Regulations that will apply to new developments after April 3 under the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 5th, 2018



The policy wonks out there – Gazette readers are a significant part of that tribe, will have their chance to get “into the weeds” and learn just how the new Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) – it replaces the OMB – will work and what the rules and regulations are going to be.

The transition of matters that went to the OMB and will now be sent to the LPAT should a development application be appealed.

Burlington aerial

Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) regulations will have a major difference over how developers react to development decisions city councils in Ontario make.

The Gazette was advised earlier today that an update on regulations under the Planning Act related to the Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act, 2017 are to be released and will come into effect on April 3, 2018.

The new regulations under the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal Act, 2017 are expected to be finalized in the near future. Links to part of the Regulations are set out below.

Under the Planning Act, changes will be made to existing regulations to facilitate implementation of the Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act, 2017 changes to the land use planning and appeal system by:

• requiring explanations of how planning proposals are consistent/conform with provincial and local policies and clarify requirements for municipal notices;

• making technical changes, such as changing references from Ontario Municipal Board to Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, and amending cross-references; and

• establishing new transition provisions to set out rules for planning matters in process at the time of proclamation.

Ontario Regulation 67/18

“Transitional Matters – General”

Ontario Regulation 68/18

amending Ontario Regulation 543/06

Official Plans and Plan Amendments

Ontario Regulation 69/18

amending Ontario Regulation 549/06

Prescribed Time Period – Subsections 17 (44.4), 34 (24.4) and 51 (52.4) of the Act”

Ontario Regulation 70/18

amending Ontario Regulation 551/06 “Local Appeal Bodies”

Ontario Regulation 71/18

amending Ontario Regulation 200/96 “Minor Variance Applications”

Ontario Regulation 72/18

amending Ontario Regulation 197/96 “Consent Applications”

Ontario Regulation 73/18

amending Ontario Regulation 545/06 “Zoning By-Laws, Holding By-Laws and Interim Control By-Laws”

Ontario Regulation 74/18

amending Ontario Regulation 544/06 “Plans of Subdivision”

Ontario Regulation 75/18

amending Ontario Regulation 173/16 “Community Planning Permits”



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Municipal government is big business and requires people with the capacity to oversee budgets that run in the hundreds of millions. Liking people also helps.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

March 4th, 2018



I frequently correspond with Gazette readers, some of whom are very critical, blunt and direct. They ask that they not be identified publicly. It’s all part of the job. There are others who are less biting and put forward ideas that they think should be in the public realm.

One reader recently said: “ I think part of the issue is that in smaller communities it is not uncommon to find people gravitating to municipal politics who come from small business backgrounds. That is natural and understandable, and the complexities in managing a smaller community are significantly less than in a larger municipal government. At some point the issues become profoundly more complex, and therefore, you need a great skill level and understanding.

council with term dates

The issues are profoundly more complex, and therefore need a great skill level and understanding.

“The other dynamic is that in a smaller community you have people in municipal government for whom the work is a part-time avocation. When you deal with cities the size of Burlington, Mississauga, Brampton, etc., you have a larger constituency, and that demands full-time attention. You can’t serve your constituents well if you are, simultaneously, running your health club, or doing financial planning work on the side.

“Part of the challenge is that municipal government has typically been the poor cousin in Confederation. Whatever status it has flows from the provincial government. However, you have several municipal governments in this country that are as complex or even mores than some provinces; for example PEI’s population is smaller than Toronto, or Mississauga, or Brampton.

rory closeup

Expected to run in ward 3 – Rory Nisan

Gareth Williams

Expected to run in ward 3 – Gareth Williams


Expected ti run in ward 6 – Ken White

“I think in Burlington part of the answer should focus on enticing retirees to run for public office. Many have the business experience, and now the time, to devote to municipal government issues. Another target audience might be persons who have sold their business, have moved here from larger municipalities, are only semi-retired, but have the acumen that would be invaluable in local administration. A third market might actually be provincial public servants who have both the education and the technical experience, and would be a useful check on municipal public servants.

“Whatever the case, we need to get better qualified people into public service at all levels.”

We are suggesting to the writer that he might well be the kind of person that should be at city hall.

Councillor Craven has, on several occasions, made the point that Burlington’s seven member city council is too small – that the job is much bigger than it was a decade ago and that it might be time to look at a larger council and think in terms of junior and senior council members, a situation where every ward would have two council members with one serving at the Regional and city level and the second serving at just the city level.

Circle all spendingFor new members of council learning how to be a city Councillor takes time – to expect these men or women to grasp the Regional workings at the same time is a bit much.

And – Councillors need to be better paid. The approximately $110,000 they are paid annually does not attract the kind of talent needed. What it does do is attract people who are never going to earn $100,00 a year in their lifetimes but think if they can capture the public imagination and win the seat – and once there, hold the seat for a couple of decades.

These people are managing an operational budget of $160 million and a capital budget of $68.6 million, that includes a 10-year program of $688 million.

Burlington is seeing much more interest in who serves on city council. Will there be any acclamations for a city council seat in October?  All seven of the current members of council were re-elected in 2014

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Mayor Goldring uses the Spectator to tell Burlingtonians his take on the new Official Plan. Does not publish the opinion on his blog.

opinionandcommentBy Staff

March 4th, 2018



In an opinion piece published in the Saturday Hamilton Spectator, Mayor Rick Goldring said:

“The City of Burlington has had many Official Plans, but none have received as much attention as our current draft Plan that council is set to adopt in April.”

The Spectator has very limited circulation in Burlington. The Mayor has yet to post the opinion to his blog

The opinion piece set out below:

Flood Goldring with chain of office

Mayor Goldring speaking to media during the 2014 flood. It was the first time we saw the Mayor wear his Chain of Office outside the Council Chamber,

“City building is constantly evolving, and we all want our city to grow thoughtfully and carefully” said the Mayor who went on to say that “ City Council is no different.”

“As mayor, I certainly want what is best for the entire community. I hear from residents that they want a more vibrant downtown and are supportive of the protection of our rural lands and those who are concerned about the future of our city.

421 Brant

The high rise was approved by city council on a 5-2 with the Mayor and Councillor Meed Ward voting against the project.

“This was most apparent when late last year City Council approved a 23-storey building across from City Hall at 421 Brant St. I voted against this development for three reasons; it is the wrong location for a 23-storey building, where the adjacent roads are narrow, this approval would lead to similar requests for similar height, and from a policy perspective, this was inconsistent with the proposed 17-storey limit identified in the City’s earlier draft Downtown Precinct Plan.

“While residents are trying to digest this decision, we were recently informed of the decision by the Ontario Municipal Board to approve the ADI development at Lakeshore Road and Martha Street. The board sided with the proponent on a proposed 26-storey high-rise plan. Again, in my opinion, this is the wrong location for the height of the building, and I am very disappointed that the OMB did not prefer a height that was comparable or lower to those in this area.

“It is more important than ever that we approve our new Official Plan. The city’s current Official Plan is out of date and doesn’t conform to provincial policy which is one of the significant reasons why the OMB did not agree with the city’s opposition to ADI’s 26-storey proposal. Clearly, our current Official Plan is unacceptable in planning for an Urban Growth Centre.

Rendering with Bake Shop

409 Brant is on the south side of James street – across from city hall. They have tucked two “historical” properties on the south end – next to what will become the Downtown mobility hub to give the application some credibility.

“With two tall buildings recently approved in the downtown, I understand why residents feel anxious about what is going to happen in the future. I disagree with the decisions to allow the 23 and 26-storey downtown buildings. However, I am supportive of well-planned and justified intensification in appropriately targeted areas of our city.

“Burlington is not an island unto itself. We are part of the Greater Hamilton Toronto Area that currently has 7 million people and will grow to 10 million within 23 years primarily because 40 to 50 per cent of newcomers to Canada want to live in this area. We must accommodate our share of growth.

“We also need to be realistic and acknowledge that Burlington is a highly desirable place to live with an amazing waterfront and rural areas that includes the Niagara Escarpment, great neighbourhoods, wonderful festivals and events that contribute to the creation of an inclusive and caring community. In addition, interest rates are low, undeveloped land supply is depleted, and single family house prices are high. This has made condominium apartments an attractive housing form to all demographics for different reasons.

“It is simply not true that we will have tall buildings at every corner of our downtown. It would be wonderful to protect our downtown and limit growth to exclusively low-rise buildings, but this approach is simply not realistic. By only allowing low-rise buildings, we are making downtown very exclusive to those that have significant wealth.”

“After listening and considering input from residents, Burlington City council made many important amendments to the proposed new Official Plan. We reduced permitted heights and increased building separations, and heritage building preservation is addressed.

“Once the high-level vision of our new Official Plan is approved, we can get to work completing the details to be included in area specific plans. City staff is currently working on new transportation, transit, cycling and parking plans. We will dramatically improve our transit system to provide reliable and frequent service along our key areas, including our GO stations.

Goldring - Christmas picture

The photograph was provided by the Office of the Mayor – it was used for his 2015 Christmas card.

“I am confident that Burlington will successfully evolve to meet our growing population and economic needs. We will be champions for great design and continue to give careful attention to all the important city building details that have made Burlington the city we are so proud of. We need to plan for our children and grandchildren so that Burlington is an inclusive, environmentally and fiscally sustainable city for generations to come.”




Related articles:
Meed Ward on why the draft Official Plan needs more time before it is approved.
Jack Dennison on why he is going to vote for the draft – with some changes.

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Meed Ward sets out her position on the draft Official Plan that is being debated at city hall. Dennison is the only other Councillor to make public comments.

opinionandcommentBy Marianne Meed Ward
Councillor Ward 2
March 4th, 2018


At Planning and Development Committee (P&D) I brought two motions, both lost: one to add the downtown and GO station mobility hubs to innovation districts (currently there is only one innovation district in the OP – the DeGroote School of Business); the second to conduct character area studies for the St. Luke’s and Emerald precincts, as requested by delegates to the P&D meeting. I will be asking for recorded votes on both these items at the March 19 council meeting, and encourage residents to come and speak to them.

