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: lola.emberson@burlington.ca – 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 – lola.emberson@burlington.ca – 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 suzanne.mcinnes@burlington.ca – 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 – suzanne.mcinnes@burlington.ca – 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 Melissa.Morgan@burlington.ca – 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 suzanne.mcinnes@burlington.ca – 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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Can the ADI development on Martha be appealed - yes but the basis of an appeal is very very limited.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

February 15th, 2018



Those unhappy with the Ontario Municipal Board decision will look for ways to appeal the decision.
OMB decisions can and have been appealed but only on an error on a question of law.

nautique-elevation-from-city-july-2016An appeal cannot be made on a matter of evidence that was presented. If the hearing officer, in this case Susan de Avellar Schiller, made a reference to or relied on some law and was wrong – that can be appealed.

The process for this is a motion to the Divisional Court for an order of the Court allowing the appeal to proceed.

In certain rare circumstances, you may be able to seek Judicial Review in the Divisional Court.

People usually hire a lawyer to appeal to a court or to ask for a Judicial Review because of the complicated procedures and issues.

The starting point for a Judicial Review is a call to the Registrar of the Court for more information about court processes and procedures.

If the Mayor’s blog and the media release from the city are any indication, the city is going to gulp, swallow the decision and move on. The spin, so far, has been that the OMB decision is all the more reason to press on with approving the draft Official Plan.

There is a Statutory meeting at which residents can have their say on the draft Official Plan:

Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018
1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
City Hall, Council Chambers, level 2
426 Brant Street

That draft might want some additional modification based on the OMB decision. Taking their lumps for the failures in the city’s case – and that is what they were, the city now needs to take the time to fully assess what the decision says and figure out how to live with it and work with it going forward.

This isn’t the time for hasty decisions.  It is the time to fess up and apologize for mistakes.

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward has set out her position on the decision, the Mayor has thanked staff for all their fine work.  The Gazette reached out to Mayoralty candidate Mike Wallace for a comment, they have said they will get back to us – nothing yet.

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Burlington’s Mayor and City Staff disappointment over the OMB decision to allow a 26 storey building on Martha St. seems like just so many crocodile tears.

By Jim Younopinionandcommentg

February 14th, 2018



crocodile-tears-Forgive my cynicism but the disappointment expressed by Burlington’s Mayor and City Staff over the OMB decision to allow a 26 storey building on Martha St. seems like just so many crocodile tears. This from a city who already amended their own zoning bylaws to approve 24 storeys a few hundred metres away at 421 Brant St.

The ADI appeal, while complex, was not based on a good building /bad building argument but was based on a “No Decision Appeal” to the OMB which is allowed when City Councils fail to come to a decision on a developer’s building or zoning application.

nautique-elevation-from-city-july-2016Essentially The City of Burlington failed to consider the ADI application within a reasonable time so ADI took their case to the OMB and won. The questions our city, which seems hell bent on intensifying its downtown core at all costs, must now answer are:

Why was there “no decision” by council on the original ADI application, thereby forcing the appeal?

Was this an oversight, in which case shame on them?

Was this a deliberate tactic so that council gets a 26 storey building in line with the other 23 & 24 storey buildings on Brant St. and the 20-25 Waterfront Hotel Development on Lakeshore while hiding behind the developers and the OMB? In which case who are they to be trusted with the New Official Plan which they now tout as a saviour from developers.

The New Official Plan is just as open to amendments and appeals by developers and planners as the old plan and in fact by removing Brant St. from the Official Downtown Core in the New OP, and designating it a “Special Development Precinct” they may in fact leave it open to ever more amendment and modification resulting in more hi-rises.

When the city had the opportunities to control development in the downtown they either failed to decide, leaving the decision to the OMB or voted to amend their own plans allowing ever taller buildings. Their hand wringing and expressions of disappointment sound very hollow to the people of Burlington this morning.

Jim YoungJim Young, is a founding member of ECoB, the Engaged Citizens of Burlington

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The magnitude of the changes in a six block area in the downtown core are quite stunning.

