Doing the homework and really understanding the complex development issues in the downtown core are appears to be a problem. ECoB is trying to bring about a change in the way the city manages all this.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 15th, 2017



There are almost as many views on what Burlington should be doing in terms of its growth as there are people in the city.

ECOB Dec 13 #3

Citizens listening to the concerns community groups have over how developments in their neighbourhoods are handled by the Planning Department. The meeting was organized by the Engaged Citizens of Burlington – ECoB

When Lisa Kearns, one of the ECoB organizers,  stood at the lectern in the Burlington Baptist Church she told the 150+ audience that they had to do their homework and then hoisted a three in loose-leaf binder up and told the audience the information they need is out there – but you do have to work to find it and then offered to share what she had with anyone interested. We didn’t see anyone asking to borrow the binder.

Many of the people involved in what is a complex subject are reluctant to identify themselves publicly. One of those wrote in and said: “Seems that this group is questioning the “Urban Growth Centre” designation in Downtown Burlington. The answer is really, really simple – all people have to do is go back to and look at the original Places to Grow document from 2006 – Schedule 2. The designation is right there. No municipal approval is required. The Province says “this is it” now “do it”. All of this talk about evidentiary materials is a complete waste of time.

The province has $50 billion worth of transit and transportation plans it believes we need - just $16 billion of that is funded. Transit is not free but will we re-elect a government that insists we pay for it?

“People must also consider “The Big Move” which designates the mobility hub in the downtown as an “Anchor Mobility Hub”. Anchor Mobility Hubs are focal points with the potential to transform urban structure and improve transit. In other words … big changes are expected.

“There is an Appendix B which indicates that the downtown mobility hub is expected to accommodate 2,900 boarding per day. The question should be “why is the City not planning for this?” not is it really a hub.

“This same Appendix B includes a population target for the downtown anchor hub of greater than 25,000 people and jobs by 2031. The City is not even close to being able to accommodate this target.

“Most importantly, some people selectively ignore the fact that City Council unanimously approved its Strategic Plan that identifies the downtown as an area where intensification and redevelopment is to be directed.”

Click to view report

Joe Gaetan, a frequent contributor to the Gazette explains that the 2017 Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, was prepared and approved under the Places to Grow Act, 2005 to take effect on July 1, 2017.
Section 2, entitled, Where and How to Grow, contains S, 2.2 Policies for Where and How to Grow, and S 2.2.3 entitled, Urban Growth Centres and contains the following:

“Urban growth centres will be planned to achieve, by 2031 or earlier, a minimum density target of:

b)400 residents and jobs combined per hectare for each of the urban growth centres in the City of Toronto;

200 residents and jobs combined per hectare for each of the Downtown Brampton, Downtown Burlington, Downtown Hamilton, Downtown Milton, Markham Centre, Downtown Mississauga, Newmarket Centre, Midtown Oakville, Downtown Oshawa, Downtown Pickering, Richmond Hill Centre/Langstaff Gateway, Vaughan Metropolitan Centre, Downtown Kitchener, and Uptown Waterloo urban growth centres;”

Oakville took an approach that attached more importance to Employment and Commerce. Their Livable Oakville committee produced a very detailed report – something Burlington might want t56o at least review.


The Sims building across from city hall is the only office building in the core of the city – the city of Burlington is the largest tenant.

Burlington has never succeeded in attracting commercial operations into the downtown core – parking space wasn’t possible – thus the major concentrations of corporate offices are along the north and south corridors.

“The Burlington Official Plan appears to be mostly silent on job creation or preservation of work land or spaces.

“This should be a concern to all and one more reason why our Official Plan process must be stopped in its tracks.”

Background material:

Where to download a copy of the Places to Grow legislation.

The Big Move – what it is and where to get a copy of the document.


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Burlington Dads putting Food on the Table!


News 100 yellowBy Staff

December 15th, 2017



A group of Dads in Burlington joined together Tuesday night at The Anchor Bar to have some fun and to raise some money for the Burlington Food Bank.

Burlington Dad’s is an online group and this was a rare live get together… hopefully becoming an annual event. Organizers Rene Schuster and Peter Winstanley never expected the level of generosity shown by their group and were thankful for all the support received. “This event grew from Rene and Peter saying we would like to see our members in person and give something back… we never imagined that the guys would get on board the way they did. Lots of generous guys in Burlington! Thanks for putting food on the table for Burlington families this Christmas guys!” said Peter.

Burlington dads

Shown here are Jamie & Mark Little, Peter Winstanley and Rene Schuster presenting Robin Bailey (Burlington Food Bank) with a cheque for $3,189 from Burlington Dads. Not shown is the additional 512 lbs of food donated the same night. The cheque presentation was broadcast live to the Dads Group. Burlington Dad’s was formed by Rene Schuster in March of 2014, and now assisted by Peter Winstanley.

Burlington Dad’s was formed by Rene Schuster in March of 2014, and now assisted by Peter Winstanley. Basically it was Rene’s brainchild; a Dads helping Dads group. If you need some advice, something fixed, in search of a service, or simply need to vent, the Dads are always obliging.

There is no drama allowed, which means only a select few get in. It has grown to over 1,300 members, and includes Dads in the Oakville/Burlington/Hamilton area.

Check it out 

Burlington Food Bank  is committed to ensuring that no one in Burlington struggles with hunger. They provide food to those in need. If you or someone you know is hungry and in need of help, call them at 905-637-2273.



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Burlington will have a cannabis retail outlet - where should it be located?

News 100 yellowBy Staff

December 15th, 2017



Burlington has been identified as one of 40 municipalities set to have a cannabis store by July 2018. The LCBO will make the determination of where a cannabis store is located in Burlington.

The city will be working with the Ministry of Finance and the LCBO to develop guidelines and the process for choosing store locations. The guidelines will achieve the provincial objectives of protecting youth by ensuring stores are not close to schools while providing access in communities and addressing the illegal market.

Burlington aerial

Where in this fair city will the cannabis retail outlet be located. If it is on Brant Street will it bring the much discussed vibrancy to the area?

The City of Burlington, like other municipal governments across Canada, has been paying close attention to provincial and federal legislation regulating cannabis.

Burlington joins 28 other municipalities for one or more standalone cannabis retail stores to open in July 2018. The other municipalities:

Ajax, Belleville, Barrie, Brampton, Brantford, Cambridge, Chatham-Kent, Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, Kitchener, Lindsay (Kawartha Lakes), London, Mississauga, Niagara Falls, Oakville, Oshawa, Ottawa, Peterborough, Sault Ste. Marie, St. Catharines, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Vaughan, Waterloo, Whitby and Windsor.

Odd that Milton, the municipality with the highest population growth in Halton, is not on the list.

The city uses the tag line: “Burlington is one of Canada’s best and most livable cities, a place where people, nature and business thrive.” That just might become true next summer.

