Planners opting for 18 storeys at the SE corner James and Brant opposite city hall. 23 approved on the NE corner.

News 100 blueBy Staff

June 21st, 2018



Ward 2 city Councillor and a candidate for Mayor Marianne Meed Ward reports that City staff are recommending modified approval of an 18 storey high-rise at 409 Brant Street, opposite City Hall and across the street from the already approved 23 storey building at 421 Brant St.

409 with 423 shadowed

Looking south on Brant with the approved 23 storey structure shaded.

The developer, Revenue Properties were looking for 23 storeys – matching what has been approved on the NE corner of the intersection.

The recommendation from staff will go to the Planning and Development Committee; recommendations from this committee will go to City Council for a final decision.

The detailed staff report outlining the recommendation and rationale hasn’t yet been released, but should be available online and at City Hall by Friday June 29.

Meed Ward does not say how she got the information.

The city is circulating a notice to residents who participated in earlier meetings on the application and left their contact information; that my have been the source.

Staff will be recommending modified approval of the amendment to the City’s Planning and Development Committee of Council. Staff recommend approval of a mixed use building with a height up to 18 storeys (17 residential floors plus roof top amenity area), including 760m2 of commercial space at grade and 365 m2 of commercial or office space on the second floor, subject to significant design and public realm improvements, and a parking rate of 1.25 spaces per unit.

From Civic Square

Looking east from Civic Square – the approved 23 storey Carriage Gate project is shaded.

Meed Ward gives us her take on the development application:  The property is currently zoned Downtown Core Zone which permits mixed use buildings up to 4 storeys in height.

The property is designated Downtown Core which permits mixed use buildings of 4 to 8 storeys.

Some might wonder if the developments approved and proposed for the eastern side of Brant street opposite city hall don’t need a reality check.

The planners and city council approved a 23 storey structure on the north east corner of Brant and James; the Ontario Municipal Board ruled that a 27 storey structure could go up at Martha and Lakeshore; the Bridgewater is going to have a 22 storey condominium and the talk around the redevelopment of the Waterfront Hotel site includes mention of a possible 30 storey building.

Street - what is being taken downShould the developer of the 409 Brant property not want to accept the staff recommendation – they can appeal – but the appeal procedure is quite a bit different – the old Ontario Municipal Board process usually had the developers wining.  The Local Planning Act Tribunal is a new game that is yet untested,  Bet on the developer taking the staff recommendation to the LPAT.


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Candidate for Mayor wants to see commercial space included in the Solid Gold development

News 100 blueBy Staff

June 20th, 2018



During the Statutory meeting two weeks ago on the two tower development being proposed for the Solid Gold property on Plains Road, Mayor Goldring asked Tom Muir, an Aldershot resident, about the commercial space potential.

The proposed development is for a 12 storey apartment building that will run along Cooke; the ten storey will run along Plains Road. The rules call for 874 parking spaces – Vrancor, the developer proposed 581. The plan is for 450 units

Greg Woodruff, a candidate for the Office of Mayor claims: “This building could be configured to offer 32,000 square feet of contiguous commercial and 10,000 in the other building serviced by 100 surface parking spaces.

“That is actual commercial guys, and it’s possible in this building right now – this would give the Home Hardware a workable location or many others. We are driving businesses out forever.

Solid Gold replacement

Plains Road at Cooke.

Instead, they are pitching 99 residential surface spaces with residential units along Cooke Boulevard? This a no-no even in the most hard-core urbanist “lens”.
You don’t have living space at grade along a major street or residential parking. The “ground” is the limited resource.

There is not a single blade of grass on the thing. What a dystopian nightmare.

Solid G from south west corner PlainsThis is terrible urban design – does not represent good land use planning or compliance with the Provincial Policy Statement.

It’s clearly incompatible with the existing homes on Clearview Ave.

Compatibility is based on the neighbouring existing usage as far as I understand, not some imagined future usage.

Woodruff would make the “first level totally commercial, reserve the surface parking for the commercial.

Reduce the west tower to 6 stories. Reduce the east building to 3 stories for compatibility with the existing residential usage.

The public is going to discover that the Bus and Go that is imagined in future doesn’t go to anything except rows of condos and small offices. That’s not an attractive urban city, it’s a nightmare.

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Just what is intensification going to do to Burlington - more than we have been told.

background 100By Pepper Parr

June 20th, 2018



There are decisions being made now about what this city is going to look like in five years.

With the possibility of an appeal of the city council decision to approve the 23 storey tower at Brant and James opposite city hall now dead and a building permit either issued or in the works one can ask – Is this building just a one off or is it the shape of things to come.?

Cogeco TV has a program hosted by Mark Carr – The Issue. It has a spotty audience, there was one occasion where no one called in for what was basically a one hour call in show. So – not much of an audience – but here are at times very good guests.

In a recent program Marty Staz and Mike Wallace, both realtors were talking about the matter of intensification and what it was going to do to us.

Marty Staz with Mak Carr

Mark Carr interview Marty Staz on Cogeco’s The Issue.

Marty has the look and the bearing of a serious executive – he is the vice chair of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce and is currently a candidate for the ward 1 city council seat. Mike Wallace is a candidate for the office of Mayor. He is a former city councillor and Burlington’s Member of Parliament for xx terms.

This edition of The Issue is well worth watching. Staz sets out what he thinks the city is faced with. The segment runs just shy of i5 minutes – worth your time.

The October election is going to be about how the next city council deals with what we are facing.
Link to the program is HERE


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Greg Woodruff wants to be Mayor - files nomination papers.

council 100x100By Staff

June 20th, 2018



Greg Woodruff

Greg Woodruff

Aldershot Greg Woodruff has thrown his hat into the Burlington Mayoralty.

That decision has the potential to tip the scales – not in Woodruff’s favour.

Woodruff ran for the office of Regional Chair in the 2014 municipal election.

He has never held public office nor has he served on any Advisory committees.

His web site is at:

Woodruff page

Related news story

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ECoB withdraws its appeal - 421 Brant development is now a GO!

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 20th, 2018



It has been a bumpy road for ECoB. One of the small but very effective grass roots citizen organizations has lot yet another board member.

Jim Young threw the organization a serious curve when he suddenly resigned which reduced the organization to three board members.

