City council votes not to oppose the ADI request for an adjournment to the appeal they took to the OMB.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 15, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

In an earlier version of this story we said Councillor Craven did not attend the Special Council meeting: we erred.  Council Craven was in attendance, Council Sharman was absent.

Burlington City Council voted to not oppose a request from Adi Developments to adjourn the Ontario Municipal Board hearing regarding the application for a 26-storey condominium proposed to be developed at 374 Martha St.

Recorded vote

Council members standing for a recorded vote not to oppose the ADI Development group’s request for an adjournment of the OMB hearing they sought. Councillor Sharman was absent.

In 2014, Adi Developments submitted an application to the City of Burlington for a 28-storey condominium to be developed on a .136 hectare parcel of land at 374 Martha St. Adi Developments launched the OMB appeal in March 2015. In February 2016, the developer amended its application to 26 storeys.

Martha Street bungalow

The bungalow on the right was recently purchased by the ADI development group and added to their land assembly on which they propose to erect a 26 storey condominium.

At the OMB hearing on March 14, the developer told the OMB it has bought the property at 380 Martha Street, and will include that property in its condominium development application. The city’s legal team asked for an opportunity to receive instruction from Burlington City Council.

The Chair of the OMB hearing asked the City of Burlington to have a response to Adi Developments’ request for adjournment by 3:30 p.m. today. The public was informed after 4 p.m. of City Council’s decision.

ADI Nautique detailed sketch

The property marked 380 was purchased by ADI and added to the original land assembly.

The OMB hearing will resume on Wednesday, March 16 at 10 a.m. in City Hall, Room 247, to deal with the developer’s request for adjournment and to establish a future process for dealing with the appeals that are currently before the board. The meeting is open to the public.

That was what the city had to say: What they didn’t comment on was that the adjournment will push the hearing back to sometime in 1Q of 2017 – that’s the earliest date the OMB can hear this case.
In their comments made while asking for the adjournment legal counsel for Adi said they believed many if not most of the concerns the city had expressed over the original development application could be resolved through discussion about the impact the additional property would have on the scale and scope of the project.

Nautique ADI rendering - sparse

The most recent rendering of the Nautique

Patrick Devine, legal counsel for the condo/apartment building directly across the street from the small piece of property that has been added to the land assembly amount to much more than a small change and should be seen as a new application and treated as such.

Unless someone objects to the adjournment, which could be as long as a year, things at the corner of Martha and Lakeshore Road are going to be quiet for some time.

Background links:

Original story on the ADI request for an adjournment of the OMB hearing they demanded when the city failed to act within the required 180 day timeline

 

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Will city council get it right this time? An opportunity to revover from the first round handling of the ADI development on Martha Street.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

March 14, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

Mayor and chair

Can Mayor Goldring keep his council focused and on topic in order to meet the two hour limitation he was given by the Chair of the ADI development appeal now before the OMB.

The Mayor is going to have to be brisk and focused when he chairs the Special meeting of Council Wednesday afternoon as they work through what they want to give their legal counsel in the way of instructions on the latest twist in the Nautique development that ADI took to the Ontario Municipal Board.

Nautique ADI rendering - sparse

Can a substantially revised development still be appealed on its original grounds? ADI purchases property to the north of their Nautique development site.

The ADI Development Group appealed their application to build a 28 storey structure to the OMB because they didn’t like the fact that the city did not give them a decision on their project within the required 180 day timeline.

Now they have the temerity to ask the city to go along with an adjournment for six months or more – and it will be more because there is no room on the OMB calendar until the 1Q of 2017.

There is also a bigger issue – the addition of a significant chunk of property to the development proposal would suggest that the OMB can (some say should) throw the appeal out and let ADI make a new application to the city.

The Mayor might have been better advised to call the meeting for 9:30 am – there is going to be a lot to talk about and there is significant doubt that this council can get through the jibber jabber they do when they debate in time to meet that 3:30 deadline put in place by the Chair of the OMB hearing.

City council recently approved the salaries for city council and reported on what council members were given in the way of expense and benefits money. On has to add about $60,000 to the number shown – this is what the council members get paid for their work as members of the Regional council.

Council vote Dec 18-14 Water Street

Recorded votes are not the norm for Burlington’s city council. In this instance Ward 2 Councillor Meed Ward votes against – it will be interesting to see if she demands a recorded vote for whatever comes out of the closed council meeting on Tuesday.

The debate that takes place, in a closed session of city council, which the Gazette believes is one of those occasions when the discussion should take place in camera; however the vote on what the city decides to do should take place in a public session where the public gets to learn what the question was and how individual members actually voted.

This is an important decision that gives the city an opportunity to bring a developer to heal.

One can hope that Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward will do her duty and once again ask for a recorded vote – don’t let your constituents down Councillor.

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ADI Municipal Board appeal gets adjourned until Wednesday so the city can instruct its lawyers on what they want to see done.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 14, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

The fat is in the fire and there are deadlines out there that will be hard for some of the parties to the ADI Development Group Ontario Municipal Board appeal hearing to meet.

The Chair of the appeal to the OMB that ADI made is one Susan Schiller. Ms Schiller was one of the Commissioners who heard the Nelson Quarry appeal for an expansion to their quarry in North Burlington a few years ago. That Joint Tribunal found in the city’s favour. That decision was based on the habitat of the Jefferson Salamander – see the link to that story below. Ms Schiller is a no-nonsense chair – expect her to keep counsel on their toes.

The opening of the OMB hearing was in some doubt when Burlington city council announced on Thursday their would be a special council meeting on Tuesday at 1:30 pm to hear a legal update on the ADI appeal. The city said nothing other than it was related to a property at 374 Martha Street – which is the address of ADI’s 26 story Nautique development.

Martha Street bungalow

The eastern end of the site ADI wants to put a 26 storey condominium on and the bungalow to the north of the property at the Martha Street and Lakeshore Road intersection.

That was all we knew on Friday. At the hearing this morning we learned that ADI had purchased the small bungalow tucked in behind the property ADI had assembled for the Nautique project.

And here is where the differing interests come into play.

ADI Nautique detailed sketch

The ADI development group purchased the property at 380 Martha Street and has asked for a delay of their OMB appeal while they work with the city to figure out how to integrate the property into the original development. Some argue that the purchase of the property makes the development a whole new ball game.

ADI wanted the hearing delayed until the fall while they worked out how they would fit the newly acquired piece of property into the larger development. The lawyer for the city said he couldn’t agree or disagree with the ADI request until he had directions from his client – the city of Burlington. The meeting at which the city will work out its position is to take place on Tuesday at 1:30 pm

Burlington City Council Group

Can this council make a critical decision in the 120 minutes they were given by an OMB commissioner? Don’t bet the mortgage on it.

Chair Schiller said she was fine with adjourning the Monday meeting until Wednesday morning but she needed a decision no later than 3:30 pm on Tuesday.

It will take someone with a big magic wand for that to happen. The city has 120 minutes to arrive at a decision – with seven council members they each get 17 minutes – that won’t happen. Add in the staff comments; the comments from the lawyers and there goes that deadline.

The decision the city has to make is – are they willing to go along with the ADI request for an adjournment until the fall?

The complications get thicker.

There are those who want to argue that the Chair of the OMB hearing should throw the appeal out right now because the addition of a piece of property to what is an appeal means that this is in reality a whole new development.

ADI appealed because they weren’t happy with the city’s inability to approve or disapprove of the application within the 180 days required under the planning act and wanted to the OMB to make the decision.

The addition of that piece of small bungalow at the north end of the property means this is really a new development.

Nautique ADI rendering - sparse

Has the ADI Nautique development reached the point where it has entered that “will never see the light of day” zone?

What ADI will argue is that the chair does not have the jurisdiction to refuse to go forward with the appeal application. The city and the owners of a condominium across the street from the bungalow (Sun Life Insurance) will argue that the Chair cannot hear the ADI appeal because the project has had a substantial change made to it.

Patrick Devine, the lawyer representing the Sun Life interests argued that a new project proposal should be submitted by ADI to be followed by the requisite public meetings and a review by the planning department.

He also complained about the short notice he was given by the ADI lawyers on their decision to buy the bungalow – which is reported to have been owned by Nick Carnicelli, the developer behind the Berkeley project on Caroline and John Street that is getting closer to putting a shovel in the ground. Carnicelli also has other property holdings in the block bounded by Martha, Pearl and Lakeshore. A number of years ago Carnicelli bought the Pearl Street Café and a critical strip of property in behind those two buildings.

It is all a bit of a mess – there are pretty good grounds for throwing the ADI appeal application out; that argument will be something to watch.

ADI seemed to be suggesting that with the acquisition of the really small bungalow many of the objections the city had to the development could be worked out. The current zoning for the property ADI wants to build on is for 8 storeys – how a small bungalow is going to impact the 26 storeys ADI wants to put up is going to be an interesting legal argument.

Would it be reasonable to come to the conclusion that the ADI decision to purchase the bungalow at this late date is pretty close to “flying by the seat of your pants” decision making.

For those who have made deposits on units in the proposed development – it’s going to be a while before you can move in.

Chair Schiller advised the meeting this morning that if the hearing is adjourned – there is no room on the calendar for a resumed hearing until sometime in the 1Q of 2017.

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Burlington and two of its OMB hearings; one is taking forever - the other begins next week.

News 100 blackBy Pepper Parr

March 10, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearings are relevant and for the most part – as dry as unbuttered toast – they are also where some big money gambles get resolved.
Burlington has two hearings on the docket – Ward 4 Council member Jack Dennison’s appeal of a Committee of Adjustment decision that did not permit his request for a severance of his 308 Lakeshore Road property.

A designated home, bought under a power of sale on a HOW WIDE LOT which the owner. Councillor Jack Dennison wants to have severed into two lots.

A designated home, bought under a power of sale  which current owner Councillor Jack Dennison wants to have severed into two lots.

His OMB appeal was first heard on April 29, 2013 – yes three years ago. That hearing was adjourned as was the May 29th, 2014 and the September 23, 2014 hearing.

The appeal was heard on April 21st, 2015 and continued on June 22nd 2015.

