Are we stuck with a 29 storey building on Lakeshore Road because the Mayor trusted the Minister of Municipal Affairs ?

By Pepper Parr

November 8th, 2021



Bad enough that the two witnesses from the city’s planning department were not on the same page; now we know that the city was fudging some of the material they were presenting and that they tried to argue that a media release, supposedly put out on June 15th amounted to policy.

Worse – the press release was really a transcript of what a planning staff member recalled understanding what the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing is reported to have said.

We don’t make this stuff up – it comes out of the written decision released by the OLT Ontario Land Tribunal last week that gave Carriage Gate approval to build a 29 story tower. The decision, which appeared to have surprised Mayor Meed Ward when she said:  This is a devastating and shocking decision imposed on our community, which completely disregards the vision of residents, council and staff for this area.

This decision completely dismisses the considerable feedback from residents in opposition to this file – and their valuable suggestions for what would be appropriate. This decision ignored over 100 people who took the time to attend a community meeting, delegate to council, and write pages of letters. There was no acknowledgement of our community’s voice in this decision.

The decision highlights the inappropriate application of Provincial Planning Policies to justify overdevelopment and underscores the importance of a speedy decision from the Minister to remove the Major Transit Station Area designation from downtown and adjust the boundaries of the Urban Growth Centre to the Burlington GO Station, where this scale of development should be. We will continue to work to defend our plan and put growth where it belongs.

Unless the city can pull a rabbit out of a hat – the building on the lefty is a done deal.

The City had argued that on June 15, 2021, the Minister announced that he was moving the location of the Burlington Urban Growth Centre from its existing location to the area surrounding the Burlington GO Station. As a result, the City maintains that the Development is no longer within a UGC area.

The City originally submitted that an adjournment “is required to allow the Parties to provide supplemental witness statements in order for the Tribunal to have the opinions of the expert witnesses on the effect of the subject lands no longer being within a UGC at the time of the Tribunal’s eventual decision in this matter. Without this, the city argued, the Tribunal will not have expert opinion evidence that reflects the policy regime that must be applied to consideration of the applications.

The OLT decision said: “The position taken by counsel for the City and for the Region therefore wholly depends on the contention that a new policy regime was ushered in solely by the Minister’s June 15th oral announcement. This alleged policy pronouncement is claimed to have been captured in an informal transcript filed with the Tribunal – prepared by an unidentified person – of the Minister’s remarks made at the June 15th press conference.

“It appears conceded by the City that the ‘unofficial’ informal transcript that is attached as an exhibit to the sworn Affidavit of the City’s planning witness Mr. Plas is not a complete record of the Minister’s comments made on that occasion. An adequate explanation for this was not offered to the Tribunal.

“Despite the unusual evidentiary basis described above, there seems to be no controversy between the Parties about the main gist of the Minister’s remarks made at this press conference. However, Lakeshore’s (This is the Carriage Gate corporate name for the proposed development on the NE corner of Lakeshore Road and Pearl) counsel adamantly maintains that those verbal comments by the Minister did not and could not constitute the formal lawful introduction of new provincial planning policy.

For marketing purposes it will be known as Beausoleil

During the time period leading up to the hearings, the Region of Halton adopted ROPA 48 (Regional Official Plan Amendment) on July 7, 2021, which, among other things, reflects the noted change in location of Burlington UGC that was apparently mentioned orally by the Minister on June 15th (although Ms. Yerxa for the Region points out that the prior process leading up to ROPA 48 was of considerable duration and reflected much work and consultation along the way, much of which is contained in the supporting Affidavit of Ms. Poad). ROPA 48 is apparently now before the Ministry for approval.

“However, beyond the remarks of counsel for the City and the Region, there was no evidence to demonstrate that the Ministry will approve it beyond a statement to that effect from Mr. Plas in his Affidavit tendered before the Tribunal. In the Tribunal’s view, this is not proper subject of opinion evidence – it is merely argument, which was repeated in more detail by counsel for the City and the Region at the Motion hearing.”

“In response, the Appellant filed an Affidavit from Mr. Smith, an experienced Planner who challenges the conclusions expressed by Mr. Plas about the effect of the press conference announcement from the Minister and also the allegation that the Minister’s oral announcement was “supportive of ROPA 48”. Again, in the Tribunal’s view, Mr. Smith’s statements are also not proper opinion evidence determinative of this particular issue.

