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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Mayor explains his vote for the 17+ storey structure a developer wants to build opposite city hall.

News 100 blueBy Staff

July 19th, 2018



Tuck this away – you might want to pull it out when the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal  (LPAT) hears an appeal of the city council decision to accept the staff proposal for the 409 Brant development where Reserve Properties asked for 23 stories and the city said 17 + amenities on an 18th floor was preferred.

In his report to the public the Mayor had this to say about his vote to accept the Staff recommendation.

Last night, Burlington City Council held our last meeting before heading into a summer break from formal meetings.

409 Brant site from the air

A superb view of what the part of Brant Street south of James looks like today. Five years from now it might be a very different view.

There has been a great deal of interest about a proposed development at the south-east corner of Brant and James, 409 Brant Street, that contains a number of buildings, including the current location of Kelly’s Bake Shoppe.

I believe many vital facts need to be shared as part of the overall discussion on this issue.

• The owner of the property has applied to the city for Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw amendments to allow a 23 storey building plus an extra storey for rooftop amenities.

• The City of Burlington planning staff are not supportive of this application and have brought forward a modified approval of a 17 storey building that would feature significant public benefits including much wider sidewalks and public space at the intersection of Brant and James.

• Included in the recommendation is preserving the heritage look of Kelly’s Bake Shoppe as well as the Watchmaker shop on John Street, and a significant increase in retail space compared to what the developer brought forward. This retail space would be appropriate for any businesses interested in locating in downtown Burlington.

Mayor with Reveniue Project developer

Mayor Rick Goldring in conversation with the president of Reserve Properties.

• While the new Official Plan policies are only informative, they are important in that they provide Council’s vision for development with new growth framework which affects the downtown. In the staff report on pages 25-33 there is considerable analysis using the adopted Official Plan that supports the modified approval for 17 storeys (plus a storey for rooftop amenity space).

• This recommendation is in sync with the newly adopted Official Plan and would be easily defensible if the developer appealed the council decision to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) and continued to push for the 23 storeys they applied for originally.

• If council approved the motion that Councillor Meed Ward brought forward for 11 storeys there is no guarantee that Kelly’s would be part of the redevelopment, and if the developer appealed this decision, there would be a good chance that the council decision could be overturned as there would be no clear rationale for the decision. Meaning, LPAT could side with the developer and approve their proposal of 23 storeys.

• Many have expressed concern about the impact of this development on Kelly’s Bake Shoppe. Kelly’s is in a leased building, and the rights for this property clearly rest with the owner, and if the owner wants to redevelop the site, it is their right to bring forward a development application, which they have. Kelly and the owner should honour the terms of Kelly’s lease. If the owner wants to end the contract early, Kelly’s needs to be treated fairly as stated in the lease, and that is the business between Kelly’s and the property owner.

• Council has asked city staff to work with Kelly’s to assist with finding a temporary location while the development is under construction if Kelly’s decides to move into the new development. Staff will assist in finding Kelly’s a new location in Burlington if that is the direction Kelly’s would like to take.

• At the November 1st Planning and Development Committee meeting, when we considered the proposal for 23 storeys at 421 Brant Street, I was unequivocal in my opposition based on some key points, and I’ll be consistent on this issue.

The conflict with the policy directions for this Special Policy Area which contained a 17 storey height limit.

I heard from many residents who told me the height was much too high for this area of Brant Street.

My concern for the possible precedent that it may create for this property at 409 Brant Street; and,

My opinion that a building height of up to 17 storeys would be more appropriate.

• The Saxony building, which is a 6 storey development features an average price per unit of over $1,000,000. Newer, taller developments like the Berkeley (17 storeys) or the Strata (22 storeys on Maple Ave.) feature units in the $600,000 range, making downtown more inclusive for residents desiring to live there. Therefore, a 17 storey building is more likely to include more moderately priced units than a building that have less height and units.

From Civic Square

Reserve Properties wanted 23 storeys – same as the approved structure on the north side of James Street. Council accepted a Staff recommendation to cut it down to 17 storeys.

In summary, the developer has applied for a 23 storey building, and city staff recommended 17 storeys with all the benefits that are stated in the recommendation report, and the council supported the staff recommendation. Councillor Meed Ward wanted building height of 3-11 storeys, and Councillor Dennison stated that 14 storeys would be more preferable. The council is unanimous in the support for redevelopment of the site.

I supported staff’s recommendation at last night’s council meeting. This is responsive to the policy decisions that this Council recently made through the adopted Official Plan. The modified approval for 17 storeys is in line with the Council approved vision in the Plan, and it responds to the objections to the proposed 23 storeys that were heard from many residents in response to the initial proposal.

We are building a city for current generations along with our children and grandchildren, so that Burlington is an inclusive, environmentally and fiscally sustainable city for decades to come. I am confident that we are making the right decision today for the greater good of the city that I love.


Key phrases and paragraphs in this report are:

“…preserving the heritage look of Kelly’s Bake Shoppe” – All the public is going to get is the facade of what the building looked like – there is very little chance that Kelly’s will return when the construction of the condominium is completed.  The developer expects to have to move the building a bit during construction.  No one will be able to occupy the space.

This recommendation is in sync with the newly adopted Official Plan and would be easily defensible if the developer appealed the council decision to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) and continued to push for the 23 storeys they applied for originally.  Those two words “easily defensible” may come back to bite the Mayor – assuming of course that he is re-elected.

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Are they having any fun at city hall?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

July 18th, 2018



We just might be hearing the phrase “Common Sense Coalition” when the municipal election gets more active .

There are candidates who are getting together and talking about identifying themselves as a coalition where they will have a statement they all endorse that is city wide.

The individual candidates will then have issues they want to identify and work with within their own wards.

