Ward 2 debate video now on line

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

October 3rd, 2018



What is believed to be the largest audience ever for a political debate in Burlington is now available on line.

Here is the link:

Full house 350

Will crowds like this listening to the debates get out and vote. And will this election make a difference?

Standing room only

Standing room only

The audience is estimated to be about 400 people – if the Fire Marshall had been aware of the event he might have shut it down – too many people in the space.
While there are forces in the city that have no time and will not traffic with ECoB _ Engaged Citizens of Burlington – the public clearly wants this level of engagement – city hall notwithsttanding.


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Ward level debates are the best source of information on the people running for office. These are the people who want to set the tax rates and determine what kind of service you get for those taxes.

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

September 28th, 2018



It has been a very full week politically.

The world laughed at the President of the United States when he was addressing the United Nations; a nominee for the Supreme Court of the United States faced accusations from what appeared to me to be a credible witness who claimed he had been sexually assaulted when they were both teenagers.

New Brunswickers are now trying to determine who will lead the government with the Liberals desperately trying to hang on to power.

And in Burlington we have debates taking place in every ward, something Burlington has never experienced before, while all three incumbents at the ward level refuse to take part – a desperate attempt to hold power.

Candidates att table on stage

Ward 5 candidates: From the left: Xin Yi Zhang, Daniel Roukema, Wendy Moraghan and Mary Alice St. James

Sharman seat at ward 5

Ward 5 incumbent Councillor Paul Sharman chose not to take part in the ward debate.

Last week the ward debates in wards 5 and 6 took place: ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman said he did not trust the group that organized the debate.

The next day the ward 6 debate took place. Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster refused to take part because she believed the group that organized the event was biased and unfair to her. She also blamed the Gazette for a story it had published about her reasons for not taking part.

This week we watched the candidate in ward 4 sit on a stage by herself because the incumbent had not shown up on time – there was never any certainty that Councillor Jack Dennison was going to arrive. He did and used his 20+ years of experience to bob and weave his way through the questions put to him.

All candidates at table

The five candidates running in ward 3: From the left Peter Rusin, Gareth Williams, Lisa Cooper, Darcy xxx and Rory Nisan


Retiring ward 3 Councillor John Taylor

In ward 3 we listened to five candidates who consistently thanked the incumbent John Taylor for his more than thirty years of public service – he got close to a standing ovation while the candidates for the ward seat agreed, for the most part, that term limits should be in place.

In ward 6, the four candidates took part in a debate arranged by a local church. The ward Councillor Blair Lancaster was comfortable participating in this debate.

It also included a debate between the Mayoralty candidates.

Citizens have the kind of opportunity they have never had before – they can sit at home and watch the debates and decide for themselves who they want to be members of city council.

This election is pivotal for Burlington. There are some major issues on the table.

Be informed and vote.

It is your city, your home, the place you chose to live and raise your children. The government you elect is the government that will determine the kind of services available to you and the taxes you will pay,

high profile 421

This 24 story tower that will rise across the street from city hall has been approved by city Council. A second tower south of this one has been approved at 17 storeys – the developer has appealed asking for 24 stories.

There is a lot at stake.

The ward 5 debate link is here.

The ward 6 ECoB debate is here.

The ward 6 debate at St. Georges Anglican Church is here.

The ward 4 debate is here.

The ward 3 debate will be available later today.

Next week there will be debates in wards 1 and 2 – the video of those debates will be made available.

There is also a debate on October 9th for all the Mayoralty candidates that will take place at Central high school.

Locations dates and times are set in the advertisements, which are on the right side of every page of this on line newspaper.

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Woodruff on annexing Waterdown - a joke he can use at the Mayor's expense.

opinionviolet 100x100By Greg Woodruff

September 22, 2018



The timing of asking the Province to put Waterdown into Burlington’s territory is no good and lack of communication with Hamilton even worse. It’s lots of fun to poke fun at Rick Golding over the abysmal optics of the whole thing. And as much as I’d like to jump on the bandwagon of making jokes at Rick, unfortunately, it’s not a bad idea.

Government is nothing more than a device to avoid human conflict and make people more prosperous then we would be without. The efficiency of service delivery and decision making matters greatly. Does Waterdown make more sense in a unit with Burlington?

Hamilton boundary

Hamilton’s boundaries – from the City of Hamilton web site.

Yes, it think it might. I measure just 2 km from subdivision to subdivision in which development along Highway 5 is merging into pretty much one city. The Waterdown road expansion will remove the “rural” break from North to South. It will seem like one city.

LaSalle Park

Does the city of Hamilton own this much of what we see as Burlington?

While we are on the topic of annexation, one thing the Ontario government should definitely annex for Burlington is Lasalle Park. By a historical accident, it’s Hamilton’s on the map, though operated by Burlington for living memory. The “Hamilton put money into LaSalle Park” argument doesn’t hold water here. Negotiations between Hamilton and Burlington is nothing but old school blackmail. Pay us for the land we have had nothing to do with for decades or we sell it to developers. Taxpayers on both sides are now paying civil servants to argue about it. Certainly, Mr. Ford rapidly transferring the park to Burlington is an easy win for efficiency and sanity in government.

But I digress …

Not only will Waterdown and Burlington seem every more like one city, but it’s also going to function like one too. The commercial investment in Clapson’s Corners is nothing sort staggering where you think all those shoppers come from? We need integrated road and transportation with water down. There is no bus up there. There is no reason at all to prevent the Halton Region and Burlington City vehicles to buzz 2km farther down the road during the day. You would think things like snow removal would get objectively easier.

The city of Hamilton I suspect has quite enough work to deal with the 610,000 souls under care.


The Waterdown Library – a gem.

Now comes the sticky part; the money. Hamilton probably has a point on the fact that long-term investments made were designed to be offset by future taxes. You can’t leave Hamilton holding the bag so to speak. Though I believe they have billions needed in infrastructure funding – yes billions. So the government of Hamilton is bankrupt sooner or later in any event. Even so, if the accountants can see that an investment has been made we need to pay back Hamilton. The best way to do that will be to “special levy” Waterdown the difference between the “Burlington” and the “Hamilton” tax rate until it’s paid back. I realize Waterdown would like instant tax relief, but over time is better than none at all.


The Mayor wasn’t laughing.

Not that we should do any merging without considering the people of Waterdown and the people of Burlington. Obviously, public consultation and a lot of mulling over is required. Unfortunately, it’s not the worst idea ever and I will have to find some other way to make jokes at Rick’s expense.

Greg WoodruffGreg Woodruff is a candidate for the Office of Mayor in the 2018 election.  He ran for the Office of the Regional Chair in 2014.  He has never held political office.

Related new stories.

The end of Burlington as you may know it.

Wallace and Meed Ward respond to the idea of annexing Waterdown.


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Wallace and Meed Ward respond to Mayor Goldring's plan to annex parts of Waterdown.

News 100 blueBy Staff

September 18th, 2018



Earlier in the day the Office of the Mayor released a news media that said the Mayor had taken part in a meeting at Queen’s Park with the Mayor of Aurora to ask that the provincial government take another look at the Place to Grow legislation.  Goldring said that he wanted to see part of Waterdown annexed by Burlington.

Mayoralty candidate Mike Wallace said later in the day that: “An amalgamation debate occurred while I was on council, and at the time, I supported Waterdown becoming part of Burlington.

Waterdown map

Wallace H&S

Mike Wallace – candidate for Mayor

“However, that was a much different time. Now, Waterdown is experiencing much of the same density issues as Burlington, and has dealt with them from a Hamilton perspective. While the idea may still have some merit, Burlington may end up taking on more problems than any boundary expansion may solve. I believe there are more urgent concerns regarding the provincial planning requirements of Burlington – such as congestion and changes to the Places to Grow Act.

“As Mayor, this is where I will focus my political capital with the Ontario government.

Meed WArd at PARC

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward – a candidate for the Office of Mayor.

Marianne Meed Ward sees the idea of annexing Waterdown, which is now a part of Hamilton quite a bit differently and has quite a bit more to say about the idea which was put forward by Mayor Goldring today during a meeting with the provincial Ministry of Municipal Affairs.

“The idea of annexing Waterdown to Burlington is a diversion from the central concern of residents this election, which is over-development of Burlington, due to the decisions by the current mayor and council.

“Before annexing another community, that hasn’t asked for this, we need to clean up our own back yard by amending the Official Plan, advocating reasonable growth not over-development, and respecting residents enough to include them in decision-making before the fact.

“Burlington residents have not been consulted on annexing Waterdown, nor have they asked for this. The people of Waterdown and Hamilton have not been consulted. Burlington city council, Halton Regional council and Hamilton city council have not been consulted. So much for collaboration.

Meed Ward with Mayor Goldring: she is more comfortable with herself as a speaker.

Meed Ward with Mayor Goldring

“Enough of “Hail Mary” ideas cobbled together in a political back room and launched on an unsuspecting public for political gain, upending the democratic process in the middle of an election.

