Council looking at a light agenda this evening - then settles down to do some heavy lifting on the 2019 budget later in the week.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 28th, 2019



City Council meets this evening to put the official stamp to issues that were discussed at the Standing committee level earlier in the month.

We will learn who Council wants to see appointed to the numerous Advisory Committees the city has in place. There were a number of people who thought the way Advisory Councils were formed, staffed and funded needed a full re-appraisal – won’t happen this year; perhaps next.

There is a new committee that is taking a look at the way the city is going to structure the matter of Development Charges – that is the sum of money developers pay – up front- for the cost of building new or adding to existing infrastructure. A major major concern to the development community.

Meed Ward winsome

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

Sharman 2

Councillor Paul Sharman

Mayor Meed Ward and Councillor Sharman will head up the Development Charges Consultation Committee.

Later in the week they move into some heavy duty budget discussions and begin to suss out what the final tax rate is going to be.

Burlington has borne the brunt of close to consistent 4% increases for the past eight years – numbers like that are neither economically or politically sustainable – where the cuts are going to take place is an unknown at this point.

This council did ask the Finance department to tell them what would have to go if there were a 2%, 3 % and a 3.25% tax increase. There is a link to the answer staff gave at the bottom of this article.

The Finance people set out a number of scenarios but none of them made mention of significant cuts in the staff compliment.
In 2017 the city spent $106,729,690 on Human Resources

In 2018 the budget for Human Resources was $115,341,659 and the actual $112,655,298

The budget for 2019 is pegged at $120,828,358 – that is an increase of $14 million over a two year period which looks a little steep.

During one of the recent Council Workshops Angelo Bentivegna, Ward 6 City and Regional Councillor coined a phrase that we can expect to hear frequently. He wants council to come up with ways to re-think, re-tool, and re-invent how we do business.

The Gazette tried to get Bentivegna to expand on this line of thinking – the Council member suddenly went mute. We are going to have to listen closely to what the Council member has to say in public if we are to get the full measure of the man.

It is fairly clear that this council wants to pass a budget that results in a lower tax rate. The problem is that other than the Mayor and Paul Sharman, Councillor for Ward 5, none has any experience with a municipal budget.


Councillor Lisa Kearns

Chair of the Budget Committee, ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns is doing fine so far keeping things on track and moving the agenda forward. If she stays on her current trajectory she will turn out to be a very efficient and knowledgeable budget chair. There is just a lot to learn and her background with things municipal is thin.

When Councillor Sharman was first elected in 2010 he took to financial matters like a bull in a china shop – while he didn’t make any friends he did push his colleagues to produce a 0% increase that year.

Will he do something similar this year? Don’t bet on it.

Sharman will be supportive but don’t expect him to lead – that doesn’t fit in with his longer term objective. Recall that when Sharman first filed nomination papers with the City Clerk in 2010 it was for the Office of Mayor. He withdrew those papers when Rick Goldring filed papers for that job and came back with nominations forms for the ward 5 seat that Goldring was about to vacate.

Rick Goldring once said that Paul Sharman was one of the best strategic thinkers he had ever met. Don’t expect Sharman to put that reference on his Linked in page but keep it in mind as we watch how this new council evolves.

Related news stories:

Budget – the big picture.

Where can council cut spending?  Here, here and here.

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Chop chop - Mayor gives Grow Bold the old heave ho!

News 100 yellowStatement by Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

January 25th, 2019



Well that didn’t take long.

Tom Muir made some scathing comments about a development meeting that took place earlier in the month.

That was followed by an opinion piece by three Aldershot residents who asked the city to clarify just what the city was using in the way of an Official Plan.

Mayor Meed Ward issued a statement this morning making it very clear what she had in mind.  The Grow Bold tag line the Planning department had fallen in love with was out – and council will be looking at the “approved” Official Plan that the Regional government returned as deficient.

Here is what Her Worship had to say:

MMW arms out - thank you

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward moments after being sworn in.

“Burlington residents have consistently raised concerns about over intensification and development in our City. During the 2018 election, they made their voices heard and clearly indicated the need to review the scale and intensity of planned development, especially in the new Official Plan.

“As a result, I am bringing forward a motion to re-examine the policies of the Official Plan that was adopted, though not officially approved, in April of 2018, and review matters of height and density.

“Halton Region has also recently identified areas of non-conformity, so this motion seeks to gain the time to address those issues.

“Once the Region identified areas of non-conformity, that stopped the clock on approving the new Official Plan and opened the plan up for any other matters of discussion. This allows our new city council the time to define what areas we want to study, undertake that work, consult with the community, and send back a comprehensive plan. We expect that plan to truly reflect the needs, best interests and vision of the community and its elected council.

“The motion will also provide absolute clarity to staff and to the community that the City of Burlington staff are not to use the adopted 2018 plan in evaluating current/new development applications and that the existing Official Plan is still in full legal force and effect. Multiple analyses by staff in assessing development applications, downtown in particular, have made it clear we do not need to overintensify in order to meet our obligations under the Places To Grow legislation.

Grow bold - front door“Further, we will immediately discontinue use of the “Grow Bold” term and related branding to ensure we
are absolutely clear on our direction.

“A timeline will be discussed at the next committee meeting.”

What we are seeing is a Mayor with her hands firmly hold the tiller on the ship of state.

The then Director of Planning for the city, Mary Lou Tanner, told city council that after polling people in the city they had decided to go with the tag line: Grow Bold, Grow Smart, Grow Beautiful. The words got placed on the door to the space on Locust Street that was rented for the Planning staff to work out of.

With the tag line gone – are the people that created it far behind?

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An appeal by three Ward 1 concerned citizens: Burlington Needs Clarity on Planning Applications.

opinionred 100x100By Jim Young, Greg Woodruff and Tom Muir.

January 25th, 2019



Gazette readers will be aware that Burlington’s New Official Plan (New OP) was rejected by Halton Region as non-conforming in four specific areas.

Quote: “The new Official Plan was adopted by City Council on April 26, 2018, and was sent to the Region of Halton on May 11, 2018 for approval…….. The Region ………… is legislatively required to ensure that Burlington’s Official Plan conforms with the Regional Official Plan …. On December 4, 2018, the Region issued a statement of opinion that the new Official Plan does not conform to the Regional Official Plan in regard to the following:”

1. Proposed employment conversions and permitted uses within the employment areas and lands.
2. Identification of and permitted uses in agricultural lands.
3. Identification of and permitted uses with the Natural Heritage System;
4. Transportation matters including road classifications.

The New OP was also overwhelmingly rejected by voters in October’s municipal election in an almost wholesale change in the city’s seven person council, most of whom ran on promises to revise that New OP upon its return from the region.

We are three concerned Ward 1 citizens who believe council needs to act to clarify the status of the New OP and the supremacy of the Existing Official Plan (Existing OP).

The Region’s rejection of the New OP renders it null and void and, under the Planning Act, leaves the Existing OP “in Force and Effect” at present. Yet recent applications by developers for zoning or bylaw amendments to the City’s Official Plan appear to be receiving consideration under some kind of blending of both plans. This lack of clarity works very much in the developers favour.

Developers are submitting applications which, while paying lip service to the Existing OP to keep them compliant, incorporate features of the New OP in an attempt to cash in on its more liberal permitted heights.

Amica development rendering

Amica development proposed for North Shore Blvd across the Road from the OPP Station.

There are many such applications in the works but one good example of this practice is the Proposed Development at 1157-1171 North Shore Bvd.

The developer wants 17 stories (62.5) metres in an area where the Existing OP designates 11 Storey (Max 22 metres). Regardless of the merits or otherwise of the development, the process by which it is being pursued by both developer and city staff is not only inappropriate, it is contrary to all the reasons citizens elected a new city council and creates very dangerous precedents no matter what revision of the OP eventually reaches the books.

At the mandatory public meeting held jointly by the developer and city planners on January 9th, these deviations from the Existing OP; the misapplication of the New OP and many other issues were raised by citizens.

Our concerns about the legitimacy of the process were completely ignored by city planning staff whose duty, we believe should be to defend the wishes of Citizens, City Council and Halton Region, all of whom have rejected the New OP and pending a rewrite of that plan following its overwhelming rejection by voters in the October election.

It appears that city planners have taken one of two possible positions:

1. Pending approval of the New OP, any applications received are subject to the existing in force and in effect Official Plan; however, consideration is being given to the Council adopted New Official Plan.

2. When challenged on the propriety of that position City Staff seem to fall back on the technicality that the New OP is the “last position taken by Council on April 26, 2018” so is deemed by them to have weight in consideration of amendment applications.

We believe staff are adopting these positions contrary to the Municipal Planning Act and the wishes of City Council. We dispute both of these positions as erroneous. You cannot have two plans in play at the same time.

The New OP is, to all intents and purposes, null and void.

If that needs to be clarified to city staff, then we urgently request that council convene to provide direction to staff, as is their prerogative, to the effect that: “The Old Official Plan remains in force and in effect as mandated by The Planning Act, and is therefore the only pertinent consideration for amendment applications until such times as A Revised Official Plan is drawn up, adopted by city council and approved by regional council.”

Jim Young

Jim Young

Greg Woodruff

Greg Woodruff

Muir with pen in hand

Tom Muir

Related news story:

The event that brought resulted in three residents appealing to city council for clarification.

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How many Official Plans do we have? Two - but only one of them is legitimate. Confused? You are not alone.

News 100 blueBy Staff

January 25th, 2019



Official-Plan-Binder_ImageThe Official Plan, the document that sets out what can be built where, was an election issue in October.

The city currently has two Official Plans: one that is in force and what has to be complied with. The other is a Plan that was approved by city council during its dying days but has yet to be approved by the Region.

Many didn’t think the 2014 -2018 city council had the right to “approve” the Official Plan that they sent along to the Region where the Plan has to be approved and sent back to Burlington where it can be voted on by council and become the law of the land.

Recently the Region returned the “approved” Official Plan and pointed out four deficiencies.

Amica development rendering

It is a very big development – which Official Plan will it be developed under?

Earlier this month there was a presentation being made by a developer for a large long term care home they wanted to build on North Shore Blvd.

A number of people who attended that meeting were very confused and upset with the way staff from the Planning department were explaining which Official Plan was being applied.

Tom Muir, an Aldershot resident wrote extensively on that meeting saying:

Muir glancing

Tom Muir

I attended this meeting that was joined by at least 80 people and I came away disturbed and concerned by what I saw and heard coming from the planning staff in attendance, the developer’s planning consultant and the residents.

The first thing that was apparent is that there was not a happy and supportive face in the room. The initial questions asked by the audience reflected the general unrest among the attendees concerning the confusing and contradictory statements from staff and the developer consultant about what the Official Plan being brought to bear on this application actually was about.

That is, why did the applicant ask for such significant increases in the existing OP and zoning allowances, and why did they appear to have such confidence in the approval of their application?

It soon became apparent that there were actually two OPs being brought into play here by all the planners present. One was the existing OP that is in force and effect. However, with equal but apparent favored mention, was the previous Council adopted OP that was brought forward as a “Council approved”. I repeat, the word “adopted”, which is the proper word in the context of city Council, was not used, in favor of “approved” which is the Region responsibility. The status of this OP as refused and non-compliant was not mentioned.

It was further noted by staff that this OP was being used for information, guidance and direction for the City planning. It was apparent that this confusing contradiction with two OPs in play was disturbing the attendees (and me) and was a key issue arising.

It was not until I asked a question about this that the OP referred to repeatedly as “approved” had been, in truth, refused by the Region as non-compliant with the Regional Official Plan, and at present is on hold and has no status or legal standing. I repeat, this fact was never revealed to the meeting attendees until my question pointed it out.

Instead, to my dismay waiting for the truth to emerge, this refused and non-compliant OP was actually referred to as “Council approved”, several times in repeated references to it.

In the ensuing exchanges on this point that you can’t have two OPs at the same time, it was apparent to me that Planning is playing a game. All three planners in attendance played the same words and danced around what was going to be done about that.

It was actually stated by staff that the OMB has ruled that the existing OP did not meet the requirements of the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) and provincial growth plans, but there was no evidence to support this to show how the maximum medium density and heights (11 storeys was mentioned) permitted under the existing OP were not sufficient.

Staff further danced around the truth by making somewhat light that the non-compliance of the adopted OP was “limited” in some abstract way, so it still had some standing and is okay to have regard for – which is not true. It was stated that City and Region are talking about certain isolated issues of non-compliance, and will get rolling again, but it was never admitted that this OP has no standing because it has been refused as non-compliant based on key things that affect the overall OP.

Muir with pen in hand

Tom Muir, one of a group of people in Aldershot who keep well informed on what comes out of the Planning department.

My recurrent take on this is the staff cannot let the refused OP go to pasture for second public thoughts. I can see that right from the pre-application consultation and discussion stage of the planning process, it seems that all the planners are pushing the basis and ideas from the non-compliant OP for extra height and density and other things .I think that staff do not to give up the power they have to make decisions based on their mostly subjective opinions about what various policies mean in their denotations. Subjectivity cannot be analysed, so it cannot be shown to be objective.

They all want to speak from this OP platform for more height, density and lower facilitating standards to enable the large builds. And they try to generally discredit the existing OP to try and get around it. This has been going on for years and continues in every new application in the pipeline. This is largely why we have such an almost complete loss of control of development downtown and elsewhere.

The Planning staff are the ones who recommended to Council that this OP be adopted, even with major missing parts, including Transportation and Mobility Hubs. And these parts are among the things that the Region refused the OP as non-compliant – transportation named, but Mobility Hubs involve employment lands and that is another key issue in the non-compliance opinion. Again, these two pieces are still missing and this OP is not legal, but staff march on using it, non-compliance or not.

The truth is that if it has been refused by the Region as non-compliant it is dead for all practical purposes, and cannot in good professional planning practice be used as a basis for decisions. Only much later in the meeting, near the end, did staff clumsily mumble that the refused OP is out of the picture somehow, on hold or whatever words pertain, and so we have to enforce the existing OP and bylaws on height and density and so on.

Importantly, staff actually stated that they needed new directions from Council to change the direction of planning in the city, and of the adopted but not compliant OP. It is obvious that the staff are asking for this change to be made explicit from someone in charge, and ultimately from Council.

In planning talk, the Planning Act requires that an application must be processed under the OP that is force and effect. The adopted OP has no status and should not be used as the basis for supporting any new application, not even with the mention of non-compliance with the ROP. The new OP has not been approved at the Region. We must stop this type of action by staff.

In the view of many, including all the Mayoral candidates, the last election campaign and outcome was supposed to be a wake-up call to the Planning department about the development that was being promoted and done in Burlington. Tongue in cheek, it may be that since most of the city planning staff don’t live in Burlington they didn’t hear the clarion call. That said, someone in charge needs to drive that point home with some new marching orders to Planning. This kind of action by staff must be stopped.

Heather MacDonald, Director of Planning for Burlington responded to Muir with:

This is in response to your email dated Friday, January 11th.