Nine months later – and still no decision. This was thought to be a pretty simple severance request; something isn’t right here. But don’t expect an explanation from the OMB – one day the decision will be posted on the OMB web site. The lawyers involved will be notified that a decision has been made and they will get a copy. OMD decisions cannot be appealed – so in the fullness of time Jack Dennison will know if he can sever a portion of his property.

City council knows what this appeal has cost – will they make the amount spent public?

Will Dennison run for his council seat in 2018? If the public gets wind of what it has spent on this case and if there is a credible candidate – he could be in trouble.

Dennison announcing

Jack Dennison announcing the sale of his Cedar Springs health club.

Retirement might be in the works for Dennison – he recently announced the sale of his Cedar Springs sports club.

ADI project - rendering from LAkeshore

Early rendering of a proposed 28 storey structure that cantilevered over the street at the upper level. Tarif Adi explained at the launch of the development that the idea was to have the building look like a “billowing sail” that would be seen as a statement for people entering the city from the east on Lakeshore Road.

The second significant matter on the OMB docket is the appeal the Adi Development Group has made to the OMB claiming that the city “refused or neglected to make a decision on the Official Plan change and zoning application” made by Adi for the development of a 28 storey structure on an .070 piece of land at the intersection of Martha and Lakeshore Road.

The public got its first look at the proposed development on Oct. 9, 2014, Burlington Art Gallery at 7 p.m. It was not a happy meeting. Many of the people in the room realized then that this project was headed or the OMB.

While Council didn’t hold a vote on the application until very recently – the development was contentious from the day it was first shown at a public meeting.

The Gazette has written extensively on this development and was the recipient of a libel claim by the Adi Development group. The Gazette was asked to apologize for three articles it published and to take them off their web site.

An apology was published and the three articles are no longer no longer available to the public on the Gazette web site.

The proposal is complex. No one on council liked the project – or at least that was what they said publicly – Ward 1 Craven retweetCouncillor Rick Craven re-tweetd a notice of the public event.  For a council member on record as being opposed to the development – the re-tweet seemed inappropriate – bu then Adi has a massive development planned for Aldershot – maybe that explains his enthusiasm.

In a staff report on the proposed development the planners said:

Refuse the applications for Official Plan and Zoning By-law amendments, submitted by Andrew Ferancik, Walker Nott Dragicevic Ltd., 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Toronto, ON, on behalf of ADI Development Group Inc., to permit a mixed use development consisting of 226 residential apartment units and 348 m2 of ground floor commercial development, on the property located at 374 Martha Street.

Unfortunately, this recommendation didn’t get to a city council meeting for a vote. By the time the city council meeting took place Adi had filed their appeal to the OMB.

Council did hold a vote a number of weeks ago.

It is a complex situation and the city didn’t exactly wrap itself in the corporate flag – they looked like the Keystone cops for a short period of time – but sloppy administration isn’t reason to approve a proposal that doesn’t meet most of the public policies the planners think they should meet.

Adi submitted the following reports to support their application:

1. Planning Justification Report (prepared by WND Associates, September 2014)
2. Functional Servicing Report (prepared by Urbantech West, August 2014)
3. Geotechnical Investigation (prepared by Landtek Limited, February 2014)
4. Phase One Environmental Site Assessment (prepared by Landtek Limited, February 2014)
5. Traffic Impact Study (prepared by Paradigm Transportation Solutions Ltd., August 2014)
6. Noise Feasibility Study (prepared by Howe Gastmeier Chapnik Ltd., September 2014)
7. Pedestrian Wind Study (prepared by Novus Environmental, August 2014)
8. Shadow Studies (prepared by RAW Architects, August 2014)
9. Site Plan (prepared by RAW Architects, August 2014)
10. Tree Inventory & Preservation Study (prepared by Adesso Design Inc., June 2014)
11. Floor Plans (P1-P5, Levels 1-28, Rooftop Terrace Plan and Roof Plan)
12. Elevations (prepared by RAW Architects, August 2014)
13. Sections (prepared by RAW Architects, August 2014)

Planning staff explained that OPA and rezoning applications are subject to the following policy framework: Provincial Policy Statement, 2014; Places to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe; The Big Move; Halton Region Official Plan; Burlington Official Plan and Zoning By-law 2020.

Adi - Saud and Tarif

Saud and Tarif Adi

They provided summaries of their position on all of the policy statements.

Planning Opinion on the PPS:
While the proposed development is consistent with the PPS in principle, the proposal represents over-intensification on a site that is too small and does not provide adequate setbacks, buffering, amenity space or parking standards. The significant reduction of numerous development regulations that are required to facilitate this intensification proposal on the subject property and the failure to satisfy the City’s Official Plan policies described in Section 8 of this report results in an application that is not consistent with the PPS.

Planning Opinion on Places to Grow:
The subject applications generally conform to the principles of the Growth Plan by accommodating intensification in an area that is designated for intensification, and more specifically, within the Urban Growth Centre. However, the subject applications are not proposing an appropriate scale of development and the proposed development does not achieve an appropriate transition of built form to adjacent areas. The City’s existing intensification strategy is well positioned to meet the minimum density target established in the Growth Plan without significant changes to the existing Official Plan policies and permissions. The City does not require the overdevelopment of one small property in the Urban Growth Centre in order to achieve the minimum density target.

Big Move logoPlanning Opinion on the Big Move:
The proposed development generally conforms to the vision of the Big Move. However, the City can meet its targets without the proposed over-intensification of this site.

Planning Opinion on the Regional Official Plan:
While Region staff generally has no objection to the proposed development on the basis that it conforms to the Region’s growth policies, City staff is evaluating the applications on the basis of land use compatibility. The proposed development represents the over- intensification of a very small site, does not provide an urban form that is complementary to existing developed areas and does not achieve an appropriate transition of built form to adjacent areas.

Planning Opinion on the City of Burlington’s Intensification Strategy:
The City has conducted several conformity exercises and has developed a comprehensive approach that balances the protection of neighbourhoods and the accommodation of compatible intensification in appropriate locations. As outlined in Section 7 of this report, staff is confident that the density targets established in the Growth Plan, Regional Official Plan and City Official Plan will be achieved by 2031 without amendments that significantly depart from the City’s Official Plan.

Mobility hubs at the GO stations is close to a no brainer - it is the possible hub in the downtown core that has yet to be thoroughly thought through. Council decided that closing the terminal on John Street to save $8000 a year was not a bright idea.

Mobility hubs at the GO stations is close to a no brainer – it is the possible hub in the downtown core that has yet to be thoroughly thought through. Council decided that closing the terminal on John Street to save $8000 a year was not a bright idea.

Planning Opinion on the Mobility Hub Opportunities and Constraints Study:
The MHOC Study has no policy implications at this time, but staff is of the opinion that the proposed development would not be in keeping with the principles and preliminary directions stemming from the MHOC Study. Staff also notes that future master planning exercises for Mobility Hubs will determine detailed site-specific requirements should changes to the Official Plan be deemed appropriate. In the interim, prior to the completion of a Downtown Burlington Mobility Hub master plan, development proposals will be required to meet the Official Plan policies that are in effect. If Council approves Mobility Hub objectives that are incorporated into the Official Plan as a result of this Official Plan Review, then de elopment proposals will be required to me t those objectives until such time as the master planning exercise is completed.

Planning Opinion on the Urban Growth Centre Targets:
Adi - Urban growth centre boundaryBased on the development patterns that have taken place in the Urban Growth Centre in the past ten years, staff is of the opinion that the City of Burlington is well positioned to achieve a total of 200 residents and jobs per hectare by 2031 taking into consideration the existing Official Plan permissions and zoning regulations within the Downtown.

Planning Opinion on the City of Burlington’s Official Plan:
The proposed development represents residential intensification and is therefore subject to the housing intensification objectives and policies in the Official Plan. The proposed development provides additional housing in the form of residential intensification, but the proposed development is not compatible with the scale, urban design and community features of the neighbourhood and does not meet the objective of the housing intensification policies.

The nearest residential buildings are the one storey detached residential dwelling to the north and the three storey townhouses to the northwest of the subject property. A five storey retirement residence is located on the east side of Martha Street and a 12 storey apartment building is located further northeast from the subject property. The proposed four storey podium which contains a three level parking garage with a 24 storey tower above at this location does not integrate well with the existing neighbourhood and does not provide an appropriate or a compatible transition between the existing and proposed residential buildings.

In fact, many of the taller residential buildings in the area are located northeast and southeast of the subject property and the existing buildings have greater setbacks from the street and from adjacent properties. The block containing the subject property generally has a lower density built form with building heights ranging from 1-3 storeys and the proposed development does not provide setbacks from the street nor from adjacent properties.

Nautique ADI rendering - sparse

A more recent rendering of what has been named the Nautique

The proposed development fails to satisfy a number of intensification criterion including

• the provision of off-street parking;
• the achievement of compatibility with the existing neighbourhood character in terms of scale, massing, height, siting, setbacks, coverage, parking and amenity areas to provide a transition between existing and proposed buildings;
• the provision of adequate buffering; the compromised redevelopment potential for the abutting property located at 380 Martha Street;
• the requirement for intensification proposals to be well integrated with the existing neighbourhood in terms of built form, scale and development profile in order to provide a transition between existing and proposed residential buildings;
• the building height, massing and density lead to the overdevelopment of a very small lot; and
• the proposal represents overintensification.

The proposed development fails to satisfy the residential intensification policies of the Official Plan and does not represent good planning.

Planning Opinion on the Downtown Urban Design Guidelines:
The proposed development is not in keeping with the City’s Downtown Urban Design Guidelines for high rise development for the following reasons:

• the building setbacks are not sensitive to the existing built form;
• the building does not propose stepbacks to reduce the perception of building bulk from the street;
• the building does not utilize the results of the visual angular plane study to determine the appropriate building height and/or massing;
• the tower is not located away from the corner of the two intersecting streets;
• the building height, mass and architectural design present a tall, boxy structure that does not reinforce human scale;
• the impact of the high rise development on adjacent properties has not been appropriately minimized through a transition of height, mass, separation and landscaping;
• three levels of above-grade parking that address the street are proposed;
• the proposed development does not clearly express a podium at the street level with a proportion and massing that is consistent with the surrounding built form;
• the proposed development has not been designed to provide a height transition to the surrounding lower scale developments to minimize the shadowing and wind impacts; and
• the negative impacts on adjacent properties related to overshadowing and overlooking have not been addressed through building setbacks, stepbacks, height and massing.