The people behind this idea point out that there is nothing partisan about what they want to do. “We are just candidates for public office that want to tell the public that we can work together and avoid the rancor that exists on the council we have now.”

One of the concerns the Gazette hears again and again is the lack of civility at council meetings. There are some very very poor relationships between some council members. There are two that just will not let up – they go at each other as if there were working on a long standing family feud.

PAcked meeting

Citizens standing for the National Anthem at the start of a council meeting. Twelve people delegated – not many smiles from even one of them.

We hear from people who have delegated at council and say that they will never do that again. They felt they were humiliated and not respected. Some people don’t have experience delegating and they are nervous, lose their train of thought and then wander off from the issue.

There is the sense that the delegator and the council member come across as combatants – the council members don’t come across as leaders.

Frequently a council member challenges a delegator in a dismissive diminishing manner.

There is rarely the sense that they are all in the room to achieve the same goal.

On Monday there were people delegating and talking about how well their community worked for them. They were the personification of that phrase city hall trots out with every media release: Burlington is one of Canada’s best and most livable cities, a place where people, nature and business thrive.   A comment from a Georgian Court reader went like this:  “Our city counselors totally let us down, and in the process were disrespectful. I have lost all faith and confidence in our city government”.

walter mulkewich

Walter Mulkewich


Rob MacIsaac

When we meet with people we ask: Who is the best Mayor the city had in the past? Rob MacIsaac   and Walter Mulkewich are always at the top of the list. “Rob was always informed, knew what he was talking about and was a pleasure to work with” was the way one citizen described a past Mayor.

During a conversation with someone who knows MacIsaac  well told us that he was at an event with MacIsaac recently and asked him which of the several jobs he has had in the past did he like the most. We were told that MacIsaac said he had fund while he was Mayor.

One seldom gets the sense that anyone is having any fun at city hall. The planners are almost under siege. They are over worked – the development applications arrive almost daily.

TrampolineAt times the work for the planners is both exciting and challenging but the pace is relentless and fatigue sets in.

City Council is off for the month of August – the planners aren’t going to have that luxury.

Perhaps Parks and Recreation could put on an event for the Planning department – let them all hop onto a trampoline and just have fun.

How about the City Manager on a trampoline?  That might be asking for too much!

Salt with Pepper is the opinions, reflections, musings and observations of the Gazette publisher.

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Ward 5 Councillor gives his Georgian Court constituents a pretty limp answer.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

July 17th, 2018



There is a bus that runs along Dundas Street – many of the residents at Georgina Court feel their city council threw them underneath that bus when they made a decision to approve a development they feel is going to change the community they live in.

In their application to the city for changes to a development that was going to add semi detached homes and town houses to the single detached dwellings.

Georgina Court

It is a community of safe streets where the children can play and neighbours can gather. The only park is more than a km away.

The file goes back to a pre-application consultation meeting that was held on December 7, 2016

Weston Consulting is the planning consultant for Bloomfield Developments Inc, the owner of the lands located at 5219 Upper Middle Road, 204 Georgina Court, 205 Georgina Court.

Units layout

The density and the type of housing is what has the neighbours upset. They don’t feel the form fits the existing community. And the traffic issues are a major concern.

They were retained to provide planning assistance and coordinate the submission of development applications for the subject property to permit the construction of 22 residential dwellings including eight (8) semi-detached freehold units and fourteen (14) condominium townhouse units. The proposed development will provide two parking spaces per dwelling unit (one driveway, one garage) and five (5) surface visitor parking spaces for the condominium component. At this time, we are pleased to submit an application for a Zoning By-law Amendment to permit the proposed development.

There were a number of issues about this development. The biggest was traffic and the impact that would have on the families already settled in a development that started in the late 1990’s, with the very first home being occupied in 1997.

But there was another issues – and that was whether or not the development was suited to the existing single detached homes

What was being proposed was semi’s and town-homes and that didn’t seem to fit right with the residents.

Councillor Rick Craven (Ward 1 – Aldershot) told a city council meeting Monday evening that townhouses and semi-detached homes were the new norm – people should get used to them.

When the development application was submitted there were cheques for $33,155, $950, and $4,300, payable to the City of Burlington and Region of Halton, respectively.

Georgina Court site plan

The developer assembled several parcels of land to create the site

The debate and the delegations Monday evening were sound and sincere; people saw major changes taking place in the way they would live their lives and raise their families.

The residents thought there was a solution. Open up a road that would take traffic on to Upper Middle Road. Seemed sensible but the rules that govern what can be done with Upper Middle is a Regional issues.

During the debate the residents expected their city Councillors to work for them and get the road opening they felt was fair.

Sharman - bullying meet Feb 5-2018

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman

Before voting for what the developer wanted ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman said they had asked the Region to allow the road and were told that there was a bylaw preventing just that and that Regional Staff would not support such an application.

Changing by laws is something municipal government do all the time.

The Sharman answer struck this reporter as pretty limp.

Let’s take a closer look at this one.

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Roland Tanner: 'Developer's argument for a Brant Street development is very far from one that Council should endorse. And it went unchallenged.'

opinionred 100x100By Roland Tanner

July 17,2018



Before I begin I just want to recognize the futility of the exercise we are engaged in tonight. I doubt very much that there is anybody in this room who has not made up their mind about this development.

Delegations will be read, and votes will be cast, but the former will have no impact on the latter. I honestly don’t say that as a criticism, I simply say it as a matter of fact. Whatever happens at the election this year, let’s all please commit, citizens, Council, City Staff, to find a better way of doing this in the future. A way that finally gets all sides talking and listening together. Win or lose, I promise I’ll be willing to help.