Heather_MacDonald COB planner

Heather MacDonald, Director of Planning for Burlington

 It is recognized that public engagement early on in and throughout the processing of development applications is important and of great value. Neighbourhood meetings held at an early stage provide for information sharing and identification of issues and concerns to be addressed by the development approval process.

At the neighbourhood meeting on January 9th, staff answered questions regarding the status of the new Official Plan. The following confirms the information that was provided to clarify where things are at with the new Official Plan.

The new Official Plan was adopted by City Council on April 26, 2018, and was sent to the Region of Halton on May 11, 2018 for approval. The Region is designated as the authority to make a decision on the Official Plan and is legislatively required to ensure that Burlington’s Official Plan conforms with the Regional Official Plan.

Specific timelines are established by the Planning Act for the Region to make its decision. City staff has been working closely with the Region. To allow more time for the process, on December 4, 2018, the Region issued a statement of opinion that the new Official Plan does not conform to the Regional Official Plan in regard to the following:

– proposed employment conversions and permitted uses within the employment areas and lands;

– identification of and permitted uses in agricultural lands;

– identification of and permitted uses with the Natural Heritage System;

– transportation matters including road classifications.

In accordance with the Planning Act, this notification allows for a pause in the Region’s approval process. The Official Plan is still with the Region for approval; however, the decision on approval is paused to allow more time to resolve nonconformity matters. City staff is continuing to work with Regional staff to come to resolution on these matters.

The pause also provides the opportunity for the City to request the Region to consider modifications to the Official Plan currently before them. Any Council approved modifications sent to the Region would also be considered with respect to conformity with the Regional Official Plan.

Until the Region approves the new Official Plan, any applications received or in process are subject to the existing in force and in effect Official Plan; however, consideration is given to the Council adopted new Official Plan.

Greg Woodruff, another Aldershot resident and a candidate for Mayor in the October election added that:

I think the widening gulf in impression is being created by the terms of the “public input” process are not apparent to those participating. People think they are giving input into the decision and direction of the city. However staff are in reality implementing over arching plans proposed by Provincial entities. The merits of these plans not withstanding; when the desires of these faceless plans come into conflict with the desires of local residents – how is this to be resolved?


Greg Woodruff on a TVO Mayoralty debate

Right now it’s “resolved” by a poor planner from the planners office hauled up in front of a crowed room of hundreds of pissed off people trying to explaining elements of an incredibly sophisticated and complicated planning system. No one can possibly explain the complexity of this process to people in a meeting like this and every one is going away angry.

Most people believe that city employees represent them in a conflict with the Province, not that they implement Provincial policy onto residents. As I put it the “public consultation process” from the staff perspective seems like we get to decide the shade of brown the walls get to be, but not how high or where they should go.

My suggestion going forward would be to open these meetings with what types of resident input the staff considers valid for consideration, and what types of input conflict with an overarching plan plan and are not considered input on the table. If you opened these meetings with, “The staff feel that a high-rise building is in fact what the Provincial Planning Statement imagines at this location and the staff roll is to bring that into realty. Legislation prevents staff from really considering anything else – if you don’t like it talk to x. Where x is an elected leader that could change this direction.” Then at least the public could lobby in an effective direction – as is they keep lobbying Burlington staff for a direction I think the staff themselves feel is “off the table”.

Enter all this business on the “official plan”. I don’t feel staff are “considering the new Official plan.” They are acting like it’s a done deal. Certainly they are not restraining heights as if the old official plan is the basis of anything. It’s all being considered as if some almost identical version of the “New Official Plan” is the reality.

So the question would be what direction do the staff require to consider current development applications primarily through the working of the current OP? I think the general sense is that compliance with the old OP is appropriate until the new council and Halton gets a crack at the changes they want. Other wise staff working with the New OP are encouraging development that may heavily conflict with a new version, something not good for developers, staff or the public.

Lisa Kearns, Councillor for Ward 2 did her best to clarify things saying:

Yes, we are in a complex position.

Kearns direct smile

Ward 2 City Councillor Lisa Kearns.

Here’s what I can offer:
-I have invited Curt Benson to my Ward 2 Updates, scheduling conflict for the next one on January 24. I will open an invitation to him as well for the neighbourhood meeting relating to the application upcoming at Pearl/Lakeshore. (Curt Benson, MCIP RPP Director, Planning Services and Chief Planning Official, Halton Region).

-I continue to be at every planning application neighbourhood meeting, statutory meeting, etc. with the purpose of ensuring a sense of the community input in relation to development applications. I further encourage feedback in the form most preferable to residents, all is weighted.

-I have directed the interim City Manager to work with Council and Staff to prepare a press release/education campaign on the status of the Official Plan*. This is a direction I brought forward following the 1157-1171 North Shore neighbourhood meeting. At this meeting I observed the used of multiple versions of “Official Plan” and the personal/professional interpretations that projected onto the audience due to the individual experiences through this planning process. I impressed a sense of urgency given the ensuing interpretations that result from the absence of this clarity.

I acknowledge there is so much more to this conversation, and I am grateful for an engaged community. Please know that I continue to work hard on your behalf and am very much aware of the opportunities for improvement.

Interim City Manager Tim Commisso closed out the online conversation saying:

“Thanks Councillor Kearns. No question that addressing issues surrounding the OP is at the forefront of building trust and confidence in the City related to protecting the public interest.

Definitely a priority for myself and we are working hard on your direction and other related actions.”

Those who follow this stuff can arrive at their own conclusions as to just what is taking place.


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Province tries to drop another big one on the municipal sector; they fight back and win a major concession.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 24th, 2019



It was an issue that sort of crept up on the public.

Someone caught Premier Doug Ford telling a group of developers that he was prepared to open up some of the Greenbelt so that developers could build much needed affordable housing.

It was music to the ears of the developers who would take advantage of the opportunity to build high end homes in a rural setting – there wasn’t a hope of there ever being any affordable housing in these prime building sites.

The Premier’s comments about affordable housing were a laughable ruse to a public that is a little less gullible than it was the day they elected him seven months ago..

The municipalities pushed back hard and have been able to convince the provincial government to take out a section of proposed legislation off the table.

The province announced earlier this week that it would pull the controversial Section 10 of the Proposed Bull 66 that is now before the Legislature.

Greenbelt map

The Greenbelt created in 2005 – eye candy for the developers, lifeline for the taxpayers.

It was not a simple task, Burlington, along with a number of other municipalities that touched on or were part of the Greenbelt created in 2005.

Burlington submitted comments as part of a response to the legislation tabled on December 6, 2018, by the Provincial Government, referred to as Bill 66, Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2018.

If passed, the legislation would have allowed municipalities to, with the Minister’s consent, pass “Open for Business’” zoning bylaws. These bylaws would not be bound by existing legislation, such as the Clean Water Act, 2006 or the Greenbelt Act, 2005.

For a city such as Burlington, where half our land is rural and located within the Greenbelt, the tools proposed in this legislation were of great concern and do not address the barriers the City is facing regarding economic development.

Mayor Meed Ward and Premier - Dec 2018

All smiles when Mayor Meed Ward met with the Premier while he was on a hospital tour – no word on whether or not she advised the Premier to keep his hands of the Escarpment.

Burlington is already “open for business” with over 400 acres of employment land sitting vacant and available.
Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said: “Residents have overwhelmingly expressed support to protect our Greenbelt and public safety in the Clean Water Act. We will do that. We have sent a clear message to the province; I have written to Steve Clark, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and Halton Regional Council already unanimously approved a resolution confirming that we won’t compromise public safety or our Greenbelt to be open for business. We have a large supply of suitable land available and are ready to work with businesses.”

Burlington made its comments for submission to the Province regarding Bill 66 available to the public on January 18th.

The resolution approved at Halton Regional Council on the legislation was included in the Regional Council meeting minutes from January 16, 2019.

In promoting the legislation to the municipal sector Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing said: “Our government is committed to making it faster and easier for municipalities in the region to plan for growth, increase housing supply, attract investment, and create and protect jobs. That is why we are proposing changes to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2017 and its transition regulation.

“Given the rising number of people who will live and work in the Greater Golden Horseshoe in the next 20 years, the Growth Plan provides a long-term framework for growth. It aims to:

• Increase and promote economic growth, reduce congestion and provide residents easy access to businesses and services

• Build communities that maximize infrastructure investments, while balancing local needs for the agricultural industry and natural areas

Not through this part of th Escarpment if you don't mind. Citizens want to make sure the province fully understands how iopposed they are to a raod through this part of our city.

Does this look like a site for affordable housing?

The Minister added: “We have heard that planning for growth in the Greater Golden Horseshoe Region is needed. However, we have also heard that there are some issues with how best to implement the Growth Plan. The proposed changes build on feedback that the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing heard from the business, research and development sectors, municipalities, and others during engagement sessions last fall.

The proposed changes respect the ability of local governments to make decisions about how they grow. The province will maintain protections for the Greenbelt, agricultural lands, the agri-food sector, and natural heritage systems.

Helen Walihura, Government Relations Specialist and part of what city hall staff call the Burlington Leadership Team, wrote much of the document Burlington submitted. It is quite detailed and is a recognition of the fact that the province is always looking for ways to make changes to MORE HERE

NGTA No-highway-here1-285x300

Burlington managed to beat back the attempt to have a highway run through Kilbride and Lowville.

It was the highway that the Ministry of Transportation wanted to push through Kilbride and Lowville and have it join up with highway 407.
City of Burlington Comments on Bill 66, Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2018

On Dec. 6, 2018, the Provincial government introduced Bill 66, the Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2018. This omnibus bill is meant to “eliminate red tape and burdensome regulations so businesses, can grow, create and protect good jobs.” The proposed legislation includes 32 actions across 12 ministries. Of particular interest, is the proposed new Open-for-Business planning tool and the new regulations under the Planning Act related to the tool.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing invited comments on the proposed legislation via the Environmental Registry under three separate consultations.

• ERO 013-4125 – Proposed open-for-business planning tool

• ERO 013-4239- New regulation under the Planning Act for open-for-business planning tool

• ERO 013-4293 – Bill 66, Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2018.

Comments for all three consultations were required by January 20th, 2019.

City of Burlington staff reviewed the proposed legislation and submitted the following comments to the Province.

Proposed open-for-business planning tool (EBR Posting 013-4125)
City of Burlington staff does not support the creation of an open-for-business planning tool as proposed, for the following reasons:

a. The tool undermines the city’s goals to achieve coordinated and sustainable planning, as delivered through the application of the Provincial Policy Statement, Growth Plan, and Greenbelt Plan. Allowing major employment uses in areas not intended for such uses will fragment Agricultural Systems and Natural Heritage Systems and could lead to a creep of land use pressures to introduce residential, ancillary and other supportive uses to support the major employment use;

Burlington GO south side

The Burlington GO station is steps away from a major five tower development on Fairview that is part of the new mobility hub that covers all of the property on the north side of Fairview east to Guelph – which is where the city wants to see new development take place – affordable housing fits into spaces like this.

b. The tool undermines provincial investments in infrastructure, such as the transit projects identified in the Metrolinx Regional Transportation Plan. The tool could also undermine Regional investments in infrastructure. Major employment uses should be directed to locate within existing urban areas that are supported by transit and other infrastructure investments, such as near Major Transit Station Areas. Locating major employment uses within the Greenbelt Plan area, and other areas not intended for or compatible with such uses will result in the inefficient use of existing infrastructure and contribute further to traffic congestion;

c. Businesses want certainty and clarity regarding land use permissions. The tool introduces uncertainty in the planning framework that could increase land speculation and contribute to affordability challenges;

d. The tool contradicts the climate change goals articulated in the Province’s draft Environmental Plan, by potentially increasing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with sprawl, and the potential for long term increased costs in environmental remediation and the impacts to water resources and drinking water; and


Did Grow Bold mean that we were open to everything? Not with the new council elected last October.

e. The open for business planning tool will create a competition amongst municipalities that rewards those that will accept the weakest planning, environmental and health and safety regulations. The province should ensure that all municipalities are raising the bar to achieve quality and sustainable developments, to ensure health and safety and to reduce long term cost impacts that would result to address environmental issues and to maintain unsustainable investments in infrastructure.

f. Eliminating the requirement for notification and consultation with the community, other agencies or municipalities may speed up the approval process, but will not necessarily result in good decisions or faster completion of a development. Residents want and ought to be involved in planning decisions that will impact the communities they live in. Local planning decisions that will impact the service delivery of others cannot be made in isolation. Not including Halton Region in Burlington planning decisions where new regional services are required will not result in jobs coming to Burlington faster, in fact, bypassing the Region could result in delays and additional costs.

g. Allowing major trip generators (such as employment developments), to by-pass council approved transportation policies and directions will mean that municipalities will be responsible for meeting conditions that developers would usually be responsible for. For example, if a developer asks for relief in the amount of parking which they are required to provide, and this relief is granted through this proposed policy, only to realize once the project is constructed and operating that there are insufficient parking spaces. The overflow parking becomes an issue the municipality must address.

Instead of an Open for Business Bylaw, please consider the following tools:

a. Tools to incent the creation of innovation districts located near Major Transit Station Areas and other areas that are serviced by transit. Innovation Districts are a type of business and or industrial district to attract and promote clusters of private and public-sector firms and organizations engaged in the development of new products, materials, services and knowledge . An Innovation District at its core must be driven by existing assets and an economic development strategy. A Provincial program to support and build upon existing businesses and organizations within a municipality would be a more prudent approach to using existing specialization and resources. Such a program could include support for creation of economic development strategies for local Innovation Districts;

Paradigm April 2017

The first of the five tower development is about to be occupied. All the property to the east is part of a new mobility hub that will encourage higher density growth.

b. The tools proposed in the open-for-business planning tool do not address our barriers to economic development. An example of a barrier to the development and redevelopment of employment lands is the timely and coordinated issuance of MTO permits. Approximately 80% of the City’s employment lands are within the MTO development permit area. Addressing this barrier would assist in the timely development of serviced and transit oriented employment lands; and

c. The province should consider the use of the MZO tool as an alternative. This tool already exists at a provincial scale. The Planning Act could be amended to expressly identify the attraction of a major employment and economic growth opportunity as a matter of provincial interest. Consideration of these types of uses should be done at a provincial scale to ensure coordinated planning and use of infrastructure.

The following items require more clarity to understand how the tool will be implemented:

a. What is the evidence/data that demonstrates that these sections of the Planning Act are the barriers to locating major employment uses?

b. Please define major employment and economic growth opportunities.

c. What are the prescribed criteria referenced in Section 34.1(2) of the Planning Act?

d. How does the use of this tool apply to Upper Tier vs. Lower Tier municipalities? Are there criteria for determining what is of Regional interest or local interest?

New Regulation under the Planning Act for open-for-business planning tool (EBR Posting 013-4239)

1. Please see EBR Posting 013-4125 above for additional feedback from the City Burlington.

2. In order to provide all feedback a copy of the regulation should be provided.

Zoned commercial, spitting distance to the QEW, minutes from downtown - owner wants to rezone and make it residential.