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Major organizational moves by the city manager seem to be out of focus.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

December 15th, 2017


We received the following this morning:

The article published in this morning’s Gazette titled “Major organizational moves by the city manager seem to be out of focus” is wholly inaccurate for the following reasons:

Parks & Recreation has NOT been merged into Roads, Parks & Forestry (RPF). Parks & Recreation continues to be a separate department headed by Chris Glenn

There has been no reorganization undertaken by the city manager, except the creation of a deputy city manager position and changes to department names only.

Council was fully briefed and aware of the creation of a deputy city manager position, to say so otherwise in incorrect.

Mary Lou Tanner will continue to lead the Official Plan and the Mobility Hub initiatives as deputy city manager; a competition to hire a new Director of Planning will begin in January.

Ms Tanner’s appointment as the deputy city manager was in no way a demotion and as previously stated was a result of a comprehensive internal competition

On November 9th, the City Manager, James Ridge announced a renaming of departments at city hall and moving responsibilities into the newly named departments under the people who were to head them up.

The renaming of the departments in the city was to more accurately reflect the services that are provided to residents.

News anal BLACKAs of Jan. 1, 2018 Roads and Parks Maintenance will become the Roads, Parks and Forestry Department; with Mary Battaglia as lead.

Planning and Building will become the Department of City Building – Planning, Building and Culture with Mary Lou Tanner as lead.

Then on December 9th, Ridge announced that he had appointed Mary Lou Tanner as the deputy city manager after a comprehensive internal competition.

There is something about this picture that is out of focus.

If it was a “comprehensive internal competition”, and we will take the city manager’s word that it was – the competition had to be announced, those wanting to go after the job had to prepare their application, fine tune it, submit it and then let the Director of Human Resources and the City Manager review what they had.

The Director of Human Resources may well have been one of the applicants for the new position; we will let that slide.


Newly minted Deputy City Manager Mary Lou Tanner

Re-org November 9th, Tanner made deputy city manager December 9th – All this got done in less than a month?

What does the appointing of Tanner as Deputy City Manager do to the absolutely critical work being done on the planning side?

As of the 21st of this month the city doesn’t have a Planner. Tanner, the woman who was doing the job is now the “city’s representative for all Agencies, Boards and Commissions; acting in an advisory and liaison capacity for each organization and helping plan and coordinate major capital projects.”

Not much in the way of executive authority there

“Being responsible for the diversity and inclusivity portfolio; ensuring a strategy is developed, and implemented across the organization for all services and programs.”

Important but not the same level of influence as the Director of Planning

“Overseeing the Project Management Office, ensuring the priorities of this office are aligned with the Strategic Plan and corporate work plans and work with the Senior Leadership team to identify and establish priorities across the organization.”

James Ridge

City Manager James Ridge – now has a Deputy to aid the important work he does,

Tanner was a part of the Senior Leadership Team – now she “works with them”.  Will Tanner have any clout? Will she be making decisions or does everything she does slide up to the desk of the City Manager?

There is going to be a “transition plan including an acting Director of City Building will be announced in the near future; however in the meantime Tanner will continue to lead the work on the completion of the city’s new Official Plan.”

How much of this were the city Councillors fully aware of?  The City Manager is responsible for the administration of all city staff and serves at the pleasure of city council. Is Council pleased?

The time line for the approval of the Official Plan has been stretched out to April of 2018 from the original end of January 2018 date.

None of this looks very encouraging – we are changing horses in the middle of a fast flowing stream.


Chris Glenn

Director of Parks and Recreation Chris Glenn

There some additional concerns.  Parks and Recreation is now merged in intro Roads Parks and Forestry under the direction of Mary Battaglia who is a Director. She now has Chris Glenn, also a Director working under her?

Transportation doesn’t seem to have a home at a time when there are several significant studies being done on just how people are going to get around the city given all the intensification that is to take place.
Where does Capital Works fit into the new organization?

On Friday, the 8th of December we had occasion to be at the Fire department following up part on a news story and met with a deputy fire chief who advised us that the Fire Chief was still on the site of the blaze that shut down the Paletta operation in the south-east of the city.

That’s where a Fire Chief is supposed to be – where the problems are. The fire was basically out – with some hot spots that needed a close watch to ensure that they didn’t flare up.

city hall with flag poles

Is the apparent senior staff reorganization a good one or is it a picture out of focus.

The city has a problem – getting the new Official Plan in place and helping the citizens understand the mobility hubs. It is seen as a “hot spot” to hundreds of informed and involved people in Burlington. This is not a time to have senior staff fully immersed in the work they are in place to do.

Being made Deputy City Manager doesn’t look like a promotion – looks like the City Manager just got someone out of the way

And that is very troubling.

Links to related news stories:

Appointment of Deputy city manager.

Renaming of city departments.

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Ontario Institute for Facial Surgery was closed by the Regional Heath department for not cleaning, disinfecting, sterilizing and storing instruments used for procedures.

News 100 redBy Staff

December 14th, 2017



An infection prevention and control inspection conducted by the Halton Region Health Department on December 4, 2017, identified that clients who have received medical services at the Ontario Institute for Facial Surgery operated by Dr. Joseph Korkis located at 672 Brant St., Unit 405, in Burlington may have been exposed to improperly cleaned, disinfected, sterilized and stored instruments used for procedures.

The inspection was initiated following a patient complaint.

Halton Region is not aware of any cases of infection associated with this clinic at this time.

Plastic surgeon

Joseph A. Korkis, MB, FRCSC, FRCSl, FRCS, FCAFPS, offers Nasal and Facial Plastic Cosmetic Surgery, Snoring and Sleep Apnea Surgery in Burlington Ontario.

“Improperly cleaned, disinfected, sterilized and stored medical instruments carry a low risk of transmitting infectious diseases, such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to clients,” said Dr. Joanna Oda, Associate Medical Officer of Health for Halton Region. “As a precaution, the Halton Region Health Department recommend that all clients who have ever received medical services from Dr. Korkis at the Burlington clinic contact their physician (or go to a walk-in clinic if they do not have a physician) to discuss testing for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. Clients can download a letter to bring to their doctor by visiting”

On December 4, 2017, upon completion of the inspection, the Halton Region Health Department closed the Ontario Institute for Facial Surgery. As of December 12, 2017, Dr. Korkis has satisfied all the requirements of the Health Department and can resume patient services at this location.

A question that might be asked is why the public wasn’t informed on December 4th that the clinic had been closed?

This is not the first time the Region has closed a medical office in Burlington  – earlier this year a dentist was closed for much the same reason – not ensuring that the instruments used were properly sterilized.

For more information about hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV, the inspection or investigation and to obtain a copy of the physician letter, please visit or call Halton Region at 311, 905-825-6000 or toll free 1-866-442-5866. For inquiries related specifically to the Ontario Institute of Facial Surgery or Dr. Korkis, please contact the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario by visiting


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Citizens opposed to developments and the way city hall is approving them in what is a very complex regulatory environment mandated by the province.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

December 14th, 2017



Is there a sea change taking place in Burlington politics?

Last week there was a neighborhood meeting in Aldershot about a proposal for a 6 story condo at 92 Plains Rd, right on the edge of a long established Aldershot neighborhood.

