ECoB will have lawn signs by the end of the week - a meeting for anyone who wants to serve as a volunteer.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

January 15th, 2018



ECOB logoECoB will also be holding a Volunteer Recruitment Workshop on Thursday January 18th at Wellington Square Church, 2121 Caroline Avenue from 7-9 PM.

The ECoB lawn signs should be available at that time as well. Anyone interested in getting one should contact us through our email address


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Ward 2 city Councillor sets out why she wants changes made to the draft Official Plan; wants the development focus shifted north to the Burlington GO mobility hub.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

January 15th, 2018



Meed Ward H&S

Ward 2 city Councillor Marianne Meed Ward

Marianne Meed Ward announced earlier this month that she will be bringing a series of motions to modify the proposed new Official Plan policies to avoid over- intensification and ensure balanced growth in keeping with our strategic plan and requirements under provincial and regional policies.

News anal REDThe detail and Meed Ward’s rationalization are set out below along with maps that visualize the changes she thinks should be made.

Motion: 1
Defer approval of Official Plan till after the 2018 Municipal Election

• Major changes are coming to the city through proposed intensification in the mobility hubs at the 3 Burlington GO stations, and the downtown.

• When the Official Plan review began in December 2011, changes to the downtown were out of the scope. The mobility hubs were not included in the scope.

• In October 2016, the city shifted from an update to a rewrite of the plan. The first draft was released in April 2017. Downtown and mobility hubs policies were not included.

• Proposed changes were first released in September for the downtown, and in November for the GO stations. Area specific plans are still to come.

Official-Plan-Binder_Image• There is considerable community opposition to some of the proposed changes, particularly in the downtown.

• We need time to get this right and give the community more voice, by testing the proposed plan democratically via the 2018 election.

• There is no need or requirement from the province to rush.

• Council continues to retain full decision-making control over applications that may come in prior to approval of the Official Plan. Rules around appeals to the new Local Planning Appeal Tribunal restrict what can be appealed and give more weight to local decisions, further strengthening council’s decision-making authority.

Meed Ward is absolutely right – what’s the rush?  Where is the time for the public to absorb the huge amount of information?  And were changes of this magnitude part of the mandate this council was given in 2014?

Strategic Plans were four year, single term of council documents.  This administration changed the time line to a 20 year Strategic Plan and has based much of what it now wants to do on that plan.  Future councils are not obligated to accept a Strategic Plan created by a previous government.  Unless of course this Council had the audacity to believe they were going to be around for the next 20 years.

Motion: 2
Direct staff to discuss with the Region and province the possibility of removing the mobility hub classification for the downtown, and shifting the Urban Growth Centre to the Burlington GO station.

• The Urban Growth Centre and Mobility Hub designations have put pressure on the downtown for over intensification.  Meed Ward points to the ADI development at Martha & Lakeshore, that was unanimously  rejected by council and staff.  ADI appealed the council decision to the OMB; a decision is expected soon

• The city has input on the location of Urban Growth Centres (UGC) and Mobility Hubs, and recently added more Mobility Hubs on its own without direction from the province (Aldershot and Appleby). “Ergo” said Meed Ward, ” we can work with the region and province to request a shift in the UGC to the existing designated mobility hub at the Burlington GO station. Urban Growth Centre boundaries recently changed – and can be changed again.”

• The city is positioned to meet city-wide growth targets set by the province for 2031 within the next five years: the population target is 185,000; 2016 census shows the city at 183,000, with 1,000 units under construction at the Burlington GO station alone.

• Downtown will continue to absorb its share of city growth under current Official Plan permissions, and will surpass a target density of 200 people or jobs within 5 to 8 years.

Downtown development sites App A

Current development activity in the Downtown core.

• There is significant development interest in the downtown, with at least 23 areas under construction, approved (whether built or not), under appeal, at pre-consultation , or subject to known land assembly.

• The downtown can meet the intent of provincial policy and the strategic plan without the pressure to over-intensify that comes with UGC and Mobility Hub designations.

Meed Ward has spoken with The Director of Planning Services/ Chief Planning Official at Halton Region who is open to this conversation, without precluding any outcome. The Region will be reviewing its own Official Plan in 2019.

Motion 3: Staff Direction
Direct staff to work with the Region of Halton to review the Downtown Urban Growth Centre boundaries, and consider restoring original boundaries with the exception of Spencer Smith Park.

motion 3 appendix c

Land use as the city planning department has presented it in their Mobility Hub reports.


motion 3 app b

Growth Centre boundaries as put forward by the Planning Department.

Motion 3 app b +

Changes Ward 2 Councillor Meed Ward will be bringing to council on January 23rd by way of motions.

• Parts of stable neighbourhoods and a community park have been added to the Urban Growth Centre, while the intent of the boundaries is to protect and exclude stable neighbourhoods.

• Areas of high density including mid-rises and high rises have been eliminated , while the intent of the boundary was to accommodate higher density built forms.

Meed Ward said she has spoken with the Director of Planning Services/ Chief Planning Official at Halton Region who is supportive of the proposed boundary changes. The Region will be reviewing its own Official Plan in 2019.

Areas to Eliminate:

• Ontario North/East of the hydro corridor
• West side of Locust and parcel fronting Hurd
• West side of Martha to James, including Lion’s Club Park
Areas to Add back:
• Ghent West to Hager
• Lakeshore South of Torrance
• South East parcels of James/Martha

Motion 4:
4a Retain the current height restriction of 4 storeys (with permission to go to 8 storeys with community benefits) for the Downtown Core Precinct. Proposed height in the new Official Plan is 17 storeys as of right.

4b Include a range of heights in the precinct, to help secure community benefits during redevelopment.

4c Include policies to allow additional density in developments that preserve heritage buildings, as a factor of square footage preserved.


Motion 4 app c

Historic property locations are shown on this map in light purple.

Motion 4 app d

Arrows point to where Meed Ward thinks changes should be made.

The downtown can meet growth targets under existing planning permissions. Refer to the intensification analysis completed by staff for the 421 Brant/James proposal, and earlier for the ADI proposal at Martha/Lakeshore. There is no policy need under provincial legislation or the city’s strategic plan to over intensify to accommodate growth.

St lukes emerals precinct 2

Residences in the St. Luke’s Precinct.

The majority of residents are not supportive of this height in this precinct. Residents are supportive of a range of new developments up to a mid-rise character as reflected in the existing plan (4-8 storeys).

St lukes emerald precinct 1

Residences in the Emerald Precinct.

Approving an up zone to 17 storeys as of right does not provide opportunity to negotiate community benefits, for example heritage preservation, affordable and family housing, additional green space setbacks and streetscaping, parking and other matters. That can be achieved in part by including a range of heights in the plan, which the existing policy framework has. That can also be achieved by writing into the precinct policies extra density in respect of the square footage of the historic buildings preserved.

There is precedent: the existing OP for the Old Lakeshore Road area includes density increases for heritage protection during redevelopment; add similar policies to the downtown core precinct.

Up zoning to 17 storeys would compromise the historic character of parts of the precinct, create a potential forest of high rises every 25 metres in this area should land owners take advantage of the new heights by application, in accordance with the Tall Building Guidelines, and make it more difficult to preserve historic (but not designated) buildings in the downtown, as the air rights of these existing 2-3 storey buildings would be more valuable than retaining the building.

There are 93 properties in the downtown mobility hub study area of heritage significance (on the municipal register or designated).

• Of these 26 are designated

• 5 adjacent to mobility hub, 1 of these designated

Motion 5:
Height restriction of 3 storeys along Brant Street with permission to go to 11 storeys along John Street frontage, only with the provision of community benefits.