Burlington has a lot of land that is “open for business” The location on Mainway next to Burloak is zoned commercial, spitting distance to the QEW, minutes from downtown – owner wants to rezone and make it residential.

3. The regulation notes that evidence is required to demonstrate the minimum job creation threshold . This presents implementation challenges. What evidence is acceptable? How do you ensure the proposed jobs are delivered and remain in place for a significant amount of time? Are there penalties if the proposed jobs do not materialize? Will there be any recognition of the differences or importance of either basic or non-basic industries?

4. The regulation indicates that residential, commercial or retail cannot be the primary use. This language could actually introduce mixed uses, particularly residential which appears to be in conflict with the main objective of the open-for-business tool.

5. Any proposed regulation should be specific to not permit recreation or institution uses.

Burlington, along with the other three municipalities in the Region are going to have to be constantly vigilant and ensure that what makes Burlington unique is left alone.

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Lakeshore Village Plaza development in the east end will get a Statutory hearing on February 12th. The natives are restless.

News 100 redBy Staff

January 24th, 2019



In a note to residents in Ward 5 who are on the Council member’s mailing list Paul Sharman sent the following:

“As you may remember from the previous Open House letter that was mailed in July 2018, the City of Burlington received applications from Burlington Retail Portfolio Inc. to re-designate and rezone the properties located at 5353 Lakeshore Road (Lakeside Plaza).


It was standing room only at the Lakeside Plaza visioning event in 2015.

“The purpose of these applications is to permit a mixed use redevelopment with building heights ranging from one to eighteen storeys. The applications propose 900 new residential units, 2,700 square metres of office space and 11, 955 square metres of service commercial and retail uses with 1350 parking surface and underground parking spaces. Access will be maintained from Kenwood Avenue, Hampton Heath Road and Lakeshore Road.

“The property is currently zoned ‘Neighbourhood Commercial (CN1-63)’. According to the City’s Official Plan, the subject properties are designated Neighbourhood Commercial.

Sharman then advises his constituents that “there will be a Statutory Public Information Meeting; residents are invited to attend and learn more about the proposed Official Plan amendment and Zoning By-law amendment applications for 5353 Lakeshore Road. This meeting will take place on: February 12, 6:30 pm; City Hall Council Chambers, Level 2.

“This report does not include a recommendation about the application at this time. The purpose of the information report is to update all members of Council about the development proposal. The report will be available on the City’s website at by searching for the meeting date for the Planning and Development Committee. A copy of the report can also be picked up at the City Clerk’s Department on the main level of City Hall.”

In his most recent report to his constituents Councillor Sharman adds:

Lakeside Village Goldring - Zahoruk and Emilio

Former Mayor Rick Goldring on the left talking to Cynthia Zahorak and the developer at the Lakeshore Village Plaza visioning event in 2015.

“The applicant is in control of what they chose to apply for, not me and not Council. At this stage the applicant heard what members of the public had to say at open house meetings in July and August. I understand the City has not received a modified application.

“Meanwhile, the review period of 210 days has passed, and the City needs to move the file along. Hence there will be a Statutory Public Meeting on February 12.

“Council will not have the ability to make any decisions on the application until staff prepare a recommendation report, sometime in the future. We will learn in the course of time whether the applicant has chosen to reduce the scale, density, design and parking numbers.

“If you have any questions about these applications, please contact me.”

That’s the official word from the ward Councillor. Paul Sharman appears to have taken a pass on the opportunity to comment on the rich background and his personal involvement in the development of this project.

Sharman was an advocate for something in the way of development in the east end in a Plaza that had certainly seen better days. He went into Toronto to try and meet with the people who paid the taxes on the property but was able to get beyond the receptionist – which for Paul Sharman is surprising.

What is missing in the information Councillor Sharman provided is his view on the development. Sharman has never been known for hiding his views in the past. He is outspoken, direct, at times bombastic – he seldom ‘shilly shallies’.

Lakeside village plaza proposal

Lakeside village plaza proposal

The development is huge in scale. It brought out hundreds of people who gathered in a small space during the summer to look at the architectural renderings and ask city staff and the developer’s consultants questions.
The development has a long history. Councillor Sharman wanted to see something done with a Plaza that was in pretty sad shape – it was well past its prime.

During a Council meeting when Jeff Fielding was city manager Sharman informed his colleagues that he had tried to meet the owners at their offices in Toronto – wasn’t able to get past the receptionist.

Sharman puzzled LVP

There was a worried looking Paul Sharman at the first public showing of what the developer had in mind for what was now being called the Lakeshore Village Plaza

Sharman felt there was an opportunity to merge the small arena and park to the north of the development and pull it together with the Burloak Park that was being upgraded.

An architect provided some exceptional drawings showing what could be done.

Linking the parks

Some of the original thinking by the architects had the park and arena to the north of the plaza tied into the development and the BurlOak park to the south.

Pictures of meet here

City staff that participated in the July-August public display of the developer’s plans did say, off the record, that the development the city was looking at was not quite what they had in mind.

At that point the city did not have a completed application to act on.

The developer was testing public reaction – and they certainly got an earful.

Jennifer Johnson at Lakeside Plaza visioning

City staff were out in force at the Lakeside Plaza visioning exercise. The developer was in the room but does not appear to have heard what the citizens had to say,

Community concern became an election issue – the only thing that kept Sharman in office was the number of candidates that ran against him. With four people running against him Sharman was able to split the vote and get returned to city hall; where he has yet to comment on the size and scale of a development that will certainly change the look, feel and traffic flow in the community.

Expect some vigorous community reaction to this one at the Statutory meeting scheduled for February 12th.

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Are residents heard and understood when they make a delegation? Is there ever any follow up? Sometimes.

News 100 blueBy Staff

January 22nd, 2019



Does a delegation a citizen make have any impact on both member’s of city council and staff?

There are people who sometimes wonder.

A number of months ago a resident delegated. The city does not release the name of the citizen but in a report to Council, Jamie Tellier, Manager of Urban Design reported on a meeting with a citizen.

The concern was with the Tall Building Guidelines (TBG) the city put in place some time ago.

The issue came out of a Staff Direction from the adoption of the new Official Plan which was approved by city council, sent to the Region who sent it back due to what the Region thought were some deficiencies.

“A motion from Council arising from the adoption of the new Official Plan “Directed the Director of City Building to review the suggested changes from the delegation presentation on the tall building guidelines and report back to Council with any updates.

“This memo will serve to provide members of Council with an update on this staff direction.

Tall building design - set backs and spacing

Tall building design – set backs and spacing

“In September 2018, staff met with the delegate to discuss their presentation to council. This meeting allowed the delegate to share observations and to ensure staff understood the submission. The delegation to council suggested that the City of Burlington Tall Building Guidelines (TBG) did not reflect best practices with regard to sun/shadow impacts and that they did not address the issue properly. The delegation made reference to the City of Toronto Tall Building Guidelines as an example of best practice.

“There were three main areas of concern related to the guidelines:

Application of sun/shadow impacts
“The delegate reviewed the rationale component of the City of Toronto Tall Building Guidelines without the benefit of reviewing the associated detailed guidelines. Through further discussion the delegate and staff agreed that the City of Toronto and the City of Burlington TBG are virtually identical in how they deal with sun/shadow impacts.

Tall buildiong design - material use

Suggested materials that would work well on tall buildings.

Excluding December 21 in measuring sun/shadow impacts
“The delegate also made reference to the TBG only measuring sun/shadow impacts for five consecutive hours of sunlight on the opposite side of street during the equinoxes (March 21 and September 21) and suggested including December 21 (shortest day of year) to these measurements. Staff and the delegate discussed why the shoulder seasons are most important for evaluating sun/shadow impacts as daytime and nighttime are of approximately equal duration during the equinoxes. Not including the shortest day of the year is intentional and a reflection of municipal best practices (City of Toronto and others).

Silent on the Cumulative Effect of Shadow Impacts and Wind Effect
“Lastly, the delegation also indicated that the TBG was silent on the cumulative effect of shadowing and wind effects. Staff, in discussion with the delegate confirmed that Section 3.1.b) of the TBG requires a 25 metre separation distance between towers to minimize cumulative shadow impacts.

“Separation distances between towers along with other design guidelines such as maximum tower floor plates are commonly used techniques to manage the cumulative effect of shadows. Similarly, Section 3.2.c) of the TBG requires the building design to not have an adverse wind effect at the street level.

Next Steps:

“As a result of the above, our conversation moved away from any perceived shortcomings of the TBG and focused more on how sun/shadow and wind studies are prepared by applicants and evaluated by staff.
This was a topic on which staff and the delegate were in alignment. Staff confirmed that in 2019 the departmental work plan includes exploring the related policy structure and development review procedures as they relate to sun/shadow and wind studies. The intent is to ensure clarity and consistency in how sun/shadow and wind studies are prepared and evaluated and to improve our overall decision making processes .

“The delegate appreciated that this was on our workplan and reinforced the importance of standardized criteria to evaluate wind and shadow impacts. Staff will provide further updates later in 2019 as this initiative progresses.”

Site Planning co-coordinator Jamie Tellier explans what is going to be built whereon the JBMH campus.

Jamie Tellier, Manager of Urban Design explains what is going to be built where on the hospital campus.

Is the above a meaningful dialogue between staff and a citizen? Will anything come of it? Was the resident satisfied?

Jamie Tellier is one the best people in the Planning department when it comes to inteligently and cheerfully explaining an issue to anyone who will give him the time.
Who was the resident and what did he or she think of the process?

Can’t say – but we do know that staff listened and that the resident was given ample opportunity to make a case.

Relevant news stories published previously.


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How to reduce the tax bill - stop collecting leaves and eliminate a right hand turn lane. Don't give the fire department a drone.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 18th, 2019



Before they broke for the Christmas holidays a city council that had been sworn in just ten days earlier asked staff to sharpen their pencils and tell them how they would reduce the 2019 budget increase to 2%, 3% and 3.5%.

The budget they were looking at was coming in at 3.99% – and they didn’t want to have to swallow a number like that.

Council also asked staff to tell them what the impact would be of removing the 1.25% infrastructure tax levy for the 2019 budget.

Part 1 – 2019 Operating Budget Options

The options presented below largely result in decreased funding to the capital program. It is important to note that any changes to the dedicated infrastructure levy impacts both renewal projects as well as new projects in the capital program. The city’s asset management plan is about the long-term management of our existing infrastructure.

New capital assets add to the city’s base inventory and therefore increase our funding requirements for renewal needs. If we are unable to sustain our existing portfolio of assets it is recommended that we limit future expansion and/or new infrastructure. Continued investments in new or expanded assets compound our inability to financially manage our infrastructure.

Staff have provided this memo for information and have attempted to communicate the future challenges and impacts that each of the options pose.

Option A – 3.25% (0.74% tax reduction from 3.99%)


Options for service reductions are:

• Elimination of the loose-leaf collection program.

o Ongoing operating savings of $450,000 (0.28% tax reduction) and approximately $45,000 of average annual renewal costs for the replacement of equipment.

o Allows for 2,400 staff hours to be reassigned to other program areas including parks, trails, sportsfield maintenance, and road maintenance.

o Allows for winter snow fighting equipment to be ready in November. Currently only one weekend of turnaround time between leaf collection and winter work.

This crew will probably not be clearing the leaves from your property. They were working along New Street when this picture was taken.

Can Burlington afford to be collecting the leaves?

o Loose-leaf collection is not always completed due to onset of winter weather. This frustrates residents and challenges staff to convert equipment over to snow fighting in a timely fashion.

o Results in reduced greenhouse gas emissions from equipment operating for 6 weeks and trucking by contractor to Halton Waste Disposal site. Currently leaves are collected and trucked to a central area and later picked up by a contractor who transports them to the Halton Region transfer station where the city pays a tipping fee to dispose of the leaves.

o Halton Region provides bagged yard waste every other week from April to December.

o In lieu of this program, the city would promote more environmentally friendly options including mulching leaves on site or composting at home.

o Reduced service to residents

o This will increase collection of bagged leaves by Halton Region Waste Services.

o Will require extensive public education / communication.

• 2019 capital program reduction of $750,000 for new infrastructure (0.47% tax reduction).

o Results in ongoing reduction of funding to the 10-year capital program of $7.5 million.

o The list of 2019 projects that would be impacted are:


Should this option be considered, an amendment to the 2019 capital budget would be required for the projects identified above. Future years would need to be amended as part of the 2020 capital budget.

Brant at Elgin

Nothing vital about putting the elimination of that right hand turn on hold.

The removal of $7.5 million of funding from the 10-year capital budget and forecast would limit the city’s ability to address any requests for future new infrastructure. This would constrain future investments to implement recommendations resulting from the integrated transportation mobility plan, cycling master plan, school closure opportunities, and enhanced neighbourhood amenities such as splash pads and skate parks.

Option B – 3% (0.99 % tax reduction from 3.99%)


In addition to the items included in Option A, a further service reduction option is:
• Further reduction of $400,000 of funding to the capital program for new infrastructure (0.25% tax reduction).
o This would result in an ongoing reduction of funding to the capital program and require the removal of an additional $4 million of projects from the 10-year capital program.
o The remaining new / enhanced project meeting this dollar threshold is:

4th Elgin St Prom

Should this option be considered, an amendment to the 2019 capital budget would be required for the projects identified above. Future years would need to be amended as part of the 2020 capital budget.

Pathway outside the Poacher

The Promenade is to stretch across the downtown core – and when that core has undergone all the high rise construction it might be something to complete – but not now.

The Elgin Street Promenade is included in the Core Commitment Implementation Strategy as a short term initiative to improve active transportation in the downtown and enhance the connectivity of existing pedestrian and cycling connections to the Centennial Multi-use Pathway and the Downtown Transit Terminal through the creation of an enhanced promenade with landscaping and pedestrian facilities that meet Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities (AODA) guidelines. The first three phases of this project have been competed. The final phase of this project is planned for 2019 and extends from Pearl Street to Martha Street.

The completed Elgin Promenade will create a significant piece of downtown infrastructure through an east-west pedestrian and cycling corridor that provides opportunities for active transportation including cycling connections, access to transit, walkability and accessibility and brings significant social, environmental and economic benefits to the downtown core. The promenade connects the downtown to the Downtown Transit Terminal and the Centennial Multi-use Pathway which extends northeast across the City.

Without funding for this project, the final phase of this project can not be completed and the objective of connecting the east and west sides of the downtown through a safe, accessible cycling and pedestrian connection will not be realized.

Option C – 2% (1.99 % tax reduction from 3.99%)

5th the 2% option

In addition to the items included in Options A & B, a further service reduction option is:

• Reduction of $1,610,000 of funding to the capital program for renewal (1% tax reduction).

o This would result in an ongoing reduction of funding to the capital program and require the removal of $16.1 million of renewal projects from the 10-year capital program.

