Real Estate was on a tear through all of 2021. Low inventory is driving prices

By Staff

January 19th, 2022



Real Estate was on a tear through all of 2021.

Data for December, compiled by the Rocca Sisters, paints a rosy picture for the sell side.

This month we saw another record breaking average sale price of $1,395,564 up 22.4% December 2020-21. During the month of December properties sold for 114.73% of the listed price, just about a 15% increase over last year.

Properties sold in an average of 10 days compared to 19 days the same month last year. Inventory continues to be historically low and a chronic challenge in our marketplace for buyers. The lack of supply and strong demand has continued to drive prices.

Residential data for Burlington.

The condo market closed 2021 with a bang! The average price paid for a condo apartment unit in December was $696,000. Condo apartments sold for 105.87% of the listed price in December, up over last year about 5%. Average days on market were 17 days versus 30 days in December 2020. Supply & demand continue to drive the prices. Taking the opportunity to downsize now, getting an investment property (expanding your investment portfolio) or leaping into the market for your first time would be a very wise investment right now. Downsizers, investors and first time buyers continue to drive this market and will continue well into the new year.

The condo market in Burlington saw year over year increase of 47.1% .

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Rivers on Omicron: the Mild Variant that has re-shaped health care world wide

By Ray Rivers

January 19th, 2022



COVID, since day one of the pandemic, has had a stigma attached to it.  Unless one was a resident in congregate living or a front-line worker at a health centre, school, factory or grocery store, catching COVID was because of carelessness.

Omicron has changed all that.  The virus has spread so extensively and quickly that probably one in three people you know can now claim to have had symptoms; mostly a mild cold if they had been appropriately vaccinated.  Instead of being ashamed people are beginning to wear COVID, almost, like a badge of honour.

Was the Omicron variant of Covid19 a glimpse of what the public was going to have to face for years ?

And that is sad because the latest variant has filled our hospitals and shut down elective surgery.  As we hit 4000 admissions with 600 in the ICU and 40 people a day dying, it should be clear that the term ‘mild’ is just so inappropriate.   While the new variant seems to be taking aim at younger people, it is still taking a toll on more vulnerable seniors.

4000 admissions a day is a lot of hospital beds.  To that end, the federal government has purchased some $300 million worth of field hospital units, which could be quickly assembled.

Something like this was erected near Burlington’s Jo Brant hospital earlier in the epidemic.  But these kits are mostly still sitting in a warehouse waiting for hospitals to have enough staff to use them.  And that is the problem.  COVID, particularly this latest variant not only has filled beds but it is also emptying the wards of sick and overworked staff who would attend to those beds.

There have been a number of articles published recently querying Canada’s health care system.  Of course, it really is 13 provincial/territorial systems delivering health care under the auspices of the federal government and the Canada Health Act.  The Act gives us universal care and a single insurer.

The bottom line, when all is said and done, is that Canada’s health care compares favourably with other nations, even during COVID.  We’re not the lowest cost per capita, but still operate at a lower cost per capita than Germany, Sweden and a host of other European nations.  And besides enjoying better health outcomes, Canadians spend less than half what our southern neighbours do.

Health care had become a political football

Critics like the Fraser Institute, a right wing think tank, will never be content with a single payer public health system.  Yet they fail to appreciate that the private sector is more involved in delivering health care (30%) here than in many other nations.

We have privatized the delivery of diagnostic, hernia repair, colonoscopy, cardiac care and other aspects – taking these services out of the hospitals and into private clinics, though they are still covered by our single payer insurance.

Politicians seeking election always promise to add more hospital beds, as Mr. Ford did last election.  It’s as if more beds is some kind of panacea – will fix what is wrong with the system.  But beds only work if there is staff to care for the people in those beds.  And that situation has only got worse with this pandemic.  When 20-30% of nursing staff are home sick and unable to work, and many are so burned out they are leaving the profession, we have a real problem.

At the beginning of the epidemic lawn signs seemed to be popping up everywhere thanking our front-line heroes for their tireless efforts to save us.   But not everyone felt that way.  In Alberta, as the second wave was receding, Jason Kenny determined in his mind that it was all over and decided to fire 11,000 health care workers.   Then, as if to add insult to injury, he set out to roll wages back by 3%.

Kenny, buoyed with false optimism, also lifted all public health restrictions, making Alberta a living example of the real wild west.  A crisis of his own making ensued as the virus surged back with a vengeance collapsing Alberta’s health care system and swamping its hospitals with sick and dying.  In the end he had to call in the feds to bail the province out.

Nurses were being pushed to the limit and felt they weren’t getting the support they needed. The burnout rate was very high.

And it wasn’t just Alberta.  The Ford government in Ontario has a philosophical problem with unions, but especially those in the broader public sector.  So Ford introduced Bill 124 to cap all public service salaries at an annual 1% increase, even as inflation has recently climbed to almost 5%.  Is it any wonder that nurses in this province are now in full flight to better paying jobs?

Long term care (LTC) in Ontario, and across much of the country, is an idea badly in need of re-invention.  Ontario is losing Minister Rod Phillips, who some consider the most/only competent minister in Ford’s government, providing we forgive him for breaking COVID rules and flying south in the midst of a nasty wave of COVID in the province.  Still, he had brought in some accountability, such as re-introducing the spot inspections of facilities, which Mr. Ford had cancelled soon after becoming premier.

But it’ll take more than that to fix LTC for our seniors, including facilitating people staying longer in their homes, if at all feasible.  And it will take national standards which the feds have promised.  Indeed a national LTC act with appropriate federal funding would be an excellent companion to what the feds have initiated at the other end of the age scale with child care… and, of course, the Canada Health Act itself.

Canadians overwhelmingly support our universal, single payer health care system, with some surveys running as high as 86% approval.  But it could always be made better.  We could add pharmacare, for example, something the previous provincial government in Ontario had been moving towards.  We could put more effort into reducing wait times for elective surgery, especially in geographically remote places where specialists are difficult to find.

