A strong contender and a controversial incumbent going after the ward 5 seat. This will be a race to watch.

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

July 19th, 2018



The citizens of ward 5 are going to be given a chance to choose between three candidates. The Gazette has not been able to reach Xin Yi Zhang for this article.  We will follow up on that.

Sharman July 2016

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman is running for re-election in October.

The incumbent Paul Sharman is going to have to adjust his sails if he is to catch enough wind to keep his seat and defeat newcomer Mary Alice St. James, the third candidate for the ward seat.

St. James is a retired school principal who taught at the Pinedale school in the ward and retired as principal from Pauline Johnson elementary school xx the ward.

St James does not actually live in the ward – her home is a couple of football lengths to the east of the ward. Other than that, and it isn’t that big a problem, Mayor Goldring didn’t live in the ward when he represented it, there isn’t much to complain about.

Site with phases

It is a very big redevelopment that seems to have tried to stuff something into every square foot of space.

She is a passionate defender of the community she lives in – doesn’t like what some of the builders are doing in her community and if what we heard at the Lakeside Village Plaza development presentation – she isn’t too keen on the height that is being proposed.

What St. James has going for her is a certain relentlessness – she just doesn’t quit.

St James talking to seniors

On bended knee – Ward 5 city council candidate Mary Alice St.James talks to residents about the re-development plans for the Lakeside Village Plaza.

She recently turned 60 and bought a scooter and a helmet to get out and meet people. A group of people who were waiting outside a storefront at the Lakeside Village Plaza to look at a presentation of the planned redevelopment of the plaza were quite taken with St. James. She is social- able, affable and writes down everything she hears.

She listens intently, asks questions and probes. There is that school principal demeanour about her – you answer the questions she asks.

While talking to one senior who seemed to be looking for something to do – St James asked if she walked very much – she did – good said St James I’ll walk with you.

Sharman looking down at male

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman, running for re-election listen to a resident talking about the redevelopment of the Lakeside Village Plaza.

For many St James will be a different experience than what incumbent Paul Sharman has delivered.

He is described as being condescending and leaves people feeling that they don’t really know very much. He too was working the room at which the Plaza re-development plans were being shown. He was at one end – St James at the other.

But they will be passing each other frequently. When these two debate – that will be something to watch.


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11 comments to A strong contender and a controversial incumbent going after the ward 5 seat. This will be a race to watch.

  • Marshall

    In order to attempt to understand how Burlington works Mary Alice St James has been a tireless observer of the Burlington planning department and Council and more importantly an effective worker with the Shoreacres and Roseland Character Studies. She worked with these groups for four years to get these approved by what sometimes seemed to be a developer friendly Council. The same work ethic will be of enormous benefit to Ward 5 next year.

  • Penny


    Dana Anderson is definitely the type of planner who will work with residents. Dana was a planner with the City of Oakville when they went through the process of updating their Official Plan. In Oakville resident input was involved in every step of the Official Plan.

    ECoB met with her and found her to be very open to resident participation. Residents of Ward 5 are lucky that Dana is involved with this development.

    • Lucy

      Hello Penny and Stephen…I don’t think I can agree with you about Dana’s concern for residents. It is Dana who prepared the Planning-Justification Report that is on the city’s website that is the proposal for the Lakeside Village Plaza. Therefore, she is responsible for seeking to rezone this site from Residential Medium Density to a Residential High Density designation, plus even further amendments to that designation. This is what I prepared and left as comments at the first Open House on July 18th if you care to read through it:

      The residents surrounding Lakeside Village Plaza have long awaited its redevelopment. However, the present proposal will be a monstrous overdevelopment that clearly represents undesirable intensification that large segments of Burlington citizens have been opposing in many areas of the city. Instead of beautifying the area, the result will be an ugly concrete jungle look that will also endanger the safety and health of those living in the surrounding neighbourhoods that include high numbers of seniors and children—our most vulnerable. On page ii of the proposal it states “The proposal can be adequately serviced and does not create any impacts to the existing site and surrounding area.” Seriously? The proposal’s hyberbolic language paints a picture of an idyllic, tranquil addition to our neighbourhood and ignores the damaging impact that will result. I too can use such language about the impact: this project will destroy our neighbourhood, but it will satisfy the greed of the developer who will build and leave, not live in our neighbourhood.

      1. Regarding the height survey (page 14): note that all the tallest high rises (19 & 18 storey) in the vicinity were built long ago and are set back a fair distance from the road and a good distance apart; the most recent additions have followed a guideline that is more reasonable for a mid-rise building area which is set at 5 to 11 storeys maximum.

