Condo buyers are bumping into the realities of the real estate market - or is it a new level of greed asks an unhappy customer

By Pepper Parr

April 4th, 2022




Prices for detached single family houses have soared during the past year.  Homes have sold for 49% above the asking.

The folks in the condo market are now experiencing the same problem – with the difference being that  people who paid deposits are now finding the price of the condo they have yet to take possession of has gone up

Construction delays and price increases, according to the developers, are the problem in the condo world theses days.

The Gallery, a 26 storey tower currently under construction across the street from city hall is behind schedule.

Folks who have purchased in the Carnicelli Gallery going up opposite city hall have been told that it will be something in the order of eight to ten months more before they can call the moving van.  They had expected to move in sometime in November

A couple of blocks to the west people who have purchased in the Nautique have been told that the original deal isn’t on anymore,.

The ADI Group development determined that construction costs make it impossible for them to build at the original selling price.

The Nautique has been plagued with problems from the day they filed their application to build. Readers of the Gazette have followed this amazing story.

People who had sales agreements will have their money returned and be paid interest on the deposit or they can pony up an additional 50 to 60% and wait until the building is ready for occupancy.

One Gazette reader said there was a weasel clause in the sales contract that let ADI take the action they took.

ADI has access to exceptional legal talent – buyers are going to have to retain smart talent of their own.  The lawyer on the client side should have seen the clause in the agreement and advised their client as to what was possible.

Glenn Gillespie, an about to retire fire fighter expected be in the unit be bought in 2015.

The unit he purchased for $508 thousand dollars seven years ago is going to require an additional $300,000  if he want to take ownership when the construction is complete.

Gillespie said he had a choice: either pay the extra money for a condo that doesn’t exist yet or get his $126,000 deposit back with 6 percent interest and give up his unit.

Gillespie told CHCH news that “he thinks the developers want the owners to take their money and leave so that they can charge a higher price for the condos. He contacted a lawyer who says 14 other owners from the same building are also reviewing their legal options.”




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A Look at some of the ideas that were put together as the consultants tried to figure out what the public wanted.

By Pepper Parr

March 31st, 2022


There is a consulting group that operates under the name of The Planning Partnership.

Thy were hired by the city to take part in the study of the Waterfront Hotel site that everyone knew was going to be developed at some point.

The city began this work in 2015 when staffer Jodi Wellings was tasked with putting together some of the early thinking.

At that time the plan was to have whatever was built om the site face west and give a view of the Naval Promenade.

Among the decisions that came out of the early part of the study was the agreement that there would be a detailed study that the develop would par for but that the city would control.

The Waterfront Study got put on hold in 2018 because the Interim Control Bylaw that had been imposed and the issues related to the re-writing of the new Official Plan – call it the Meed Ward version for clarity – were taking up most of the capacity at city hall.  The deep thinking planners appear to have concluded that they had all kinds of time and that the developer would wait until the study was completed..

That decision has resulted in the developer deciding to proceed on his own with a development application that stunned a lot of people when it was first released.

The city should have seen that coming. Darko Vranich is a very strategic thinker – he saw an opportunity and went for it.

The Planning Partnership released their final report (240 pages plus) and offered their Preferred Concept that will get xxx

While holding the many public engagement events all kinds of ideas came to the surface and were set out in different reports.

Set out below are some of the drawings that reflected what kind of thinking was being done.

Then there was a couple of truly brutal designs.


Another that looked something like the stretch of building built on the south side of the Gardner Expressway in Toronto almost  obliterating any view of the lake


Are their options for the city to get out of a situation they created by not staying on top of a critical file ?  There was a point where the city did not have a planner assigned to the file.

We have an interesting month ahead of us.

Related news stories:

The man behind the development plans

Plan B has made a difference – have they gone far enough>

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Here is what the consultants working for the city suggest as the preferred concept. Can we do better than this?

By Pepper Parr

March 31st, 2022



All kinds of activity on the waterfront.

The Waterfront Hotel Planning Study released their Preferred Concept for the site.

The city Planning department has announced that they are not approving the application that was submitted to the city.

Their report will be covered in a separate article.

Right now we want to show you want that Waterfront Study concept looks like.

In this concept the city did manage to get a 20 metre strip of land to add to Spencer Smith Park.


The structures as rendered are pretty brutal looking.

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Galbraith will run for ward 1 again - has he earned the opportunity to be returned ?

By Pepper Parr

March 30th, 2022



The pandemic certainly cut into meeting with people.

It wasn’t until I was part way through an interview with Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith that he mentioned he is never in city hall unless he is chair of the Standing Committee. Other than that he works from home.  The suggestion was that he might be able to sublet the space he has at city hall.

Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith during a Standing Committee meeting.

While Galbraith isn’t in the office all that much he is certainly busy enough with the development activity in his ward – which he now refers to as Ward 1 and not Aldershot – the Tyandaga people don’t like that name and the Maple people would rather be part of ward 2 – so for Galbraith – using the description ward 1 makes life a little less contentious.

I started out by asking Galbraith why he ran for office and how much of what he said he would do has actually been done. I followed that up by asking if he is running got another term.  He is.

He ran for office because he wasn’t happy with the kind of development that was taking place in the community.  He wanted to see more variation in the commercial space that was going to be in the ground floor of the developments popping up on Plains Road.

It took Galbraith some time to find a place in the community to meet with constituents. The Peach Cafe is where he is most comfortable.

He wanted space that had the duct work needed for restaurants in place and he wanted to see a larger variety of commercial operations.  The ward doesn’t have the supermarket choices he thinks the community needs.

The changes coming to Plains Road in the summer are significant and mark a distinct change that Galbraith thinks will get people out with their bikes.

The disappointing part of getting people on bikes is that Galbraith drives a gas guzzling pickup back and forth to city hall.  Optics on that one aren’t good.

Mayor Meed Ward and ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith are the co-chairs of the Red Tape Red Carpet Task Force.

There was a point during this first term where Galbraith appeared to be almost joined at the hip to Mayor Meed Ward; some felt that he should be a little more independent.  Galbraith points out that he has voted differently than the Mayor on a lot of the motions.  When Mayor Meed Ward drafted Galbraith the the Red Tape Red Carpet Task  Task Force she said she needed someone who understood what the commercial and development people were having problems with.

Kelvin is often uncomfortable with the pace at which business gets done at Council meetings.  He is a much more get on with it kind of guy – talking just so he can hear himself isn’t his style.

Galbraith made the point that many people think all the development is taking place in ward 2 – in the downtown core.  He passed along a list of the development applications taking place in his ward and suggests he might have at least as many.

Pending Applications

Amendment Applications

Applications in Other Stages of Development

1085 Clearview Ave.

1157-1171 North Shore Blvd

1371975 Ontario Inc. (Markay Homes) – 1167 Bellview Cres.

Adi Development Group – 101 Masonry Crt

Aldershot Properties Inc. – 35 Plains Rd

Fellowship Canadian Reformed Church – 1350 Waterdown Rd

Markay Homes – 1159 Bellview Crescent

National Homes (Brant) Inc. – 2100 Brant St

Urban Solutions – 539 King Forest Court

Where Galbraith differs from ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns is the way he interacts with his constituents.  He hasn’t held a meeting for the past two years – saying that Covid19 didn’t make meetings possible.  Kearns found a way to hold both live meetings that were also virtual.  It worked quite well.