And we could start to treat our health care front-line workers, and especially nursing staff, with the respect they deserve.  We should pay them what they are worth and maybe start putting up those ‘thank you’ signs again.

Ray Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was a candidate for provincial office in Burlington where he ran against Cam Jackson in 1995, the year Mike Harris and the Common Sense Revolution swept the province. He developed the current policy process for the Ontario Liberal Party.


Background links”

Health Stats –     The Debate –      More Funding –      Fed Mobile Hospitals

Rod Phillips –     Nurses –     Polling on Health Care –      National LTC Standards

Canada vs USA –      Canada VS USA –    Staff Shortages –    Staff Quitting


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Blanchard street residents find several feet of snow at the end of a driveway they shoveled out the night before

By Staff

January 18th, 2022


This is a problem that has plagued seniors for some time.

When packed down this is very hard snow to remove

After shoveling for hours yesterday, a Blanchard resident was faced with a four foot bank of snow across the driveway this morning. The other side of the street had nothing. This wall is down the entire South side of the street. The resident cannot remove this hardened wall of compacted snow and is unable to leave the driveway should the need arise.

A disappointing scene after shoveling out the driveway.

This has been an ongoing issue over the years but none as bad as this.

They have sent off emails and pictures to the mayor, and public works.

“I want the city to clean this up! Now!”

The solution might be to turn to your neighbours for the needed help.


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COVID-19 Outbreak Expanded to Additional Inpatient Unit at Joseph Brant Hospital  

By Staff

January 18th, 2022



The COVID-19 outbreak that was declared on Unit 4 North 700 (4N700) on January 12 has extended to an additional unit, 5 North 400 (5N400), as of January 17.

Prior to that there was an outbreak on the 6th floor.

Three additional patients and four healthcare workers have now tested positive for COVID-19. These new infections are associated with the original outbreak on 4N700 that infected five patients.

Joseph Brant Hospital’s Infection Prevention and Control team and Employee Health Services are ensuring all patients on the unit, along with staff and physicians who have been or may have been exposed, are being contacted, monitored, tested as required and self-isolating in keeping with Public Health guidelines.

Patients on the unit are in isolation as of January 17 and will receive instructions on home self-isolation requirements when being discharged from the hospital. 5N400 is closed to new patient admissions. In addition, Essential Care Providers (ECPs) and visitors are not permitted in the unit, with limited exceptions as determined by the nurse manager. ECPs are asked to speak to the care team with questions around access to the unit. Patients can still connect with their loved ones by telephone and video – both telephone and WiFi are available at JBH at no cost.

Joseph Brant Hospital is advising anyone who may have recently visited 5N400 to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. Please consult the Halton Region website for more information if you are experiencing symptoms or had exposure to someone who is COVID-19 positive or experiencing symptoms.

JBH is monitoring the situation closely and will continue to work with Halton Region Public Health to bring a safe end to the outbreak as soon as possible. Patients or loved ones who have questions or concerns can contact a member of the care team or JBH Patient Relations team at 905-632-3737 ext. 4949 or by email








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Open Letter from the Halton Members of Parliament to Catholic Trustees

By Pepper Parr

January 18th, 2022



The four Members of Parliament who represent the people of Halton wrote an Open Letter to the Trustees of the Halton District Catholic School Board.  The contents of that letter are set out below.

Dear Trustees,

On January 18th you will have an opportunity to vote on whether you will allow your schools to raise the Pride Flag this June.  From a group of one elected officials to another we understand the seriousness in which you take this vote and the role that your convictions play in determining how you will side.

Next week, you can act to show the 37,000 students that you teach that the Halton Catholic District School Board embraces diversity, celebrates love, and recognizes the community’s desire to officially embrace the 25LGBTQ+ members of your schools.

In 2016, the Pride Flag was flown for the first time on Parliament Hill. Some of us were there that day to celebrate this important milestone for Canada and the 25LGBTQ+ community. The simple act of raising the rainbow flag made an enormous difference in the lives of the advocates who fought for this ceremony to take place. It told them that their country supports them, that their country loves them, and that their country needs their voice at the highest levels of political leadership. You can send the same message to the students, their parents, and your staff, that the HCDSB supports them, loves them and that they are called to shape the future of their community.

To quote your colleague Trustee Agnew, “(you) have a chance to be leaders, champions if you will, of the future, of amazing things to come.”

On January 18th you have a chance to stand up for change. As the federally elected representatives for Halton, we express our unwavering support in favour of raising the flag.

Thank you for taking time to consider our request.


Honourable Anita Anand, MP Oakville     Honourable Karina Gould, MP, Burlington

Pam Damoff, MP, Oakville-North Burlington          Adam VanKoeverden, MP, Milton

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Council gets lauded for being leaders at community engagement - then goes mute when the biggest development the city has seen in some time is in front of them

By Pepper Parr

January 17th, 2022


Council has been holding a number of Closed session meetings – all kinds of litigation taking place.

What perplexes a number of people is the way the City Clerk words the motions that are used to make holding a Closed session legal. That is shown in the agenda as:  “Confidential update on a litigation matter”; a polite question would be – which litigation matter? – the public has no idea which matter they are talking about.

Providing the address of the property isn’t giving away any secrets and the public at least knows something is taking place.

All the public learns is that: Pursuant to section 239(2)(e) of the Municipal Act, litigation or potential litigation, including matters before administrative tribunals, affecting the municipality or local board.

This is what you have now …..

Of current concern are the plans for the redevelopment of the Waterfront Hotel site,  2020 Lakeshore Road.  This is a very contentious development – quite why the members of city council go along with the city legal Counsel and the Clerk holding their cards so close to their chest, at the same time telling the world that they have the best community engagement record in the country, is what is referred to as talking out of both sides of your mouth.  This of course gets done with the blessing of the city manager who appears to like things that way.