      This proposal squeezes in one 14 storey, two 18 storey, and a 10 storey at the site, all built close to the road on a mere 193 metre frontage. Also included on site the 6 storey townhouse complex on Kenwood, two 11 storey, and one 4 storey lining the back of the property. No doubt such a proposed density guarantees a claustrophobic, obscene effect. No impact? Seriously?

      2. People move to this area to get away from the concrete jungles and traffic congestion that plagues municipalities such as Mississauga. This proposal will create a traffic nightmare. Lakeshore is already a high traffic area. It is also used as a detour when the QEW is blocked within the Burlington boundaries. The traffic/noise/air quality impact has conveniently been UNDERESTIMATED by the proposal. Our air quality and mobility safety will be far worse if this proposal moves forward as is. Considering the additional development proposals for the nearby Appleby Line-New Street and the Appleby Go area, it too will certainly only magnify the negative effect for this part of the city. INCREASED AIR POLLUTION, NOISE POLLUTION, and TRAFFIC CONGESTION: is this what we have been waiting for all these years? No impact? Seriously?

      3. The parking allotment for the businesses and offices planned are so limited and inadequate that it will be impossible to conveniently find a spot when trying to access the services and shop at the site, a most unfavourable outcome.

      4. In this stretch of Lakeshore Road, there has been flooding on numerous occasions when heavy rains have occurred. Will this overdevelopment not make such a situation likely worse?


      • Stephen White

        Hi Lucy: For the record…I agree totally with your synopsis and interpretation. As a Ward 5 resident I’m deeply concerned with this development too.

        Like you, I’m not entirely clear how we went from Medium Density (the clear and obvious preference of attendees at the November 2015 public meeting) to this monstrosity. However, there are factors at play here that have obviously impacted this design proposal. If you read the Justification Report, Section 5, pages 28-72, a significant part of the report is written to show conformity with the OP and the Provincial Policy Statement. I don’t recall this even being referenced during the November 2015 consultations. Equally concerning (suspicious) is the timing of the consultation…just following approval of the OP, in the middle of the summer, prior to a municipal election.

        I live in hope that there will be further consultations, and that the scope and magnitude of this development can be significantly scaled back. As for Ms. Anderson, my cut was that she seemed genuine and sincere. To her credit, she didn’t lecture me and other attendees with the tiresome dirge about how we all need to grow up and not out, etc. etc. that I’ve come to expect from Burlington Planning Department officials.

        • Lucy

          Good Morning Steven,

          Here is my understanding of the Developer’s Proposal Section 5 as it relates to the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS), the Growth Plan for the Golden Horseshoe and the Burlington Official Plan (OP) Chapter 8 Land Use and Chapter 14 Schedules and Tables:

          This portion of the Developer’s proposal attempts to justify their request for rezoning with further amendments by claiming to align with the PPS and Growth Plan for the Golden Horseshoe. Let’s not be fooled by what they quote from these documents. The city has already included within the OP (adopted April, 2018) development objectives that meet the PPS requirements and the Growth Plan for the Golden Horseshoe WITHOUT THE NEED TO REZONE as well as make even further amendments that alter the OP in order to allow the Developer’s aggressive proposal that is totally incompatible with our neighbourhood and jeopardizes our present quality of life.

          The OP has come about after three decades of intense planning, discussions and revisions. The Developer is now saying that the newly adopted OP is not really good enough as it pertains to this parcel of land. The OP sets out that Lakeside Village Plaza is a Residential Medium Density and Neighbourhood Centre. The Developer wants to change it to a Residential High Density and Neighbourhood Commercial designation. There is a big difference between the two designations.

          Consider that in Section 5, they are attempting to justify their plan as a Residential High Density designation, and even have the audacity to need amendments to that designation in order to build their monstrosity.

          THE APRIL 2018 OP HAS GOT IT RIGHT FOR THIS PARCEL OF LAND. However on P. 99 of the developer proposal it states: “(b) The proposed Amendment better implements the direction of the PPS and Growth Plan than the existing OP policies.” No it doesn’t! The developer is pushing for over-intensification and states that their proposal aligns with the surrounding neighbourhood. It does not! The land is underutilized now, but the OP allows the appropriate level of intensification without the need to rezone with even further amendments.