ADI storefront

The Nautique sales office on Brant street in a building owned by the Region

Planning Opinion on Zoning By-law 2020:
The zoning changes requested are excessive. The site as proposed would be overbuilt and should not be approved.
The siting of the proposed development is partially responsible for the perceived scale and massing of the building. The building will address the corner of Lakeshore Road and Martha Street and proposes no setbacks along the adjacent property lines to the west and to the north. The building footprint will cover almost all of the lot and leaves no room for vegetation or separation distance from adjacent buildings.

ADI Nautique detailed sketchThe siting does not provide any “breathing room” between the proposed building on the corner property and the adjacent buildings to the north and west; the proposed building will appear “crammed” into the block. The siting of the proposed development is not compatible with the existing neighbourhood character.

Is the development selling? Do people want to buy units in the proposed 26 storey structure? Adi has not released any sales figures. In a news report they said they have received more than 3000 expressions of interest – those are not sales; just people kicking tires.

Adi has promoted the project heavily within the real estate community and are offering generous commissions. They held an event at their sales office on Brant Street for the real estate agents offering Valet parking.

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The evolution of a piece of land on the south side of Lakeshore Road.

News 100 redMarch 8, 2016

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON

We knew it as the location of the Riviera.

The Riviera Motor Court began operations in 1963. The two level, 32-room motel offered guests a beautiful view of Lake Ontario along the back portion of the motel.

The earliest information for a manager was a Mr. William Dikeman. In 1984 the motel was bought by Mr. John Lee who incorporated it as 558644 Ontario Limited.

Riviera from front

The Riviera on the Lake – lots of stories.

The last managers to operate the business were Peter and Yolanda Piekarski. Annual profits were in the area of $242,000.

Riviera balcony west side

The balconies at the rear of the motel made the room rate worth every dime.

There was nothing exceptional about the motel – it was the view of the lake from the units at the back of the building.

The 0.7-hectare, block-long property between Elizabeth and Pearl streets just east of Brant was assembled over time. The Lakeshore Road portion was part of a land swap that had the city giving some land in exchange for a shoreline walkway at the edge of the lake which has been in place for a number of years.

Sales office Bridgewater

When you reach the 70% plus level in sales you don’t need a fancy demonstration site – it had to make room for the construction equipment.

In 2006, Burlington city council approved plans for a new construction project on the property. The project, now known as Bridgewater, has been delayed over the years due to economic factors as well as difficulty in obtaining a developer and hotel partner.

Bridgewater - sales office gone BEST

Construction workers stripping away what is left of the sales office for the Btidgewater project on Lakeshore Road.

Bridgewater was to have a 7-storey hotel at street level, that got increased to eight storeys; a 7-storey condo behind the hotel and to the west of both buildings, a 22-storey condo. The condo would obscure the view of Lake Ontario for those living in the condos on the opposite side of Lakeshore. The new buildings would feature a central courtyard open to the public that would lead to the walkway along the water.

The property is owned by Mayrose Tycon who, since 1994, were focused on finding a developer to undertake the construction and to take over the property.
Mady Development Corporation was named but they were taken off the site due to a tricky clause in their agreement with Mayrose Tycon.

ccvbggh

The motel is long gone but the walkway that will eventually run from this point all the way to the canal was built a number of years ago as part of a land swap with the city.

The project was “in the works” for the longest time; Conservation Halton had informed Mayrose that if development did not occur on the property by the end of 2012 they would lose between 15 to 20 feet of shoreline property under a new Ontario Regulation.

That got things moving – Mayrose had to get an extension from the Conservation people but that didn’t immediately result in shovels in the ground. It wasn’t until New Horizons was invited to develop the site that one got the sense that this was really going to happen.

Jeff Paikin, known for quality work with a number of solid projects under his belt.

Paikin had bought a unit in the project and was later invited to do the development.

It has been nothing but solid progress since then. Sales of the project are reported to have passed the 70% point. There will a planned 150 units in the two condominium towers.

Bridgewater - consruction equipment - 12 pieces

A collection of 12 pieces of heavy duty construction equipment are on the site – they give a whole new meaning to “shovels in the ground”

Paikin’s partner Joe Giacomodonato handles the actual construction work.

At one point the hotel was going to be open for the Pan Am Games in 2015.

As for the Riviera the writing was on the wall in 2010. They began offering rooms on a monthly basis only. The Region of Burlington paid Riviera to house the city’s homeless people and immigrants.

In April of 2012 the municipal building code department and fire department served a notice on the owners that they needed to bring the building up to code or close it down.

The owners decided to close the building which was boarded up.

On August 18, 2012, the building came one step closer to demolition when a fire broke out in the hotel, caused by arson.

The 2015 Pan Am date came and went; the designated developer of the site changed but the project had just too much value built into it to not go forward.

Three structure project has been the "in the works" since 1985 when developers were given the right to build a 22 storey plus building on the property where the Riviera Waterfront Motel used to exist.

Three structure project has been the “in the works” since the early 1990’s when developers were given the right to build a 22 storey plus building on the property where the Riviera Waterfront Motel used to exist.

Last week the sleek sales office met its turn with the wrecking ball. The south side of Lakeshore Road lost its parking meters and traffic is being restricted for a couple of weeks while large concrete pipes get buried. What was the Riviera is now the construction site for an upscale condominium that will consist of a seven story and a twenty two story structure attached to each other by a four level underground garage.

The site will include a four star Mariott hotel – the opening date is still pencilled in as 2018 – those things tend to be pretty loose until construction is well under way.

The four floors down garage work will get started soon; the grade of Elizabeth will change and slowly but surely the Bridgewater will rise out of the ground and reach 22 storeys into the sky.

The 22 storey structire that is due to be built on the waters edge will forever change the look of the city. For the better?

An architectural rendering of an aerial view of the Bridgewater project from the lake side.

The view from the top floor be something to experience.

Paikin, who is a marketer at heart will tell anyone who is within earshot that : “The design is so fantastic and the location is probably the No. 1 location in all of Ontario, if not Canada, as a place to live.”

He might be right.

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Developer constructing three towers at the same time on Fairview for a community of 2000

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 6th, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

The weather is working for them, the construction time line is a little ahead of schedule and Rodger Park is a happy man.

Trucks are rolling in with concrete and flatbeds haul rebar onto the site of the five tower Paradigm on Fairview right beside the Burlington GO station.

A full crew of workers is distributed amongst three of the towers at the back of the property where they are either digging into the shale, laying out rebar, doing concrete pours or stripping away the forms on concrete that has been poured.

Ryan with a conccrete bucket

Rigger Ryan Vandermeer maneuvers a cement bucket for loading.

Two cranes swing through their arc lifting a load of rebar rods or hoisting a big bucket of concrete. John Caronello is handling the big crane on tower A on the west side of the construction site while his rigger Ryan Vandermeer keeps in constant communication.

Some of the concrete mixing trucks carry 9 metres of concrete while others are limited to 8 metres – it is all subject to quality control testing. They don’t leave much to chance.

Wael Deiab scoots around the site with pails of concrete that he is testing for consistency, air content and compression. Nothing fancy about the lab he works in – outdoors where he pushes concrete into a cylinder where it will stay for testing – which gets done at the three day, seven day and 28 day time frames.

Landtek - concrete testing

Wael Deiab pours concrete samples into canniters and tests it for consistency.

Deiab, who works LandTek, the company that does the concrete quality testing, drops in on a site and randomly chooses concrete that is being poured – fills his bucket and takes it away to a place out of the wind and starts his testing. Temperature of the concrete is included in the testing.

Concrete pour tower c

Concrete being loaded for a pour on tower B at the Paradigm site on Fairview

Tower A, on the west side of the site, reported to be sold out, has its two parking levels completed – they are now working on the ground floor.

Jason Park, who backs up his Dad, Rodger Park quietly checks on what is being done – he tends not to look you in the eye – he is constantly watching to be sure that things are going the way they are supposed to go.

How much concrete will be used in this five tower project – Jason doesn’t have a clue – he doesn’t care where it comes from either – just as long as it arrives on time.

Concrete trucks

Concrete can come from any one of four locations in the Burlington area – 8 to 9 square metres at a time

The concrete can come from any number of locations – the driver of the truck is the guy who cares about where he is going to be driving to next.

It’s a Friday, the site will shut down for the weekend – on balance it has been a good week.

The schedule is being met – three buildings all going up at the same time – each in various stages of completion.

It gets a little boring after a while said Jason – we put up forms, pour concrete, strip away the forms and move on to the next level he explains.

The elevator shaft for building A is coming together – one can get a sense as to where the front entrance to the building is going to be.

The three towers at the back of the property are works in progress – the thinking for the smaller towers at the front closer to the street are part of the project – when construction on those towers actually begins is a market research exercise.

Sales of the units in towers A, and B are going very well. What the Molinaro’s are doing is creating a new community of 2000 people. There will be changes in the way that part of town works. Will the Paradigm pull the downtown core right up to Fairview – what impact will all those people have on the commercial sector.

One can expect a least a couple of restaurants for all those people. There will be some commercial space on the second floor of the two towers that will front on Fairview.

The Molinaro’s built the condominiums that line Lakeshore Road – and in the process defined the downtown core we have today.

Will the same thing happen to Fairview?

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Putting the Mayor’s State of the City in context.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

January 29th, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

He is getting better  as a speaker; one of his council colleagues suggested he was getting some training.

Another council colleague said “he went on to long”.

Ok – but what did he say?

There were no “announcements” – he just ran through the things that had been done, mentioned several of the senior staff additions and got one decent joke in.

There wasn’t a standing ovation.

Flood Fairview plaza

Business people know that problems like this need a resolution – all they heard on Thursday was that more money was going to be thrown at it.

The Mayor made very small mention of a possible storm water tax levy – his audience was a combination of senior city hall staff and business people.

Intensification got several paragraphs. If we understood the Mayor correctly, Burlington has already reached its 2031 target.

The Mayor made much better use of good visual aids – at one point he put up three pictures; one of Waterdown Road as it is today – with its widening and a nice new coat of asphalt; a second on what is possible in terms of height under existing zoning and told the audience that if the people of Aldershot wanted a supermarket all they had to do was go along with those higher buildings.