The practice is for Council to come out of Closed session and announce a Staff Direction which goes something like this: the Executive Director of Legal Services is directed to do what was agreed upon in the closed session.

Sometimes, rarely, Council will then go into Open session and there will be discussion about what took place in the Closed session.

…this is what the developer has in mind. They have submitted their development application – city planners say it isn’t complete.

As a reporter, I’ve always wondered why the Chairs of the Standing Committees don’t have the courage to  stand up and report to the public what took place.

Last week, after lengthy Closed session (it started at 1:00 pm and ended at 6:35 pm) Council reverted to an Open session and for a moment it looked as if they were going to say something publicly about what had taken place.  Mayor Meed Ward certainly expected something would be made public and something to the effect that the motion was written to allow something to be said.

Councillor Galbraith and the Committee Clerk didn’t have the same understanding – the Mayor said she would let it go to the Council meeting later in the month.

So we will hear what is happening to the development application for 2020 Lakeshore Road, the Waterfront Hotel Development site, that has been sent to the Planning department, at the next council meeting.

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking on the amount of time the city has to respond to the development application. If they don’t do so within the required time-frame the matter goes to the Ontario Land Tribunal – and we all know what happens there.


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Snow Event declared for Jan. 17, 2022 – On-street parking cancelled

By Staff

January 17th, 2022



To allow snow removal equipment room to clear roads safely and quickly, all on-street parking has been suspended.

During a Snow Event when accumulation is more than 7.5 cm, road clearing updates can be found by visiting

It is important for people to know that a declared Snow Event does not automatically mean all City facilities are closed or programs are cancelled.

On occasion a program may be cancelled when facilities remain open. For instance, if staff are unable to travel safety to the program location. When this occurs, all efforts will be made to contact the participants in advance when possible.

Snow Clearing Service Levels

Snow Event declared

Primary and Secondary roads are addressed as soon as snow starts to accumulate.

Residential roads are cleared after snow reaches 7.5 cm of accumulation. Residential roads are not maintained to bare pavement but are sanded as required at intersections, hills and sharp curves to enhance traction.

All sidewalks are plowed after 5 cm of accumulation and salted or sanded as required.

Heavy snowfalls or successive storms can sometimes extend road clearing to longer than 24 hours. Please be patient as our crews work to clear the busiest streets first.

The City is not responsible for clearing windrows left on driveways when the plow passes. If you think you will need help clearing the windrow, please make arrangements such as speaking with your neighbours, family members or hire a contractor.
Parking During the Winter

When a Snow Event is declared, there is no parking on any city streets until the Snow Event has been declared over. The City thanks residents for their cooperation to move their vehicles off city streets to help with snow clearing operations. Residents who park their cars on streets blocking snow removal could be faced with a $120 parking ticket or be towed.

All existing parking exemptions are also invalid during Snow Events.

Snow Events and parking restrictions are announced through the City’s social media.

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Pride flag issues bedevil the Catholic School Board - federal MP's write an Open Letter

By Pepper Parr

January 16th, 2022



Tuesday of this week the Halton District Catholic School (HDCSB) Board will hear delegations related to raising a Pride flag and a Student Senate survey.

The Catholic school board has consistently resisted requests for a Pride flag outside any of their schools whereas the public school boar raises the Pride flag outside every school.  City Hall also raises the Pride flag outside city hall on appropriate occasions.

Burlington city council has allocated up to $10,000 per instantiation for Rainbow Crosswalks in every ward of the city.

The Catholic Student Senate is made up of three or four students from each high school plus the three student Trustees.

In their delegation the student senate asks that:

Our vision has been particularly informed by a desire to fight for equity and inclusion of all students in our schools. In times of increasing isolation, we recognize the importance of ensuring that all students feel welcome in our schools.

Our vision is to ensure that through the affirmation of the human dignity that our schools become a place where all students feel like they can achieve, believe, and belong.

We wish to not only highlight the voices of students that have historically been marginalized in our communities but ensure that we model Christlike leadership in our efforts to create an environment of compassion, kindness, humility, and faith at the HCDSB.

In a survey done by the Student Senate 70% of students responding want the Pride flag to be raised;

How strongly do you support the flying of pride flag in schools? (1 being strongly opposed, 5 being strongly in favour)

Approx. 6% of students responded strongly opposed

Approx. 8% of students responded opposed

4% of students responded neither opposed nor in favour
Approx. 15% of students responded in
Approx. 70% of students responded strongly in

As for the motion to raise the Pride flag – 11 delegations – 9 in favour.

This is an issue that is not going to go away.

Adding to what is a school board issue is the releasing of an Open Letter on Friday from the four area Members of Parliament (all Liberals) asking the Trustees to consider supporting the motion from the students.

In part, the four Members of Parliament wrote:

Next week, you can act to show the 37,000 students that you teach that the Halton Catholic District School Board embraces diversity, celebrates love, and recognizes the community’s desire to officially embrace the 2SLGBTQ+ members of your schools.

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Dress Warmly: Top 5 Ideas for a Fun Winter in Burlington

By Amy Hogan

January 14th, 2022



Winter in all its glory

In countries and cities where winter is in all its glory, it is impossible to deny yourself the pleasure of having fun, enjoying a huge amount of entertainment, and the beauty of nature. Burlington is one such place.

Well, a huge number of people strive to go on vacation to warm regions to bask in the sun, lie on the white beaches and rent Ferrari Dubai to ride at full speed to the main attractions. Especially considering that rental services are in demand today more than ever and everyone can rent even a dream sports car for a reasonable price.

However, many locals are in no hurry to buy air tickets. Here you can find a lot of entertainment that will appeal to every person, both young and old. The only condition is to dress warmly so that, standing in the cold, you do not hasten to return home as soon as possible.