“The Tribunal is unable to accept the contention that the oral remarks made by the Minister at the June 15th press conference, taken alone, constitute the promulgation of new Ontario planning policy by way of an ‘update’ or other ‘revision’ of the Growth Plan in terms of the location of the Burlington It is to be noted that the Minister’s remarks do not specify the precise boundary of this apparent location change, nor do they indicate the effective date of the change. In any event, the Tribunal was not convinced by the City counsel’s submission that no written statement or enactment of the change in the Burlington UGC location is required by law.

Did the City of Burlington get screwed over by the Minister of Municipal Affairs or did he just plain forget what he said he would do?

“Neither Counsel for the City or the Region could cite any jurisprudence specifically on this point to support this unique argument. Moreover, in the Tribunal’s view this notion seems counter-intuitive in light of the very detailed provincial planning regime currently in force. The Tribunal specifically disagrees that the Minister’s remarks described above can be treated as a lawful, formal issuance of Provincial policy within the meaning of s. 1, 2 and 3 of the Planning Act.

“The Tribunal also agrees with Lakeshore’s counsel that for the purposes of this appeal the relevant provincial policy provisions include those set out in the current Provincial Policy Statement (PPS)  and the current GP. The Tribunal thus rejects the contention that the current GP has somehow been changed or ‘updated’ in relation to the location of the Downtown Burlington UGC by reason either of the June 15, 2021 oral comments of the Minister or the content of the draft ROPA 48 which has not been approved by the Province.

“The Tribunal is of the opinion that the City’s proposition that a hearing should be adjourned to deal with anticipated possible future changes in provincial policy is:

(a) without foundation and without case law authority;

(b) amounts to a repudiation of long-established jurisprudence since it requires the evaluation of planning applications on the basis of alleged “emerging” policy intended to signal a new evolution of priorities for intensification in the City; and

(c) is highly unusual given that the very notion of modifying the UGC boundary in the City was not introduced until nearly 2 years after the Appellant’s applications were deemed complete by the City.

This is the Urban Growth Boundary that Mayor Meed Ward fought hard to have changed. She thought she had – the Minister of Municipal Affairs said he would approve but had not yet signed the decision. So, legally it has not been changed and the Beausoleil development get the go ahead from the Ontario Land Tribunal

Nick Carnecelli had a stronger case and lawyers who knew what was acceptable in terms of evidence – something the city didn’t have .

The Tribunal also agrees with the submission of counsel for the Appellant that:

“the press conference statement itself goes no further than suggesting the Minister “will be moving” the UGC, not that it already has been moved. This is a statement of possible future intention and nothing more. It provides no indication of how or when. It does not discuss implementation at all. There is no reference to ROPA 48 despite the statement of Mr. Plas. It refers to “long-term planning” as opposed to immediate effect”.

As a final matter, the Tribunal further disagrees with the argument of the City’s counsel that the purposes and policies underlying the Tribunal’s Rules of Practice and Procedure in any way require the granting of the City’s adjournment motion in the unique circumstances of this case, and the Tribunal declines to exercise its discretion to do so.

What does all this mean? First that the city is made to look like a couple of high school students screwing things up.

Secondly, it leaves the Mayor with a problem with the OLT decision, which, try as she might, is likely to hold.

This piece of land and the site of the Waterfront Hotel will be the next battle ground. Then there is the north side of Lakeshore Road from Brant to Martha that will get the developer treatment.

What impact is the decision going to have on the several development across the street in a piece of land known as the football where there are two developments working their way through the application process and at least two properties within the football that do not have any development activity ongoing.

Mayor Meed Ward had put everything on getting the Urban Growth Centre Boundary moved and she thought she had it done.

Both Planning and Legal are responsible for this one.

How many more like it are there out there?

Related news story.

City planner described as not an expert witness in OLT decision.

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23 comments to Are we stuck with a 29 storey building on Lakeshore Road because the Mayor trusted the Minister of Municipal Affairs ?

  • Alfred

    Inclusionary zoning is coming. Be afraid be very afraid. 40 stories and up buildings will be just around the corner.