It is clear that the Mayor hasn’t taken in a planning meeting in Aldershot – those folks want to keep their bungalows and streets without sidewalks.

There was quite a bit of time spent on the strategic Plan – he did mention that it was late – made no mention of the cost and didn’t touch on the content – not even a couple of tease lines. The audience he was talking to Thursday morning is going to be very disappointed when they see the final document – unless there are massage changes from the draft versions.

It was a dull speech – the Mayor doesn’t do barn burners – but gosh, golly, gee could he not have said something that would have the business men and woman in the room sitting up in their chairs?

The city planning department has been working on the concept of mobility hubs and there are still those prosperity corridors being talked up.

Mobility hubs

While the city council has not actually said that the |Aldershot GO station is where the first mobility hub is going to be located – all the signs point to that location.

Those start ups the Mayor is so hungry for got another mention and the Advanced Manufacturing Hub that former Prime Minister promised us is still in the works. But he didn’t drill down into just what this would mean for the business community.

The Mayor did mention the newest speaker he has coming to town – this time it is going to be Brent  Toderian who has said  “good planning is not a popularity contest.”    Toderian will talk about the need for city’s to grow “up” and not out at the Royal Botanical Gardens February 12th.

Mayor Goldring seems to want to go back to the Burlington of the 1970’s when he knew everyone in Roseland where he lived at the time – he longs for that “small town fee”.

He touched on the Community Investment Plan that is going to put small amount of money into community groups and let them plan and run recreational event in their communities.

“We are an engaged city” said the Mayor – it would be really wonderful if the he expanded on what he means by “engaged” because Mayor Rick Goldring certainly didn’t engage his audience Thursday morning over breakfast at the Burlington Convention Centre

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Mayor gives the business community his take on the State of the City - sunshine and roses.

News 100 blueBy Mayor Rick Goldring

January 29, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

The Gazette has published the Mayor’s State of the City report for most of the last five years.  Links to previous addresses at at the bottom of the 2016 address.

Theologian Leonard Sweet said, “The future is not something we enter. The future is something we create.” Today, I would like to talk to you about Burlington’s future.

Mayor and chair

Mayor Rick Goldring.

I am pleased to share that after more than a year of cooperation and collaboration between the community, City Council and city staff, Burlington’s 2015 to 2040 Strategic Plan is almost finalized. Staff is currently making final revisions based on your feedback before sending the completed document to council for approval this spring.

The city is undergoing an important transition, one that some municipalities don’t step up to. In addition to our core mandate of providing a range of critical city services, council has decided to add a new mandate, to actively “city-build.”

City-building entails using all of the tools available to council and working with partners to actively shape the physical, social, economic and cultural fabric of the city.

The new Strategic Plan is fundamentally different than past plans. It is the twenty-five-year blueprint for city-building, and will be supported in more detail with the Official Plan, Transportation Master Plan, and the Corporate Work Plan. Collectively these plans will be setting ambitious, clear and measurable targets for physical growth, sustainability, carbon neutrality, economic growth, changing how people move around the city and how we engage with the public.

Burlington is one of the first Southern Ontario municipalities to stop sprawling and instead grow in place, something many other municipalities will be faced with in the next decade or two. We are leading the way, and are the ‘poster child’ for David Crombie’s recent report on how municipalities in Southern Ontario should be evolving.
As we stop sprawling, we are now going to focus more deliberately on our rural area through our Strategic Plan and Official Plan.

In preparation, we are actively changing our internal management structures, planning processes, and where necessary, skills and resources to support this new agenda.

There are four key directions outlined in our new Strategic Plan, including: A City that Grows, A City that Moves, A Healthy and Greener City and An Engaging City.
Today, I will talk about these directions, highlight the objectives in each section and discuss achievements of the past year related to the four strategic themes.

A City That Grows

A City That Grows is one where Burlington is a magnet for talent, good jobs and economic opportunity while having achieved intensification and balanced, targeted population growth for youth, families, newcomers and seniors.

Promoting Economic Growth
I believe that economic development is the key to a vibrant, prosperous Burlington – whether five or twenty-five years into the future.
Our results in 2015 were steady. Our key metrics are in line. However, vacant employment land supply is low and we are working to activate key employment lands to provide some much-needed inventory for business to locate.

We are also working through our Official Plan and recognizing that with over 88 per cent of employment land already in use, and a large portion of this development more than 50 years old, we need policies to support redevelopment of these employment areas.

Several expansions took place, most noticeably Cogent and Evertz with significant physical expansions. There are many others in our community with aggressive growth plans.

We are working on a number of office and industrial developments for 2016 and we expect to continue to meet out targets in the short term.

As the global economy becomes more and more connected, innovation and globalization are critical to our future. With global competition and the race to low labour costs, our businesses must innovate and utilize new and emerging technologies, supply chains and intellectual property to prosper.

Cities and governments around the world recognize this. Investments in innovation and industry coordination are increasing in certain jurisdictions. Germany and Austria, for example, have introduced Industry 4.0 and are investing more than 70 billion Euros to ensure that manufacturers are operating at the leading edge. The U.K., U.S. and many others are moving in this direction.

The province of Ontario is recognized as one of the best places to start a business. We are not, however, having the success we need growing these businesses. Data shows that 75 per cent of new jobs come from new businesses, primarily between year two and year seven of operations.

Recognizing these trends, our focus for economic development is shifting. Traditionally, we have focused on retaining the businesses we have. Going forward we will be:

Focusing on supporting start-up and growth businesses.
Developing a Regional Employment and Innovation District, which better reflects the work environment companies are looking for and is connected to our highway and public transit network.
Supporting population growth and initiatives to attract and retain the talent that we need to have. This includes youth, young families and professionals, and a more welcoming environment for newcomers.
Improving our transit connectivity to employment areas including looking beyond our borders is critical. After all, almost 35,000 people go back and forth for work between Burlington and Hamilton every day.
Working with our post-secondary education partners to ensure that employers have the talent that they need and that we as a community are taking advantage of the more than 10,000 annual graduates from our local institutions. We are currently working with Mohawk, Sheridan, Brock and McMaster to provide better access to research and development for local business.

McMAster Univesity is developing a three year program that will significantly improve the management skills of senior and middle management staff at city hall. As many as 150 staff members will be taking courses over a thtree year period.

McMaster Univesity De Groote School of Business is adding a fourth floor.

 

Within the coming months, DeGroote will be finishing the fourth floor of the Ron Joyce Centre. This will be the home of the new Michael G. DeGroote Health Leadership Academy, as well as a Centre for Evidence Based Management. McMaster’s DeGroote School of Business is also launching their new Executive MBA program in Digital Transformation this year.

In 2016, we will continue to work with industry, education and senior levels of government to support the development of an Advanced Manufacturing Hub in Burlington, which will assist manufacturers in Burlington, Halton and Southern Ontario in becoming more competitive globally.

Burlington has a strong, diversified local economy. We will continue to support this, and invest in the future to ensure prosperity in the long term.

Intensification

Intensification is another key aspect to the future of our city outlined in the proposed Strategic Plan.

Burlington intensification areaINSERT

To understand intensification – the greater concentration of people living and/or working in a defined area – we need to understand what factors are influencing the future of Burlington.

Burlington is built out. There is very little room left for traditional greenfield suburban-type development. Fifty per cent of Burlington is rural, agricultural, natural greenbelt and the vast majority of people I talk to want to keep it that way. North Aldershot, Mount Nemo, Lowville and Kilbride areas house the Bruce Trail, Lowville Park, the Cootes to Escarpment Eco Park System and many other natural features. As the Greater Golden Horseshoe Area becomes more urbanized, the importance of maintaining these assets will only magnify.

Primarily because of immigration, 150,000 people move to the Greater Golden Horseshoe area every year resulting in 3.7 million new residents and 1.8 million new jobs in the next twenty-five years.

The Ontario government released the Places to Grow Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe in 2006 defining how we should accommodate this growth.

Halton Region agreed to accept growth of 315,000 people and 175,000 jobs by 2031, with best planning estimates stating that Milton will grow to 228,000, Oakville 246,000 and Burlington 186,000 by 2031. Burlington is close to 186,000 people now.

In a city that is out of traditional greenfield land, where 50 per cent of our city is protected greenbelt land, the next question is: Where do we grow?

Downtown is an Urban Growth Centre in the Ontario Places to Grow Plan and is targeted to have approximately 200 jobs and people per hectare by 2031. It is two-thirds of the way there now.

Our Official Plan also identifies other sites suited for intensification, such as Uptown located at Appleby Line between Mainway and Upper Middle Road.

The Fairview/Plains Road corridor. When we talk about the transformation of Plains Road through intensification, it is important to recognize the leadership and vision of Councillor Rick Craven.

Site with GO in background before sunrise

Five tower Paradigm project on Fairview at the GO station is selling very well.

The areas around our three GO Stations – Aldershot, Burlington and Appleby.

Aging retail plazas like Roseland, Eastway and Lakeside.

We anticipate that 80 per cent of our urban area will not experience significant change.

If we take federal and provincial policies out of the picture, what makes sense when it comes to residential growth for Burlington? Would we intensify regardless of growth policies?

According to city planner and former Vancouver chief planner, Brent Toderian, the advantages of creating more density, if done well, are:

Facilitating more affordable housing choices
Curbing the negative impacts of sprawl
Mitigating climate change
Dramatically decreasing energy costs
Increasing energy independence
Making walking, biking and transit more inviting
Improving public health, diversity, creativity, safety and vibrancy

These advantages are possible if density is created in an appropriate manner.

I would like to note Brent Toderian is our keynote speaker at Inspire Burlington on February 11th. I invite you to join us for an engaging evening around great city-building.

Brent Toderian writes: “What really matters is how you grow big, not how big you grow…. Most cities perceive growth to be a positive thing when done well, supporting such civic goals as improving affordability, enhancing ecological sustainability, supporting social equity and choice, and stimulating creativity and economic development.”

We are improving conversations about density and we will continue to connect and engage with the community soliciting input on how we grow.

Extreme Weather Resiliency

In order to grow within our urban boundary, we need to be assured that our infrastructure can handle the growth. Since the flood of 2014, the City of Burlington and Halton Region have stepped up our focus on storm water and wastewater management.