In this article, we’ll show you how to have fun in this wonderful city.

Many people often cannot stay at home for a long time, even though it is always warm and cozy there. Many people crave adventure and active pastimes.

Pack warm clothes and go towards new achievements. Before visiting the chosen place, make sure that entertainment will be available for visiting during the pandemic.

Snowboarding in the winter is a challenge.

If you enjoy spending time actively with your friends or family, then you should go to Glen Eden. Here you can experience the drive and extreme as much as possible, as well as enjoy the winter beauty of the surrounding area.

Don’t know how to ski or snowboard? No problem. Here you will easily learn everything you need to know about winter sports. If you go here with children, then you have a great opportunity to instill in them a love of active sports. Qualified professionals will take you under their wing and teach you everything you need to know.

People who have already snowboarded or skied more than once will be able to truly enjoy the number of slopes of an increased level of difficulty.

If sport is not for you, then you have a great opportunity to just come here and ride tubing on safe slopes, where nothing will threaten your health. Happy smiles and laughter are guaranteed to you!

Walks in the winter snow – something that is basic in Burlington on the Escarpment

In such a great city, it is not necessary to take part in energetic activities. Many people can truly enjoy a stroll through the breathtaking scenic spots. Lovers of a quiet pastime can go for a walk along the huge number of hiking trails that are laid throughout the city.

You get the opportunity to explore the most untrodden places that you might not have seen, even if you have lived here your whole life. Surprisingly, there are so many striking places where you can spend weeks exploring your city and the surrounding area.

You can choose trails for a stroll or those that go up steep slopes and hills, trails that are considered difficult for beginner hikers. Many go for these bike rides, but you will find that you will stop every few minutes to enjoy and admire the charming view.

Put out a bird feeder and spend hours watching dozens of different types of bird dive down to feed. Watch the Blue Jays push the Cardinals away,

Burlington is renowned for being home to a large number of rare birds. Near Lake Ontario, where a large concentration of birds has been recorded, you will get the opportunity to see them with your own eyes.

Sometimes it even happens that the rarest species of birds catch the eye of the most ordinary inhabitants who explore this area. While professional bird watchers can research for many hours in anticipation of a desired species of bird, you may become an unwitting participant in such an event.

This is a great way to instill in your children a love for nature and all amazing species of animals.

Located in a mountainous area, you cannot deny yourself the pleasure of climbing a cliff in this city. This activity can be done throughout the year at any time. However, in the winter, you can see the beauty that you will not see in the summer. Snow-capped mountain cliffs, a beautiful view of the city, as well as a lot of positive emotions and adrenaline await you.

Those for whom easy tasks seem boring can truly enjoy climbing in winter. Since in the cold there are special difficulties that must be overcome with the help of your professionalism, skills, and ingenuity.

You don’t necessarily need to travel to other countries to find entertainment. Burlington has a ton of fun activities ranging from active to restful. Head to the slopes for skiing or snowboarding or opt for a relaxing time enjoying and exploring nature. In any case, you will be satisfied.






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Ford loses a key Minister: Phillips resigns - didn't want to run for re-election in June

By Pepper Parr

January 14th, 2022



Is this the beginning of the downfall of a provincial government?

In a major pre-election setback for Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives, Long-Term Care Minister Rod Phillips is retiring from politics.

Phillips, a key cabinet minister who has represented Ajax since 2018, announced Friday he would not be running in the June 2 election.

“I have spoken with Premier Ford and with Brian Patterson, president of the Ontario PC Party, to inform them of my decision not to seek re-election and to step down next month as the MPP for Ajax,” Phillips, 56, said in a written statement.

Phillips was a big hitter who many thought would return to a more senior Ministry after his trip to the wood shed after returning from that trip to the sunny south.

Some will conclude that Phillips became fed up with a Premier that doesn’t appear to be able to lead.

Are there others?

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Changes in the Downtown Terminal opening hours

By Staff

January 14th, 2022



Starting Monday, Jan. 17, 2022, the Downtown Terminal opening hours will be

  • 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday
  • 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursdays and
  • 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on the last Saturday of the month

Customer service can be reached in person at the Downtown Terminal, 430 John St., by phone at 905-639-0550 or by email at

This service level follow policies and protocols in place to prioritize the health and safety of our staff and our residents.  We ask for your patience and understanding.


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Ward 5 Councillor speaks out on the Regional Growth projections

By Paul Sharman

January 14th, 2022


The following response to residents of Burlington who have emailed City Council members regarding the potential increase in urban boundaries in Milton and Halton Hills.

Thank you for your email regarding release of land for housing in the new Region Official Plan leading to 2051. I respect and understand your concerns. I and my Burlington Council colleagues have received hundreds of emails from Halton residents in response to the campaign initiated concerned residents. I am only addressing this subject from the perspective of Burlington in this response.

Nothing in the Region will be able to open up – maybe next week.

Both Region and City members of Council are committed to maintain rural Burlington as it is. There are no plans to allow housing in our rural lands other than as is currently permitted. Release of land is proposed by the Region in Milton and the Halton Hills only, not Burlington.

Official Plans (OP) have extensive analysis and regulations to ensure existing protection remains in place. You will find OP details for Burlington here

This is a challenging issue for us all. There are a number of factors that have to be considered:

The first is that the Region of Halton is obliged to craft a plan that satisfies the province’s 1.1m population requirement by 2051.

The second is that the Region must provide substantiation that the plan will satisfy market demand. Scenarios 3a and 3b, which have been considered, provided for significantly greater % of apartment units and very few ground oriented homes than other scenarios and could not satisfy the market test. Indeed, the recent preferred scenario is barely representative of anticipated demand. Keep in mind that Canadian dream is to live in a house with a garage and a yard, as you will understand. The preferred solution is a compromise.