“Residents deserve better from their elected officials.

“Regarding amending the Places to Grow Act, the province has already given Burlington city council the tools to control growth – but this council isn’t using the tools we already have.

“Over development in Burlington is the direct result of decisions by the current mayor and council to go beyond provincial growth requirements and approve developments at 2, 3 or 4 times Official Plan provisions.

“Burlington’s share of growth from the province is 185,000 by 2031; as of the 2016 Census we were at 183,00. We have met or surpassed our growth – 13 years early. And yet, the current mayor and majority of council approved a new Official Plan that takes Burlington well beyond provincial targets, including adding up to 30 more downtown high-rises.

high profile 421

A 24 story structure opposite city hall on the north east corner of James and Brant has been approved.

“I’m the only Councillor who voted against this new plan.

“I’m the only candidate who is committed to amending the Official Plan, which this mayor supported.

“I’m the only candidate committed to working with the province to remove the Urban Growth Centre and Mobility Hub designations from downtown which would have relieved growth pressure. The current mayor did not support those motions, leaving the downtown at risk.

“I’m the only candidate committed to taking only as much growth as Burlington infrastructure will allow, when new growth targets are assigned by Halton Region to 2041.

“We need a strong voice and advocate in the mayor’s office to take action using the tools we already have for reasonable growth, not over development.

That’s why I’m running for mayor of Burlington: to listen to residents before announcing decisions, and take action on their concerns – over development, not annexing neighbouring communities.

We have an unprecedented opportunity for change this election to forge a new direction for Burlington and regain control of growth, with at least three new members of council to be elected (Ward 1 and 3 retiring, my Ward 2 seat open)

The public won’t be fooled by 11th hour declarations and promises, when the current mayor had 12 years to act – 4 as a Councillor and 8 as mayor.

“The time for talk is over. It’s time for action on the issues that matter to Burlington residents.”

Related news story:

Where is the justification:

Mike Wallace website

Meed Ward website

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Could Waterdown become part of Burlington? Where is the justification?

News 100 blueBy Staff

September 18th, 2018



Mayor Rick Goldring has taken part in a trip to Queen’s Park with Aurora Mayor Geoffrey Dawe of Aurora asking the province to put a hold on the Places to Grow legislation

Goldring added his own wish to the requests being made.  He would like to see Waterdown added to the city of Burlington.

Waterdown map

Just how much of Waterdown does Burlington want to annex? Has the Mayor called his friends in Hamilton about this? Maybe those LaSalle Park water-lots the city want to buy from Hamilton could be part of the package?

In a media release Goldring said: “Mayors of Aurora, Brantford, Burlington and Whitby have significant concerns on how the province’s growth, density and intensification targets have forced our cities to grow.”
“The top-down approach of the past 13 years has resulted in forced growth on our cities that often doesn’t reflect the values of our community”

Goldring along with Geoffrey Dawe said: “We are asking the province to:

• Fix Ontario’s ‘Places to Grow’ Plan, beginning with putting a freeze on the density requirements demanded by the province while a comprehensive review takes place.

• Give local Councils the ability to control the speed of development in their communities, instead of the full-speed ahead approach demanded over the past decade.

Watertower_ water towerThe objective was to address issues specific to Burlington. Mayor Goldring is “asking the province to help alleviate growth pressures on downtown Burlington and provides fairness for Burlington taxpayers who, for years, have been directly impacted by growth in Waterdown that has created new demands on Burlington’s infrastructure.”

Goldring and Dawe met with the Minister of Municipal Affairs and MPPs on the government side.

About ‘Places to Grow’:

The Ontario government passed the ‘Places to Grow’ Act in 2005. The amended version of the Act is available at: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/05p13.

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Calderbank: Can Successful Cities Ever Be Truly Affordable? What Burlington Can Do To Address Its Affordability Challenges

opinionviolet 100x100By Kimberly Calderbank

September 15th, 2018



Burlington is a vibrant city. We have a beautiful waterfront, scenic parks, safe neighbourhoods, great schools, access to some of Ontario’s top festivals and events, and successful businesses. Unfortunately, what makes Burlington such a desirable place to live also makes it expensive. We have seen house prices and rents skyrocket in recent years to the point of making our city un-affordable, especially for first-time home buyers, newcomers to Canada, young families, and seniors.

Spencer Smith PArk from the west

Spencer Smith Park – there was a time when it was weed filled space. It took foresight and community involvement to get this park to where it is today.

Right now, the average price of a detached house in Burlington is about $1 million, up 13 percent over this time last year. The average price of a town home is $578,000, up 6 percent from last year. The average price of a 2-bedroom condo is $434,000 which is actually down 5 percent which could possibly be attributed to a recent increase in supply.

What exactly is the definition of affordable housing? One figure often used by Councillors and city staff when referring to “affordable” units in new developments is about $362,000, but this definition is rather meaningless, because for someone with a family income of about $50,000, the affordability threshold is almost half that. A more reliable definition of affordable housing is housing with a market price (for purchase or rent) that is affordable to households of low and moderate income, spending no more than 30 percent of their gross household income on housing, without government assistance.

For a household of three or more people with a gross family income of about $130,000, the maximum purchase price for a home considered to be affordable would be $456,000 (based on a maximum monthly home ownership cost of about $3,300). As residents of Burlington, you and I both know that you can’t buy many family homes here for that price, and a detached house under $500,000 would be hard to find.

A significant challenge to Burlington’s housing affordability is that we are running out of property on which to build new subdivisions with detached houses while maintaining and protecting our agricultural areas.

This is the Escarpment we are talking about. Our country, our rural country - forever.

Half of the city’s land mass is the Escarpment where other than three settlement areas residential development is not permitted.

Municipal, regional, and provincial policies, such as land use policies set out in Official Plans, help ensure an adequate range and mix of housing for complete and healthy communities while fulfilling the provincial mandate to “grow in place”. These policies can also provide us with some tools to address affordability.

One tool municipalities could decide to use is inclusionary zoning. This enables cities to set out guidelines for affordable housing units to be built in residential developments of 10 units or more. Another policy tool is Section 37 of the Planning Act. If a property owner wishes to build something that does not comply with zoning regulations, such as height and/or density limits, the owner may voluntarily agree to provide “community benefits” in exchange for approval—benefits negotiated by councilors and planning staff. Lately, it seems there hasn’t been enough thought put into exactly which types of benefits would be as valuable to the Community as the extra height/density is to builders.

For example, a recent community benefit listed for one of the development proposals at Brant and James took the form of discounts on condo units. Considering the high price of units, a $50,000 discount would unlikely make a dent in affordability. We can do better than that. How about allocating Section 37 funds to Halton Region to be used for the provision affordable housing or to go towards the building of purpose-built rental housing?

We have a huge opportunity here to collaborate and negotiate with builders and grassroots, community-led organizations such as the Halton Community Benefits Network, in consultation with residents, to determine which community benefits are most needed. Our councilor should be consulting with residents before these proposals even come to the table, not after, to determine community priorities.

At election time, candidates will tell you that we have been growing too fast and over developing. However, regional housing stats prove otherwise. In 2017, only 594 new units were added in the entire city of Burlington—a low number compared to Oakville which added about 2300 new units, and Milton which added over 1100. In addition to the tens of thousands of detached homes we already have in Burlington, we’ll need to add more apartments, condos, and town homes.


A proposed back to back townhouse development.

A denser urban area does not necessarily mean less expensive housing but very often, it can. Increasing the supply of homes for purchase and for rent while providing a wide range of housing options are both essential to affordability. Town homes are especially needed in Burlington as a more affordable housing option (both for purchase and for rent) for families. Only 2.2 percent of new builds in 2017 were town homes, while nearly 87 percent were apartment/condo-type units. We will need to shift this balance if we’re serious about attracting more young families to Burlington.

Burlington is growing from a suburban to an urban Community. As much as we’d like things to stay the same, we must consider the needs of all members of our community, now, and in the future. The challenge of managing and sustaining our city’s rapid growth is also an opportunity to improve the quality of life for many residents, especially in terms of affordability. Let’s continue to attract new residents to our welcoming, vibrant, and inclusive community with diverse neighbourhoods and affordable housing options for everyone who would like to call Burlington home.

Calderback in blackKimberly Calderbank is a candidate for the Ward 2 city council seat.  She is one of ten people seeking the job.

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Who is ECoB - and why do three members of council put in so much time ridiculing a citizens group ?

council 100x100By Staff

September 10th, 2018



There are people out there who are doing their darndest to scupper the candidate debates that ECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington have organized in all six wards and a debate for those running for Mayor.

The three city council incumbents seeking re-election: Councillors Sharman, Dennison and Lancaster have said publicly that they will not be taking part in the debates – because they don’t see ECoB as credible.

We asked Engaged Citizens of Burlington ( ECoB). Who are you? What are the organization’s objectives, and what is the role you feel you play in Burlington?

These are the questions that some have been asking.