Flood presentation - 407 flooded

The initial damage from the flood and the cost of making sure we don’t get hit as hard next time – Mayor said we need to plan for the next one

As a result of the thorough analysis and extensive reports completed by the City and Region, we have committed a total of more than $120 million over the next 10 years to improve our resiliency in the event of extreme weather.

A City That Moves

A City That Moves is where people and goods move through the city more efficiently and safely.

A City That Moves offers a variety of convenient, affordable and green forms of transportation that align with regional travel patterns. This is a city that features walkability within new and transitioning neighbourhoods, as well as in our downtown.

We are investing $300 million over the next 10 years on our roads, which includes such projects as road reconstruction, resurfacing and intersection widening.

However, moving forward, we are shifting our focus on moving people through more sustainable modes of travel that do not rely exclusively on the automobile.

Ninety per cent of all trips made on a weekday within our city – which number more than 260,000 – are made by automobile. Furthermore, 50 per cent of these trips are five kilometres or less.

Walkable trips are considered to be two kilometres or less. Bikeable trips are considered to be within the two to five kilometre range.

These are the ideal distances to cycle, walk or hop on a Burlington Transit bus – including to and from one of our three GO Stations.

Just ask Councillor Jack Dennison, who is on the cycling committee and can be found cycling to events on weekends.

Long-term, we are looking to implement a complete streets vision. This vision will be part of an integrated plan that will see on- and off-road bike lanes, sidewalks, multi-use paths and trails and public transit well-connected and coordinated.

Complete Streets will make Burlington more walkable and bikeable, support investments in transit, foster social engagement and community pride, support the local economy and property values, and improve the livability and long‐term sustainability of our region. Burlington will be a better place to live and work, realizing long‐term savings from improved public health and safety, environmental stewardship, social mobility and transportation equity.

Speaking of transit, we are expecting full implementation of our transit intelligent transportation system within the next few months. This includes a website, trip planning function, real-time information and stop announcements.

Creating walkable neighbourhoods directly relates to a City that Moves and a City That Grows.

Noted American urban planner Jeff Speck notes that a walk has to satisfy four main conditions: it must be useful, safe, comfortable and interesting.

When I ask people what they like most about living downtown, they respond it is they can walk everywhere. That is one of the reasons Councillor Marianne Meed Ward says she enjoys living downtown.

Just as Councillor Meed Ward walks to work every day, we want to develop more neighbourhoods across the city where people have that same opportunity.

Mobility hubs offer significant potential for intensification and walkability.

These are places of connectivity where different modes of transportation – from walking to commuter rail – come together seamlessly.

There are currently 3,500 customers using the Burlington GO station on a weekday. The addition of more than 900 residential units further transforms the site into a walk-friendly, cycle-friendly, transit-friendly neighbourhood that also includes office and retail. GO customers can look forward to 15-minute service on an electrified Lakeshore West GO line within the next decade.

This type of development also gives first-time homebuyers, especially young professionals, a chance to enter the real estate market, as well as those looking to downsize, units at a good price.

A Healthy and Greener City

A Healthy and Greener City is one in which the City of Burlington is a leader in the stewardship of the environment while encouraging healthy lifestyles.

In this area, I believe we are ahead of other municipalities with our Community Energy Plan, as well as our vast array of parks, recreation facilities and programming.

According to the respondents of our online survey about the draft Strategic Plan, a Healthy and Greener City was ranked as the most important of the four key directions.

Our health is one of our greatest assets.

Last week, NASA confirmed 2015 was Earth’s warmest year since record-keeping began in 1880. While last saw a major El Niño weather system, this dubious milestone was largely driven by climate change. Fifteen of the top 16 warmest years have occurred since the year 2000.

Healthy Lifestyles

Going back to Brent Toderian’s comments, the potential advantage of creating more density is making walking, biking and transit more appealing, which fosters improved public health.

Healthy living in Burlington is supported by a well-planned city with walkable neighbourhoods featuring good access to parks and recreation facilities.

The Mayor calls this the

Hundreds walk this park right out to the canal boundary every day.

We will ensure every resident lives within a short distance of parks or recreational spaces, creating multi-use parks and green space, and supporting the Bruce Trail. The city’s approximate 50-50 split between rural and urban settings has positioned us as a city rich in outdoor recreational space.

Good programming at top-level recreational facilities also promotes healthy living. Last January, for example, we opened a revitalized Mountainside Recreation Centre, which features an arena, outdoor pool and community space. This centre has become a draw for young people at the weekly No Socks for Ivan drop-in, with an upwards of 200 youth and teens coming weekly.

Councillor John Taylor was a staunch advocate in the revitalization of this recreation centre, and I know the community is grateful for his role in its transformation.

Late last year, City Council also approved a rebuild of Nelson Pool at a cost of approximately $5 million. The updated facility is scheduled to open in 2018, possibly earlier if construction goes well.

Related to a Healthy City and An Engaging City, a new initiative created by the City of Burlington that I am particularly excited about this winter is the neighbourhood rink program. Sixteen parks will feature 18 neighbourhood rinks for the 2015-16 winter season. This supports our parks and recreation mantra: Live and Play Every Day.

The rink program was inspired by Seattle community builder Jim Diers, who worked with our staff on neighbourhood power.

Inspired by Jim’s work, City Council approved $80,000 for community investment. This funding will support residents and groups of neighbours in enhancing city space by adding a park feature, creating an event or starting a new program.

Burlington is also one of 45 communities across Ontario taking part in the Healthy Kids Community Challenge. The City will receive up to $1.1 million in one-time funding from the Province between April 2015 to March 2018 to promote children’s health through physical activity and healthy eating.

Healthy living is also connected to good community health care. The City of Burlington has committed $60 million to the redevelopment and expansion of Joseph Brant Hospital. This is the city’s largest investment in a non-city facility in the history of our community.

Groundbreaking took place in March 2015 for the redevelopment and expansion project’s second phase: a new seven-storey patient care tower.

When construction of the tower is complete in 2017 Joseph Brant Hospital will feature 172 acute inpatient beds, a new emergency department, a larger cancer clinic, nine new operating rooms, expanded medical, surgical and outpatient services, and much more.

Brant hospital - part of 4th floor

Joseph Brant Hospital getting close to topping off. Will open in 2018

Joseph Brant Hospital treats more than 250,000 patients each year. The hospital opened in 1961, but has not had a major renovation since 1971.

I want to thank the provincial government for their significant investment that will cover approximately two-thirds of the total cost of the project.

The Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation is close to reaching its $60 million contribution. To date, the foundation has raised $48 million thanks, in part, to significant donations in 2015 from the Joyce Foundation, Voortman Cookies (Mr. Harry Voortman) and Longo’s Family Charitable Foundation.

A healthy and greener city encourages sustainable projects. Our community gardens program has been well received by the community and we are looking to continue to grow it.

Burlington City Council appreciates Halton Regional Council’s support of the Burlington Beach Regional Waterfront Park Master Plan. The development of this park will enhance the Region of Halton. The park features a natural sand beach that is part of a unique landform called a Baymouth Bar. It is also home to provincially and regionally rare plant and animal species.

The estimated project cost is more than $51 million. The majority of the Burlington Beach Regional Waterfront Park plan will be developed over the next five to ten years. It could take up to twenty to twenty-five years to completely finish the park.

Environmental Leadership

The ongoing implementation and updates of the Community Energy Plan are integral to moving forward as a city on environmental leadership.

This past year, we had a number of accomplishments connected to our Community Energy Plan: Burlington Hydro’s co-gen pilot project, our first electric vehicle charging station on city property and my Inspire Burlington Series/Take Action Burlington event with David Miller from the World Wildlife Fund.

Carpentr House - walking the trail

Citizens walking the trail in the Beachway along what was once a railway line.

We are also in the process of completing phase one of our community energy system feasibility study. The study is looking at opportunities for more efficient and sustainable local generation of thermal energy with electrical generation.

Long-term, we are looking to continue moving forward on environmental leadership through a variety of initiatives, such as city operations that are carbon neutral, increasing our urban forest and tree canopy, and continuing to preserve our rural area.

We continue to be proud partners in the Cootes to Escarpment Eco-Park System. This is a collaboration between ten local government and non-profit organizations to protect, restore and connect more than 9,600 acres of natural lands at the western end of Lake Ontario.

David Suzuki said: “I can’t imagine anything more important than air, water, soil, energy and biodiversity. These are the things that keep us alive.”

An Engaging City

In a city that engages, community members are engaged, empowered, welcomed and well-served by their city. Culture and community activities thrive, creating a positive sense of place, inclusivity and community.

Our vision of an engaged city builds on the foundation we have laid since our Engagement Charter was approved by City Council in 2013.

We created and launched the Get Involved page (www.burlington.ca/getinvolved) for all things citizen engagement on the city’s new website. This includes our online platforms – Let’s Talk Burlington and Insight Burlington, Get Involved calendar and volunteer opportunities.

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.

In the past year, we engaged thousands of residents online on a variety of topics, like the Transportation Master Plan, community gardens, Strategic Plan, budget, intensification and parking.

Councillor Paul Sharman’s engagement with the community around the potential redevelopment of Lakeside Plaza is commendable. Last November, more than 300 residents came out to the Lakeside Plaza visioning exercise.

Budget

It goes without saying that a major priority for council and staff is balancing increased services and investments with the need for responsible tax rate increases.

The capital budget was approved in December and the operating budget for 2016 was approved this week.

When combined with the Halton Region and the school boards, the overall property tax increase is 2 per cent and that number is inclusive of a 3.14 per cent increase in the city’s portion.

The city increase of 3.14 per cent is broken down as follows:

The base budget increase of 1.28 per cent that is less than the Consumer Price Index.
A 1.44 per cent increase dedicated to the renewal of the city’s infrastructure.
42 per cent to increase service levels in areas such as winter maintenance, bylaw enforcement and storm water management.

The 2016 budget marks the second year the city presented the operating budget in a service based format. Under this approach, business plans are developed for all 37 of the services provided by the city.

We will continue to strive towards annual property tax increases that are responsible to current and future residents, as well as reflect inflationary increases, infrastructure renewal and increased service investments.

Government Partnerships

Building strong relationships with other governments also moves us towards our goals as a city.