    The Governments of the day want to have affordable housing units built in this City. They want the developers to assume the responsibility. When the developers ask what is the City going to chip in. The cash strapped Municipalities only response will be allowing higher densities and taller buildings. Since it doesn’t cost the City a dime. Deal?

    A deal with the devil if you will

  • Bruce Leigh

    First off Tom Muir’s attack on Cathy’s integrity is both unwarranted and misplaced. Muir should apologize.

    If there has been a betrayal, the betrayal is by the OLT. And if the OLT’s decision is not overturned by the Minister, the betrayal is by the Provincial government. Remember that when voting in the Provincial election next year.

    The Mayor and this Council has lived upbto its promised in putting in place a new OP, getting the MTSA designation on the John St Bus stop removed, getting the UGC boundaries changed. Blame for the fact that the OLT ignored all that cannot be laid at the feet of this Council.

    I don’t care what alternative strategies or actions Tom, Gary, Blair, Penny, Dave & Anne might have proposed, the problem is not at this end of the process. The problem is with the OLT and it’s predecessor bodies, which have historically ignored the OPs of municipalities and wishes of the residents.

    Stop the bleating at Council and turn your anger to the OLT and the Provincial Government.

    Penny, Dave & Anne if you think McKenna is so wonderful, I guess you expect her to come through with a ministerial order. Right ?

    • You have not been listening to the facts Bruce set out in Official Plan or Official S cam in a manner our 13 year old grand daughter can understand. There is no new OP it never got passed the adopted stage when Rick Goldring was Mayor, Med Ward was the downtown councillor and Angela Morgan the Clerk charged with ensuring the new OP got off to its proper start at the Region. Check the minutes. The Burlington OP never ever made it onto the Region.agenda and Curt Benson only had delegated aurhority if it first went to the Region Council . OLT and the OLT ministry representatives, Loralea Tulloch and Heather Watts are as guilty of burying the truth as the City and the Region. Wondering how long it is going to take for the Council cheer leaders to recognize the way it actually is rather than ax the City spin team claim it is.

      • Bruce Leigh

        For the sake of clarity for you, though your 13 year old granddaughter for sure will have already figured out, I have been referring to the OP passed by this Council and by the Region in 2021, which is acknowledged to meet Provincial requirements, particularly as respects growth. Got it? If not check in with your granddaughter.

        The facts are:-

        ° The City passed a new OP in 2021.

        ° That 2021 OP was also passed by Regional Council.

        ° It was deemed compliant with all Provincial policies and requirements.

        ° The mess of an OP passed by the Goldring administration was not passed by the Region and was deemed non-compliant with Provincial policies and requirements.

        ° The OLT completely ignored the 2021 OP, the City’s wishes, the residents’ wishes.

        Blame the OLT.

        Anne and David you have been singing the praises of MPP McKenna as to the way she has “supported” the goals of our Council in redirecting intensification away from the downtown. So you must surely be confident McKenna will actively lobby on behalf of her constituents for the Minister to issue an Order overturning the decision of the OLT.

        Are you confident of that?

    • Gary Scobie

      Bruce, both you and the anonymous Cathy have come in rather late to this whole discussion, and while Cathy seems to speak as someone who may be a planner or political insider, I am puzzled as to what your background in downtown development might be.

      There is and never has been any suspected betrayal by me and my colleagues of the OMB/LPAT/OLT progression of adjudicators. The OMB has a long (since 1906) and storied history of reigning in the power of municipalities to determine their own planning futures. They have served their master (the Province) well in ensuring citizens (and even Council) have as little control over the development of their City (in this case Burlington) as possible. We’ve always known that, it was obvious and so no there is no feeling of betrayal by these tribunals or the Province itself. Their motives and methods have always been obvious.

      That is why we determined even before the last election that the only keys to allow the City to even attempt to align citizen thinking with actual development that would occur was to move the only two weapons the OMB/LPAT/OLT and developers had that made all City arguments against over-intensification moot. These were the MTSA (formerly Mobility Hub) and UGC designations that literally forced the City to capitulate to the over-arching Places to Grow legislation that demanded certain high densities of people/jobs in places designated as such. No other argument would hold water against the “expert” testimony that developers can always rely on (and pay well for) to win at the tribunal of the day. The MTSA and the UGC had to leave the downtown.