Kelvin Galbraith talks to constituents in a coffee shop. He has yet to hold a community wide meeting that is live.

In terms of his retail politicking – Galbraith has some distance to go.  He is approachable – but you have to approach him.  He is not a glad handler.

His focus is business and he is very much in tune with the development community pointing to several developments where he believes he solved a lot pf problems that were created by community involvement.

National Homes Development on Brant – sold out in weeks.

The 2100 Brant National Homes development that is now underway was a mess.  Getting it through the various community development and  Statutory meeting stages was a challenge.

Galbraith now finds that the problems are with the city engineering department and other departments.

What surprised Galbraith was that National Homes, the 2100 Brant developers, tore down the sales office that was set up on the site.  All the homes were sold in a two week period – which points to just how significant the demand for housing is in the city.  Galbraith can’t get them approved and at the shovels in the ground fast enough.

Part two: What Galbraith wants to achieve in a second term if he is returned to office.  Coming soon

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Government tables legislation to increase the rate at which houses are built: developers lobby is in love with this one.

By Pepper Parr

March 30th, 2022



You will not get much in the way of an argument from anyone on making buying a home easier.

Today, the Ontario government introduced legislation that, if passed, will support a plan to crack down on speculators who are driving up the cost of housing, protect home buyers from predatory development practices, and create more housing options for homeowners and renters by accelerating development timelines to get more homes built faster.

The More Homes for Everyone Act outlines the next suite of concrete actions the province is taking to address Ontario’s housing crisis. This plan, built on recommendations from the Housing Affordability Task Force and the first-ever Provincial-Municipal Housing Summit, will deliver both near-term solutions and long-term commitments to provide more attainable housing options for Ontario families.

It didn’t take long for the West End Home Builders Association to put out a statement. Here is what they had to say.

The Provincial Housing Affordability Task Force hit the nail on the head – we need to build more homes. More homes on the market in Hamilton and across Ontario will give everyone a fair shot at becoming a homeowner and building a future. For the last several years we have not been building enough homes to keep up with demand. This is exactly why bold provincial intervention is critically required: to reduce red tape and bureaucratic inefficiencies while incentivizing municipalities to speed up the housing approvals process.

A development that eventually got through the application process found that it didn’t have to set up a sales office – they were sold out in two weeks. Now they are stumped and stymied by the city engineering department.

The West End Home Builders’ Association (WE HBA) is supportive of the wide range of policies proposed in the More Homes for Everyone Plan and encourages all political parties to support a quick passage of legislation prior to the Writ being dropped for the provincial election. We need action now.

Mike Collins-Williams, CEO of the West End Home Builders’ Association.

“The West End Home Builders’ Association is supportive of the measures proposed by the provincial government to speed up the planning process through the More Homes for Everyone Plan to address Southern Ontario’s growing housing crisis. Building from the Housing Affordability Task Force report, this new legislation proposes efficient, targeted policies that recognize the need to get all kinds of new housing built faster in communities across the province,” says Mike Collins-Williams, CEO of the West End Home Builders’ Association.

WE HBA notes that the provincial government regards the Housing Affordability Task Force Report as Ontario’s long-term housing road map. Our members support the immediate measures in the proposed More Homes for Everyone Plan to encourage more timely municipal decision making and to streamline approval processes. The government has indicated that there will be additional measures implemented over the long-term through the establishment of a Housing Supply Working Group and future Housing Supply Action Plans.

The housing crisis is a complex issue that requires a long-term strategy and commitment from all levels of government and industry to work together as partners, to build the necessary supply of housing for a rapidly growing population.

Housing is a complex business as is the process that puts in place the regulations that set out the costs of completing a development application.

Recently Burlington city Council had to defer the determination of what planning application rates would be put in place.  BILD (Building Industry and Land Development Association) and WE HBA took months of back and forth meetings and questioning the consultant that had prepared the report that set out what the rates would be.

In the end there was no appreciable difference between the end result and what was proposed in the first place.

The city manager mentioned during one of the meetings that the work the consultants were doing at the extra meeting was above and beyond what they had been hired to do – and that the city was going to have to get a retainer in place for the additional hours

That phrase – if the shoe fits – wear it; would seem appropriate right about now.



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The Public now knows what the city's legal department wanted kept within a CLOSED session of Council

By Staff

March 28th, 2022


A number of Council members have been unhappy and somewhat disturbed over the way information was kept from the public by having the debate take place in a CLOSED session of Council.

When a CLOSED session of Council was about to take place – a notice would be read out saying what they (Council) needed to go into CLOSED for and then the web cast went dark displaying just GET THE VISUAL. When Council came out of a CLOSED session they would report that Council has agreed to do what was agreed upon in the CLOSED meeting.

Once council member complained publicly that “we can’t even tell the public the address of the property that was being discussed.  The struggle to determine what could and should be released was between Council and Nancy Shea Nicol, the City Solicitor.

Last week for the first time we saw a situation where Council talked about going into CLOSED but decided not to.  The City Solicitor said she would provide a report on what the issue was with all the details.


Some context:

The site was zoned MXT and as such the development application being made complied with the zoning by law and would go directly to site plan approval, Development Application proceeds straight to site plan.

In contrast when a zoning bylaw amendment is requested the proponent will go through community meetings, a Statutory Public meeting and receive a planning recommendation  report for council to  vote on.

None of these steps are required for applications that are in compliance with the regulations of the bylaw, as is the case with these lands.

What Councillor Kearns was able to do was undelegate the application which meant site plan approval would be determined by Council and not staff.

The developer chose to take their application to the Ontario Land Tribunal.  While waiting for a hearing date the city and the developer were able to come to terms on the differences and entered into a Settlement Agreement which will now be heard by the Ontario Land Tribunal on GET THE DATE.

There is a bigger question: When the city learned that intensification was going to be focused on what were originally called mobility hubs – later changed to MTSA Major Transit Service Areas  – why didn’t the Planning department look at the zoning status of all the lands around the MTSA and do what needed to be done to change the zoning.

The following is what the City Solicitor released.

On April 4, 2020 the Community Planning Department acknowledged that a site plan application had been received by Brookfield Properties, Inter Rent REIT and CLV Group Inc. (the “Applicant”) for Site Plan Approval for 2269, 2243 Fairview Street & 864 Drury Lane (the “Site”) to support the development of the Site with seven (7) residential towers on top of four (4) mixed-use podiums, with overall tower heights ranging between 29 and 37 storeys. However, the Site was located within an area that was the subject of an Interim Control By-law and related study, resulting in a development ‘freeze’ on lands within the study area.

The Official Plan Amendment (“OPA 119”) and Zoning By-law Amendment (“ZBA 2020.418”) that resulted from the recommendations of the ICBL study were appealed, including by the Applicant, in February 2020. These appeals to ZBA 2020.418 had the effect of continuing the development ‘freeze’ on the Site, and resulted in no decision being made on the site plan.

On August 11, 2021, the Applicant appealed the site plan application to the Ontario Lands Tribunal based upon non-decision of the City within the required time period set out by the Planning Act.