Should this option be considered, an amendment to the 2019 capital budget would be required for the projects identified above. Future years would need to be amended as part of the 2020 capital budget.

The Asset Management Plan is built on the premise of being able to address the city’s infrastructure needs at the right time in the asset’s life cycle and in the most cost-effective manner. This is vital to ensure that city assets continue to provide a standard of service that residents expect and to minimize long-term costs.

Resurfacing a road at the optimum time results in a cost of 1x. Delaying this treatment begins to compromise the base materials, escalating costs to 3x the original value. Further delay results in the street requiring full reconstruction at a cost of 10x the original value. Removal of funding to the local road resurfacing program will result in sub-optimal timing of construction and cost escalation.

Deferring the renewal of community centres will also result in an increase in the total long-term costs to the City. This includes increased operating and maintenance costs as the facilities age as well as increased risk of system failures impacting service delivery. Recent examples of emergency facility closure include Appleby Ice Centre in December of 2018 and Nelson Outdoor Pool in the Summer of 2017.

Part 2 – Impact of removing 1.25% infrastructure tax levy
Staff interpreted the direction to include the impact for the 2019 budget year only with future dedicated levy increases continuing.

At a high level, the impacts associated with any reduction or removal of the dedicated infrastructure levy includes:

• Impact on the city’s asset management financing plan and the city’s ten-year capital program. Removing the 1.25% dedicated infrastructure levy for 2019 removes the equivalent of $2 million of capital projects (renewal/ new) in the budget year, and $20 million worth of capital projects over the ten-year capital program as the levy has a cumulative impact

• The removal of one year of funding leads to an unsustainable funding plan.

• An increase to the city’s unfunded renewal needs, meaning a backlog of renewal projects beyond the 2016 amount of $126.5 million that will require immediate attention. It is important to recognize that it is possible for the Unfunded Renewal Needs (URN) to grow to a point where the possibility of tackling the immediate requirements and continuing to keep pace with current needs will not be possible due to capacity constraints and unreasonably high financing requirements.

• Deferred maintenance and deferred renewal is inevitable. The result will be an increase in the total long-term costs to the City of Burlington by way of;
o increased operating and maintenance costs to prolong the life of the asset from accelerated infrastructure deterioration

o Increased rehabilitation costs due to deterioration beyond the life of the asset

o Escalation of capital costs due to required higher cost rehabilitation treatments

o Emergency, unscheduled maintenance due to system failures impacting service delivery

o Passing costs to future generations to manage existing assets
• Infrastructure renewal investment is crucial to replacing and upgrading assets to better adapt to climate change

There is a considerable amount of room to get a budget that is very close to inflation.  It will take some courage for these council members – but they asked what was possible and staff set out what will be lost if the proposed budget is changed.

Do we really have to have the leaves picked up?  Does the Fire Department really need a drone?  Does that right hand turn elimination need to be done now – and why would we spend a dime on the Promenade when the downtown core is going to begin to become a decade long construction site in the not too distant future.



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McKenna muddies the understanding of what mobility hubs are supposed to be and where they will be built.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 17th, 2019



Some useful background when city council gets to talking about what they want to do with the “approved” Official Plan now that it has come back from the Region.

Jane McKenna, the MPP for Burlington said recently that she has “received a few emails from residents about the pace of high-rise development in our downtown.


Burlington MPP Jane McKenna

“Many are concerned about the intensification in the downtown core and the mobility hub designation that is part of Burlington’s official plan. (The one that was adopted by the city but not yet approved by the Region).

Some suggested the mobility hub designation was coupled with the approval, through the appeal process, of tall buildings in the downtown area.

McKenna talked to staff at the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) for clarification about the legislation.

“The first thing I learned is that “mobility hubs” are identified by Metrolinx’s regional transportation plan, but do not have to be reflected as such in any local planning documents.

“The growth plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2017, does not refer to mobility hubs. The City of Burlington council is free to remove these mobility hub designations from the local official plan.

Burlington might be able to remove mobility hub designations but there isn’t a hope in hades that Burlington will move away from the concept of hubs which are understood to be locations where development is increased and transportation options intensified.

The City’s Planning department is well into some deep dive research and with precincts defined and mapping work done showing where different heights and density of residential will be located. Plans for additional park space are also well advanced.

McKenna has muddied the waters with her comments. There will be three mobility hubs; one at each of the existing GO stations.

Mobility hubs

The mobility hubs at the GO stations are a fact. Nothing is going to change that. The Downtown mobility hub’s long term existence has yet to be determined by the new city council

The continued existence of a Downtown Mobility Hub is in doubt. City Council will debate that at some length when they get to that matter.

The creation of a downtown mobility hub and the loss of an OMB hearing that should not have ben lost has done significant damage to the kind of downtown core residents voted against in the October election. The challenge for this council is to find a way out of that mess.

She adds that: “The growth plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, which was reviewed and updated in 2017, identifies downtown Burlington as an urban growth centre and sets a specific growth target.

“It also identifies the Burlington GO station as a major transit station area and sets a growth target. These are required elements of all official plans because higher densities are necessary to justify transit infrastructure investment.

Urban growth centre boundary

The Urban Growth Centre boundary may well get revised when city council tackles that issue.

“That brings me to the second important point I took away from my discussion with MMAH. If city council voted to change the boundaries of the downtown Burlington urban growth centre this could be accomplished by Halton Region as part of the next official plan review.

“This must take place prior to July 1, 2022. Burlington could then, in turn, amend its official plan to reflect the new boundaries.

“Although boundary changes are allowed, the growth plan does not permit the removal of the urban growth centre designation. Changes would need to be approved by the Ontario government as part of the approval of Halton Region’s official plan amendment.”

McKenna float in parade

MPP McKenna wrapped her Christmas parade float in Tory blue – she will play that card as long as she can and hope that it keeps her in office.

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Just what the problem is with the 'approved' Official Plan the city sent the region is far from clear.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

January 17th, 2019



Remember all the hoopla around City Council pushing to get the new Official Plan voted on and sent to the Region where it would be approved

The push by the 2014 – 2018 city council cost most of the council members their seats. The Mayor lost his job and Lancaster and Dennison headed for retirement.. Two other council members had resigned and did not seek re-election.

Curt Benson, Director, Planning Services and Chief Planning Official for Halton Region
reports in a letter to anyone who was interested in the status of the “approved” Official Plan that “On April 26, 2018, Burlington City Council adopted its new Official Plan (the “Plan”). On May 11, 2018, the record pursuant to subsection 17(31) of the Planning Act was received by the Region of Halton as the approval authority to make a decision on the Plan.

Official-Plan-Binder_Image“Over the last number of months, Halton Region staff have been working closely with City of Burlington staff in the review of the newly adopted Plan to address conformity to the Region of Halton Official Plan. Through this review, Regional staff have identified a number of matters with respect to the Plan’s conformity to the Halton Region Official Plan that need to be resolved prior to making a decision on the Plan. The attached Notice provides additional information related to these matters in accordance with s. 17(40.2) of the Planning Act.

The purpose of this Notice is to inform you that the Region of Halton, through its delegated authority to the Chief Planning Official, is of the opinion that the Plan does not conform to the Region of Halton Official Plan (2009) (“ROP”). The Plan does not conform to the ROP with respect to policies and mapping related to, among other matters:

• proposed employment land conversions and permitted uses within the employment areas and lands;

• the identification of and permitted uses within agricultural lands;

• the identification of and permitted uses within the Natural Heritage System; and

• transportation matters, including road classifications.

Muir with pen in hand

Aldershot resident Tom Muir wants more in the way of detail as to why the Region hasn’t said Ok to the Plan.

Tom Muir was taken aback by the correspondence and the lack of any detail in the Notice and wrote Curt Benson saying: “I was expecting that specific details would be provided as to the four items of adopted OP non-compliance that were listed in the opinion herein that you sent to the City of Burlington.

“The 4 items listed are of general interest but are not of much value if not dissected so that the separate issues in each can be examined.

Can you please provide the details of the issues involved in each item of non-compliance?

When one looks at the information from the Regional Planning department on why they sent the “approved” Official Plan back to the city you have to wonder if that is all there is.

It just seems pretty thin and doesn’t touch the issue that were the focal point of the election. Something doesn’t appear right here.

The rules within the provincial; Planning Act, set out a 210 day period for the city to appeal a Regional government decision. The Region points out that a clock doesn’t start ticking until the Region of Halton confirms that the non-conformity with the ROP is resolved. As such no appeals under subsection 17(40) of the Planning Act may be filed at this time.

City Council isn’t going to be doing very much on the Official Plan issue – they will be focused on the budget for the immediate future.

Timeline 2019


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Is the end of the Region of Halton in sight? Look at what the Premier did to Toronto.

Newsflash 100By Staff

January 15th, 2019



Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government has announced a review of regional governments in Ontario.
Burlington is a part of the Regional government of Halton, which is made up of Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills.

During the October municipal election then Mayor Goldring suggested that Burlington annex Waterdown, which is part of Hamilton. Little did Rick Goldring know that Doug Ford had a bigger plan in mind.

Halton map croppedIf the Premier wants to break up the Regional governments – the four municipalities that make up Halton are not going to become stand-alone municipalities – they will be added on to existing large government.

So where do the small Halton municipalities end up?

Burlington becomes part of Hamilton; Milton becomes part of either Guelph or Peel; Halton Hills becomes part of Guelph and Oakville becomes part of Mississauga.

You heard it here first.

Here is the really interesting part.

Each of the 24 members of the Regional government get half of their pay cheque from the Region. Watch the scrambling when the rubber hits the road on that decision.

City council on innauguration Dec 3rd - 2018

Will the members of this city council still want to serve for basically half the money?

Burlington’s six council members are both municipal and Regional representatives. Will they still want the job for something in the order of $50,000?

Regional offices

The Region is in the process of consolidating all its offices into the space vacated by the Regional Police; will contracts still be issued?

The Ontario government is reviewing the province’s eight regional municipalities with the goal of making them more efficient. In a news release Tuesday, the province said it was appointing Michael Fenn (a former city of Burlington city manager) and Ken Seiling as special advisers to ensure the regional governments “are working efficiently and effectively.”

If the Regional government is broken up – what will happen to the Regional Police; what will happen to the Halton District School Board and the Catholic school Boards?

A lot of questions and a lot of disruption.

Burlington will still exist as a community; it will become a part of a larger area government.

We are about to feel and go through the pain Toronto went through when it was down sized.


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Roland Tanner: the election was a referendum on the future of urban intensification.

opinionred 100x100By Roland Tanner

January 15th, 2019


Originally published on January 9th in Raise the Hammer.

Burlington’s and Hamilton’s municipal elections had one thing in common: they were both, unusually for municipal politics, heated and divisive affairs that pitched mayoral and concil candidates against each other with fundamentally different points of view.

In Hamilton it was a referendum on light rail transit (LRT), convincingly won by incumbent Fred Eisenberger.

In Burlington it was a referendum on the future of urban intensification ordered since the Places to Grow Act in 2005. The result was an overwhelming victory for Marianne Meed Ward, formerly the Councillor for downtown Ward 2, who has campaigned for ten years against downtown and citywide ‘over-intensification’, especially with regard to high-rise buildings.


Marianne Meed Ward: She was often a lone voice pleading for better municipal government.

Until the election, she was a lone voice on council, and one whose council colleagues viewed her with often vitriolic animosity. With almost a complete sweep of Councillors, with the exception of one re-elected incumbent, the new council is one seemingly aligned with Marianne Meed Ward’s agenda to control intensification.

In both cases, therefore, the elections have been portrayed as a battle between progressive urbanists – pro-transit, pro-intensification, pro-walkable communities – against regressive and entitled suburban interests fundamentally opposed to healthy modern cities. Both elections can be painted as NIMBY referendums.

Burlington aerial

‘Residents treasure downtown as a special area characterized by unique stores and a low to medium-rise character with a high proportion of historic buildings. They like the already walkable streets which are narrow and ‘car unfriendly’ by North American standards.’

In Hamilton, the story goes, the urbanists won, while in Burlington a reactionary, car-centric and selfish aging population elected a populist leader promising the impossible – to stop Burlington’s urban intensification contrary to provincial law, meanwhile denying pro-urbanist Millennials an affordable place to live.

So is this perception correct? Did the bad guys win in Burlington, or is the truth more complex?

Progressive New Council


Lawn sign opposing tall buildings in downtown Burlington (RTH file photo)

I was one of the candidates in the election, coming second to Lisa Kearns in Burlington’s downtown Ward 2. I would certainly call myself an urbanist – pro-transit, pro-walkable communities, pro-intensification, anti-car-centric planning and anti-urban sprawl. It was therefore surprising to find myself cast on the ‘wrong’ side of the urbanist debate and accused of selling out to NIMBYs.

Both Lisa Kearns and I campaigned in favour of controlling intensification, and especially controlling height in Burlington’s downtown, protecting an area that residents from across the city perceive as both special and fragile.

It was testament to the extent to which voters shared that perspective that we came first and second respectively, without any risk of splitting the vote and allowing a candidate aligned with incumbent mayor Rick Goldring to win.

Consider the following. Most of the incumbents in Burlington who were just voted out or retired had consistently voted against transit funding, some for decades, and in fact voted for a disastrous cut to transit funding eight years ago, which caused a dramatic fall in ridership.


Paul Sharman – made it back to city council where he is now a lone voice for a different way of governing.

Paul Sharman, the one incumbent to keep his job, first became involved in municipal activism because of his opposition to a bus route outside his home.

All the incumbents were highly conservative, and mostly also Conservative. In contrast, every single one of the new Councillors, and Marianne Meed Ward, is on the record favouring better transit in Burlington. Burlington may finally have a council that believes in, and is willing to fund, the transit system it needs.

Goldring Advocating Sprawl

Meanwhile, Rick Goldring, the supposed defender of urbanism, intensification, and the Greenbelt, suddenly suggested mid-campaign that Burlington should annex Waterdown from Hamilton, a suggestion which Mayor Eisenberger countered with some panache.

Goldring’s logic was the ludicrous position that annexing Waterdown would take pressure off downtown development by allowing Burlington to develop greenfield sites. All of a sudden, Burlington’s supposedly urbanist mayor, who had invited Brent Toderian to speak and employed a former high-ranking Vancouver City Planner as his city manager, was advocating sprawl.

It was a suggestion as counterproductive as it was confusing. Furthermore, Goldring sought to throw the previous provincial government, and his former provincial counterpart, under the bus at every opportunity. It was suddenly all the Liberals’ fault – forcing intensification on him against his better judgement.

A new PC government and PC MPP, according to Goldring, opened up the opportunity for working with the province to ‘fix’ Places to Grow. We can all guess what that ‘fix’ would look like.

Marianne Meed Ward, as far as I am aware, has never criticized Places to Grow, or intensification, which she campaigned for as an Ontario Liberal candidate in the 2007 provincial election. She is on the record as consistently supporting better transit.

She stated in her inaugural speech that she would never support any development of Greenbelt land, a particularly welcome statement given the provincial government announced it would allow cities to build new businesses on the Greenbelt the same week.