Kerns - head slanted

Lisa Kerns one of the original ECoB board members resigned when she announced she was going to run for city council.

Lisa Kerns, a very effective ECoB member resigned when she announced her intention to run for the ward 2 city council seat.

ECoB – Engaged Citizens for Burlington was formed when some in the downtown core were appalled with a city council decision to approve a 23 storey tower opposite city hall.

The first ECoB meeting was held on the recreation room of one of the Lakeshore Road condominium recreation rooms. A number of people showed up with cheques in their pockets to fund the nascent organization.

It wasn’t all that clear what the organization was going to do. Were they in place to oppose the building a high rise towers in the downtown core?

Were they going to appeal any city decisions?

It took ECoB some time to find their footing but they did. When Mayor Goldring held what he called a Reverse Town Hall to address the concerns people had over intensification downtown the ECoB people came close to taking over his meeting when they walked into the meeting with a resolution that had been passed by ECoB group hours earlier.

Weeks later ECoB held a meeting that drew about 85 people and raised far more money than they expected.

421 Brant

The 23 storey Carriage Gate development will now get its building permit.

Their agenda began to become clearer. They would appeal the city decision to the LPAT, the organization that was created to replace the OMB.

That proved to be easier said than done. The number of days hat were available to file an appeal was not clear.

At one point the ECoB people showed up at city hall and were told they were too early – so they waited.

They were fortunate enough to have an experienced, retired municipal planner who was able to advise and counsel them on the process and procedures. Working ones way through municipal procedures is another world.

Model with Tanner

Deputy city manager Mary Lou Tanner, on the left, looking at the LEGO 3D model ECoB made showing what the downtown core could look like if high rise developments were permitted.

ECoB had a knack for catching the public’s imagination.  During the early debates on downtown intensification citizens wanted to city to create a model of what downtown might look like with high rose building.  The city said these things take time to create and they didn’t have the resources – ECoB found a way to let people know what the downtown core could look like if there were a lot of high rise condominiums – they creted their own 3D model with Lego.

ECoB did register an appeal to LPAT on the Council’s decision to allow the construction of a 23 storey building on the corner of Brant and James Street on June 13th, 2018.

They then withdrew the appeal?

Jim Young

Jim Young

– Why – Two Reasons – a letter of resignation from Jim Young, chair of ECoB which was sent to the City Clerk’s office indicating that he was not in favor of the appeal going forward on June 14th.

There were a number of issues behind the Young decision. One was an article that ran in the Toronto Star that mentioned a developer in Markham who was suing the City of Markham and two Markham residents who had signed the appeal application. They were being sued for ten million dollars.

This kind of law suit is issued by developers and people with a lot of money when they don’t like what media writes.

The Gazette was sued by Nicholas Leblovic in October 2012 for $1 million. The writ turned some of the blonde hair on the head of the wife I had at the time into grey – it marked the beginning of the end of that marriage.

Waterfront Advisory committee in happier days. City council voted to shut the committee down at the end of December. Chair Leblovic is thught to havebeen an ineffective leader that wasn't producing the results the city had hoped for.

Nicholas Leblovic, on the right, at the time Chair of the Waterfront Advisory committee on a tour of the Pump House in the Beachway.

The law suit went nowhere. Leblovic issued the writ then failed to follow up. The Gazette had to cover the costs – the lawyers are not cheap – and Leblovic got to go his merry way.

Issuing this kind of writ has been seen as an abuse of process; there is now legislation in Ontario to put a stop to this kind of thing.

ECoB questions a system that encourages residents to appeal decisions made by municipalities, yet fails to protect them from developers who can threaten lawsuits.

ECoB decided to withdraw the appeal. The city can now issue Carriage Gate a building permit and the 23 storey tower can be built.

Earlier this week Jim Young sent the Gazette a note saying: “I have put together a timeline of the events leading up to my resignation from ECoB and my reasons for resigning. It is fairly long and detailed. Are you interested in it?”

The Gazette said it was interested but we have yet to hear from Jim Young.

ECoB points out that it was created to be a voice for the residents. All organizations have internal issues. ECoB always indicated that the Municipal Election was important, in some ways, more important than the appeal.

True change will only come about with changes on Council.

While the withdrawing of the appeal application disappoints some, ECoB points out that it has been very active and will continue to be active.

ECOB Dec 13 #3

ECoB’s first public meeting

– ECoB held a community meeting to bring residents together in December.

– ECoB held a rally at City Hall

– ECoB held a very successful potential candidate workshop in February at Tansley Woods

– ECoB was featured twice on Your TV – The Issue – to bring residents issues about the proposed Official Plan to the public.

– ECoB was instrumental in having a story not only in The HamiltonSpectator, but also the Toronto Star.

– ECoB met with Mary-Lou Tanner and members of her staff to suggest ways of making residents a more integral part in the planning process. This did result in some minor changes.

– ECoB met with Eleanor McMahon to encourage Provincial involvement.

– ECoB met with the mayor and some of the Councillors who were prepared to hear our concerns.

ECoB Crowd Feb 22

ECoB’s meeting for people who were interested in running for public office.

– ECoB has been meeting with potential candidates in the upcoming Municipal Election.

– ECoB has rented venues for Ward Candidate Meetings that will be happening in the fall just before the municipal election

ECoB is more than just about appealing a decision to build the 23 storey tower at 421 Brant Street.

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Development projects being put forward for the Brant Fairview part of the city.

News 100 blueBy Staff

June 11th, 2018



Development begins to take place on a part of Brant Street that isn’t downtown downtown.  This one is closer to Fairview

A 91 unit four-storey stacked townhouse development with 137 parking spaces below grade, and five above will be shown at an open house Wednesday June 27, 7pm, at the Burlington Public Library for the redevelopment of 849 and 855 Brant Street, south of Fairview

Brant Fairview proposal

Less than a block to the east the Molinaro Group is completing the construction of the first three of the five high rise towers that will be on the site.

The project would require both an Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendment. The meeting is hosted by the applicants,TRG (Brant-Fairview), an affiliate of The Rosseau Group, to seek public input prior to filing an application.

The site has at least one perfectly good office building in place but the rule of getting the most out of a piece of land has come into play in Burlington.