Moving on. Last week we heard the argument that it is the Province, and the new Provincial Growth Plan, that is forcing the city to accept 17 storeys or more, on this location.

There are two reasons why I believe that argument is incorrect.

First, the Special Planning Area in the Brant Street Precinct is zoned for 17 storeys by the new Official Plan for one reason and one reason only. By allowing greater height, the City is seeking to trade developers for an enhanced public space near City Hall to augment the current civic square. That objective has nothing to do with the Province, or with the Places to Grow Act, or the Growth Plan.

But for that objective, 409 Brant street and associated lots would be zoned for a maximum of 11 storeys with a 45 degree setback from Brant to John St, along with the rest of the Brant St precinct. That lower height, by the City’s own argument, not mine, is a defensible level of intensification under the Growth Plan.

I reiterate. That is the City’s position, and the City’s argument, not mine.

Second. The delegation on behalf of the developer last week by Mr Bronskill made a novel legal argument, and one which has yet to be tested at the LPAT. That legal argument was that the wording of Provincial Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe obliges cities to ‘optimize’ intensification on any lot. The developer is entitled to their opinion, but I will argue that Mr Bronskill’s argument is very far from one that Council should endorse. And yet his argument went unchallenged.

In fact the Provincial Growth Plan uses the word ‘Optimize’ exactly ONE TIME with regard to intensification. I will quote the sentence in full.

“It is important to optimize the use of the existing urban land supply as well as the existing building and housing stock to avoid further over designating land for future urban development.”

This sentence is almost identical to the 2006 Growth Plan. It differs only in the addition of nine words ‘as well as the existing building and housing stock’.

In other words there is clearly no intent whatsoever to cause a wholesale reinterpretation of what is permitted for intensification on any single assembly of land. Instead we still have only the standard requirement for Intensification which has been in place since the Places to Grow Act.

So, having dispensed with those two arguments that the height of 409 Brant Street is not in the City’s control, what are we left with?

We are left with an area which has been zoned by the City at 17 storeys, but could equally have been zoned for 3 to 11, with a 45 degree setback. The City’s own logic, not my logic, argues that a lower height is a defensible position to take to any future appeal at the LPAT. I am not cynically arguing what I think residents want to hear, I am arguing from the City’s own position used in the creation of the new Official Plan.

The City has the power. It should also have the will. I ask again: please reject the staff recommendation, and consider removing the lands under discussion from the Special Planning Area and zoning them according to remainder of the Brant Street Precinct.

Tanner cropped

Roland Tanner

Roland Tanner is a candidate for the ward 2 seat on city council.  He is a history scholar and one of the very few candidates for council seats to speak out and delegate.

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Cooling saw the writing on the wall - she now wants to make the best of a bad situation.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

July 17th, 2018



Joelle Goddard-Cooling said it all – “I can see that the writing is on the wall” – Brant Street is going to have at least two tall buildings opposite city hall.

Despite strong arguments for something significantly different, Ward 2 city Councillor and candidate for Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, city council voted 5-2 to approve the Staff Recommendation for a 17 storey building with an additional floor with amenities


Joelle’s on Brant

Cooling, in a letter to members of Council said she and her husband operate a business on Brant Street and are “bracing ourselves for years of construction, noise, traffic interruption, mess, parking issues, loss of business. With my resident hat on, I have spoken to many of my friends and neighbours downtown and concern is very real – I hear that “this is not why we moved here” a lot.

“That being said, we have chosen to do business here and have had continued growth in our business for twenty two years this September. We landed at 457 Brant Street after three previous moves, at that time there were very few businesses surrounding us. We have been given credit for encouraging some of the revival we saw happening on Brant Street over 15 years ago. In fact, I personally was presented with a Queen’s Jubilee Award for my encouragement, mentoring, BDBA volunteering and genuine marketing and promotion for the downtown. We have watched businesses come and go, developers assemble parcels and leave unsightly empty spaces and we have also watched businesses come and thrive.

Centro market

Centre Market tucked in a parking lot for Sunday only operations – gives the core a level of civility other parts of the city just don’t have.

“Development on Brant will definitely displace some of the anchor, destination businesses – ones that have created like minded environments for our longtime customers and who support downtown through lease hold improvements, street beautification and branding and marketing. A shining example is the Centro market every Sunday which suits the customer we are all trying to attract and which provides and amazing sense of community for the local residents.

“This is a lot of work for the organizers and volunteers and it is not a money making opportunity for Centro but a genuine community benefit. I have spoken to numerous other business owners who have shared their thoughts with me. Some have a good relationship with their property owner and are actively contemplating relocation. Others with a deep history confessed their worry with options of retirement, bankruptcy, and the challenges & uncertainty through the construction years.

“Those new to the retail area have hedged their bets on our amazing downtown and I can’t answer their questions on if Brant Street will be down to one lane through the construction? What types of retail can we look forward to once these building are erected? It seems that it has been difficult to fill this type of space over at Pearl and Pine.

Will there be many small spaces for (higher than now) rent in the future? What stipulations are being put into place to ensure that what goes in has value to all of the new residents and helps to build a sustainable downtown – the one that is visioned?

“Will we have additional police presence, garbage and street cleanup and snow removal? Will city staff, the developers, the BDBA, Economic Development and the residents be able to work together to address all of these issues and concerns? We have loading zone issues and parking struggles now. These are all priorities to businesses new, old and to come.

BDBA logo

Keeping it all there is the challenge.

“What can we do now to set up the downtown for success in the future? Discussions with Brian Dean recommend that you endorse a retail study by the BEDC, with the support of BDBA that takes a true and very hard look at current and future retail trends downtown.