Don’t get me wrong: I have had disagreements with Marianne Meed Ward over the years, and there are policy areas about which I wish she were more enthusiastic. But I do not see the evidence that she, or most of the new council, is opposed to a modern, healthy city. The facts simply do not support the position that anti-urbanist candidates won.

Residents Accept Growth, Cherish Downtown

And what of the voters, the supposedly selfish NIMBYs who want Burlington not to change and to force young Burlingtonians away?

I’m biased, but I believe I and my team knocked on more doors in Ward 2 than any other candidate. What I found at the doors was people who, yes, were overwhelmingly concerned about the scale of downtown development, particularly in a small area around south Brant Street and Lakeshore Road.

That was as true of young and old residents, the wealthy and those on lower incomes, private home owners and those in apartments and housing co-ops. There was no Boomer/Millennial split.

And when I say ‘overwhelmingly’ I mean ‘overwhelmingly’. When asked for their concerns, between 80 to 90 percent of people mentioned downtown development unprompted.

But literally 100 percent of the people I met loved their city – what an amazing statistic! They loved it but feared that the things that made it special were under threat.

They accepted that Burlington had to grow and that more people were going to move here. They were willing to see change. Most were even willing to see some more high-rises if they were done in appropriate areas – namely mobility hubs connected to Go Transit. In other words, they were willing to accept exactly what the province has been encouraging cities to do for over a decade.

Residents treasure downtown as a special area characterized by unique stores and a low to medium-rise character with a high proportion of historic buildings. They like the already walkable streets which are narrow and ‘car unfriendly’ by North American standards.

They appreciate too, that downtown can be better. There is too much space wasted on surface level parking which could become residential or commercial. There are many buildings which are neither historic nor attractive, where nobody would oppose good development – just not high-rise.

They want better transit – strongly – and appreciate that better transit is in everybody’s interest. Almost as strongly, they want more affordable housing, and dispute that high-rise condo development is doing anything for affordability. At $700,000 for a new studio condo downtown, I tend to agree.

Missing Middle

Does this sound like a NIMBY revolution to you? The only distinction between residents and Burlington’s planning department is that the residents I spoke to want a human scale in development, especially when building in established and loved neighbourhoods. They want the city that exists post intensification still to be recognizably the city that existed before – just bigger, and better.

Change is fine, they kept telling me, but it shouldn’t overwhelm the existing built environment. That is a position entirely consistent with the best urbanist principles. Urbanism has never been about ‘high-rise or bust’. It is about complete communities, with high density at a human scale.

Brent Toderian, the high priest of Canadian urbanism, makes the point constantly – it is the ‘missing middle’ we should be seeking most of all. Mid-rise development makes European cities what they are, and some of the most successful models of what urbanism seeks are famous for their lack of high rise development – Edinburgh, Copenhagen, central Paris, or a thousand other European cities.

The ‘missing middle’ is entirely appropriate as a means to allow more people to live in downtown Burlington. The mistake in Burlington has been the wish by developers, which was welcomed and endorsed by the council and then further reinforced by the OMB, to treat downtown like a greenfield site where residents interests don’t count and only maximizing height makes sense.

It wouldn’t happen in those European cities, and it shouldn’t happen here.

Decade’s Worth of Resentment

burlington_public_library_building_plains_road_and_kingsway_aldershotThis refusal to take residents’ reasonable opinions into account built up a decade’s-worth of resentment which almost swept the field on October 22. Seldom can a municipal election have stirred such strong feelings – strong enough that a council inaugural meeting had to be held in a sold out Burlington Performing Arts Centre, and some ward debates attracted over 400 people.

Other cities, and the provincial parties, would do well to learn from Burlington’s lesson. But they need to take the right message. Contrary to myth, the message is a good one for urbanists if we listen carefully to what is being said.

High-density cities built without resident input and careful engagement, and which overwhelm already successful urban environments with buildings residents hate, will repeat the mistakes of urban planners from the urban renewal era. We need to be careful to avoid adopting the same ‘we know best’ arrogance as those who drove highways through downtowns and advocated for suburban sprawl and car-centric planning.

The failure of urban planning, again and again, has been to ignore the people who actually live in the place being planned, and to claim residents don’t know what’s good for them. It’s these sweeping generalizations that allow us to use slurs like ‘NIMBY’, which are counterproductive, reductive and reflect a refusal to try to understand someone else’s point of view.

Tanner standing

Roland Tanner

The result has too-often been well-intentioned innovation implemented badly. But if cities like Burlington can truly learn to listen to residents’ voices, and to work hand in hand with citizens in building a better city together, perhaps they can be a model for a better way forward.

Roland Tanner lives and works in Burlington, where he has been a community volunteer for municipal and provincial causes for over a decade. You can visit his website.

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Gil Penalosa, originator of the 8-80 cities’ concept will talk on an Urban Park Strategy for Burlington.

News 100 greenBy Staff

January 15th, 2019



The City has invited residents to attend a public engagement session and hear one of the best thinkers on how to make urban settings work for people.

Gil Penalosa

Gil Penalosa, originator of the 8-80 cities’ concept

Gil Penalosa, originator of the 8-80 cities’ concept will talk on an Urban Park Strategy for Burlington.

The City wants a strategy to guide the development of a strategy for the parks that will be located in the mobility hubs that are going to be a huge part of what the Burlington of the future is to look like.
ing an Urban Park Strategy to guide the development of parks to align with the city’s Mobility Hubs and a focus on urban growth areas.

The evening of education and engagement takes place on:

LaSalle Pacillion

Gil Penalosa will speak at one of the better parks in Burlington.

Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019
7 to 9 p.m. – doors open at 6:30 p.m.
La Salle Pavilion, Main Ball Room, 2nd Level
50 North Shore Blvd., Burlington

The evening will start with a key note from Gil (Guillermo) Penalosa: Founder and Chair of 8 80 Cities, a Canadian based international non-profit organization, grounded on the concept of 8 80. What if everything we did in our cities had to be great for an 8-year-old and an 80-year-old?

His talk will focus on the features of great urban parks and public spaces that create a sense of community.

After the talk, residents will learn about the City’s work toward an Urban Park Strategy for Burlington and be given the chance to share their ideas on what these parks could look like.

Someone at city hall deserves a huge kudo for this one.

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A deeper look at the planned mobility hubs - a five part series.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 10th, 2019


First of a five part series.

Back in July of last year, before the residents of the city decided they wanted a different city council, there was a report that was discussed debated and filed.  It was a discussion paper on the draft precinct plans and land use policy directions for the Aldershot GO, Burlington GO and Appleby GO Mobility hubs.  The report was  received and filed and will, in the near future come back to council.

Mobility hubs were put into the planning lexicon by the provincial government- they wanted to see more intensive development close to the GO stations.  For Burlington that meant development in Aldershot, along Fairview next to that GO station and in he east end beside the Appleby Station.

Each of these stations has large pieces of land on which cars park while residents take the GO train to some other location.

Burlington planners didn’t seem to be fully aware of what the term a mobility hub meant; the Mayor at the time certainly didn’t have a firm grip on the concept.

Those days are behind us – those who are aware of what is going on in the city certainly understand the concept – where the differences exist is – do we want what the province is suggesting and who determines the boundaries of each mobility hub?

Mobility hubs

The mobility hubs are part of a much larger picture – there is a Strategic Plan that is going to get some tweaking to make it fit into the priorities of the new council; the Official Plan is back in the hands of the city and that will get a review that most people expect to be significantly, if not radically different than what was approved WHEN

The purpose of the report that went before a Standing Committee, was to present the draft precinct plans for the GO Station Hubs (Aldershot, Burlington and Appleby GO) and associated draft key land use policy directions for community and Council feedback and discussion. These draft precinct plans are key inputs into the creation of the Area Specific Plans (ASPs) for the three GO Station Mobility Hubs.

By undertaking secondary plans or Area Specific Plans (ASPs) for Burlington’s Mobility Hubs, the City continues to implement the objectives of the Strategic Plan and Official Plan to direct intensification, achieve transit-supportive densities and develop pedestrian and transit-oriented mixed uses areas in the downtown Urban Growth Centre and at the City’s key major transit station areas (i.e. the GO stations).

In 2014, through the Official Plan Review process, the City along with consultants from Brook McIlroy completed the Mobility Hubs Opportunities and Constraints Study, which provided a high-level analysis of each of the City’s Mobility Hubs and informed the development of the study areas for future Area Specific Planning work to be done in each of the Mobility Hubs.

In July 2016, Burlington City Council approved a staff report which outlined a work plan, allocation of staff resources and required funding to simultaneously develop four ASPs, one for each of Burlington’s Mobility Hubs. The project was approved with unanimous City Council support; most of that council is now part of the city’s history.

In December 2016, the Mobility Hubs Team undertook a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) process to retain a consulting team to assist with the development of ASPs for each of Burlington’s four Mobility Hubs, with the goal of supporting the future redevelopment and intensification of these areas.

In April 2017, the Mobility Hubs team initiated the study publicly with a launch party followed by the beginning of a comprehensive public consultation program around the future vision for each of the Mobility Hubs.


The province knew it had to upgrade the GO train service – it will become every 15 minute service in the not too distant future and the longer term plan is to electrify the system.

In addition to achieving City Council’s objectives for intensification and growth, the Mobility Hub ASPs will also support the objectives of Metrolinx’s The Big Move, including the development of Regional Express Rail (RER) service, through the creation of complete communities with transit-supportive densities, as identified through the Province’s Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and in the Region of Halton’s Official Plan (2017).

Doug Brown wants an affordable, frequent, reliable transit service. Is the city prepared to pay for it?

The Downtown mobility hub will be somewhere along John Street – making use of the small station that the Transit department once recommended be removed.

Schedule 1 of The Big Move recognizes two Mobility Hubs in Burlington: the Downtown Mobility Hub is identified as an Anchor Mobility Hub and the Burlington GO Mobility Hub which is identified as a Gateway Hub. In the City’s New Official Plan, all three GO Stations and the downtown are identified as Mobility Hubs and as areas of strategic importance to accommodate the City’s future growth.

The hubs were to be where the growth was to take place which made sense.  The problem was that development proposals for the downtown core began to come in that used to creation of a downtown mobility hub as part of their justification.  A large number of citizens didn’t see that kind of development as ideal for the city.

The creation of a Downtown hub has been very controversial.  Many feel that the creation of this “anchor” hub made it possible for developers to justify more height and density than was felt fit in with the small town feel that people wanted in the core part of  the city.

Those developments became the election issue that resulted in a new council who now have to decide what they want in the way of development in the city.  MArianne Meed Ward made it clear during the election that she believed the population growth expected of Burlington by the province had already been achieved.

On December 4, 2017, staff brought forward a report which presented preferred concepts and supporting technical memos for the GO Station Hubs (Aldershot, Burlington, and Appleby GO) for community and Council feedback and discussion. The preferred concepts outlined land uses and building heights within each of the three GO Station Hubs. These preferred concepts were based upon public and stakeholder feedback and were intended to prompt discussion regarding the emerging vision for each of the hubs. Since that time, staff have taken that feedback and used it to develop draft precinct plans for each hub which will be further explored in this report.

With this as background let us take a look at the plans for each of the mobility hubs and better understand what is planned and what the impact on the city is likely to be.

Proposed bldg type

The coloured shading sets out where the different forms of development could be located in the Burlington GO mobility hub,

The objectives for each hub include:

  • Directing the highest intensity to areas in close proximity to major transit stations and to current or planned frequent transit corridors;
  • Minimizing shadowing impacts on public parks and open spaces and low density established residential neighbourhoods;
  • Providing height transitions to established low density residential neighbourhoods outside of the hub boundaries;
  • Providing increased permeability for active transportation options to and from GO stations;
  • Providing recognition of existing cultural heritage resources;
  • Creating feasible opportunities for new parks and open spaces to serve current and future residents and employees in each area;
  • Identifying new and existing streets and other linkages to serve as key green, active transportation corridors to facilitate improved connectivity within, to and from the hubs;
  • Creating new parks and open spaces that integrate with and enhance the existing city-wide parks and open space system;
  • Providing a level of intensity to attract new retail and commercial functions to serve current and future residents and employees;
  • Recognizing existing employment functions and providing for a variety of new and expanded employment and commercial opportunities;
  • Planning for a variety of housing forms to attract a broad range of
  • Identifying opportunities for a broad range of future public service facilities in locations that provide the greatest access to future residents and in locations that provide the greatest flexibility to accommodate a variety of functions and uses;

The Aldershot, Burlington and Appleby GO Mobility Hubs each required unique considerations with respect to the location and distribution of building typologies, parks and open space networks, public service facilities, active transportation connections, and streets based on the existing context within and around the hub, which was informed, in part, by public and stakeholder feedback.

The following objectives were developed for the Burlington GO Mobility Hub

The existing area around the Burlington Hub is comprised of large parcels in areas heavily fragmented by rail/spur lines, grade separated overpasses and underpasses and wide arterial City and Regional streets.

The study area is almost void of any existing residential uses, with the exception of the residential Paradigm development on Fairview, that will have residents in the first of five towers in the near future.

Parks and open spaces

With little to none in the way of parkland within the Burlington GO mobility hub planners are going to have to be creative and ready to do some arm wrestling with the property owners to get parkland.

The area also lacks any functional parks or open spaces. Most of the properties currently contain large-scale and/or auto-centric commercial uses as well as heavy employment uses both within and adjacent to the study area.

Within the Burlington GO Mobility Hub, the following were identified as additional unique objectives for this area:

  • Limiting intensity in areas within close proximity to existing industrial uses which continue to have a planned employment function; and,
  • Locating the highest intensity developments in locations that will support strong active transportation and frequent transit corridor connections as well as provide new uses and amenities that will support the planned functions of both the Urban Growth Centre / Downtown Mobility Hub and the Burlington GO Mobility Hub;

Within the current and Council-adopted Official Plans, the City utilizes a precinct planning system for the Downtown in place of traditional city-wide land use designations typically found in other areas of the city. For Burlington, this precinct system allows for the recognition, and focused long-term planning of, discrete but inter-related areas, each with their own specific characteristics and/or planned role/function within a concentrated geographic area of the city.

Because of the limited geographic area within which precincts apply, precincts can provide the opportunity to establish highly detailed and customized policies and regulations to address a variety of matters specific to that area.

As a result of on-going public and stakeholder feedback, technical studies as well as discussions with Council at the December 4th, 2017 Committee of the Whole workshop, staff incorporated general changes in terms of mapping and terminology as part of the development of the draft precinct plans which are presented in this report. The following outlines these changes:

  • Mapping Changes
  1. Conceptual Streets/Public Rights-of-Way: Early-stage concepts included the identification of conceptual street locations (including both new streetsand extensions to existing streets) to improve pedestrian and cycling permeability throughout the hub as well as to enable conceptual opportunities for new development on large parcels. For the purposes of precinct planning, the majority of the conceptual streets have been removed from the mapping with only key new or extended arterial streets being retained in mapping.