Here is the response we got:

Engaged Citizens of Burlington ( ECoB) was formed in November 2107 by a group of citizens who were concerned about the approval of the development application for a 24 storey condominium at 421 Brant Street. With donations received at that initial meeting we were able to incorporate as a not for profit.

ECOB logo

While the city talked about Engagement – a group of citizens formed an organization and invited others to take part. Close to 100 people showed up on a winter’s night to listen – and donated enough money to let them incorporate and organize election debates.

ECoB , a totally volunteer organization, could not have accomplished anything without the continued help and guidance of loyal supporters.

The objects for which the corporation is incorporated are:

a) To advance the rights and interests of citizens of the City of Burlington, Ontario by engaging and informing those citizens in affairs which concern and affect them.

b) To enhance communications and access to information for citizens of the City of Burlington, Ontario by collecting and disseminating information on topics which concern and affect them.

c) To liaise with other non-profit community groups and associations, government and governmental agencies and organizations in encouraging citizens of the City of Burlington to participate in community decision-making.

The special provisions are:

The corporation shall be carried on without the purpose of gain for its members, and any profits or other accretions to the corporation shall be used in promoting its objects.

People who are leery about ECoB ask: why isn’t there information on their Facebook page?

The person who handles the Facebook page has been away.

The twitter account was suspended by ECoB when the password for the account was in the hands of a member of the Board who had resigned. That password is being recovered and our understanding is that ECoB will begin tweeting again soon.

ECoB’s : Accomplishments:

– Held public meetings to encourage public engagement.

ECoB Crowd Feb 22

People interested in running for office attending an ECoB event.

– Held a forum for residents considering running in the Municipal Election.

– Met with the Downtown BIA.

– Met with the Chamber of Commerce.

– Met with staff of the Planning Department, The Transit Department and some of the ward councilors to bring the issues of the residents with regard to intensification in the downtown core.

Ecob model #2

People delegating at a city council meeting asked if staff could provide some kind of a drawing showing where these new high rise buildings were going to be located and how they measured up against what the city looks like now. Staff said they couldn’t do that – so the ECoB people made up a to scale model using Lego blocks. It was a creative solution to a simple, reasonable request.

– Built to scale a 3D Lego Model to show the impact of the approved and proposed buildings on Brant/James Street.

– Held a rally at City Hall to show citizen support for not adopting a New Official Plan until crucial studies, i.e. transit, transportation had been completed.
– Delegated at City Hall.

The comments above came from ECoB – they are well aware of their shortcomings

ECoB’s Failures:

We failed to proceed with an appeal to LPAT with regard to the approved development of 421 Brant Street.

ECoB came to realize that citizen engagement has to start at the beginning of the application process not when a report is brought to Council to approve. Delegation should be the last avenue of engagement not the first.

Citizen Engagement in Burlington has been an issue for many years. In 2010 Shape Burlington, a committee that was headed up by John Boich and Walter Mulkewich brought forward a report to re-shape the way citizens interact with elected officials and staff. Unfortunately this report seems to have been put on a shelf and ignored.

ECoB takes the recommendations that came from Shape Burlington as a cornerstone for Citizen Engagement. The ward candidate debates were organized with that in mind. The purpose of these debates is to inform not to influence.

There are many residents of Burlington that are presently working diligently to help candidates with their campaigns who feel strongly about citizen engagement.

ECoB will be approaching them to join with the object of forming independent ward level advisory groups. These groups would work with staff not only when a planning application comes into the city, but also on an ongoing basis to provide a voice for the residents.

ECoB was formed to fulfill the promise that members of the current council has been talking about for the past eight years. Now that those members of Council have to “walk their talk” they have chosen to avoid having to stand before their constituents and be truly accountable and engaged.

The irony of all this is that two of the three; Lancaster and Sharman were members of the Shape Burlington committee.



The Shape Burlington Report.

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Follow the dots -

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

August 31stt, 2018



The rule is – you follow the money and you connect the dots.

And follow the facts:

In a statement sent to Meed Ward on behalf of Campaign Research lawyer Evan Presvelos said, “We vehemently contest your characterization of the subject statements as ‘defamatory.'”

“He also said the poll was conducted for “another market research firm, whose identity we cannot disclose due to confidentiality.”

Rendering with Qn Head on the right.

A rendering of the development Reserve Properties wants to build on the SE corner of Brant and James – across the street from city hall.

Reserve Properties has options on a number of options on Brant Street land. The development Reserve took to the Planning department for a 24 storey condominium was turned down.  Staff recommended 17 storeys.

Reserve has appealed that decision to the Land Planning Act Tribunal.

KG&A announced recently that Reserve Properties had become a new client.  An entry on the KG&A web site states:

“KG&A is an award-winning communications strategy firm.

“Over the last decade we’ve earned a reputation as one of the only in Canada specializing in the urban landscape.

“Our approach is unique. We’re research obsessed media junkies with backgrounds in journalism, digital media, brand strategy and event programming.

“And we believe that strategy should be invisible – that’s why we’re the award-winning firm you’ve never heard of.”

Sheldon Fenton

Sheldon Fenton, is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Reserve Properties

Sheldon Fenton, is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Reserve Properties. A lawyer by profession, Sheldon launched his career at a top tier Toronto law firm specializing in corporate and real estate law.

A role at CIBC followed with a deep focus on strategic financing and institutional problem-solving. It is this entrepreneurial approach to problem-solving combined with an unwavering passion for real estate development that has helped Reserve’s portfolio grow exponentially. Since it’s inception the company’s real estate activities have included more than 8,000 residences, office and retail developments, hotels and retirement communities across North America.

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Kearns calls the stuff coming out of the Transportation department is 'phony baloney'.

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

August 24th, 2018



Lisa Kearns met with her community last night – she wanted to update them on where things were with developments in the ward and talk to them about her stand on most of the problems as she sees them.
It was clear that Lisa Kearns is for development – but the right kind of development.

Kerns at public meting Aug 23

Lisa Kearns talking to participants at her public meeting and handing out her T-shirts.

She has taken the position that the Carriage Gate development on the north east corner of James and Brant is a done deal. Her concern now is how does the community handle that construction – how long will there be serious disruption to how people use the downtown core which she defines as from the Lakeshore Road north to Caroline.

Kearns told the meeting that the Burlington Downtown Business Association and the Burlington Economic Development Corporation are working together on a study to come up with ideas to keep the downtown core vibrant.

Bentley - rendering

The Bentley, nearing completion on John Street is the first of a three phase development. Above ground parking and a medical building on the north at Caroline are to follow. Kearns thinks this is a great development.

Kearns pointed to the three phase Carriage Gate development on John Street that she thinks is great. It combines a location for new community services (in this case medical) has space for commercial tenants and will have significant above ground parking. She said she understands that 27% of the units in the Bentley are to be affordable housing. That does not appear to be the understanding of the developer.

One of the small pieces of good news is that there may be a solution to what was going to be serious traffic congestion on John Street at the downtown mobility hub with at least six transit routes going into and leaving the transit station and cars from the Revenue Properties and Carriage development emptying onto the same street.

Bus roites - 1st design

All those dotted lines are but routes that swing through the downtown mobility hub. Moving the transfer station north to ancempty lot at the corner of Caroline and John is said to be in the works.

Kearns told her audience that it appeared the property at the corner of John and Caroline that is now an empty lot will be made the transfer point for people who want to change buses. That transferring is now done at the location of the transit terminal on John Street just north of Pine.

Sounds like a sensible decision – nothing from city hall on this yet.

Kearns at podium

Lisa Kearns: Talks like a ward Councillor

Kearns looks and talks like the ward Councillor. She is in constant touch with the bureaucrats and used phrases like “I will take care of you” – “I’ve already been doing that.”

Kearns believes the downtown core – from Lakeshore to Caroline – is going to lose much of its character.

She appears to be basing her campaign on a sustainability lens – everything that gets done should be done through a sustainability lens – does what we want to do add to the sustainability of the community. Her message was that we need to re-think the way we do things.

Members of the audience were able to pick up Lisa Kearns lawn signs – and advised that they cannot be put up until September 7th.

Transportation and the study that seems to be taking forever to make it to the public drew this comment from Kearns: “Phony baloney – they don’t know what they are doing.”

That’s as blunt and direct as a candidate can be.

Expect more of that from Kearns who is going to be an interesting debater during the all candidate debates taking place for each ward.

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The public meeting that failed - they forgot to engage the public.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

August 23rd, 2018



Can they get anything right?

There was to be a public meeting to get public feedback on midrise buildings.  The city’s Planning department wanted public feed back.

A Gazette reader advised us that he attended and is pretty sure he counted five people who attended who weren’t candidates for public office. There were two candidates from ward 5 and Mead Ward running for the Mayor’s job.

“I saw a notice on Twitter” said our reader, “I think 2 or 3 days ago max. I spoke to MMW tonight and she said she only found out late in the day too, and not from the City.