News anal REDSome at the meeting felt it was “totally out of compliance with the existing Official Plan and bylaws” and was being promoted as “in alignment with city proposals for the Mobility Hub.”

It was a raucous meeting. Nobody was happy, and many expressed this clearly and often angrily.

The discussion was on the negative impact on nearby property values from a development which Councillor Craven supported.

Rick Craven: Best committee chair the city has; not big on the warm fuzzy stuff through. Needs a hug badly.

Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven faced a hostile audience while explaining the justification of a development. This photograph was not from that meeting.

Craven got called out a couple of times for not showing any support to residents, and for trying to undercut their concerns.

The city planner in charge threatened to shut the meeting down if the rancor and heckling that ensued was not stopped.

ECoB Dec 13 #2

When a resident stood up and said “We need to tell the members of council that we are not going to vote for them” there was an immediate robust burst of applause – they were sending a message – loudly and clearly.

The recently formed ECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington – meeting that took place Wednesday evening had representation from every ward in the city – people were just not happy with the way decisions were being made. They want change in the way city council decides on very complex issues.

The focus at the Wednesday ECoB meeting was a development that didn’t get any negative comment when it was introduced to the public several months ago at the Art Gallery. There was just the one delegation when the development was put on the table at a Standing Committee – but when council voted 5-2 for the development – the dam of feelings burst.

People didn’t want their city changed – they continually refer to a vibrant downtown core when Brant Street is anything but except when the Santa Claus parade and the Sound of Music Festival fills the streets.

East side of Brant Street xx days before Christmas 2013.

East side of Brant Street several days before Christmas 2013.  It isn’t all that different this year.  Not what one would call festive.

Anyone who strolls along Brant street might be taken aback at how little there is in the way of Christmas decoration on the buildings.

New Brant street ECoB

This graphic was put up on a screen at the Wednesday ECoB meeting. The city keeps saying this kind of thing is not going to happen – the citizens no longer believe them.

There appears to be a hankering for a time when things were slower, more certain, safer.
Every politician now faces citizens who are unhappy.

That unhappiness is now being pulled together by a group of citizens who don’t like what they see and tend to exaggerate to make their points.

Interesting times ahead.


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Students from Burlington and Oakville involved in creating and setting up the festive lights in Spencer Smith Park.

eventsblue 100x100By Staff

December 14th, 2017



Those festive lights in Spencer Smith Park didn’t fall of the back of a truck and suddenly glow. Volunteers from the corporate sector and high school students created the lights and installed them late in November and were turned on December 1st.  Community spirit at its best.

They will be in place until January 8th and are turned on at 4:30 PM – 12:30 AM

The 2017 lighting marks the 22nd anniversary of this event.

trainThe festival gets its start early in December when Burlington Electricity Services Inc., a subsidiary of Burlington Hydro partners with the Burlington Downtown Business Association’s (BDBA) for the Candlelit Stroll through the downtown core and the lighting of the Tree of Hope.

Volunteers from Burlington Electricity Services Inc., Burlington Taxi, King Paving, Robert Bateman High School, T.A. Blakelock High School (Oakville), and local residents help with set up the lights in Spencer Smith Park

SAnta + iglooThere were 15 students from both schools involved with the project.  The Students designed and built the newest hockey themed display. Expect to see two new displays from this crew for the for the 2018/19 year.

CHML’s Joey Castillio served as the emcee for the tree lighting and the Candlelit Stroll event.

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Newly formed citizens group draws 150 + people to a public meeting - they have a message for city council - We won't be voting for you next time.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

December 14th, 2017



They weren’t sure how many people were going to show up. One of the four people that kept ECoB alive said there has been 30 people who said they were going to attend – and at that point there were about 40 people in a large church sanctuary.

But, by the time the evening was about to begin there were more than 150 people gathered in the Burlington Baptist Church on New Street, perhaps more than the church gets on a Sunday.

ECoB Dec 13 # 1

It was a polite audience and a determined one. They wanted a change and they were there to see it happen.

And people kept coming through the doors. So – they has an audience – now to take the crowd and turn them into evangelists for a different form of community organization.

A loyal Gazette reader commented that there was a time when there was an East Burlington Ratepayers group that was very active “But they got busy raising their families and the interest in what they were setting out to do petered away”.

This evening the audience was in the room because they were no longer happy campers. There were some younger people in the room but at least 100 of the 150 were seniors who had been around for a long time.

ECoB Dec 13 #2

By the time the meeting got underway – there were just eight empty seats in a packed church Sanctuary. Jim Young served as the meeting MC.

They didn’t like what they were seeing happen to the city.

Representatives from four community groups spoke for a short period of time talking about what there issue was and how they were dealing with the problems and concerns they were having with city hall.

While the issues that brought them to the meeting was the city council decision to approve the building of a 23 story tower opposite city hall – they weren’t going after the developer – their focus was city hall and in particular city council.

Dave Conrath, a member of the Burlington Economic Development Corporation, set it out pretty clearly for everyone when he stood up and said: “Every one of us has to be on the phone or email the members of city council and tell them that you are not going to vote for them and that you are going to work to elect someone else.” That statement got the most robust round of applause during the two hour meeting.

Jim Young, MC for the evening, explained where the ECoB people were with their plans to file an appeal to the OMB on the decision city council made to approve the development opposite city hall.
Lisa Kearns, another member of the ECoB leadership team explained the complexity of what the citizens were up against.

Lisa Kierns ECOB Dec 13

Lisa Kearns

She pointed out that the ECoB already had a win. “It was a big win” said Kearns,” a really big win. When the city revised the time line for the approval of the new Official Plan from the end of January to the end of April – we had won.” She added that it is important to recognize the wins and the celebrate them.

ECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington has existed for less than a month – and at this their first public meeting they drew more than 150 people.

A change has begun – how deep and how long lasting only time will tell. This first meeting was another win and it too deserves to be recognized and celebrated.

The Gazette will report in more detail on what took place during the meeting.

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Councillor Sharman sets out why he voted for a 23 storey development on Brant Street.

opinionandcommentBy Staff

December 13th, 2017



In his regular newsletter to his constituents Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman sets out why he was one of the five Councillors who voted for the 421 Brant Street development to proceed.


Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman.

I admit that I was one of the 5 (out of 7) members of Council who voted in favour of accepting staff recommendations to build a 23-storey building on the 421 Brant Street site, opposite City Hall. This decision was despite a significant effort by a number of residents, including an online petition with about 1,400 names, to persuade members to vote against the recommendations. The residents’ primary concerns appeared primarily to focus on the number of floors and “over intensification”. They said the building is too high. A number of residents said they simply want to keep Brant street the way it is.

Certainly, the issue of height appears to be a concern to some proportion of Burlington residents. Of course, we all love our family friendly, low key, community. So, it is understandable. Yet a discussion that focuses on one location and on one measure (i.e. height) without giving sufficient consideration to other important and complex matters will cause much long term, serious problems in the City that Council is focused on trying to address.