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 14th, 2018



For those concerned about what is happening to their city and what the downtown core is going to look like the following numbers are pretty brutal.

22 – 23 – 24 – 26

The Bridgewater condominium will top out at 22 storeys.

The 421 Brant project has been approved for 23 storeys

The 409 Brant project (where Elizabeth Interiors used to operate) is asking for 24 storeys

The ADI Development Nautique has just has its 26 story project approved by the Ontario Municipal Board.

Joe Gaetan, a downtown resident who delegated against more height said: “the city is a goner”

In a prepared statement Meed Ward said:

“The OMB decision to approve the 26-storey ADI proposal at Martha/Lakeshore is devastating for the downtown. This will be the new precedent height.

“The decision referred to the Bridgewater at 22 storeys (and other tall buildings in the area); it also referred to the fact that the city had “received” other 23 storey applications (how is that relevant is anyone’s guess; these were only “applications” with no approval at the time of the OMB hearing).

“I am not confident that by rushing adoption of the proposed new Official Plan we will gain more control over planning; the proposed plan calls for 17 storeys for this site. The OMB approval is nine storeys higher. The Brant and James corners (north and south) are both 17 storeys in the proposed new Official Plan, but council approved 23 storeys on the north side and we just got an application for 24 storeys on the south side.

“Developers can, and will, continue to ask for more than what is permitted in the existing or proposed plan.

“The decision also referred to the downtown as an Urban Growth Centre and transit hub, thus the development needed to meet certain densities appropriate for those designations.

“Until we remove those two designations from the downtown (Urban Growth Centre, Mobility Hub), we will not wrestle control of planning back into the hands of staff, council and the community. (Credit goes to Gary Scobie for suggesting these designations be removed, which is what led to my motion.)

“My motion Jan 24 to move the Urban Growth Centre from the downtown to the existing Burlington GO Station Mobility Hub (as Oakville has done to protect their downtown), and to eliminate the downtown as a Mobility Hub, failed 6-1.

“In light of this OMB decision, we have to reconsider this vote. I will bring a reconsideration motion to the next Official Plan statutory public meeting (starts Feb. 27, 1pm and 6:30, extending to Feb. 28 if another day is needed)

“What can residents do? Use your democratic tools:

“There is a provincial election coming up June 7. Ask all candidates who are running if they will work with the city to remove the Urban Growth Centre and Mobility Hub designations from the downtown.

“There is a municipal election Oct. 22. Ask all candidates who are running if they will work with the region to remove the Urban Growth Centre and Mobility Hub designations from the downtown. There is still time: our new plan isn’t in effect until the Region approves it, which won’t happen until the Region begins its review of its own plan in 2019.”

In its media release the city in part said:

In its decision, … the OMB states that the city’s current land-use policy for the site does not reflect Provincial Policy.

As the OMB noted in its ruling, “the evidence suggests to the Board that the current designation is no longer appropriate for the site and a proposal that is taller and more transit-supportive is both preferable and better implements the transit-oriented and intensification policies of the province.

The OMB further notes that “While the provincial policy regime emphasizes the importance of a municipality’s official plan, there is no suggestion in the provincial policy regime that a municipality’s official plan may undercut provincial policy.”

Mary Lou Tanner, the Deputy City Manager, comments: “In light of the OMB’s ruling, it is even more important that the city move forward with the adoption of the new Official Plan. As this ruling shows, our current OP is a liability; it is out of date and is open to challenge. The area-specific plan for downtown Burlington will strengthen the city’s position on development in the downtown by replacing outdated polices with a plan that better reflects provincial policy, while also protecting the character of the city.


Downtown 4 projects

The black diamond shapes show where the four developments are going to be located.

Rendering with Bake Shop

409 Brant – south of James Street. Application is for 24 storeys.


Nautique – Lakeshore at Martha – OMB approved for 26 storeys.