“There was a notice on the ‘Get Involved Burlington’ notices I get, I got an update re the survey and open houses dated on 20th – two days ago.”

Gete involved logo

The only way to get the Get Involved Notices is if you have registered previously with the city.

There is some information on the city’s web site:

As the city grows, Burlington will continue to receive applications for all sizes of developments, including mid-rise buildings.

What are mid-rise buildings?
Mid-rise buildings are bigger in scale than houses but smaller than towers and have a good relationship to the street. This means that while the walls of a mid-rise are tall enough to provide lots of usable space inside the building, they are low enough to let the sun in and open the view to the sky from the street. A well-designed and placed mid-rise building should also support a comfortable pedestrian environment and make the street come alive by lining the sidewalk with doors and windows that house things like stores, restaurants, services and community uses.

The height of mid-rise buildings varies. In Burlington, mid-rise buildings range between five and 11 storeys. Mid-rise buildings may contain a single use, like an office or residential apartment, but usually contain a mix of uses, which may include things like retail, office, community services, and residential all in the same building.

Our reader added: “It’s a bad time of year to hold this sort of meeting anyway. With great respect to the staff who gave up an evening to attend, and who were universally polite, friendly, professional and helpful, this is a fine example of everything that’s wrong with citizen engagement in this city.

“It’s simply not engagement. The presentation amounted to about 8 Bristol board panels with some limited info about possible guidelines and a few sheets of paper and a pen for suggestions.

“To be honest, there’s literally nothing a resident can provide after seeing a couple of Bristol boards that is going to amount to feedback the city can use. It’s designed to fail. All you’re left with is five citizens who gave up valuable time to try to help build a better city who probably now feel like they were at best wasting their time and at worst had their intelligence insulted.”

Any wonder that the natives are restless.

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Ward 2 candidate maintains the inability to defend its own zoning downtown is a creation of the City, not the province.

opinionred 100x100By Roland Tanner

August 14th, 2018



The residents of Ward 2 are now left hoping that one development they don’t want wins out over another they want even less.

Mayor with Reveniue Project developer

President of Reserve Properties chats up the Mayor at a public meeting reviewing the development.

Reserve Properties, the development company behind the proposed 409 Brant Street development, has filed an appeal to the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal (LPAT, formerly the OMB) seeking 24 storeys instead of the 17 storeys Council voted for at their last meeting.

The appeal comes as no surprise. Reserve Properties has repeatedly stated, initially in a response to a question I made on May 1st at the public meeting at the Lions’ Club, their justification for 24 stories is based primarily on the fact the neighbouring development was given 24 stories by vote of Council in the Fall of 2017. They made clear at Council that they did not believe 17 storeys was an ‘optimized’ intensification of the property, based on an argument derived from a single sentence in the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GPGGH).

All Council’s attempts at appeasement of developers, in the hope for some moderation and respect for the City’s new (but not yet in force) Official Plan have come to naught.

high profile 421

The city approved this development …

From Civic Square

The proponents of the development on the right want the same height as the development on the left – which the city has already approved. It isn’t quite that simple.

The developers are doing their job. While we can certainly wish for a more respectful dialogue between developers and the community, which would take into account the community’s desires, they are under no obligation to respect the residents of Ward 2. They are within their rights to appeal. It is supposed to be Council’s job, above all others, to defend and represent the interests of residents, but over the last decade they appear to have largely abrogated that responsibility.

The question is now how the newly formed LPAT interprets whether the City is meeting the provincial objectives for intensification under the GPGGH. If it can be successfully argued by the City that 17 storeys meets the objectives of the GPGGH, then the 17 storeys will be upheld.

Site - south of 421

Red square is the location of the approved project – the black one is the development that has been taken to LTAP on appeal.

Residents must now wait to see which of the two wildly unpopular options will be supported by LPAT. In one way the developer’s arguments are correct – the practical difference between a 17 storey tower and a 24 storey tower is not that great. They’re both too big for the site, and run calamitously counter to the clearly expressed desires of residents for development on Brant Street. There is no ‘good’ result to be had for citizens at LPAT with this appeal, just an official judgement on ‘bad’ or ‘worse’.

This crisis in the ability of the City to defend its own zoning downtown is a creation of the City, not the province. This development and the subsequent appeal would not be happening in downtown Oakville. The City chose to designate downtown for intensification, and the City chose to designate downtown as a Transit Hub, placing twice the number of intensification areas in Ward 2 of any other ward, and more than the whole of North Burlington.

Bus roites - 1st design

Those thin red dotted lines represent different bus routes that will transfer passengers at the downtown terminal.

This despite the fact that transit connections in downtown are far from adequate. We are now faced with being unable to control intensification because of the lack of care that was taken to protect downtown zoning within the Official Plan and zoning since the Places to Grow Act. Blaming the Province, the OMB or the LPAT is a smokescreen to hide the calamitous decisions that have been made with regard to downtown at City Hall, and the too-late, likely ineffective, attempts under the new OP to control development by re-zoning downtown in an attempt to appease developers into being more moderate in their demands.

The next Council, even if composed of Councillors far more sympathetic to moderation downtown than the current one, will be faced with a difficult struggle to undo the decisions that have been made.

The battle is just beginning for growth done right in Burlington.

Tanner croppedRoland Tanner is an historian by profession and a candidate for the ward 2 city council seat.  He was a member of the group that produced the Shape Burlington report; a document that council endorsed unanimously then forgot that it existed.

Related news story:

Why the Carriage Gate development opposite city hall was approved.

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Two strong female candidates in ward 5 are going to give the incumbent a real run for his money.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

August 9th, 2019



It was the second public information session on the proposal to upgrade the plaza in the east end of the city.

This one had even better attendance than the first.

The event was put on by MBHC Planning, the planners hired by the developer Glanelm Property Management.

Site with phases

A total of eleven structures are proposed for the site to be built in five phases.

The issue was – there is just too much – those attending didn’t want the level of intensification that was being proposed.

Wendy M on Paul in group setting

Wendy M in an exchange of views during the public presentation of architecural renderings.

The space that was used for people to look at the data and architectural renderings the planners for the developer had prepared was small. It was seldom empty.

Adding to the interest was the October election. The four candidates seeking the ward 5 city council seat and Paul Sharman the incumbent seeking to keep his seat made for some interesting dynamics.

Two very strong minded women are making life difficult for Sharman. The scope and scale of the development aren’t helping him

St James outside with bd

Ward 5 candidate Mary Alice St James stationed herself outside the office the presentations were on display. She was greeting people, getting contact information and telling her story.

Mary Alice St. James, a retired elementary school teacher and Wendy Moraghan, a retired police officer are not easily brushed aside.

The are in Paul Sharman’s face and he is struggling. There are those that say Sharman cannot be beaten – time will tell.

Wendy M up against Paul 2

Wendy Moraghan smiles and beguiles during a conversation wit ward 5 incumbent Paul Sharman

Wendy up against Paul 1

Wendy Moraghan appears to be taken aback by a comment from ward 5 incumbent Paul Sharman

For the immediate future there is an opportunity for the candidates to make political hay while the incumbent looks for every opportunity to show that he is worth keeping for a third term. With four new faces for the voters to get to know an incumbent can often slip up the middle.

The winner is going to have to come up with 2500 votes: where they come from is what the election will be about. October 22nd is going to be a long day for Paul Sharman and an exciting evening for at least two of the four new candidates.

The development is the front issue in ward 5 at this point. Once the presentations are over the development application moves forward and into the hands of the city planners.

The candidates will find new ground to work over.

South west view of existing towers

The high rise towers already in place to the south west of the plaza.

The sheer size of the development and the length of time the community will experience considerable disruption is an issue – it always is when something is changed.

The number of housing units that are proposed is more than many in the community want to see.

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Meed Ward: We are at a tipping point and at a Crossroads –and we have to work harder.

opinionviolet 100x100By Staff

August 2nd, 2018



We thought we had ended the commenting on the drop in Burlington’s MoneySense magazine ranking.

Mayoralty candidate Marianne Meed Ward put out a stinging statement on her community web site and managed to turn the remarks into a campaign statement. She is running for Mayor.

The following is from Meed Ward:

Insight & Analysis — MoneySense magazine has just released their list of Canada’s Best Places to Live for 2018, and Burlington has dropped again for the third year in a row, down to #31 overall out of a list of 415 cities across Canada.

Last year we came in at #9 overall, and in 2016 we ranked in the #2 spot.

Looking only at mid-size cities, Burlington is the sixth best “mid-sized city” in which to live in Canada, down from the number one spot.

So why the big drop?

Here’s a summary of the rankings, what’s different, and some thoughts on what we need to improve to make our community better for all residents.

rank city

Burlington 2018

What’s different:
The number of cities ranked for comparison fluctuates. The survey in 2016 had 219 cities in their ranking. That year we ranked second overall. Last year, 417 cities were ranked, and we dropped to ninth overall. A similar number of cities are ranked this year (415), but we dropped to #31.