St Likes-Emerald precinct

The St Luke’s and the Emerald precincts – on either sode of Brant street are solid residential neighbourhoods consisting of single detached homes with good set backs.

At P&D I also asked for additional information on Clause 8.3.3(1)(b) which will permit townhouses and walk-up apartments in all residential low-density single family neighbourhoods. This in spite of the assurances that growth will not be directed to stable neighbourhoods. If that clause stays in, every neighbourhood in the city is affected.

We will be getting additional information on this clause in advance of the March 19 Council meeting, and I will be preparing to bring a motion to strike that clause from the plan.

Any changes made at the March 19 Council meeting, will be included in the final version of the Official Plan when it comes to Committee April 4 and Council April 23 for final adoption. Residents can attend and register to speak at all three meetings (March 19 council, April 4 committee and April 23 council).

Mobility hubs

It’s worth noting that the three GO station Mobility Hubs are not ready for inclusion in this Plan – yet they will dramatically impact growth in the city: bringing 27,200 people to the Aldershot GO, 22,000 residents to the Burlington GO, and 20,000 residents to the Appleby GO stations. These areas have been under study much longer than the downtown.


Pete Ward recording his wife Marianne filing her nomination papers for the 2014 election. The city clerk advised the Gazette that we were not permitted to take “political” pictures in city hall during an election period.

So why the rush for adoption of the downtown plan? Why adopt an incomplete Plan where major growth areas aren’t included? In addition, delegates to Committee expressed concern that the plan for the GO stations and downtown are just about building buildings, not about building all the community services these new residents need, for example community centres and parks. In response, the city manager suggested that weekly meetings with developers will address that.

For these and other reasons, I don’t support this Official Plan and will continue to work for changes.

Meed Ward made the following comments at the February 28th P&D Committee meeting. Motions approved at the P&D meeting go to a City Council on Monday March 19th.

“I don’t think this Plan is the best we can do for the best mid-sized city in Canada. It’s not visionary. Members of our community, DeeDee Davies in particular, but many others, are challenging us to build community; what we’re looking at in this Plan is building vertical sprawl, and the community hasn’t even weighed in on the Mobility Hubs which will have even more height and density. I suspect that there will be a similar conversation when those three plans come forward as we have had for the downtown.

“Meetings with developers are not going to deliver us the community services and amenities we need in all of those areas including parkland to truly build communities and not just build buildings.

“I am not persuaded at all that adopting this plan in April is going to save us from OMB or Local Planning Appeal Tribunal appeals, and the reason for that is the Adi decision. That decision was argued almost entirely on the basis of what the new LPAT rules are. The new rules require you to conform to provincial policy, and the entire ruling essentially said that the 26-storey building conformed and therefore it was okay.

“That was a wake-up call, that the LPAT is not going to save us and I don’t think us adopting 17 storeys in the downtown core is going to hold at 17 storeys, given that decision.

“The other wake-up call with the OMB ruling was that even though alternative heights were offered – the city offered 11 storeys, another party to the hearings offered 16 – the vice-chair said there was no planning justification for those heights. There was nothing to justify why those were better than 26. And so, in the absence of justification for those heights, she went with 26 because the applicants made a case for it.

“And when I hear delegates coming in front of us saying there’s no planning justification reports of the type that you would see at a hearing that would justify why now all of a sudden we jump to 12 or 11 or 21 or 17 storeys, we are going to be in exactly that same position at LPAT as we were with Adi.

Ward 2 Councillor MArianne Meed Ward made her presence known to Council well before her election to office, the city knew what they were getting and she has delivered on that promise.

Marianne Meed Ward made her presence known to Council as a consistent and persistent delegator. The ward 2 residents knew what they were getting when they first elected her in 2010.

“The studies that have been done for the downtown were not planning justification reports that would justify those heights and densities.

“So I am not persuaded that adopting this plan will protect us from appeals, and that we will win those appeals at the new Local Planning Appeal Tribunal.

“I think we need to slow this process down and get all of our studies in place because those will provide the justification that we need to defend this plan. And until we get those, we’ll not be able to do it.”

Related article:

Councillor Dennison tells why he believes the city needs the draft official plan.


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Is immigration the answer: '300,000 new immigrants and half of them are coming to southern Ontario'.

opinionandcommentBy Joseph A. Gaetan

March 1st, 2018


The opinion set out below is one of a series of opinions given to city council during the debate on the status of the draft Official plan.  Links to the other opinions are set out at the bottom of this opinion.

Mr. Chairman, Mr. Mayor, Councilors, staff, fellow citizens, I would like to base my comment today on some of the reasons that were given by council prior to their votes on the Official Plan changes, that took place during the council meeting of January 29 ,2018. As a matter of context, I appeared before you on the matter of the Official Plan on January 23.2018.

I then attended the council meeting of January 29, 2018. What I heard on January 29th was a mixture of rationalizations, opinions, historical anecdotes, and some data. For the record, I do not live in downtown Burlington.

The first comment has to do with Immigration and the statement that, “The federal government is letting in 300,000 new immigrants and half of them are coming to southern Ontario”.

Syrians arriving in Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcoming Syrians to Canada

Population Growth is something our country desperately needs, and immigration is one component of Population Growth. The Stats Canada formula for Population Growth = (natural increase where NI =births-deaths) + (migratory increase where MI =immigration-emigration).

Immigration is not news, according to Statistic Canada our normal immigration since the 90’s has been in the order of 235,000 per year. The Canadian immigration plan going forward sees that going as high as 340,000 by 2020. Compare that to the fact that in 1913, 400,000 immigrants came to Canada at a time when our population was a mere 7 million.

So, while immigration is important to us as a country, Stats Canada states the “observed” growth from 2001 to 2011 was 1.11%, with the “projected” growth for 2011 to 2021 to be in the area of 1.07 %, dropping thereafter to .72% by 2061. That is a serious problem.

Gaeten stats chartWhy? If we compare those projections to the period between 1951 to 1961, population growth during that decade was far greater at 2.67 %, where natural growth was 1.87% and migratory growth was .79%. So, while we seem to be experiencing population growth in this area, the reasons for that have little to do with immigration alone.

The real problem this country and this province will face as we approach 2061 is that the natural increase (births minus deaths) component of population growth will drop to .42 % with the migratory component dropping to .64%. So, Canada is struggling to replace itself and I think we are pinning a lot of hope on a balloon that may burst and that would have dire consequences for Canada, Ontario and Burlington. With that in mind I would like to suggest we take a more conservative approach to our OP and our downtown which includes taking a step back for a few months.

The second comment was “we need assessment now”. The member did not elaborate on what that entailed. Did that mean Burlington will struggle going forward to contain tax increases? Or, did that mean that units that sell at $2 million each, is an easier way to meet our future assessment/spending needs? An answer to that question would be helpful.

John - No frills - laneway

No-frills” is more than a grocery store, it is a meeting place, it is a place where locals meet and chat and laugh in the aisles.

Here is what I do know, both the developers and city win under a scenario where 20 plus storeys developments are built and where penthouse floors sell for between $4 and $8 million per storey. But who and what we lose is the question that is not answered under the OP. For example, under this plan, do we stand to lose the “no frills” grocery store, or Centro for example? No-frills” is more than a grocery store, it is a meeting place, it is a place where locals meet and chat and laugh in the aisles, it has energy and vitality, something that you will not find in the two other grocery stores that people will be forced to shop at if it disappears and no words contained in the OP, such as there will be a grocery presence, will replace what is lost.

The third comment was, “downtown has to take its share too”. The downtown in recent years has shouldered its share of density and when asked the downtown residents and opponents of the OP seem willing to continue take its fair share of growth. Perhaps what is at issue then, is the definition of “its share”? It seems that what that means under the proposed OP, is we will have 23 and 24 storey buildings across from city hall and 17 storey buildings sprinkled elsewhere.

I don’t live in the downtown, but I do believe the pushback you are getting is genuine, grassroots and is not about to go away anytime soon, and not because people are angry, but because the stakes are too high to be ignored.

What I also heard was this plan means “100-170 people will be coming into the downtown on annual basis”. I don’t believe the increase in population growth is the issue, the change in height permissions and the number of tall building is the issue.

I would like to finish with a statement that we can all agree upon and that is “we have to make this decision based on 195,000”. I am here as one of the 195,000 and I would like to see the OP delayed in order to remove the Mobility Hub designation and what that means to the future of Burlington. Finally I heard “deferring challenging and contentious issue is not leadership” and that may be the case, but leadership is also having the willingness to taking a second look at an issue and then having the fortitude to change your mind.

Joseph Gaetan is a retired Burlington resident who lives in the highest condominoum in the city.  He comments in the Gazette frequently.

Related comment and opinion:

Opinion: Jim Young
Opinion: Gary Scobie
Opinion: Lisa Kearns
Opinion Deedee Davies
Opinion:  Jim Barnes


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Deedee Davies: my perception is that you have lost control of our downtown on us.

opinionandcommentBy Deedee Davies

February 27th, 2018


This is one of a series on delegations that were made at a Statutory public meeting on the draft Official Plan now being prepared by staff and debated at council.

Thank you for this opportunity to stand before you and share my thoughts on the latest version of the Plan.

I was not going to come. After you approved the application for 421-431 Brant St at James I was disillusioned by the Planning staff and most of my elected officials. When the 24 storey application arrived a few weeks ago for the other corner I experienced an ‘I told you so moment”. And then when OMB approved the Adi development at Martha and Lakeshore, in part because the city was not averse to height, I threw up my hands in despair – as my perception is that you have lost control of our downtown on us.

Waterfront hotel Taylor

Deedee Davies at a Waterfront Hotel redevelopment meeting with Linda Davies, (no relative on the right) and Councillor John Taylor.

So why am I here? This is YOUR last chance to get it right. If you screw up this opportunity, there is no going back. Downtown will be ruined FOREVER. I am here because I want to tell you what’s missing from the Plan to protect the downtown Burlington I use and love. I know we have to intensify.