Hwy 407 and Dundas Street are the northern boundaries for development in Burlington. The Alton community would never have come into being were it not for the building of the 407 highway. That decision opened up land that was part of rural Burlington. Alton Village is bounded by the 407, Walkers Line on the west and Appleby Line on the east with Dundas making up the southern boundary.

The third is that because Burlington is essentially built out, we receive all residual population growth that cannot be accommodated in Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills in what ever scenario is selected. In scenario 3a and 3b, that would mean in excess of 80,000 new residents moving into Burlington by 2051, like it or not.

Because Burlington is essentially already built out, under scenario 3b, Burlington will have no other choice but to to accommodate about 90% of new residents in 200/300 mid to high rise apartment buildings.

That would happen in 5 strategic growth areas of Appleby GO, Burlington GO, Aldershot GO, Up Town (Upper Middle Road and Appleby Line) and Downtown Burlington.  We do not know what the distribution of those apartment buildings will be yet, but it certainly means significant densification of all five locations. It creates a tenuous outlook for all five, including downtown, by the standards of most Burlington residents.

The preferred scenario; 1) satisfies Provincial tests to accommodate foreseeable market demand, providing homes for a small number of families who wish to live in a home with a backyard and a garage. That means the Province will likely approve the plan, but not 3a or 3b; 2) increases the number of people who will live in newly constructed apartments representing about 60% across the Region, but more like 90% in the City of Burlington, which is essentially what you are advocating for. Reducing the Burlington allocation to 70,200 population lowers the number of apartment buildings by 25 to 37.5 buildings,  providing a bit of a breather to the community. Please take a moment to visualize what the Burlington skyline, living conditions and congestion is likely to become, even under the preferred scenario.

Keep in mind, this plan follows the 2018 election when the people of Burlington spoke out clearly that they do not wish to see “over intensification” of their hometown. It is not what anyone wanted.

In any event, the City will experience increasing numbers of apartments not only between now and 2051 but even more for years too come. The same will be true for the other Halton municipalities. The preferred scenario simply delays inevitable further densification of Halton.

I will be pleased to discuss this with you if that will help.


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GWD Foundation for Kids gifts $3.42 million to Burlington Foundation

By Staff

January 13th, 2022



The GWD Foundation for Kids announced a $3.42 million major gift that will continue the legacy established by  supporting the education, health, development and betterment of challenged children, youth, and their families.

After 21 years of supporting philanthropic work through The GWD Foundation for Kids, Gary W. DeGroote and his fellow trustees, are deepening their relationship with Burlington Foundation entrusting the respected organization to serve as good stewards ensuring that this generous donation endures in the community for generations to come.

Since 2001, The GWD Foundation for Kids has provided over $1.945 million in gifts to several charitable organizations effecting positive change on the lives of thousands of young people in our communities.

“The GWD Foundation for Kids is focused on breaking down financial barriers and nurturing the dreams of our children and youth, empowering them to be all that they can be,” says Gary W. DeGroote. “I am incredibly grateful to my fellow trustees, Joseph C. Monaco, Keith Strong, Rob MacIsaac, Devin DeGroote, and our financial advisor from RBC, Kevin Walker, for their passion and commitment over the past two decades and look forward to Burlington Foundation now guiding and stewarding the legacy that we began.”

Since its inception in 1999, Burlington Foundation has been dedicated to supporting the health and wellness of vulnerable children and youth, helping to establish pathways to success for our young people.

“With the unified goal of ensuring a better, brighter future for all children and youth, we are honoured to receive this significant gift of $3.42 million from The GWD Foundation for Kids,’ says Colleen Mulholland, President and CEO, Burlington Foundation. “We are privileged to draw on our expertise, knowledge and community relationships to ensure that positive outcomes are realized, forever.”


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Sweetgrass to be the name of the former Ryerson Park

By Pepper Parr

January 14th, 2022


Ryerson Park was to be renamed.

Egerton Ryerson was no longer in fashion and the Mayor saw merit in renaming the park, which was adjacent to the elementary school of the same name.

Based on a Motion brought to the Standing committee, the recommendation was to approve Sweetgrass Park as the new name for the park formally called Ryerson.

In July of 2021 council supported a Motion Memorandum from the Mayor which included the following staff direction:

Direct the Director of Recreation, Community and Culture to initiate the renaming process for Ryerson Park in keeping with our naming policies, ensuring equity, diversity and inclusion is reflected in the new name, and report back to committee with a recommendation for a new name by November 2021.

Staff completed a three-phase engagement process with the Community and worked with a small group comprised of the Chair of the Inclusivity Committee,

Stephen Paquette

Stephen Paquette, resident and Indigenous elder, ward Councillor Shawna Stolte, and Denise Beard, Manager of Community Development were named to the committee to review community suggestions.  The Trustee for the ward also attended the meeting to observe the process.

Using the Naming of Corporate Assets Policy, the small group reviewed the policy to determine which criteria would be weighted higher than other items. For example, the group felt that a name that reflected a sense of place and supports diversity and inclusivity, was more significant than honoring a person, persons, a family group living or deceased who have made a significant contribution to the community.

A field of sweetgrass

After coming to consensus of the evaluation matrix, and streamlining the list of names to remove duplications, or names that violated the policy, each member of the small team completed an individual rating and ranking of the suggested names.

At a consensus meeting the small group supported the following themes

Head of the Lake Park

Unity Park

Truth and Reconciliation Park

It was through that discussion that Stephen suggested a pause to consult with an Indigenous linguist to see if there was an appropriate Indigenous word that might best reflect the theme.  Also, during the same discussion, Paquette educated the group on “Sweetgrass”, one of the sacred medicines to many First Nations. It is used as a purification medicine in ceremony to purify ourselves and to heal.

Single strands are not very strong but when woven together the grass is very strong.