On December 17, 2021 the Applicant submitted a Settlement Offer to the City for consideration. The Applicant is seeking a settlement of its appeals of OPA 119, ZBA 2020.418 and its site plan application. The Settlement Offer proposes a resolution of the appeals in which the Applicant would withdraw its appeal of OPA 119 and the City and the Applicant would seek approval from the Ontario Land Tribunal (“OLT”) for site-specific amendments to ZBA 2020.418 to permit the development contemplated in phase 1 of a phased site plan. These site-specific amendments would add to the regulations contained within ZBA 2020.418 to regulate the development proposed in phase 1 of the site plan, as described below. The City and Applicant would also seek an Order from the OLT removing the Site from the ongoing development ‘freeze’ that applies to this area. The Settlement Offer proposes to resolve the site plan appeal by the City and the Applicant seeking approval from the OLT for site plan contemplating development of phase 1 of a multi-tower residential development on the Site. Future phases of the development of the Site would require Site Plan Approval from the City. Additionally, the Settlement Offer contemplates the City and the Applicant agreeing to certain parameters that would not only apply to Phase 1 of the development set out in detail in the Settlement Offer, but also to the future development of phase 2 that would be subject to a future site plan approval process by the City. Key parameters of the proposed site plan appeal settlement include:

Phases 1 and 2 will each contain two towers of 33 and 37 stories (Phase 1) and 33 and 35 stories (Phase 2) in height;

The four towers proposed in Phases 1 and 2 will all be purpose-built rental buildings, with 100% of units in the buildings being in rental tenure;

Phase 1 will provide a total of 38 three (3) bedroom residential rental units, including 25 three (3) bedroom rental units contained within the two towers;

When the Applicant seeks site plan approval for Phase 2, the towers will include at least 25 three (3) bedroom residential rental units;

Provide a minimum 30m separation between proposed towers;

The tower floor plates of the four towers in Phases 1 and 2 will have tower floor plates of up to 890 square metres;

The Applicant will dedicate 1.71ha of parkland, in addition to providing cash-in-lieu of parkland in the amount of approximately $13 million. Additionally, the Applicant will provide a privately-owned publicly accessible space (‘POPS’), maintained in perpetuity at its expense, of 0.25ha located immediately adjacent to the dedicated parkland located along Fairview Street to function as one cohesive park that may be further expanded should lands to the west of the Site re-develop in the future.

Phases 1 and 2 of the Site Plan (containing two levels of underground parking will address groundwater through a private permanent pumping stormwater management system discharged into the City’s storm sewer system at regulated volumes and quality, with ongoing stormwater management system maintenance requirements registered on the title of the rental buildings. Future phase(s) of development on the Site will have separate underground facilities and stormwater management for those phases will be reviewed by the City in future applications for site plan approval.

The Applicant will make a Municipal Consent application to bring permanent buried hydro to the entire site (Phases 1, 2 and 3). Should the applicant wish to install additional temporary overhead hydro, those drawings and details will be included with the Municipal Consent application, along with required fees and securities.

Height of the site relative to other major developments in the city

Site Description and Surrounding Land Uses

 The subject site has an area of 3.4 ha, and approximately 224 m of frontage along Fairview, and 143 m of frontage along Drury Lane. Access to the site is currently provided via both Drury Lane and Fairview Street. A vacant garden centre, brewery, auto repair shop, dance studio and furniture store are currently located on the Subject Lands. It is the intent that the existing buildings and structures be demolished prior to the site being redeveloped.

Surrounding the subject site are the following uses:

North: The Lakeshore West GO rail line is located adjacent to the Subject Lands directly to the north. A low-rise residential neighbourhood occupies the lands north of the rail line. An overpass pedestrian bridge at the north terminus of Drury Lane provides access over the rail line to the residential community to the north.

South: Fairview Street, low rise institutional and medical building consisting of the Halton Catholic District School Board and a medical clinic.

East: Drury Lane, and a number of low-rise service commercial and retail uses are located east of the Subject Lands, including an automotive repair and home store.

West: A car dealership is located adjacent to the Subject Lands directly west, followed by a creek and the Burlington GO Station. The Paradigm Condominium development, (5 tower and 24 storey residential condominium development) is located immediately west of the Burlington GO Station.


The Site Plan Application:

The Site Plan application that is the subject of the appeal includes 4 buildings with a total of 7 towers ranging in height from 29 to 37 storeys. The comprehensive development plan will provide 2,515 residential units of mixed type and tenure; 3,703 square metres of retail/ commercial space; there will be shared amenity space between all buildings in a variety of forms, including indoor, rooftop and outdoor elevated amenity area; all proposed parking to be located within a combination of a 4-storey above-ground parking structure abutting the northern lot line or within 5 levels of underground parking abutting the southern property line. Each building is proposed as follows:

Building A will consist of a six storey podium and a 33 storey tower with 338 residential units.

Building B will consist of a five storey podium and two towers with 651 residential units. Tower B1 will be 29 storeys and tower B2 will be 34 storeys. Ten (10) Townhouse style units are incorporated into the podium fronting onto Fairview Street.

Building C will consist of a four storey podium and two towers with 774 residential rental units. Tower C1 will be 33 storeys and tower C2 will be 37 storeys.

Building D will consist of a four storey podium and two towers with 752 residential rental units. Tower D1 will be 33 storeys and tower C2 will be 35 storeys.

Vehicular access to the proposed development will be provided primarily through an internal driveway through the site from Fairview Street to Drury Lane, similar to the driveway that presently exists on the Subject Lands. The parking structure will be accessed via Drury Lane and the internal east-west driveway, which will function as a private street. Access to the underground parking will also be provided through the internal driveway. A minimal amount of layby parking is proposed at grade. Parking is proposed as 1-5 levels of underground parking and 4 levels of parking in a structure at the rear of the site. In terms of parking rates, there are 2761 spaces for 2515 units (including visitor), 154 spaces for commercial and 34 spaces for maintenance. The total parking rate is 1.16 spaces per unit.

The Site Plan in the Proposed Settlement

The Proposed Settlement contemplates a phased approach to the development of the Site, with site plan approval for phase 1 by the OLT, and subsequent phases of the development of the site to occur through future applications for site plan approval by the City. Phase 1 will consist of a four-storey podium and two towers with 774 residential rental units. Tower C1 will be 33 storeys and tower C2 will be 37 storeys. Phase 1 also includes the internal (private) east-west road and a public park. The OLT’s approval of the Site Plan for phase 1 of the development would include conditions of Site Plan Approval that would apply to Phase 1, which consists of buildings C1 and C2 on the Site Plan. As noted above, the parameters of the settlement (such as height and floor plate size) would apply to Phase 2 (Buildings D1 and D2 on the proposed plan); however, a new Site Plan Application to the City would be required to be approved by the City, subject to conditions. Phase 3 on the Site Plan, which includes Buildings A and B to the south fronting onto Fairview Street remains independent from the settlement and will require separate review and subject to that review, may or may not be approved by the City in its current form.



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City has found a way to permit the Holland Park development: settlement agreement goes to OLT May 6th

By Staff

March 25th, 2022


Everyone appears to want the development to be a go – but it isn’t a deal yet.