Existing permissions are 4 storeys along Brant, up to 8 with provision of community benefits. The proposed is 3-11, which is roughly the same; this motion seeks additional of language that allows securing community benefits to get to the full 11 storeys.

Motion 6:
6a. Add the north west corner of Burlington Avenue and Lakeshore Road to the special planning area to match the north east corner.

6b. Reduce height to 3 storeys.

Current proposal in the Official Plan is 6 storeys, on the east side only.

motion 6

Councillor Meed Ward sees Burlington Street as the entrance to the St. Luke’s Precinct and believes that the two corners at Lakeshore Road should be the same height.

Burlington Avenue and Lakeshore is a gateway to the stable neighbourhood of St. Luke’s. This corner has existing townhouses and single family homes that contain multiple units. Both sides of the street should be treated the same; the proposed 3 storeys reflects existing built form and is compatible with the balance of the street in the St. Luke’s Precinct. Higher height/density will put pressure on development creep up the street into the neighbourhood.

Motion 7:
Reduce the cannery district at the north east corner of Lakeshore Road and Brant Street to 15 storeys.


Reflects existing heights in the area.

Motion 8: Upper Brant Precinct:
8a. Remove East side of Brant from Blairholm to Prospect 8b.

motion 8

The arrows indicate where Councillor Meed Ward would like to see changes made in the current version of the Official Plan.

Remove West side of Brant from Blairholm to Olga

Existing heights are 4-6 storeys; that is an appropriate transition in these two areas which back onto stable neighbourhoods.

One Gazette reader who has written opinion pieces for the paper said: “This meeting and MMW’s (Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward) motions may determine who will be our next mayor and put the rest of council on notice, as well as planning.

The January 23rd meeting is expected to attract a significant number of delegations.  Many of those who have delegated in the past have come away from the experience feeling they were not respected and not listened to.

The city council decision to accept a Planning Staff Recommendation to approve a 23 storey condominium opposite city hall appears to have been the “straw that broke the camel’s back”.   They want to put a stop to some of the ideas coming out of the Planning department that itself is experiencing some disarray.

The meeting will start at 1:00 pm and adjourn at 4:00 and begin again at 6:30 pm.  Meetings can go to 10:00 pm and can be extended an additional half hour and then are adjourned to be continued on another day.



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Civic engagement - Timbits style. Bold indeed!

News 100 yellowBy Staff

January 12th, 2018



The city goes to great lengths to engage its citizens – the are using social media much more and reporting significant reach into the community.

That reach isn’t reflected in the level of public awareness of just what the city has planned for the various neighborhoods in the downtown core.
If you are a Timbits type you may have noticed the public message that scrolls across the screens in some of the locations.

Grpw Bold - community engagement

Civic engagement – Timbits style.

Intriguing – not sure if the city pays for the space on the screen or if the franchise owner runs the video as a public service message.

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Tallest buildings the city planners want to permit are to be in the Upper Brant Precinct - ward Councillor doesn't see it the same way.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 12th, 2018


Part ten of a multi-part editorial feature on the precincts and mobility hub being planned for the downtown core

The Upper Brant Precinct is a new precinct, which serves as “the height peak” or the area of the tallest building permissions in the Downtown Mobility Hub. This precinct was created in response to public input around the preferred location of building height in the downtown and as a result of the precinct’s location within walking distance of the Burlington GO Station to accommodate a mixed-use pedestrian, cycling and transit oriented community close to higher order public transit.

Upper Brant precinct

The developers are far ahead of the thinking going on in the Planning department. Major projects are well advanced.

Draft Intention Statement:

The Upper Brant Precinct will accommodate the tallest developments within the Downtown Mobility Hub, where appropriate and compatible, along Brant Street between Prospect Street and Blairholm Avenue. Developments will generally achieve a height and density that reflects the precinct’s walking distance to higher-order transit at the Burlington GO Station and contributes to the creation of a transit, pedestrian and cycling oriented community that links the Downtown Mobility Hub and the Burlington GO Mobility Hub.

The key policy directions for the Upper Brant Precinct include a maximum building height of 25 storeys where appropriate and compatible, as well as several building design and performance measures. Future developments will be required to provide a mix of unit sizes, and attract a range of demographics and income levels to the Downtown. In addition, podium requirements, Transportation Demand Management measures and the mitigation of impacts on adjacent low and mid-rise development will be required.

Upper brant map 2

The two squares are land that has been assembled with plans to build well underway. The circle is where a significant add on is to be added to Brant Square.

The Upper Brant Precinct also includes a special policy area that is intended to recognize the existing shallow parcel depths of lands on the east side of Brant Street, just south of Ghent Avenue and their close proximity to the adjacent low density residential neighbourhood.

Draft Intention Statement for Special Policy Area:

Lands on the east side of Brant Street from south of Ghent Avenue to Blairholm Avenue will accommodate developments at a scale and height significantly less than that permitted throughout the precinct.

Brant Square looking north

Brant Square has had plans for a significant re-development of their property in the works for some time. The property to the immediate north has been assembled on both sides of the street with the developer ready to put shovels into the ground.

Developments will not exceed a modest mid-rise form in order to minimize potential impacts on the adjacent established residential neighborhood areas as a result of smaller parcel sizes and depths that exist in this section of the precinct.

The key policy directions for the Upper Brant Precinct Special Policy Area include a maximum building height of 7 storeys.

Meed Ward at kick off

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward at her 2014 nomination meeting.

Ward 2 city Councillor Marianne Meed Ward has announced that she will be bringing a number of motions to a committee meeting on January 23rd.  Two of the nine motions she has outlined relate to the Upper Brant Precinct.

Meed Ward wants to:

Remove East side of Brant from Blairholm to Prospect and retain existing permissions

Remove West side of Brant from Blairholm to Olga and retain existing permissions

She said that “the proposed Upper Brant Precinct from Blairholm to Prospect (royal blue on the map) would allow heights of 25 storeys. Currently this area allows mixed use buildings of 6 storeys, although there are taller buildings on the West side of Brant and Ghent (up to 18 storeys).

On the east side of Brant there are low rises (4-6 storeys) and the area transitions to single family neighbourhoods. Though staff have proposed some restrictions to height in this area, based on lot depth, the east side of Brant should be eliminated entirely from this precinct.

Brant St north of Prospect is part of the Burlington GO mobility hub planning study, which will be discussed at a future committee meeting.

Part 1  Evolution of precincts and hubs

Part 2 Brant Main Street

Part 3 – Parks and promenades

Part 4 – Bates precinct

Part 5 – Cannery precinct

Part 6 Old Lakeshore Road

Part 7 Mid Rise precinct

Part 8 Tall buildings precinct

Part 9 Public service precinct

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Public service precinct - includes land all over the city.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 11th, 2018


Part nine of a multi-part editorial feature on the precincts and mobility hub being planned for the downtown core

The Public Service Precinct is an updated precinct (currently identified as Major Institutional Precinct in the City’s Official Plan) that formally recognizes existing and future land for public service functions in the Downtown Mobility Hub.

Public service precinct

What is a little surprising is what has been included in the Public Service Precinct – not just the Brant Museum that is undergoing a transformation but much of what will eventually become the Beachway Park.

Draft Intention Statement:

The Public Service Precinct will accommodate current and future public services within the Downtown Mobility Hub including healthcare, education, emergency and protective services, cultural activities and civic administration, among others. Lands identified as public service may accommodate such uses either wholly or in part as part of a public-private partnership.

“The policy directions for the Public Service Precinct include recognizing existing and potential public service facilities as well as permitting opportunities to locate public services in privately owned development through public-private partnerships.”