In the illustration one can see the location of the Discovery Ford dealership on the west side of Brant.

A number of years ago the then city planner held a meeting of all the automotive dealerships in the city to talk about how property might be developed in the future.  At the time none of the automotive people were interested in thinking in terms of redeveloping their locations.  Discovery Ford recently completed a major upgrade of their site with newer signage and upgrade of the outside of the building

Candidate for the Office of Mayor Marianne Meed Ward will be attending.


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Development in Burlington: Property along Fairview is being scooped up at feverish pace - said the barber.

background 100By Pepper Parr

June 1st, 2018



For woman it is the hair salon – for men it is the barber shop.

That’s where the scoop and the gossip get exchanged.

A loyal and reliable Gazette reader got a haircut yesterday. He has been going to the same barbershop for years and as our reader said: “My guy has had these people as clients for years.”

The people he was talking about are those who own property on the north side of Fairview from the Burlington GO station o Guelph Line


Hottest property acquisition spot in the city. The Walmart development years ago started the trend. When the Molinaro’s began the five tower Paradigm project and the city began the push for the mobility hub concept there was no stopping the developers.

Liz at Home

The shop is said to have to be vacated by the end of the year – according to the barber.

“I think he said that Liz at home on Fairview has just redecorated and doesn’t really want to sell, but maybe the price isn’t right yet.

“Holland Park sold for $45 million, after bickering.

“Better Bitters is said to have sold for $15 million.

“Offered 10, come back at 20, settlement 15.

Fairview and Guelph Leggat

Everything between Brant and Guelph that isn’t already being developed is being bought up. The Leggat dealership on the eastern end of the block of property could become an anchor, said the barber.

“Developers  after Leggat’s property too but Doug Leggat is said to not want to sell – or that’s the story, maybe not right.

“Objective is to get the whole GO block from the GO station west to Guelph Line.”

Downtown the things are close to frantic – surveys are being done, renovations are being stalled. All the big money players in the game are moving rapidly – getting agreements in place with plans for nothing but growth.

The city has said the development is going to take place around the GO stations. These locations are being referred to as mobility hubs and the developers appear to be saying – that’s OK with us.

Speculation is rife.

At the same time there is a group looking for a way to appeal the decision that was made by city council to approve the 421 Brant project.

But it is all barbershop talk of course.

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New Director of City Building appointed - think planner.

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 28th, 2018



Heather MacDonald is going to be the new Director of City Building effective June 25, 2018. In the past the position was known as the Director of Planning

Heather_MacDonald COB planner

Heather MacDonald appointed the Director of City Building.

MacDonald is currently the acting Vice President, Project Planning in Planning and Development at Metrolinx.

Previously, MacDonald has worked at the City of Brampton where she was Interim Commissioner, Planning and Development Services and at the City of Mississauga where she held series of progressive roles in human resources and planning, including Director, Policy Planning; Director, Organizational Wellness; and Director, Strategic Housing Initiatives.

MacDonald is a Registered Professional Planner and Certified Human Resources Leader. She holds a Bachelor of Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo and is a graduate of the Executive Program at Queen’s University and the Advanced Human Resources Studies program at the University of Toronto.

Bill Janssen, Burlington’s current acting Director of City Building will remain in the role until June 22, 2018.

City manager James Ridge is fleshing out his leadership team. The former Director of Planning, Mary Lou Tanner was made the Deputy City Manager. Ridge reports that: “After a comprehensive recruiting competition, the city is pleased to have Heather MacDonald who will serve as the new Director of City Building. Heather is “an accomplished veteran in the public sector with broad expertise in the municipal environment. As Burlington’s population continues to grow, Heather’s leadership skills and municipal knowledge will play a valuable role in guiding the city’s long-term planning vision, as set out by the new Official Plan.”

Bill Janssen gets thanked for “his guidance in leading the Department of City Building over the last six months, including the adoption of Burlington’s new Official Plan.”

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Brant street traffic draws several opinions - neither the traffic or the debate is going to go away anytime soon.

News 100 redBy Staff

May 26th, 2018



There is more than one side to a story.

Gary Parker a Deyncourt Drive wrote us saying:

I received the accompanying note from one of my neighbours this Friday afternoon. He was out and about and observed a situation that is all too common in our downtown. He also noted that he had issues finding a parking spot. And this as he points out of course is today’s world without the level of intensification our new OP will allow.

Interestingly in the justification section of the Wellings Consultants report that seeks approval for the high rise tower at 409 Brant is a quote from its traffic consultant. It suggests that some traffic issues might emerge as a result of this development and the city might want to consider a restrictions on left hand turns off of Brant Street to Elgin. That will surely solve the congestion problem eh?

Instead of being a place of vibrancy that attracts Burlington citizens downtown what we are creating is a place to be avoided! This will be the legacy of a city council and a planning department that ignores the wishes of the people.

The note from the neighbour, who has the same first name, said:

There currently is no better argument to re-think downtown intensification than today.
Lakeshore has been gridlocked since 3:30 this afternoon and currently Brant St. is now backed up to almost Smith’s.
No one is going anywhere fast and that is without the planned 5 high rise towers being in play.

Jack Dennison, the ward 4 incumbent seeking re-election added to the discussion:

There was an accident on the QEW west bound. There was an accident on the North bound skyway. The ramp to the Niagara QEW is now closed for an extended period. The cut through traffic was at a peak.

Gary Parker shot back with:

And that’s the point Jack. Problems like this happen with regularity and with the growth of the commuter population in the Niagara region the frequency of these issues will only increase. Now add in what you guys have approved and you have a perfect storm scenario. However I suppose that by then things will be so bad that the Lakeshore / downtown route won’t be a viable option for these commuters. Maybe that’s the missing genius component of your plan?

Traffic is clearly going to be an ongoing debate that will keep the October municipal election interesting.

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Engaged Citizens of Burlington now need to find out if there really is support to appeal the city council decision to approve a 23 storey tower opposite city hall.

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 24th, 2018



It is just a matter of days before Carriage Gate can begin the process of changing what downtown Burlington is going to look like.

421 BrantCity Council approved the document earlier this week and – except for the 20 day wait that is needed – Carriage Gate can pick up their building permit and begin the demolition of the properties that are on the north side of James, east side of Brant as far up as the Wardell Insurance office.