First, I will address the application and why I supported the Council decision.

421 Brant 12 and 23

Massing with 12 storeys and massing with 23 storeys. Sharman and the developer saw the 23 storey version the better of the two.

The site is permitted to have 12 stories by right. In other words, they could have proceeded without Council being asked to approve an amendment. Indeed, the owner did create plans to do so, however, City planning professionals were concerned a12 storey rectangular whole block sized building would be both unsightly and cause an unacceptable contribution to the downtown design.

• Clearly, the owners had a right to build something new on the site that would be larger in scale.

• Clearly, the City had created a plan to encourage redevelopment of the site with something new and large.

Staff had to negotiate with developers over what design characteristics would be acceptable. Clearly height is one such concern, but there are others. These include “massing”, set-backs, shadowing, parking, design and others.

In the case of 421 Brant Street, the developer had been working towards filing an application for many years. During that time, the Province had identified downtown Burlington, along with a number of other areas of the City, as a place for significant population density. This was a requirement from the Province, not a suggestion. Accordingly, the developer prepared an application for a 27-storey building that they believed would satisfy that requirement.

As is required, the developer consulted staff about their plans. Staff gave considerable thought to what the best design would be for the building and spent much effort over the last six months negotiating changes to the proposal that they believed would satisfy Provincial requirements, as well as many other considerations including many key issues presented by the public. The result was that they calculated the number of square feet of residential space that would have been allowed in the 12-storey block building and redistributed the floor space in a design that has a smaller street level foot print, with a four storey “podium”, on top of which they then proposed a 19-storey “slender” tower.

East side of Brant Street xx days before Christmas 2013.

East side of Brant Street several days before Christmas 2013. Wasn’t particularly festive looking.

This design would satisfy all legal requirements. It also meant the developer was required to reduce the total amount of floor space in the building by 25%, part of which meant including less commercial and less retail space in the first four floors. Through public engagement, staff was presented with 10 issues that were their priorities (car share, wider sidewalks, separate visitor parking etc.). Of the 10, the approved design achieves 9. Staff negotiated with the developer to get these 9 priorities incorporated into the design.

Finally, the residents’ discussion became a debate about personal preferences and opinions about how something might look without taking into account all the other considerations. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and in the end, someone had to figure out what to do. That was the role of the developer and City staff. Council agreed the recommendations were, on balance, a reasonable compromise. A compromise that we believe will withstand any test at the OMB.

Second, I will address how the application fits within the long term broader concerns of the City:

The extensive analysis that went in to creating the economic vision for the City and the Strategic Plan which received unanimous approval of all City Council has led to the creation of a New Official Plan, Downtown Precinct Plan. The biggest issue is the fact that the City is pretty much built-out which means that land values will continue to increase faster than elsewhere in much of Ontario. Burlington home prices increased 73% in the last 4 years.

Downtown precincts

The Downtown area precincts.

The only way that the City can provide housing that is substantially more affordable is by making better use of land, which means going up in certain places. The community is rapidly getting older. 20% of Burlington population is older than 65, that will double in the next 20 years and the number of people over 80 will quadruple. Many of us will want to sell our single-family homes to live in a lower cost condominium or rental building with less maintenance. If there is no more intensified form buildings here then people will have to move out of the area. The same is true for many of our young people. Just to make matters more interesting, as the community gets older there will be less people who live in Burlington available to work here. This means that it is likely businesses will move elsewhere. Businesses pay twice the rate of property tax as residential homes. If the amount of business tax paid to the city declines then residential property taxes will go up, and you already know how people living on a fixed income will react to that. Our goal is to increase the availability of housing for the young and old that they can afford without losing control of property taxes.

Alternatively, if the City attracts more younger people to live here then a) businesses can stay and grow, and b) homes for young people will also be subject to property tax, all of which means that there will be less pressure to increase property taxes rates as fast.

The plan is to allow only 5% of Burlington land to increase in density, most of which will be less than 11 floors and that will be along Fairview St., Plains Rd. and some areas around plazas. There will be more height around Go Stations. Only 11% of the downtown area will have more height, but not all sites along Brant Street, only a few. Most of the Brant Street height will occur close to Burlington GO. Even that will not be anything like Toronto or Mississauga where 50 floors is common. We expect the maximum to be in line with the buildings at Burlington GO station which are more like 25.

Under the New Official Plan, developers will not be permitted to assemble properties in single family home neighbourhoods in-order-to build tall buildings. Most areas of the City will keep the same type of housing that presently exists. It may be reviewed though.

Sharman July 2016

Councillor Sharman disagrees with those who don’t want height opposite city hall.

The reasoning of City Planning staff and Council members at the committee meeting can be viewed on the webcast. Regular Meeting of Council – November 13.

The issues are quite complex. Council was elected to understand all the issues and to figure how to address concerns of the entire population. Some people think the precise number of floors in a building is more important than everything. I disagree.

Paul Sharman was first elected in 2010 and reelected in 2014.  He was part of the Shape Burlington Committee.  In 2010 he originally filed nomination papers to run for Mayor; when Rick Goldring filed his nomination papers for Mayor Sharman decided to run for the council seat Goldring held.

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Live - from city hall - the Mayor of Burlington talking to residents - 80 tuned in.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

December 13th, 2017



It was the Mayor’s first Facebook Live production during which the number of people on line was just a bit over 80. Viewer traffic was pretty steady – opened at just under 40 and rose to 80.

Did the Mayor rise to the occasion?

Goldring on Facebook live 1

Mayor had all kinds of notes, some of which he read from, others that he referred to for specific data.

Well he did and he didn’t. A call from a viewer asking him to explain mobility hubs was awkwardly answered – see it for yourself at minute 15. It was pretty clear that the Mayor didn’t have a firm grip on that subject – and if he doesn’t – how do the rest of the population get to understand it?

His comments on a meeting he had with former Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller on what was happening at the Meridian Brick operation that threatens the value of properties on West Haven Drive will have been a surprise to many.

According to the Mayor Meridian is doing what they are supposed to be doing, the Region is doing what they are supposed to be doing, the province is doing what they are supposed to be doing and the city is doing what they are supposed to be doing. You can watch that segment at minute 32.

The Mayor said he “will continue to advocate for the residents” which had people on West Haven gasping. They have been pressing the Mayor to bring a motion to Council asking the Minister of Natural Resources to put a HOLD on the expansion of the quarry until all the studies have been completed.

Mayor Facebook live 2

Mayor, live on a Facebook presentation.

At the most recent Meridian Brick sponsored community meeting they said that they planned on cutting tree in part of the east quarry this winter.

Residents are terrified that the company will slip in any day now and cut the trees – once they are cut down there is no going back.

Traffic and transit took up much of the time – housing both affordable and the needs of the seniors community were given quite a bit of the one hour broadcast.

Oddly, the Mayor made no mention of the Task Force the Mayor created to address the issue of seniors’ housing in Burlington. Last April the Mayor had the Hon. Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario on hand to talk about housing for seniors – not a mention on what that Task Force has done.