421 Brant

421 Brant, north side if James – city council approved for 23 storeys.

The Delta Hotel will give the city some first class convention space that could radically change the way the city is seen by the small corporate convention community. Add the Performing Arts Centre to the portfolio and the city has a good offering. Now to put a team in place that could work with the Delta Hotel organization.. We don't have that in place today.

Bridgewater development – under construction at Lakeshore and Elizabeth – 22 storey condominium

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ADI Development wins their case at the OMB.

News 100 redBy Staff

February 13, 2018




Nautique, the ADI Development project has been approved by the Ontario Municipal Board.

The ADI Group has won their argument before the Ontario Municipal Board to build a 26 storey structure at the corner of Martha and Lakeshore Road.

Details to follow.

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City holds additional casual public meetings on the Grow Bold concept that is driving the creation of a new Official Plan.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 13th, 2018



It was a respectable turn out

The high point had about 35 people in the room along with five staff members from the Planning Department.
Large maps were set up on easels along with copies of the latest versions of the draft of the new Official Plan in 3 inch binders.

Rendering with Bake Shop

Rendering of a 24 storey structure a developer wants to build across the street from the 23 storey tower already approved by the city.

The interest in the Official Plan has been highest in the downtown core where the city is going to see a 23 storey tower rise opposite city hall. For those who live downtown the idea of seeing something so big so close is, to some, frightening.

That there is a 22 story tower under construction a five minute walk from city hall doesn’t seem to be as bothersome.

The city has planned Town Hall type meetings where people can meet informally with Planning department staff to ask questions and seek clarification.

Andrea Smith

Andrea Smith, the planner doing much of the heavy lifting getting the new Official Plan written and revised and ready to go before city council on April 4th for approval.

Andrea Smith, the planner who has been doing much of the actual writing of the new Official Plan, was the lead person in the room.

Councillors Paul Sharman and Jack Dennison were on hand; Sharman was briefing Mark Carr, host of Cogeco TV’s The Issue, on what the mobility hubs were all about. Not sure Carr was getting the most balanced explanation.

The meeting was held in the Haber Recreation Centre, the most vibrant place in the city where hundreds of kids are on the gym floor practicing basketball or volleyball.

Lancaster as Dep Mayor Sept 28-15

Councillor Blair Lancaster once sat in for the Mayor during a Council meeting.

Missing in action was the ward Councillor Blair Lancaster.

Mark Bales, lead talker for Carriage Gate, the corporation that has city council approval to build that 23 story tower opposite city hall, was working the room and making sure that the message was being delivered.

ECoB, the Engaged Citizens of Burlington, are waiting in the wings to file an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board arguing that the development doesn’t comply with the Official Plan that the city is working from.

When ECoB met with the Mary Lou Tanner, Deputy City Manager last week they asked if an additional public session could be held during the day time that would allow seniors to get out and take part. Ward 2 Councillor Meed Ward supported that idea – there will be a meeting at the city hall on the 15th from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.

The casual – opportunity to ask questions meetings – are being followed by a Statutory meeting required by the provincial Planning Act; an occasion when anyone can delegate and give a ten minute view point on what they like and don’t like about the proposed Official Plan.

Expect this to be another boisterous meeting during which those opposed to the plan press city council to defer the plan until after the October municipal election.

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Civil, civic conversations. If you can’t do that – don’t waste your time writing.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 13th, 2018



It was the call for a Task Force on Bullying and Harassment that got us started on this. Then the note from    James Schofield that led to our asking: “Are we part of the problem – we thought we were part of the solution.”

The Gazette opened up a comments section on the newspaper and the response was robust.  But we began to notice that people were disrespecting one another and we began to tighten up the rules on what was acceptable.

We then began to look at the comments section of the Gazette and decided that we needed to tighten up on what we were permitting.


Removing content that is disrespectful is not censorship.

We learned that this isn’t going to be a simple process.

We edited a comment from a reader taking out disrespectful language – here is what came back

“I’m out” said Michael Drake. He added: “I appreciate the Gazette trying to cover these issues but can’t abide censorship of any kind. Time to go yell at some clouds.