ECoB, the community group that has opposed the height and density the development was given is asking the public what they think about what has been approved.

The group – Engaged Citizens of Burlington has been looking into a possible appeal of the decision city council made and now wants to find out just what there is in the way of support for an appeal.

The site to get your two cents on the record is right here: CLICK:

Engaged Citizens of Burlington is a not for profit group working towards a better Burlington for generations to come. Working on behalf of citizens with the City of Burlington and other stakeholders in the civic process, we are particularly engaged with issues of planning and development.

Through our online and community presence we help build awareness on issues affecting Burlington residents and the community as a

ECOB Dec 13 #3

The first public meeting ECoB held drew more than 100 people on an evening that had snow on the ground.

We are a growing diverse group of residents and business people who want only the best for Burlington. The group is energized to bring voices and action from all areas of the city to challenges that will affect the quality of life for our citizens today and in the future.

The response to the survey will help ECoB determine if they have the support from the residents needed before engaging in an appeal of 421 Brant St.

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Is there a procedural issue with the way the city got the Official Plan they approved into the hands of the Region?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 21st, 2018



Burlington’s Official Plan is now in the hands of Regional Council.

And just what does that mean?


The approved Official Plan is now in the hands of the Region. Was the paperwork needed to get the document to the Region done properly?

The Official Plan has become a municipal election issue with some thinking that the election of a significantly different city council means they can have the Region send the Plan back to the city where it will get debated and hopefully changed.

Not likely.

Many don’t understand just how the process of getting the Official Plan passed works. Greg Woodruff, an Aldershot resident who ran for the Office of Chair of the Region in 2014, wrote the man that won hat job asking for an explanation as to just how the passing of the new Official Plan to make it the law of the city gets done. Chair Carr passed Woodruff’s request along to Art Zuidema, the commissioner for Legislative & Planning Services at the Region.

Commissioners are the senior level of Management at the Region

Here is his description of the Official plan procedure Woodruff got from the Region:

The public consultation for the Burlington Official Plan; including special meetings of council, statutory public meetings and open houses must occur prior to Burlington Council’s adoption of their Plan. The City of Burlington is required to submit to the Region affidavits or sworn declarations that state that the procedural requirements of the Planning Act have been met in passing their Official Plan.

If you have concerns about the adequacy of the process followed, these should be directed the Clerk for the City of Burlington.

The Region is the approval authority for the Burlington Official Plan. The Plan will be reviewed to ensure that it complies with the Provincial Policy Statement, the Provincial Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the Provincial Greenbelt Plan, the Regional Official Plan and the Niagara Escarpment Plan.

The Region received the adopted Burlington Official Plan for review on May 11th. The Region has 210 calendar days to review and make a decision regarding the Burlington Official Plan and can, if necessary to complete the review, extend that time-frame for an additional 90 days.

The Region’s Chief Planning Official has delegated authority from Regional Council to approve local Official Plans that conform with Provincial and Regional policies. If the Plan does not conform, and the City of Burlington does not approve the required changes, then Regional Council will make the final decision on the Burlington Official Plan.


Regional Council meet at the offices in Oakville.

Once a decision is made regarding the Official Plan, notice will be provided to each person that has made a written request to be notified of the decision. Once the Region’s decision has been made, anyone who before the plan was adopted made oral submissions at a public meeting or written submissions to the council, may appeal to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT). The appeal must be based on inconsistencies with the Provincial Policy Statements, Provincial Plans or the Regional Official Plan.

If you wish to be notified of the Burlington Official Plan decision you can register with Curt Benson, Chief Planning Official for the Region, who has been copied with this message.

Woodruff then said that “it appears the 210 day time frame is live and the LPAT objections are limited to “provincial policy statement compliance”.

Greg WoodruffWhat this means in effect” said Woodruff,  “is that the existing regional council can pass the Burlington OP at the regional level in November under the normal time line.”  He adds: “I’m sure this 210 day process and the May 11th OP pass date are no coincidence.  I can see no realistic process for stopping the New OP at the regional level. It can be passed in November by the existing council. At that time even if a new council made a new official plan on day one (clearly impossible) the new OP would still be live for many months.

Tom Muir, another Aldershot resident, suggests there “was a sticking point about the legality of the public process that came up.

Muir wants to know “who provided the affidavits and/or sworn declarations that the issues around the special council meeting at the end clearly met the Planning Act requirements for public notice of the meeting and opportunity for public delegation?”

“As I recall, we were only told the procedural by-law saying the powers and procedures to call a special meeting of council, not if this one was done “adequately”. No explanation of that was issued as I recall.”

Did the Clerk make a public sworn declaration or affidavit that the public notification of the special council meeting was adequate in terms of timing because there were so many slips that the special meeting as originally notified of, did not happen at the notified time, and there was, in my experience, no adequate public notice of when the meeting would actually be held to take the adoption vote so the public could register to delegate at Council, said Muir.

Muir points out that the public was told there wold be a special council meeting “following the P&D meeting”, but P&D meeting kept being extended – so much so that no one ever knew when it was going to end.

Muir isn’t at all sure that the City Clerk could sign an affidavit saying the special council meeting was properly held and that due notice was given the public according to Planning Act rules and council procedural practices.

Muir with pen in hand

Muir wants the City Clerk to be held accountable and to explain just how she got the approved Official Plan out of city hall and into the offices of the Regional government.

Muir wants the Clerk to be required to provide a detailed explanation as to how this actual process was “adequate” and sufficient to justify a sworn declaration or affidavit.  He appears to be looking for that elusive thing called accountability that is said to exist at city  hall.

Muir “thinks Council and staff just went with the momentum and wanted to vote and that overcame paying attention to whether they were adequately fulfilling Planning Act rules and their own procedural by-laws.”

There are some very valid concerns as to whether or not the city followed both the letter and the spirit of the process of approving the draft of the Official Plan before they sent it along to the Region.

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Urban Design Advisory Panel full of professionals - where are the well informed people who live in the city?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 14th, 2018



The City of Burlington has established its first Urban Design Advisory Panel, created to help achieve design excellence in the city.