However, I feel this Plan is not going to give us what we need. I will lay out my reasons for this concern. I’m hoping my speaking here can lead to improvements. My views are shared by so many other people who are not speaking here tonight. Please don’t let me and them down.


The Ontario Municipal Board made the 26 storey Nautique the new standard for the developers.

I am not going to go on about the heights in the various precincts. I believe they are all much too generous. It will destroy the feel of our downtown, and they are unnecessary for us to meet any of our targets. I’ve said it all before so I am not going to repeat it tonight.

First off, I want to tell you that I read the entire new draft OP. Yes from cover to cover.

Rahoon Perian Eatery in the Village Square won for the Best Overall Display for 2011.

Someone somewhere said that a high rise would be dripped into the middle of Village Square – that got squashed during the council/staff meeting on Wednesday. However, there was a time when the ADI group tried to buy the Village Square from the XX interest. They weren’t able to put a deal together.

I would like to thank you for removing the tower from the centre of Village Square and also for removing the Cannery designation from the NE corner of Brant and Lakeshore.

Chapter 1 talks about the desire to achieve a complete community. This is what I want to focus on tonight. These would include all the amenities needed for residents in the downtown to live, work, and play here. It includes parks, recreational facilities, offices, medical services, daycare, seniors gathering areas, youth gathering areas, and a mix of housing, etc. After reading the entire document, and in particular Chapter 3 on Complete Communities, and then comparing it to the buildings that are coming into our downtown, I don’t see how the two can be reconciled.

If the future means everyone living in towers, how can we replicate the living experiences of what people currently enjoy in neighbourhoods? We need developers in Burlington to include amenity spaces for basketball courts, tennis courts, road hockey rooms, just like they are doing in Toronto, in the latest towers being built there. They also need to build community garden spaces on the sunny side patios or roofs so residents can grow their own vegetables. We need some creativity about what we are expecting from the developers. We know we are going to get the “smooth jazz” pool, bar, and lounge that every developer includes for their hipster clientele. Challenge them to Grow Bold in their design. I spent 35 years in the Federal Government dealing with contractors. I know the games they play. They bargain hard for what they were going to give you anyway, just so you feel like you won something, when in fact you lost, because you gave away more than what you would have got if you hadn’t blinked first.

In Chapter 2 under Population and Employment Distribution, Table 1 shows a population in 2031 of 193,000 of which we are not far off. It also shows an employment target of 106,000 for which we are further off. Why are we focusing so much on residential instead of putting in place policies that will attract employment to our downtown? For a Complete Community, how can we get the Daycare centres, the hardware stores, grocery stores, entertainment venues, that we will need to satisfy the activities of the residents? How can we tailor our specifications so that developers will include these spaces in the towers they propose building? Currently, we are lucky to get one floor of office. The condos will come without trying as they are cheap to build.

As an example in the Chapter 3 Policies you only state you will examine opportunities for partnerships to increase the supply of affordable housing. Why not include a standard of one unit for each additional floor of height granted above what the current zoning is that must be provided to the Region as part of the Community Benefits – similar to what you included for public parking and office space.

Also in Chapter 3 Parks and Open Spaces are addressed. It even states an objective of ensuring an adequate and equitable supply are available throughout the city. And yet Lions Park is showing a designation of half St Luke’s/Emerald Neighbourhood Precinct and half Downtown Core Precinct. That would mean that the neighbourhood could lose the park and potentially gain 2.5 storey and 17 storey buildings. Why is it not protected under the Downtown Parks and Promenades Precinct?

With all the intensity planned for the Downtown Core Precinct, I am surprised there is still no mention of a new park south of James and north of Lakeshore on the east side of Brant. There will be thousands of people moving into this area. If we are looking for Complete Communities, where is the park for this community? Any family in this area would need to cross a major road to reach an existing park. Are the children to play on the new promenade?

In Chapter 6 on Infrastructure and Transportation, it talked about Active Transport for pedestrians and cyclists with such measures as wide sidewalks and barriers to protect cyclists. These are important in our crowded downtown streets. We can’t make the roads narrower to achieve this so we need greater setbacks for the buildings. I didn’t see this proposed anywhere.

Couriers parking

Couriers are going to need places to park when they are making deliveries, taxis will have to park somewhere while waiting for their passengers to arrive.

Chapter 6 also covered Goods Movement. This is critical in our intensified downtown if we want it to function well as we already have problems with most buildings built to their property lines. There are no places for couriers to deliver packages, moving vans to move residents, delivery vans to deliver goods, pick up and drop off places for visitors coming for residents, trades people to make repairs to units, taxis to wait for their fares to arrive. Are they all to double park on the active roadway lanes?

These issues must be dealt with clearly and effectively in our Plan and not left to developers to provide these necessities, out of the goodness of their hearts.

In Chapter 7 under Design Excellence I read all the “Shalls” and was left with the impression we don’t need to award extra height for much if developers complied with all our design excellence standards. Unless these are only our wish list that we get with Section 37. It should be mandatory for buildings to be built to these standards. This is Burlington, folks. Don’t sell yourself short by thinking no one will develop here if you ask for too much. They will come and they will build. Just be clear and firm on everything you want. Don’t give it away. It is too precious.

In Chapter 8 on the Downtown Urban Centre, one of the objectives is to conserve cultural heritage resources and maintain character defining areas. The most significant aspect of our downtown, other than its waterfront and unique shops is the heritage look and eclectic feel of our downtown streets. Yet I don’t see this anywhere in the document. Our shop fronts are unique. There are many heritage buildings that are not yet designated.

City Clock angle looking north on Brant

Just a “dumpy” little town that doesn’t make the best economic use of the land.

Contrast this with developers who want to create their landmark glass towers. Mr. Carnicelli referred to Brant Street as dumpy when we were speaking out about losing the character of Brant Street with new development so you can see they are not going to protect or recreate this aspect. It is up to city planners and Council to embed this in our OP. We can have new heritage look and feel built with the new construction coming.

In the section on the Downtown Core Precinct is states that one additional storey will be granted for every 150 sq metres of dedicated office floor space and every 8 underground parking spaces dedicated for public use. So if they build 150 metres of office space they get an additional 750 metres of residential. These standards are much too generous for what we get in return. Please make it fairer to the city.

In Chapter 8 you also address downtown parking. It says the city will explore opportunities for public private partnerships to expand the supply of public parking. How about just putting it right in the requirements that X number of parking spaces must be provided for public use in relation to the amount of commercial space they have at ground level. End of discussion.

In the explanation of Community Benefits in Chapter 12 you talk about giving extra height, density, or intensity for providing what should be standard in any development proposed for our downtown. A sustainable building? Come on. It doesn’t cost extra to do this stuff any more. It saves money down the road in operations – but then developers don’t care about that stuff because they don’t operate these Goliath’s after they build them. A floor of office – our standards already state some buildings need three uses while others only need two. Make them all three purpose and get something useful for your Section 37 instead.

I’m about out of time, so I hope my thoughts will encourage you to take a bolder stance on what we need to have in our OP to have a better downtown. Please don’t rush this through approval. The Region won’t be considering it until 2019. Take the time to get it right. Thank you for listening.

Related comment and opinion:

Opinion: Jim Young
Opinion: Gary Scobie
Opinion: Lisa Kearns
Opinion:  Jim Barnes

Deedee Davies chaired a Waterfront Watchdog committee for a number of years.  She kept a close eye on who was doing what and held public meetings to keep people up to date.  Should be seen as one of Burlington’s BEST

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Lisa Kearns: We need a complete strategy and we need it before this is voted into law.

opinionandcommentBy Lisa Kearns

February 28th, 2018



Engaged Citizens of Burlington (ECoB) is a not for profit group working towards a better Burlington for generations to come. Working within the civic process, we are particularly concerned with issues of planning and development. The group is energized to bring voices and action to challenges that will affect the quality of life today and in the future, we are advocates for good planning across the entire City.

ECOB Dec 13 #3

ECoB organized the first public meeting and found that they were providing a form for the public to say what they wanted to day.

In the three months from inception, ECoB has held an open meeting, a rally, a municipal elections workshop, hand delivered thousands of flyers, displayed hundreds of lawn signs, received press in no less than four publications, appeared on community television and radio, grown our social media base, delegated, met with provincial and municipal elected officials, city planning, business owners, developers and most importantly residents. The message is clear each time – we can build a better Burlington.

The delegation for PB-14-18 will focus on four matters: ECoB Requests, Public Engagement, Planning & Smart Growth and the vision for Downtown.

As we have listened to and learned from our members, we are using the Engaged Citizens voice to ask Committee to direct Staff to include the following points in the final draft to Council. These can be read, but I wish to highlight a few:

Kearns direct smile

Lisa Kearns

Official Plan is an Election Issue. ECoB questioned the rush for intensification and the tools available to keep it in control. The mayor responded with: “the need for an Official Plan to bring clear expectations to Burlington’s planning – this is what residents have been telling us”. The Mayor states that delaying the Official Plan approval would only create more instances where unexpected outcomes can occur, similar to the reaction which led to the decision at 421 Brant Street.

They mayor further states that the current council has the critical knowledge and understanding of the draft Official Plan and Strategic Plan and that it’s important that they complete this critical work. The question begs to be asked – is this in fact the best council to implement the draft Official Plan? Our trust in this council has been broken the moment 23 storeys was approved at Brant and James – this is why the official plan is an election issue.

A record number of delegations and written submissions indicate the need for a further analysis, peer review, a 3D model, character studies, and audits on the Draft Official Plan. There is little consensus by various stakeholder groups on the adoption of the plan as drafted. It is time to look to an independent third party to provide advice to council on the review and update of the Official Plan – deliverables would include the scope of work outlined in the 2009 Whitby OP peer review.



