps that squared the assembled land – and a couple of close calls when Conservation Halton, who had grandfathered the development a long time ago but were beginning to get impatient.

Mayrose Tyco brought in the Mady Group to build what was to be a 22 storey condominium and a seven storey condominium plus a seven storey hotel that edged up to eight storeys.

The first hotel was to be a Delta – that got upgraded to a Marriott – which is some distance from the old Riviera motel.

Mady ran into financial problems – Mayrose Tyco took them off the building of the development and asked Paikin if he would take on the construction.
Paikin had already bought a unit in the seven story condominium – he was now going to build his new home.

Bridgewater - road alignment Apr 12-16

You are looking at what is going to be pretty close to the new street – sidewalk alignment on the south side of Lakeshore immediately east of Elizabeth street.

LogoIt will be a couple of years before the any moving vans arrive – the residents of the city have a couple of years to complain about the construction disruptions.

When it is completed – the waterfront will be a much different place.

Save the news feedThe construction of the pier and now this luxury level hotel and some very high end condominiums, which will be described as the finest buildings to live in the GTA. Better than Oakville?

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Bruce Krushelnicki leaves city hall to enjoy the first summer vacation he has had since he joined the city 11 years ago.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

June 1, 2105


Today is the first day of a summer vacation he never had in the years he was been with the Planning department in Burlington.

At some point all the data and all the public input gets placed in front of Burlington's Planner, Bruce Kruselniiki - who will issue a report and city council will make decisions.  Creating the downtown the city wants and needs has not been an easy process for Burlington.

Bruce  Krushelnicki was frequently at the table working with citizens, listening to their ideas and explaining the why and how things were done.  The reports his department issued were frequently as good as they get in the planning business.

Lakeshore looking east to Brant north side

Insisting that there be commercial space at grade level was not an easy conversation with the developers of the Buntin Wharf project on Lakeshore Road between Locust and Brant – imagine that part of the city without this look?

Bruce Krushelnicki left city hall on Friday afternoon and summarized for the Gazette what he managed to get done during his time with the city and some of the things that haven’t happened yet.

Planners build on the shoulders of the people who came before them explained Krushelnicki I didn’t plan the Alton Community – my job was to implement the plan and ensure that the original design was adhered to.

Krushelnicki was heavily involved in the creation and implementation of the Plains Road Village Vision (PRVV) which has changed radically the road that used to be the only one that got you to Niagara Falls.

We had to do a lot of talking to the Shoppers Drug Mart people to get them to see things our way – we wanted the entrance to the store open to the street and they did build the door – but it is locked.

We wanted a two story building – and they did that – now there are doctors’ offices on that second floor – what better place to have a doctor’s office.

Plains Road is no longer just a major traffic artery – it has been going through a process of change for a number of years – that job is far from finished.

Getting developers to see the longer term potential for their properties can be a time consuming process explained K. We had many conversations with the Molinaro’s about street level store fronts on the Buntin wharf property that stretched between Locust and Brant. Can you imagine Brant Lakeshore Road without that stretch of patio space?   They make that part of the city feel like parts of Europe added Krushelnicki.

For some developers talking wasn’t enough and the building permit they had been issued was pulled. Drewlo learned that lesson when they made major changes to the way vehicles were going to enter and leave the underground garage of the multi building apartment complex they were building on Plains Road.


Early version of the Maranatha design had more massing then the planning department was prepared to accept.


After a lot of negotiating and discussion the final look of the Maranatha project looked like this. Preparing the land for construction has begun

The Maranatha project on New Street that is now having the land prepared for construction was another project that Krushelnicki believes benefited from intervention by the Planning department. The building has significant massing and even though it was set back from the street further than most people realized it was a large building. By tapering the ends and creating a large glass section in the middle the building is much easier to look at.

There are those who still feel it doesn’t fit in with the neighbourhood to which Krushelnicki replies – neighbourhoods change – they are supposed to change – but at a pace that fits with where planners feel the city is going.