Not a lot in the way of detail. What the planners are not revealing is the long term thinking about what to do with city hall that does not have enough space for all the staff and is an old inefficient building.

City Hall BEST aerial

City hall has been due for an upgrade for some time – best the city has been able to do is upgrade some of the furnishing in the Atrium.

Former Director of Planning Mary Lou Tanner, now Deputy city manager, said during a tour of John Street that she liked the look of the city hall but realized there were some problems with the accommodation of staff – something would have to be done with the back end of the building where an addition was put in place a number of years ago.

There is a report somewhere in the Capital Works department that includes a survey of the space needs and what might be done with the city hall. That report never made its way to a public meeting.

The city currently rents a considerable amount of space in the Sims building which is across the street from city hall.


Finance, Human Resources and Capital works are all in the Sims building.

Ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison thought the city should have either bought the Sims building or do something with the existing city hall. That idea didn’t go anywhere.

Grow bold - front door

City chose to rent space on Locust street for the Grow Bold planners, yards from the best patio space in the city.

In order to accommodate the growing number of planners involved in the Grow Bold idea and the creation of the Mobility Hubs the city rented some expensive space on Locust Street.

Lots of room for some creative thinking on consolidating the different space needs.

Part 1  Evolution of precincts and hubs

Part 2 Brant Main Street

Part 3 – Parks and promenades

Part 4 – Bates precinct

Part 5 – Cannery precinct

Part 6 Old Lakeshore Road

Part 7 Mid Rise precinct

Part 8 Tall buildings precinct


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Fearman pork has long term plans for growth in Burlington - mobility hub plans create some 'land use issues'.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 10th, 2018



We don’t often get a glimpse at how the larger corporate interests approach the city when they want their interests done “offline” as they say.

Early in December, George Wilson delegated at a city council workshop on the four Mobility Hubs the city is going to use as major focal points for commercial development. Wilson was interested in what the city planned for the Appleby Line GO station hub.

Appleby GO mobility hib study areaWilson is a vice president at Sofina Foods; they are the corporate group that now owns Fearmans Pork Inc., which they acquired in 2012

Fearmans gets in the news when the animal rights people protest over the conditions that pigs are transported to the pork processing plant on Harvester Road at Appleby Line.

Wilson was delegating about Sofina concerns about “land use conflicts”. Before he got to those concerns he trotted out all kinds of information including a lot about how good a community partner they are and they do raise a tonne of money

Wynne RibFest-Rotary-guy-+-Premier-595x1024

When the Premier wears an apron with your corporate name on it – you matter.

They support almost every group you can name; the big ones; Ronald MacDonald House, The Dream Builders and a number of the smaller organizations – food banks particularly.

Wilson said the company has raised $4 million; they hold an annual golf classic and contribute significant amounts to the community.

The Fearmans plant employs 1,000 people at full time, 40 hours a week jobs.

50% of hog processing in Ontario is done at the Fearman plant. 11% of all hog processing in Canada is done at the plant. 1350 family farms within a three hour radius of the plant transport pigs to the plant.

5.3million hogs are processed at the plant.

60% of the pork processed in Canada is exported.

This is clearly a major Burlington corporation.

Wilson wanted city council to know that they are in Burlington for the long haul – they have plans to grow. He used phrases like “unlimited growth”, “plans for major investment”

Councillor Dennison wanted to know if the “guests” were a problem to their growth plans. Wilson didn’t understand the question until someone explained that he was referring to the protesters. Wilson responded by saying that “everyone was entitled to their opinion and that Fearmans has government inspectors on the site full time”, no the protesters were not a problem.

Appleby Preferred concept - land useThe problem was “land use conflicts” which Wilson didn’t want to say very much about. Mayor Goldring and Councillor Taylor asked pretty mild questions – hoping to learn a bit more about just what those land use conflicts were. Wilson kept dodging the question – he clearly didn’t want to talk in a public forum.

Meed Ward H&S

Councillor Meed Ward – asking the question no one else cared all that much about – discussing public issues in public.

It was Councillor Meed Ward who reminded Wilson that the use of land is a public matter and that sooner or later what Sofia wants done with the land around the Fearman plant becomes public.

“I understand your desire to have further conversations offline however we have to do our work in public”  She added that sooner or later what Sofina wants will come before a public city council meeting.

The Workshop Chair, Councillor Sharman solved the talking in public matter by telling Wilson that later in the meeting he would talk to staff about how Wilson and the planners could meet and work out those “land uses conflict” issues.

Wilson did say that Sofia had some ideas they wanted to talk about and that the company wanted to collaborate with the city.

Meed Ward seemed to be hoping that Wilson would set out the concerns – the company clearly wants to expand and they plan to be in Burlington for a long time.


Taylor wanted to know the life span of the existing Fearman plant – almost forever was the answer he got.

Earlier in the meeting Councillor Taylor had asked what the life of the plant was – Wilson told him that “we see unlimited growth in that factory” and that “we are poised for significant growth if we have the right conditions”.

What was surprising is that Sofina was apparently not fully aware of the plans the city had for the Appleby GO station mobility hub. Wilson did say that “we just learned about this a few days ago”.

One wonders where the Economic Development Corporation was in all this. A corporation that employs 1000 people matters in a city the size of Burlington.

George Wilson will meet with people in the planning department and talk about those “land use conflicts” out of the public eye.

Editor’s note:  The Gazette has fallen behind a bit on covering the mobility hubs story – the Downtown core developments have taken up much in the way of our resources.  More to follow on the hub story.


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Tall precinct detail is pretty thin - public will want to know a lot more - especially about the land on the east side of the precinct.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 10th, 2018


Part eight of a multi-part editorial feature on the precincts and mobility hub being planned for the downtown core


A development proposal for the Tall Precinct was taken to the city well before the thinking began on a new Official Plan.

The Tall Residential Precinct is a new precinct created out of the existing Downtown Residential Medium/High Density Precinct. The Tall Residential Precinct reflects the existing built form in the precinct.

Draft Intention Statement:

The Tall Residential Precinct will primarily accommodate existing residential developments that are 12 storeys or higher and located at the periphery of the Downtown Mobility Hub. Limited development opportunities could exist within the precinct, which will be expected to enhance the street level experience for pedestrians through the incorporation of building podiums containing commercial and/or ground-oriented housing.

“While the framework for Tall Residential is generally intended to reflect the existing built form, some new policy directions are proposed to provide opportunities for limited infilling of existing mid-rise residential developments including the integration of new ground-oriented housing formats such as adding townhouse podiums at the base of existing buildings; introduce permissions for commercial activities at grade and require Transportation Demand Management (TDM) and mitigation measures within new development. The maximum building heights would continue to be established through the Zoning By-Law.”

Tall resisdentialprecinct

A lot of loose ends on the thinking done so far for this precinct.

Not a lot of detail.  And the height limitations on the west side of the city seem out of sync with what developers are proposing.

On the east side there is an application pending that exceeds the 12 storey limit that is being proposed.

Part 1  Evolution of precincts and hubs

Part 2 Brant Main Street

Part 3 – Parks and promenades

Part 4 – Bates precinct

Part 5 – Cannery precinct

Part 6 Old Lakeshore Road

Part 7 Mid Rise precinct

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Other than a description the planners don't seem to have very much to say about Mid Rise residential and what will be permitted - the ward Councillor certainly has something to say.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 9th, 2018


Part seven of a multi-part editorial feature on the precincts and mobility hub being planned for the downtown core

The Mid-Rise Residential Precinct is a new precinct created out of the existing Downtown Residential Medium/High Density Precinct in the Official Plan. The Mid-Rise Residential Precinct is intended to reflect the existing built form in the precinct.