The Urban Design Advisory Panel is made up of nine design experts, representing a cross section of design disciplines from architects and landscape architects to urban designers and planners.

Tall building design - set backs and spacing

Set backs and spacing were set out n considerable detail in the Guidelines.

Meeting monthly, the panel provides independent and objective professional urban design advice to staff in Burlington’s Department of City Building on development applications for all tall and mid-rise buildings and public development projects, studies and policy initiatives.

The advisory committee members are:

Ken Coit (Chair)
Jana Kelemen (Vice Chair)
Nigel Tai
Naama Blonder
Jessica Hawes
Brad Smith
Wai Ying Di Giorgio
Alex Taranu
Matt Reid

Members of the committee are highly qualified design professionals who currently possess full membership for a minimum of ten years in at least one of the following professional associations:

Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC)
Ontario Association of Architects (OAA)
Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA)
Ontario Association of Landscape Architects (OALA)
Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) or
Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI).

Tall buildiong design - material use

The guide lines are not mandatory but it didn’t take developers very long to make extensive use of them. There wasn’t any public input on the creation of the guidelines.

What’s missing from this list is at least two people who are not professionals; people who have a “feet on the street” sense of the city.

Nothing on what this advisory committee has done in the past. Will dig into that.

Jim Young, the Aldershot who delegates to city council frequently, once said: “Have you ever heard a city appointed advisory committee disagree with the city.”

To learn more about the panel, please visit

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The 409 Brant development takes it first bow - it didn't get a standing ovation

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

May 2nd, 2018



The community now knows what it is going to look like and they weren’t all that impressed with what they saw and heard at a neighbourhood meeting last night at the Lions Hall.

The questions were consistently critical with the president of Revenue Properties sitting quietly in a corner watching every movement, gauging the audience very carefully.

409 with 423 shadowed

The architects prepared a rendering of there structure and shadowed in how it will relate to the already approved 423 Brant development. Both are on opposite sides of James Street across from city hall. The intention is to angle the corners of the of each building on the Brant James intersection allowing for an opening up to the Civic Square and a more expansive view. done right – it could work.

The architect did a decent job of explaining how the building was going to connect relate to the development to the already approved 23 storey on the north side of James and Civic square which was described as an underutilized space.

The design of the buildings will have a portion of one of the corners cut away so that the view from James Street opens up onto Civic Square. There really isn’t all that much traffic going west on James – but architecturally it could add some flair to the streetscape.

Civic Square will be getting a total face lift – mention was made of a community design exercise

Glen Wellings, the developer’s planning consultant, earned his fee – he managed to skirt around the issues that he was uncomfortable with. There was one occasion when Wellings tried to toss a question to one of the Revenue Property executives who waved Welling’s off. Those people tend not to answer directly – that’ what the hired guns are brought in for.

He explained that this first public showing of the development was meant to gather opinions and reactions from the public.

Most of the people in the room understood that – what they were having difficulty with was that their views didn’t seem to get very far beyond their mouths.

It is close to a given that this structure is going to get approved. If their developer doesn’t get that approval this development comes under the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) and not the newly created Land Planning Act Tribunal (LPAT).

The city staffer who served as moderator struggled to keep the microphone in her hand. George Ward, a resident of ward 4 wasn’t able to get it out of her hands.

At one point the Mayor and the ward 2 Councillor began to get into a slinging match over “facts” – Meed Ward arguing that the Mayor didn’t have his facts quite right.

When it began to get a little feisty the staffer cut them both off – not something you see from city hall staff very often.

Ground floor - parking ramp

Parking both in and out will be from John street. That parking ramp in the middle of the building makes for pretty small retail spaces. The scale of the set back, shown here in the upper left, gives you some idea as to how the building will open up on to Civic Square

Parking was a focal point – the development will have .92 parking spaces per unit (a total of 212 parking spots) in a structure that will have 224 units that will be 1, (600 sq. ft.) 2(850 sq. ft. and 3 bedroom with 1200 sq. ft. of space. Current planning rules call for 1.2 parking spaces for each unit. There will be no parking for the commercial spaces

Nothing on pricing.

No mention of park space.

There will be just one level of commercial space – those units will be very small but will ring the building.

No visitor parking.

Good bold design – quite a bit different than anything Burlington has seen in the past.

A major concern for several people was what will happen to Brant Street during construction – especially if the two projects are under construction at the same time.

Rendering partial of design

It s a bold design that will have retail on all four sides of the building. But much less in the way of retail square footage. This view looks south to the lake with city hall on the right and the Queen’s Head where it has always been and where it is always going to be.

The architect suggested that it would take two and a half to three years to complete the building – they are putting in five levels of underground parking.

The entrances to the underground parking will be on John Street for both buildings – the public is looking at some 400 cars that will be entering and leaving the two buildings on a street that will have bus traffic all day.

There won’t be much in the way of vibrancy on Brant Street from about Ontario street south for that five year period – the east side of the street will be hoardings and construction overheads.

Wellings kept dropping in the phrase “a complete community” which he didn’t really define.

The Albert Schneider and the Kelly’s Bake shop locations are being kept as historical sites – what the public will see when the project is completed will be far from what is there today.

The buildings will be taken back to what they looked like in their early renditions when Brant and John Streets were quiet pokey little places where everyone knew everyone and the merchants knew your first name.
Back to the time when Spencer Smith walked the streets of the town and Smith was the Police Chief, when the Gazette was a print publication with an office on Brant Street.

The process going forward is for planning department staff to meet with the developer and compare notes on what he public had to say. The developer will be expected to come back with some changes to deal with the prime concerns.

The phrase Section 37 benefits for the community didn’t get mentioned; expect the developer to say that keeping the two historical structures is what the public will get.

There is a lot of misunderstanding in the minds of the public. The city is required to accept every development that is dropped on their doorstep and if it is a complete development with all the required studies attached they are required to write a report to city council recommending that it be accepted, turned down or have significant changes made. That’s the law – the city has to live within those rules

Set backs for each level

The various levels of set back. As the building rises the area gets smaller. How much will there be in the way of changes when this eventually gets to city council? Hard to tell – depends to a large degree on the kind of city council the citizens elect.