Many indigenous communities weave baskets out of sweetgrass

The planting and use of sweetgrass is widespread by most Indigenous cultures in this area. This transcendence and the use of sweetgrass resonated with the group.

After the meeting Stephen sought the advice of an Indigenous linguist to find the right word.  Sweetgrass was added to the list of names.

Community voting took place through the Get Involved page on the city web site. Over 1,600 votes were cast by Burlington residents.

The results are:

Heat map showing where the cotes for the new park name came from.

Name Percentage of Votes

Head of the Lake Park 16.1%

Unity Park 39%

Truth and Reconciliation Park 5%

Sweetgrass Park 40%

Committee had many options to consider:

  1. Use the most voted name by the community which supports the community engagement process.
  2. Combine the most popular names for example – Sweetgrass Unity Park.
  3. Give the park the same as the recently announced re-named school

Ryerson Public school has been renamed Makwendam Public School.

Makwendam Public School. Pronounced muck-kwen-dum, the Indigenous word for “to remember” in the Anishinaabemowin language.” This would provide consistency between the two properties but did not honour the public engagement process.

Replacement signage reflective of the truth and reconciliation – speaking about the past and why the name change and the City’s aspirations for Truth and Reconciliation by re-naming the park – would cost about $5,000.

Despite creating the system of publication education in Ontario Egerton Ryerson has been set aside to make room for a much needed change in the public acceptance to the damage done at residential schools operated for the most part by Christian churches

Staff are also looking at the installation of a medicine wheel or healing circle in the park as well as sweetgrass plantings. Staff have had some preliminary discussions with a potential donor to support the capital investment for the medicine wheel or healing circle. The donor would look for their donation to be matched by the City.

More than 500 suggestions were submitted; once whittled down to four names, the community cast over 1,600 votes



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Second COVID19 outbreak at Joseph Brant Hospital

By Staff

January 13th, 2022



An outbreak has been declared on Unit 4 North 700 (4N700) at Joseph Brant Hospital (JBH) after five patients tested positive for COVID-19.

All appropriate precautions have been taken to ensure the safety of patients, Essential Care Providers (ECPs), staff and physicians.

This is the second Covid19 outbreak announced by the hospital in the past ten days.

Joseph Brant Hospital’s Infection Prevention and Control team and Employee Health Services are ensuring all patients on the unit, along with staff and physicians who have been or may have been exposed, are being contacted, monitored, tested as required and self-isolating in keeping with Public Health guidelines. Patients on the unit are in isolation as of January 11 and have been instructed to continue the 10-day self-isolation when discharged from hospital.

A number of enhanced safety measures are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the safety of patients, staff and physicians. This includes closing 4N700 to new patient admissions. In addition, ECPs are no longer permitted to enter the unit except under exceptional circumstances in consultation with the patient’s care team. Patients can still connect with their loved ones by telephone and video – both telephone and WiFi are available at no cost.

JBH is monitoring the situation closely and will continue to work closely with Halton Region Public Health to bring a safe end to the outbreak as soon as possible. Patients or loved ones who have questions or concerns can contact a member of the JBH Patient Relations team at 905-632-3737 ext. 4949 or by email

Related news story

Covid19 outbreak on unit 6 SOUTH at JBH

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Home Builders Association looks forward to working with city on inclusionary zoning - making homes available to all income levels

By Mike Collins-Williams

January 13th, 2022



The West End Home Builders’ Association is very pleased to participate in the City’s Housing Strategy Working Group. I’ve been very encouraged by the discussions from this diverse group who bring different life and professional experience to the table.

I want to open my comments by acknowledging the housing challenges we face not just in Burlington, but across this entire metropolitan region that is the fastest growing area in North America. In fact – numbers were just released that Canada grew by over 400,000 people in 2021 and for the first time in Canadian history – Canada’s population growth exceeded that of the United States – a country 9 times larger.
Understandably, most of the new growth is coming to Vancouver and the GTA – and we here in Burlington are experiencing the pressures of this growth and the escalating cost of housing due to the inability of housing supply to keep up with demand.

There is no silver bullet solution to the housing crisis. We all need to work together – The private sector, the non-profit sector and all three levels of government. I strongly believe that this is the most important opportunity to develop the effective partnerships we all need to successfully address the housing crisis.

I am happy to be here today to talk about one planning tool that is available to us – and that is inclusionary zoning.

I’m happy to see the time and energy Burlington is investing to analyze housing options intended to promote much needed public policy adjustments through the Housing Strategy. I am here to say to you today as the CEO of the West End Home Builders’ Association that we support the development of mixed income communities, and we are supportive of the use of inclusionary zoning as a planning tool – but we need to make sure it’s done right and within the context of a comprehensive and achievable housing strategy.

There are over 800 examples of inclusionary zoning across North America – some jurisdictions have well designed policy frameworks that support the construction of new affordable units without placing the burden of costs onto the other buyers or renters through cross subsidization… while other jurisdiction have models that don’t effectively generate much of any affordable housing, and others thrust the entire cost of the program onto other purchasers

If Burlington’s Housing Strategy cares about providing housing in Burlington for all income levels, then we as a society have an undeniable role to play. We must collectively pay the costs of constructing affordable or subsidized housing options. This burden should not just be on new home buyers, but on everyone from a shared tax pool which can support the costs of an IZ program.

New first-time buyers of entry level condos near Burlington’s 3 GO Stations and renters absolutely should not be burdened with the entire cost of building affordable housing. Prices are already too high and asking first time home buyers to cover the cost of an affordable housing program is unequitable, unfair and socially irresponsible.

Our members have the knowledge, experience and capacity to build more housing – especially more transit-oriented and energy efficient multi-unit mid-and-high rise buildings in mixed income communities

surrounding Burlington’s GO Stations. This is a huge opportunity for the City of Burlington to partner with the private sector to provide affordable housing units that would otherwise not be built.