Draft Intention Statement:

The Mid-Rise Residential Precinct will primarily accommodate existing residential developments consisting of 11 storeys or less. The precinct will serve as a transition from adjacent tall building precincts to established low-density residential areas. Limited development opportunities exist within the precinct, which will achieve a high degree of compatibility with the adjacent St. Luke’s and Emerald Neighbourhood Precinct as well as other established residential neighbourhood areas outside of the Downtown Mobility Hub.

Mid Rise residential precinct

Mid Rise isn’t so much a geographical location – it is really a collection of locations that are going to have some development principles attached to them.

“While the framework for Mid-Rise Residential is generally intended to reflect the existing built form, some new policy directions are proposed that will achieve a maximum building height of 11 storeys; provide opportunities for limited infilling of existing mid-rise residential developments including the integration of new ground-oriented housing formats such as adding townhouse podiums at the base of existing buildings; introduce permissions for commercial activities at grade and require Transportation Demand Management (TDM) and mitigation measures within new development.”

Those bones are pretty bare; nowhere near enough detail for such a sensitive part of the city.  The Art Gallery will at some point undergo a major redevelopment which could be decades away.

Lakeshore Road in this part of the city needs room to breath – 11 storeys doesn’t seem to be a fit.

A considerable amount of property has been acquired by a developer

Burlington street accumulation

The data shown to the right is not relevant however the property addresses are believed to still be in the hands of the developer.

Councillor Meed Ward has some concerns with the proposals. She will be bringing forward a motion to add the North West corner of Burlington Avenue and Lakeshore Road to the Special Planning Area, and limit this area on both sides to 3 storeys

The bottom of Burlington Avenue and Lakeshore is in the precinct (pink area on the attached map). There are townhouses on the West side and single family homes on the East side (some divided into multi-dwelling units). The  current zoning is 11 storeys. The proposed zoning would retain 11 storeys, with a Special Planning Area on the East side reduced to six storeys (thatched pink on the map with the arrow denotes Special Planning Area).

Meed Ward believes “both sides of this intersection should be treated the same, and with reduced height.

Burlington street

There are a number of really fine homes once owned by prominent people who made the city into what it has become. There is a balance to this part of the city that need not be disturbed.

“Burlington and Lakeshore is a gateway to the St. Luke’s Precinct of predominantly single family homes where we don’t want intensification. Allowing 11 storeys on one side of the street, and six on the other, would create pressure to extend growth up the street. Reducing development to three storeys on both sides would better complement and transition to the St. Luke’s Precinct, and is similar to the transition from Brant St to St. Luke’s where the height is three storeys along Locust – the new Bates Precinct.”


Part 1  Evolution of precincts and hubs

Part 2 Brant Main Street

Part 3 – Parks and promenades

Part 4 – Bates precinct

Part 5 – Cannery precinct

Part 6 Old Lakeshore Road


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Old Lakeshore Road - a piece of land with much of Burlington's early history. There was once a Water Street.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

January 8th, 2018


Part six of a multi-part editorial feature on the precincts and mobility hub being planned for the downtown core

The Old Lakeshore Road Precinct is an existing precinct that is being carried forward into the draft New Precinct Plan for the Downtown Mobility Hub.

Old Lakeshore Road precinctIt has always been a controversial piece of land with much of it now in the hands of developers.

Draft Intention Statement:

The Old Lakeshore Road Precinct will continue to serve as an area for mixed use mid-rise developments consisting primarily of residential uses, which are pedestrian-oriented and transit-supportive while achieving a high standard of design. Modest tall buildings may be accommodated where such developments achieve strategic public and city building objectives including the provision of public waterfront access and views to the Lake Ontario, among others.

The current policy framework remains unchanged through the proposed draft new Precinct Plan. An additional policy direction is being recommended through the Mobility Hubs Study process to allow for the future undertaking of a separate Area Specific Plan (ASP) process to review existing height and density maximums as well as the conditions for land development within the precinct based on the achievement of key city-building objectives.

The complexity of this area (Conservation Halton setback requirements, discussion of the closure of Old Lakeshore Road, land assembly) plus the City’s new tall building guidelines necessitate a future review of a narrower scale and geography. The Old Lakeshore Road ASP’s city-building objectives would include new pedestrian connections and park spaces along the waterfront; the creation of a new view corridor from Martha Street and Lakeshore Road to the Lake and a detailed study of the shoreline and its impacts on development in consultation with Conservation Halton.

Old LAkeshore precinct continues to be "the jewel" that has yet to find a crown.

Old Lakeshore precinct continues to be “the jewel” that has yet to find a crown. This view is looking east with the Ascot Motel and Emma’s Back Porch on the right.

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward made great use of the Save our Waterfront community group to advance her political interests – quite successfully. She focused on what could happen within the Old Lakeshore precinct and the construction of the pier and caught the public’s attention.

Meed Ward has been the only member of this city council who has consistently focused on the waterfront and worked tirelessly to save as much of it as possible.

SOW images for fottball

At one point during the 2010 election Meed Ward published a graphic showing what she saw as an option (a terrible option) the the piece of land sometimes referred to as the “football” – small piece of land between Lakeshore and Old Lakeshore Road.

The Construction of the Bridgewater development which is on the western edge of the precinct radically changes what can be done with the land.

There was a time when it might have been possible to turn that part of the city into something that could benefit from some creative thinking – we appear to be losing that opportunity.

Part 1  Evolution of precincts and hubs

Part 2 Brant Main Street

Part 3 – Parks and promenades

Part 4 – Bates precinct

Part 5 – Cannery precinct

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The Cannery precinct - where the biggest changes are going to be argued over. Will there be decisions before the next election or will these changes be made an election issue?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 7th, 2018


Part five of a multi-part editorial feature on the precincts and mobility hub being planned for the downtown core

The Cannery Precinct is a new precinct that is intended to accommodate the height peak at the southern end of the Downtown Mobility Hub and provide for future landmark buildings.

The Cannery Precinct was also created in response to public feedback about enhancing views to Lake Ontario from Brant Street and introduces a terraced built form and the opening up of the Brant and Lakeshore intersection to allow for pedestrian views and activities through the provision of new public space.

Cannery precinct

Draft Intention Statement:

The Cannery Precinct will be focused at and to the east of the Brant Street and Lakeshore Road intersection and establish this area as a major landmark location within the Downtown Mobility Hub. Developments within the precinct will establish a southern height peak for the Downtown Mobility Hub and be expected to achieve a high degree of architectural and urban design excellence and new public spaces befitting the significance of the area while ensuring that public view corridors to the Brant Street Pier and Lake Ontario are maintained and enhanced.

The key policy directions for the Cannery Precinct include the establishment of a maximum building height of 22 storeys provided that an enhanced public space is provided at the northeast corner of Brant Street and Lakeshore Road, significant cultural heritage resources are retained and public views to the Lake and Pier are preserved.

Policies will be established to require high quality architecture and urban design, building podiums and a minimum of two uses within buildings.

The planners have their views for this site;  a small citizens group have well developed ideas that the planners have yet to fully embrace. Known as Plan B – there is a movement to reconfigure the way any re-development of the existing Waterfront Hotel.

Plan B rendering

A group of residents have some well developed ideas an how the Waterfront Hotel site might be developed – they are finding the city planners a little hard of hearing.

What is both instructive and disappointing is the way the resident view that citizens should be part of the planning process and the Planning department view that planners know best.  This clashes with the city’s close to hypocritical statement that it fully engages its citizens.