Federal infrastructure investment, which we support 100 per cent, is a key priority of the new Trudeau government.

Property taxes in Ontario are the highest in the country, so we also welcome the federal investment in identified priorities around affordable housing, public transit and climate change.

I look forward to working with our Members of Parliament Karina Gould, Pam Damoff and Lisa Raitt on these issues.

Recognizing that municipalities are a provincial responsibility, it is only natural I have regular contact with our Members of Provincial Parliament Eleanor McMahon and Indira Naidoo-Harris on a wide range of issues, including transit and transportation, environment and municipal legislation.

Meanwhile, the cities of Burlington and Hamilton are involved in discussions through our city managers. The two mayors and members of council also meet as the Greater Bay Area Subcommittee to discuss areas of common interest.

It is noteworthy that Burlington and Hamilton’s chambers of commerce are hosting the second annual Bay Area Economic Summit in June.

This term, I have also played a leading role at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario. I currently serve as the Chair of the Large Urban Caucus and the Chair of the Climate Change Task Force. I am also on the Memorandum of Understanding team, which meets regularly with the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and other members of provincial cabinet discussing proposed changes to policy and legislation affecting municipalities.

Public Engagement Through Cultural and Community Activities

As the City of Burlington grows and will continue to do so over the coming decades, we are diversifying. It is essential to foster a Burlington where everyone feels welcome, regardless of age, race, gender or sexual orientation.

Councillor Blair Lancaster represents one of our most culturally diverse wards. She is focused on creating a strong sense of belonging in neighbourhoods in her ward, as well as city-wide through her role on the inclusivity advisory committee.

The ongoing initiative of Burlington groups sponsoring Syrian refugees and the outpouring of support is an example of the embodiment of engagement and inclusivity.

Arts and Culture

Thanks to city investment and the dedication of leaders, boards, staff, and members of the arts and culture community, I believe we are starting to fully realize the tremendous assets we have right here in our city.

The Burlington Performing Arts Centre was booked for more than 600 uses last year, with in excess of 100,000 visitors. Based on the recent economic impact study in 2014, the arts centre generates $7.8 million in annual economic activity, with room to grow. It also serves as a world-class venue for many local groups, from our Burlington Teen Tour Band and Symphony on the Bay to Tottering Biped Theatre and Burlington Student Theatre. Suzanne Haines became the centre’s new executive director last year.

The Art Gallery of Burlington saw another good year, with new leadership from Robert Steven as the president and CEO. There were 45,000 visitors to exhibitions, not including visitors from facility rentals. There were also 24 exhibitions in their five gallery spaces in 2015.

Ireland Hse front view

Ireland House – heritage that was saved.

Last year, Burlington Museums connected with a large number of young people, in particular, through its education programming. Almost 5,000 children visited the museums through camps, and school and youth group education programs.

More than 1.1 million people visited Burlington Public Library’s seven branches in 2015. The library loaned out nearly 2 million items last year – the equivalent of each resident in Burlington borrowing 10 to 11 items.

Last year marked a historic moment for the City of Burlington’s Public Art Program when six murals were unveiled by seven local artists at one time in December 2015.

There are also the numerous festivals and events that showcase our city and boost our local economy. Hundreds of thousands of people come from near and far to take in events like the Sound of Music Festival, Canada’s Largest Ribfest, the Children’s Festival and Canada Day.

Arts and culture has been a cornerstone of societies throughout history and they will continue to be so in Burlington as we look to the future. Canadian scientist Steven Pinker said: “There is no society ever discovered in the remotest corner of the world that has not had something that we would consider the arts.”

What do we want Burlington to be in twenty-five years?

We want to be a city that grows, a city that moves, a healthy and greener city and a city that engages.

Let’s work together to make our great city even greater.

State of the city addresses by Mayor Rick Goldring:

State of the City 2011
State of the City 2012
State of the City 2013
State of the city 2015

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The old Beachway community that used to exist on either side of Lakeshore Road is getting a nifty upgrade with bike lanes and curbs and a stop light. Progress!

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 27th, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

The beginning of the new Beachway community will show its head when the city begins upgrading Lakeshore Road from Maple Avenue to the Waste Water Treatment plant.

Lakeshore Road upgradeWork on a road that will have two lanes, curbs, bike lanes and come in at a cost of $4,170,000 is expected t begin in July – the Regional government will pick up $1 million of the expense.

The rebuilding of the road is tied into the re-build/redevelopment of the Joseph Brant Hospital that is coming along very well – they expect to have poured the slab for the top floor by the end of the month – or very soon after. There will be a rolling closure of the road, expected to begin in July through to November.

The Region is installing a 300 mm water main replacement.

Laura Gillespie points out the part of the Beachway that affects her the most - the spot where her house is located.

Laura Gillespie points out the part of the Beachway that affects her the most – the spot where her house is located.  The upgrading of Lakeshore Road will not go as far as her house.  Her hope is that the house stays.

Lakeshore Road will be raised as much as three feet in that area directly in front of the Road where the hospital construction is taking place.

And there will be a traffic signal at the hospital parking garage – a sign that the Beachway is going through a real change

None of the homes the Region is very anxious to purchase will see the new road running in front of their door – the work on that part of Lakeshore Road is dependent on the recommendations of the Burlington Beach Regional Waterfront Master Plan.

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Strategic Plan to be the theme of Mayor Rick Goldring’s State of the City address.

element_strategic_planBy Pepper Parr

January 28th, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

The Burlington Chamber of Commerce is hosting Mayor Rick Goldring’s State of the City address Thursday morning at the Burlington Convention Centre – 7:30 a.m. Registration and Breakfast; Presentations 8:15 a.m., Closing Remarks 9:15 a.m.; you will be able to get to the office just a tad on the late side.

Strategic Plan Workbook

The original design of the Strategic Plan cover had the document covering a four year council term.

The Mayor is going to explain the theme of the City of Burlington’s 25-year strategic plan – hopefully he will justify all the time and expense in creating a 25 year plan when traditionally a city council sets out its Strategic Plan for its term of office.

Whatever this council wants to spend time and money on developing a plan – it will have no legitimacy for future Council’s who will want to create a plan of their own.
Were Jack Dennison to every become Mayor he would not want to adopt the plan that is currently at the draft stage level; both – Dennison as Mayor and this draft plan being adopted in the future are stretches of the most elastic imagination.

Strat Plan logo 25 year

The current working document of the strategic Plan covers a 25 year time frame.

During the several occasions when city council met as a Committee of the Whole there was never a statement made saying that this council had decided it was going to produce a 25 year plan and there was nothing said or set out for the record at a city council meeting.   Meeting a Committee of the Whole, one council member said what they were really doing was creating a “25 year plan” – the idea took hold and they all went charging of in this new direction.

The city does get credit for taking the plan to the public – there were at last four public meetings and a lengthy on line questionnaire.  But there was never a statement from the Mayor or any member of council explaining that they were creating a document with a longer time frame.

They just went ahead and did it – maybe that’s what they mean by leadership?

There does not appear to be much in the way of public enthusiasm for the document – it is quite long with a lot of declarative statements and promises of delivering on some of the objectives within a specific deadline.

The new Strategic Plan and has four directions: A City that Grows, a City that Moves, a Healthy and Greener City and an Engaging City.

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The budget debates settled on an increase higher than the accepted rate of inflation - some significant problems on how to manage the costs have become evident.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

January 27th, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

Is it a good budget?

There are few taxpayers who are happy about the rate of increase over last year – and the 20 year projection calls for more of the same.
While the increase year over year is above the rate of inflation – the numbers have to be looked at carefully – they aren’t going to get much better. The biggest thing that appears to have come out of the budget exercise is a realization on the part of council members that they don’t have a tight enough grip on what they need staff to do.
Council seems to be continually blinded sided by one catastrophe after another.

wefrt

Repaired at a cost of $380,000 in 2012 – the bridge is going to have to be replaced in the near future.

The Drury Lane Bridge had to be repaired at a cost of $380,000 – that was for a five year patch – the estimated cost of replacing the bridge was something in excess of $2 million – which comes due any day now.

The Nelson Pool had to be closed because of problems with the steel structure and is now not going to be re-built and repaired until sometime in 2018.

The families with children that make use of the Nelson Stadium took matters into their own hands and began working with the school board to upgrade the facilities. The Stadium is on property owned by the city and the school board – two organizations who are not known for how well they get along with each other. They don’t even have a structure that has them meeting regularly to resolve shared concerns.

When a citizen’s delegation spoke at city hall they knew more about what was happening than members of council. That was not a pretty picture.
Council members expect staff to do the ongoing analysis that tells when an asset is due for an upgrade.

How did the city not know that the Drury Lane bridge needed work and how did staff did not know that the Nelson Pool was due for a major upgrade. There is asset management software out there that works all this out – and Burlington spends a fortune on software.

Do we have the right people managing this software and the way it is utilized?

Flood Fairview plaza

The one thing we know about the 2014 flood is that it has cost us a small fortune – think in terms of $40 million so far. We also know that climate change is likely to cost us even more in the years ahead.

Managing the financial cost of the 2014 flood and coming to terms with what has to be done in the way of storm water management had $20 million thrown at it. Council has realized that it is going to take an additional $20 million to make the changes that were recommended by the consultants the city hired.

Storm water - flood mitigation map

The scary word in this graph is “initially” It will probably take an additional tax levy to handle storm water.

The Mayor commented that the city was going to have to take a serious look at a special tax levy for managing storm water. The realization that climate change is upon us and we no longer know what our weather is going to be – here we are at the end of January and you could be wearing shorts on some days.

As for city hall and the media people over there – they are doing it again. Messing with the numbers – and totally trashing there commitment to transparency and accountability.

The city’s media release said:
“The City of Burlington has approved the 2016 operating budget with a 3.14 per cent increase in the city’s portion of property taxes, which will result in an overall property tax increase of two per cent when combined with Halton Region and the boards of education, or $17.10 per $100,000 of home assessment value.
Highlights of the approved budget include:

• The base budget increase of 1.28 per cent is aligned with inflation (Toronto CPI 1.86 per cent) which is consistent with the Long Term Financial Plan objective of competitive property taxes.