There have also been some changes to the category components and weightings versus previous years, making it hard to do a pure “apples to apples” comparison with our previous years’ results.

Median wait times for medical procedures is now in the mix, for example.

The method for tracking population growth has changed, so cities earn more points the faster they are growing, versus the former method of counting a city’s growth rate related to the national average. However growth is ranked 8 out of 10 in importance and weighting, with other factors like wealth, affordability, health care and weather still considered more important.

MoneySense considers population growth an advantage, as it assumes that if more people want to live in a city, it’s a positive reflection on that location overall.

However, they included an important caveat that growth must be properly managed.

Stated MoneySense: “While it’s true fast-growing cities can face challenges, we believe those difficulties can be absorbed and addressed if local leaders are effective….If the municipality is doing a bad job of handling that growth, it’s likely to be reflected in other areas of the ranking.”

Criteria and weighting
There are 10 categories the rankings consider. They are listed below in the order that they have the most weight and therefore importance (according to MoneySense):

Wealth & Economy (including employment rate & average household income)
Affordability (of housing/rental units)
Access to health care (# of doctors, specialists, and procedure wait-times)
Weather (less rain = better)
Commute (more points for the % of people who walk, bike or take transit to work)
Crime (the lower the crime rate, the better)
Taxes (including provincial sales tax and property tax)
Population growth (growth is good – if managed properly)
Culture (% of people working in arts, culture & recreation + engagement in community)
Amenities (restaurants, bars, and reasonable access to theatres, airports & universities)

We need to do better
Changes to the criteria aside, it’s hard to argue that we have taken a big hit in our ranking. Our city, including our current mayor, has often referred to this ranking as a source of pride over the years, whether to attract new businesses or encourage new residents and festivals to come here.

While we are all still very proud of the wonderful city we live in, it’s worth taking stock of what pushed us out of the top 10 all the way to #31 this year, and think about what we could do better. We want to move in a direction that gets us back where we belong.

My Take and My Plan to make Burlington better
Ranking lists are limited in value by what they measure and the weight given to each. However, when we trumpet that we’re Canada’s best mid-sized city, it can create complacency where we rest on our laurels and take things for granted, instead of driving to improve the quality of life for all our residents.

We’re clearly at a tipping point with this sudden drop, and instead of making excuses, we need to take positive action to ensure we’re focused on the things that are important to making our city thrive.

With the recent decisions by the current mayor and council approving overdevelopment, we’re headed for congestion, lack of housing affordability and lost greenspace.

We’re at a crossroads, and we now have to work harder to protect the city we love.


There are over-developments proposed or approved across the city. Meed Ward believes the Lakeshore Road development in the east end is one of them.

Our top priority must be managing our growth better, avoiding the over-intensification of recent decisions by this mayor and council, for example the 18 storey building across from City Hall, and up to 30 more high-rises downtown in the new Official Plan. There are over-developments proposed or approved across the city, from townhouses at 2100 Brant St., Dynes Road, and Georgina Court, to high-rises in Alton, at Appleby Mall, Lakeside Plaza and Plains Road. Residents support scaled back projects, but we’re getting over-development.

You want a voice in shaping development in our city, but residents have been tuned out and ignored as NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard) who just don’t understand planning.

We have to get growth right, which includes amending the new Official Plan to scale back over intensification, and sticking closely to the existing Official Plan with new applications.

We also must ensure that as we grow and change, we retain our small-town feel, community character and quality of life, not detract from it. That means we protect and enhance our community amenities, like parks, community centres, and seniors programming; protect and add trees, trails and green space; improve traffic flow and light synchronization with emerging technologies; protect and add to rental housing; use planning tools to add affordable housing, and make job attraction a priority to reduce commute times and allow more of our residents to work in Burlington.

SSPK looking east Pier bkgrnd

Meed Wards wants to keep the small town open space feel the city has going for it.

Read more about my plans for managing Burlington’s growth in a responsible way, for protecting the character of our neighborhoods and downtown, for making it easier to do business here, for improving the effectiveness of City Hall, for restoring respect for residents, and for ensuring we have the amenities and greenspace we need for our young people, seniors and families to thrive and live healthy lives.

Visit my website and explore my vision, my plan, and how you can get involved: mariannemeedward.ca.

We know Burlington is one of Canada’s Best Places to Live. Let’s get the leadership we need to put us back on top where we belong. Vote for change on October 22nd, for the mayor who will put residents first.

No word from Mike Wallace, Rick Goldring or Greg Woodruff on the change in the MoneySense magazine ranking.

The Gazette has always seen the ranking as a readership promotion campaign on behalf of the magazine that has a circulation in excess of 110,000

Former Mayor Cam Jackson took the things seriously. He didn’t like the way Burlington was lumped in with Hamilton, talked to the magazine’s editors and out of that came a Burlington specific ranking that city hall fell in love with.

That romance seems to have come to an end.

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Muir doesn't like the proposal for the east end of the city; not that many people in the community want to see quite this much density.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

July 31st, 2018



Development proposals are flooding the city hall planning department.

Much of the public focus has been on proposals for developments in the downtown core. There are others.

The Lakeshore Village Plaza proposal for the east end of the city – yards away from the border with the Town of Oakville, was a bit of an eye popper for the many people that attended the first public viewing of what the developer has in mind.

July 18th crowd

Decent crowd for the first public event – another viewing will take place August 8th: 2:00 to 4:00 pm and 7:00 to 9:00 pm.

The proposal is to basically tear down everything on the site and put in three levels of underground parking and put up a total of 11 buildings on the site – the heights range form a single storey to one building that will reach 18 storeys into the sky. That one building will not be the only tower in the area.

There are several towers on the south side of Lakeshore overlooking the lake that are in the 15+ storey range.

Should the development proceed there will be a considerable amount of disruption during the building phases.

The Gazette asked the developers planners, MHBC – MacNaughton, Hermsen, Britton, Clarkson Planning Ltd., if there was a time line for the 5353 Lakeshore Road project. We wanted to know if there are dates attached to the start and finish of each phase? There are five phases. This community is looking at 7 years of disruption after which the community will never be the same.

Mayor Goldring promised the public that less than 5% of the city would be subject to intensification. The people in the east end are beginning to feel like that 5% is in their community.

Their answer to our question was: “Currently there is no set time line for the construction. There is a phasing plan included in the submission materials which was developed based on the site’s context and consideration for existing tenants. The goal of the owner is to ensure tenants who wish to remain can be relocated to the new portions of the site to minimize disruption, maintain existing tenant parking, build new underground parking and accommodate the various engineering and technical requirements for demolition and construction – all while trying to minimize construction times and impacts from construction to the community.

“We have estimated that each phase could take between a year and 18 months to construct with some overlap of phases. It is also highly depended on changing market factors which could be very different in 3 years.”

The development of the 3.84 hectare site is to include 900 residential units, 11.955 square metres of retail space and 2700 square metres of office space. There will be 200 parking spaces on the surface with three levels of underground parking.

Application time line

In order to build a development of this size applications have to be made for both Official Plan amendments and zoning amendments.

This project comes under the existing Official Plan – not the plan that city council approved (but could not pass until it has been passed by the Regional government. In the event that the city decides it doesn’t like the size of the proposal and staff decide not to recommend it – the developer will have the right to take the proposal to the Ontario Municipal Board – where Burlington doesn’t usually do all that well.

The Gazette pointed to a sentence in the Justification report prepared by MHBC that said: “The proposal is in conformity with the general direction of the proposed intensification framework set out in the draft city of Burlington Official Plan dated April 2018.

We followed that up the question: “How out of conformity is the proposal?”

MHBC said: “The proposal is not out of conformity with the new draft Official Plan but would require an amendment to consider the tall buildings. While we are not subject to the new Official Plan since the new Official Plan is a reflection of Council’s approved direction and it contemplates such an amendment, we believe with such an amendment, the current proposal would conform and the proposal also conforms to the overall general direction.”

That viewpoint has not been tested before city council. The city council that is elected in October will have at least three new members, perhaps a new Mayor as well.

With 37 people going after the 7 council seats in October you know that a desire for change is in the wind. The Lakeshore Village Plaza will come before a much different council in the Spring of 2019. .

Tom Muir, an Aldershot resident who has been following development applications at city hall for several decades, claims that the development is not in compliance “with any Official Plan (OP)

Muir with pen in hand

Tom Muir doesn’t like the idea of any amendments – even if they are to an Official Plan that will not apply at some point in 2019.

He adds that the “ application is not in compliance with the OP Residential Medium Density designation, and not in compliance with the zoning and bylaws that state the permitted heights, density, FAR, massing, compatibility, parking, amenity area, and any and all of the permissions needed to make this development fit what the application is asking for.

“The developer can ask for anything they want; if you are looking for reasons why you see a proposal that is so diametrically opposed and contradictory to residents’ perspectives, and demanding of such OP and zoning bylaw amendments needed to get it, look no further than the recent track record and performance of City Planning and Council.