Naming the precinct the Cannery pulls at some very deep historical roots – there was a time when a tomato processing plant existed at the bottom of Brant street and there was a real pier with real boats and ships tied up.

Before rail lines came into the city the lake was the route to getting product from the fields and the forests to markets.

Burlingtonians don’t, for the most part, know very much about their local history. The Brant Museum was never able to give that task the time, attention and resources needed.

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward has a big warm spot in her heart for the waterfront. Saving it was the issue that got her into office during the 2010 election.

She wants to reduce the cannery district at the north east corner of Lakeshore Road and Brant Street to 15 storeys.

This area (salmon on the attached map) is part of the new Cannery Precinct, with allowances to go to 22 storeys. The existing zoning Wellington Square Mixed Use Precinct, which allows height of 8-14 storeys.

Delta Hotel on the right and the 22 storey Bridgewater condominium on the left. Fianlly underway?

Delta Hotel on the right and the 22 storey Bridgewater condominium on the left.

The Bridgewater is currently under construction on the South East side of Elizabeth & Lakeshore (circle on the right), with three buildings of 22, 8, and 7 storeys.

There is an existing 15 storey and 13 storey building at the North West corner of Brant/Lakeshore. Limiting height to 15 storeys would reflect roughly what is in the immediate vicinity of this parcel, and existing allowances.

When what is now known as the Bridgewater development was first brought to city council the site was described as the city’s legacy location and was at one point going to soar to 30 storeys – that was back in 1995 when the site was first assembled.

Part 1  Evolution of precincts and hubs

Part 2 Brant Main Street

Part 3 – Parks and promenades

Part 4 – Bates precinct

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Bates precinct will be the location of many of the 19th century homes that give the city much of its character.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 6th, 2018


Part four of a multi-part editorial feature on the precincts and mobility hub being planned for the downtown core

The Bates Precinct is a new precinct which formally recognizes the policy direction in the current Official Plan to retain and improve the existing character of the low-rise areas located on the west side of Brant Street, between Baldwin Street and Caroline Street and the west side of Locust Street between Caroline Street and Elgin Street.

Bates precinctThe Bates Precinct also responds to public feedback, which identified a strong desire to protect existing heritage character in the downtown.

Draft Intention Statement:
The Bates Precinct recognizes and preserves the concentrated historic character along sections of Locust and Brant Streets including buildings and streetscapes. The precinct acknowledges that limited opportunities for development may exist and will respect and respond to the existing historic character of buildings and their adaptive re-use over time, through the use of building forms and materials currently existing within the precinct as well as by maintaining the existing parcel fabric.

The proposed Bates Precinct includes a Special Policy Area located at the northwest corner of Elgin Street and Locust Street that recognizes the node created by the Burlington Performing Arts Centre, City Hall, the approved Saxony development and the future extension of the Elgin Promenade.


The Saxony was approved for four storeys – the developer as returned to the city asking for permission to add an additional two storeys to the development.

No mention is made of what height restrictions might be for that Special Policy Area.  If the city is every going to do anything with the existing city hall – that location becomes critical.

Church corner Ontario and LocustThe Bates Precinct includes key policy directions intended to retain the last remaining historical streetscapes, buildings and building fabric as well as to establish a maximum building height of 3 storeys to ensure the compatibility of new development within the precinct and with the adjacent St. Luke’s Neighbourhood Precinct.

What little there is left of that older downtown Burlington everyone wants to see retained is in this part of the city.

Related articles:

Part 1
Part 2

Downtown precincts

Map showing the location of all the precincts in the downtown


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Parks and promenades get special attention from the planners - they are what make the city unique.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

January 5th, 2018


Part three of a multi-part editorial feature on the precincts and mobility hub being planned for the downtown core

Parks and a big part of the way people experience Burlington. Stretched out along the edge of Lake Ontario the city was able to keep some of the property public – not all of it – the bit of land between Market and St. Paul got away on city hall but that is another story.

Spencer Smith Park is the largest focal point the city has – the Beachway Park to the west of that will result in a very significant piece of parkland space along the edge of the lake – is a

In drafting a new Official Plan the city decided to revise the precincts the downtown core is divided into and revise some of the boundaries and add new precincts. There are now 13 of them.

Parks and promenades croppedThe Parks and Promenades Precinct is an updated precinct that builds upon the existing Waterfront West/Public Lands Precinct and identifies current and future parks and promenades in the Downtown Mobility Hub as well as the connections between them.

Each precinct has a draft intention statement attached to it.  For Parks and Promenades it is:

Draft Intention Statement:

The Parks and Promenades Precinct will identify current and future parks and promenades within the Downtown Mobility Hub, which will serve the residents and employees of the Downtown Mobility Hub and also function as key destinations for city-wide and regional events and activities. In addition, the precinct will recognize the need to maintain and enhance public access to the waterfront and identify key linkages to ensure pedestrian and cycling access within the Downtown Mobility Hub and adjacent areas.

Pic 1 Spencer Smith Park

A site laden with history and now the prime gathering place in the city.

The key policy directions for the Parks and Promenades Precinct include establishing new promenades including from St. Luke’s Anglican Church south to Lakeshore Road, the multi-modal extension of the Elgin Promenade from Brant Street to Brock Avenue and a pedestrian path along the west bank of the Rambo Creek between Caroline Street and John Street. In addition, this precinct recognizes the Burlington War Memorial (Cenotaph) as a park and identifies a future urban park in the general vicinity of Brant Street and Birch Avenue, which would include a new east-west pedestrian and cycling connection between Birch Avenue and Emerald Crescent.

Knot photo rendering

A series of short promenades are being built that will let people travel through the downtown core without having to be on public streets. When fully completed people will be able to cycle right across the city.

With a big push on cycling the city has taken to the idea of promenades that stretch through the downtown core.

The planners are proposing a futurre park for what is now the location of No Frills supermarket – with the additional population that is going to live in all these condominiums – even if they are only six to eight storeys high – where will people buy their food?

Related editorial:

Where will the millennial’s live.

The park opportunity that got away on the city.

Part 1
Part 2


Downtown precincts

Map with all the downtown precincts.

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Dates and details on the schedule of public meetings on the draft Official Plan.

News 100 blueBy Staff

January 5th, 2018



It was never going to be an easy piece of municipal legislation to get passed by Council.

It is a misunderstood document that forms the foundation of how the city is going to grow. Many think that everything in the Official Plan can never be changed – it isn’t that kind of a document.

The Official Plan evolves – it takes wisdom and experience to ensure that the Plan meets the needs of the city.

The public response to the current draft of the Official Plan has been what should have been expected.

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward. Unbeatable? Some Tory's seem to think so.

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward intends to put a motion before city council that would have the approving of a new Official Plan deferred until after the October municipal election. Unbeatable? Some Tory’s seem to think so.

Experienced bureaucrats understand that the public has to be fully informed and listened to; city Councillors need to be fully tuned into what their constituents think and feel. Four of the current council have been in office more than ten years – two have been in their seats for 20 years – part of their job is to educate their constituents – whatever education they did didn’t stick.

So now we have a public that is not happy; a council member who is going to ask that passing the Official Plan be put off until after the next election in October.

The Planning department has set out the next series of public meetings.

OP meet graph part 1



OP meet graph part 2A meeting to recommend adoption of Burlington’s new proposed Official Plan will be scheduled for a committee meeting during the first week of April.

On Nov. 30, a staff report providing an overview of the proposed new Official Plan (PB-50-17), and a staff report with an overview of the proposed new Downtown Precinct Plan (PB-81-17), were presented to Burlington City Council as part of the Planning and Development Committee. Public delegations were considered during the afternoon and evening sessions of the meeting and a subsequent meeting was held during the afternoon of Dec. 1 to provide members of council the opportunity to ask questions of staff.