“Good luck everyone (that includes you too James).”

The comment that we edited removed the name calling. We wanted the comments section to be a place where civil, civic conversations could take place. So Michael will no longer be with us because he feels respect for those we share this planet with is akin to censorship.

James Schofield put it very well when he said in the article that “I think the recognition that commenting on your site is a privilege, not a right, and certainly not a “free speech” right, is also important.”

Civil, civic conversations. If you can’t do that – don’t waste your time writing.

Related content:

Lancaster calls for a Task Force

Whose interests are being served

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The last farm house in what was once Appleby Village was rich in history and the city's farming past.

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 12th, 2018



When we published the story on the Taylor farm and the house on the property at Appleby Line at Mainway we didn’t have access to much in the way of pictures.

A Gazette reader with a keen interest in heritage had taken some snapshots and made them available to us.

Site with address and backhoe

Backhoe sitting on the plot of land where what became known as the Taylor house existed. Not only was the structure the last farmhouse in what was once called Appleby Village it was demolished without a permit.

Historical picture

Burlington once had many houses like this – they were the homes of farmers who worked the land that is now covered by six lane expressways and factories. Prize Short Horn cattle and proud Clydesdale horses were in the field and milk sold for 10 cents a gallon and one cow earned the farmer $5.34

“We all understand that we need to progress and modernize” said our reader, “ As long as it is done with collaborative stewardship.” Nothing collaborative about the sound of a backhoe tearing away at the walls of a house that is the last piece of what was once a small village.

This is one of the last remnants of the Village of Appleby, which was almost entirely demolished in the 1950s to make way for service roads for the expanded QEW. The house is set back from the road, with a well kept lawn and rows of trees on either side of the house. The landscaping is traditional.

It was built in 1896 for Charles Fothergill; there is a date stone and name found engraved in the chimney.
In 1877 the property was owned by John Fothergill.


Somewhere in that rubble there is a stone with the date the house was built and who it was built for – the people who arranged for the demolition chose not to collaborate with the city to salvage some of our history – no wonder we know so little about ourselves.

According to Memories of Pioneer Days, pp. 171-172, John Fothergill was the only son (of ten children) of Christopher and Frances Fothergill, who immigrated from Applbey, Westmoreland, England to settle on this new world Appleby Line in the early 1830s.

John married Charlotte Tuck and in 1878 purchased the Balsam Lodge farm from Arnanda Baxter.

In 1889 Charles, their eldest son, married Amelia Cole and took over this part of the Fothergill farm property on the east side of Appleby Line. His younger brother Christopher went to the Yukon and is mentioned in Laura Berton’s book, I Married the Klondike…

The third son, Thomas, married Lucy Matthewman of Appleby and farmed the Fothergill property on the west side of Appleby Line.

Burlington crest - with city reference

The city crest pays homage to a proud past.

According to an article by Alana Perkins in the 24 May 1997 issue of the Spectator, their house was the Lucas Farmhouse which was dismantled, moved, and rebuilt at the (former) Ontario Agricultural Museum at Milton.
According to Murray Fisher’s ‘Farewell to the Garden of Canada’ (1984), this farm was owned by H. Featherstone, Mixed farming, sold to J. Taylor, Mixed Farming.

Ruth and Jack Taylor were the last people to live in the house.

The property is identified as “employment land” and given its location that is likely what it will remain as.

One wonders if that stone with the date and name were recovered during the demolition.

There are rules against tearing down a building without a permit. The fine is reported to be $2000 an d it is the city that will have to take any action that is going to be taken.

Expect the city manager to be tough on this one.

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Two open houses and a Statutory public meeting on the new Official Plan scheduled. Planners want council to approve the plan in April.

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 11th, 2018



The issue that has some of the people in Burlington quite upset is the subject of two Open Meetings this week; one at city hall and another in the Alton community at the Haber Recreational Centre.

These meetings are an opportunity for the public to ask questions; in its announcement the city has said there will not be formal presentation at the Open meetings but planning staff will be on hand to answer questions.