Muir adds that he “can’t even guess what the planners might make of this application.

“The planners and city council can always stick to their guns and enforce the OP density designations, they publicly stated they would, show everyone publicly their informative consideration of the adopted but not in force OP, give serious and explained consideration of the neighborhood views and compatibility issues expressed several times, and do the right thing.”

“This is not Downtown, and not a Go Station” said Muir, “ so no excuses.”

MHBC say that: “While we are not subject to the new Official Plan since the new Official Plan is a reflection of Council’s approved direction and it contemplates such an amendment, we believe with such an amendment, the current proposal would conform and the proposal also conforms to the overall general direction.

Muir, who has been described as acerbic said: “This is what I mean about planners not enforcing any OP, existing or adopted. What they want is any expanded OP permissions for anything they can want, and they just say the words, mixing in amendments needed, however they want.”

He adds that it is “BS on purpose”.

This one will get to the new city council, along with a Staff Report – it might be the first development application that tests them.

There will be a second viewing of the plans and an opportunity to bend the ear of candidates running for the ward 5 seat and ask questions of the developers planners.  There will not be any city staff at the event.

Afternoon from2 to 4 pm; evening from 7 to 9 pm on the site a few dorrs to the west of the supermarket.

What is the development going to look like when it is completed and how will it fit in with what is already in place?

Here is what the developer is showing the public.

Kenwood elevation

Rendering of the view from the western side of the site.

Hampton Heath elevation

Rendering of the view from the eastern side of the site.

Lakeshore road elevation

Rendering of the view from Lakeshore Road

Previous articles on this development

Part one of a series on the Lakeshore Village Development plans

Part two of a series on the Lakeshore Village Plaza redevelopment plans.

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A development that is much bigger than anyone expected - but it meets all the rules and for the most part complies with the Official Plan in place now.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

July 25th, 2018


Part two of a two part article on a proposed development in the east end of Burlington,

When the plans for the re-development of the Lakeside Village Plaza were shown to the public last week it wasn’t what many people thought they were going to see.

The presentation had large posters showing what would go where.

Two of the three candidates running for the ward 5 city council seat were in the room; Councillor Sharman worked one end of the room while retired school principal Mary Alice St. James worked the other end.

Sharman - hand raised

Councillor Paul Sharman explaining the development.

Councillor Sharman has been working to get some development of the site since his first year as a city Councillor – few thought that this was what Sharman had planned for the community.

St. James has made it clear that she doesn’t like the height and she isn’t pleased with the length of time it will take to complete the project. This could be as much as a decade – great for sidewalk superintendents but not what those who want a “peaceable Kingdom”.

If approved by city council the site will consist of nine buildings and underground parking with some of the structures reaching 19 storeys into the sky.

The proposed development V a

Nine buildings will be on the site – they range froma single story to 19 storeys.

The Plan has five phases that will take years to be completed.

The information before the public at this point comes from a Justification report prepared by professional planners who were hired by the developer, Glanelm Property Management.
The city’s role up to this point is to ensure that all the required reports are received and the required fees are paid. Glenelm has paid the city $235,052.50 and the Region $9,184.72.

Dana Anderson

Dana Anderson – planning consultant for the developer.

At this point data and information is coming from the developers planner. Residents haven’t had a chance to hear what the city has to say. The ward Councillor is in love with this project – it is something he had been pushing almost from the first day he was elected.

Ward 5 candidate Mary Alice St. James said: “The Lakeside Plaza is an example of why I put my name forward as a candidate as Ward 5 Councillor. Throughout Ward 5 there are intensification proposals for Lakeside Plaza, Appleby Village, on vacant land ripe for development and in the south end of Ward 5 where older homes are being swooped up to be over-intensified, over-massed.

Mary Alice - speaking

Mary Alice St. James – pulling in the votes.

1- Lakeside Plaza is a tired plaza that requires a much needed, as soon as possible update.
2- This first draft is too high, too dense with too many buildings with too big a span, all of which is too close to the abutting streets and current residents.
3- The City of Burlington needs to oppose this first draft.

The developers Justification report talks in terms of “taking into account efficient sequencing of site servicing, ensuring adequate access and parking is provided for uses that operate during the redevelopment process and facilitating the relocation of existing tenants to new portions of the site with minimal disruption to business operations.”

Phase 1 includes the demolition of the north-west corner of the existing plaza structure and the construction of a 6 storey residential structure with 3 levels of underground parking (Block B) facing Kenwood Avenue. Access Lane A will also be constructed at this time which will provide shared access to the Subject Lands and Skyway Arena. A second access will be introduced on Kenwood Avenue along with the associated Access Lane B which, through future phases, will connect to corresponding driveway access on Hampton Heath Road.

Layout - pedestrian

Where the buildings are to be located with parking and green space at the ground level

Phase 2 will see the demolition of the remainder to the west wing of the plaza and the construction of a 1 storey commercial podium facing Lakeshore Road with two residential tower elements on top with 13 (Block E) and 13 (Block F) storey heights. A 5 storey residential structure will link the two towers, the top of which will correspond with a further building step back on both tower elements. A 1 storey restaurant building (Block A) will be attached to the podium building facing Kenwood Avenue. Access Lane B will be extended to the middle of the Subject Lands.

Existing Access Lane D which provides access to Lakeshore Road will be improved with sidewalks and landscaping. The parking area north of Block E and F will be reconfigured and improved with landscaping and sidewalks.

Phase 3 will see the demolition of the eastern portion of the commercial plaza. The 1 storey grocery store will be redeveloped with an attached 4 storey retail and office building. A landscaped public amenity area will be created in front of Block I. The surface parking area in front of Block I and the grocery store will be reconfigured, providing landscaping and sidewalks. The service lane at the rear of the property will also be improved at this time.
That grocery store redevelopment – where will people shop while that is being done?

Hampton Heath

The view of the development from Hampton Heath looking west.

Phase 4 will see the removal of the remaining central portion of the commercial plaza and the construction of a 1 storey commercial podium with two residential tower elements (Blocks C and D), both 10 storeys in height. The two tower elements will be linked by a 3 storey residential structure, the top of which will correspond with a further building step back on both tower elements. The parking area in front of the blocks will also be reconfigured, landscaped and improved with sidewalks. A public amenity area will be constructed in front of Block D and a pedestrian only mews created between Blocks D and I. Access Lane A will also be extended up to the mews.

Phase 5 will replace an existing surface parking area with a 1 storey commercial podium facing Lakeshore Road with two residential tower elements on top with 17 (Block G) and 9 (Block H) storey heights. A 5 storey residential structure will link the two towers, the top of which will correspond with a further building step back on both tower elements. A landscaped pedestrian path into the Subject Lands will be provided between Block H and the abutting Scotiabank property.

Lakeshore elevation

This is what the development will look like when completed. All the buildings front onto Lakeshore Road.

The proposed redevelopment will see the phased implementation of a 3 storey underground parking garage for all portions of the Subject Lands where new buildings are proposed. The garage will be constructed as the corresponding above grade portion of each phase is constructed.

The proposed redevelopment has carefully considered these guiding principles in its design. The redevelopment is an efficient use of land through intensification at an appropriate location in the City and advances the Province’s growth objectives while balancing other objectives of the OP. The redevelopment will also be appropriately phased to ensure these principles are continued to be addressed in the implementation of the development.

The proposed redevelopment conforms to the City’s policy direction for land use by providing for a redevelopment on an under-utilized site in an existing neighbourhood. The redevelopment provides for a mix of housing and also maintains the planned function for the existing commercial centre.

Kenwood elevation

The view of the development from Kenwood looking east.

The Official Plan seeks to achieve a number of goals for new development with respect to urban design including compatibility with existing neighbourhoods while promoting higher densities and compact built form. The buildings are proposed to be located on the site in such a way as to provide a gradation in height and density. The highest buildings (at 18 storeys) are located along Lakeshore Road, a Minor Arterial road, opposite apartment buildings ranging in height from 5 to 19 storeys.

The building heights in the proposed development decrease moving away from Lakeshore Road. A 14 storey building is proposed along Kenwood Avenue opposite the existing Husky Gas station and commercial plaza.

A 6 storey building is proposed further north along Kenwood Avenue, opposite which are two storey townhouses. Two 11 storey buildings are proposed abutting the northerly lot line which abuts the park. These buildings will face the existing Skyway Arena and Park. The existing one storey grocery store will remain at its current location with a 4 storey addition along its westerly fa ade to provide for additional retail and office units. The distribution of heights and densities allows the proposed development to fit into the existing urban fabric and provides appropriate transition to minimize impacts on the surrounding residential land uses.

The Subject Lands are just under 4 ha and represent a significantly large redevelopment area which allows for a distribution of heights throughout the site. Given that the one storey height is being maintained for the grocery store and restaurant in Block A, it is appropriate to transfer what could have been 11 storeys in height on that Block to additional storeys on the buildings along Lakeshore Road (where taller buildings are more context-appropriate given the arterial road frontage and existing taller buildings to the south).