The proposed xxx story development onFairview betwnn Drury Lane ans xxx is at the settlement stage.

It goes to the Ontariool Land Trubunal on May 6th.

The proposed towers would accommodate a range of purpose-built rental units including 3-bedroom units which will provide urgently needed new rental housing supply in Burlington which are encouraged through the City’s Official Plan and the City’s Housing Study currently underway.

The drawings show seven towers – the city media release reports four to be built in two phases. What happened to the other three?

The development will be done in phases.

The site plan for phase 1 of the development of the site is for two buildings, 33 and 37 stories in height containing a mix of 1, 2- and 3-bedroom units; 100% of the units in these buildings will be rental units.

Phase 2 of the development will include two additional towers of 33 and 35 stories, with 100% of the units in those buildings being rental units.

Phases 1 and 2 account for four buildings – the original proposal was for seven buildings – no mention of how high the other three will be – ot if there will be more than three.

The proposed development has Brookfield Properties, InterRent REIT and CLV Group Inc. as the developers.  CLV Group has been in the Burlington rental market for some time.  A quick look at comments made by some of their residents raises concerns.

The development contemplated by the settlement would consist of a multi-tower residential development on lands within the City’s Urban Growth Centre (UGC) where City Council has directed high-density growth to occur.

Holland Park is shown with a red border. The Molinaro development is west of Holland Park – it will have five towers when completed.

The development contemplated in the settlement will promote accessible linkages for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users with multi-modal access to the Burlington GO Station.

The development also includes private open space for the residents of the buildings and the dedication of land for a public park adjacent to Fairview Street.

The project also has a feature that only a planner could think of:  linear parks, which no one at city hall has ever defined.  Sound like a path with some trees and grass on the side.

In the media release from the city there is no mention of a real park within the development.  No mention of a library or a community centre.

With three bedroom units – there should be plenty of park space.

More on this one when we dig a little and get some comment from the ward Councillor.

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Solid Gold opens - no masks at this location

By Pepper Parr

March 22, 2022



Now open – with a masking protocol

A sign that the new normal has taken on life and that there are places where masks will not be worn

Solid Gold, the Adult Entertainment location in Aldershot is now open.

The site, die for re-development at some point. will have a public park. no word on the size of the park, at the rear of the building.

A location with a lot of traffic will evolve and become a two structure development that will tise to 10 to 12 storeys.

The property owner has said he will ensure that the site has a coffee shop and there is a report that there will be a park at the rear of the development.

Time line – nothing in place yet – the item did go to the Ontario Land Tribunal.

The developers application – yet to be approved


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Your Burlington today - the view down Brant Street from Fairview

By Pepper Parr

March 22, 2022



The construction team has not yet topped off the structure.

It is now all about density which means height.

The Gallery, one of the Carriage Gate buildings going up across the street from city hall.

Hasn’t topped off yet.

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Waterfront study and the development application - no recent news on either.

By Pepper Parr

March 12th, 2022



The deadline for responses to the survey put out after the Waterfront Study virtual meeting that took place on February 22nd, was March 1st the last date they would be accepted.

There are two things taking place with the area outlined in blue. The oldest activity is a study of the area outlined in blue which the city says has been ongoing since 2018 – it actually started way back in 2015 when the city had a Staff member doing some work on what would be possible and fit in with the Promenade and Spencer Smith Park when the owners of the Waterfront Hotel decided they were ready to redevelop the property. The area within the red boundary is the property owned by Darko Vranich . In August of 2021 he began the process of providing the City Planning department the information it would need to prepare a report for City Council which would decide to Approve the development, Not approve the development or approve a development with required changes. hotel site was ready. The report from the Planning department has to be before City Council and approved no later than April 17th of 2022

It was a very short survey; two questions – what did you think and where do you live.

The X’s mark the land the city would take as permitted park land allowance.

Shouldn’t have taken all that long to sift through the responses, pass them along to the consultants overseeing the study and share both the results of the survey and whatever the next step was going to be.

There was some interesting news shared during the DATE meeting – the most significant being that the city planned on taking a 20 metre wide piece of land from the west side of the site. The width would run from Lakeshore Road to the southern and of  the the property line.

There doesn’t appear to be any sense of urgency about a study that is intended to “inform” the long term development that will take place.  Wouldn’t the Hotel site development application, if approved, set the pattern for any development in the immediate area.  No?


Related news stories:

A time line that didn’t work for the citizens.

What about a land swap

The Statutory meeting

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Shortest survey in the history of the city

By Pepper Parr

February 26th, 2022


The resumption of the paused Waterfront Hotel site study began on the 15th.

On balance is was a good first step – even though it was hobbled by the fact that there is an active development application before the city’s Planning department while the city studies what should be done long term with the property.

One of the things the public learned was that the city has the right to take a certain amount of land as park land dedication.  Burlington, in the past, had accepted cash in lieu of land so often that the development community felt that it was the common practice.

The two red X marks are parkland the city might take from the developer. The Planning Act permits a municipality to acquire a portion of the property as parkland.

It is evident the city will be asking for what it is entitled to in the way of parkland dedication.

At this point the land the city appears to be going after is a 20 metre strip of land on the west side of the hotel running from the property boundary on Lakeshore Road and the southern boundary.

During the meeting city staff announced they had put together a survey that they wanted people to answer.

The Gazette look at the survey questions and found it very limited.  There were two questions, along the lines of:  ‘What do you think’ and ‘what is your postal code’.

We thought we might have gotten it wrong and we asked city staff the following:

I am doing a piece on the survey that came out of the most recent Waterfront Study meeting – finding that all they appear to want is your view on the site development and your postal code

Is that the extent of the survey?

The response was brief:

  • Yes

If the survey responses are going to guide where the Waterfront Site Study is going the answer may well be – not very far.

The survey closes Tuesday March 1st – link to the survey is HERE

Related news story”

Resumption of the Waterfront Hotel site study


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Time for the taxpayers to speak up on the Waterfront hotel site development; several Councillors appear to have lost their tongues

By Pepper Parr

February 25th, 2020



Quiet, quaint, downtown Burlington may become a thing of the past.

The owners of the Waterfront Hotel have filed a development application to build two towers on the site; one at 35 storeys, the other at 30 storeys with both sitting on a five storey podium.

This is what we have. Some development can be justified – but it has to be the right development for the city.

There is a public that is opposed to a development of this size.  Disturbingly there is also a city council that has been less than vocal in its views on the development.

During the Statutory meeting held earlier in the month the Mayor, the ward Councillor and one other member of council spoke out not totally against the development but certainly against the height the developer was asking for.

The developer would like to make Lakeshore |Road 6 m narrower; they want to put up towers that will rise 40 storeys.

This is what the developer want to build. It is very good design, it could well win awards – it is the location that is wrong.

Of the limited number of delegations (there were six) the one that drove home just what the issue is came from Plan B, a group that has 500 supporters and 5000 people following them on the Facebook page – which you can find right HERE

There are two processes being handled at the same time which to many seems awkwardly odd.  The city is processing a development application while at the same time the city is working its way through a Waterfront Study that will “inform” and guide the development of the area.