The proposed new Official Plan articulates Burlington’s vision to the planning horizon of 2031 and beyond, and has been developed in recognition of the opportunities and challenges ahead as the city continues to evolve.

421 Brant

The 421 Brant development has been approved by city council. The project went through some significant changes and was originally going to be a 12 storey structure that was a rather squat and unattractive looking building. There were also extensive negotiations between the developer and the planners.

The issue for some is the high rise towers that are going to be built in the downtown core.  A 23 storey structure has already been approved by city council on a 5-2 vote.  A second application has been submitted for a 24 storey structure across the street from the 23 storey tower.

Rendering with Bake Shop

An application for this 24 storey tower was submitted last week – it is across the street from city hall.

Two Open House opportunities:
Monday, Feb. 12, 2018
6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Haber Community Centre, Community Room 2-West
3040 Tim Dobbie Drive

Thursday Feb. 15, 2018
6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
City Hall, Room 247, level 2
426 Brant Street

These two meetings will be followed by a Statutory Public Meeting at which people can delegate and provide comments to City Council on the proposed new Official Plan (February 2018), and for Council to consider the feedback prior to adopting the new Official Plan.
The provincially mandated Statutory Public Meeting will be held on:

Site - south of 421

The red outline is the location of the approved 23 storey tower – the black outline is the location for a 24 storey tower application that was filed with the city last week.

Site map

This part of the downtown core is under immense development pressure. Most of the property on Brant Street as far north as Fairview has been assembled. The city is dealing with at least ten more that are in the que waiting for a the planners to get to and through all the supporting data.

Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018
1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
City Hall, Council Chambers, level 2
426 Brant Street

Delegations are invited to register but are not required to register in advance to speak. All delegations are expected to be accommodated in the afternoon or evening session. Additional time may be scheduled if required.

The Official Plan is a statutory document that sets out land use policy to guide growth, land use planning and development approvals in Burlington. The Planning Act requires that municipalities revise their Official Plans no less frequently than 10 years for a new official plan and every five years for an update to an official plan.

The City initiated an Official Plan Review project in 2011 which included policy, research, analysis, studies, staff reports and community feedback on a number of topics. The review of the City’s current Official Plan demonstrated significant changes were required to the document to reflect the city’s new priorities established through the city’s Strategic Plan. As a result, a new Official Plan was prepared.

The proposed new Official Plan project was undertaken to clarify Burlington’s local vision for the future, as well as to conform to Halton Region’s Official Plan. It also implements Council’s direction to accommodate growth within the urban area and protect Burlington’s rural boundary. The Plan directs growth in Burlington based on the principles of protecting the natural environment and agricultural lands, building healthy communities, increasing travel options, making efficient use of existing and planned infrastructure, and maintaining a strong economy.

The proposed new Official Plan (February 2018) contains revisions based on feedback received at the November 30, 2017 Statutory Public Meeting and January 23, 2018 Public Meeting, and through written submissions. The proposed new Official Plan also contains the proposed new Downtown Precinct Plan and associated polices, resulting from the Downtown Mobility Hub Area Specific Planning process.

The proposed new Official Plan (February 2018) as well as a tracked change version can be accessed:

• online at www.burlington.ca/newop

• for viewing at the Clerks Department (City Hall, 426 Brant Street, Main Floor) from Monday to Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm.

• for viewing at the City’s public libraries.

A staff report concerning the proposed new Official Plan (February 2018) will be available for public review on February 16, 2018. This report will provide an overview of the changes made to the Official Plan based on the feedback received on the proposed new Official Plan (November 2017). The report will be available on the City’s website at www.burlington.ca/calendar by searching for the meeting date for the Planning and Development Committee, which is a standing Committee of Council. Copies of the reports can also be picked up at the City’s Clerks Department on the main level of City Hall.

Since this is a Statutory Public Meeting, you do not have to register in advance in order to speak. Speakers are limited to a maximum of 10 minutes each and are webcast online. If you have presentation materials, they must be submitted to Ms. Rudy by noon the day before the meeting to allow for their distribution and review by all members of the Committee. Please note, the content of all submissions is considered to be public and will be posted to the city’s website.