There are a number of hoops that every development application has to go through. The developers planners spend a lot of time making sure that they comply as much as possible –and where their compliance is a little on the short side – the find a justification for a change in the zoning.

The proposal is consistent with Provincial Policy Statement 2014 (but not with 2017)

The proposal conforms to the Growth Plan, 2017

The proposal conforms to the Halton Regional Official Plan, 2015 and the inforce city of Burlington Official Plan, except those sections proposed to be amended.

The proposal is in conformity with the general direction of the proposed intensification framework set out in the draft city of Burlington Official Plan dates April 2018.

They don’t say they are in conformity – they say they are in conformity with the “general direction”.

Doubtful male

Not convinced yet.

The proposal can be adequately serviced and does not create any adverse impacts to the existing site and surrounding areas.

The proposal is well served by existing community infrastructure including public transit, bike lanes, parks, schools, places of worship and an arena

The proposal enhances the pedestrian environment within the site and along the exterior street frontages and along the exterior street frontages.

The proposal is in keeping with the character of the neighbourhood, provides an opportunity for intensification within the Built Up Area, preserves and upholds the overall urban structure as set out in the in-force OP and would implement the proposed urban structure set out in the Officasl Plan Review.

Careful here – the Justification report appears to want it both way – the development upholds what is required by the existing OP and would implement what was in the draft OP that has yet to be approved and will not apply to this development.

In the notes taken when the public met in a visioning session in 2015, the vast majority of the comment talked in terms of three, four and maybe six storey buildings. There was one mention of high density towers (25 storeys),

This development is for the most part legal – they can do what they want to do.

Related new stories:

The early concept.

Return to the Front page

Massive changes proposed to a plaza in the east end that has certainly seen better days.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

July 23, 2018


Part one of a two part article on a proposed development in the east end of Burlington,

The redevelopment of the Lakeside Plaza Village has a long history. It goes back to the first term of ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman, who at the time was doing everything he could to get something happening to a plaza that was run down at best and not getting any better.

Its heyday was more than two decades ago,


Forlorn looking Skyway Plaza – looking for someone to save the place – but the owners seemed content to leave it as it is.

The owner of the property wasn’t interested in doing very much with it. Sharman was having the devil of a time just to get into the office of the people that owned the development.

It was frustrating and disappointing. He had some strong ideas on what could be done – but nothing was happening.

At one point a former city manager, Jeff Fielding told Sharman that the city could get interested in rolling the Skyway arena that was behind the plaza, into a possible bigger development. “All I need” said Fielding at the time “is a Staff Direction.”

Fielding got his Staff Direction.

Direct the Director of Planning and Building and request the Executive Director of the Burlington Economic Development Corporation as follows:

Prepare a series of re-development options for the site based on intensive mixed use re-development and approach the owners of the property with the redevelopment plans; and

Investigate and report on the authority available to permit the use of incentives for re-developing the site, and

Provide an estimate of the resources needed to prepare and implement a Community Improvement Plan.

It didn’t take long to get things moving.


The room was packed -it was one of the few Standing Room only meetings that the Gazette has covered. This community was fully engaged.

What we saw next was a very impressive community meeting that had the owner of the property in the room along with the planning consultant and the architect.


City staff were on hand to listen to what the residents had to say.

Participants were asked to talk about what they wanted to see happen.


Many months later architect Cynthia Zahoruck released some drawings that showed the Skyway Arena blended into the plaza development and also tied to Burloak Park that was scheduled for a major upgrade.  Zahoruk’s work was impressive.

The Skyway Plaza, as it was known to many, was an east end commercial location that was as close to a suburban slum as Burlington is going to see, had suddenly become headline news – especially in ward 5.

There is a basement bowling alley that hasn’t been used in years. There was once a Swiss Chalet outlet. However the demographics of the community began to change and the plaza began to lose some of its retailers. No parking problems at this location.


The first early stage design concepts included the city owned park and ice rink in the design. The thinking in the early stages was that the park north of the development and the park south of the development could be tied together. That idea seems to have been lost.


There were a lot of trees in the early concept designs.

At the time the Economic Development Corporation was going through a leadership change – Frank McKeown was brought in as the new Executive Director; he had previously been the Mayor’s Chief of Staff.

The owners of the property now saw an opportunity to do something significant with the plaza. Last week they held the first of the public presentations on what they had in mind.

It was radically different than anything anyone expected.

The proposed development V a

The proposed development.

More tomorrow on just what the proposed development will mean and the kind of opposition that is developing and how the developer justifies this level of intensification.

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Greg Woodruff: 'How do we get back to a good policy that respects the wishes of people who live here now?'

opinionred 100x100By Greg Woodruff

July 20, 2018



People in Burlington are going to have to decide if they are seriously interested in changing the current direction of this city or not. Are we just going to express anger or change the direction of the city? A Burlington filled with 11 story buildings is not practically different than 17 story or 23 stories. From the base of these buildings in the tight “trenches” that emerge you are not going to have any idea how high the buildings are. The lower heights are preferable, but they don’t make the city fundamentally different.

Many candidates are selling nothing substantial in the way of change. Slightly-less high does not represent a different destination for the city.

The policy of hi-rises everywhere is entrenched in the new official plan with the Region. It’s not amendable by Burlington City Council while it is with Halton Region (I checked). And it can also be approved by the Region with no further input from us (again I checked). The next Council will almost certainly inherit it as an in-force document along with 421 Brant and 409 Brant in an approved state at 18 stories. 421 is totally approved at 23 stories with all appeals expired. Unless the would-be Councilor has mastered mind control or time travel we need policies that affect a drastic change of course.

high profile 421

Brant and James – a done deal.


Lakeshore and Martha -under an Administrative Review.

Jeweller after

409 Brant – approved at 17 – expected to go to LPAT

I do not like this direction. I’ve opposed it on multiple fronts and have for five years plus. However, I wish the plan to oppose it to be based in reality. Complaining about buildings one by one is useless. Modifying the buildings by some number of floors is does not take us to a different place. Vilifying the existing council as “out of touch” accomplishes nothing. What is the actual practical plan to change this direction? Just electing different people to the council will not do it, because the direction will be firmly entrenched. What rules need changing and how?

Bridgewater CROPPED

Bridgewater and Lakeshore and Elizabeth

Brant lakeshore - Molinaro b

Lakeshore and Brant – just a concept at this point.

We can not have would be Councillors going around and saying “People in Burlington are all for intensification, but this specific building is too much.” “I don’t like this” is not an operational policy. “We don’t want over-development” is not an operation policy. “I love Burlington” is not an operational policy. The Council makes policy. What exactly is the policy you propose?

With no plan of action, all we will get from the next Council is what we are getting now; “You think this building is bad, you should have seen it before.” The candidates are just taking “over-development” and making it “slightly-less overdeveloped.” Things that are “less bad” are not “good.” Taking a terrible direction and making it less terrible is nothing I’m excited about. Official-Plan-Binder_Image

What this all comes down to is the next Council willing to modify the heights in the New Official Plan down and how much. This is going to be an unbelievably hard slog – with multiple groups bitterly against this. It’s going to require the Region and Province to play along.

I don’t see how this is possible unless local candidates win on a mandate. You need to scare politicians at the Regional and Halton level that voter reaction on this issue is so great that it’s “tough political moves” or “extinction” at the ballot box. Nothing else will change the direction of development in Burlington.

People in Burlington are angry – you should be. But don’t let candidates ride that anger. It’s not going to get us to a policy that changes the direction of the city. All it will get is a new crop of faces making excuses. As it turns out; the municipality does operate under restrictions set out by the Province. You have to strategically work the framework, which will not respond to protests of love or anger.

“This building is too much” is not a mandate, policy or anything that helps. Neither is demonizing the existing Councilors. Ask your candidates “What exactly is the policy you propose?” If they don’t know now, don’t expect them to have any idea of what to do later.

Greg Woodruff

Greg Woodruff

Greg Woodruff is an Aldershot resident who is running for the Office of Mayor.  He has in the past run for the office of Chair of the Region of Halton.  Professionally Woodruff toils in the world of information technology.

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Michael Jones: This can be taken as a rant of sorts, it is frustrating and heart breaking to see the direction this downtown is going.

opinionred 100x100By Michael Jones

July 20th, 2018



The current City Council has managed to isolate and frustrate the people of Burlington like no other group I have encountered. Unless it is a feel-good moment of a ceremony they continue to leave us disappointed. I really try to find the positive’s, but this group leaves us arm folded and shaking our collective heads. (and told to be quiet) The decisions this group has made are full of contradictory statements and lack foresight.

Burlington has had relatively large community protest groups in the past. The Save our Waterfront group had more than 1000 members - did it achieve anything other than getting its founder elected to city hall? Here one of the masters of public involvement, former Toronto Mayor David Crombie talks with current SOW presisdent.