Most of the two storey properties on Brant Street have four storey zoning as of right and can get eight storeys once they have worked with the planning department to ensure that what is planned fits in with what the residents of the community – and the city believe is appropriate for the area.

Krushelnicki knows now that the malls created in the 70’s do not meet the needs of the community the way they once did and that they need to be re-developed to include a residential and commercial component.

Making more efficient use of land will mean changing the way some sectors of the local economy use the space they have. Krushelnicki points to Mississauga where they created a part of the city that was for the automotive sector. Burlington doesn’t have that Krushelnicki of space available anywhere in the city but Krushelnicki does see the possibility of automotive dealers going up rather than continually going sideways.

The land at the corner of Fairview and Brant has too much value to serve as a parking lot for used cars – the same would apply to the automotive dealers along Fairview and Guelph Line. The planning department did have conversations with most of the automotive dealers in town to talk about different configurations that could be used. “They weren’t ready for a change yet” explained Krushelnicki at a committee meeting.

In the world of planning and development the Ontario Municipal Board is the 800 pound elephant in the room – it is an organization Krushelnicki understand very well. He served as an OMB Commissioner for a period of time and wrote one of the more definitive texts on just how the OMB works.

Lksh Riveria looking east

The walkway that was built at the bottom of what was once the infamous Rivieria Motel was the result of a land swap Krushelnicki put together with Mayrose Tyco the developers of the property that will house a 22 storey, a seven story condominium plus an 8 storey hotel. The hotel was originally going to be open for the Pan Am games which isn’t something you can blame on the now retired planner,

While many of the decisions on what would be built on the waterfront were made before Krushelnicki  joined the city as the planner 11 years ago he does get credit for coming up with a land swap that extended the waterfront the public could use a little further to the east and gave the people who were developing what is today called the Bridgewater hotel.

Burlington currently has a major case before the OMB – the ADI development on Martha and Lakeshore that he won’t say a word about because it is before the board.

Krushelnicki taught for twelve years and has until very recently done some teaching at Ryerson and Waterloo. Is there some teaching for a man who is in excellent shape and still holds his truck driver’s license.

There are those who believe Krushelnicki never stopped teaching. On numerous occasions when there was a planning issue of some significance one could see all the junior members of the Planning department in the council chamber – many of them taking notes. And there were always a number of the senior members watching a master at the craft of explaining how planning is supposed to work.

Downtown precincts

The concept of precincts to define neighborhoods was an approach Bruce Krushelnicki brought to Burlington’s Official Plan

Burlington is in the process of re-writing its Official Plan. The Plan that was approved in 2006 was a Krushelnicki creation. We created a precinct approach and grouped interest and gave them a precinct name and applied zoning development guidelines to them. While the word “neighbourhoods: didn’t actually appear in the official plan – it was vital from Krushelnicki point of view that the way people had organized themselves in the city be respected.

Krushelnicki didn’t live in Burlington but he had a feel for the city that must have run through his mind as he came over the Skyway Bridge and saw it set out before him.

The people writing the new Official Plan are all Krushelnicki prodigies – his finger prints will be all over the document.

Krushelnicki did have his detractors. Many felt he was too restrictive and that he didn’t manage his staff as well as he might. He certainly had strong views and had little difficulty making them know. What made Bruce Krushelnicki so different was the way he would frame and arrange his comments.

He certainly had the best tailor in town and would not take off his jacket when making a presentation. One could not even imagine Krushelnicki wearing a pair of those plaid trousers golfers tend to wear.

During what was really an oration at a Committee of the Whole recently at the LaSalle Park Pavilion the sun was shining directly onto Krushelnicki’s back and the beads of perspiration on his forehead were showing. One of his senior staff who was within his line of sight patted her hip a number of times.

I wasn’t quite sure what she was doing or why – but realized she was sending her boss a signal.  The staff member knew that Bruce Krushelnicki always kept a fresh handkerchief in his jacket pocket; she was trying to remind him that it was there.