A staff report recommending adoption of the proposed new Official Plan is scheduled for consideration at the April 4, 2018 Planning and Development Committee meeting.

If you wish to be notified of the decision of Burlington City Council on the proposed new Official Plan, you must make a written request to Jo-Anne Rudy, Committee Clerk, City of Burlington, City Hall, 426 Brant Street, P.O. Box 5013, Burlington, Ontario, L7R 3Z6.


Citizens listening to or waiting to delegate at city council.

If a person or public body does not make oral submissions at a public meeting or make written submissions to the City of Burlington before the proposed new Official Plan is adopted, the person or public body is not entitled to appeal the decision of The Regional Municipality of Halton (the approval authority) to the Ontario Municipal Board.

If a person or public body does not make oral submissions at a public meeting or make written submissions to the City of Burlington before the proposed new Official Plan is adopted, the person or public body may not be added as a party to the hearing of an appeal before the Ontario Municipal Board unless, in the opinion of the Board, there are reasonable grounds to add the person or public body as a party.

Meed Ward H&S

City Councillor Marianne Meed Ward has pressed her colleagues to defer the adoption of an Official Plan until after the October municipal election.

Two critical meetings have already taken place at city hall on the re-write of the Official Plan – November 20th, 2017 and January 23rd, 2018.

Both were contentious; the January meeting heard 35 delegations of which 34 were opposed to the plan as it was written and the time line.  The one in favour of the plan and the time line attached to it turns out to have been the planner who has been hired by the developer, Revenue Properties who submitted an application for a second high rise to go up on Brant Street across from city hall.

Many feel the time line is just too much too fast and have asked that any adoption of an Official Plan be delayed until after the October municipal election.  Councillor Marianne Meed Ward was the mover of the motion to defer and the only person who voted for it.


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Downtown resident responds to Councillor Sharman and his reasons for approving the 421 Brant Street 23 storey condo.

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 11th, 2018



Deborah Ruse was one of the 34 people who delegated to city council when the committee decision was made to approve the development (a 5-2 vote for the project) of the 421 Brant Street 23 storey condominium opposite city hall.

During the discussion after her delegation Ms Ruse said she was not aware of any Councillors’ reasons for support of the project.  Councillor Sharman corrected Ms Ruse saying he had made his reasons public in his newsletter, and offered to send it to her.  After doing some research on the points Sharman made in his Newsletter Ruse responded.

“I have some comments on your newsletter regarding the approval of the 421 Brant Street project. I hope these thoughts can project the strong feelings from many people in the community regarding Council’s confusing approval of this project. Especially given the current Official Plan guidelines, and other new motions which have recently been passed, particularly:

Direct the Director of City Building to modify the building height permissions of the Downtown Core Precinct so that development shall:

i) have a maximum height of 12 storeys; or
ii) have a maximum height which shall not exceed 17 storeys, subject to a site-specific Zoning By-Law

Amendment, with additional storeys above that permitted in the Downtown Core Precinct being provided in accordance with the following:

1. one additional storey for every 150 sq m of dedicated office and/or employment floor space; or

2. one additional storey for every 8 publicly accessible parking spaces provided in an underground parking structure.

As far as I am aware, the 421 Brant St project offers neither of these gains, with only 8 visitor parking spots and actually less office or retail space than what is there now. Could you please provide me your thoughts on this?

Here are the Ruse comments on the point made by Sharman in his Newsletter.  Sharman is in bold; Ruse is in regular typeface.