• The base budget maintains the $4.8 million contribution towards the Joseph Brant Hospital reserve fund to meet the city’s $60 million commitment to the redevelopment project.

A 1.44 per cent increase dedicated to the renewal of the city’s infrastructure.

An additional $20 million in funding has been provided to accelerate roadway renewal needs over the next four years.

An additional $20 million of funding has been provided over the next 10 years for surface water drainage projects.

$613K in funding (0.43 per cent) to increase service levels in areas such as winter maintenance and stormwater management.

For those that qualify, the Senior’s Property Tax Rebate has increased from $450 to $525 in this budget.
“There are many competing demands for city tax dollars as well as an urgency to find inefficiencies and minimize tax rate increases,” said Mayor Rick Goldring. “We have tried to balance all the city’s needs, prioritize them and forecast with great thought and care to deliver a responsible budget that serves everyone.”

“This budget continues to provide funding to priority areas of infrastructure renewal, the city’s contribution to the hospital redevelopment and maintaining existing services,” said Joan Ford, director of finance. “In key areas, service levels have been increased.”

That’s their story and they are probably going to stick to it.

You won’t get another viewpoint on the budget – the print newspaper distributed in this city didn’t have a reporter at the meeting. My colleague Joan Little who writes a column for the Spectator will undoubtedly make a comment.

Financial impact 20 year

Is this an acceptable rate of tax increases? Does this Council think it can get re-elected in 2018 with these numbers?

Take a look at that 20 year projection again. Did our city Councillors deliver a good budget?

The Mayor has asked the city manager to look for new revenue sources.  Until he has a much better handle on how to manage the problems he has on his table now there isn’t much James Ridge is going to be able to do in the immediate future.\

He needs to get his strategic plan passed – it is close to a year overdue.

Can the current Council provide him with the advice and direction he needs?  Two of the seven members have been on Council for more than 20 years.  Will they run again in 2018?  Will their constituents re-elect them?

2017 is going to be an uncomfortable year for this council.

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Tireless advocate for transit disappointed with what has been budgeted for bus service - but he does see some hope.

burlbudget2016By Pepper Parr

January 20, 2106

BURLINGTON, ON

Every chance Doug Brown gets to talk about transit – he shows up. Brown is part of Bfast (Burlington’s Friends and Supporters of Transit) an organization that advocates for improved transit.

Bfast Transit group logoBrown is one of those people who tirelessly make delegation after delegation – he speaks with authority because he does his homework and has a good grip on transit facts and figures.

More often than not, Brown will complete his delegation and Council doesn’t ask a single question. Brown turns away from the podium quietly and returns to his seat.

He must have been pleased to listen to the delegation that Robert Lovell and James Young made supporting the proposal in the budget review document that transit be free to senior citizens on Monday’s.

Brown however was surprised and disappointed to see that the budget for transit in 2016 was the same as it was in 2015 – which from Brown’s vantage point meant they were getting less because there was no allowance for inflation.

Doug Brown and Susan Lewis look over a 1982 copy of the city's bus schedule.

Doug Brown and Susan Lewis look over a 1982 copy of the city’s bus schedule.

It is worse than that according to Brown. The province gives municipalities a portion of the gas tax they collect. The funds the municipalities get is based on a formula that includes population and ridership.

Burlington has a population that grew a bit – but transit ridership was less in 2015 than it was in 2014 which meant we got less in the way of that gas tax funding.

Doug Brown, chair of Bfast, wants to see a bus schedule with routes that work for people and not the current bus route set up in place. It doesn't work claims Brown.

Doug Brown, chair of Bfast, wants to see more funding for transit and the development of a long term transit plan.

Brown has been toiling away as an advocate for better transit but quietly says: “We have a long way to go” and point to Waterloo which has a council that understands the need for good, reliable, affordable transit.

Waterloo has a population of 97,475 – Burlington has a population that is at the 173,000 level. They can develop a progressive transit system – why can’t we?

Brown points to the city’s Official Plan and the Strategic Plan that calls for a modal split that has 11% of the transportation choices being transit. We are currently at 2%.

Free student passes are also something Brown would like to see.

If the amount of gas tax Burlington gets from the province is based on ridership – would it not make sense to boost ridership?

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Crane operator and his rigger get a close up look at the Paradigm site under construction on Fairview

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

January 18, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

There is that phrase “build it and they will come” and it might be true but if your sinking millions into the construction of a five tower project that is going to change significantly a part of town that didn’t have much vim or vigour to it – you don’t just build – you sell.

People driving along Fairview can see a smart looking one storey structure with a lot of glass and the liberal use of pink paint. If they stretch their necks they might see the two construction cranes – but traffic moves along Fairview at a pretty swift pace.

Paradigm - Roger Park at the site level 2 being poured

Project manager Rodger Park looks over the second level of the parking garage of the West Tower.

In behind the construction hoardings there is a big hole out of which is rising the West Tower – the first of three Paradigm towers that will rise out of the ground and up to a height of 22 storeys at the back of the project.  Two additional 18 storey towers will be at the front closer to Fairview.

Project Manager Rodger Park is on the site very early each morning waiting for the arrival of the crane operator who will climb up the 215 foot ladder and get the electricity running to the crane – and in the winter get the heaters turned on as well before the serious construction on the ground can begin.

Crane cabin

John Caronello spends his shift in a crane 215 feet above the construction site

John Caronello, the crane operator with 32 years experience behind him, gets his communications gear on and does the sound checks with his rigger Ryan Vandermeer on the ground so the buckets of concrete or loads of steel can begin moving.

The people building the project are focused on getting each level of the building completed on time – and with Park running the show – schedules get met. The construction crews will tell you how big each building is going to be – but oddly enough they don’t know all that much about what the building is going to look like other than what they see painted on the construction hoardings.

When first interviewing Caronello and rigger Vandermeer, we needed a warm place to sit and talk about the job they do so we slipped into the sales office – a place construction workers have no reason to walk into with their muddy boots.

sophie showing

Ryan Vandermeer on the left along with John Caronello  and Paradigm sales agent Sophie look over the model of the development site.

Crane operator Caronello and rigger Vandermeer had never seen the model of the site – all they see are the drawings that indicate where the forms are going to be set up for concrete pours and where the steel beams have to be placed so that they can be bolted down tightly.

John was delighted at what he saw when Sophie, the sales agent on duty when we dropped in, explained how the buildings were going to be set on the site and how it all comes together.

Interesting that highly skilled construction workers would move tonnes of material around a construction site and get it to exactly where it is supposed to be with no mistakes and no injuries to anyone on the site don’t have the time to look at the model and see what they are building – and making sure they get it right.

Yards away from the cranes and the excavators and the big dump trucks there are sales agents’ explaining how the community being built is going to work and where all the amenities are going to be.

The construction crews arrive early in the morning and leave at the end of the day tired and ready for the drive home – looking over models of a building isn’t something they have much time for – they build.

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Strategic plan that is now out for [public consultation has four strategic directions. Pure pablum says on resident - another adds that no one does strategic plans anymore.

element_strategic_planBy Pepper Parr

January 8th 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

Strategic plans are by seldom an easy read. They are however important – they set out where the politicians you elected want to see growth take place.

There was a time when Burlington had acres of farm land that was developed over time – the two malls we have were once very productive farmland at a time when Burlington was known around the word for the quality of its produce.

Ghdent Gillies Garden of Canada

The city – then a town – was once a produce garden known around the world. We grew and we now need a strategy to guide the growth,

We shipped so much fresh fruit and vegetables that the railway had two tracks coming into what was then a town.

That was then – developers bought that farmland and put up a parking lot and added some stores along the edges. The old Burlington began to change and the downtown core that once was a place where people did gather began to wither.

The four pillars for 2015 strat plan

Strategic Plan is based on four strategic directions.

The city believes it needs a Strategic Plan and spends a considerable amount of time and significant financial resources putting a document together and looking for public comment.
The draft version of the Strategic Plan that is now ready for public comment has four Strategic Directions: a city that moves; a city that grows; a healthy and greener city; and an engaging city.

This report takes material from the draft report and adds comments to put what the draft Strategic Plan is saying in context. See the draft plan as a piece of sales literature with one side of the story. The Gazette has added comment based on its five years of covering this council and attendance at all the meetings for the 2011 Strategic Plan and most of the meetings for the plan that is ready for public comment. The commentary is set out in bold italic.

Everything your city council wants to have happen in Burlington as it grows – and the city has to grow because the province says we must – is pinned to the four strategic directions. There was no public input on the choice of those four strategic directions. They came out of discussion and debate and wordsmithed by the consultants.
First strategic direction is related to growth. That growth is identified as coming about as the result of – economic development, intensification and smart population growth.

Each of these has a list of strategic initiatives the city will undertake and then a list of progress indicators telling us what real progress has been made.

Council wants to promote economic growth. Local incomes have risen and Burlington continues to be a prosperous city due to the co-ordinated action of the city, region, province, educational institutions and industry. The very significant increases in the selling prices of housing has made a difference as well; a recent report had the increase at the 9.2% year over year level.

More people who live in Burlington, work in Burlington and targets for employment lands have been met (15,000 new knowledge-based jobs by 2025) through the creation of an employment lands vision to unite the community, developers and industry.

wer

An empty lot on the North Service Road at Walkers Line was to be the home of a new IKEA – that didn’t work out but a six storey office building got built a couple of hundred yards away.

The development community has been banging away at council to let quite a bit of the land set aside for employment be converted and used instead for housing – which is a lot more profitable.

The draft report claims that employment lands are connected to the community and region and include transportation links and options that are easy to access and contribute to a sustainable and walk able community. That statement is more than a bit of a stretch. A report earlier this week in the Spectator said that those who attended the Pan Am games didn’t make much use of public transit – and there is nothing wrong with the GO service.

Burlington hasn’t taken to the idea of public transit yet. When a significant number of seniors find that they can’t drive or find the traffic too congested to drive – they will make their concerns known to council and then watch how quickly city council comes onside and starts spending the gas tax rebates on transit – which is what they were intended for.

Small businesses contributes to  the creation of complete neighbourhoods. Commerce aligns with land-use planning goals so that residents are close to goods and services.

Innovative, entrepreneurial businesses have settled or developed in Burlington. The city has helped create the technological support, business supports, infrastructure and educational environment to attract start-ups and growing businesses.