      That was the marching order we were hoping to hear on Day 1 of the 2019 New Council. It might take some time, but the evidence against the Downtown Bus Terminal being a Mobility Hub was overwhelming and Ms. KcKenna helpfully pointed out that it could be removed from the Official Plan by Council. But obviously the UGC had to be moved as well to give back some power to the City over its development future. Not “No Development” but “Managed Development”. Only the Province could grant this. Time was of the essence as proposals and applications for ever-higher condos on podiums were being presented and as long as they made it to the tribunal of the day, it was a slam-dunk for the developer and another black eye for the City in trying to stop them.

      Unfortunately Council instead went with the ICBL and the dragged out OP redo instead. We did not reap any rewards at the LPAT nor recently at the OLT for that. Only now, much too late for applications on the books, do we have a vague “promise?” to move the UGC to the Burlington GO Station. We certainly do not have any legal document that says this is done or even being done soon. So no Bruce, Council has not moved the UGC, at least not yet and the masters of the planning universe at Queen’s Park may or may not make the move legal. Still TBD. So Council is on the hook for doing some things that mostly wasted time and not doing the one thing that really mattered when it counted the most – moving the UGC ASAP in 2019 as possible. The Province and its agency are not the villains because they have always operated in plain sight. They want development and they want density and the developers have been only too pleased to aid that. The City wanted development and some more density, but less so downtown. This will not happen. The next decade or so of construction of downtown high rises will not be pleasant to live through for Lakeshore Road/Brant Street residents. Neither will the end result in our opinion. You may have another opinion. We all know the GO Station MTSAs will host 30 to 40 story buildings. We were hoping that would be enough to satisfy both the Province and the developers in Burlington.

      They say we get the government we deserve. They also say it is better to have tried and lost than not to have tried at all. This Council decided not to try in 2019 nor in 2020, but to wait until 2021 instead. To those of us who believed in the promises made in the 2018 election campaigns, at this late date it is as if they did not try at all.

      • Bruce Leigh

        Gary. You misunderstand me. I did not accuse you of betrayal. I only accused the OLT and it’s predecessors of betrayal. Their masters are not in fact the Provincial governments, though the do act that way. Their masters are the people of Ontario and fairness (justice) in the application and management of land dispute resolution.

        You are suggesting changing the MTSA & UGC in 2019 without the ICBL would have had a successful affect in halting the approval by the OLT of the high rises. That the OLT would not just have ignored those changes as they did in 2021. The City did both those things. It re-wrote the OP to be Provincially compliant. It received the blessing of the Provincial government to change the UGC. And yet the OLT ignored the change agreed by its “masters” as you put it. I think you and your group are naieve to think anything anybody could or would have done would have had a different result.

        It seems all you are disputing here is the timing of the MTSA & UGC changes. You have not suggested a substantively different approach.

        Face the fact. The OLT (OMB & LPAT) was, is and always will be the problem. Yes, it and the Province may have acted in plain sight, as has Council. But that does not mean either has acted properly or absolves either of the blame you want to park at City Hall.

        As to your condescending “late to the discussion” comment, I don’t know about Cathy, but I have been following this whole issue as a most interested resident for years. Sure only recently have I commented here in this venue. But that is because I have become so incredibly frustrated with you and others and your misdirection of blame towards Council rather than the OLT, where it belongs; and to your unfounded statements that you had the magic solution.

        My question is “what is the point of any municipality having an OP if the OLT just disregards it?”.

        • Gary Scobie

          Bruce I’m sorry if my wording confused you. I tried to express that none of my colleagues feel the OMB/LPAT/OLT betrayed us or anybody. They’ve done their dirty work as they were designed to do. We have no illusions of that and they did it in plain sight. And I never thought that you accused me of betrayal either.

          As a participant at both OMB and LPAT hearings I fully understand the system that gives arguments of logic, reason and research by citizens short shrift because we are not “experts” and rigs the game for the developer’s highly paid planners and lawyers to outwit the City’s planners and lawyers. I’ve seen it in action and have no faith in the Province’s arbitrators. I totally agree with your assessment that they are the problem. And that the City just cannot seem to marshal the expertise to win on high rise cases at t he OLT.

          However, when you are thrown into a rigged game you can’t win, you must alter the playing field. In the case of the downtown, the key aspects supporting over-intensification have always been the MTSA and UGC designations. They are powerful and the OLT respects them above all arguments (and even OPs), no matter how valid. Remove them and you cut their power off at the legs. That has been our strategy since 2017.