Here are a few suggestions for Council to consider as it researches and develops policy options:

Consider early in the policy development stage who will own, manage and maintain affordable units and administer an inclusionary zoning program. We recognize and appreciate that this was identified in Appendix A of the staff report.

As we are still in the earlier stages – we want to ensure that we don’t end up with an overly complex program with overwhelming administrative challenges. This is a particularly important consideration for the City of Burlington due to its size and the quantum of new affordable units that can reasonably be achieved.

I also want to highlight what type of housing inclusionary zoning can effectively deliver – I like to use the British term “workforce housing” – inclusionary zoning is not a silver bullet that can deliver either deeply affordable housing or supportive housing where additional services and financial support are required.

What inclusionary zoning can deliver, if designed properly, is key “workforce housing” within an affordability band just below where the market is today to provide a helping hand to folks that are struggling to get into the market.

As part of the Municipal Comprehensive Review currently underway and to assist the City’s efforts to satisfy its future growth requirements, the city also needs to consider and facilitate and environment that enables the City of Burlington to maximize the growth potential of its 3 PMTSAs.

Given the limited amount of MTSAs in the City, and the amount of growth likely to be allocated to the City, it is especially important to ensure that IZ units are “additive” to the supply that the market would provide in the absence of IZ.

Therefore – we need to ensure that an emphasis is placed on economic viability for those transit station areas under consideration in Burlington.

A poorly designed program won’t actually yield any affordable units and will increase the cost of entry level market-housing for first time buyers and renters.

A poorly designed program also runs the risk of causing Burlington to miss those targets and displace projected growth to other communities in other Burlington neighbourhoods or to adjacent communities that do not have the infrastructure necessary to support growth.

Any inclusionary zoning policy must be built as a true partnership and paired with offsets necessary to ensure the success of the program.

The industry is not seeking direct subsidies – but rather an intuitive partnership where the City of Burlington is not levying tens of thousands of dollars of costs through development charges, cash-in-lieu of parkland fees, underground parking requirements etc – on units that we are trying to ensure are affordable.

We need a partner to make this work – and we believe that with your help we can make this work to build more inclusive communities.

We are also hopeful that we can work together with the City of Burlington to leverage and potentially stack benefits through any provincial programs or through funds or low-interest CMHC loans that may be available from the Federal Government through the National Housing Strategy.

The more coordinated we are in our approach – the more benefits we can deliver.

I encourage Council members to review the case studies that are being generated. We should all have a good understanding of unsuccessful inclusionary zoning programs to understand the pitfalls of poorly designed programs.

We also need to pay attention to the case studies for comparable cities – Burlington is not Toronto, New York or San Francisco – we are not producing tens of thousands of units per year – nor do we have State programs like the 421A in New York where property taxes are waived entirely in rental buildings with affordable units or National programs like to Low Income Housing Tax Credit offered in the States – there are more senior level of government programs down there that can be combined into Inclusionary Zoning programs to support economic viability… I hope that is acknowledged as we move forward in Burlington to make sure we are working together to design an effective program.

I want to close by saying that in 2021, WE HBA has been pleased to see renewed collaboration between ourselves and the City. I sincerely appreciate my appointment to Burlington’s Housing Strategy Task Force and believe we are making positive progress. I am hopeful to continue in that positive direction and spirit of collaboration in any future work on Inclusionary Zoning.

Mike Collins-Williams is the CEO of West End Home Builders Association (WEHBA) .  He is a Registered Professional Planner and is a member of the  Burlington’s Housing Strategy Task Force

WEHBA is the organization that represents the interests of the construction and developer interests.

Related news story:

What is inclusionary zoning.

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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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What is Inclusionary Zoning and why should you care - it may be the only way some people every get to own a home

By Staff

January 13th, 2020



Burlington is going to hear a lot about Inclusionary Zoning. Most council members love the idea and the Mayor is going to make it a key plan in her re-election campaign. It might help if the public knew just what Inclusionary Zoning is.

What is Inclusionary Zoning?
Inclusionary zoning (IZ) is a policy tool available in many jurisdictions across Canada, the United States and beyond. Generally, Inclusionary Zoning is a policy tool that can be used to mandate or incentivize developers to provide affordable housing units. In Ontario, Inclusionary Zoning is a planning tool that enables municipalities to secure affordable housing units as prescribed in the Planning Act.

Section 16(4) of the Planning Act contains express permission for municipalities to implement Inclusionary Zoning under the provisions as outlined in Section 35.2 of the Planning Act. These provisions have existed since 2016, when the Province of Ontario passed the Promoting Affordable Housing Act, 2016 (through Bill 7). Since then, there have been a number of legislative and policy changes that have impacted the implementation of Inclusionary Zoning.

The Provincial Regulation for Inclusionary Zoning (Regulation 232/18) outlines what the City must address in its Official Plan policies for Inclusionary Zoning and the information that must be included in the Municipal Assessment Report. The Municipal Assessment Report must include information related to housing need and demand and the potential impacts of inclusionary zoning on the housing market and on the financial viability of development. Provincial legislation requires that the City update this report every 5 years.

On September 3, 2019, the Province of Ontario made changes to the legislation for inclusionary zoning through Bill 108, More Homes, More Choice Act. Based on this legislative framework, the Planning Act restricts where in a municipality Inclusionary Zoning can be applied to Protected Major Transit Station Areas and areas where a Community Planning Permit System has been ordered by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

Where can Inclusionary Zoning be Applied in Burlington?
In the City of Burlington, the Inclusionary Zoning policy tool can be applied in its three Protected Major Transit Station Areas (PMTSAs): Aldershot GO, Appleby Go and Burlington GO. These areas have been identified as PMTSAs through the approval of Regional Official Plan Amendment 48 by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and cannot be appealed.