At the conclusion of the meeting, City Council made the following recommendations:

• Direct the Director of Planning and Building to consider the feedback received through the statutory public meeting process related to the proposed new official plan (version November 2017), and to make appropriate revisions prior to bringing forward the recommended proposed revised new Official Plan for Council adoption; and
• Direct the Director of Planning and Building to advise council at the earliest opportunity of the nature and scope of recommended revisions, including timelines for delivering the revised new official plan.

Mary Lou Tanner, Deputy City Manager said in a media release:  “Following the Nov. 30 Planning and Development committee meeting, city staff and council have heard from the community that there should be more opportunity to influence the process and outcome of both the development of the new Official Plan and the Downtown Precinct Plan. These meetings will provide opportunities for more discussion.”

Burlington aerial

Official Plan is the city’s community vision

An Official Plan is a statutory document required by the Province of Ontario that describes a city’s land-use strategy. It addresses things that are needed for a growing city such as the location and form of new housing, industry, offices, shops, and anticipated needs for infrastructure like streets, parks, transit and community recreation centres.

Burlington’s proposed new Official Plan is the city’s community vision and will guide decision-making on how we use land, manage growth and invest in infrastructure to 2031 and beyond.

The policies in the plan reflect the key directions in Burlington’s Strategic Plan 2015-2040, approved in April 2016. Through the strategic plan, Burlington City Council has made the decision to grow up in key parts of the urban area of the city instead of growing out.

Under the proposed new Official Plan’s current growth management strategy, only five per cent of Burlington will experience significant growth. The majority of this growth is targeted in the areas around the city’s GO stations and in downtown Burlington. These areas are called Mobility Hubs.
2016 Census data shows:

– Burlington’s population is growing. Between 2011 and 2016, Burlington grew by 7,535 people – a 4.3-per-cent overall growth rate.

– The average housing price in Burlington is $632,556, which represents an increase of 177 per cent since 2001.

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Ward 2 Councillor is taking 9 motions to a standing committee and will ask her colleagues to make OP an election issue.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

January 4th, 2018



Councillor Meed Ward goes after free city hall parking. Wants the tax rules to be applied.

Councillor Meed Ward taking nine motions to city council meeting.

In her most recent Ward 2 Newsletter city Councillor Marianne Meed Ward said: “Some residents have suggested deferring approval of the Official Plan till after the October municipal election, and putting the proposed plan to the test of the electorate. I am also open to that suggestion.

In an email to an Aldershot resident Meed Ward said: Thanks – I will be bringing a motion January 23 to defer approval of the OP till after the election.

The feedback we have been getting is that this will be a 6-1 vote – whichever way the vote goes it is going to be a momentous Standing Committee meeting. Seating is limited – get there early – and remember – no clapping, hissing or booing.

Meed Ward has announced that she will have nine different motions to put before her colleagues. Motions have to be seconded – who signed on with Meed Ward – Taylor or the Mayor?

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Brant Main Street Precinct was created to recognize the unique and fine grain “Main Street” character of Brant and to achieve a pedestrian- scaled environment Pine Street and Caroline Street.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 4th, 2018


Part two of a multi-part editorial feature on the precincts and mobility hub being planned for the downtown core

brant maint street precinct

The Brant Main Street Precinct responds to the overwhelming public feedback about the importance of retaining the character of Brant Street. The area identified as Brant Main Street Precinct in the draft new Precinct Plan is identified as part of a larger Downtown Core Precinct in the City’s current Official Plan.

Draft Intention Statement:
The Brant Main Street Precinct will continue to serve as the city’s primary retail destination within the Downtown Mobility Hub and city-wide. Developments will maintain the existing traditional main-street character along Brant Street between Caroline and Pine Streets. Mid-rise developments will incorporate a low-rise podium with additional building height terraced away from Brant Street and towards John and Locust Streets in order to maintain the main-street pedestrian experience and character of Brant Street.

East side of Brant Street xx days before Christmas 2013.

East side of Brant Street south of Caroline will be within the Brant Main Street Precinct.

The Brant Main Street Precinct includes key policy directions intended to retain a pedestrian-scaled character along Brant Street through the establishment of a maximum building height of 3 storeys immediately adjacent to Brant Street and 11 storeys along John and Locust Streets, subject to a 45-degree angular plane analysis and the terracing of building heights as well as podium requirements along Locust and John Streets.

Additional directions are included to establish a maximum floor plate size, a requirement for retail and service commercial along Brant Street, a minimum of two uses within buildings and Transportation Demand Management (TDM) and mitigation measures.

The policies for the Brant Main Street also introduce the concept of a flexible street (a street that is designed to transition between vehicular and pedestrian-focused activities and events) on Brant Street from Pine Street to Caroline Street.

The proposed Brant Main Street Precinct includes a Special Policy Area with the objective of creating a civic node at the intersection of Brant Street and James Street, which includes the view terminus of City Hall. The Special Policy Area is located on the east side of Brant Street between the Elgin Promenade to the south and the mid-block connection across from Ontario Street to the north.

James looking at city hall

The entrance to the 421 Brant Street development will actually be on James Street, shown here. The property on the left – the former Elizabeth Interiors site – has been assembled – there is one holdout. The developer with this property had hoped to have a shovel in the ground within 24 months.

Draft Intention Statement for Special Policy Area:
Developments located on the east side of Brant Street and immediately adjacent to the intersection of Brant and James Streets will recognize and enhance the civic and public gathering functions existing at this intersection including City Hall, Civic Square and the Burlington War Memorial (Cenotaph).

Developments will be expected to contribute to the extension of Civic Square to the east side of Brant Street and ensure that view corridors from James Street to City Hall, Civic Square and the Burlington War Memorial are established.

Provision of such public amenities will result in a modified built form and increased building height permissions relative to those otherwise permitted in the Brant Main Street Precinct.

Cellis - vibrant not

Currently the site has offices on the second floor – the restaurant has been closed for some time. The developer has approval to build a 23 storey condominium – the entrance will be on the James Street side

The key policy directions for the Brant Main Street Special Policy Area include the establishment of an enhanced civic node and permission for a modified built form and increased building heights of approximately 17 storeys in order to achieve a significant building setback, sight lines to key civic features and the creation of new public space at the corner of James and Brant Streets to serve as a public extension of Civic Square.

There is an active development application that falls within the Brant Main Street Special Policy Area.

Elizabeth Interiors from Brant

The block on the east side of Brant south of James street has been assembled.

The block to the south of James Street and on the east side of Brant has also been assembled – there is reportedly one hold out who expects to be in his premises five years from now.

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward has prepared a number of motions she will be putting before city council on January 23rd. Her motion related to Brant Main street will include:

Meed Ward H&S profileMotion 2: Restrict height to 3 storeys along Brant Street with permission to go to 8 storeys along John Street frontage only, and only with the provision of community benefits.

Currently Brant St allows four storeys, and up to 8 storeys with provision of community benefits. The proposed new Brant Main Street Precinct would allow 3 storeys along Brant, with terracing back at a 45 degree angle to 11 storeys facing John St., as of right (i.e. no need to provide community benefits for the extra height). The precinct runs from Pine to the No Frills plaza, and includes the city parking lot on the North East side of Caroline & John, and the retail plaza at the North East corner of Brant and Caroline (which includes Joe Dog’s, the bank and the automotive shop among others).