Viewers learned that the Goldring household consists of the Mayor, his wife and seven daughters. We learned that Cheryl, the Mayor’s wife, has a family tradition of buying each of the seven daughters a new pair of pyjamas each year. The “girls” range in age between 26 and 42 – that would be quite a pyjama party.

The Mayor did something like this with Cogeco TV in a broadcast from Council chambers for what was billed as a call in program – no one called in.  So this was an improvement

Was the live production worth watching? It was. You can see the whole thing HERE.


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New Police headquarters several months behind the original opening date.

News 100 blueBy Staff

December 13, 2017



The Police Services Board met in Burlington in November, which is a first for some time.

Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven who represents Burlington on that Board would have been the host.

During the meeting there may have been an update on the new police headquarters that are seriously behind the original production schedule.

New headquarters from QEW

New police HQ – this is the view from the QEW.

They were to be opened in the before the end of the year – it now looks as if the new building, located in Oakville a short five minute walk from the Regional offices on Bronte Road.

Police HQ - entrance

This will be the public entrance to the new police HQ

Police work is now much more than a police officer walking a beat. You might see a police officer on bike from time to time but policing today is done from the seat of a cruiser that is loaded with technology.

What’s in the cruiser has to be backed up by staff who keep the systems operational. The police haven’t put out much in the way of information yet.

The police are currently in the north end of the Regional offices.  That space will be used by the Region for personnel who are currently located in rented space elsewhere in the Halton.

All there is for the public to see is the building which sits on a prominent site. It has a different look.

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Regional police intercept packages of cash totaling $40,000 - part of a lottery scam.

Crime 100By Staff

December 12, 2017



Members of the Halton Police Fraud Unit while investigating a fraud commonly known as a “Lottery Scam” a type of advanced fee scam, intercepted two packages destined for an undisclosed location in Burlington. The packages contained a large quantity of cash that had been sent by two separate victims to the scam.

An advance fee scam is when a victim is instructed to send money in order to claim a substantially larger sum of money and the money sent is often alleged to pay taxes or administration fees before the larger sum can be released. The money is usually requested to be sent in some form of electronic payment but in this case the victims were requested to courier cash payments.

The combined amount of money recovered was $40,000.00 dollars in Canadian Cash and the fraud unit are investigating to identify the victims and return the funds.

There are going to be some very embarrassed people answering the door when the police call to return the funds.

Police would like to remind the public not to send cash or electronic transfers of money to anyone who has solicited these funds under promise of a bigger return of money. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Center is an excellent resource for the public to assist them in identifying many of the common scams and provides advice on how to avoid them.

HRPS crestAnyone with any information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Halton Regional Police – Fraud Unit. Tips can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers, “See something, Hear something, Say something” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), or through the web at, or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637 (crimes)

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ECoB - a group of people who want to create an umbrella organization that will support the numerous community groups in the city that don't feel they are being heard at city hall.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 13th, 2017



It is an important meeting, being held on Wednesday at the Baptist Church on New Street. Starts at 7:00 PM

It will be the second ECoB meeting, first was a founding meeting at which they decided to incorporate and create a board and raised $5000.

ECOB logoECoB stands for Engaged Citizens of Burlington; they argue that the citizens are not really engaged with the council they elected and that staff really doesn’t engage – they aren’t for the most part, especially at the senior level, even citizens of the city.

Director of Transportation – Hamilton
City Clerk – Hamilton
Director of Finance – Milton
City Solicitor – outside of Burlington.
Director of Parks and Recreation – Oakville.
We are not sure any of the Director’s actually live in Burlington.
The city manager does live in Burlington – Aldershot actually.

The city seldom loses a chance to tout just how engaged they are and point to engagement as one of the four pillars that support the Strategic Plan.

Sprinkled throughout the city are groups that are differing with their city over the kind of development that is taking place in their communities. Several examples:

Plains Road group protesting the height and set back of a building beside the Solid Gold adult entertainment establishment.

Roseland Community Association

Shoreacres community group

Bluewater community group

Plan B


Alton Village group protesting an ADI development in that community as well as serious traffic control problems.

Jim Young

Jim Young will MC the Wednesday evening meeting at the Baptist Church on New Street.

ECob would like every group in the city to show up and show support and then involve themselves in ways to make the city council they elected more accountable. “It isn’t enough to tell us that we get the opportunity to vote every four years and leave it at that” said Jim Young at a delegation he made some time ago.

The rush to push through a new Official Plan bothered many.  That rush has been slowed down with a much longer timeline announced earlier this week.  Anyone who doesn’t realize that public push-back brought this about doesn’t understand what politics is all about.

The matter of the Mobility Hubs is another issue for many.  During the Mayor’s First Live Facebook event he had difficulty explaining to a caller just what a mobility hub is.

ECoB wants to be a city wide umbrella organization that would become a place where community organizations could gather and work together on common issues.  Their objective is not to fight city hall but instead to work with the city collaboratively and be at the table where their money is being spent.

The common issue was a dissatisfaction with the way city council meets with and responds to the public.

The ECoB group that met in November also created sub-committee that was going to file an appeal against the city decision to permit the construction of a 23 storey tower on Brant Street across from city hall.

With what was seen as a very healthy start ECoB slipped into some organizational struggles trying to work with the founder who was in Fort Myers, Florida on winter vacation – a snow bird, and was going to be there at least until January. It wasn’t working and resignations were being tendered.

To their credit the people doing all the grunt work in the trenches managed to keep it together and have put set out a solid agenda for the Wednesday meeting.

Jim Young, who was one of the original co-chairs, will serve as MC for the Wednesday meeting.

Kearns + Josie

Lisa Kearns, standing, impressed many at the founding ECoB meeting. Seated are two people who were heavily involved in the drive to keep Central high school open.

Fleshing out the ECoB board is Lisa Kearns who impressed a number of people when she delegated at a city council meeting.

Kearns was born in Hamilton, attended university in London, Ontario then lived in Mississauga  and has been a Burlington resident for the past six years. Her career experience includes two decades of corporate management, government relations and strategic procurement experience across the manufacturing, advertising and health care sectors.

Her undergraduate degree was an Honours in Political Science from University of Western Ontario with a focus on Electoral Reform and Public Policy.

She has been a key principal in successful Provincial and Municipal campaigns.

She was the first Patron Sponsor for the Good Shepherd Charity advocating for advances in mental health support. She can be found volunteering at the local farmers market.

Dania Thurman H&S Vg

Dania Thurman, the woman that will direct the social media for ECoB.

Working with Kearns is Dania Thurman, one of the team that did the social media work that helped keep Central high school open despite a recommendation from Board Staff that the school be closed. Thurman is very active at Tom Thomson elementary school where she is one of a group that organized the pre-school breakfast program.

Penny Hersh, another Director, brings years of experience at the Seniors’ Centre and is very involved with the Burlington Seniors Community that was created when city hall basically booted the seniors that were running a large part of the program at the city owned Centre.