Public Engagement.
We are told the official plan project captures a significant amount of public engagement since 2012. If so, then how can we be in a place where there is a strong citizen backlash to the draft official plan? If we look to the Engagement Charter, would committee support a rating of “empower”? I refer to the last ECoB delegation: This is too little time for residents to review, analyze and understand this new material – and in response – this is too limited a time for staff and committee to review comments and respond appropriately. Would this be considered an indicator of good planning?

The main source of frustration is the Downtown Precinct Plan – already voted on and brought forward in September, was this the vision for downtown all along and residents were only let in at the last minute.

You have embarrassed and silenced residents presenting a 1400 signature petition, the continued decisions to force excessive height and drive a perfunctory timeline despite citizen opposition tells your constituents that they will simply be informed.

The surveys completed are clear on the allocations for height. Have new surveys been conducted on the draft plan and the locations where height has been identified? We would believe that is a logical follow up once conceptual videos have moved closer into reality.

Is the information presented transparent and accurate? We would have to disagree. It is highly challenging to understand the lines between mobility hubs and the official plan. Renderings are available under one and not the other. This example shows the height of the Brant & James intersection far lower than supported. Are we being misled? With less than a handful of visuals for the future of our downtown, shouldn’t these at least be accurate?

Kearns at podiumThis is not an isolated example, two months before the ADI OMB decision the Bay Observer, published “The Best of Burlington” with content from Burlington and showcased the 26 storey building as a fixture of the waterfront. This is not our waterfront.

And again, the lack of transparency at the Official Plan Open Houses this month. The precinct Plan highlights on the screen had to be asked for at each of the three sessions, these are an outcome from a meeting with ECOB and Planning Staff. Most importantly, why were these never available in the fall?

Land Use Designation:
The numbers before you have been held steadfast by committee – in November we asked for an assessment or audit of how much of the proposed employment and growth uses would be met by the three mobility hubs, not the anchor hub. We were told that there are 1-3 new tall buildings every 10 years. If this is what Planning truly believes, then we are in trouble. There has been a significant uptick in applications, if these cannot be processed within the required time, we will see many more developments than projected. Most of the lands for build out are already unencumbered and Burlington is being sold off before permits are in hand.

We need to look at this growth and be certain that the current designations are not closing the door to smart and optimal growth – and more importantly, that the parts of the city that are working aren’t destroyed. We have a vibrant downtown and growth can also be absorbed through re-designation, deferral or special planning areas in supporting parts of the City. To showcase this, and further to the Burlington Green deputation this afternoon, here is an opportunity to create a complete community near amenities, 1200 m from a mobility hub and close to highway infrastructure – the current lands are employment and as we also heard with Penta this morning these lands need collaboration with the province to ensure that maximum community benefit can be derived from underutilized lands.

Downtown Burlington Brant north from CH

This is a view of Burlington that will not exist in five years.

Vision for Downtown.
Downtown visitors and residents can feel the character of Brant Street, there is a true sense of community, an ethos, a culture and a high quality of life. The people who have worked to build a downtown, a strong downtown community and put Burlington on the map deserve a commitment from the City and Planning that the draft before us will replace this gem with concrete jungle. These corridors do not reflect the character of Brant Street.

ECoB has been asked, what would you like to see? While we have this answer we still strongly believe that the supporting plans should come forward with the official plan.

We have worked across the country with planning departments and compiled some of the best streets in Canada – especially those with a waterfront. The following slides showcase a balance in height and maintaining a more appropriate low density human scale.

Here is a report by Director of Planning Services for the city of Barrie dated June 2013 talking about the height review & tall building principles. They had decided to stick with the principles of the original 1989 height review study “based on the need to balance population growth pressures with the desire to appropriately manage built-form, while protecting the public interests of the city”. A tall building is anything over 3 storeys – any more than that is for maximized profit.

What can we do before it is too late? Recognize vibrancy and the human scale, support evolution through natural redevelopment that is compatible with the neighbourhood, and to champion the mix of older, smaller buildings to support greater levels of positive economic and social activity rather than areas dominated by newer, larger buildings.ECoB req #1

ECoB 2How can we do it? We need a character study for Brant Street and the established neighbour-hoods. We need a peer review on the downtown urban growth area to prevent the risk of excessive build out and intensification – we need to protect the view corridor to the lake and take a balanced and objective approach support a mix of population diversity and the mix of uses that continue to grow the culture of live, work and play in downtown Burlington.

We can do this together when the citizens are empowered within the civic process and Committee and Council listen and engage. We need a complete strategy and we need it before this is voted into law.

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Jim Barnett: This should not be an election issue. It should be a get it right issue. There is still time if you have the will.

opinionandcommentBy Jim Barnett

February 28th, 2018



In past delegations I have pointed out the many shortfalls of the current draft proposal, in particular to the lack of measurable specifics. I have shown that the proposal is an essay on urban planning and it is not a plan on which Burlington can move forward.

The good news is that at a recent council meeting they finally put a number on maximum building height. Seventeen stories. And this can only be achieved with the provision of commercial space, open parking and heritage preservation. Otherwise the maximum is 12 stories!! My question to the mayor” is 17 the max or can staff find “other community benefits” through negation with the developers to increase the height again?” Does 17 stories mean 17 stories max?

This is what happened with the old operating plan. Every development was massaged to give the developers what they wanted. These changes were then used to justify additional changes on other properties and building heights on Maple and Lakeshore rocked skyward, each time setting a new precedent. Soon these ad hoc changes allowed the OMB to rule in favour of the developers and we lost control. Now the planers want to rush us into the new plan saying the current operating plan is not serving us well. They are right, but they are right because they have strayed from the current plan so often that it as emasculated it. Question to the Mayor. What guarantees are you going to write into the plan to make sure that provisions in the new plan cannot be negotiated away by the planning department?


Nautique: The ADI Group development that the city didn’t want – the OMB saw it differently and approved 26 storeys.

In a recent press release ADI has receive approval for 26 stories on Lakeshore. The mayor expressed his regrets and at the same time praised the planning department for all their hard work on the file. How can a department be praised when the results of their efforts are so detrimental to the future of the city?

The downtown is not a mobility hub. The planning there should be quite different from the Mobility Hubs on the Go Train Line. When will this happen?

Question to Councillor Lancaster. You have spoken extensively for the need of affordable housing in the downtown area. What is your definition of affordable housing and how will you deliver the units needed in the down town?

For the mobility hubs and the downtown to be walk able there needs to be grocery stores. Through you Mr. chair, what have the planners done to make sure people can walk to get their groceries in these areas?

Recently a number of council members have said that the proposed plan is not just for now but for 50 maybe 70 years out. This is a classic miss direction to keep us from the important decisions that will effect the next 10 years. We should not let them get away with it. Fifty years from now we may not have enough low cost energy to air condition or heat the 25 story buildings or run the elevators. Lets use our ingenuity to get the near term right.

In my opinion the people of Burlington do not want our downtown to look like Mississauga!!! From what I can read over 90 percent of the citizens do not what our down town to look like Mississaugas. To the Mayor, What steps are you prepared to take to make sure the new operating plan reflects the desires of the people you represent?

The time line is confusing. The city has to do its work then the Region has to incorporate it into their plans which could get changed by provincial edits and directional changes. This could take two or three years and be out of date before the ink is dry. Under these uncertain condition I suggest we just proceed with what is best for us allowing for modest growth.

Underway - too muchFor a city to grow it needs a transportation plan, integral to this in a modern city is a transit plan. So far the current draft has little on how the peoples need to move around will be satisfied and to say this will be worked out after the buildings are built is classic putting the cart before the horse and for a city the ultimate in poor planning. We do not need more Appleby Lines.

Reverse town hall 1

Jim Barnett, on the right, at the Mayor’s Reverse Town Hall meeting.

We do not need more Lakeshore Roads between Martha and Maple.

This should not be an election issue. It should be a get it right issue. There is still time if you have the will.

Related comment and opinion:

Opinion: Jim Young
Opinion: Gary Scobie
Opinion: Lisa Kearns
Opinion Deedee Davies


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Gary Scobie: Council got us into this. Now Council has to get us out.

opinionandcommentBy Gary Scobie

February 28th,2018




City council didn’t want the development but failed to respond to the application within the required time frame so the developer took his application to the Ontario Municipal Board where it was approved.

I live in Ward 3 and I am here to speak against the approval of the proposed Official Plan. Two weeks ago, I received the OMB Vice-Chair’s report that approved the appeal by Adi Corporation to build a 26 storey condo at 374 Martha Street at the corner of Lakeshore Road. If ever there was a proper time to use the phrase “this changes everything”, it was that day.

It was a stunning reminder of the Province’s power to force us to shape up and face up to the massive intensification of our downtown that comes with the territory of being designated as an Anchor Mobility Hub and Urban Growth Centre.

Our current Official Plan, passed in October 2006 by our Council of seven, with three of our current Councillors there at the time, was supposed to be in compliance with the Growth Plan of the province. But alas, we learned that it has not been kept compliant over the years since. It is so far out of compliance that it was disregarded in the appeal. Our City team of Council and planning and legal experts did not even submit as evidence our proposed Official Plan wordings for the site that might have resulted in some compromise in height. Instead, OMB Vice-Chair Schiller pointed out that the City had no legal right to stop the 26 storey condo.

Gary Scobie

Gary Scobie, a frequent delegator at city hall.

I have to ask, what was Council expecting in 2006 when it embraced, on behalf of all citizens, the Urban Growth Centre designation for our downtown? Did they imagine the coming massive re-build of lower Brant Street and its adjacent streets?

Did they imagine 20 plus storey buildings at most intersections and the eventual almost complete destruction of the two storey nature of our historic downtown? I simply can’t believe that they did.
Yet three Councillors from that long ago Council sit here today and I’d invite them to explain to citizens if this indeed was their plan for our downtown.

It is now quite obvious to me that the Town of Oakville was very prescient in 2005 in their assessment of the loss of control that would come if they accepted a Downtown Urban Growth Centre designation. Their Council rejected it and convinced the Province that the intensification demanded would come elsewhere in their town. If only our Council had done the same.