“This is mandatory as a tool to guide redevelopment. It will outline the need to retain successful businesses, adapt the size of commercial units to meet the needs of small business, help existing and future business understand the impact of demographics and spending habits of the next generation of downtown residents. It will guide and help the BDBA in partnership with commercial developers better merchandise and recruit meaningful and sustainable businesses that will help to optimize our commercial mix.

“I will go one step further and ask that you consult with the retail, service and hospitality experts that already exist downtown who are very aware of who their customer is and what is needed to flourish. Value in this study is through internal resources – we are at a critical point where the people that live this every day need to have their retail experience leveraged. We would welcome this opportunity.

To recap, here are some of the concerns we hope can be addressed:

Transition planning and support for the current tenants – relocation, assistance through construction street closures – giving this business value and seeking their input

Sidewalk closures – we need the sidewalks open, this construction will create a dead retail space from the Elgin Promenade to Centro if not kept as a pedestrian through way on both sides of the street

Parking lane closures cannot happen, parking is a huge issue now and during construction

What is the traffic flow plan? The traffic study was highly defended last Tuesday night but people are not buying it. We need confidence in a plan here.

Loading zones – how do we attract businesses that will sustain a walkable community without these?

Cleanliness, Beautification and Pollution. Our streetscape has been neglected for years while undergoing the streetscape study, now with the development we are told to wait until the development is done to fix the sidewalks. We have been the closest to the development of the Berkley – what will be done to keep Brant Street enjoyable under the unavoidable noise, congestion, construction materials, detours etc pollution?

How is the coordination of TWO tall buildings AND a hydro burying project on James going to be managed by the City?

To maintain some beauty in the area, empty storefronts need to be addressed. How about working with the property owners and developers to utilize space in a positive way – ie pop ups, creative art installations, a unified expectation of maintenance and appearance, pest control, co-operation with the BDBA for improved window coverings or branding? What can we expect here?

General Safety of the area is a concern, we know the City works hard to keep us safe, we did experience a gas line problem at the John & Caroline site and it was scary. We need a sense of protection for emergency management – ie power failure, gas lines, water table issues

Vibrancy? Will the developments be built in a way that will accommodate rooftop or first floor restaurants? Will there be attention made to create the charm and character desired by the residents at the first floor level? Will the public space be useful – what will be happening here in the open area(s) that isn’t happening in the Elgin Promenade or City Hall open area(s)?

Joelle 2

Joelle Goddard Cooling

“We have talked heard the phrase win-win the past few weeks. Residents, business owners and everyone who cares wants to be involved. I truly hope that beyond the mandated development this council put value in what exists here now and has been here in the past.”

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Roland Tanner: 'We cannot keep telling residents, in effect, that what they want is not actually what is good for them.'

opinionviolet 100x100By Roland Tanner

July 12th, 2018



I’d like to thank the council for hearing me this evening. As a candidate running for office in Ward 2 it is important I make a public statement on the issue of the 409 Brant St development. I also recognize there is little point in my taking up time by repeating statements which are going to be made or have been made by others in more detail. So I will keep this as short as possible.

In terms of the two heritage properties which are at risk by this development, I will simply state my opinion, backed up by hours and days of interaction with the community, that council should do everything in its power to make sure those properties receive every possible protection, and urge that whatever can be done to protect the interests of the current tenants and their businesses is done. Others can speak to that in more detail.

Brant st city hall on left looking north

City rendering of the east side of Brant Street across from city hall.

In terms of the overall development under discussion, I recognize the staff recommendation contains considerable improvements over the developer’s original plans, and has attempted to bring the development closer to the requirements of the new Official Plan. But my experience of resident’s desires for development in the core and in particular on Brant Street is very different from that outlined in the staff recommendation.

As you know, zoning for the rest of the Brant St Precinct is for 11 storeys with a 45 degree setback from the centre of Brant St, under the new Official Plan. Residents are willing to live with that. They understand the need for intensification, and some change in downtown is inevitable and desirable if done right. However, they have expressed a clear preference over many years for careful moderation in building height in downtown Burlington, especially on Brant St and on the Lakeshore.

Simply put, 18 storeys does not meet that preference.

Tanner standing

Roland Tanner: Candidate for the Ward 2 city council seat was also a member of the group that wrote the Shape Burlington report.

Your worship and Councillors, I suggest we either believe in local democracy, or we don’t. When a community expresses a clear, settled, longstanding and unambiguous consensus on a particular issue, elected public servants have a duty to listen and respond. And let me be clear, that consensus is completely unambiguous. It isn’t possible to speak to residents in Ward 2 in any number without it quickly becoming clear exactly what the overwhelming concern for them is. Unhappiness about over-development of the downtown is not just the preserve of the small number of people willing to spend a cramped evening at City Hall. Unhappiness is bordering on universal.

Yesterday at the Committee of the Whole meeting, there was a lot of talk about finding ‘win-wins’. The staff recommendation under discussion today represents a win for the developer and a win for City Hall, but not a win for citizens. We cannot keep telling residents, in effect, that what they want is not actually what is good for them. We can’t keep telling them that if they’ll only wait and be patient, they’ll like it once it’s built. That was what I was told by the then Ward 2 Councillor ten years ago and it’s what the citizens are still hearing today.

As long as that remains the message, the high levels of anger towards Council that unfortunately currently exist will continue to be the standard atmosphere in which Council is forced to operate. That’s not good for anybody. More importantly, it’s not the way it has to be.

Instead, let’s take the opportunity to make it clear that Council is on the citizen’s side and that it does hear and respect the overwhelming consensus of residents in Ward 2. We can’t keep treating citizens as the least important stakeholder on the list of people whose opinions need to be addressed. We can do development in a way that works for everybody.