Michael Jones in conversation with former Toronto Mayor David Crombie who was speaking to the now defunct Waterfront Advisory Committee. At the time Jones was president of Save our Waterfront, a group that at one point had more than 1000 members.

I delegated at the council meeting against the 421-431 Brant Street development. I decided to abstain from delegating on July 10th and July 17th against the 409 Brant as a candidate for Ward 2 but attended as a member of the community. Delegating to Council is like talking to a brick wall that refuses to listen to logic, real statistics and the desire of the people of Burlington. I was in the council chambers listening to each of the councilors “logic” on why they voted the way they did. In a time when facts are forever doubted this group has not done their job in providing the facts we deserve. They also spoke down and minimized the thoughts of the knowledgeable people that did delegate.

The Council seems confused in their own direction when a decision was to be made. They were asking questions that I would think would be asked well in advance of such an important day that impacts the City forever.

• Can we get a third party traffic study? was asked by Council to City Staff as the traffic study completed is widely believed not to address all the developments combined. They then proceeded to vote on buildings that will increase traffic in an area that already faces gridlock without a proper traffic study already being done.

• City staff was asked, “Can we have a pause to re consider or delay the building developments?” They are asking this the day of the vote! Try asking that of a boss or professor, the day of the exam. Didn’t work then doesn’t work now. If in doubt how can they move forward confidently. Go BOLD they say. A Bold decision would be to stand with the people.

After discussions with people across the city many weren’t aware this Council meeting was taking place or the importance of it:


The price ranges for the Nautique are all over the map. They advertise the top ten floors as having units that go for $1 million

• Paul Sharman gave us a history lesson on where he has lived over the course of his life. He proceeded to give us false numbers on the upper 1 % of wage earners throughout downtown. I for one are far from the 1 % neither are my surrounding neighbours. He stated these buildings will provide affordable housing, he was unable to back these figures up as the condominiums have not even been advertised for sale. For example, the ADI development at Lakeshore and Martha originally had a sign stating condo’s for $250 000.00, this has now been changed to $800 000.00. The sign has so many new increase price tag layers, it may fall over. Not so affordable Councilor Sharman.

• Mayor Goldring had asked City Staff in detail about taking a “Pause” on this development and further developments. He then proceeded to Vote for the development, if you are wanting a moment of clarity normally people don’t dive in.

• Lancaster gave us a firsthand example of her business losing money because of the building of the Performing Arts Centre and moving from the downtown core. She flippantly suggests business’s need to come and go as she has done with her business. What kind of message are we sending to hard working people often investing their life savings on a dream of succeeding in the downtown. Lancaster and Craven seem to believe Kelly’s Bake Shop will set up somewhere else in Burlington. This is far from guaranteed and why would she? My coworkers in my Mississauga office drive from Toronto and Mississauga for her quality bake good. I for one will miss my New Year’s Tradition of Blossom City Chinese Food.

• Taylor leaned on Rick Craven like a crutch clinging to the Places to Grow Act, without providing facts or numbers. The original Official Plan met the numbers for intensification. The City won’t get a special certificate from the Province of Ontario for creating a skyline mirroring that of Toronto across the lake.

Rendering with Bake Shop

The building that houses Kelly’s Bake Shoppe is shown in the lower right corner. The structure may remain – but there is no guarantee that the Bake Shoppe will be inside whatever is kept to show that the city actually has some heritage.

• Jack Dennison did not support the motion for 409 Brant St, but his vision does not bode well for downtown, he detailed his vision on this property of a 14 storey building with escalators. This has been tried before at both Upper Canada Place 460 Brant Street and 760 Brant Street. Neither of these locations offer an inviting street level and have had limited success in occupancy over the years and none to the longevity of Blossom City Chinese Food and the success of Kelly’s Bake Shoppe.

• The ongoing Craven vs Meed Ward opposing views, I do support healthy debate and opposite viewpoints but all decisions need to be based on facts. Marianne Meed Ward presented a detailed list of reasons why this building does not need to be built and were presented in a logical manner. Craven could only raise his voice stating “it is the Law”, this does not provide the citizens the true details on this development excessive goals.

After sitting frustrated through many Council meetings, we need something greater than a “Pause” button, we need to press “Stop”.

Jack Dennison asked Kelly of Kelly’s Bake Shop .”how do you do so well at marketing and communication?” I hope the City Staff listened to her answer. “Passion and love, not schooling just love of what she is doing” Communication is a 2-way street and as a candidate for Ward 2, this is what I believe needs to be changed at City Hall. The people have shown and voiced their love and passion for the City and this Council turned its back on what is important to the citizens.

Hopefully this October our new Council can serve the people of Burlington as they deserve, we have invested our money and our families in this City. Burlington Citizens need to feel their voice is heard, all the good hard working, educated and prepared people who delegated were not listened to. This opinion piece can be taken as a rant of sorts, but it is frustrating and heart breaking to see the direction this downtown is going.

Michael Jones is a downtown resident and a candidate for the ward 2 city council seat

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Mayor's campaign manager clarifies the highlighted statement in the second version of a Newsletter - sort of.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

July 19th, 2018



David Vandenburg contacted the Gazette to clarify why a second version of the mayor’s newsletter went out earlier this week.

The Mayor said, according to his campaign manager, that the downtown Councillor contacted the Mayor’s Office with the request for correction, which he then provided. Apparently the Mayor “didn’t want to mislead readers by not highlighting the part that was corrected.”


David Vandenburg announcing that he is going to manage Mayor Goldring’s re-election campaign.

Vandenburg added that as the “lead representative of council, any Mayor should keep residents informed on votes and what other Councillors were looking for, it wasn’t a political shot. Which is why the Mayor referred to Councillor Dennison’s wishes for the site as well.

“It was a minor error in the first one that was simply requested to be changed by a colleague, which was done and highlighted.”

Vandenberg said he was “clarifying the reason why the part was highlighted in the second version was because the first newsletter went out only saying MMW put forward a motion for 11 stories. She asked for it to be changed to 3-11 stories, which the Mayor did and highlighted it so readers understood the correction in the newsletter.

“MMW asked for the change and he did it for her and to clarify to the public, not a shot at her. She asked for the change.”

I’m confused.

Here are the two version of the paragraph in the Newsletter:

Unhighlighted comment

The paragraph as it appeared in the first version of the newsletter on the Tuesday.

Highlighted comment RG

The second version of the paragraph as it appeared in the second version. All the Mayor had to do was say that he was asked the make a correction. Now we know. Awkward!


It all comes across as a little confusing – kind of like the New Street Road Diet. Do it right the first time and don’t slip and slide explaining something that was pretty simple.

Why couldn’t the Mayor have said something like: I was asked to make the following correction by the ward Councillor – then make the correction.

Salt with Pepper is an opinion column reflecting the thoughts, opinions, observations and musing of the Gazette publisher.

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A strong contender and a controversial incumbent going after the ward 5 seat. This will be a race to watch.

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

July 19th, 2018



The citizens of ward 5 are going to be given a chance to choose between three candidates. The Gazette has not been able to reach Xin Yi Zhang for this article.  We will follow up on that.

Sharman July 2016

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman is running for re-election in October.

The incumbent Paul Sharman is going to have to adjust his sails if he is to catch enough wind to keep his seat and defeat newcomer Mary Alice St. James, the third candidate for the ward seat.

St. James is a retired school principal who taught at the Pinedale school in the ward and retired as principal from Pauline Johnson elementary school xx the ward.

St James does not actually live in the ward – her home is a couple of football lengths to the east of the ward. Other than that, and it isn’t that big a problem, Mayor Goldring didn’t live in the ward when he represented it, there isn’t much to complain about.

Site with phases

It is a very big redevelopment that seems to have tried to stuff something into every square foot of space.

She is a passionate defender of the community she lives in – doesn’t like what some of the builders are doing in her community and if what we heard at the Lakeside Village Plaza development presentation – she isn’t too keen on the height that is being proposed.

What St. James has going for her is a certain relentlessness – she just doesn’t quit.

St James talking to seniors

On bended knee – Ward 5 city council candidate Mary Alice St.James talks to residents about the re-development plans for the Lakeside Village Plaza.

She recently turned 60 and bought a scooter and a helmet to get out and meet people. A group of people who were waiting outside a storefront at the Lakeside Village Plaza to look at a presentation of the planned redevelopment of the plaza were quite taken with St. James. She is social- able, affable and writes down everything she hears.

She listens intently, asks questions and probes. There is that school principal demeanour about her – you answer the questions she asks.

While talking to one senior who seemed to be looking for something to do – St James asked if she walked very much – she did – good said St James I’ll walk with you.

Sharman looking down at male

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman, running for re-election listen to a resident talking about the redevelopment of the Lakeside Village Plaza.

For many St James will be a different experience than what incumbent Paul Sharman has delivered.

He is described as being condescending and leaves people feeling that they don’t really know very much. He too was working the room at which the Plaza re-development plans were being shown. He was at one end – St James at the other.

But they will be passing each other frequently. When these two debate – that will be something to watch.


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