There is a proposed “Special Planning Area” at the North and South East corners of Brant and James across from City Hall which would allow 17 storeys. This is discussed below.


Restrict the height of the special planning area on the south side of James Street at Brant Street to 3 storeys.

There is a proposed “Special Planning Area” at the North and South East corners of Brant and James across from City Hall which would allow 17 storeys (thatched orange on the map). The current zoning on this property is 4 to 8 storeys, same as the rest of Brant.

A 23-storey building was recently approved 5-2 at the North East corner. Myself and the mayor did not support; the mayor supported 17 storeys. I supported retaining the existing permission of 12 storeys, half of what was approved. The 12 storeys only applies to the land at the corner, and was the result of an earlier Ontario Municipal Board decision. The balance of the assembled properties had a 4 to 8 storey permission.

With the approval of the 23 storey building on the opposite corner there will be pressure for this block to be similar – creating two potential towers facing City Hall and displacing the existing businesses and historic building where Kelly’s Bake Shoppe currently operates. Instead, the zoning in this section should match the balance of the Brant Main Street precinct of 3 storeys, and up to 11 (modified to 8) facing John St.

Part 1 of this series:

The evolution of mobility hubs and precincts.



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New Deputy city manager does a sit down interview with a real estate agent - some interesting comments were made.

News 100 redBy Staff

January 3rd, 2018



The video runs for just over four minutes – you come away with a sense as to part of the direction Mary Lou Tanner had as the former Director Planning for the city and what she expects she will be doing as the newly minted Deputy City Manager.

The interview was done by Colleen DePodestga of Remax Escarpment Real Estate.

During the interview we learned that “Granny flats” are going to be (are?) legal in Burlington. When asked how millennials can get to live in Burlington Tanner said … well it is all in the video – worth listening to.

It is all here.


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In an Open letter to city Council Aldershot resident wants a slow down on the Official Plan - a radical irreversible experiment.

opinionandcommentBy Greg Woodruff

January 2nd, 2018



Staff have recently announced a new schedule for passing the revamped “Official Plan.” The staff proposed timing is completely unacceptable. This new Official Plan represents a radical change to the city. It contemplates eventually increasing the population by hundreds of thousands of people, allowing hi-rises on thousands of properties with no notification to adjacent owners, removing traditional commercial sites everywhere, making completely unknown modifications to transit and imposing completely unknown costs for it all.

Placing the vote on a decades long plan in April, just one month before the 2018 election season starts in May, seems to deliberately avoid democratic input. Even if the timing is quite innocent, the appearance of impropriety alone demands that the vote be moved off to the next elected council. Staff should spend the next months finalizing a completed Official Plan, completed Mobility Hub plan, and completed Transit Master Plan, with costs. Then we can all have an election on the merits of all of these plans, and costs, and move forward with a mandate and the understanding of the population.

The new plan contains no mechanism to preserve the quality of life for residents; each day seems to have less tree cover, less greenery, fewer local services, more people, more pollution and more time wasted traveling around a congested city. These negative effects are imagined to be offset by a plan for a massive switch to non-vehicular transportation that will be discovered in the future, but has not been presented or costed today. It treats existing citizen’s investment in their property, travel patterns and the lives they have built in Burlington as an inconvenience to be swept away. That theoretical efficiencies in energy consumption or land use might occur on a planning spreadsheet is not sufficient justification to draft 185,000 taxpayers into a radical irreversible experiment.

Additionally, the possible closing of citizen delegations before upcoming official plan votes looks equally bad.

ScheduleCThe effects of the rules and definitions in the new Official Plan requires detailed study, and the public needs much more time to provide proper feedback to council. As one quick example – at first the coloured map (Schedule C) shows pink for “Neighbourhood Centre”, and would seem to protect those traditional commercial sites. This is until you realize that the “Neighbourhood Centre” designation requires re-development to “To ensure the in-filling of surface parking lots (”

NebirohoodDesignations Some of the rules attempt to distort the free market further and remove surface parking in exchange for allowing 12 story buildings on the site. It’s completely unclear what replaces all these traditional commercial sites, or how the commodities of living are to be acquired.

MixedUsageCommericalCenterIt seems as if the current population is to just blindly begin these changes then endure whatever local fallout occurs.

Though Councillors have a provincial direction to review and update the plan with staff, they certainly have no requirement to pass the plan in the current term. Population targets are set out at 2031, which leaves a decade or more before any tisk-tisking might even come from the Province. The current time line is simply not imposed by the Province. However, using this as a pretext again makes it seems like the real purpose of the timing is to remove the discomfort of Councillors and staff having to defend something they suspect voters are unlikely to support.

There is far too much focus on intensification for population numbers alone, and too little on positive intensification to enrich our communities. A focus is needed on quality of life, not the quantity of people. If the plan is worth voting for now, then it should be easy to get re-elected promoting it.


Are they prepared to stake their council seats on the Official Plan that is being proposed?

If members of Council don’t think they can get re-elected supporting it, then they should not vote for it now. It’s that simple. Changes this radical require a mandate, and this Council can help more than ever by making sure it exists for the next Council.

Please help everyone now by defending the people’s impression of our democracy which has placed Council in a position of trust.

Greg WoodruffGreg Woodruff is an Aldershot resident who ran for the office of Regional Chair in the 2014 municipal election.  He delegates frequently at city council.

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Rory Nisan: 2018 - it is not enough to hope from the comforts of the couch.

opinionandcommentBy Rory Nisan

January 2nd, 2018



“May you live in interesting times” — an English expression commonly attributed as a Chinese curse, and an appropriate characterization of the situation in Burlington at the beginning of 2018.

LBP cardWithout a doubt, 2017 was a year of some turmoil in our community. Two of our schools are on the chopping block and the campaign of the Halton District School Board to close schools come hell or high water has without a doubt been a source of civil conflict in our community.

And more recently, Burlingtonians have contended with drastic proposed changes to the city’s official plan, causing outrage among many (and satisfaction for others) as Burlington feels the effects of development agendas.

For those who are engaged on these issues, we enter 2018 with some trepidation. Will the approval of 421 Brant street stand? Will more proposals for sky scrapers at the bottom of Brant street come forward?

Will the 5-2 vote on the Brant street building be mirrored by a 5-2 vote in favour of the new Official Plan?

Miller Diane addressing Wilson HDSB

Margaret Wilson listening to a delegation during the Accommodation Review of the HDSB decision to close two high schools.

Similarly, what will Margaret Wilson’s Accommodation Review of the HDSB Trustees’ decision to close Pearson and Bateman high schools contain?

As easy as it would be to be fearful for the future, I see many reasons to be optimistic. We are busy people: families, commuters and active retirees, among others. We could be forgiven for not always having our fingers on the pulse of local politics. After all, Burlington is one of the best cities in which to live in Canada.

I am truly impressed at how many stood up for what we believe in this year. I have been most active with the Save Pearson team and many of us were not engaged between elections prior to this issue coming forward.

That has all changed.

Now, moms and dads, alumni and grandparents are working together towards common aims. There are bonds forming, political and social, that will carry us into 2018.

We are seeing Burlingtonians coming together across cultural lines as well. Burlington is changing fast — it has never been as diverse. We could either become more inclusive, or more exclusive — neutrality is tantamount to giving permission for xenophobia to creep into our society. After the Mosque attack on 29 January 2017 in Quebec, we organized a vigil for the victims at city hall. The hundreds of people who attended and signed the condolence book were proof that Burlingtonians want and will take action towards a more inclusive city.

After that, we wanted a more happy occasion to celebrate inclusion and diversity, and so with the support of a dozen faith groups we pulled together the first-ever One Burlington Festival. We celebrated our different cultures and faiths with food, music, dancing and games on 22 August. I am excited to help make it an annual event with another One Burlington Festival in August 2018.