          Council attempted this late in the game in 2021, but at best it is a Hail Mary pass at this point in time and it seems as though the ball has actually been dropped now that nothing is being heard from the Province about officially moving the UGC to the Burlington GO MTSA. Nevertheless, you can’t turn back the clock and make applications for high rise buildings disappear. They will be adjudicated under the rules in place when they were filed. The hope that the downtown would be gently increased in density with mid-rise buildings has been crushed. We will see a corridor of high rises along Lakeshore Road to the east junction with Old Lakeshore Road. We will have high rises directly across from our City Hall and east along James Street to Martha and north toward Caroline Street. These will all be built in the next ten years.

          Meantime, the three GO Station MTSAs will get even higher and concentrated buildings, putting us well above our total persons/jobs numbers required by the Province. We have always acknowledged and accepted the end fate of the GO Station high density developments. We had hoped it wouldn’t have to be the same downtown. It will.

          If you can think of a way to get rid of the OLT, I applaud any efforts you can come up with. But even a provincial commission in 1971 couldn’t derail the OMB, so it will be one tough uphill battle. No other province has an OMB or OLT. I guess that’s why Ontario is known as A Place to Grow.

          • Bruce Leigh

            Gary you say “the City just cannot seem to marshal the expertise to win on high rise cases at t he OLT.”. The issue in my opinion is not a matter of expertise or lack thereof. The issue is the OLT, and it’s predecessors, just ignore what municipalities have in their OP, and what residents want. The City could have all the expertise marshaled, but it would still not win.

            I see only two avenues available to the City. The first is to seek a ministerial order. To be successful the City would have to mobilize all councilors, MPP McKenna, The Region and residents to get involved in lobbying the Minister. The second, I don’t know if it is possible, is to go to court to challenge the OLT and the Provincial government. Someone told be it is not possible to challenge the OLT in court. I cannot believe that any body in Canada is beyond the law. Gary, what are your thoughts?

  • L. Simmons

    I don’t believe the shock and disappointment expressed by the mayor and the ward councillor is genuine. Disappointment maybe, but shock, no. The writing was on the wall for this one since the time the developer made the application. The City’s official plan policies (the ones that apply, not the new ones that aren’t approved by the tribunal yet) are from 2006-2008 – a lifetime ago in terms of planning policy. They don’t contemplate developer demand – or provincial policy – that is focused on intensifying the downtown. The city saw in the Adi decision that those policies are junk.

    When you couple those with the provincial UGC policies, a government and provincial tribunal focused on development, and a very real housing problem, it was a slam dunk for the developer no matter what the city did in fighting the application. I am not surprised the city took a shot (however unlikely to to win) at trying to delay this hearing because of the UGC announcement. It was their best shot at actually stopping this development. Saying city staff are responsible for this one is a stretch and ignores the fact they are sent into battle with useless outdated policies that they were forced to defend. The real blame lies with whoever – staff or the council – did not get new official plan policies approved in the last 5 – 10 years when development pressure was starting and provincial policy was changing. The new OP and the move of the UGC are good things but as others have noted, are way too late to matter to any applications that have already been made.

    The most frustrating thing to me is the political story that arose in the last election and has kept going – that the new council would come in and put a stop to development. There was no way that they could ever deliver upon that. If I were Gary and Blair and Penny and ECOB group, I would feel betrayed because they were sold a bill of goods that the new council knew or should have known was impossible to deliver in the short term. The old council had many flaws, but craven and Taylor would always tell it like it is. In my view, the current Council promised something that it could not deliver and created an expectation that they could come in and stop development. The things they have done like the interim control bylaw and its conclusions supporting moving the urban growth center, and the new OP, are good things that will matter in the next decade. But too late for everything that is being developed now. Hopefully the ugc move will start to change that. It will be interesting to see if the current council gets credit for the good things it has done or gets whacked for convincing so many that it could walk in and stop development in its tracks when it certainly could not.

  • Tom Muir

    We were warned in detail about this, several times, by Gary Scobie quite a while ago, and the City and Mayor never seemed to get it, never mind acknowledge and admit incompetence about what it meant at OLT. Gary and friends were justified in claiming betrayal, although some didn’t like this.

