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.

Return to the Front page

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.

Return to the Front page

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.

Return to the Front page

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.

Return to the Front page

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.

Return to the Front page

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:

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.

Return to the Front page

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.

Return to the Front page

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.

Return to the Front page

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.

Return to the Front page

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

Return to the Front page

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.

Return to the Front page

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.


Return to the Front page

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.

Return to the Front page

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.

Return to the Front page

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.

Return to the Front page

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.

Return to the Front page

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.”

Return to the Front page

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.

Return to the Front page

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.

Return to the Front page