421 BrantA number of residents said they simply want to keep Brant street the way it is. – No, actually most delegates and people posting comments online said they want Brant St to be developed in accordance with the current OP (4-12 stories), or even the new OP (up to 17 stories)

Yet a discussion that focuses on one location and on one measure (i.e. height) without giving sufficient consideration to other important and complex matters will cause much long term, serious problems in the City that Council is focused on trying to address. – Delegates were addressing the issue at hand, the over-development of 421 Brant. We’ll get to the other ones now that we will be more aware. But we thought that developments would move forward according to the Official Plan in place, so we didn’t know we would have such drastic deviations. And citizens can comprehend complex issues, given a full explanation and time. It will just take time for citizens to catch up to Staff and Council once they have full explanations, to understand all the details.

Clearly, the owners had a right to build something new on the site that would be larger in scale. – Yes they do, and the right to build something larger than what is there is 12 stories, as in the current Official Plan.

Site map

City hall is across the street from the site. Another development application has been filed for the property to the south on Brant (left of the red hash marked site) The properties to the right will feel development pressure – mist have already been assembled.

Clearly, the City had created a plan to encourage redevelopment of the site with something new and large. – The plan the City had created says 4-12 stories on this site – this could be considered large vs the existing 2 story building (up to 8x as high).

Staff had to negotiate with developers over what design characteristics would be acceptable. Clearly, height is one such concern, but there are others. These include “massing”, set-backs, shadowing, parking, design and others. – One wonders what sort of negotiation was held – how did ‘negotiations’ go from 12 stories in the Official Plan to 23? And what about affordable units, green space, public parking, retail or office space gains? From the final plan none of these areas will be delivered to the level they could or should have been.

This was a requirement from the Province, not a suggestion. – But this location was not a required location. Location was up to our city councilors to plan – like in Oakville. How can Oakville be in compliance with their only intensification around a single GO station, when Burlington has 3 GO stations to intensify near? And actually, the Mayor has stated that we are meeting our provincial density targets currently.

3d rendering intersection

3d rendering showing the intersection of Brant and James

They calculated the number of square feet of residential space that would have been allowed in the 12-storey block building and redistributed the floor space in a design that has a smaller street level foot print, with a four storey “podium”, on top of which they then proposed a 19-storey “slender” tower. This design would satisfy all legal requirements. It also meant the developer was required to reduce the total amount of floor space in the building by 25%, part of which meant including less commercial and less retail space in the first four floors – First, how was the total square footage calculated? Only one property has allowance for 12 stories; the other 4-5 properties assembled were allowed 4 stories or 8 stories with community benefits so if the 12-story limit was applied to the whole property, it would have been over-calculated. Second, what “legal requirements” are you referring to? And third, how was the 25% reduction of total floor space calculated? I do not see a calculation for this in the planning report. What are the actual numbers leading to this percentage? And less commercial and retail space works for the developer because they don’t have to own and lease that space, constantly overseeing the tenants/leases, etc. It is much easier to sell a condo once and be done. Could you please provide feedback to these questions?

Finally, the residents’ discussion became a debate about personal preferences and opinions about how something might look without taking into account all the other considerations. – The residents were not allowed a discussion, so it did not become a debate about personal preferences – a Councilor, and later the Mayor, ASKED each delegator what their personal preference was – delegator’s mostly focused on asking why the planning department deviated so completely from the OP.

a reasonable compromise. – Given the citizen backlash, many would beg to differ that this is a reasonable compromise.

Burlington home prices increased 73% in the last 4 years.-  Royal LePage data: The average house price in Burlington in 2014 was $502,000 and today it is $750,000 so about a 66% increase. This only includes detached homes. It may vary a little depending on what and where we include.

Our goal is to increase the availability of housing for the young and old that they can afford – let’s ask 25-39 year olds in Burlington if they can afford the condo prices set for these buildings. And even if these young people can afford these condos, they won’t be able to stay long if they want to raise a family as there are not enough two- and three-bedroom units since a larger unit is “not as profitable, per square foot as a small unit. Developers will cater to the more profitable market segment, even if there is a strong market interest for two- and three-bedroom units. But it’s not the job of [the] Planning [Department] to maximize the profit of developers. Developers will argue that two- and three-bedroom units are not viable, but it’s false. Economic analysis shows that two- and three-bedroom units can be less profitable than one-bedroom or studios, but that’s not the same as saying that they aren’t viable”. This quote is from Brent Toderian (article by David Roberts, VOX, June 21, 2017)

421 James street rendering

3d rendering of the 421 development from James Street with city hall in the background. The condominium entrance is to be on the James Street side.