    Worse even, this OLT approved building is just the first in a long line that are in the same apparent position of the UGC status of Downtown – no policy change yet as James said, and I see nothing to contradict that.

    The new OP looks like it will never come into official effect except for a totally mangled mutation of what it says itransformed into what the developers want in line with many applications, 44 appeals to OLT, and now this 29 stories that tells us the latest chapter in how OLT thinks about what the rules are.

    This began with Adi on Martha and the City planning then seemed just as inept then as they appear to be now. I thought they were qualified as “experts”, but that now seems to be a lie at the OLT. As I recall, the lead planner on that file has left the City, as I think she couldn’t stand the place anymore. She did get thrown under the bus in the mess that planning led by legal has made and it appears to be out of control.

    • Cathy

      The UGC boundaries will get changed. This is handled at the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, where the wheels of government move slowly.

      The rest of the OP will take longer because it’s handled through the OLT. Anyone who is shocked that so many developers and landowners would appeal the OP really doesn’t understand how planning works in Ontario. The egregious Grow Bold would have faced similar number of appeals if the Region had approved it.

      From what I can see, council is doing everything it can to level the playing field, while at the same time the province is handcuffing them in favour of the developers.

      “Betrayal” is an incendiary accusation, especially when it has no basis in fact, it only diminishes public discourse. I guess people will throw around these terms when they have no argument.

      • There was no greater supporter of Meed Ward than Gary Scobie and the facts speak for themselves. Nobody likes to believe they were fooled into believing what was not possible to deliver the way council did it. They have handcuffed themselves and you are kidding yourself if the evidence you now have in terms of witnesses and affidavits that simply do not cut it in the real world outside of city hall has you continuing to believe promises that equate to if you are good (i.e. vote for me) Santa will bring everything you ask for.

      • Tom Muir

        I don’t usually respond like this, but there are exceptions.

        Cathy, you are new around here in the Gazette, with no last name, so you post anonymously. As well, you seem informed in the language and issues which makes me wonder about your anonymity – are you an insider, or have a political agenda, is a question that keeps nagging me?

        Sorry about that, but I’m open about who I am and what I am about. With elections coming, this anonymity is an issue needing light.

        I have been involved in City planning since before 1996, and I have learned, seen and experienced far too much deceit, and hiding of the truth, to have or appreciate your tone defending City. I have seen you do this do regularly, like right here, and sometimes at the subtle expense of other people.

        My direct experience, that I have a lot of written correspondence with City and Planning on, is over and over a basically complete contradiction of your regular defense of City and Council as blameless.

        My words, tone, and topics reflect the reality that I have experienced all this time, and it’s a pretty consistent picture of duplicity, deceit and double dealing. Say one thing and your actions do another is a regular way of doing business here and has been for long time. This is how politics works and all you have to do to see it is pay attention. When there is a mismatch between words and actions, it is duplicitous. When actions and words match, it is integrity.

        My point here is that the crux of the problem is the loss of trust in the City politics and planning/legal organization around development and planning. Standard operating practice is duplicitous and lacks integrity, and this is based on experiences of many people, and not mere assertion.

        Since I know about how the knowledgeable and active residents that accused the City of “betrayal”, were deeply involved, I can tell you that this paragraph is descriptive of the real misleading and violating experience they had that led to their words.

        I think they felt their trust or confidence, and a moral standard they held was violated. Some think that political ambition that gets overpowering leads to this kind of betrayal, like it or not.

        It does not just lead to meaningful public discourse as it cannot be trusted.

  • Penny Hersh

    The mayor must have known that publicizing the fact that the UGC had been moved was premature. An article I read indicated that this could not become law until the end of 2022 or 2023. By that time all the building applications for the downtown core will have been appealed and the OLT would be basing decisions on the outdated Official Plan.

    The Interim Control By-Law proved to be a disaster. The City’s legal department, in my opinion, did not do their due diligence in realizing that even with this by-law in place building applications which were not being acted on would end up as an appeal at that time LPAT.

    I remember the Mayor when asked this question at a public meeting for the proposed Amica Retirement Residence answering “the hope is that LPAT will not look at any appeals with the ICBL in place”. This proved to be wrong. One would think that this would have been the one question that needed clarification before moving forward with the ICBL.