We the citizens are now being asked to trust this Council and the Planning Department, the ones that couldn’t keep our Official Plan compliant, to endorse a new Official Plan that has heights above what we want and that has already been pierced by an approved 23 storey condo across from City Hall and now an approved 26 storey condo right at the lake and in the most southern and eastern point of our Downtown Core Precinct. It was presented by the developer as a Gateway to the Downtown.

Yes indeed, it certainly will be that and much more. It will be a lasting reminder of our hubris. It will be the precedent at the lake, the building to surpass in height by many future buildings. It will represent the low height that Council and the planners promised us by the lake, rising ever higher up Brant Street to the other Mobility Hub that is the Burlington GO Station.

Citizens can only imagine and envision heights of 30 plus storeys going up Brant Street, culminating in not 30 but likely 40 plus storey heights near the GO Station.

Underway - too muchWe are asked to trust Council and the Planning Department that in approving an Official Plan for all of Burlington, without the three other Mobility Hubs, without a transportation plan and without a transit plan, that they will just get it right on all of these important missing pieces when the time comes to add them. And that the OP rules will be enforceable.

I’m afraid we just can’t trust you to do that. Now that the one entity that is really in charge of intensification throughout Burlington, the Province, has spoken and told us that they have control of our Growth Centres, not just in the downtown, but also at our GO Stations, we have no alternative but to try to at least save our downtown from becoming a forest of 20 to 30 storey highrises.

The only way that this can happen is for one of you to introduce a motion to Council to request that the Province consider the 69,000 people and jobs that are planned to be added at the GO Station Mobility Hubs as our ample contribution to the intensification of Burlington as a whole and free our downtown from this crippling intensification that will come from the Urban Growth Centre and Anchor Mobility Hub designations.

You have, in good conscience, no other choice than to take this route. Council got us into this. Now I request Council to get us out.

You simply agree to contact the Province to try to save our downtown by recovering the control of downtown re-development that was surrendered in 2006.

Do not move forward with the Official Plan approval until you add plans for the critical missing parts and have exhausted every possible avenue of request with the Province to remove the downtown from this planned over-development. I think that you can succeed, but at a minimum, you surely must try.


Gary Scobie was a member of the Waterfront Advisory Committee. He is seen here, second from the left.

If you fail us in this, downtown citizens must prepare to endure ten to twenty years of construction noise, congestion, dust and dirt as tall buildings rise from foundations deep underground seemingly from every corner on Brant and adjacent streets. And the end result of this over-build will not make us the envy of other cities, will not make our downtown more livable and will not preserve our title as the best mid-size city in Canada.

Remember, from out in the lake a skyline of tall buildings jutting into the air may look good on a postcard, but for the people who actually have to live there, who have to live without rapid transit to the GO Station, with traffic congestion of intensification, without any feel of historic two storey Brant Street and its unique, independent shops, without enough parking for residents, let alone visitors to the downtown, with tall buildings everywhere they look, with wind and shadows everywhere they walk, there will be little pleasure other than looking at the lake from their window if they paid enough money for that view and wondering, was it really worth the view after all and perhaps pondering, what were they thinking when they approved this metropolis of Burlington.

Gary Scobie is a long time Burlington resident who frequently comments on how city hall works.

Related comment and opinion:

Jim Young tells Council it has failed to failed to inform, consult, involve, collaborate or empower the citizens.

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Jim Young tells council they have failed to inform, consult, involve, collaborate or empower and reminds council that they are debating the citizens Official Plan.

opinionandcommentBy Jim Young

February 28th, 2018


Jim Young, one of the most effective speakers in the city delegated before city council last night.  You had to hear him to fully appreciate what he had to say.  Not one member of city council had a follow up question.

The people of Burlington are entitled to hope and expect that their city’s official plan will be about them.

That it will reflect their hopes and their aspirations. That it will provide the basic framework of a city that will be planned and built for them; their families; their futures.

And the people of Burlington trusted Council to do that.

ECoB Dec 13 #2

Jim Young chairing a meeting.

From the public outcry over the seemingly endless ability of Developers to circumvent Official Plans it is obvious that our City’s Planning has failed and will continue to to meet those hopes and aspirations.

They will not be met because you failed to engage with the very people you were elected or appointed to represent. You failed to understand exactly what your citizens wanted in a plan and worse than that you failed right up until the last two months to even ask them what they wanted you failed to engage your own citizens.

This failure began at the very outset of The New Official Plan which, according to City Staff, was undertaken some time in 2012.

Ministry of Municipal Affairs Guidelines on Official Plans calls for “Pre-consultation, public meetings and community input”, yet while you worked on this for the better part of six years your citizens were only involved in the closing months of that six year process.

Had it not been for a massive public outcry late last year, this city would have met its own December 2017/January 2018 deadline and the public input would have been negligible.

Nothing that has happened since November has improved that engagement

Given the number of Citizens Advisory Committees Burlington boasts I find it informative that in all of the supposed engagement in The Official Plan, these Committees were never formally consulted or engaged.


Inform, Consult, Involve, Collaborate and Empower.

Even by your own standard, outlined in your policy on “Public Participation and Engagement” in which you claim “The city has identified the critical importance of public involvement”. The policy then lays out Five Levels of Engagement on an IAP2 spectrum of public engagement that range from Inform, Consult, Involve, Collaborate and Empower.

In any final summation of your Open Houses, Grow Bold, Downtown Mobility Hub and Official Plan public meetings they may have been informative but as a city you failed to Involve, failed to Collaborate and most certainly failed to Empower your citizens in this process. Even the limited information sessions were restricted to the format of: “Here are our ideas how do you like them?” rather than: “What are your ideas?

You failed not only in the execution of citizen engagement but your “Inform only model of engagement” came so late in the process that it forced any citizen engagement to become oppositional rather than collaborative or empowering. Citizens denied the opportunity to be proactive in the early stages of the process were forced into criticism off the Official Plan and bitterness that the majority of citizens feel by their exclusion from that process.

The evidence of that exclusion is presented in an analysis of your own document

The document lists 48 oppositional comments from named citizen and concerned group delegations and refers in three areas of opposition to unspecified numbers of “Other Members of The Public”. The absence of detail n these oppositional presentations is extremely disturbing and might be construed by the public as misleading to minimise the extent of public opposition to the Plan and complaint about the methods and level of Public Engagement.

The document further lists fifteen objections, clarifications or other issues from businesses and consultants involved in the Urban Planning and Development Fields. This suggests that public opposition is not just NIMBYISM but is indicative of a bad plan, badly executed and very poorly communicated to those, citizens, businesses and property Developers who had every right to expect better from our city and from our council.

Because this is not council’s Official Plan, it is our Official Plan. It belongs to the citizens of our city.

Given the opportunity and more than six years to do something wonderful for our city, the opportunity to engage your citizens in the re-planning that will affect their lives for decades to come, you chose instead to engage yourselves and in doing so failed the very citizens you are supposed to represent.

Jim Young

Jim Young at the lectern.

Even given the opportunity to defer a decision for further consultation, real involvement and participatory engagement; Our city chose not to allow the electorate to opine on this but once again rushed the decision process to further ignore their wishes and alienate them further. It was reported in the Hamilton Spectator that one Burlington Political Commentator has not seen such a clamour by the public in 45 years of reporting yet still only peripheral tinkering in response to this outcry.

Once again, along with the majority who have spoken, written and delegated I urge city council to postpone this decision on a plan that appears to serve no-one. I ask for not only more time but to utilize that time to Involve, Collaborate and Empower our citizens to create An Official Plan that will satisfy all stakeholders, then to put that plan before them in the upcoming election so all of their voices may be properly heard.

In our democracy the ultimate engagement comes with the election. I urge you to seize this opportunity to engage your citizens fully. Otherwise an engaged citizenship will engage the electorate where you, our council, failed to engage your citizens.

Jim Young is the Chair of ECoB – Engaged Citizens of Ontario and probably the most effective speaker to appear before city council. He has the capacity to get to the core of an issue and drives home the point in a way that not a single member of council can counter.


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Different viewpoints on the impact tall buildings will have on the downtown core and if there are going to be tall buildings - just where should they be.

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 27th, 2018



There are two sides to the decision to permit tall buildings in the Downtown core.

Pam Casey, Jim Robinson, Kassia Kocharakkal, Lauren Jenkins, Madison Falco, Brad and Maureen Owen delegated at city council and said Tall buildings appropriate to provide the opportunity for additional forms of housing and retail and commercial space in the downtown, while helping make downtown an active and prosperous place. In an urban environment such as Downtown Burlington, well-designed tall buildings provide the opportunities to add density in a much slender and architecturally pleasing form.

The comments are taken from the notes the Clerk’s office provided.

The Planning department said the development of tall buildings in strategic locations within the Downtown will support and enhance the downtown as a lively, vibrant and people-oriented place and support the Downtown’s role as a major transit station area and mobility hub within the City and Region. New development in the Downtown will be of high quality design to maintain and enhance the Downtown’s image as an enjoyable, safe, bikeable, walkable and transit-supportive place and built to be compatible with buildings and neighbourhoods and complement the pedestrian activity and historical attributes of the area.

Exceptions to the Plan

Steve Keech, Jim MaLaughlin, and Jack O’Brien said in their delegations that they wanted to see hard height limits established in the plan to avoid exceptions being made.

The comments are taken from the detailed minutes provided by the Clerk’s Office

Bates precinct

Bates precinct

The Planners said the proposed policies for the Downtown set out height, density and / or intensity permissions stated within all Downtown Urban Centre precincts, except for the Bates Precinct and St. Luke’s and Emerald Precinct, shall be inclusive of the provision of any and all community benefits which may be required as part of the approval of a development.

St Likes-Emerald precinct

St. Luke’s and Emerald Precinct

As such, the limits included in the proposed precinct plan are intended to be maximum height limits, which would provide the public, City Council, City staff and the development industry with predictability and transparency with respect to maximum building heights within the Downtown. However, it should be noted that Planning Act legislation permits property owners to submit applications to amend Official Plan policies (including heights).