Protected Major Transit Station Areas are a municipal tool that support higher order transit infrastructure around Major Transit Station Areas. The tool restricts appeals of certain required Official Plan policies and zoning such as transit-supportive densities and uses. The City of Burlington is now in the process of developing policies for these areas. Currently, the City of Burlington’s Housing Strategy project and MTSA project teams are working together to examine the use of Inclusionary Zoning in the Protected MTSAs. Should the findings of the Municipal Assessment Report determine that the use of the Inclusionary Zoning policy tool is feasible in one or more of Burlington’s PMS!’s the implementing Official Plan policies will be completed as part of the MTSA project by June 2022 with the Zoning Bylaw Amendments and other implementation strategies to follow at a later date.

Benefits and Limitations of Inclusionary Zoning
The primary benefit of Inclusionary Zoning is that it can contribute to the increased supply of housing that is affordable to a broader range of income levels while continuing to encourage market housing development by supporting a diverse range of housing supply to create a more inclusive, complete and equitable community. It also provides an opportunity to increase this supply without direct government funding.

The Inclusionary Zoning tool is limited in Ontario in that it can only be applied within PMTSAs where the Municipal Assessment Report demonstrates that the tool would be financially viable from a market perspective. The results of the Municipal Assessment Report could find that Inclusionary Zoning may not be an appropriate tool in one or all of Burlington’s PMTSAs from a market perspective; and may require phasing in over a longer period of time in order to account for and address market viability.

Further, there may be challenges regarding the resources required to implement and monitor the Inclusionary Zoning Official Plan and Zoning by-law policies as well as the management of the affordable units over the long term.


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Where is the snow plow now - city has an app that lets you know

  1. By Staff

January 12th, 2020



Residents can now use an online application to track the progress of snow clearing operations and see which streets have been recently been plowed, sanded or salted through the use of the Burlington Plow Tracker.

The Burlington Plow Tracker provides snow clearing updates using Automatic Vehicle Locating (AVL) technology to track the progress of the City’s plows as they maintain roads.

Now you can find out just where that plow is and when it might get to your street.

When plows pass over a road, the colour of the road on the map changes to indicate a plow is operating in the area. As the clean-up continues, roads throughout the city will change colour until all plowing is complete.

The Burlington Plow Tracker can be found at

Parking During the Winter

When a Snow Event is declared (when accumulation is 7.5 cm or more), there is no parking on any city streets until after the Snow Event has been declared over. The City thanks residents for their cooperation to move their vehicles off city streets to help with snow clearing operations. Residents who park their cars on streets blocking snow removal could be faced with a $120 parking ticket or be towed.

All existing parking exemptions are invalid during Snow Events.

Snow Events and parking restrictions are announced through the City’s social media as well as through Snow Control Updates which can be found at Snow Control Updates can also be emailed to any resident who subscribes.

To sign up for Snow Control Updates and other important notices, go to

 Enrico Scalera, Director of Roads, Parks and Forestry explains”  “The City’s snow clearing operations proceed on a priority system where busier roads such as Brant Street, Walkers Line, New Street and Upper Middle Road are addressed first, followed by secondary and local residential streets. Through the use of our new AVL system, we have the opportunity to increase oversight of our operations and improve the overall quality of services delivered to the residents of Burlington.”

Links and Resources

Snow clearing:

Direct link to Burlington Plow Tracker:


Media contact:
Jeff Crowder
Communications Advisor


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Chief Planner Heather MacDonald resigns - will continue to serve with a lighter load

By Pepper Parr

January 12th, 2022


It has been some time since a Burlington city council came even close to bringing tears to the eyes of the Chief Planner.  They themselves found the occasion quite a bit more emotional than they expected.

Well into a long day when council covered a lot of important ground City Manager Tim Commisso announced that Executive Director Heather MacDonald would be resigning.  The evening would be her last to take part in a Community Planning Regulation and Mobility Standing Committee meeting.

Heather MacDonald

Heather joined the city shortly after the election of the current council and had to work with council members who knew next to nothing about the planning process and what was involved in a development application.

Heather became a den mother to the five new members and served as a solid source of new knowledge for Councillor Sharman who said he had learned more about planning from Heather than any other planner he had met.

The imposition of an Interim Control bylaw, something that members of council didn’t even know existed, brought development in large parts of the city to an immediate halt.  It was a bylaw that could not be appealed and gave the city some breathing room to find a way to manage the development applications that were being filed.

Heather brought her skills, experience and network to bear on the problems Burlington faced at a critical time.

Handling the changes that were made to the 2018 Official Plan and working with the Region to bring that Plan into compliance with the Regional Plan was an opportunity to refine the plan and align it with the aspirations of the new council.

Heather brought her skills, experience and network to bear on the problem and in the process was able to fine tune in some situations and in others bring in substantial changes to what the 2014-2018 council had passed.

The Urban Growth Centre got moved north creating a significantly different development environment and opened up the opportunity to create the environment needed to develop in and around the GO stations that have been given new community names:  Burlington Junction; Aldershot Corners and Appleby Gateway.   Get used to them – those areas that may well become new municipal wards as the city goes through this growth stage that stretches out to 2051.

The report was a beginning of a different look at the downtown.

Heather was given an authority few Chief Planners get – to sole source a consulting contract that had a cap of $600,000.

One of the things Heather did that will be a lasting legacy for the city is the number of new people she brought into the Planning department.

MacDonald hired and nurtured dozens of planners that will serve this city well going forward.

Some of the most impressive talent I have seen in 50 years of covering municipal governments now work for the city.  Heather went looking for people with the skills the city needed – and she found them.  This is not the place to name them – there are so many, I fear that I will miss naming some of them.

In the fullness of time their contributions to the city will become clearly evident. City Manager Commisso said he needed what Heather MacDonald brings to the table and has asked her to serve as executive lead on a project.  She will be available to staff for awhile yet.

For the immediate future there is a 15 month old grandchild who is about to get a lot more attention.


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