I respectfully submit that Committee should reject the staff recommendation as outlined and request that the plans for 409 Brant St be brought in line with the Zoning envisaged for the rest of the Brant St Precinct, and not the Special Planning Area.

Please make this development a ‘Win, Win, Win’.

Council, meeting as a Committee, voted 6-1 to approve the Planning Staff recommendation.

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Marianne Meed Ward - 'We do not have to do this'. 18 storey condo approved on a 6-1 vote.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

July 12th, 2018


We erred in the first version of this story – the decision was a 5-2 vote – with ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison joining ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward who is running for the office of Mayor.

The result was predictable. The surprise was that ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison joined Councillor Meed Ward for a 5-2 vote to accept the Staff recommendation to approve a second tower opposite city hall.

City council, meeting as a committee, voted to accept the staff report for an 18 storey condominium on the SE corner of Brant and James across the street from city hall.

Councilseating July 2018 2

City council, staff and the public crammed into Room 247.

The committee met on three occasions in a cramped and crowded room (the council chamber is being renovated) and heard dozens of delegations. The vast majority were opposed to the height the developer was asking for and opposed to the height the city was prepared to give them.

The developer came back with three versions of their proposal. They wanted 23 storeys but were prepared to live with 19 if it was built on a larger floor plate. If council approved the 17 storey application it was probably headed for to the Land Provincial Tribunal 9 used to be known as the OMB.

Opening to city hall

Building more than 11 storeys are built on four level podiums with the rest of the building set back and on top of the podium. This rendering of the proposed development on the existing Elizabeth Interiors property shows the site as it would appear from city hall which is on the right

Structures built in the downtown core are now put on two, three or four level podiums with the high rise on top of the podium.

Most of those opposed to the Reserve Property development were concerned not about the height but where the height was going to be located. They wanted height located north of Caroline so that what was consistently referred to as the “charm” of the downtown core could be retained.

The city planners were arguing that their hands were tied by the various pieces of provincial legislation that they had to live with.

The most pressing of the provincial policies was the need to grow the population of the city.

MMW soeaking - full length Ap 11

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward announcing her decision to run for Mayor in the October election

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward, who is also a candidate for Mayor in the October municipal election, kept telling the audience that the city has both met and exceeded the provincial population and job growth requirement. The response to that is the number Meed Ward is talking about is a minimum number and that municipalities are urged to go beyond those minimums.

The issue of possible appeals kept coming up and what to do with the Kelly’s Bake Shop operation that will be at the south end of the development next to the new Elgin promenade that will get torn up when and if the development proceeds.

A shop that sells cupcakes and coffee has become ground zero for the soul of the city.

The developer believes they are looking at a stunning opportunity and while they have made a number of changes to their application (upped parking from .93 stalls per unit to 1.25 stalls) they are holding firmly to the concept and design they started with.

Residents opposed to the proposal weren’t focusing on the design or the height – for them it was the location.
Part of the difficulty with what is a complex situation is that the application comes in under an Official Plan that does not comply with the provincial policies.

The city approved a new Official Plan but it does not become law until it is approved at the Regional level – and no one has been able to say with any certainty exactly when that is going to happen.

What was painfully evident was the divide between the council members.

Councillor Craven, who will not be running for re-election, chaired the meeting with his usual “keep things moving approach” suggested to the meeting in his remarks that the vibrancy people who live in the downtown core experience is not something shared by everyone in the city. Craven said the downtown was boring.

Councillor Sharman described commercial growth in the city as stagnant – Meed Ward had it as thriving.
Sharman and Dennison saw condominium development as the answer to how the city can be grown and the way to save the downtown core – Meed Ward described it as the force that was killing small business operations because of the uncertainty.

Dennison’s vote not to accept the Staff recommendation was a surprise to many.  What was Jack up to was the question we heard from our readers.

The city is certainly at a cross roads – the October election is the opportunity to determine who will sit on council and the direction that council will take.

Meed Ward made a particularly declarative statement when she said “we can change this – that is what we do”

The Standing Committee decision goes to a city council meeting on July 16th, and then sort of goes out of business until September when the municipal election races will get very fierce.

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Kelly Childs throw in the towel - her bake shop will have to find a new home.

News 100 redBy Staff

July 11, 2018



In an emotional farewell, Kelly Childs and her daughter told a city council committee last night that they were throwing in the towel and would not continue the operation of their bake shop on Brant Street when their lease expires.

Ford + two others at Kellys

The bake shop became a popular drop in for hundreds of people.

The property is part of an assembly being done by Reserve Properties who have a development application before the city to build a 23 storey tower on the south east corner of Brant and James.

The building the bake shop is in now is on the municipal registry but has not been designated a Heritage site.

The developers let council know that it would not be possible for any commercial operation to be in the building while construction is taking place. And, the plan being proposed, would call for a slight shift in the actual location of the building.

Kellys - Mother and daugter - kelly lk down - not all bd

Kelly Childs on the right with her daughter Aaron going over the schedule for a day in the bake shop

Childs told council that all that will be left is a board and batten façade with nothing inside. The developer is committed to keeping both the bake shop building and the building that was once an ice house that is now a jewelers shop on John Street, both were intended to give any development some heritage credibility.

Childs told the committee that the store had traffic that amounted to 12,000 people a week visiting the location – a phenomenal number. It would amount to more than 1700 people in a single day assuming a 7 day a week operation. An eye brow raising number.

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Gary Scobie: 'You can adjust your legacy before you leave or you can leave it to others to try and repair the damage you’ve already done.'

opinionandcommentBy Gary Scobie

July 11, 2018



I expect this will be my last delegation to this Council of eight years. Come October 22nd, we will have some new faces around the table. So please permit me to get a little philosophical.