The Planning Act requires Planning departments to accept every application for an exception to the Official Plan.

Right now the city has an Official Plan that is close to impossible to defend – the result is more than ten application in the last 100 days.

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Ministry of Transportation is indicating that the era of more roads is coming to an end. But more cars than ever are being sold.

News 100 greenBy Staff

February 27th, 2018



The province is sending a no more roads message; is the public hearing?

If it happens in Hamilton – it impacts Burlington. The Councillors on the other side of the Bay got a letter from the Ministry of Transportation, Steven Del Duca indicating that the era of more roads is coming to an end.

The correspondence from the Minister was quietly received at the most recent Hamilton city council meeting. It said that future widening of the QEW and 403 requested by Hamilton are “dependent on further review and prioritization of expansion needs across the province”. Without those expansions, city staff say there’s no sense in trying to widen municipal expressways like the Red Hill Parkway.

QEW and 403

No more of this says the Ministry of Transportation. Double decking parts of the 403 leading into Hamilton isn’t in the cards this decade.

“Until the MTO improves the interchanges at the QEW and the number of lanes there and at the 403, it would be somewhat pointless to widen our facilities because the bottlenecks would still be in place,” the city’s manager of traffic operations told councillors in mid-January. “I think we have to sort of plan our facility to match the timing for their widening.”

Given the number of people who work in Burlington and live in Hamilton the traffic on the QEW, the 403 and the LINC are daily issues. Hamilton Mayor Eisenberger pleaded that the province give “high priority” to “the expansion of Highway 403 from two to three lanes between the Lincoln Alexander Parkway and Main Street both down bound and up bound.”

Del Duca noted that such widening had been recommended a few years ago by the larger study that rejected a new mid-peninsula highway (also still demanded by the city) but that the “recommendations are subject to environmental assessments and approvals before implementation timing to initiate this next phase will be dependent on further review and prioritization of expansion needs across the province.”

Hwy 5 and Hwy 6

A full interchange at Clappison’s Corners with a 2006 price tag of $75 million has been a Hamilton priority for years. It is the only thing that is going to prevent a mid-peninsula highway cutting through Kilbride.

Eisenberger’s pushed “the Ministry to re-prioritize upgrades to the Highway 5 and 6 interchange within the next five years.” A full interchange at Clappison’s Corners with a 2006 price tag of $75 million has been a city priority for well over a decade but it’s still not under construction.

Del Duca’s letter says it is “planned for 2022 and beyond” and that “timing to initiate construction will be dependent on the future review and prioritization of important infrastructure needs across the province.”
The provincial focus is clearly on expanding transit like LRT but some Hamilton councillors either haven’t gotten that message or don’t like it. Early in February, Queen’s Park abandoned the proposed Highway 413 from Milton to Vaughan that would have passed through Caledon well north of the 407 and that also dates back more than a decade.

The advocacy group Environmental Defence enthused that the cancellation “shows that there is growing provincial recognition that building complete communities rather than highway-led planning is better for our health, our shared climate and our wallet.”

The provincial decision came less than a month after Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner advised the province that more road building is counter-productive.

If it impacts Hamilton – Burlington feels the pinch.

What isn’t getting a lot of attention is the record vehicle sales – they have risen every year for the past five years.  Those vehicles are going to need roads to move on.  There is a crunch in there somewhere.

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Who gets what, when and how; that's what municipal politics is all about. Residents are wondering what they are getting out of all this.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

February 21, 2018



The political scientist Harold Laswell once defined politics to be: “Who gets what, when and how.”

That instructive statement, when applied to the ongoing debate around the writing of a new Official Plan for the city of Burlington, is very telling.

News anal REDIn a documents made public by the Planning department as one of the supporting documents there is a section on comments from various stakeholders.

The Clerk’s office set out the issues and then listed who had comments on that issue.

Processing Site Specific Requests in Mobility Hub Area Specific Plan Areas (excluding the downtown)

Fairview looking east from Leggat

The Leggat interests want site specific zoning for several of their automotive locations – automotive use might not be the best use of a limited resource.

Matt Johnston, Urban Solutions, on behalf of 1059295 Ontario Inc (834-850 Brant Street)wanted a site-specific policy for the subject lands to be included in the Official Plan, wherein large-scale motor vehicle and storage uses are permitted.

Johnston, on behalf of Leggat Auto Group (2207 Fairview Street)wanted a site-specific policy for the subject lands be included in the Official Plan, wherein large-scale motor vehicle, financial institutions and storage uses are permitted.

Johnston, again on behalf of Leggat Auto Group (629 Brant Street) wanted a site-specific policy for the subject lands to be included in the Official Plan, wherein automotive commercial and storage uses are permitted and that the subject property be considered for additional height.

The Leggat interests clearly want to continue to be able to do what they are currently doing in their three locations and would like to be able to add some height if they come up with new plans for their property.

A number of years ago, when Bruce Krushelnicki was the Director of Planning for the city he met with all the major automotive dealers and had a discussion about their future plans for the dealerships and the property all those used cars for sale were sitting on

The Planners knew that used cars on prime property was not the best use of a limited resource.

Krushelnicki reported to council that there wasn’t much in the way of interest from the automotive people and nothing came of the meeting.

In their response to Johnston and his request for site specific zoning the planners noted that “the three properties noted above are located within a Mobility Hub study area. Policies were modified to add large-scale motor vehicle dealerships existing on the date this Plan comes into effect, to the list of permitted uses within Urban Corridor and Urban Corridor- Employment designations.

Mobility hubs

Property owners are beginning to take steps to ensure that their interests are protected as the city begins to determine what will be permitted and what will not be permitted.

“However, the land use permissions within mobility hub areas will be assessed through the area-specific planning process. Upon the completion of the are-specific plans, new objectives, policies, and land use designations will be brought into the new Official Plan.”

“There will be an opportunity through the Area Specific Planning Process to provide further input.”

It wasn’t a no – but it certainly wasn’t a yes.

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Questions were pretty clear - the answers leave a lot to be desired.

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 26, 2018



During the numerous delegations that were made before city council residents brought up different concerns.

Underway - too much

Is the city trying to do too much at the same time. The New Street Road Diet didn’t work – perhaps a project diet is needed.

Jim Young, Deby Morrison, Dave Lawson, Susan Goyer, Michael Hriblijan, David Myers, Steve Keech, David Zavitz, Mark Henderson and Nancy Cunningham argued that there was insufficient information on Transportation, Transit and Infrastructure planning for a decision to be made and that Transit and Transportation Plans and parking standards to support the proposed new Downtown Precinct Plan have not been completed.

City staff responded with the following:

One of the objectives of the Downtown Precinct Plan is to mitigate future traffic congestion associated with growth through a variety of measures including development of specific transportation demand management measures and enhanced pedestrian and cycling amenities and networks through strategic connections of height and density within walking distance of major transit stations.

Bustamente H&S

Rosa Bustamante, Manager of Mobility Hubs.

In addition to the existing and proposed city-wide multi-modal transportation policies contained within the Official Plan, the Downtown Mobility Hub Area Specific Plan (ASP) process is currently undertaking additional multi-modal transportation studies to understand potential impacts the proposed precinct plan could have to mobility within the Downtown Mobility Hub.

This assessment will provide staff with recommendations regarding potential enhancements to the transportation network, parking strategies and rates as well as strategies to mitigate any transportation impacts. This work will result in new policies being developed through the ASP to ensure a diverse transportation system with many practical and realistic choices in order to integrate mobility with land use within the Downtown.

ADI - Bustamanta # 2 steps in process

Public gets a lot of time to speak – the answers given are more than confusing. Statutory meeting where a new set of questions can be asked takes place on Tuesday the 27th.

Through the Downtown Mobility Hub Area Specific Plan, the existing capacity of the Region of Halton’s water and wastewater infrastructure is being reviewed and any growth-related infrastructure upgrades will be identified through the completion of a Functional Servicing Study. This study will inform future Regional planning for capital works investments.

Preliminary analysis has not identified any specific issues with the existing water and wastewater infrastructure located in the Downtown.

Those residents who delegated feel that with so many studies to be completed it seems more logical and responsible to wait until the studies are completed before adopting the draft Official Plan.

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Meed Ward has a heart to heart with the Seniors -

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 26th, 2018



It was a quickie meeting.

Maybe 50 people jammed into a small room with hardly any standing room.

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne was meeting with the Seniors to update them on what was happening to the Seniors’ Centre – the natives didn’t like what they were seeing in the way of changes.

There is nothing fancy about the place. It's simple, serves the purpose with a bus stop almost outside the door and plenty of parking. And the kitchen will rustle you up a sandwich if you're hungry. The Seniors like it the way it is.

There is nothing fancy about the place. It’s simple, serves the purpose with a bus stop almost outside the door and plenty of parking. Seniors have exclusive use of the space during the day – Monday to Friday.

The operation of programs was undergoing changes and the Seniors wanted some clarification – they also wanted to know just what was going on with the downtown core.

Meed Ward was in her element – these were her people. They like her, they trust her and they look to her for answers.

A ruling from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) made it necessary to have staff at the Centre become employees rather than people on contracts. Meed Ward assured her audience that this wasn’t going to make a difference in the program – all but five of the program instructors became employees of the city.

There are not going to be any changes to the relationship between the city and the members of the Seniors’ Centre – except as one senior pointed out “we aren’t members here – we are customers. She wanted to see more in the way of program for the well over 80 set.

Mayor Rick Goldring has his membership application processed at the Seniors' Centre - filling another of his campaign promises.

Mayor Rick Goldring became a membership of the Seniors’ Centre the week he turned 55. Joining was a first term election promise.

The meeting took place at noon hour and the place was packed. There wasn’t an empty chair in the dining room. One woman said the place is “bursting at the seams”.

Burlington senior population is not going to get smaller, membership at the Centre is up by 10%Centre and “there is not a lot of capacity here.

The Seniors Centre is run by a Board of Management. They are always on the lookout for young at heart board members.