Part of the study is a survey that is asking people how they feel about some of the ideas that were put out during the Statutory meeting last week.

Confusing – true – the developers, their legal counsel and their planning consultants are quite comfortable with the confusion – they understand the issues and they have a tonne of money invested in the process.

For parents dealing with the fallout from Covid19, stressed and struggling to run households – finding time to respond to a survey about an issue of which they may not be fully informed, is a stretch.

Two processes – out of which there will be only one result and it may not be made by the city council you elected.


The survey isn’t the easiest to navigate.  They appear to be looking for responses from people who live in specific parts of the city.  When you are asked to enter your postal code, you have to know what it is – you get a thank you for taking part.

We live in a time when there are serious decisions to be made – don’t leave it up to the people you elected unless they are fully transparent and prepared to be accountable for the decisions they make.

Are these three now mute?  Do they not have a view of how the city should grow?

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte

Angelo Bentivegna ward 6. While members of Council are elected by the people in a specific ward the have a responsibility for the growth of the city as a single entity.

Kelvin Galbraith, ward 1.

Based on the Statutory meeting last week Councillors Bentivegna, Stolte, and Galbraith have some explaining to do.  And one might ask – where is the most experienced Councillor on this issue – other than his remarks on the failure to come up with a vision, Councillor Sharman hasn’t had much to say.

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Citizen's Group states their case for how the Waterfront Hotel site could be developed.

By Staff

February 23rd, 2022



From time to time a citizens group is formed that has a significant impact on decisions made at city hall.  Plan B is one of those groups – it is small – less than five people; all retired or thought they were.

Their concerns started to take shape when they became aware of some of the plans that were being bandied about related to the re-development of the Waterfront Hotel site.

The Plan B people have been at this for a long time – more than five years. They have not always been heard..

The group was solely focused on ensuring that any redevelopment of the Waterfront Hotel :

Enhances the Brant Street gateway to Lake Ontario &

Extends the green/ open space of Spencer Smith Park

They acknowledge & respect the property owner’s right to profit from his investment, and that this will necessitate a “reasonable” amount of massing & building height.  What tyey are looking for is a “Win Win Win” for all parties.


Emerging Plan B concept from Planning partnership gets close to what they wouldlike to see; it seeks to balance the Developer’s Current Concept with Plan B’s (the community’s) Concepts. The concept is premised on the following:

Achieves the Urban Design objectives for the Downtown

Achieves a Floor Area Ratio (FAR) that balances the base permissions of 5.0 with the Developer’s Current Concept which represents approx. 7.5 FAR

Buildings are located east of the ‘Thin Red Line’ , representing the view corridor south of Lakeshore Road, proposed by the Downtown Mobility Hub Study.


  • A new significant open space defined by the ‘Thin Red Line’ located on the west portion of the property, contiguous with the waterfront park
  • Buildings that provide a clear landmark visible from the park, Brant Street, John Street, Lakeshore Road and Lake Ontario
  • A potential development yield that is viable and provides some incentive for redevelopment

Note: PLAN B neither supports nor objects to tower height

There are very significant difference between what the existing rules permit and what the developer is asking for.

The Burlington Urban Design panel, made up of professionals who have no interest in the development put forward a number of recommendation. Few got anything more than the time of day.

The Applicant’s Response to Community Input in Plan B’s Opinion

  • Silent on/ Ignored most Public input & recommendations

–        Waterfront Planning Study re: Key Policy Directives – June 2018

–        Burlington Urban Design Advisory Committee – August 2021

–        PLAN B – Thin Red Line

  • The Application relies heavily on UGC/ MTSA designations downtown to justify intensification

–        While the Complete Application was not submitted until December 17th  grandfathering by the November 10th ROPA order is assumed

The Plan B people assume that the developer is prepared to let their case be determined by the Ontario Land Tribunal.

The thin red line phrase came out of a meeting with city planners – The Plan B people took it and ran with it.

Citizens’ PLAN B recommends:

  1. The Applicant’s proposed Official Plan Amendment (OPA) to eliminate the Waterfront Hotel Planning Study as a prerequisite for this application be REJECTED.

The Waterfront Hotel Planning Study will be completed within the statutory time frame of processing this application

The June 2018 Key Policy Directives already reflect key Community Feedback

Collaboration, good faith negotiations needed for a “Win Win Win”

Citizens’ PLAN B also recommends:

The Applicant’s proposed Zoning Bylaw Amendment (ZBA) to fit it’s proposed application should be APPROVED with Modifications.

Key community feedback from the Waterfront Hotel Planning Study, Burlington Urban Design Advisory Committee, PLAN B must be reflected in the application’s modifications

Limit building heights to yield of FAR 6.0:1 (per EPC#3).

A “good faith” compromise between Base Permission of 5.0:1 and Applicant’s aggressive ask of 7.76:1

Plan B thinks this may avert acrimonious & lengthy legal debates before the OLT & an unpredictable outcome for both parties.

The city is seeking response to a survey that closes March 1.  Link to that survey is set out below.

Link to the survey is HERE

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What was learned during the Statutory meeting on the Waterfront Hotel site development application?

By Pepper Parr

February 23rd, 2022



A Statutory Meeting is required under the Planning Act to allow the public to learn what a development application is about.

During these meetings the city planning department sets out what the application is asking for and what the current Official Plan and Zoning bylaw permits.

Wednesday evening the city presented the following two slides;

The difference between what is permitted under the current in-force Official Plan and what the developer wants is astounding.














Direct staff to continue to process the submitted applications for Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendments for 2020 Lakeshore Road, including evaluating and incorporating any/all comments received by Committee and the public at the Statutory Public Meeting, as well as the comments received through the ongoing
technical review of this application by agency partners and internal departments.

Plan B, a small citizen group gave an excellent delegation that highlighted just how much the developer is asking and how little they are prepared to give.

The application makes mention of narrowing Lakeshore Road.

They realize that they have to provide some parkland – and have suggested cash in lieu of land would be satisfactory.

This is a complex story, not all that easy to follow yet critical in terms of what the downtown core of the city will look like and what in the way of impact it will have on Spencer Smith Park.

What was disappointing was just how little members of Council had to say when there was an opportunity for them to make comments.  Mayor Meed Ward spoke as did ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns and Councillor Nisan.  The others appeared to be mute.

More to come on this one.

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Public will get a look at what if any changes in the original plan have been made by the developer on the Waterfront Hotel site

By Pepper Parr

February 22, 2022



The event is set up as a Statutory Public Meeting taking place during a Standing Committee this evening, Tuesday at 6:30 pm

Log into the city calendar and work your way to the Committee meetings part and select the 22nd.

That will get you into the meeting where you can watch and take part.

The Statutory Review is required by the Planning Act.  The review is about an Applications to amend the Official Plan and Zoning By-law owned by Burlington 2020 Lakeshore Inc. Addresses: 2020 Lakeshore Road

There are two process taking place within the same basic time frame.

Many wonder what the one process means to the other.