I am very glad to hear that Council Chambers is being renovated and updated to 21st century standards. The news that the City bought the Sims building for staff accommodation also bodes well for the continuing future of our City Hall.

City hall - older pic

City Hall – always loved it says Scobie

I love the look of City Hall; always have. Do you know that you can see City Hall all the way from Guelph Line along New Street in the winter? You can even see it from Seneca Avenue and New Street in the summer when the full leaf canopy is out. It’s framed by low buildings at James Street in the winter and leaves in the summer.

That’s what I call a gateway.

Now the powers that be in our iconic City Hall – The Planning Department management and Council itself, along with the developers of Burlington have a different idea for a gateway.

How about framing this 8 storey building with twenty-something storey building across the road. Now that’s not a gateway, that’s an insult. With the three to four storey podiums in place, I think I may have to get to James Street from the east in order to see City Hall in the same way in the future, between the twin towers of course.

Dundas - King street

Gary Scobie believes that Burlington has lot the opportunity to keep the scale that King street in Dundas has retained.

I grew up in Dundas. Dundas respects its past while gently conforming to the future. Completed in 1849, the Town Hall is noted as one of the best examples of revival style municipal buildings in Ontario. It requires no gateway and occupies its own block. The classic Post Office building still stands and is repurposed. The downtown is low rise and a mix of newer buildings with older ones with the original facades and buildings intact to their upper floors. It’s always busy with people walking both sides of King Street. Our neighbor was the butcher when I was growing up. When he died, the business was sold to another butcher. That store still operates as a butcher shop. Picone’s Food Market still offers great foods and produce a few doors up the street. It’s the same with barber shops, fish and chip shops, a jeweler and fashion shops. The Armoury is now the Community Centre. Film companies come to make TV movies in the Valley Town as it is known, situated beneath the cliffs of the escarpment, because of its friendly, bustling, charming ambiance.

Hotel on lower Brant Street

While horse drawn carriages and wagons are not what people want to see – many would like some of the charm and the histriy of the city maintained.

Burlington once had that ambiance, but that wasn’t in this century, and a Province and a Council decided in 2005 that urban growth for the downtown was the answer to all of our prayers and declared it an Urban Growth Centre. Please forgive them my fellow citizens, for I believe they knew not what they did nor what it would bring today.

In the last century high rise condos and apartments were built in one-off locations, in groupings like in the east end on Lakeshore Road near Burloak Park, centrally on Lakeshore Road near Torrance, along lower Maple Avenue, and even in my own Ward 3 with a lone 16 storey high rise on Upper Middle Road at Duncaster.

These were seemingly done without much planning for the future or much adherence to the Official Plan in place then. Come into this century and not much changed. New high rises were still being built beyond the Official Plan heights. Meanwhile we had accepted an Urban Growth Centre downtown for reasons never
made fully clear to citizens as to why there; and for future repercussions just now becoming obvious in the past three years or so. We had accepted Mobility Hub densities without any questions or push-back to the Province. We (or our Council for us) had accepted a makeover of Burlington that would transform our city
from something to be proud of to something to be fearful of.

We love being known as the Best Mid-size City in Canada, yet We (that is our Council and Planners) are ready to trade in our little utopia for a future dystopia without question. We citizens must be “managed”, “handled” and “educated” to accept this planners’ nightmare because after all, they are the experts and we’re just the people in the experiment who have to live with the results.

This is the legacy of the City Council of 2002 – 2006 and this City Council of 2010 – 2018. The Council and Planning Department management who, while extolling the virtues over and over again of our beautiful waterfront and our beautiful rural escarpment, at the Province’s urging are now going to mess up forever the cream in the middle of our wonderful cookie, the part that’s not permanent hard water or hard rock, the place that is malleable where 95% of the people of Burlington live.

From Civic Square

The view from city hall if the tower on the right is approved – the tower on the left has already been approved.

Page 26 of the report, point 3 says “Where possible establish maximum building heights which are consistent with existing development precedents”. Well that should be easy. This building at 409 Brant Street is across the road from a freshly approved 23 storey building at 421 Brant Street. So anything up to 23 storeys
should now be a slam dunk. Council and planners didn’t abide to the current OP heights of 4 – 8 storeys or the projected new OP heights of 17 storeys for 421 Brant Street. Why should they or any developer be expected to abide to our shiny new OP height limits now?

Point 4 says “Attract a wider range of demographics and income levels to the Downtown Mobility Hub”. Whoa, that’s not so easy.

It’s never been done yet this century and any window dressing that is being proposed to get young families of modest income into this building is in a word, laughable.

Jeweller after

The view of the proposed Reserve Properties development from John Street which will be the exit for cars from the five level underground garage and the bus terminal.

I predict sometime later tonight or tomorrow, you will vote with a strong majority to accept this recommendation report. I predict you will then have trouble negotiating the conditions with the
developer. I predict the developer with go to the new, untested Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) and ask for at least 23 storeys based simply on British Common Law precedent.

I’m asking you to prove me wrong. Turn down this recommendation report. Say no to the whole twin tower concept.

One mistake across from City Hall is your limit and the time is likely up for most of you sitting in those chairs come October 22nd.

Forget about gateways and landmark buildings. Think about the people who elected you to look after our city, not the podium – pushing planners and developers who wish to pack it with more warm bodies than it can take. You can adjust your legacy before you leave or you can leave it to others to try and repair the damage you’ve already done.

At the end of his delegation Scobie got a sustained round of applause – he had spoken for many.  The Chair could not gavel the meeting back to order.

Gary ScobieGary Scobie is a ward 3 Burlington resident who was a member of the now defunct Waterfront Advisory Committee.  He has delegated frequently on municipal development matters.