The location and nature of any additional streets/public rights-of-way will be subject to the outcome of identified transportation/traffic infrastructure requirements resulting from the Mobility Hubs transportation studies and incorporated as part of future draft Area Specific Plan mapping and policies for public consultation in the new year.

  1. Proposed Parks and Open Spaces: Early-stage concepts included the identification of new park locations as well as the conceptual configuration of such parks. The exact configuration of parks was, in part, correlated to the conceptual street network which has been removed for the purposes of precinct plan As a result, staff have refined the mapping to identify parks with a symbol rather then an exact configuration. However, the general locations of key proposed park locations have been maintained and are reflective of staff collaboration with the City’s Parks and Open Space team.

Upon completion of a more detailed street network, staff will identify any recommended detailed park requirements, including sizes and configurations, as part of the future draft Area Specific Plan mapping and policies for public consultation in the new year.

  • Terminology
  1. Community Use – Public Service Terminology: Early stage concepts included Community Use (CU) symbols to indicate the need for community use facilities in particular locations throughout the hubs. For clarity and consistency, staff have revised the terminology from Community Use facilities to Public Service facilities to align with the terminology included in the City’s newly adopted Official Plan and the terminology used in the Provincial Policy Statement. These facilities will accommodate current and future public services within the hubs including healthcare, education, emergency and protective services, cultural activities, and civic administration, among other things.
Waterfront hotel Taylor

Citizens, developer representatives and members of Council took part in the public sessions. Now retired Councillor John Taylor attended most of the sessions

Since the Fall of 2017 staff have held numerous public engagement events to engage with the community about the future of the GO Station Mobility Hubs in various formats including public open houses, online surveys and individual meetings with various residents, property owners and other stakeholders.

Staff held nine (9) public open houses, three within each of the GO station hubs,  to solicit feedback regarding the most recent draft precinct plans presented through this report.

Staff have identified the following recurring topics which have emerged from feedback provided by the community to-date with a corresponding staff response.

Parkland dedication requirements:

Some property owners and developers have expressed concerns regarding the potential need to provide parkland dedication to the City as part of a future development as identified in the draft precinct plans.

Staff Response:

Under The Planning Act and City of Burlington Parkland Dedication By- Law, the City is entitled to a parkland dedication from a development equaling 1.0 hectare for every 300 residential units or 2% of the total land area for commercial/industrial developments. Historically, in urban intensification cases where physical parkland was not deemed to be required, the City has exercised cash-in-lieu of parkland in accordance with The Planning Act and the City’s By-law. In the mobility hubs, physical parkland dedication will be a priority as these areas are being comprehensively planned as transit-oriented urban neighbourhoods that will accommodate a significant increase in residents and employees relative to what exists today.

The provision of new park spaces will be integral to ensuring that the mobility hubs are developed as healthy, active and livable neighbourhoods. As such staff have been highly focused on identifying new strategic park locations which would be the focus of future parkland dedications resulting from redevelopment. In identifying new strategic parks, staff have been cognizant of the potential constraints a physical parkland dedication may have on the overall redevelopment potential of a property. Working in collaboration with the City’s Parks and Open Space team within Capital Works, the precinct plans identify significant park locations within the hubs to ensure park needs for the entire hub are not borne by a single property and to also ensure that park locations are focused on larger parcels which have a greater opportunity to provide a parkland dedication while continuing to allow for significant redevelopment of the site.

Maximum height of tall buildings:

Comments have been received expressing concerns regarding the maximum height peak that could be achieved within the GO station mobility hubs.

Staff Response:

The draft precinct plans provide for a mix of building types at varying heights and intensities. The tallest and highest intensity developments are limited to the “Central” precincts proposed within each of the GO hubs.

Generally, these precincts are located in closest proximity to the GO stations themselves and rail corridor which provide for a significant separation from low density residential areas within or adjacent to the hubs. The draft precinct plans contemplate a maximum building height of 30 storeys within these precincts.

mid resident precinct

Locations for possible mid rise buildings are defined; will developers push for more height and density?


This maximum building height is intended to recognize the significant opportunity these sites have to accommodate both population and employment growth in close proximity to higher-order transit balanced with the need to ensure that building intensity is limited so as to not permit long-term build-out of the mobility hub to be concentrated to a limited number of properties. Staff continue to review best practices from other municipalities for this precinct and continue to seek community feedback regarding this proposed maximum height for these “Central” precincts.

It must be noted that not all sites within a “Central” precinct, or any precinct contained within the mobility hub draft precinct plan, may be able to achieve the maximum building height contemplated. The ability of a development to achieve the maximum permitted height/intensity will be based on a variety of site specific considerations such as shadowing, transportation impacts and other infrastructure capacity matters, among others, which can only be properly assessed at the time of a development application.

Current and future traffic congestion:

Concerns regarding impacts of future development within the mobility hubs on traffic congestion have been raised consistently throughout mobility hub public engagement.

Tsp Fairview

The planners want to see more in the way of traffic along Fairview. Getting into the southern GO station parking lot is a challenge as it is.

Staff Response:

Consultants for the Mobility Hubs project are currently undertaking transportation studies to evaluate the existing traffic conditions within each hub and the projected impacts resulting from the planned people and jobs capacity of the hubs at build-out. This information will inform staff’s development of new transportation policies and new transportation infrastructure proposed for each hub, including potential active transportation connections and new streets, which will be needed to mitigate future impacts. More detail about all technical studies being undertaken as part of the development of the Area Specific Plans, including transportation studies, are provided in Section 6.0 of this report.

Compatibility with established residential neighbourhoods:

Concerns have been raised by residents of established residential neighbourhoods both within or adjacent to each of the mobility hubs about the potential impacts of tall building on their homes and neighbourhoods.

Staff Response:

As part of staff’s development of the draft precinct plans, tall building precincts were located in strategic areas to mitigate potential impacts on any existing established residential neighbourhoods and further refined in response to public feedback received through the various public meetings held. Each of the mobility hub precinct plans also utilizes a variety of building typologies and scales of development, such as mid-rise buildings and low-rise formats, to create transitions between the tallest buildings in the hub and any established residential areas.

As staff develop detailed policies for each precinct through the Area Specific Plans, additional building design and built form requirements will be investigated and established in policy and future design guidelines, to further enhance the compatibility of developments that occur adjacent to established neighbourhoods.

These measures may include, but are not limited to, angular planes, building setbacks and landscaping buffers. In addition, compatibility matters are further reviewed and addressed on a site-specific basis at the time of a development application

Burlington GO Mobility Hub

Supply of public parks and community amenities:

It has been recognized that the Burlington GO mobility hub study area is currently absent of any public parks and community gathering spaces.

Staff Response:

Through the draft precinct plan for the Burlington GO Mobility Hub, staff have focused on identifying numerous strategic parks and potential public service sites to serve new residents and employees of the hub. Given the presence of various rail and spur lines, over/under passes and large arterial streets which result in a fragmented urban structure, staff have focused on distributing park locations and other public use functions throughout the hub to ensure all new residents and employees to this hub will have meaningful access to these integral neighbourhood amenities.

Active transportation connections and permeability:

Residents in the Glenwood Park established neighbourhood located north of the rail line and east of Burlington GO station have identified a need for additional, direct pedestrian and/or cycling connections from the neighbourhood to the Burlington GO station.

Staff Response:

New active transportation linkages have been identified in the precinct plan that would connect the neighbourhood to the GO station. These linkages would be achieved at such time as the intervening lands located between the neighbourhood and the GO station are redeveloped.

Employment land conversion

Within the Aldershot, Burlington and Appleby GO Mobility Hubs, there currently exist Locally and Regionally identified employment lands. As part of the new Official Plan process, the City studied its employment lands. As part of the “Burlington Employment Lands Policy Recommendations and Conversion Analysis Report” prepared by Dillon Consulting, both City and privately initiated employment conversions were considered. The report also included a detailed analysis with respect to employment lands in close proximity to Mobility Hubs.


The planners have proposed some urban employment can be located near the rail line in the northern part of the Burlington mobility hub boundary.

The outcome of the analysis was to establish which lands would be preliminarily recommended for conversion. It is critical to note that a recommendation for conversion does not imply that the lands are no longer intended to serve an employment function. Rather, a preliminary recommendation to convert should be understood to mean that the City wants to achieve a mix of uses including employment, commercial and residential. Equally important is to reinforce that a potential mix of uses does not necessarily include residential uses, but could include a broader range of commercial uses.

The City’s recommendations for the conversion of employment lands can be organized into two categories: those conversions to support sites with unique constraints; and, those conversions to support the emerging urban structure. Employment land conversions within the Mobility Hubs support the emerging urban structure and constitute the majority of lands and parcels recommended for conversion.

The new Official Plan presents the Area of Employment overlay which both removes and adds land from the Regional Area of Employment overlay. Lands that are proposed to be removed from the Regional Area of Employment overlay will be deferred and considered subject to the Region of Halton Official Plan Review.

The Area Specific Planning (ASP) process will proceed with planning of these lands in the context of the broader objectives of the Mobility Hubs Study and the guiding principles and unique considerations for each of the hubs. The ASP process also plans to achieve new employment uses within the Mobility Hubs which are compatible in a mixed-use context.

Area Specific Plan (ASP) Development and Timing

The development of the draft precinct plans included within this report are key inputs into the creation of the Area Specific Plans (ASPs) for the three GO Station Mobility Hubs. ASPs are plans that apply to a specific geographic area, such as the City’s four Mobility Hubs. ASPs can include a variety of studies and contain specific policies to guide future development which can form the basis of an amendment to an Official Plan. City Building staff are continuing work on the ASPs for the Downtown and the three GO Station Mobility Hubs. The work will include the development of more detailed policies which are not otherwise developed at an Official Plan level of detail. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Site-specific constraints;
  • Detailed heritage analysis;
  • Phasing of development;
  • Infrastructure capacity;
  • Stormwater management including floodplains;
  • Feasibility of future transportation connections;
  • Additional sustainability measures;
  • Area-focused community engagement;
  • Implementation and incentive tools; and,
  • Further area-specific design

In terms of timing, staff will be bringing forward four Area Specific Plans by Q1 2019.

ASP Technical Studies

Leland node

Some development could be added to the Leland community in the upper western part of the Burlington mobility hub.

Pub serv precinct

The planners have created a new name for a precinct – “public service”. Is a school proposed for the area?

Preliminary technical information regarding the projected densities; market analysis; environmental studies; stormwater, water and wastewater assessments; cultural heritage resource assessments and archeology were previously provided.  . The suite of technical studies consists of the following:

Environmental Impact Studies – A scoped Environmental Impact Study (EIS) is being completed for each of the four Mobility Hubs as part of this planning study. The purpose of each EIS will be to inventory existing conditions of the natural environment (e.g., woodlands, wetlands, valleys, wildlife habitat, watercourses), identify the potential impacts that the proposed Area Specific Plans may have on these features, and develop high-level mitigation plans, where appropriate, focusing on appropriately minimizing or eliminating impacts. The proposed approach for the scoped EIS work is to focus on two key objectives:

  1. Identifying lands which are not suitable for development based on their significance or related constraints; and,
  2. Identifying opportunities for ecological restoration, as a number of the lands around the hub areas are heavily

Functional Servicing – The detailed Functional Servicing Study involves a review of the existing water and wastewater services accessible to each of the hubs; confirmation of the capacity of the water and wastewater services accessible to each of the hubs; and preparation of water and wastewater servicing concepts for each of the hubs. This study will inform the Area Specific Plans in regards to water and wastewater infrastructure capital needs.

Air, Noise & Vibration – A Pre-Feasibility Noise and Vibration Study is being completed for the Aldershot, Burlington and Appleby GO Mobility Hub study areas (note: Burlington Downtown is excluded from the Noise and Vibration Study Scope). The Noise and Vibration Study includes reviewing the noise and vibration impact of introducing new sensitive land uses in proximity to existing stationary and transportation noise sources (e.g. industrial, rail, etc.). The Study will identify potential impacts which may exist and identify areas of impact and associated potential mitigation measures which may be required within the study areas. In addition, Provincial guidelines such as the D-6 guideline for compatibility between industrial facilities and NPC-300 for stationary and transportation noise, will provide staff with an understanding of the development constraints which may exist with respect to the introduction of sensitive land uses, such as residential uses, within the mobility hubs

Air Quality Impact – An Air Quality Impact and a high-level Risk Assessment Study for the Aldershot, Burlington and Appleby Mobility Hub study areas is being completed (note: Burlington Downtown is excluded from the Air Quality Study). This Study will review the air quality impacts of introducing new sensitive land uses (clusters of future sensitive receptors) in proximity to existing stationary and transportation sources of air emissions (e.g. industrial facilities, rail, highways, etc.). The Study will review these impacts, which exist within or outside the respective Mobility Hub study areas. Results of the risk assessment will be used to develop strategies to mitigate potential air quality impacts associated with the respective Mobility Hubs.

Transportation – A transportation study is currently underway to identify future transportation needs and parking strategies for all four Mobility Hubs. This Study will review the transportation network and identify improvements and enhancements needed to support the plans and encourage multi-modal transportation solutions. The Study will review the current and planned active transportation networks and identify improvements. Further, transportation demand management (TDM) strategies and policies will be developed for each hub. This work will also include a strategic parking review to identify appropriate parking rates within the mobility hubs and strategies to achieve the desired modal splits. This work will also identify a framework to deal with the changing parking demands over time and appropriate use of off-street parking; municipal parking lots, and shared parking.

This particular study is years behind – it is a critical part of the planning decisions that have to be made

Market Analysis – A market analysis is being completed for each Mobility Hub study area to help guide the planning and urban design aspects of the project. A contextual market analysis of the City of Burlington is being completed along with a more detailed assessment of the four Mobility Hub study areas. For each station area, the assessment will include development trends, land values, and an assessment of how the study areas relate to the Burlington and GTHA marketplace. This will include assessing the nature of residential, commercial and office development including both tenant and buyer profiles. This analysis will give a broad idea of the nature of long term demand and the expected development trends looking forward.

This work will also identify other development opportunities and challenges related to development economics and feasibility, the protection/enhancement of existing employment functions, development phasing, the need for financial incentives, population and employment forecasts for the land use scenarios, and other related market considerations. This analysis will inform and ensure the Area Specific Plans are both marketable and feasible from a development and economic perspective. In addition to market inputs, this study will provide strategies and advice related to overcoming development challenges (e.g. fragmented ownership and prohibitive land values, contaminated lands, land use compatibility concerns, etc.) and achieving municipal objectives (green space, affordable housing, community facilities, appropriate housing mix, etc.).

Fiscal Impact Analysis – The intent of the Financial Impact Analysis (FIA) is to measure the operating and capital cost impacts of intensification within each of the Mobility Hubs, both individually and in aggregate, for various types of residential, non- residential, and mixed-use development. The FIA would be undertaken for City and Regional services and measure the incremental costs for new development, including new infrastructure and associated lifecycle replacement requirements.