Applications were submitted by owner and deemed Complete on December 2021

The site is : 0.76 hectares; Frontage on Lakeshore Rd: 114 m,  Frontage on Elizabeth St: 50 m

Proposed Mixed-Use Development is as follows:

  • Residential: 557 apartments
  • Hotel: 122 suites
  • Retail/commercial: 4,445 m2
  • Office: 4,348 m2
  • Two tall buildings: 35 & 30 storeys with 5-storey podiums
  • 598 parking spaces
  • Proposed Floor Area Ratio: 76:1

What it works out to is set out below.

This is what the owners of the Waterfront Hotel want to do with their space. It is your city and your park. Is this the best the city can get?

What will the site look like from different streets that leads to Lakeshore road ?


The question the Gazette is asking is set out in the graphic below..


Take part in the Statutory meeting this evening and if you don’t like what you see stand up on your hind legs and bark.  Do the same thing if you like what you see.  It is your city – it is your park.

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It is your waterfront - let the city know what you think of the current concept for the Waterfront Hotel site

By Pepper Parr

February 18th, 2022



It is the development that will change for decades what the core of downtown Burlington is going to look like.

And while 110 people took part in a virtual presentation on what the issues are – there didn’t seem to be all that much in the way passionate interest.

There were more questions about parking during the virtual meeting than there were about what the impact would be of two 35 storey plus towers sitting on a five storey podium perched at the edge of Lakeshore Road and Brant Street at what the developer called Ground Zero for the city.

The city now wants feed back from the public.  A recording of the February 15th meeting can be reached HERE

The survey can be found HERE

Closing date for public feedback is March 1st – not a lot of time.  Get your views in now – they matter.

The Waterfront Study Plan people and the developer are far apart.  The Study group is suggesting  two 15 – 17 storey buildings and taking a 20 metre strip on the west side as park land along with another small patch on land on the east side at the southern end (lake side) of the site.

The developer has proposed two towers – one 30 storeys high and the other 35 storeys high – both sitting on a five story podium.

Parking for both would be underground exiting and entering off Elizabeth Street to the east.

While the study is for the area shown below – all the attention up to this point has been on the Waterfront Hotel site.

Spencer Smith Park defines Burlington. Few cities in Canada sit on the edge of the largest body of water in the country. It is host to some of the biggest public festivals in the province.

Will 40 storey structures take away from what the park offers the citizens of Burlington; will they diminish what is left of the small ton feel of Brant Street?

Do you think the big flashy buildings are what the city needs. A decision is going to be made – get your two cents in now when it matters.

Children playing innocently – a man having snooze under a tree – the Spencer Smith Park we have today – will that change if there are 40 storey towers looming over everything?

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Community Planning comes up with a 2022 Preferred Concept for the Waterfront Hotel site

By Pepper Parr

February 16th, 2022



Something like this is probably coming your way.

It is labelled the 2022 Preferred Concept for the Waterfront Hotel site that was put before about 110 people that took part in a virtual presentation Wednesday evening,

Proposed 2022 Preferred Concept – half the height of what the developer is asking for and a lot more park space.

It is considerably different than the plan the developer has before the city Community Planning department; basically half the height and much more park space..

There are two towers in the concept but they are between 15 and 17 stories each rather than the 30 and 35 storeys the developer has before the Community Planning department.

The two towers rest on a 3 storey podium instead of the five storey podium the developer is asking for.

The biggest difference is a 20 metre wide piece of land on the west side of the site that  runs from Lakeshore Road to the southern end of the property.  It was described as a needed addition to Spencer Smith Park which was described as closes to full capacity on many occasions.

There was some additional park space to the lower right of the 2022 Preferred concept.

Evan Sugden, the Bousfields Inc., planning consultant hired by the developer was  taken aback when he saw the concept and asked where the justification was for taking land to be used as park space.  He wanted to know where the report was that set out the need for additional park space.

All developments are required to provide park space, either in land or cash in lieu.

The developer wanted two soaring towers that would be 40 storeys including the podium.

While well attended the virtual meeting ran out of steam at the one hour point of a meeting that was scheduled for an hour and a half.

All members of council were reported to be in attendance but other than the Mayor none had anything to say.

The Mayor did take a shot at having a straw poll done on the spot – that didn’t work out – the consultants running the event said i would not be appropriate at this point to hold a straw poll.

Next step?  The city wants opinions and feed back from the public.  They are fully aware that this development is going to go to the Ontario Land Tribunal for a decision and they want to build the strongest case possible.

The city wants feedback from the public no later than March 1st.  For those who did not take part in the virtual meeting – the presentation was recorded and will be available on the GetInvolved section of the city web site.


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Waterfront Study to re-start on the 15th - meanwhile Planning department processes an application to build two towers

By Pepper Parr

February 9th, 2020



The City of Burlington Planning department is working feverishly on an application development to build two towers – one 35 and the other 30 storeys that will sit atop a five story podium.

This application has to be presented to council not later than April 15th or it can be taken to the Ontario Land Tribunal for a non-decision appeal.

Municipalities have 120 days to respond with a decision on a development application.

At the same time the City of Burlington is resuming work on the Waterfront Hotel Planning Study. When the study is completed, it will provide guidance in the redevelopment of this site.

Located next to two of Burlington’s most significant landmarks, Spencer Smith Park and the Brant Street Pier, the City is asking for input to make sure the new development reflects a high quality of urban design that enhances the community’s access to the waterfront and the downtown.

The fact that there is a development application for land in the centre of that waterfront study area would suggest that the die has already been cast.

Within the same general time frame, February 22nd, there is a Statutory Public meeting on the development application which will have the Planning department setting out the issues and the developer explaining what they plan to do.

Virtual Public Open House – Feb. 15
Residents are invited to join a virtual public open house to talk about the study process and hear from City staff and the consultant team, The Planning Partnership, who will present the preferred concept plan for the site. There will be a Q & A period following the presentation. The open house is on:
Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022
7 to 8:30 p.m.
Zoom or dial +1 647 374 4685 by telephone and enter meeting ID 813 0521 1078

Residents also have the opportunity to learn more about the planning study on the City’s online engagement platform, Get Involved Burlington.

The Waterfront Hotel Planning Study is separate from the development application process.  This sentence fails to add that there is an application for development approval before the Planning department now.

2020 Lakeshore Rd. Statutory Public Meeting – Feb. 22
The City will hold a Statutory Public Meeting under the Planning Act to consider the City staff report concerning the development application for 2020 Lakeshore Rd. City staff will be recommending that Council direct staff to continue to review and process the application. Due to COVID-19, this Statutory Public Meeting will be held virtually.

This meeting will take place on:

Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022
6:30 p.m.
Virtual Meeting that will be on the city web site

To view the meeting details, the Meeting Notice [PDF] or to register to delegate, visit

This is the developers architectural rendering of what they would like to build.

Planning Study Background
In 2017 and 2018, the City began the planning study to guide the redevelopment of the waterfront site at Lakeshore Road and the foot of Brant Street, including the Waterfront Hotel at 2020 Lakeshore Rd. City staff gathered feedback through visioning workshops, public and stakeholder engagement.

In mid-2018, the Waterfront Hotel Planning Study was placed on hold due to other Council directed priorities such as the New Official Plan process.

On Jan. 11, 2022, City staff presented Council with a study update through staff report.