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Wasn't the debate about the level of intensification the city had to undergo? Nope, the developer tells council that they need to think in terms of 'optimization'.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

July 11th, 2018



And we thought it was all about intensification.

The city needed to intensify the population; put more people in less space. Given that Burlington doesn’t have any more land that it can build houses on, developers began to assemble land and build high rise towers.

Brant looking north - Kellys

Developer tells city council they need to think in terms of the best land use optimization and get away from intensification.

At a city council committee meeting yesterday during which the development being proposed for the SE corner of Brant and James was debated at length.

Mayor Goldring has been telling the public that the city has to intensify and that he will ensure that the intensification will be intelligently done.

high profile 421

This tower has been approved – the one across the road wants to be just as high.

When the 23 storey tower on the NE corner of James and Brant was approved people began to question what intensification really meant.

Turns out the city was using the wrong word. They should have been talking about optimization; which is the best possible use for a piece of land.

Legal counsel for Reserve Properties explained to council last night that the 2017 version of Places to Grow, a provincial document sets out that optimization is what municipalities should be focusing on – and the Reserve Properties development certainly does their best to optimize the land they want to assemble.

The meeting Tuesday evening had to adjourn at 10:30 pm – they will be back at it this evening. There are a lot of questions to be asked.

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A mobility hub is a mobility hub - right? Not necessarily according to Mayoralty candidate Greg Woodruff

Letter to the editorBy Staff

July 10th, 2018



Candidate for the Office of Mayor and Aldershot resident Greg Woodruff wants the planning department to be a little clearer with the language used to report about mobility hubs.

Greg Woodruff

Greg Woodruff – candidate for Mayor.

In an Open letter to Burlington Council, Woodruff asks that:

“… Council and staff start using the terms Mobility Hub (Metrolinx) and Major Transit Station Areas (Places to Grow) properly for the various GO stations.

Burlington GO south side

There are ten platforms on the south side of the Burlington GO station – which is described as a mobility hub: a place where buses, cars, taxi and even bicycles arrive to drop off and pick up people who have taken a GO train.

“The term Mobility Hub is being used to refer to the 3 GO stations. This is causing confusion with the public as to what exactly our responsibility might be for redevelopment of these regions. The Burlington GO station is indeed flagged as a Metrolinx Mobility Hub and comes under specific recommendations.

Mobility hubs

The city has four mobility hubs.

“The Aldershot GO station and Appleby GO station are not designated as Mobility Hubs by Metrolinx. They are not and never have been “Mobility Hubs” in any way except for the city’s loose language that is now grouping them together.

“The only major specification for Major Transit Station Areas (MTSA) comes from Places to Grow and calls for a modest 150 people or jobs per hectare. This can easily be accomplished with low rise buildings.

Boundaries set out for the Downtown mobility hub.

All the Mobility Hub attention focuses on the three GO stations. The city is referring to the transit terminal on John street as an access hub. Other hubs are identified as gate way hubs. These are the boundaries for the Downtown mobility hub.

“Thus the 30 story hi-rises proposed by staff around Aldershot and Appleby are a complete construction of the City of Burlington. There is no direction from any group that calls for this. The hi-rises in these area are self-imposed. I think it important this be very clear to the public.

“I would request that Council adopt the proper terminology when discussing these matters and direct staff to use proper descriptions of “Metrolinx Mobiltiy Hub” and “Major Transit Station Area” when discussing these areas.”

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Some more of those 1000 word pictures

News 100 redBy Staff

July 10th, 2018



More on those pictures being worth 1000 words.

The Planning department had a handful of renderings done suggesting what the downtown core of the city could look like when the Grow Bold initiative has blown through the community.

Brant st city hall on left looking north

A rendering of Brant Street at city hall looking north. Looks like the kind of thing a real estate agent would prepare as part of a sales brochure.


The drawing had a nice gentle pastel look to them. Nice enough to frame.

We then came across a photograph of what the properties on the east side of Brant street look like today.

Brant street today July 2018

This is a montage of properties on the east side of Brant street with Brant Florist on the left.

Comparing with the drawings was a little jarring.

The model prepared by some students who lived in the St. Luke community gave the public a bit of a glimpse of what was coming down the pipe.

ECoB model view from the east

Looking west towards city hall through the two towers that might “frame” city hall in the future. The one on the right has already been approved by city council.

A picture is indeed worth 1000 words.

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Affordable housing - the need is great - but real policy direction from council to make it happen isn't on the radar screen yet.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

July 10th, 2018



Affordable housing – an oxymoron perhaps.

In a market where housing prices have risen as much as 20% year over year, the cost of buying a home has skyrocketed – and that impacts directly the cost of rental accommodation.

Rocca partial listing for 2017

Some of the year over year changes were mind boggling – a market run amok.

The Burlington mind set is married to the idea of owning the home you live in – rental accommodation is not for people who are true Burlingtonians – we are all property owners.

Every development that comes before city council has the words “affordable housing” tucked in the application somewhere and the response from the planners pays lip service to the idea.  Members of council will insist that some affordable housing be included in a development.

Carriage Gate agreed to provide the City with a cash contribution of $300,000 prior to condominium registration that was to go towards an affordable account the city appears to have created.

Reserve Properties, the developers promoting a development on the SE corner of Brant and James, have made mention of their plans to contribute something to the need for affordable housing if  their development is approved.

The developers offer up some cash in lieu of actually including affordable units in the condominium.

Where does that cash the developers give the city go?

That isn’t exactly clear. The Gazette isn’t sure if any funds have actually moved from the developer’s bank account into the coffers of the city. Funds from carriage Gate should be in the city bank account by now.

The issue is not about the need for affordable housing – the issue is who is to provide that housing.

Every member of city council knows that housing is a Regional responsibility.