    Where does this fiasco fall too? The City Legal department? The Planning Department, The Mayor and Council who voted this in?

    It has been proven that the city is continually out-smarted by the lawyers used by the developers. One would think that changes would have been made in city staff to ensure that the best of strategies could be implemented when appealing at the OLT. I doubt this has happened.

    It is madness to appeal the Carriage Gate decision for the Pearl/Lakeshore proposed development. If the city goes ahead with this it will simply be a face-saving measure at the expense of Burlington’s taxpayers.

    A major lesson can be learned – don’t publicize something as a” fait a complete” until everything is signed off by the government.

    • Cathy

      I agree with you that the City’s legal team leaves much to be desired. But I don’t agree that appeasement is the answer.

    • Bruce Leigh

      Do you honestly believe that in the absence of the ICBL that the host of applications for super high rise buildings would not have ended up at the OLT anyway. The City and each applicant would have been miles apart in their negotiations. At least the ICBL gave the City almost 2 years of breathing room. Whether or not the breathing room helped or not is a different question

      I agree with Cathy. Appeasement has never ever won the day. Ask Neville Chamberlain. The City must continue to contest this matter and seek a ministerial order.

  • James

    Nobody screwed anybody over, major planning policy changes like the removal of an Urban Growth Centre designation take time. To her credit, she got the ball rolling, but it’s not a done deal yet. The Mayor should have known better, she has been around long enough to know that political statements and campaign promises are not policy. They bear no weight. Until formal policy declares otherwise, Downtown Burlington is still the Urban Growth Centre, and the new Official Plan won’t come into effect for many years to come. Sure changes are coming eventually, but publicly stoking the fires of false hope and prematurely declaring victory against development to effectively launch her re-election bid was a big mistake on her part, and why we now see her backpedaling, expressing her shock and devastation.

    • Don Fletcher

      I really like your boldness & what you have to say about transparency. What’s your surname, James?

  • Watch the January 2020 Public meeting. The Mayor absolutely refused to entertain the issue put before oouncil by ourselves and others that MPP McKenna had opened the door to moving the UGC in July 2018 and the Mayor et al were not acting as they were told to, in order to move the UGC. This failure to pick up on the published commitment made by McKenna we read into the public meeting record lies in the Mayor’s hands who since 2017 had been working on the illusion that she and she alone was tbe saviour of the downtown in terms of tall buildings. The council record on tnis is clear as it is with the refusal to grant appropriate exemptions from the control by-law. It has been very clear for years now that taxpayers have been the victim of Meed Ward’s career plans.

    • Cathy

      The comment is inaccurate. The MPP only offered to remove the “mobility hub”. The UGC was never offered and it”s the bigger prize, with much greater allowances for housing density.

      Removing the MTSA from the downtown would have counted for nothing.

      The city had to do the hard work of developing a justification for moving the UGC boundaries, which required much more than a simple council vote and a request of the Minister (which would have led to a fast and permanent, no)

      • Cathy is changing the facts a common practice to hide the truth. Jane McKenna in her Spring 2019 publication, read into the record of the Jan 2020 Public Meeting, clearly set out the steps to move the UGC and remove the MST..

        • Cathy

          Thank you for this reminder. I tracked down Jane McKenna’s statement here:

          Her statement confirms everything I have been saying. The MTSA can be removed, but the UGC boundary change “would need to be approved by the Ontario government as part of the approval of Halton Region’s official plan amendment” . No guarantees offered by the government that they would permit the boundary change.

          The MPP outlined the process the city has since been following, bringing us to present day. The city set to work to provide a rationale for the UGC boundary change. The Region reviewed the city’s request and confirmed it was consistent with provincial policies, updating the Region’s OP. Now, everything rests on the Minister’s approval.

          I sincerely don’t get your outrage and your baseless charge that “the Mayor et al were not acting as they were told to”. The evidence shows otherwise.

  • Don Fletcher

    Sadly, this saga seems to revolve around planners like Kyle Plas & Todd Evershed, and Mayor Marianne Meed Ward. Is there not a few levels of management in between, such as Executive Director of Planning Heather MacDonald & City Manager Tim Commisso who need to be accountable and bear the consequences for yet another amateur and costly performance at the OLT? Seriously, Burlington might have been better off had we been merged with Oakville, as entertained a few years ago.