There was a time when the Seniors Centre was run by a Board of Management that had representation from the seniors. The city took over the operation of the centre last year.

While a survey done by the city had a 92% satisfaction level – Joe Veitch pointed out that seniors don’t like to complain – he added that there isn’t nearly as much in the way of social programs that the Seniors Association puts on. The city took over the running of the Centre more than a year ago – the citizens don’t have much in the way of input.

The number of seniors who volunteer has apparently dropped. There were a number of staff in the room which several seniors said later “sort of cuts down on what people are prepared to say in a meeting. Meed Ward told the audience “this is your sentence” and there was a time when the seniors had a significant say in what was offered. Many don’t feel that is the case with the new management style . They are hoping that Meed Ward will ensure that changes are made.

The third item on the agenda was transit – it quickly became a vigorous discussion on the development that is taking place downtown.

She explained the current height levels in the Official Plan and that the new Official Plan will allow 17 storeys – “what goes where” is the important question said Meed Ward.

Meed Ward said that she didn’t think the approved development at 421 Brant should be built and she expressed some hope that a new council might look at things differently.

Mobility hub downtown grnd zero

Transit was an issue for Seniors who would benefit from an upgraded bus terminal on John Street. Having the upgrade become an anchor in a system of mobility hubs is something they are not as certain about. What most people know as the Brant Street parking lot has undergone significant changes – with fewer parking spots.

Her view on changing the direction as to “what goes where” hinges on the Urban growth Centre (UGC) which impacts the location of the Mobility Hubs – there are four – those at the GO stations make sense – the Downtown Mobility hub doesn’t make any sense to many people. Meed Ward believes that changing the boundaries of the UGC and pushing high rise buildings further north on Brant will keep the essence of the downtown core where residents are not opposed to growth – they just think that 20+ storey towers is excessive.

While Meed Ward has yet to declare that she is a candidate for the Office of Mayor she would appear to be making the issue of downtown development her lead campaign plank.


Shown (L-R): Mayrose-Tycon Limited Principal Matt Jaecklein, MADY Development Corporation Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Greg Puklicz, Burlington Ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison, Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman, Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven, Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward, Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring and MADY CEO Charles Mady.

She made an interesting observation about the impact the Martha at Lakeshore ADI development is having on the matter of intensification. Every member of Council was opposed to the development – the developer took it to the Ontario Municipal Board and won – 26 storey’s will get built at Martha and Lakeshore – the development will be a couple of football fields away from the 22 storey Bridgewater project which didn’t raise any howls from the public. Meed Ward was in front of the TV cameras when Mady Development broke ground for the project in 2015.

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Changes in the Regional committee meeting schedule suggest the Burlington Official Plan won't get approved at that level before the municipal election.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 24th, 2018



There will be delegations during the Tuesday February 27th Statutory Meeting on the draft Official Plan that the Planning department would like to see “adopted” at a council committee April 4 and then made real at a city Council meeting on April 27th – after which the then Burlington approved city plan goes to the Region for approval.

Burlington, like Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills are part of the Regional government where their official plans have to be approved to ensure they fit the Regional Official Plan.

Our Regional Councillors will do almost anything for a photo-op; this time they are showing you the new 2 gallon blue boxes.

Regional Councillors

Traditionally Official Plans from the municipalities go to the Clerk of the Region who passes them along to Regional Planning department that produces a report that gets sent to the appropriate Regional Standing Committee.

The Regional Standing Committee debates the report and sends it along to the Regional Council where it is debated – changes can be made – and eventually voted on by the Regional Council.

Once that vote takes place the Burlington Official Plan is seen as valid and the Burlington can make it effective from that point forward.

The problem – and there is a problem – which is that the Standing Committees are not going to be meeting during the months of April, May and June; in July they move to a vacation schedule and are not likely to get much done before the October municipal election which applies to the Region as well.

The demand from people who are opposed to both the content of the Official Plan and the pace at which it is being pushed forward want it made an election issue in October appear to have made their point.

The Burlington official plan that is in draft form would appear to have little chance of being cleared by the Region before the municipal election.

MaryLou Tanner Cogeco 2018 direct

Deputy city manger Marylou Tanner during a Cogeco TV broadcast.

The argument coming from the Planning department and the city manager that it will take even longer for the plan to get approval if it has to wait after the election because there might be new members of council that will have to get brought up to speed on the content of the plan is specious at best.

Anyone running for city council in Burlington will be very much up to date on the contents of the draft official plan – if they aren’t they shouldn’t be running for office.

The Gazette learned of the changes in the Regional meeting schedule during a meeting ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward had with members of the Seniors’ Centre.

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How a small bus terminal became a mobility hub that is to be one of the growth drivers in the downtown core.

background 100By Pepper Parr

February 22nd, 2018



The decision to turn what has been a location where buses came in, picked up passengers and moved on serving as a transfer station turned into a mobility hub has confused many, particularly in the downtown core.
Most people see the small terminal on John Street as not much more than a bus station.

Transit terminal - John Street

At one point the city considered closing the terminal – now it is going to be upgraded to a Anchor level mobility hub.

Turns out that there has been a lot of thinking taking place that since well before 2014 when the Provincial Policy Statement was revised.

Lisa Kierns ECOB Dec 13

Lisa Kierns – part of the ECoB team

Paul Brophy, Gary Scobie, Brian Jones, Elaine O’Brien, Brian Aasgaard, Lisa Kearns, Michael Hriblijan, My Dang, Deby Morrison and Nancy Cunningham delegated on the issue at recent city hall meetings

Gary Scobie

Gary Scobie

The issue for the delegations was that the bus terminal on John Street does not make the Downtown a Mobility Hub and that the Downtown area isn’t a Mobility Hub. The delegations wanted to know how the downtown got designated as an Urban Growth Centre?

The planning department provided the following response. It is included in the background papers that will be put before city council on February 27th.

Urban growth centre boundary

The current Urban Growth Centre boundary – a quick look at the map suggests the gerrymandering has been done. Does the public really understand the impact of this boundary?

“ The identification of the Downtown as a Mobility Hub originated in the 2006 Places to Grow document, which identified Downtown Burlington as an Urban Growth Centre (UGC). At the time the Growth Plan was being developed, the Downtown had been the subject of on- going strategic public investments and revitalization efforts by the City, such as Momentum 88 and Superbuild (2001) funding.

“The identification of Downtown Burlington as an Urban Growth Centre as part of the Places to Grow document further supported and built upon these efforts by establishing Downtown as an area for growth and investment that would support the Downtown’s long-term success.


The GO train system was going to move people efficiently with 15 minute service and be electrified to help out with climate change.

“In 2006, Metrolinx and the Province introduced a Regional Transportation Plan called “The Big Move” for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, which contained action items to develop and implement a multi-modal transportation plan. As part of this, a connected system of mobility hubs throughout the GTHA was envisioned to serve as places where connectivity between different modes of transportation including walking, biking and transit would come together seamlessly and where there is an intensive concentration of living, employment, shopping and/ or recreation.

“In addition to serving as transit hubs, these areas have the potential to become vibrant places of activity and destinations in and of themselves. Mobility Hubs are intended to become locations for major destinations such as office buildings, hospitals, education facilities and government services. Two types of mobility hubs were identified and defined within the Big Move: Anchor Hubs and Gateway Hubs.

“Anchor hubs are defined as those areas that have strategic importance due to their relationship with provincially identified Urban Growth Centres, as set out by the Places to Grow Plan. Downtown Burlington is identified as an Anchor Mobility Hub due to its relationship with the City’s Urban Growth Centre; its potential to attract and accommodate new growth and development; the convergence of multiple local transit routes through the Downtown Bus Terminal; the linkages to GO Transit, the other Mobility Hubs and surrounding municipalities; and its ability to achieve densities that would be supportive of a multi-modal transportation plan.

“At the January 23, 2018 Planning and Development Committee meeting a motion directing staff to work with the province to remove the mobility hub classification for the downtown, and shifting the UGC from downtown to the Burlington GO station failed.”

Goldring at Inspire April 2015 - hand out

Mayor Rick Goldring explaining Intensification – the public was told then that the changes were not going to change the Burlington “we all lived in”. The 23 storey condo city council approved and the 26 storey condo the OMB said could be built xx that belief.

During the lead up to the serious work being done on what started out as a re-write of the Official Plan the Mayor gave several presentations on intensification. His objective at the time was to assure people that the growth that was going to take place would not change the character of the city.

The public was still concerned then – and they are very concerned now.

What has been come increasingly clear is that it is provincial directions – Place to Grow – the Big Move – the Public Policy Statement that was issued in 2014 and revised in 2017 aren’t fully understood or appreciated by the vast majority of the public.

PPS 2014 coverA Provincial Policy Statement is issued under section 3 of the Planning Act. The 2014 Statement became effective April 30, 2014 and applies to planning decisions made on or after that date. It replace the Provincial Policy Statement, 2005.

That 2014 Statement got replaced in 2017.

Much of this happened while the Planning department underwent significant leadership and staff changes.

The public is struggling on several levels: to get their council to be more transparent and to listen to what the public has to say.

The public has yet to hear a believable explanation on why the draft Official Plan adoption cannot be deferred until after the October municipal direction. The argument that it has to be approved now because if it is deferred it might mean that any new Councillors would need six months to gain an understanding of what these complex plans are all about.

The fact is that any plan that gets approved in the near future sits on a shelf until the sometime in 2019 when it gets reviewed by the Regional Planning & Public Works Committee.

The provincial government explains on its web site that “the long-term prosperity and social well-being of Ontario depends upon planning for strong, sustainable and resilient communities for people of all ages, a clean and healthy environment, and a strong and competitive economy.

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.

The Escarpment defines the city of Burlington. No development except for within the three settlement areas and even there development is very limited.

“Ontario is a vast province with diverse urban, rural and northern communities which may face different challenges related to diversity in population, economic activity, pace of growth and physical and natural conditions. Some areas face challenges related to maintaining population and diversifying their economy, while other areas face challenges related to accommodating and managing the development and population growth which is occurring, while protecting important resources and the quality of the natural environment.