Why the study can resume
The City is able to resume the Waterfront Hotel Planning Study at this time because:

• the re-examination of the New Official Plan Project, including Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown, has been completed,

• approval of the new Official Plan (under appeal), as well as

• the Minster of Municipal Affairs and Housing’s approval, with modifications, of the Regional Official Plan Amendment 48.

City staff, with support from the project consultant, will pick up the work where it left off in 2018, and complete the study. The work is estimated to take four months and will use community input to-date to help develop a final preferred concept.

The City has this work remaining:
• Phase 4: Report and Recommendation of Preferred Land Use Concept, Q1 2022
This phase of the study involves the selection of a preferred concept and the preparation of a Planning Justification Report.
• Phase 5: Official Plan Policies, Zoning and Urban Design Guidelines, Q2 2022

The fifth phase of the study includes the development of draft site-specific official plan policies, zoning regulations and urban design and implementation guidelines. This phase will also include a public open house, presentation to Committee and final delivery of the implementing Official Plan Amendment and

Determining what should be built on the waterfront hotel property has gone through a number of concepts. The Waterfront study restart will pick up where things were back in 2019 when it was paused.

Marianne Meed Ward – moments before she was sworn in as Mayor.

Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward made the following comments:
“We know the Waterfront Hotel is a key site in our city, right next to our cherished downtown waterfront park. We know we have to get it right, and the time is now, with the Waterfront Hotel study starting up again, and an active application for redevelopment filed. We also need to ensure the public has every opportunity to share their feedback. That’s why Councillor Kearns and I worked together on a motion to direct staff to complete the study and the application review within the required statutory time frames — so we can record a decision as a community on this site, and not risk an appeal to the Ontario Land Tribunal for non-decision within the deadline. The best way you can shape the future of what happens here is to participate in both the study, as well as the development application review. ”

Ward 2 City Councillor Lisa Kearns spoke a little more forcefully: “We have heard loud and clear that residents place an extraordinary value on Burlington’s Waterfront. Development concerning the Waterfront Hotel site is extremely important to Ward 2 residents and to residents across our city. The outcome of an active development proposal is paramount to the future of our Waterfront and Spencer Smith Park, not to mention our downtown businesses and residents alike.

Lisa Kearns – ward 2 Councillor

“I encourage everyone to get engaged with the study information, subscribe to the Get Involved page for updates and attend the meetings on the Hotel Study on Feb. 15. and the Statutory Public Meeting on Feb. 22. The City will make a decision on this planning file to ensure that the decision is made at the local level. Let’s come together to give our feedback and make sure the new development results in a property that supports the community’s waterfront and downtown experience.”

Related news stories:

Is there a better way to develop this critical part of the city?

If you haven’t heard of Plan B – check them out.

The Plan B web site:

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Councillor takes small group on a tour of Ground Zero - did she give them the complete story?

By Pepper Parr

February 9th, 2022



“A terrific turnout” said ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns, who took a small group on a downtown development tour last Saturday.

“We embraced the chilly weather and learned about various developments in different stages, the planning process and Council’s vision for development.

“It was an interactive afternoon and one more way to connect with my office about our community. Thank you to everyone that came out, stay tuned for the next one in April.”

Well now, there was a lot more to the tour than the Councillor is revealing.

In the photograph below, the Councillor is in front of the Waterfront Hotel, a site that will be demolished and replaced by two towers that will be more than 30 storeys high – both sitting on a five storey podium.

Lisa Kearns on the site of a planned two tower development.

It is the most controversial development the city has had to cope with and if it proceeds the way the developers want – the quaint Burlington downtown you now know will be history.

The site Lisa Kearns is standing on will have what you see below.

Rendering of what the intersection of Brant and Lakeshore will look like if the development proceeds.

Developers’ rendering of the two towers they want to build at the intersection of Brant and Lakeshore road – the site of the Waterfront Hotel

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Urban Design Advisory Panel comments on development slated for Waterfront Hotel site

By Staff

February 5th, 2022



A number of years ago the Planning Department decided they wanted input from outside professionals who were not in any way involved in a development project.

Recognized professional architects were invited to apply to serve on the panel.  The current panel membership is made up of:

Members of BUD

present absent / regrets
Ken Coit (Chair) ü
Jana Kelemen (Vice Chair) regrets
Alexandru Taranu regrets
Jackie VanderVelde ü
Jessica Hawes ü
LeAnn Seely ü
Matt Reid ü
Michael Barker regrets
Nigel Tai regrets

Cynthia Zahoruak

The impetus for this approach came from Cynthia Zahoruak, a respected Burlington based architect.

The Community Planning Department asked the Burlington Urban Design Advisory Panel (BUD) for advice on the following key issues:


1. Response to Context
Please comment on the integration of the proposed development with its surroundings including: streetscaping on Lakeshore Road and Elizabeth Street and interface with Spencer Smith Park to the west and south.

2. Public Realm – Access & Connectivity to the Public Park & Lake
Please comment on the proposed atrium at the foot of John Street, with consideration for bird-friendly design, the preservation of public views from John Street to Lake Ontario, and the objective of maintaining and enhancing public access to the waterfront.

3. Architectural Design and Design Excellence
Please comment on the design of the proposed buildings, with consideration for the landmark location of the site and the need to achieve compatibility with surrounding context, as well as the proposed arrangement of uses and location of building entrances.

4. Location & Amount of Outdoor Amenity Spaces
Please comment on the proposed amenity areas (rooftop and at grade) with attention to opportunities for publicly accessible spaces.

Design Team Presentation

The developers Design Team provided an overview of the history and context of the site. It was noted that the site is a premier site at the foot of Brant Street, a core street in Downtown Burlington. A landmark vision that functions as a landmark destination for the city and downtown core is therefore proposed. The history of the site as an entertainment destination and its contribution to hotel enjoyment of the waterfront is intended to be reflected in this project.

The proposed building consists of a podium with ground floor commercial and hotel and office space above, and two towers with residential uses. The hotel will be located on one side of the podium, while office space will be on the other. A bridge connecting the two sides of the podium will contain amenities for the hotel and residential uses. All parking will be underground.

The project architect walked the Panel through various views of the proposal. It was noted that the site is intended to respect the existing landscape of the park and the steep topography between Lakeshore Road and the waterfront. The proposal is intended to provide visual and physical connections from the street to the lake.

With respect to building design, the design is meant to be iconic and reflect water waves. Terraces are used to create a gentle curve along the tower façade and provide residents with views of the city and lake. Complementary materials, textures and colours connect the tower and the podium.

A plaza and an atrium that the public can walk through or stay in to enjoy waterfront views is proposed. The connection from Lakeshore Road to the Waterfront Trail continues through to the landscape with patio opportunities for coffee, restaurants and to create a gathering space for people to enjoy the location.

Panel Questions:

The Panel asked the following questions of clarification:

• Is the tower floor plate largest at the 6th floor, and smaller as they rise?
o Yes. There are no bulges proposed in the towers.

• What are some of the environmental features of the building and site design?
o Green roofs accessible to each use are proposed to reduce heat loss. Local materials will also be used to help with LEED certification. The new energy code will be adhered to. Glass in various opacities will be used to reduce heat loss. Bird friendly design will be used at the podium level with optional fretting throughout the tower above.
o The lower area of the podium will have more solid materials (e.g. brick, stone).