Burlington has a couple of dozen small community organizations that have formed when they had issues with city hall. Most tended to be local and didn’t draw much attention.

The decision to permit the construction of the first high rise on Brant Street seems to have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

421 Brant

The development that struck a chord with people who didn’t like the way height was going to be located in their city.

The 421 Brant development is a very short walk from the Bridgewater project that is going to have a condominium soaring 22 storeys into the sky and sits on the edge of the lake. It didn’t seem to create the anger that 421 Brant has – a number of people reacted to the suggestion that a city wide group be formed – and ECoB was born

Far too early to tell if it will develop any traction – there are several accomplished people working on this one.

Worth keeping an eye on.

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$68.6 million to be spent on Capital projects - for a city that keeps talking about improving transit - a lot is being spent on roads.

Budget 2018 ICONBy Staff

December 12, 2017



During the final city council meeting of 2017 Monday evening, the significant seven approved a Capital Budget spend of $68.6 million without as much as a word from any Councillor and no one delegating.

The ten year capital spending forecast is for $688 million.

The tax increase for 2018 is expected to be in the 4% range.

Seventy nine per cent of the 10-year capital budget will be invested in renewing Burlington’s aging infrastructure in accordance with the city’s Asset Management Plan.

A breakdown of spending for the 2018 capital budget of $68.6 million includes:

• $32 million, the largest component, for roadways
• $11.5 million for facilities and buildings
• $8.1 million for parks and open spaces
• $7.1 million in storm water management
• $6.1 million towards fleet vehicles and equipment
• $1.8 million for information technology
• $1.4 million for local boards (Burlington Public Library, Burlington Performing Arts Centre, Art Gallery of Burlington, Burlington Museums)
• $630,000 in parking.

Capital budget 2018

This is where the Capital spending is going to go – $68.6 million in 2018

City Council meetings are usually quite short – this one lasted 40 minutes. There have been council meetings as short as 20 minutes. The Mayor likes to move things briskly.

The electronic voting system the city used didn’t function – again. The Halton District School Board has a system that works exceptionally well.

During the discussion before the voting on different items there was mention of cycle tracks on New Street that were going to come in at $5 million.

The item is in the 2019 capital budget just as a place holder (it had to be put in somewhere was the comment heard off camera) – no date on when such a spend would take place. The decision to get rid of the road diet New Street was put on does not seem to have had any impact on how New Street is going to work going forward.

The buzz word was “active transportation for city roads.”

Council received and filed an update on the work being done on the Waterfront Hotel development plans. Councillor Meed Ward commented that this was a work in process and that there was still a lot to be done.

Councillor Craven added that he was pleased to see the high level of community input and added that is it “fair and appropriate to point out that this the property is privately owned.”

Traditionally this council has been much more robust in the way they wished their constituents all the very best for the holiday season and spoke glowingly on how much they had gotten done during the year and how well they had done their jobs – none of that grandstanding Monday night.

This is a somewhat subdued city council. As usual the tough questions came from Councillor Meed Ward.

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Riding a bike while breaking into cars on Walkers Line - the bike had been stolen earlier.

Crime 100By Staff

December 11th, 2017



On December 10th 2017 at approximately 3:10 PM, several citizens notified police about a man who was observed breaking into cars at a townhouse complex at 2239 Walkers Line in Burlington.

Police quickly located the man riding a bike along Cleaver Avenue. He was arrested and found to be in possession of 8 grams of marihuana, along with property stolen from cars which included iHome speakers, cigarettes, hat and a pair of shoes. Police conducted further investigation into the bike the man was riding which turned out to have been freshly stolen from a shed at a residence on Heidi Crescent.

The man, identified as Charles Russell MCBEATH (18 yrs) of Burlington was released on bail and will appear in Milton Court on January 17th 2018 charged with the following offences:

• Theft under $5000
• Break, enter & theft
• Possession of a controlled substance (marihuana)
• Fail to comply with undertaking

Detective Sergeant Ron Hansen commented that “we (police) are appreciative of help from the public who are seeing suspicious activity happen and calling us right away”

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Detective Constable Mark Urie of the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4747 ext. 2338. Tips can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers “See something, Hear something, Say something” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), through the web at, or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637 (crimes).

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City adds several months to the time line for approving a new Official Plan.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

December 11th, 2017


The Planning department had initially planned on having the draft version of the new Official Plan ready for a city council vote at the end of December.  Stakeholders and citizens objected vigorously to the timeline.  The following revision was released today.

The following memo, prepared by the city, provides an update on the Proposed New Official Plan – Process. It was prepared for inclusion in the Council Information Package dated December 8, 2017.

growbold-847x254The memo outlines the next steps of the new Official Plan (OP) project, following the statutory public meeting held as part of the Planning and Development (P&D) Committee meeting held on November 30, 2017.

This was the meeting where the live broadcast of the Standing Committee didn’t make it to the network; technical glitch was the explanation given.

On November 30, staff reports PB-50-17 (Proposed New Official Plan) and PB-81-17 (Downtown Precinct Plan) were reviewed by the P&D Committee. Public delegations were considered during the afternoon and evening sessions of the meeting. A subsequent meeting was held during the afternoon of December 1, providing members of Council the opportunity to ask questions of staff, which focused on the downtown. The meeting agenda and webcast is available on the city’s website here and the minutes are available here.

An outcome of the meeting was the following recommendation:

First – • Refer planning and building department report PB-50-17 regarding proposed new official plan (November 2017) to the Director of Planning and Building; and

Second – • Direct the Director of Planning and Building to consider the feedback received through the statutory public meeting process related to the proposed new official plan (version November, 2017), and to make appropriate revisions prior to bringing forward the recommended proposed revised new official plan for Council adoption; and

Third – • Direct the Director of Planning and Building to advise Council at the earliest opportunity of the nature and scope of recommended revisions, including timelines for delivering the revised new official plan.

Next Steps:
The memo provides a follow up to the third recommendation above and outlines process timelines below:

Staff report PB-50-17 , which was previously considered at the November 30 P&D Committee, will be placed again on future P&D Committee agendas to accommodate questions of staff, enable further discussion on the proposed new OP and obtain any further Council motions to amend the new OP. The statutory public portion of the meeting will remain closed and no delegations will be heard in relation to PB-50-17, however members of the public are welcome to attend and the meeting will be webcast.

These upcoming meetings will focus on various topic areas of the new OP, as detailed below:

• January 8, 2018, 1:00 pm: Rural, Agriculture, Natural Heritage and Mineral Aggregates;
• January 16, 2018, 1:00 pm and 6:30 pm: Employment Conversions; and
• February 6, 2018, 1:00 pm and 6:30 pm: Growth Management and any remaining topics areas with the exception of the downtown. The motion recommending that Council receive and file staff report PB-50-17 will be put forward at this meeting.