The staff within the planning department for the most part adored the man. He treated his people with respect and saw his major role as one of developing them and making them better civil servants.

Krushelnicki was without a doubt the most literate senior staff member the city has. During the crafting of the Strategic Plan in 2011, when asked what form it should take, Krushelnicki said keep it to two pages and write it in Latin.

Tim Horton property - top of bank issue

Krushelnicki must have explained what “top of bank”meant to citizens groups more than 1000 times while he was Director of Planning for the city.

During his time as Burlington’s planner he must have explained what “top of bank” meant more than 1000 times – he also tirelessly explained that approval of some height density on one lot did not serve as a precedent for every lot in the neighbourhood.

Krushelnicki had a style that was very much his own. His ethics were beyond reproach, he had that old school politeness about him and more often than not he knew what he was doing and why he made the decisions he made

Krushelnicki was no where near retirement age – but some took the position that his time had come.

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Everyone benefits from the homeless who live at the Riviera Motel. They get lousy digs but a great view.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON July 11, 2011 – This business of municipal politics can get pretty sticky and complicated.

Try this on for size. A developer, Mayrose Tycon has the right to put up a building that can reach 21 stories into the sky on the property that is home to the Riviera on the Lake Motel, located to the east of the Waterfront Hotel on the south side of Lakeshore Road. The height and density of the structure are basically cast in stone. What it will actually look like isn’t known yet.

At a Waterfront Advisory meeting a few months ago committee member Michael O’Sullivan passed around a news clipping from 1995 that showed a drawing of what the developer had in mind back then. It is pretty close to what people understand the plans being talked about now are calling for.

Mayrose Tycon have been trying to put together a deal since 1995 with a company that would do the actual building and take over the property, but haven’t yet found the right company to partner with. Minto and Tridel, two very large, well established builders walked away from the opportunity. Mayrose Tycon is now talking to a major mid level hotel group about a possible deal that would be a combination of hotel and condominium.

The close to defunct Save our Waterfront people were worried that a structure would go up that prevented a view of the lake. While the height and density of whatever is built is a done deal, the actual site plan is something the community has been assured they would have some say in.

But as Jeff Marten, a member of the Waterfront Advisory Committee, said at a recent meeting: “I would like to be alive when the ground for construction is broken.” That isn’t going to be this year and many wondered if the Pier would be completed before shovels went into the ground for the 21 storey landmark structure.

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward has been telling her constituents that she is “on the file” but there isn’t very much she can do except prod and probe and ask questions which she did at a recent meeting with the Mayrose Tycon people.

Is there a by-law enforcement officer that would let the badly damaged floor of the motel room balcony at the Riviera Motel remain the way it is if they knew about the condition.  They know now.

Is there a by-law enforcement officer that would let the badly damaged floor of the motel room balcony at the Riviera Motel remain the way it is if they knew about the condition. They know now.

A lot of people would like to see the building torn down because it is something of an eye sore – and who by the way would want to stay in the motel – it looks like a dump. Well – guess what; both the city and the region have an interest in keeping the dumpy looking motel right where is it, thank you. And the developer doesn’t mind one bit – renting out rooms in the motel brings in some revenue

The revenue stream is your tax dollars – money the Regional govern pays Mayrose Tycon for the use of the motel as a place to house homeless people. And as of last Friday the place was full.

There is an interesting aspect to all this and that is for a city that talks about making the waterfront accessible to the public, precious little is actually done to improve the access.

A Waterfront Advisory sub-committee recently did an excellent piece of investigative work to find out just how many “windows on the to the lake” there actually are – good report – that has gone exactly nowhere. Meed Ward hasn’t brought up the matter at a Council committee nor has Councillor Craven. Grahame Richards, who was part of the group that did the field work on the report said he couldn’t add much more: “the people at city hall aren’t answering their phones these day.”