Archaeological / Cultural Heritage – The archaeological study will provide information about the history, current land conditions, geography and previous archaeological fieldwork of the hub areas. The Cultural Heritage assessment will focus on conducting and analyzing background research and field survey results for the purposes of identifying impacts of the proposed undertaking on cultural heritage resources.

ASP Implementation

Following the completion of the Area Specific Plans, there will be an implementation phase to the Mobility Hubs project. The implementation phase of the project will include the development of a wide range of tools and detailed discussion of partnerships required to implement the area specific plans over time. This phase may include the development of zoning by-law regulations; form-based codes (i.e. development permit / community planning permit system), urban design guidelines, community improvement plans, etc. Following the conclusion of the implementation phase, it is important to note that other development processes will be required. Development processes may include applications for minor variance, site plan, site-specific zoning and/or official plan amendments or development permits.

The Downtown Mobility Hub Area Specific Planning process has been conducted concurrently to the new Official Plan process. The Downtown Mobility Hub process has resulted in new policies and schedules that have been incorporated into the new, Council-adopted, Burlington Official Plan.

Citizens can expect much more on the Downtown hub once they get into the review of the Official Plan that has been returned to the city by the Region as not being complete.

To achieve the long-term objectives of the four Mobility Hubs including transportation modal split targets, future development in the Mobility Hubs must be supported by other ongoing City initiatives. There is an important symbiotic relationship between the Mobility Hubs Area Specific Plans and the City’s Transportation Plan, Cycling Master Plan, Community Trails Strategy, the Integrated Transit Mobility Plan and the Downtown Streetscape Guidelines, all of which are necessary to ensure that the four Mobility Hubs are connected to city-wide destinations through active transportation networks, a frequent transit network and well-designed complete streets.

The draft Precinct Plans for each of the GO Mobility Hubs were said to achieve key important city-building objectives including: the provision of a variety of housing forms to attract a broad range of demographics; creating opportunities for new and enhanced public parks and open spaces; the provision of sites for future community and public services; the concentration of tall buildings in proximity to higher order public transit (GO Transit) as well as the frequent transit corridors; the establishment of height peaks and built form transitions; and the provision of development permissions that will attract future population and job growth.

With a demand for more meaningful participation on the part of those who take an active interest in the kind of city Burlington is going to evolve into and a city council that has said it wants to respect the citizens that elected them – what gets built on the mobility hub sites may well be quite a bit different than what the planners have put forward to this point.

Rosa and MArk Bales

Rosa Bustamante with Mark Bales on the left and Nick Carnacelli of Carriage Gate; the company has three developments in various stages of approvals in the downtown core.

The city is at a critical transition point – whether or not this city council can pull it off is a large part of what 2019 is going to be about.

Planners Rosa Bustamante, Manager of Policy Planning – Mobility Hubs, Phil Caldwell,  Senior Planner – Mobility Hubs and Kyle Plas, MCIP RPP, Senior Planner – Mobility Hubs and  Samantha Romlewski, M.Pl., Planner II have been the leads on this file.

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Lakeshore Road is getting a little crowded with new developments - north side between Martha and Pearl will have shovels in the ground in a few years.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

January 9th, 2019



Lakeshore Road east of Elizabeth could become a construction site for as much as a decade.

Bridgewater, the three structure complex that includes a hotel and two condo buildings, the tallest coming in at 22 floors, has been topped off.


It took an Ontario Municipal Board hearing to get this development approved.

The ADI Development Group can now build the 24 storey Nautique and Carriage Gate has completed their application for a 29 story tower that will take up the south end of Pearl Street and half of the north side of Lakeshore between Pearl and Martha. The Nautique is on the other half.

The application is for a 29-storey mixed-use building with 280 residential units and 675 square metres of ground floor commercial retail space fronting on Lakeshore Road and Pearl Street that is to include:

Adaptive re-use of listed heritage buildings fronting on Pearl Street as Live/Work units

Five levels of underground parking (280 spaces) and at grade parking (11 spaces)

Car access from Lakeshore Road (that should be fun) with loading access from Pearl Street.

Pearl and Lakeshore

When completed this development will give Nick Carnacelli bragging rights to the tallest building in the city. The design is going to contrast significantly with the Adi development to the immediate east.

Site lakeshore abd Pearl

The Carriage Gate development will be on the left, with the two historically significant buildings on Pearl included. The Nautique, an Adi Group development, has been approved and is in the process of determining just where the water table levels out – they plan on five levels of parking on a very small site.

When development applications are deemed complete they then go out to the community for comment. The community meeting for this development (it has yet to be given a name) takes place at the Art Gallery on January 29th from 7 to 9 pm.

Some questions you might want to have in mind as you listen to the story the developer is there to tell: With 280 residential units and 280 underground parking spaces and 11 at grade how did the consultants arrive at traffic flow of approximately 81 new vehicle trips during the weekday AM peak hour and 97 new vehicle trips during the weekday PM peak hour.

There is also a wind study report that defies the facts on the ground. Take a walk along Lakeshore Road, on the north side and hold onto your hat; there is a bit of a wind tunnel as a result of the Bridgewater development on the south side. Don’t know how or where the consultants got the data in the report; walk along Lakeshore starting at Elizabeth – it is windy and with two more towers both above 25 storeys the wind tunnel effect will be just that much worse.

Evenbing with Nautique

Nautique on the right, already approved via an OMB hearing, the Carriage Gate proposal in the middle. 360 Pearl is on the left. The historically designated property on the north side of the new development will be included.

The Gazette has been advised that the space between the Carriage Gate project and the Nautique is 22.2 metres at the ground levels. The Tall Building Guidelines approved by Council in 2017 required 25 metres between the upper level of high rise buildings – that space does not apply to the podium on which the tower actually rises.

The two 1880 era brick buildings that were once the Pearl Street Café are to be kept and re-purposed as live work sites. It would have been a hard sell to demolish the buildings; keeping them is probably the justification the developer uses to get an additional four storeys.

Bold lines from Lakeshore frontage

The Carriage Gate development proposal has a bold, almost muscular look to it.,

The design is a lot stronger than anything on Lakeshore Road now. There is bold use of marble that gives the building a bit of a muscular look. They are a strong contrast to the quiet beauty of the two historical buildings on Pearl that are being woven into the development.

The Heritage consultants brought in by the developer are of the opinion that:
• The building is not a candidate for full demolition.
• The building may be a candidate for facade retention.

• There may be opportunity for new infill development on the sides and to the rear of the existing structure. The side elevations appear to be blank walls, indicating that a continuous street wall may have been anticipated along Pearl Street at the time of the building’s construction.

• No new construction should obscure the heritage attributes located on the principal elevation of the structure.

• Any new construction should be setback from the principal elevation, allowing for the legibility of the original height of the existing building.

All 3 Bridgewater + 2

Nautique on the left will have 24 storeys, the Carriage Gate proposal in the middle is a 29 storey ask giving Nick Carnacelli bragging right to the tallest structure in the city – so far.

Originally constructed as a rental property for William Acland, a florist, in 1880.  The building was sold in 1976 and underwent a series of interior renovations and the construction of a rear addition. A fire in 1989 damaged the interior of the building.

The consultants say the building “displays a high degree of craftsmanship in the brickwork and detailing. The property yields information that contributes to the understanding of the early development of Burlington.

The cultural heritage value of the property include:

The use of red and yellow brick materials;
The symmetrical appearance of the principal (west) elevation;
The wood detailing and elaborate brackets at the projecting ground floor bay windows, which also feature denticulate brick sills;
The second storey arched windows with intricate polychrome brick voussoirs;
The decorative brackets and projecting cornice with modillions;
The corbelled parapets at the gable end, with stone corbells;
The hipped roof; and
The three chimneys.

In this portrait Joseph Brant is seen wearing the gorget given to him by King George III. That gorget is the most important piece in the collection at the Joseph Brant Museum.

In this portrait Joseph Brant is seen wearing the gorget given to him by King George III. That gorget is the most important piece in the collection at the Joseph Brant Museum.

Putting the historical buildings in Burlington’s historical perspective –
At the end of the Revolutionary War, Captain Joseph Brant, a prominent Mohawk, was granted land in Halton County at the head of Lake Ontario, for his loyalty to the Crown. The lands commonly referred to as Brant’s Block, was patented to Joseph Brant in 1798. Joseph Brant lived on the north shore of Burlington Bay for 6 years prior to his death in 1807.

After his Brant’s death, James Gage purchased the southeastern corner of Brant’s Block, a 338.5 acre parcel of land. James Gage lived on a farm in Stoney Creek.

In 1810, James Gage surveyed his holdings, with the plan to establish the town site of Wellington Square. Wellington Square was not officially open to settlement until 1827-1837 when James Gage’s sons, Andrew and James, inherited the land. The Gage family were prosperous in Wellington Square.

James Gage built a saw mill, shingle factory, lath and stave mills in Wellington Square. His sons constructed a pier and wharf at the foot of Brant Street, and managed the Gage businesses.

By 1855, Gage sold much of his Wellington Square holdings, including land and businesses, to David Torrance and Company.

In 1874, the Village of Wellington Square and Port Nelson, the neighbouring village, amalgamated and were renamed the Village of Burlington. In 1877, the Village of Burlington was bounded by Caroline St. to the north, Torrance St. to the east, Water St. (now Lakeshore Blvd) to the south and Locust St. to the west. Some sources suggest that Martha, Maria, and James Streets were named after members of the Gage family and Torrance Street after David Torrance.

The Site is located within the historic boundaries of the Village of Burlington.

In 1915, Burlington was incorporated as a Town. In the 1950s Burlington annexed Port Nelson. Burlington was incorporated as a City in 1974.

Lakeshore Road, that was once known as Water Street, is going to be a much different part of town when block between Pearl and Martha is built out and occupied.

The challenge then will be – what does the city do with the “football” that piece of land bounded by Lakeshore Road and Old Lakeshore Road that has a number of historically significant properties and more than ten different property owners.


Former Toronto Mayor David Crombie once told former Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring that he needed to bring in some bright open minded people to meet and think about what could be done with the “football”. That was seven years ago.


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Controversial development project gets mixed views from the public.

News 100 redBy Staff

January 5th, 2019



The National Homes proposed development on Brant street just south of Havendale has been contentious since the day it got to the city Planning department.

It was probably the worst managed planning file in 2018.

Landscape master plan

The developer wanted 236 units – they scaled it back to 212. The residents think 150 units would be more appropriate.

At one point it looked as if the development was going to get approved without a staff report and without much in the way of public input.

The biggest thing the public had going for them was the exceptionally good delegation made by the people in the Havendale community and some exceptional analysis by Steve Armstrong.

The legal talent hired by National Homes found a way to skate around the rules and confuse, obfuscate and basically jerk everyone around until a critical time frame was met.

The Planning department has to give a developer a response within 180 days of a complete development application being submitted.

Ed Doer, a member of the group of residents who delegated on the issue verbally set out the gruesome details that backed up the written delegation.

When that 180 day period ended the developer filed an appeal to what is known as the LPAT – Local Planning Act Tribunal. Due to the transition taking place from OMB – Ontario Municipal Board – hearings and LPAT hearings the appeal was to be heard under the OMB rules. Confusing? – agreed and that confusion was worked to the developers benefit.

To add to the mess was the fact that the outgoing council voted to approve the development even though five of the seven members of council knew they were not going to be serving on the new 2018-2022 council.

Some felt the old council had no right to vote on the matter – others thought they were required to vote on it.

An LPAT hearing had been scheduled for December 17th, it was originally a Pre-hearing Conference (PHC). The National Homes legal counsel asked that it be heard as a Settlement Conference – they felt they had a deal in place.

The city’s legal department kept taking council into closed session (in-camera) to explain why this development was fraught with legal issues that they didn’t want to talk about publicly.

The Gazette learned that the city’s legal department thought they could see another Walmart like case coming their way. That case is reported to have cost the city fifty big one ($500,000).

The LPAT hearing took place and the hearing officer decided that it would be a PHC and adjourned everything to a date in early April.

Mayor Meed Ward made a comment on Facebook that brought out some very mixed responses.

Here is what the “public” had to say:

Being sworn in

Mayor Meed Ward

The Mayor:
Withdrawing the settlement allows the current council, the community and the developer to continue to work on this project to get a better development. Settlement should never have been voted on by previous council, post election when 5 of 7 councillors were known not to be returning.

Public responses:

Rita Giammattolo Hardy Awesome work by our new Council . . . . thank you all for listening to the residents. 🙏🙏🙏

Andrew Alexander
I don’t know why people are against this? Looks like a great new development on vacant land. It also adds affordable houses to people wanting to move into Burlington. The plan looked great.

Lisa Cooper I am not totally for this project, but to say the previous council should not have voted on it is presumptuous. As far as I can tell they were still a paid council to do their job no matter how many seats were going to change on council.

Sean Kenney Sad day for fair process in Burlington. The council of the day had the right to make decision to settle and they did so. Hopefully when LPAT awards costs to the developer the new Council will be transparent and let us know what the costs are.

In the world of politics you can please some of the people some of the time – you can never please all the people all the time.

This dog and pony show is far from over.

Park distances

The original application didn’t include any park space – that was revised and a small park was included.

The question one might ask is: why is the Mayor taking to social media as frequently as she does?
Because it works.

It is beginning to look like government by photo op, Facebook comment and tweets. Major issues should be given the background and detail they need and deserve.

We are watching just how much damage can be done when social media is the platform used to debate and discuss important issues.

Related new story:

The Ed Doer delegation

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Muir on how city council voted on the 2100 Brant development that is now at an OMB hearing.

News 100 redBy  Pepper Parr

January 3rd, 2019



The vote on what city council wanted to do with the situation they were faced with at the 2100 Brant property might provide some insight as to how this new council is perhaps likely to break out on the various decisions they have to make.

The vote was on how to respond to a confidential report from the city solicitor on legal issues that had cropped up.

Muir making a point

Aldershot resident and frequent council critic Tom Muir.

Tom Muir, an Aldershot resident who follows development applications closely, especially if they are in his community, wanted to fully understand why Councillors Sharman, Galbraith and Bentivegna voted the way they did.

Councillors Sharman, Galbraith and Bentivegna  voted to allow the settlement that was apparently in place to be the subject of the LPAT (Local Planning Appeal Tribunal) meeting.

The hearing is being heard by the LPAT but under previous Ontario Municipal Board rules because the developer filed their appeal before the LPAT rules became effective.  The appeal was asking that the OMB approve the development because the city had not approved the development within the 180 day time frame.

Aerial-of-2100 brant site

The development is to take place on one of the few pieces of develop-able land left in the city. The proposal for 233 homes was reduced to 212 – residents want to see it cut back to something in the order of 150.

Muir wanted to know more about why they voted the way they did and found that neither Galbraith or Bentivegna would say very much of what was said at an in-camera session where confidentiality prevails.