The site is made up of nine different properties that are .02 of a hectare in area. One woman wanted to know what a hectare looked like – It was a unit of measure she wasn’t familiar with. No one was able to give her a sense as to just how big this development was going to be.

Another downtown resident asked why the building has to be 24 storeys high “why can’t you leave it at 17”. The answer was “it’s the money honey!”

This development will get to a council that may well be quite a bit different than the one in place now. There may be a new Mayor with a perspective a lot different than that of the current planner.

There are at least two declared candidates that see the current city manager as not quite what the city needs.

Things are just a poppin at city hall. Hang on to your hats!

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The Doug Ford Greenbelt development idea came from the development industry.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 1st, 2018



There is more – the Doug Ford idea on allowing development to take place in the Greenbelt wasn’t his – it came from some of the best minds in the development industry.

Give a listen.

The development industry – the corporations that have banked land in rural Burlington with the hope that someday – maybe – the rules on development in the Escarpment will change.

Their day appears to have come.

The city is more than just the Escarpment to the north and the lake to the south. It is the people in between that determine who we really are. And it takes more than a magazine saying we are the #2 city in the country doesn't make it so.

Can you see where the affordable housing might be built?


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Just what did Doug Ford say when he talked about permitting development in the Greenbelt for affordable housing?

News 100 redBy Staff

May 1st, 2018



The Doug Ford plans to permit development in the Greenbelt need a very close look.

Doug Ford

Doug Ford – the day he announced he was running to become the Premier of the province.

There is already all kinds of spin being put on his statement – so just what did he say? A short video clip of his statement is set out below.  Small advertisement is attached to the video – sorry about that.

If you can make any sense of his statement – share it with us.

He is prepared to allow development in the Greenbelt to create more affordable housing and any land in the Greenbelt that is used for housing will be replaced by other land.

Where is that “other land” going to come from?


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Provincial Liberal candidate speaks out against Doug Ford idea to allow Escarpment development.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 1st, 2018



Tedjo BEST

Alvin Tedjo speaks out against any development in the Greebelt

It didn’t take Alvin Tedjo, Liberal candidate for Oakville North Burlington in the forth coming provincial election long o let people know where he stands on the Doug Ford announcement to permit some development of the Escarpment lands.

Tedjo speaks of a secret agreement that Ford has made – not quite sure how the word secret gets applied to a statement Ford made.

Tedjo said “Doug Ford’s secret back-room promise that he would pave over our green spaces is reckless and out of touch with communities like ours.”

What is not permitted are any plans to change the rural boundary that the province put in place in 2006.
Development north of the Hwy 407 – Dundas Road link is not permitted.

This map sets out the area within which the province wants to create a new highway at some point in the future. The highway is referred to as the NGTA - Niagara to GTA road.

This map sets out the area within which the province wants to create a new highway at some point in the future. The highway is referred to as the NGTA – Niagara to GTA road.

The three settlement areas, Kilbride, Lowville and Mt Nemo can have some very minor and certainly low level residential development.

Burlington has fought hard on every occasion to keep development out of the rural Escarpment. When the provincial transportation Ministry talked of running a road through the Escarpment from about Kilbride and run south to the 407 people gathered in the hundreds at the Mainway Arena to put an end to that idea.

NGTA No-highway-here1-285x300Tedjo added that the “reckless back-room plan to pave over countless farms, wetlands and forests would be a disaster for our environment and forever change the character of our local neighbourhoods.”

Tedjo has his finger on the pulse of the community – he was the first to speak out against Ford’s comment.

Nothing from the Mayor of Burlington, nothing from the Mayor of Oakville – so far.


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Teenager and his chums build a 3D model of the downtown core - get it in front of city council.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

April 30th, 2018



Getting parents out to a meeting at city hall is tough enough – getting teenagers to attend a meeting is something parents will give you a quizzical look should you mention wanting to do that.

It was a little different with Remy Imber, a 13 year old who lives in the community west of Brant and north of Lakeshore, where protecting the community from any development that will change the feel and character of the community is an article of faith.

Remy and several of his friends had built a 3 dimensional model of parts of the downtown core and he wanted city council to see it to show what the intensification is really going to mean.  The people in the St. Luke’s neighbourhood are very protective of about what gets built in the downtown core.

Downtown model

Remy Imber delegating to city council with the 3D model of parts of the downtown core.

There are a number of small developers who have taken small projects to city hall only to find that they have to face an often hostile neighbourhood meeting. Some of the project don’t go much further.

The community organization in the St Luke’s Precinct can get a message out in a matter of minutes should the need arrive.

The neighbourhood is made up of single family dwellings with small apartments sprinkled throughout the neighbourhood.

The Plaza with the No Frills supermarket is a short stroll for most residents. The downtown core is their base with a significant number of people in the community able to walk to their offices or retail establishment.

The health of the downtown core is vital for these people – so when the need to intensify became part of the political language of Burlington – the eyebrows were raised and the question – How much, how high and where – got asked.

421 Brant

The northern wall of the 23 storey Brant development will come close close to the Centro retail outlet on Brant – too close for many people.

When the 23 storey condominium at Brant and John Street was approved the residents were alarmed. The building was going to take up a good stretch of Brant street – right up to the edge of Centro, a retail operation that sells home decorating items and operates a gardening business as well and has a small outdoor garden and plant operation that leads out into the parking lot behind where there is a small Sunday farmer’s market that is very popular.

With Centro about to have the northern wall of a very tall building right beside them the neighbourhood wanted to know what the downtown core would look like with a number of very tall buildings going up. Saying it would rise 23 storeys is one thing, seeing a scale model was something else.

The residents had asked the city to provide a 3 dimensional model and were told that it wasn’t possible – not enough in the way of staff resources to take on the task and a lot of the data needed wasn’t available.

St lukes emerals precinct 2

S t. Luke’s: a neighbourhood that feels it is at risk with the city’s intensification plans.

The people of St. Luke’s precinct people are resourceful – if the city couldn’t create a 3 dimensional model – then they would make one.

That’s where Remy and his friends became the front line. Parents found themselves driving all over the region buying up all the available shades of grey LEGO blocks needed to create the model that they will now take almost anywhere.

One parent said they bought up all the available grey LEGO between Burlington and the Don Valley Parkway.