Grow bold - front door

The planning team overseeing the Grow Bold initiative were set up in office outside city hall. They had their own offices on Locust Street

An information report related to the downtown will be presented at the January 23, 2018 Planning and Development Committee Meeting. This report will contain additional information requested by Council (e.g. background information regarding the Urban Growth Centre boundary; proposed heights as compared to the existing in-effect Official Plan; and key redevelopment sites). Also, this meeting will provide Council the opportunity to direct staff to revise the proposed new OP.

A second statutory public meeting on any revisions to the proposed new OP will be scheduled for February, 27 2018.

A meeting to recommend adoption of the new proposed Official Plan will be scheduled for a committee meeting during the first week of April, 2018.

This revised schedule gives the public and the stakeholders the time they have been calling for the city to provide.

The completion of the new Official Plan process will stay in the hands of Mary Lou Tanner who has been made the Deputy City Manager.

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Regional police crackdown catches three from Burlington - charged with impaired driving.

Crime 100By Staff

December 11th, 2017



On Saturday, December 9, 2017, after 3:30am, witnesses reported a suspected impaired driver in the area of Woodland Avenue and Victoria Avenue in the city of Burlington. Adam Smith (35) of Burlington was charged with care or control while impaired and care or control over 80mgs.

On Sunday, December 10, 2017, after 12:00am, witnesses reported a suspected impaired driver in the area of the Aldershot GO Station in Burlington. Jennifer Doucet (38) of Hamilton was charged with driving over 80mgs.

On Sunday, December 10, 2017, before 11:00pm, a traffic stop was initiated near Upper Middle Road and Guelph Line in Burlington. As a result of an investigation, Joseph Morris (45) of Burlington was charged with driving over 80mgs.

HRPS crestThe Halton Regional Police Service remains committed to road safety through prevention, education and enforcement initiatives.

Members of the public are reminded that driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol is a crime in progress and to call 9-1-1 immediately to report a suspected impaired driver.

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A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES to be read at St. George’s Church Lowville

eventsgreen 100x100By Staff

December 11th, 2017



The Lowville Festival, Burlington’s festival of all the arts for the artist in all of us, is presenting a special Yuletide concert in collaboration with St. George’s Church Lowville.



A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES, the beloved recollections of fabled Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, will be the featured work in a fundraising concert that will feature songs and stories of the festive season in Wales and around the globe.

The main artists in the concert- legendary Toronto publicist and actor Vivienne Muhling; soprano Gaynor Jones, formerly of the Canadian Opera Company; Robert Missen, Founder and Co-Artistic Director of the Lowville Festival; and pianist David Low, one of the region’s most distinguished keyboard artists- have been performing Welsh-themed concerts in Toronto and region for several years. Both Ms. Muhling and Ms. Jones hail from Wales.

This concert will be launched on Tuesday December 12th at the Performing Arts Lodge in downtown Toronto. In addition to the Thomas work, there will be a selection of Welsh and other nations’ hymns, songs and carols, as well as readings from other Thomas poems, and a special rendition by Lowville Festival Co-Artistic Director Robert Missen of A Visit from St. Nicholas, better known as ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.

St Georges Anglican Church

St Georges Anglican Church

For the December 17th concert, which will take place in the seasonally bedecked sanctuary of St. George’s Anglican Church, a beautiful Edwardian stone edifice in north Lowville, this quartet will be joined by a number of local performers, including Lowville Festival Founder and Co- Artistic Director Lorretta Bailey, the well-known Canadian musical theatre performer; and Major 7th Band, a Lowville ensemble with a Celtic flair, which has come to prominence in the last short while. A couple of Special Guest Artists will be announced shortly.

All of the artists are donating their services to the concert. Proceeds will benefit both the Lowville Festival, which will be presented on June 8-10, 2018, and St. George’s Anglican Church.

The Festival has been delighted to collaborate with St. George’s on a number of Festival events since the Festival’s inception in 2015.

For more information and tickets contact Robert Missen at 905-632-6047.

Or by phone at 905-632-6047

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150 Burlingtonians celebrated as the sesquicentennial comes to a close.

News 100 blueBy Staff

December 11th, 2017



We are coming to the close of Canada’s sesquicentennial – our 150th anniversary as a country,
Both the federal, provincial and municipal governments’ have poured a tonne of money into this celebration.
When the Gazette’s political columnist Ray Rivers was touring a Canadian Armed Forces training base in Ukraine he was able to hand out Canada 150 pins to the troops serving in Ukraine.

Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon announced last week the names of the Burlington150 Award recipients at a special reception held at Crossroads Centre in Burlington.

McMahon said the 150 residents “embody the qualities and values that make our province great and who have dedicated their time and talent towards community service in Burlington.

The recipients contribute to:

• Celebrating diversity/inclusion
• Building community/capacity
• Protecting the heritage of Burlington
• Protecting the environment
• Promoting a healthy community

In July 2017, residents of Burlington were asked to nominate suitable candidates through an application process organized by MPP McMahon’s Constituency Office.

Photographs of some of the recipients are shown below.
Awarded were:
Sue Aiken
Michelle Bennett

Michelle Bennett, who has her own political capital, has called upon MP Mile Wallace and MPP Jane McKenna to use theirs to drive up the Burlington numbers in the Jamieson $100,000 contest. Do the two politicians who represent the city even know about the event? The House of Commons is on its latest Torty version of the NDP Ray Days

Michelle Bennett an advocate for community gardens.

Cheryl De Lught H&S

Cheryl De Lugt

Dorothy Borovich
Rishia Burke
Lana Biro
Susan Busby
Karen Candy
Charlene Cheng
Angie Crichton
Cheryl De Lugt
Kristin Demeny
Mary Dilly
Amy D’Souza
Jody Dugas
Erin Dunham
Elaine Evenson
Tanya Ferro
Jasmina Garbus
Stephanie Geosits
Judy Goodings
Shirley Heathfield
Janine Hersey
Becky Hewis
Frances Hillier
Beverley Jacobs
Paulene Jodry
Candice Keem
Lisette Kingo
Marina Lloyd
Jean Longfield
Lisa Lunski
Heather MacLeod
Diane Miller
Colleen Mulholland

Colleen Mulholland was apparently the force behind the decision to publish a Vital Signs report that some in the social services community thought was a little "spotty" and on the weak side.

Colleen Mulholland

Mary Nichol
Sandy O’Reilly
Gwen Piller
Dorothy Pocock
Connie Price
Sara Rams
Fareen Samji
Chloe Schleichkorn
Amy Schnurr
Peggi Shepherd DeGroote
Janice Skafel
Sheila Slattery-Ford
Joanna Sparrow
Hanadi Subhi Almasri
Bonnie Sylvia
Patricia Vollick
Carole Ward

Carole Ward, Burlington 20111 xxx of the Year has been a community activist for as long as most people can remember.

Carole Ward on the left.