Finally, membership on the City of Burlington’s Mundialization Committee has afforded me the chance to meet several younger Burlington residents. I was never anywhere near as engaged as they are in their high schools years. It has been gratifying to mentor some of the younger members of UN Subcommittee in particular. They are truly impressive and now, at 35 years old, I am finally understanding why it is often said that youth are the future. I aspire to be as focused and determined to be an agent of change as these students.

2018The next 12 months promise plenty of excitement. First, in June we will have a provincial election, which will bring fevered campaigning through the spring. Then, Burlington will hold its municipal election on 22 October along with the rest of Ontario. This one looks like it’s going to be interesting, with multiple competitive candidates for the Mayorship, and a strong probability that city council will not be fully re-elected as it was in 2014.

What I will look for in 2018 is how Burlingtonians will build on the actions taken this year to fight for the city we want, with the schools we want, the downtown we want, and the roads and transportation we want, all coming together to build a city fit for purpose in 2020. I am hoping that a 2020 vision emerges through citizens’ engagement and that the upcoming elections unify Burlington rather than divide us, and put us on a path towards the kind of city we deserve.

Of course, it is not enough to hope from the comforts of the couch. It is critical to take action to be a part of the change that one wants to see, and that is what I will do.

Will you?

rory closeupRory Nisan is a long-time Burlington resident and Lester B. Pearson High School alumnus. He has been an active member of the Save Pearson community organization.


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In the matter of trust - this city council isn't doing all that well.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

January 1st, 2018



It always come down to a matter of trust.

Do you trust the person you are working with?

Do you trust the mechanic to fix your car?

Do you trust the grocer to sell you food that has not passed its best before date?

Trust doesn’t seem to go as far these days does it?

Learning that the largest supermarket operator in the country has been involved in the fixing of bread prices for more than ten years was a bit of a jolt. Many were stunned when they learned that Volkswagen was playing with the emission test results.

Hundreds of Ontario investors are out a lot of money because of foul play on the part of shady financial operators. These people wonder why the Ontario Securities Commission isn’t doing more to right the wrongs.

council with term dates

Thousands of Burlingtonians are close to furious with what they believe their elected officials seem prepared to let take place in terms of growth in the downtown core which they feel will destroy the city they love and live in.

Those same people question who the bureaucrats are working for and why recommendations they don’t believe reflect what the citizens want are sent to city council.

In 2010 the citizens of the city decided they didn’t like the way the then Mayor, Cam Jackson was doing his job and they turfed him. They elected a council that was quite a bit different led by a new Mayor they trusted.

Hold over Councillors Taylor, Dennison and Craven were re-elected. The sense was that Councillors Meed Ward, Lancaster and Sharman and a new Mayor was enough to change the way things were being done.

The electorate was satisfied enough to re-elect all seven members of city council which then let the bureaucrats foist a tag line on them that said:

Burlington is one of Canada’s best and most livable cities, a place where people, nature and business thrive.

The problem with the tag line is that it isn’t true – the “best city” part comes from a magazine that runs a poll each year and they declared the city was the “best”. The citizens of the city didn’t come to that conclusion – a publisher somewhere made that statement and the bureaucrats fell in love with it.

Far too many of the citizens are disagreeing with that statement – the trust that needs to be there is no longer in place.

A rapt audience listened to an overview of the 2014 budget. What they have yet to have explained to them is the desperate situation the city will be in ten years from now if something isn't done in the next few years to figure out how we are going to pay for the maintenance of the roads we have.

A rapt audience listened to an overview of a city budget.

Make no mistake however that tens of thousands of the people that live in Burlington love their city – the way it is. They are not opposed to change but they want to be involved in the decisions that are made and when they speak they want to be heard.

When a group of well-meaning people take the time to gather names on a petition they don’t want to be belittled and denigrated by a member of council who suggest the names gathered are suspect.

Dennis Monte at Council

Monte Dennis delegating at city council.

Vanessa Warren

Vanessa Warren delegating at city council.

People who don’t have much experience speaking to others don’t want to feel inadequate when they have finished their delegation and are not asked a single question.

Gary Scobie

Gary Scobie delegating at city council

Jim Young A

Jim Young delegating at city council

Burlington is fortunate to have some very accomplished people who address council; this writer cannot remember a single situation where an idea put forward by a citizen has been taken up by council. With the exception of Councillor Meed Ward, none of the others offer to get back to the speaker and follow up. They may do so – but they aren’t seen to do so.

It is a trust issue which this council does not appear to hear or even understand.

Staff at Council meeting Nov 30 - 2017

The quality of the image is terrible – the city has chosen not to invest in cameras that will produce a decent image. These are the messengers.

Trustees - Sams - Reynolds - Collard

By way of example – the images from Board of Education meetings are clear – and their vote recording system actually works.

Much of what city council is given in the way of staff reports infuriates intelligent, informed people who expect better. City managers serve at the will of council and they take their direction from Council. The bureaucrats are just the messengers – look to the people the bureaucrats serve for the kind of direction you want – and then press on to ensure that your message is heard.

And good luck – very few new faces wanting to become city council members have come forward.  We are aware of two – need more than that. Four of the incumbents might not even be challenged.

Blame yourselves for what you have.

Salt with Pepper is an opinion column written by Pepper Parr, the publisher of the Gazette.

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The extent of the height and density changes set out in the draft Official Plan has stunned many.

News 100 redBy Staff

December 31, 2017



If this is what Councillor Med Ward has to say on New Year’s Eve, on can only imagine what she is going to have to say at city council when they meet on January 23rd and city staff seek approval to fundamentally alter Burlington’s downtown by adding height and density throughout the downtown.

The video set out below, came from the Meed Ward newsletter released earlier today, is pretty stark; the heights that are proposed will mean hugely different downtown.

Downtown precincts

Precincts that will be created when the Official Plan, currently in draft form, is approved by city Council. The time line for that approval has been moved from the end of January 2018 to the end of April. Many want the plan to be made an election issue.

She makes one vital point and follows that up with the kind of detail the city has not put out.

Her vital point is that the city hasn’t done nearly enough to inform the public that:

Height will go from 4-8 storeys in the Downtown Core Precinct to up to 17. This area covers most of the east side of Brant from James to Pine over to Pearl.

North of Blairholm to Graham’s Lane & Prospect in the new Upper Brant Precinct, height will increase from 4–8 storeys to 25 storeys.

The urban growth centre boundaries have changed to include parts of stable neighbourhoods, including the Lion’s Club park and neighbourhood to the north between Pearl and Martha. This area will see possible density increases to 200 people or jobs per hectare.

Meed Ward provides an excellent video on where the growth will take place – it moves quire quickly – you might want to keep your finger on the pause key.

Downtown core precinct

The Downtown core precinct is of particular concern to many.

Planning staff also recommends permitting semi-detached homes in the St Luke’s and Emerald Precincts, and all low-density downtown neighbourhoods. Protection to limit semis to the same lot coverage as single family homes, at 25%, and the same Floor Area Ratio, to avoid monster semis covering most of the lot will be considered later.

All these changes are to ensure that Burlington reaches the intensification levels set by the province. Meed Ward argues that “The downtown is already on track to meet its growth targets with the current plan.

She adds that “This is a bad deal for Burlington – by giving away height and density – the city gets nothing new – just tall buildings and more congestion.

As she too moves into election mode Meed Ward urges people to: “Tell council to vote no on January 23rd. Canada’s best mid-sized city deserves a better plan.”

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