They found a way to get the model included in a Standing Committee meeting – not something the city really wanted to see happen and certainly not something any of the council members applauded, with the exception of the ward Councillor, Marianne Meed Ward.

The display of the 3 dimensional model became part of the delegation 13 year old Remy was giving. He explained what the different buildings were and letting people get a sense as to just how high 23 storeys are when set beside city hall, Simms Square, the Queen’s Head – and including other projects that are now in the hands of the planners who have to prepare a report for city council.

Model with Tanner

Deputy city manager Mary Lou Tanner, on the left, looks over the LEGO model built by Remy Imber and several of his friends.

The model was on display at the recent Bfast Transit Forum where the former Director of Planning, and now Deputy City Manager Mary Lou Tanner gave it a look.

She had one of those Queen Elizabeth “We are not amused” looks on her face.

That model could well become a part of the race for the office of Mayor as well as the race for whoever gets to represent the ward at city council come the October 22nd election.

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ECoB points out that 'informing is not engagement' and urges citizens to elect the city council they deserve..

News 100 redBy Jim Young, Chair – EcoB

April 29th. 2018



It is said that “In a democracy, people get the kind of government they deserve”. We believe Burlington deserves better than this.

On Thursday, ignoring the highest number of delegations in its history and some of the best detailed critiques by citizens from every corner of the city and rural areas; Burlington City Council passed its contentious new Official Plan (OP).

421 Brant

Directly opposite city hall on the north side of James street – 23 storey tower, with a proposed tower to the south. Height for that tower – yet to be determined.

While opposition focused on the downtown, widely viewed as belonging to everyone, there was equal concern about over intensification in individual residential communities. The plan, seven years in the making, was seen by most as too developer friendly, too much in thrall to the province and the region and too often dismissive of local concerns.

Transit terminal - John Street

A bus terminal and ticket vending site that was once going to be closed got upgraded to mobility hub.

Putting aside the fears of over intensification in the downtown, the failure to consider more balanced approaches to intensification, the fact that Burlington is already meeting its intensification goals and the ridiculous notion that the John St. bus stop is a “Downtown Mobility Hub”, then the missing details like the definitions of site specific height limits for some precincts, particularly around the Mobility Hubs and the absence of supporting Transit and Parking plans; the greatest point of contention was always the feeling that citizen input was ignored.


A packed public meeting at city hall

The city claims that engagement on the OP was above and beyond but who gets to define “Real Engagement”? In a seven year planning process the city only started to hold information sessions in late 2017 in the unseemly rush to make the downtown a Mobility Hub and therefore an Urban Growth Centre. Only after citizen anger brought ECoB (Engaged Citizens of Burlington) into being did the city even start to pay attention. ECoB position is that this was always too little, too late and that informing is not engagement.

Numerous meetings with Planning and Communication staff failed to move them on the major issues of importance to citizens. Councillors Craven, Taylor, Dennison and Lancaster declined to discuss the OP or the process. The Mayor and Councillor Sharman met with us but had difficulty accepting any vision of engagement other than the staff line that “Information is Engagement”. Only Councillor Meed Ward encouraged greater citizen engagement and her motions at council reflected this.

Rick Craven

Councillor Rick Craven – wasn’t available to meet with ECoB

John Taylor - hand up

Councillor John Taylor wasn’t available to meet with ECoB

Ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison always has an eye open for an economic opportunity - sees a great one for the city: sell the golf course.

Councillor Jack Dennison wasn’t able to meet with ECoB

Lancaster on bullying

Councillor Blair Lancaster wasn’t able to meet with ECoB

In the final analysis this is another bad plan finalized much too quickly after 7 years of stagnating on staff desks, in an attempt to prevent it from becoming an election issue. It will still be too easy for developers to get sidestepping amendments and it may even favour developers at the newly created Land Planning xxx Tribunal (LPAT) more than the old OP if that had remained in place. Burlington will continue to evolve with much needed resident input. Make this an election issue, change can happen with a new Council.

Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of this, too often, rancorous debate was the self-congratulatory back slapping and high fiving by council on Thursday when they finally approved the new Official Plan. It felt like a council gloating on a victory over its citizens.

Although Council adopted this Official Plan, it requires Regional approval. Staff will be pushing their plan through the Region with additional amendments and the studies that have yet to be completed. Residents will still have the opportunity to demand changes. Until the Region accepts this OP the current OP remains in effect.

ballot box

October 22nd is municipal election day in Burlington

A new Council can overturn this Official Plan and residents get to choose who fills those council positions in the coming election. You can support candidates of your choice, who reflect your views and work to get them elected in October.

If “The purpose of debate is not to win but to make progress,” then ECoB will continue to seek progress from this debate. If any good is to come from this, it should be in the form of improved citizen engagement; despite the city’s claims, there is much room for improvement.

ECoB will explore all options, and continue to reach out to City Council, Communication and Management Staff. A start point for that outreach might well be the long ignored 2011 council report “Shape Burlington”, which uncannily predicts the present citizen engagement issues.

Shape Burlington Report.


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Was it legal? They think it is and no one is going to challenge them on the matter.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

April 29th, 2018



I’m reading about the vote on the OP; was the Special meeting of Council made known to the public?; asked a loyal Gazette reader.

Well it was and it wasn’t made known to the public that a public meeting was to take place? Could it be null and void? asked our reader.

Probably not.

Here is what happened. Our source is ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward and the procedural bylaw.
Meed Ward advises that: “The process to set a special council meeting is to poll council members. This was done weeks ago electronically by e-vote; I did not support it but enough of council did.

“The special council meeting was duly scheduled and advertised as being “immediately after the committee meeting” – so no clear start time.

“As it turned out, committee extended to Thursday morning – that hadn’t been scheduled, just the Wednesday session. Then the special council meeting was to follow.

“So, residents didn’t know about either the committee meeting extending to Thursday or the special council afterward unless they were in attendance or watching the live feed (the video of the meetings is not posted till a day or two later).

Meed Ward H&S

Councillor Meed Ward – did not support holding a Special Meeting of Council immediately after a Standing Committee meeting.

Meed Ward said she “ didn’t have the Thursday extended committee meeting time booked in my calendar. It was scheduled late afternoon on Wednesday.”