          IT IS THE DEVELOPER WHO IS WRONG TO TRY TO CONVINCE US THAT THEIR PROPOSAL WILL BENEFIT OUR AREA MORE SO THAN WHAT HAS BEEN SET OUT BY THE OP. I repeat: let’s not be fooled when they throw at us statements from those other two documents. The city has already implemented measures to satisfy those document parameters within the Official Plan. We can accept the OP designation for this parcel of land which suits our neighbourhood just fine! Keep it at: Residential Medium Density!

  • Lucy

    The next election will be very important to us in the Lakeside Village Plaza area. We need a mayor and a ward rep that will listen to our concerns. What use/value is an Official Plan (just recently adopted) if a developer such as the one for Lakeside Village Plaza shamelessly requests such dramatic/significant changes to what was initially intended for this area so soon after the plan is supposedly put in place?

    The goal of the nearby Lakeside Village Plaza community should be to stop any amendments or rezoning requests for this project that harm our neighbourhood. We must insist it remain a Residential Medium Density – Neighbourhood Centre designation if we are to preserve the health and safety of nearby residents and avoid over-intensification (even higher levels of traffic, noise, air pollution) which will harm the nature of our area/neighbourhood as it now exists and decrease our quality of life.

    According to the Burlington Official Plan adopted in April, 2018:
    The descriptions that pertain to the Lakeside Village Plaza land are as follows:
    1. Urban Area
    2. Secondary Growth Area
    3. Residential Medium Density
    4. Neighbourhood Centre
    5. Mixed Use Node

    Residential Medium Density Height Restriction = 5 to 11 storeys
    The developer is NOW requesting amendments and redesignation of the area that completely ignore the designations outlined in the new official plan.

    FEARS EXPRESSED IN AN INTIAL COMMUNITY MEETING NOV. 24TH 2015 APPEAR TO BE COMPLETELY IGNORED BY THE DEVELOPER! Such behaviour by the developer makes a sham of any community input meetings and devalues the importance of the neighbourhood citizens who will be impacted most dramatically by this project!

    LAKESIDE VILLAGE PLAZA HAS AN URBAN AREA- NEIGHBOURHOOD CENTRE DESIGNATION. The developer is proposing to make it a Residential HIGH Density area! The proposed redevelopment appears to also surpass the recommended density for a high density designation (which is allowed for each particular designation in the Burlington Official Plan with amendments).

    THERE IS A SHARP CONTRAST IN DENSITY BETWEEN RESIDENTIAL MEDIUM AND RESIDENTIAL HIGH DENSITY AREAS. The Developer takes the residential medium density designation (a minimum density of fifty-one (51) units per net hectare) and wants it changed to a high density designation, as well as, EXCEEDING THE HIGH RANGE OF 185 UNITS PER NET HECTARE WITH THIS PLAN.

  • Roger

    condescending – bit of an understatement – time for a change in ward 5 – Paul has not accomplished much for Ward 5 except pushing policy most of us do not want

  • Lynn Crosby

    Character. Honesty. Integrity. Respectful behaviour.

    These are the basic qualities we would expect from our elected officials. We should not be embarrassed and appalled by the antics of council members when we attend council meetings. When a councillor is “liking” and sharing facebook posts on his council page from people which are nothing more than hateful attacks and misrepresentations of others, it tells you all you need to know about him (and them).

    Good luck Mary Alice. You are already a breath of fresh air.

  • Marnie Mellish

    “He is described as being condescending and leaves people feeling that they don’t really know very much. ” and does not believe in citizen groups and engagement. Ward 5 is a complex ward. Once upon a time I knocked on 8,000 doors. I really hope its citizens get out and vote for change.

  • Hans

    Sharman has not distinguished himself as trying to do what is best for the City and being “condescending” makes him unworthy of re-election. If I lived in ward 5 he would not get my vote. St. James looks like she will be a big improvement.

  • Stephen White

    The re-development proposal for Lakeside Village will become a defining issue in this election. The turnout yesterday afternoon and last night at the Open House was significant. Residents are angry and upset at the scale of the re-development, not to mention that their earlier feedback as reflected on pages 90 – 98 of the Planning Justification Report seems to have been summarily ignored in the proposed design. There are a myriad of problems with this development proposal, everything from buildings too close to Lakeshore Road, shadowing, traffic congestion, buildings obscuring retail establishments, etc.

    If there is one positive light it may be that the developer actually seems amenable to considering residents concerns. I spoke with Dana Anderson, the lead from MHBC, and she and her team appeared genuinely interested in residents’ feedback. How that translates into actual changes later will remain to be seen. It will also be a good measure of whether community consultation and stakeholder engagement actually means something, or whether, like the Planning Department’s consultations around the OP and the Mobility Hubs, it is a just a meaningless formality.