The Mayor sits on the Waterfront Advisory Committee – has he asked legal to look into those situation where private property owners whose property abuts public property have taken steps to actually prevent the public from getting to the edge of the lake.

Lots of issues regarding the lakefront getting to the waters edge and then being a bit stunned when you see the condition of at least one of the buildings. Comes pretty close to being the kind of building run by slum landlords.

There is more than just the one damaged balcony – much of the building probably doesn’t meet building or safety codes.  Why hasn’t the city done something about this situation?  Because it houses homeless people?  Because the Region is renting the building?

There is more than just the one damaged balcony – much of the building probably doesn’t meet building or safety codes. Why hasn’t the city done something about this situation? Because it houses homeless people? Because the Region is renting the building?

Were the public able to walk along the pathway at the lake edge in front of the Riviera Motel they would see the deplorable condition that building is in.

A close look at the building suggests the city’s by law enforcement people might want to take a look at the condition of the structure. But bylaw enforcement in Burlington is a reactive process – they respond to complaints and no one so far has complained. That is about to change.

The Medical Officer of Health might also want to take a look at the structure. Maybe that department is also reactive as opposed to being proactive.

The Riviera has been around for a long time, still has guests who have one of the best views in the city.  At the edge of the property there is a brand new walkway – waiting for the public to stroll along the waters edge where they can gaze upon a dumpy looking eyesore.

The Riviera has been around for a long time, still has guests who have one of the best views in the city. At the edge of the property there is a brand new walkway – waiting for the public to stroll along the waters edge where they can gaze upon a dumpy looking eyesore.

The city gets tax revenue on the property and the developer wanting to get something in the way of a return for the property, rents the units to the Region who use it to house homeless people and immigrants that the Region has to house.

Someone suggested that the city could rent the motel and the land around it from the developer for $1 a year and demolish the eyesore and use the land as a temporary, short term park; and given that this project has been on hold for at least 15 years the public could benefit. Might be a good idea – depends on what the taxes are on the property. Sounds good, seems to have some merit. Why not give it a shot?

The city could enter into an agreement with Mayrose Tycon to forgive the property taxes as long as the city uses the land for a public park. When the developer eventually has a partner who is ready to actually build the city gives up the space as parkland and lets the construction equipment in.

You can get to the walkway that gets you to the edge of the lake – all you have to do is slip through the fence and then wander along till you meet up with the eastern edge of Spencer Smith Park – great view of the unfinished Pier from this location.

You can get to the walkway that gets you to the edge of the lake – all you have to do is slip through the fence and then wander along till you meet up with the eastern edge of Spencer Smith Park – great view of the unfinished Pier from this location.

There was a bit of a land swap involved in the assembly of the property that will at some point become the city’s one skyscraper. A small patch of city land was traded and the developer ceded the right to a small strip of property at the water’s edge that is ready today for pedestrians to stroll along – problem is- the pathway isn’t open to the public. The walkway is in place and will eventually join up with Spencer Smith Park

But don’t hold your breath waiting for either Councillors Meed Ward or Craven to propose this at a Council committee meeting and put forward a Staff Direction to have this looked into. Even if they did, the City Manager would bury this one for a couple of years.

If the motel were torn down the Region wouldn’t have a shelter for the homeless and, while the place is a dump, Burlington doesn’t want to get into a discussion about building a homeless shelter – that would bring out every NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) in the city howling at a council committee meeting. Disappointing, that a city with so much cannot find its way to actively looking for a place to build a shelter for the homeless. We manage to raise money for just about every other group but we’re not very good at helping the truly disadvantaged.

The best place for a shelter would be in either Wards 1 or 2 – can we expect Councillors Craven and Ward to ask the city to look for a suitable location in which to house the homeless and at the same time open up some lake front property for more parkland – even if it is going to be temporary. The location would be a great spot for the sidewalk superintendents in the city to sit out in the fresh air and keep an eye on the Pier construction.



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