• Are the towers predominately glass?
o Yes.

• What are the setbacks on the east, south and west sides of the podium from the property lines?
o North: 7 m; west (waterfront and Spencer Smith Park): 2 m; south (to property line): 4.9 m; and, east (Elizabeth Street): 2 m

• What is the intended programming for the atrium?
o The atrium will be a covered space that the public can freely access and move through from the Lakeshore Road side of the building to the plaza and waterfront on the southside and vice versa. It is also intended to be a gathering place to get to other uses within the building (e.g. offices, hotel).

Panel Advice:

Question #1: Response to Context – Please comment on the integration of the proposed development with its surroundings including: streetscaping on Lakeshore Road and Elizabeth Street and interface with Spencer Smith Park to the west and south.

The Panel commented that taller heights and densities with a broad mix of uses are warranted at this site given its prominent location. However, the Panel felt that overall, the proposed building is too large for its context, and that the height, massing, proportions and scales of the podium and towers should be reevaluated in the context of their comments below. Additionally, more transparency overall in the ground floor plane, with more open semi-private spaces, should be provided.

The Panel felt that the height and length of the podium is too large for this context.

Lakeshore Road & John Street
The Panel felt that the height and length of the podium is too large for this context. The podium height could be reduced in consideration of the surrounding context. For example, it was noted that existing buildings on the north side of Lakeshore Road range in height from 1- to 2½- storeys and include heritage buildings that should be considered. Although the large setback of the proposed building helps to mitigate this juxtaposition, a reduction in height would further help with integration. To break up the length of the podium, it is recommended that the atrium be replaced with an open-air area and that more articulation be incorporated.

The Lakeshore Road streetscape was noted as being well done with the triple row of trees, extensive setback and opportunities for patios. However, the Panel was concerned that the atrium would cast shadows onto Lakeshore Road and obstruct views from John Street. Although glass material is proposed for the atrium, glass does not always appear transparent. Replacing the atrium with an open-air corridor was recommended.

The breezeway leads to the view of the lake from the John at Lakeshore Road entrance.

Lastly, it was noted that proportion and scale of the towers appear inconsistent between drawings in the submission package, causing the Panel to caution the overall tower massing and orientation. It was noted that a proportional balance needs to be struck between the narrow and broader sides of the towers, and that appropriate tower placements should be provided to mitigate their built form impacts such as shadowing on Brant Street.

Transitions to Spencer Smith Park and Waterfront Trail
The Panel highlighted that appropriate transitions to Spencer Smith Park and the Waterfront Trail are currently lacking. The existing path along the west side of the property, as well as Brant Street and the Waterfront Trail were noted as being busy pedestrian corridors. There is an opportunity for the west side of the site to provide a stronger connection to these areas.

Specifically, the Panel recommended that the building setback adjacent to this west interface be increased, the façade treatment better articulated, and open space landscaped to create more of a public realm and transition to the existing open space. Also, instead of a podium-tower condition on this side, the tower could be brought all the way down to the ground plane as an iconic vertical element (no podium) to provide interest and the podium could be replaced with landscaping.

It was noted that the west tower appears to have significant shadow impacts on Brant Street, and that the view down Brant appears to terminate at the towers. Relocating the west tower can also help address these issues.

There is also an opportunity to provide 180-degree views from the central area (between the podium) by extending it south of the podium.

Lastly, underground parking should be designed to protect the context of the park by allowing for mature trees.

Transitions to Elizabeth Street
On the Elizabeth Street side, the Panel noted that Elizabeth Street is a prominent frontage for the Bridgewater development to the west of the site. The Panel flagged that the height, location and orientation of towers should be carefully reviewed for their shadow impacts on Elizabeth Street.

The Panel agreed that locating back of house activities for the subject site off Elizabeth makes sense but cautioned that it should be carefully treated to support what is being achieved at Bridgewater. Elizabeth Street itself could be specially treated to signal to vehicles that it is a pedestrian area.

Question #2: Public Realm Access & Connectivity to the Public Park & Lake – Please comment on the proposed atrium at the foot of John Street, with consideration for bird-friendly design, the preservation of public views from John Street to Lake Ontario, and the objective of maintaining and enhancing public access to the waterfront.

The atrium is appreciated but does not provide a true visual corridor between John Street and the waterfront because of its glass reflections and pinched width.
Furthermore, for this connection to succeed as a physical public connection, it is important that it feels like a public space. It currently does not feel that way because the size of the podium and atrium is the same as the front elevation. An open-air connection is recommended instead.

Since there is value to having cooler, covered spaces, if an atrium is desired, it could be designed to provide more vertical articulation in the podium and give the podium an appearance of two separate buildings.

The Panel appreciates the detailed submission package, as well as the proposed streetscape design along Lakeshore Road and setback of underground parking to allow for the preservation and growth of mature street trees.

Question #3: Architectural Design and Design Excellence – Please comment on the design of the proposed buildings, with consideration for the landmark location of the site and the need to achieve compatibility with surrounding context, as well as the proposed arrangement of uses and location of building entrances.

The Panel commented that the buildings are beautifully designed and achieves the goal for an iconic design. It works well with the shape and curve of the pier.  However, the massing of the building should be reviewed from multiple angles. The towers appear bulky from certain angles.

The design appealed to the architects on the Burlington Urban Design Advisory panel

The Panel was also concerned about the sustainability of the building. Considering climate change, buildings made of mostly glass are no longer a sustainable option. Impacts of the building over its lifespan in terms of carbon neutrality and sustainability should be closely reviewed. Also, with the site being close to the water, having sustainable stormwater management features is important.

Lastly, there is an opportunity to take advantage of the location of the site being within the cultural centre of Burlington by incorporating public art, designed with public input. Ideas include unique vertical elements such as colorful large-scale windows or a mural up one side of the building and an object at scale at the foot of John Street that brings a connection back to the lake and history of the site.

Question #4: Location & Amount of Outdoor Amenity Spaces – Please comment on the proposed amenity areas (rooftop and at grade) with attention to opportunities for publicly accessible spaces.

The Panel commented that much of the outdoor space between the podium is devoted to access ramps and stairs down to the park. Consider increasing the upper/lower plaza space and provide an elevator down to park level instead. The proposal introduces a lot of new residential units, which will need to be balanced with a lot of amenity space and different uses.

The Panel also recommended providing a porous interface with the park, rather than having a harsh boundary between public and private space, through measures such as incorporating some semi-private spaces and a variety of outdoor amenity spaces. More accesses through podium to the park should also be considered.

The Panel reiterated that focus should be placed on the edges of the building and the public realm to ensure that the design reflects its unique and special location. Also, the Panel reiterated that while a tall landmark building is warranted at this location, the proposed podium and towers are too tall and should be reduced to ensure that the building is compatible and fits in with its surroundings, including both the existing and planned context.

Application: Official Plan Amendment and Rezoning Presentations:
City Staff: Thomas Douglas, Community Planning
Design Team: David Falletta, Bousfields Inc.; Anh Le Quang, Lilia Koleva Neuf Architectes LLP;
Mario Patitucci, Adesso Design Inc.


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