“The Provincial Policy Statement focuses growth and development within urban and rural settlement areas while supporting the viability of rural areas. It recognizes that the wise management of land use change may involve directing, promoting or sustaining development. Land use must be carefully managed to accommodate appropriate development to meet the full range of current and future needs, while achieving efficient development patterns and avoiding significant or sensitive resources and areas which may pose a risk to public health and safety.

409 Brant image

This 26 storey application will be on the south side of the Brant – James intersection.

421 Brant

This approved development will be on the south side of the Brant James intersection.

“Efficient development patterns optimize the use of land, resources and public investment in infrastructure and public service facilities. These land use patterns promote a mix of housing, including affordable housing, employment, recreation, parks and open spaces, and transportation choices that increase the use of active transportation and transit before other modes of travel.”

Dense stuff, complex stuff that the public is expected to understand while they decide which program they want to register their children in at Parks and Recreation or figure out how to get the permit they need for changes they want to make to their property.

There has to be a better way to comply with the changes the province has mandated.

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Floodgates seem to have opened with developers taking new projects to city hall.

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 20th, 2018


Close the doors – they are coming in the windows.

According to Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward, there are six new development applications in Ward 2 alone.

She has scheduled public meetings for several and expects to hold public meetings for all of them. Outlined  below with dates of public meetings, where scheduled, and details about the proposals.

1335-1355 Plains Rd East
1335-55 Plains Rd - imageThe applications propose the redevelopment of the site into nine standard townhouse units along the northern half of the site, 17 back-to-back townhouse units on the southern half of the property and 12 back-to-back townhouse units on the eastern side of the property for a total of 38 units.

1335-55 Plains Rd East siteThe Neighbourhood Meeting is scheduled for March 7, 2018; 7 p.m., The Salvation Army, 2090 Prospect St
Burlington, ON

The planner on the file is: Lola Emberson at: – 905-335-7600, ext. 7427




2082, 2086 and 2090 James St
2082 James imageThe redevelopment proposes an 18 storey condominium apartment building consisting of 153 residential units. The 18th floor will consist of the mechanical units and two penthouse suites. The site is approximately 0.23 hectares in size with frontage on James Street and Martha Street

2082 James siteNeighbourhood Meeting is scheduled for March 27, 2018; 7 p.m. – Art Gallery Burlington

The planner on the file is: Lola Emberson at – – 905-335-7600, ext. 7427



409 Brant St.; 444,448 and 450 John St; 2002 and 2012 James St
The purpose of the application is to amend the Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw to permit a 24 storey building, including 23 stories of residential and a one storey roof top amenity area.
409 Brant siteThe proposed 24 storey application for south side Brant & James would include:

409 Brant image597 square metres of ground floor commercial and 227 residential units
five (5) levels of underground parking
car access from John Street
commercial units with front windows facing onto Brant Street, James Street and John Street.
Neighbourhood Meeting has yet to be schedules

The planner on the file is: Suzanne McInnes at – 905-335-7600, ext. 7555

Site Address: 2087-2103 Prospect Street
2087 Prospect siteOfficial Plan Amendment and Zoning By-law Amendment to allow for the construction of two blocks of stacked townhouses, each containing 25 rental housing units (50 housing units). The 2 existing fourplex buildings (8 housing units) will be demolished.

2087 Prospect image







The 8 storey apartment building will remain.

Neighbourhood Meeting has yet to be scheduled.

The planner on the file is: Suzanne McInnes at – – 905-335-7600, ext. 7555

2130 and 2136 New Street
2530-36 New Street image - no siteZoning By-law amendment applications to permit six single detached dwellings fronting onto a private condominium road.
Neighbourhood Meeting yet to be scheduled.

The planner on the file is: Melissa Morgan at – Phone: 905-335-7600, ext. 7788

2421 & 2431 New Street
2421-31 New Street siteOfficial Plan and Zoning By-law amendments to allow two, joined 11 storey residential buildings. Building One (west side of property) is proposed to be a 223 unit retirement residence.

2421-31 New Street imageBuilding Two (east side of property) is proposed to be a 139 unit residential condominium.
Neighbourhood Meeting has yet to be scheduled.

The planner on the file is: Suzanne McInnes at – 905-335-7600, ext. 7555


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Meed Ward's election vehicle is out there for everyone - It is called A Better Burlington.

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

February 20, 2018



The Brand – and the marketing of a politician.

My experience with Marianne Meed Ward goes back to the time in 2010 when she was running for the ward 2 council seat.

It was clear to all those at the two campaign meetings I attended that Meed Ward had her eye on the Chain of Office the Mayor wears.

The 2010 election was the occasion for then Mayor Cam Jackson to lose his seat – he served just the one term after leaving provincial politics.

SaveOurWaterfront- Meed ward

The community association Meed Ward rode to a city council seat was Save our Waterfront. The 2018 to 2022 will be save the downtown core.

At the meetings I attended SOW, Saving our Waterfront, was the citizens group that Meed Ward rode to city council.

I don’t recall A Better Burlington ever being mentioned, and I am a stickler for details.

Today – Meed Ward is moving away from her Ward 2 Newsletter as the vehicle that will get her that Chain of Office in October.

While she hasn’t declared Marianne will not be ruining for her council seat again.

Today Meed Ward says A Better Burlington began in 2006 after her neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made.

Meed Ward at kick off

Meed Ward at her 2014 nomination meeting where she said to those gathered that she did not want just their vote – she wanted their trust.

Meed Ward defines herself as a journalist for 22 years, who came to the conclusion that “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. “They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington.”

There is a point during an election campaign where sitting members cannot use the facilities and services they can normally use on a daily basis.

Meed Ward is clearly setting up a new brand so that when she is an announced candidate she has the machinery to communicate with anyone and everyone in the city.

Better Burl logo

Her message is pretty clear – is it going to be heard city wide?

Meed Ward believes that “The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.”

Her new site will allows residents to comment and debate with each other; the Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful.

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Will ECoB have grounds to appeal the 421 Brant project? And what will the city get in the way of community benefits - and how are those benefits calculated?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 20, 2018



Where is ECoB and their plans to appeal the decision to approve that 23 storey at the north east corner of Brant and James opposite city hall? The on across the street from city hall.

The question being asked is: Can council overturn the 5-2 vote on the 23 storey building at 421 Brant, to stop the project?

421 Brant

Sometime in the year 2020 people will be looking out from those balconies and the Brant Street we know today will be a thing of the past. The tomato processing plant that used to be where the Waterfront hotel is today is also a thing of the past as is the Riviera Motel. The world does move on.

Answer: Technically, the final decision on 421 Brant has not been made; that won’t happen until the amending bylaws come forward for a council vote.

Usually, the bylaws are presented at the same time as the vote on the application, except when community benefits are negotiated. Those are negotiated after council votes on an application, and the benefits come back for final vote alongside the amending bylaw.

Community benefits are being negotiated for this development, because of the increased height/density, the bylaws and community benefits will come back at a future date (likely in the spring) for council vote. That vote will be the final decision on the matter.

When that final vote is taken ECoB then has something they can appeal.

Council could choose at that time NOT to approve the amending bylaws, which would stop the project. That is unlikely but technically possible.

The fact that the final decision on this matter hasn’t yet been made is why in December the Engaged Citizens of Burlington could not file an Ontario Municipal Board appeal of the council “decision” on 421 Brant; a decision hasn’t been made until there is a vote on the bylaws, which hasn’t happened yet. The bylaw vote triggers the appeal period to file an appeal with the OMB (or the new Land Planning Appeals Tribunal).

Reconsideration Motions:

In general terms, council can choose at any time to “reconsider” a vote – (but that doesn’t apply in this case because the final vote hasn’t yet occurred).

A motion to reconsider an item requires a 5-2 vote to get the motion to the floor; and if that passes, a simple 4-3 majority is all that is needed to make a new decision on the item.

Only someone who voted in the affirmative on the original motion can present a motion to reconsider the decision.


Taylor said he voted for the 23 storeys but was going to ensure that buildings on Lakeshore and Brant didn’t go higher than 17 storeys. The the OMB gives a developer four blocks to the west approval to put up 26 storeys. would that cause Taylor to have another change of heart?


Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster thinking through the answer to a question. Tends to be cautious.

Councillor Blair Lancaster might get soft and decide that 23 storeys is too much. Unlikely though.

That means one of Councillors Taylor, Craven, Sharman or Lancaster would have to move a motion to reconsider and then five of the seven members would have to vote for that motion.

Looks pretty slim doesn’t it?

And the OMB decision that gave the ADI Development Group the right to put up a 26 story tower just blocks away kind of makes the idea of an appeal questionable.

The matter keeping the development away from city council is determining just what the community benefit are going to be.

Many people wonder just what does a developer have to give the city in the way of community benefits. How is that benefit calculated?

In the planning world the benefit is called an “uplift”

A calculation is done on the increased value of land as a result of a rezoning, the idea being that land zoned at 8 storeys will be worth more than land zoned at 4 storeys.

The land in question is 421, 425, 427, 429, and 431 Brant St. and 2007 to 2015 on James St. Whatever they were worth with a four storey zoning is the base value – what would the properties be worth if zoning were increased to 23 storeys.  One of the properties was already zoned at 12 storeys.

421 Brant st frontage

How much are these properties worth with their current zoning and how much would they be worth with the zoning that is being applied for? 50% of the increased value of the land will get paid to the city for community benefits.

Once that increase in value is calculated (called “value uplift), typically the city takes 50% of that, in cash or other benefits, or a combination of the two.

The value that is determined is not related to the number of additional units a developer will be able to create and sell – It is not related to the market value of the additional units that could be built as a result of a rezoning to increase height or density.

It is related to what the increased value of the land becomes – a fine distinction.

That equation will surprise a lot of citizens.

Some of the content in this article was copied from the A Better Burlington website.

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