The plan is to allow only 5% of Burlington land to increase in density, most of which will be less than 11 floors and that will be along Fairview St., Plains Rd. and some areas around plazas – So then why was 23 stories downtown presented and approval?

Most of the Brant Street height will occur close to Burlington GO. Even that will not be anything like Toronto or Mississauga where 50 floors is common. We expect the maximum to be in line with the buildings at Burlington GO station which are more like 25. – So there will be buildings taller than 23 stories near the GO? And the towers in Toronto and Mississauga that are 50 floors are on major arterial roads of 4-6 lanes, or the Gardiner Expressway, not a 2-lane street. And if most of the Brant St height will occur close to the GO station, then how did this lower Brant St development get approval in this height bracket? Again, such a drastic deviation from the OP begs the question.

Sharman - bullying meet Feb 5-2018

Councillor Paul Sharman

Some people think the precise number of floors in a building is more important than everything. I disagree. – So do most of the delegators who spoke. The issue the public has is with Staff and Council providing an approval that deviates so glaringly from the OP.

As proof that this concern is city-wide and goes deep, look at the online comments about the approval of the 421 Brant St project from just one article published on the inhalton website. “23-Storey Condo Approved for Downtown Burlington” (by Alan Kan, November 17, 2017).

Each entry is from a different reader, tough to ignore.

very sad;
what’s the use of having a city bylaw then approving this?;
terrible decision;
no affordable [units];
agree there is a place for high-rise development in our city, but it is not in our very compact downtown core;
sad to see this happen;
destroying the core of Burlington;
we are not Toronto or Vancouver;
thanks Burlington city council;
it is a freaking disaster;
very disappointed that council have gone against the wishes of most Burlington citizens;
this building is far too tall for our downtown;
barely any traffic control to begin with let alone room for more traffic to come in;
it’s a mess;
supposed to have geared to income rentals in there;
sold out to the developers;
council hands out exemptions to the building codes/bylaws like its Halloween candy;
this is terrible;
downtown is already ridiculously congested;
total disgrace!;
awful idea;
such a nightmare;
would like to know what council is thinking;
bad decision;
try to find a parking spot like the rest of us who struggle to find a spot;
councilors and builders just don’t listen to us;
yet another monstrosity;
the roads are already a nightmare;
gridlock down there now;
traffic is going to be insane;
I don’t think council cares;
we don’t need it and we don’t want it;
these councilors they are not speaking for the residents of Burlington;
this is a travesty;
please no;
it’s just becoming a corridor of condos;
very sad;
why are we trying to be like Toronto?;
awful decision;
horrible decision;
we aren’t Toronto;
hate it!!;
very disappointed;
not impressed;
major fail;
terrible decision;
they will never listen to the people;
very sad;
high rise cement jungle on Brant St;
more traffic is gonna be awful;
traffic is terrible already;
shorten it and then I will accept it;
traffic is a mess down there now;
horrible idea;
terrible decision;
terrible news;
thumbs down symbol;
I lived in Van .. hated the downtown core;
we aren’t Toronto!;
so very sad;
turning into Toronto;
hate it;
very sad;
what do I think? Not much!;
very sad;
just shaking my head;
we don’t need this;
traffic chaos;
shake up council;
terrible decision;
short sighted;
shame; absurd;
not great decision;
what a mistake!;
no; 3 thumbs down;
5 thumbs down;
this is an abomination.

Is Paul Sharman a member of city council who has lost the ability to hear what residents are saying and has decided to dig in his heals and maintain his position despite the considerable protest against too much height in the downtown core?

The public does have the opportunity to turf a politician that is not listening to them – at this point there is no one prepared to run against Paul Sharman in ward 5.

That is a fact the citizens are going to have to contend with.

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