Angelo blue sports shirt

Angelo Bentivegna, Councillor for Ward 6

Sharman 2

Paul Sharman, Councillor ward 5.

Galbraith slight smile

Kelvin Galbraith, Councillor for ward 1

What Muir found odd was that Councillors Stolte, Nisan and Kearns, plus the Mayor heard the same confidential information and they were able to vote for what the city solicitor was advising.

It would appear that the two groups interpreted the confidential information the city solicitor had given them in the closed sessions differently – resulting in one of those 4-3 votes that have plagued past councils.

While no one was prepared to or able to say very much about what took place in that in-camera meeting it was learned that the financial drubbing the city took on the legal issues that cropped up when the Walmart location was opened on Fairview a number of years ago was a large part of the fear factor that  the city solicitor brought to the table.

What is equally disturbing is that the 2100 Brant development was so badly handled by the Planning department and no one has been held accountable.

Ed Dorr, a Havendale resident, speaking for the community immediately to the north of the 2100 Brant development, laid out a sorry sad tale of the various steps that the development went through – the end result being no Staff report on the development but an agreement to change an LPAT meeting from a Pre- Hearing Conference event to a Settlement agreement event.

No one has said publicly just what the legal issue is.

Muir wants to know more and he wants to know why.  Putting it colloquially, Muir wants to know which donkey we pin this tail (perhaps we should say tale) on.

Why the secrecy? What were they told? Who told them? None of this bodes well as we move ahead.

No transparency. No accountability. More secrecy?

Not a particularly sterling example of how this council is going to handle the more stickier problems.

Are we looking at a consistent 4-3 vote split with Sharman, Galbraith and Bentivegna on one side and the Mayor with Nisan, Stolte and Kearns on the other?

Related news story.

The Ed Dorr delegation


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Strategic Plan is to get a revision, probably not until late this year.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 3rd, 2019



Under the previous city manager city council got talked into making the Strategic Plan a 25 year document instead of the traditional four year time frame. KPMG had been brought in as consultants to work with city council. Somewhere along the way what started out as a four year Plan got an upgrade to 25 years.

Strategic Plan Workbook

Originally a four year plan …

There was nothing we can find on record that approved the upgrade from four years to 25 – the fee for the longer term would certainly have been steeper and KPMG would have expected to be attached to the Strategic Plan for the duration.

That’s all part of the James Ridge legacy to Burlington. Council now has to decide what they want to do with this 25 year document.

The decision has been to;

Direct the Deputy City Manager to report back to the Feb. 14, 2018 Committee of the Whole – Workshop meeting on the creation of a 4 year work plan based on this council’s priorities, with consideration of the existing 25 year Strategic Plan.

IN FAVOUR: (5) Mayor Meed Ward, Councillor Kearns, Councillor Stolte, Councillor Sharman, and Councillor Bentivegna

OPPOSED: (2) Councillor Galbraith, and Councillor Nisan.


… the Strategic Plan got upgraded to a 25 year plan.

Any revision of the Strategic Plan will not be a priority for this council but it is something that should be watched. The Strategy sets out what the city wants to do and it does look as if the Ridge contribution will be considered but not much more than that.

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The possability of a terrible development on Brant at Havendale has been averted; the settlement the developer thought they had was taken off the table.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 2, 2019



That Local Planning Act Tribunal meeting on the National Homes development at 2100 Brant looks like it might turn into an expensive mess.

A resident who attended the most recent meeting found it “ Very interesting adding that the City will be sued for costs for wanting to change the appeal from a settlement agreement back to a Pre-hearing Conference (PHC).

The lawyer for the developer said that Council has the right to make this decision, but there are consequences when things like this happen at the last minute, especially since the previous council had signed off on this.

Landscape master plan

The original proposal did not include any park space.

People who asked for “Party Status” were told they need to be incorporated in order to get party status.

Parties are National Homes lawyer Ira Kagan – the City, and Havendale Group with John Calvert named as Party for now.

Participants are Tom Muir and Jim Young.

John Calvert, a retired municipal planner mentioned the next day that the National Homes lawyer Kagan called him and said he wanted to get together. I gather there is back channel talk of a new submission.

The new Pre-hearing date is Wednesday, April 3, 2019, at 10:00 am Room 247 at City Hall.

It is a Conference to deal with a draft procedural order and list of issues put forward by the Parties.
The important point that came out of the meeting is that what was scheduled as a Pre-hearing event remained as a Pre-hearing.

There was an attempt on the part of National Homes, the developer, to have the meeting made one at which a Settlement would be agreed upon.

Residents in the area – 2100 Brant – just south of Havendale, howled arguing that there was no Staff report nor was there any meaningful resident input.

Aerial of the site

The proposed 233 unit development got reduced to 212 homes would create huge traffic problems with just two exits to Brant; left hand turns to go north would be very difficult.

Ed Door, the citizen who delegated on behalf of the community set out in considerable detail how badly the development application was managed. A link to that sad story is set out below.

Some heads in the Planning department should roll for this one.

On the several occasions this matter got discussed at council the meeting moved into a closed session because there were legal issues – which never got explained.

The good news is that the development is on hold until the LPAT hearing takes place in April.

The National Homes lawyer is also handling the appeal for 484-490 Plains Rd., development for which the PHC was held the day after 2100 Brant development. That case is scheduled to have another PHC, held via telephone conference call on May 3, 2019 at 9:00 am. Purpose is to discuss procedural order and issues.

Related new story:

Ed Door delegates on one of the saddest developments taken to the Planning department where it was horribly mis-managed.


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The vision Meed Ward had in January of this year. Is this the Burlington we will see going forward?

background 100By Pepper Parr

December 26th, 2018


This is a story the Gazette published almost a year ago. It was about a series of motions (8 in total) that then ward 2 city Councillor Marianne Meed Ward brought to a Standing Committee of Council.

Marianne Meed Ward announced earlier this month that she will be bringing a series of motions to modify the proposed new Official Plan policies to avoid over- intensification and ensure balanced growth in keeping with our strategic plan and requirements under provincial and regional policies.

The detail and Meed Ward’s rationalization are set out below along with maps that visualize the changes she thinks should be made.

Given that Meed Ward is now the Mayor, it is instructive to take a look at what she advocated for last January, it will tell us a lo about what she will want to do as Mayor leading a Council that, for the most part is aligned with her thinking.

Motion: 1
Defer approval of Official Plan till after the 2018 Municipal Election

• Major changes are coming to the city through proposed intensification in the mobility hubs at the 3 Burlington GO stations, and the downtown.

• When the Official Plan review began in December 2011, changes to the downtown were out of the scope. The mobility hubs were not included in the scope.

• In October 2016, the city shifted from an update to a rewrite of the plan. The first draft was released in April 2017. Downtown and mobility hubs policies were not included.

• Proposed changes were first released in September for the downtown, and in November for the GO stations. Area specific plans are still to come.

Official-Plan-Binder_Image There is considerable community opposition to some of the proposed changes, particularly in the downtown.

• We need time to get this right and give the community more voice, by testing the proposed plan democratically via the 2018 election.

• There is no need or requirement from the province to rush.

• Council continues to retain full decision-making control over applications that may come in prior to approval of the Official Plan. Rules around appeals to the new Local Planning Appeal Tribunal restrict what can be appealed and give more weight to local decisions, further strengthening council’s decision-making authority.

Meed Ward is absolutely right – what’s the rush? Where is the time for the public to absorb the huge amount of information? And were changes of this magnitude part of the mandate this council was given in 2014?

What citizens began to realize was that they had a city council that was determined to push through a new Official Plan over significant protest.  That decision cost three of them their jobs.

Strategic Plans in Burlington were traditionally four year, single term of council documents. The 2014-2018 council went for a longer term, driven to a considerable degree by the wishes of the then city manager and KPMG, the consultants, who were delighted to find themselves given a much more robust. assignment. The four year plan got an upgrade to a 25 year plan then based is administration changed the time line to a 20 year Strategic Plan and has based much of what it now wants to do on that plan. Future councils are not obligated to accept a Strategic Plan created by a previous government.

Motion: 2
Direct staff to discuss with the Region and province the possibility of removing the mobility hub classification for the downtown, and shifting the Urban Growth Centre to the Burlington GO station.

• The Urban Growth Centre and Mobility Hub designations have put pressure on the downtown for over intensification. Meed Ward points to the ADI development at Martha & Lakeshore, that was unanimously rejected by council and staff. ADI appealed the council decision to the OMB; a decision is expected soon

• The city has input on the location of Urban Growth Centres (UGC) and Mobility Hubs, and recently added more Mobility Hubs on its own without direction from the province (Aldershot and Appleby). “Ergo” said Meed Ward, ” we can work with the region and province to request a shift in the UGC to the existing designated mobility hub at the Burlington GO station. Urban Growth Centre boundaries recently changed – and can be changed again.”

• The city is positioned to meet city-wide growth targets set by the province for 2031 within the next five years: the population target is 185,000; 2016 census shows the city at 183,000, with 1,000 units under construction at the Burlington GO station alone.

• Downtown will continue to absorb its share of city growth under current Official Plan permissions, and will surpass a target density of 200 people or jobs within 5 to 8 years.

Downtown development sites App A

Current development activity in the Downtown core.


• There is significant development interest in the downtown, with at least 23 areas under construction, approved (whether built or not), under appeal, at pre-consultation , or subject to known land assembly.

• The downtown can meet the intent of provincial policy and the strategic plan without the pressure to over-intensify that comes with UGC and Mobility Hub designations.

Meed Ward has spoken with The Director of Planning Services/ Chief Planning Official at Halton Region who is open to this conversation, without precluding any outcome. The Region will be reviewing its own Official Plan in 2019.

Motion 3: Staff Direction
Direct staff to work with the Region of Halton to review the Downtown Urban Growth Centre boundaries, and consider restoring original boundaries with the exception of Spencer Smith Park.

Downtown development sites App A
Land use as the city planning department has presented it in their Mobility Hub reports.

Motion 3 app b +
Growth Centre boundaries as put forward by the Planning Department.

motion 3 app b
Changes Ward 2 Councillor Meed Ward will be bringing to council on January 23rd by way of motions.

• Parts of stable neighbourhoods and a community park have been added to the Urban Growth Centre, while the intent of the boundaries is to protect and exclude stable neighbourhoods.

• Areas of high density including mid-rises and high rises have been eliminated , while the intent of the boundary was to accommodate higher density built forms.

Meed Ward said she has spoken with the Director of Planning Services/ Chief Planning Official at Halton Region who is supportive of the proposed boundary changes. The Region will be reviewing its own Official Plan in 2019.

Areas to Eliminate:

• Ontario North/East of the hydro corridor
• West side of Locust and parcel fronting Hurd
• West side of Martha to James, including Lion’s Club Park

Areas to Add back:
• Ghent West to Hager
• Lakeshore South of Torrance
• South East parcels of James/Martha

Motion 4:
4a Retain the current height restriction of 4 storeys (with permission to go to 8 storeys with community benefits) for the Downtown Core Precinct. Proposed height in the new Official Plan is 17 storeys as of right.

4b Include a range of heights in the precinct, to help secure community benefits during redevelopment.

4c Include policies to allow additional density in developments that preserve heritage buildings, as a factor of square footage preserved.

Motion 4 app c
Historic property locations are shown on this map in light purple.

Motion 4 app d
Arrows point to where Meed Ward thinks changes should be made.

The downtown can meet growth targets under existing planning permissions. Refer to the intensification analysis completed by staff for the 421 Brant/James proposal, and earlier for the ADI proposal at Martha/Lakeshore. There is no policy need under provincial legislation or the city’s strategic plan to over intensify to accommodate growth.

St lukes emerals precinct 2

Residences in the St. Luke’s Precinct.


The majority of residents are not supportive of this height in this precinct. Residents are supportive of a range of new developments up to a mid-rise character as reflected in the existing plan (4-8 storeys).

St lukes emerald precinct 1

Residences in the Emerald Precinct.


Approving an up zone to 17 storeys as of right does not provide opportunity to negotiate community benefits, for example heritage preservation, affordable and family housing, additional green space setbacks and street-scaping, parking and other matters. That can be achieved in part by including a range of heights in the plan, which the existing policy framework has. That can also be achieved by writing into the precinct policies extra density in respect of the square footage of the historic buildings preserved.

There is precedent: the existing OP for the Old Lakeshore Road area includes density increases for heritage protection during redevelopment; add similar policies to the downtown core precinct.

Up zoning to 17 storeys would compromise the historic character of parts of the precinct, create a potential forest of high rises every 25 metres in this area should land owners take advantage of the new heights by application, in accordance with the Tall Building Guidelines, and make it more difficult to preserve historic (but not designated) buildings in the downtown, as the air rights of these existing 2-3 storey buildings would be more valuable than retaining the building.

There are 93 properties in the downtown mobility hub study area of heritage significance (on the municipal register or designated).

• Of these 26 are designated

• 5 adjacent to mobility hub, 1 of these designated

Motion 5:
Height restriction of 3 storeys along Brant Street with permission to go to 11 storeys along John Street frontage, only with the provision of community benefits.

Existing permissions are 4 storeys along Brant, up to 8 with provision of community benefits. The proposed is 3-11, which is roughly the same; this motion seeks additional of language that allows securing community benefits to get to the full 11 storeys.

motion 6
6a. Add the north west corner of Burlington Avenue and Lakeshore Road to the special planning area to match the north east corner.

6b. Reduce height to 3 storeys.

Current proposal in the Official Plan is 6 storeys, on the east side only.

motion 6
Councillor Meed Ward sees Burlington Street as the entrance to the St. Luke’s Precinct and believes that the two corners at Lakeshore Road should be the same height.

Burlington Avenue and Lakeshore is a gateway to the stable neighbourhood of St. Luke’s. This corner has existing townhouses and single family homes that contain multiple units. Both sides of the street should be treated the same; the proposed 3 storeys reflects existing built form and is compatible with the balance of the street in the St. Luke’s Precinct. Higher height/density will put pressure on development creep up the street into the neighbourhood.

Motion 7:
Reduce the cannery district at the north east corner of Lakeshore Road and Brant Street to 15 storeys.


Reflects existing heights in the area.

Motion 8: Upper Brant Precinct:
8a. Remove East side of Brant from Blairholm to Prospect 8b.

motion 8

The arrows indicate where Councillor Meed Ward would like to see changes made in the current version of the Official Plan.

The arrows indicate where Councillor Meed Ward would like to see changes made in the current version of the Official Plan.

Remove West side of Brant from Blairholm to Olga

Existing heights are 4-6 storeys; that is an appropriate transition in these two areas which back onto stable neighbourhoods.

The eight motions were a bold, typical Meed Ward approach to change.  As a Councillor she put forward far more motions that any other Councillor, she always asked far more questions than any other member of Council.  These eight motions represented her vision for the downtown core.

With the Chain of office around her neck and the first of several expected staff changes completed the city might be on the cusp of a form of moderate, reasonable growth that maintains the tone of the city.

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