Co-op on Maple close to lakeshore

This high rise close to Lakeshore sets aside 60% of its space for rent geared to income (RGI) tenants. The building is owned and operated by a co-op that works with the Region.

The Region has policies, they have a reasonably clear idea of what is needed. How close they are to that need could be a little tighter.

The Region operates a number of towers that are totally affordable.

They partner with organizations that make space in buildings they own for rent geared to income space.

They maintain the list of who is looking for affordable housing and they determine who can get into a building and when.  The mix of affordable housing is pretty good.

The problem is the need for a shift from the approach that has language which makes affordable housing options sound like or look like welfare options.

Housing has to be looked at differently.

Search options

The Region has a section on its web site where people can search and see what is available. Waiting times to get a residence is measured in years.

The Region is responsible for the social housing needs of all four municipalities: Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills.

Gary CarrDuring the 2010 election Regional Chair came close to losing it when people were going on about the need for affordable housing at the municipal level – “it’s a Regional responsibility” he almost shouted out in an exasperating tone..

There are some very good people at the Regional level administering the policies and the properties.

In the event that Burlington sends the money it gets from developers to the Region (and that point isn’t clear) the Region does not appear to be committed to spending what it gets from Burlington in Burlington.

Instead of trying to outdo each other in how committed they are to affordable housing Burlington city council needs to get its act together and set out what it would like to see done and then take the Burlington plan to Regional council and fight for it at that level.

That however would require a council that is cohesive and can actually work together.
Burlington is now seeing a new crop of candidates that are younger, have good intellectual chops and want to see a change.

ECoB Crowd Feb 22

ECoB – engaged Citizens of Burlington held a meeting for people interested in running for office – the came close to packing the room.

The city is close to have good solid candidates in all six wards and clear choices for the next Mayor.

In the 2014 municipal election Mayor Goldring said he was quite comfortable with seeing every member of the council re-elected.  And they were all re-elected.  They really weren’t any tough races with the possible exception of ward 6 where Blair Lancaster faced nine candidates.


There were two problems with the comfort level the Mayor had chosen.

He wasn’t leading council and council wasn’t taking the city anywhere.

That could be about to change.

The next step is for the people who live in the city to think about what they want and then decide who can deliver what they want.

Then get out and actually vote.

We did a piece recently on a woman who taught the city something about milkweed plants and learned that she had run for public office in 2003 – the turnout in that election was 16%.

No wonder we are in a mess.

The complacent people of Burlington did this to themselves.

As for an affordable housing policy that delivers for Burlington – that has to get worked out at the Regional level and Burlington city council members have to make their case at that level.

They’ve known that for the past seven years.

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

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Downtown precincts and what can be built where - is this the only direction left?

News 100 redBy Staff

July 9th, 2018



The city usually provides maps that are crammed with information that are difficult to fully understand in a small format. A large map just can’t be displayed adequately on a computer screen.

The city however has prepared and distributed a document that sets out in considerable detail what is permitted in each of the precincts that have been created.

Downtown precinct map

Downtown precinct map

We have set out the downtown precinct map in a full screen page format along with a list of what can be built in each precinct that is colour coded with the map.

Precinct highlight A

Precinct highlight B




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Have you seen these ? If this is what they meant by Growing Bold they weren't kidding....

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

July 9th, 2018



A picture is said to be worth a thousand words.

The following is a set of renderings on the city’s web site that few people have seen.

It is part of what is behind the outrage that many feel over the changes being made to the Downtown core – It wasn’t quite what many had in mind when they first heard the phrase Grow BOLD.

Elizabeth - looking twds lake

Elizabeth looking south towards the lske

Lakeshore at Brant with hist bldg kept

Lakeshore at Brant looking east

Brant st city hall on left looking north

Brant Street looking north – with city hall on the left.

Brant at the plaza looking south

Brant street looking south from about where the shopping plaza is north of Caroline.

Bold indeed.

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Ward 1 candidate says he will fight for the TEC people.

council 100x100By Staff

July 4th, 2018



TEC stop quarry expansion Jul17

TEC has done everything a community group can do to get support for their project. So far no one has come to their aid.

The Tyendaga Environmental Coalition finally has a friend.

Vince Fiorito is prepared to do battle for the TEC people and their fight to have the value of their property maintained and not significantly downgraded when the bulldozers start mining for shale in the eastern most quarry of the site off King Road in Aldershot.

Meridian Brick has had a license since the early 70’s and have been taking shale out and manufacturing brick.

Graphic of TEC quarry

Forterra Brick was the predecessor of re-named Meridian Brick. The graphic, courtesy of the Toronto Star shows where the residents live and where Meridian wants to mine for shale.

The move into the eastern quarry has brought a problem that was always lurking in the background to the front page. TEC hasn’t been able to get any traction with either the Mayor, the ward Councillor or the MPP.

They all said that Meridian has a license and there was nothing they could do.

Fiorito sees this differently and said that one of his reasons for running in ward 1, which isn’t where he lives, is because there is a significant environmental issue in that ward. And if Fiorito is anything – he is a protector of the environment.

Sheldon Creek - farm equipment + Vince

Fiorito has been working at cleaning up ravines in the western part of Burlington – he now wants to work on a solution for everyone in the Tyendaga community where a brick manufacturing operation wants to cut down thousands of trees and begin mining for shale yards from their homes.

“I think there is a win – win possible here and I will be committing myself to working for the interests of the residents who have major economic interest as does the brick manufacturer.”

“No one has managed to bring these two groups together and work on their joints interest” – every one has sided with the brick maker and forgotten the taxpayers” said Fiorito. “That isn’t fair” he added.

The TEC people want to interview Fiorito before they put their support behind him.

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