“Technically, one could argue the process to call the special council meeting was followed, but it left the public shut out.

Meed Ward said she “ tried to bring a motion to council to refer the council meeting to Monday, a scheduled committee meeting time, but could not get a seconder in advance to put it on the floor.”
Mayor Goldring always make a point of telling the watching audience how many hours each Standing Committee spent and he explains how many bylaws were passed.

On a critical thing like public engagement on the most important piece of legislation this council has passed (technically all they did was approve it) the public was shut out.  Deliberately?

It would have been a small matter for anyone with a real sense democracy to have explained to the audience that was in council chambers and those watching the web cast that a motion to waive the required time between the calling of a council meeting and the holding of that meeting had been waived. It was done electronically directly between the Mayor and the members of council – the public didn’t get to see the vote take place.

Not sure how legal that is – matters not; there isn’t a lawyer in town prepared to hustle up to the County Court and ask for a ruling.


Mayor Goldring at a community engagement meeting.

As for the Mayor and that Special Council meeting – he was too busy handing out proclamations – some of those who were to be given their proclamation didn’t bother to show up.

Let’s see what the readers think.

Meed War’s closing comment on this was: “Not a great day for democracy. Calling out the small number of residents in attendance that morning added insult to injury. If this had been held at the regular council meeting in May, or even at the scheduled committee meeting on Monday, April 30 residents would have filled the room and the podium – because they would have known it was coming and could plan to be there.”


Mayor Goldring handed out Proclamations during a council meeting with a packed council chamber c

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Dennison comments on the approved Official Plan

News 100 blueBy Jack Dennison, Ward 4 Councillor

April 28th, 2018


Burlington city council heaved a sigh of relief Thursday afternoon and approved an Official Plan. The 400 page document now goes to Regional Council where it will be debated again, perhaps revised and sent back to Burlington.  The Gazette has asked each member of council for a copy of the remarks they made after the Official Plan had been approved. Comments made by Jack Dennison, ward 4  council member. are set out below.

I recognize the desperate need to get our new Official Plan approved so that we are more in line with the Provincial Policy statements on growth and intensification. Our current Official Plan and Zoning By-laws are out of line with those Provincial plans. We the city should be able to successfully defend our new official plan heights and densities, where we were unsuccessful with 374 Martha/ADI/Nautique.


Councillor Jack Dennison at a Strategic Planing meeting at LaSalle Park.

That said, I still have difficulty with the proposed Official Plan where entire city blocks downtown have an Official Plan height of 17 storeys or less. Every property owner thinks their property can be developed to that height without consideration for variety of heights.

To solve this problem, we have to be site specific for tall buildings and shorter variety heights. This would allow movement within the blocks to create variety.

We need to:

• In the Downtown Core Precinct, identify that not every site will be suitable to accommodate a tall building and that design guidelines and the Zoning By-law will establish the minimum criteria which may accommodate different forms of buildings.

• Incorporate an effective transition between development within the Upper Brant Precinct and adjacent low density residential.

• Develop policies that will ensure that the conservation of existing heritage buildings is a priority by retaining heritage buildings on site; and ensuring new development must be compatible with adjacent cultural heritage resources.

• Consider implementing a phasing plan for development which could have significant adverse impact on the downtown infrastructure including the road network affecting motorists and/or pedestrians.

• And earlier we modified the 17 storeys to 12 storeys up to 17 based on additional public parking and employment spaces in the Downtown area, and increased the setback between tall buildings to 30 metres, and we do still have area specific plans and zoning bylaws through which we can continue to shape our community including our downtown.

Further, I want the OP and zoning bylaws to be in lock step and we aggressively defend the new OP and Zoning.

We do not want walls of buildings on our primary roads, Lakeshore, Brant and throughout our downtown.

Dennison announcing

Jack Dennison the day he announced the sale of Cedar Springs.

But as I already said, I feel I have no choice but to support the approval of the proposed Official Plan which has been substantially modified through the excellent input from many constituents, including ECOB as well as the Council and staff as a team with the residents – This has been a 7 year process that we had to complete. Thank you to staff for their willingness to listen and amend where they could. We are #1 and we will continue to be #1.

I totally disagree with the east side of Brant Street north of Blairholm Avenue having heights of 7 – 25 storeys, immediately adjacent to single-family residential.

The west side of north Brant is proposed at 10-25 storeys but at least has a 3-storey podium next to Brant: with review in 10 years re: additional capacity to add more tall buildings.

Dennison graph on OP


39 proposed by OP team is more than 4 times present and approved.

26 proposed by Jack is less than 3 times present and approved.

Further I want the OP and zoning bylaws to be in lock step and we aggressively defend the new OP and Zoning.

The specific blocks I take issue with include:

1. Gore Variety: instead of 17, 6 and 3 ; have 6, 8 and 3.

2. 421 Brant Street North to Birch Avenue: instead of 3,6,8 and 11 ; have a variety of 3, 6, 8 and 11 with only every second block having an 11-storey building.

409 Brant image

Revenue Properties proposal for the former Elizabeth Interiors location.

3. 409 Brant Street (Elizabeth Interiors): instead of 3 to 17, have a maximum of 3 to 14 storeys and certainly not 24 storeys.

4. Esso Station at Locust and Lakeshore Road: specify 17 storeys at the back by the Parking Garage and 3 storeys at Lakeshore Road.

5. Modify the block at the northwest corner of James and Elizabeth have a maximum height of 8 storeys like City Hall, not 17 storeys.

6. Modify the block on the south side of Caroline Street between Brant and Locust to have a podium of 3 storeys and not exceed 6 storeys instead of 11 storeys.

John - No frills - laneway

No Frills Plaza

7. Modify No Frills plaza to have a maximum height of 14 storeys, not 17, and the Brant Street building to not exceed 4 storeys instead of 6.

8. Modify the Leggat property to have a maximum height of 14 storeys, not 17, and a maximum at Brant Street of 4 storeys, not 6.

We do not want walls of building on our primary roads, Lakeshore, Brant and throughout our downtown.

But as I already said, I have no choice but to support the approval of the proposed Official Plan.

Dennison closed his comments with the observation that there were only four members of the public in the Council chamber.  That was because for the most part the public did not know exactly when the special meeting of Council was to take place.


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