Jessica Wesolowski
Pam West
Darlene Wierski-Devoe

Don Allan
Andy Barber
Rob Bennett
Angelo Bentivegna


Angelo Bentivegna

Kale Black
Rev. Bill Bond
Rick Burgess
Colin Campbell
John Chisholm
Stephen Clarke
Casey Cosgrove
John Creary
John Doyle
Ron Foxcroft
Gil Garbus
David Goodings
Brian Hansell
Alan Harrington
Dr. James Henry
Fergie Holland
Bill Hughes
Cam Jackson

Cam Jackson: Election night 2010

Cam Jackson


Rainer Noack

David Johnson
Ron Kirk
Craig Kowalchuk
Doug Leggat
Bryce Leggatt
Marcus Logan
Matthew MacPherson
Ken Maitland
Ted Michaels
James Morrison
Walter Mulkewich
Rainer Noack
Fred Norman
Angelo Paletta
Dr. Bob Peeling
Bob Pring
Bill Reid

Karmel Sakran

Karmel Sakran, chair of Halton Learning Foundation

Karmel Sakran
John Searles
Don Smith
Jonathan Smith
Murray Sutherland
Jim Sweetlove
John Thorpe
Dave Tourchin
Jack Van der Laan
Peter John Van Dyk
Mike Vencel
Scott Wallace
George Wright
Dan Wynnyk

Four boys Griffen

Griffin Gervais second from the left.

LBP George Ward + Rory Nisen

Rory Nisan on the left.

Janna Abdelaziz
Sara Ahmed
Aiman Akmal
Madeleine Barbeau
Sarah Bennett
Kennedy Boyd
Charlotte Brooks
Sean Clarke
Hannah Doherty
Autumn Finley
Victoria Finley
Jerry Gao
Griffin Gervais
Grace Hellam
Luke Hellam
Emma Jackson
Riya Karumanchi
Megan Lee
Jacob Lightfoot
Tianmi Liu
Aidan MacMillan
Carina McDonald
Thomas McDonald
Brianna Moore
Rory Nisan
Shawn Patrick
Sean Reynolds
Pranetr Ranjit
Kate Smith
Keri-Lynn and Maddie Smith
Phoenix Smith
Ayden Soares
Aleksandra Sorbovski
Jessica Sumner
Abbey Syer
Luis Tavares
Noor Toeama
Gershon Tsirulnikov
David Vandenberg
Olivia Walker-Edwards
Emma Ward
Taylor Ward
Connor Withers
Grace Aleta Workman-Porecki

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Resident beleives it is up to the developer to decide if they want to comply with the city position or take the differences to the OMB.

opinionandcommentBy Jeremy Skinner

December 11th, 2017



Where is the 421-431 Brant Street development application going?

If anyone has any concerns as to the City of Burlington’s decision with regards to the 421-431 Brandt St. application, then I suggest that they read the City of Burlington Planning Department’s Recommendation Report PB-62-17 which was accepted by City Council decision on November 13th.

The document in its entirety (all 71 pages) is at

Scroll down to Recommendation report and click on the report.  The Recommendation report is close to the bottom – they don’t make it easy to find.

Upon reading the Recommendation Report, it is my opinion that the applicant (421 Brandt Street Inc.) and City Planning were unable to agree upon what the permitted height for the proposed building should be. I can only surmise that the developer threatened to seek an appeal to the OMB to obtain what could not be negotiated from City Planning Staff. A building height of twenty-seven storeys.

I base my opinion on the words “recommending modified approval” which are found in the Recommendation Report’s Subject line and two statements contained within the report found in the Section entitled “Purpose” documenting the different points of view. They are:

1. “The applicants are proposing to amend the Official Plan (Downtown Core designation) and Zoning By-law (DC zone) to permit the proposed 27-storey mixed use building with a floor area ratio of 10.29: 1.” and

2. “Notwithstanding, planning staff have recommended a “modified approval” which would permit a mixed use building with a height up to 23 storeys, subject to significant design and public realm improvements.”

While the developer has documented their agreement to comply with many City and Region comments made during the application process by submitting a revised application last August, the requested building height remained unchanged at 27 storeys.

421 Brant

Skinner believes the developer has an important decision to make.

In addition, the cover letter for the revised submission written by Mr. Mark G. Bales of 421 Brandt Street Inc. dated 03 August to Ms. Mary Lou Tanner Director of Planning & Building includes the following Conclusion statement: “Further to the comments received, the analysis completed by our consultant team and our comments above, we are requesting that you consider the resubmission materials and move the project forward to City Council for approval immediately.”

It is my opinion that the consequence of City Council’s approval on the 13th of November of the City Planning recommendations implies that the developer must decide between:

1. Complying with City Council’s approval of City Planning recommendation of “a mixed use building with a height up to 23 storeys, subject to significant design and public realm improvements.”

The City is not known to amend the Official Plan (Downtown Core designation) and Zoning By-law (DC zone) to permit development of the site until such time when it receives the developer’s agreement to comply.

Other parties, such as a Resident’s Association, can not seek an appeal to the OMB against the City and/or the developer until the City amends the Zoning By-law.

Should any of these other parties seek an appeal against the City and the developer, they would have to: prove that they made a delegation at the Statutory Meeting held on the first of November; assume the costs of obtaining suitable representation at the OMB; and make the case to the OMB that the City and/or the Developer made significant errors in interpreting Provincial, Regional and/or Municipal Policies, Principles and Guidelines.

The risk in seeking an appeal is that the OMB is an independent tribunal with the authority to approve, change, or reuse planning applications. As such all parties run the risk that the developer will take advantage of the appeal to make the case for the original development application requirements, including the 27 storey building height.

421 Brant 12 and 23

Graphic profile of the proposed development on Brant Street – 12 storeys and 23 storey’s.

The OMB may or may not ultimately side with the party seeking appeal in whole, or in part, based upon the strength of the arguments presented by all the parties for and against the appeal.

2. Appealing City Council’s approval of City Planning’s recommendations to the OMB in the hopes that the OMB will direct the City to “amend the Official Plan (Downtown Core designation) and Zoning By-law (DC zone) to permit the proposed 27-storey mixed use building with a floor area ratio of 10.29: 1.”

The costs to the developer in doing so include the costs of obtaining suitable representation at the OMB and the costs associated with delaying development of the property for between 6 and 12 months pending the OMB decision after multiple hearings.

The risk to the City is that the OMB is an independent tribunal with the authority to approve, change, or refuse planning applications. In other words, OMB decisions take the place of decisions made by Council.

The risk to the developer is that other parties, such as a Resident’s Association who made a delegation at the Statutory meeting held on the first of November, could make the case to promote more restrictive terms than those which were recommended by City Planning, such as to limit the building height to twelve stories, etc.

The OMB may or may not ultimately side with the developer in whole or in part of the appeal based upon the strength of the arguments presented by all the parties for and against the appeal.

It is my opinion that the decision rests with the developer as to where the 421-431 Brandt St. development application is going. Until the developer decides, no one else can and the development remains stalled.

Editor’s note:  ECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington have called a public meeting for December 13th at the Baptist Church on New Street to discuss an appeal to the OMB of the city council decision to approve the the 421 Brant Street development.

Related content:

Staff recommendation.

Skinner JeremyJeremy Skinner is a Burlington resident who is a frequent contributor to the opinion pages of the Gazette.

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