The people who write these reports keep saying things that are just not true – they seem to feel that if they say something often enough it will become true.

Elizabeth Interiors from Brant

This just isn’t a vibrant downtown – the site has been sold with yet another condominium being planned for the site – right opposite city hall.

Two statements that need to be dealt with honestly – Burlington’s downtown is vibrant and thriving with greater intensification. The downtown isn’t vibrant – hasn’t been vibrant for a long, long time. Better minds than mine may know how to make it vibrant – but we aren’t there yet.

Much of the rural property is in the hands of speculators who limit what can be done with the land. There are farmers north of Dundas that would like to grow different crops but the owners of the property limit what they can grow. The City of Burlington’s rural areas will be economically and socially vibrant, producing commodities and providing unique recreational activities for the city.

How will Burlington make the growth wanted actually happen?

These are some examples of actions and measures of success:

Create an employment lands vision that drives investment and growth in the Prosperity Corridors.

Masony Road ADI rendering TH + Pahse 2Getting the people who own the land to work with the city and develop with long term viability is the first step – some of the plans on the table for the land around the Aldershot GO station leave a lot to be desired.

Develop and put in place a redevelopment and intensification strategy for the Prosperity Corridors

Build one economic development brand for the City of Burlington that reflects the city’s economic development vision

Develop a holistic strategy for Burlington’s rural area. This strategy will consider economic, social and environmental factors in support of the rural community, agricultural industry, natural heritage and water resources

Develop a post-secondary attraction strategy.

Something along these lines was planned for Burlington's downtown core - but McMaster stifed the city when a nicer deal came along.

Something along these lines was planned for Burlington’s downtown core – but McMaster stifed the city when a nicer deal came along.

There was a time when the DeGroote campus now on the South Service Road was going to be downtown on land that is currently the Elizabeth Street parking lot. That on got away on us. There has been some rumbling about perhaps getting some of the Mohawk College courses delivered in Burlington. Mohawk president Ron McKerlie  says that isn’t going to happen. The one post-secondary institution we did have pulled up their stakes and moved on.

Molinaro paradigm projectDevelop a business-friendly environment that attracts investment. The real issues is to find investors who look for long term returns and not the getting in and getting out to turn the fast buck.  There is a project in the west end that the developer wants to get approved that doesn’t include very much, if anything in the way of amenities.  There are developers building forms of housing that are not built that often.  And at the same time there are developers prepared to work with city hall and the ward Councillors and not grab every last square foot of density available.  There is a developer currently building what will amount to a new community that will house more than 2000 people.

Create and invest in a system that supports the start-up and growth of businesses and entrepreneurship.   There are a lo of people who would love to know what such a system would look like.  The role of government is to create the conditions needed for economic growth and then stay out of the way and let business people do what they do best.  Keep the taxes low – provide services that people need fix the pot holes and keep the snow off the roads and sidewalks.

Progress indicators:
How will we know we are getting to where we want to get to?

• Median household income will rise
• Labour force by industry will tell us ho we are doing
• Industry location targets will be clearly identified
• Income distribution will be known to track inequity
• Percentage of families with low income will be lower
• Rural economic health indicator will exist
• Number of hectares of farmland under active cultivation
• Year-over-year employment land absorption
• Jobs per hectare in the urban boundary
• Percentage of the community that does not work in Burlington
• City’s gross domestic product
• Employment and unemployment rates.

There is a bit of a problem with this list of data – the city does not have a demographer on staff and without one it will be very difficult to report on any of the above.  There was no mention made of hiring a demographer during the strategic plan discussions.

Intensification:

Growth is being achieved in mixed-use nodes and corridors, including mobility hubs and urban centres.

Mobility hubs

The city defined four possible “mobility hubs” They appear to have settled on the Aldershot location.

Mobility hubs are developed near each GO Station and in the downtown.

Aging plazas are being redeveloped and transformed into mixed-use neighbourhood hubs.

New/transitioning neighbourhoods are being designed to promote easy access to amenities, services and employment areas with more opportunities for walking, cycling and using public transit.

Older neighbourhoods are important to the character of Burlington and intensification will be carefully managed to respect this character.

Energy-efficient buildings and other onsite sustainable features are the norm, thereby improving Burlington’s environmental footprint. Existing buildings are being renovated to improve efficiency.

Intensification is planned so that growth is financially sustainable and supported by appropriate funding and service delivery.

Burlington has an urban core that has higher densities, green space and amenities, is culturally active and is home to a mix of residents and businesses.

Architecture, sustainable buildings and urban design excellence are being achieved through a commitment to creating public spaces where people can live, work or gather.

The city will create and implement an awards program to recognize and celebrate excellence in architecture, urban design and sustainability in all developments.

Aldershot 2

Waterdown Road was recently widened from Hwy 403 to Plains Road. As part of an intensification exercise the planners prepared visualizations of what that Road could look like if there were some commercial development. This is what they thought possible.

Aldershot 1

This is what Waterdown Road north of Plains Road looks like today.

How will Burlington make this happen?
These are some examples of actions and measures of success:

Strategic Initiatives:
The city will focus intensification to mixed-use nodes and employment corridors by updating intensification targets and co-ordinating infrastructure to achieve growth objectives. The city will incorporate revised intensification targets into its Official Plan. The city will demonstrate its commitment to growth management by preparing an intensification plan to manage projected growth and its related impacts. This will be complete in two years but will not limit prioritizing/directing intensification in the shorter term.

Through policy, the city will influence the redevelopment of aging plazas and transform them into mixed-use neighbourhood hubs.

The city will work with Halton Region and other partners to develop a servicing plan for intensification areas.

The city will conduct and implement an intensification plan that will include a specific focus on the Urban Growth Centre, and will develop a strategy for the downtown core that will promote residential and appropriate niche/boutique office development

The city will develop energy and sustainable site feature guidelines to require new/ renewed buildings to promote energy-efficient technologies.

The city will complete a city-wide fiscal impact analysis of all forms of development

The city will put in place the recommendations of Core Commitment in the downtown and extend, where possible, recommendations to other urban centres.

The city will create an independent capacity study to understand and comment on real estate economics and trends.

The city will create a design review panel and put in place an awards program to achieve excellence in architecture, urban design and sustainability.

Progress Indicators:

Percentage of aging commercial plazas that have redeveloped

Percentage of mobility hubs that are developed

Intensification (Jobs/people per hectare) for mobility hubs, urban centres, urban corridors, commercial plazas and urban employment areas.

Smart Population Growth:
Burlington is an inclusive city that has a higher proportion of youth, newcomers and young families and offers a price range and mix of housing choices.
Seniors are supported by a strategy that promotes health, recreation, transportation and aging in place.

How will Burlington make this happen?
These are some examples of actions and measures of success:

Strategic Initiatives:

urban corridor scenario 1

Fairview was seen as a street with people walking and lanes for cyclists. That’s not what it is today.

Future development will be higher density, walkable, accessible and transit- oriented. The city will become a leader in walkability scores in the province, and will be fully aligned with provincial strategy and goals.

The city will prioritize one mobility hub, and will work with partners to ensure resources are available to allow the development to proceed in a timely way. The prioritized hub will be included in the Official Plan and Transportation Master Plan. Stakeholders will be consulted to help gain consensus.

Within two years, the city will develop a strategy in co-operation with other levels of government to support young families:

Housing supply will allow young families and newcomers to locate in Burlington
Infrastructure will support the economic, social and community goals of youth, young families and newcomers.

Within four years, the city will develop an economic migrant outreach and liaison office to attract investor/entrepreneur class immigrants, while remaining a destination of choice for all immigrants, including refugees.

An Age Friendly strategy for seniors will be developed within three years to ensure sufficient seniors’ programming space is provided throughout the city.

The city will improve its ability to monitor, track and understand Burlington’s demographic growth trends and profile.

If you give them enough rope – they eventually hang themselves – what’s with all the “within” dates?  Do your best and try not to set yourselves up for failure by attaching a specific date to something you may have little control over.

Progress Indicators:
Walkability score applied to intensification and population growth
Population by demographics
Median age
Immigration numbers and percentages
Household size
Median housing price
Mix of available housing types.

More data is always nice – the capacity to make decisions is what taxpayers both  look for and expect.

The remaining three Strategic Directions will be detailed in a follow up article.

There are three more public information sessions on the draft Strategic Plan; January 13 and January 18th.

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What was the first reader comment for 2016 about? The Beachway park and the houses that have to be torn down before very much can be done.

News 100 blueBy Staff

January 1, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It wasn’t the kind of comment from a reader that we really wanted to see as the first to come in – but the news takes its own form.

A Beachway resident who swears she will be one of the last to leave the community “probably kicking and screaming” as well wonders if “using millions of tax payers’ dollars to create a park just another smoke and mirrors project.”

There are about a dozen that are the true believers, people that have no desire to sell or to move; others are angling for the best price they can get while one has residences that are short term rental properties – seen as a great place to do business.

Henshell house BeachwayAt this point the reality is that a splendid park is going to be created in what once a very vibrant community was seen by some as the kind of place “nice girls didn’t hang around – you can guess which city Councillor that remark came from.

The Region’s planners are designing the park with significant input from the city and the consultant brought in to do the work.

Beachway - federal pier

Western end of the |Beachway community will undergo significant changes when the park is built – but there are a lot of houses that have to be torn down before anything happens.

The homes that have been purchased will at some point be demolished. Keenan G. Lane, Manager, Realty Services for the Region advises that “remediation of the property is already underway. We have a number of houses being demolished both in the beach and within other project areas and these works are let as part of large contracts to obtain the best pricing. Actual demolition of the structures on site here should commence in early December and should be short work given the form of construction.”

The crunch for those who want to hold out to the bitter end will come when the Region is ready to actually begin construction of the park – which probably won’t be until construction of the Joseph Brant Hospital re-build/redevelopment is completed – that is targeted for 2018 – which happens to be the year that municipal elections take place.

The decisions made by one Council are not necessarily decisions that are kept by the next council – unless of course they all get re-elected in 2018.

Imagine that?

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What happened the last three months of last year? Some pretty good stuff actually - and one more small pier story.

News 100 blueBy Staff

December 31, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

The last quarter of the year – what mattered most?

There was some movement, finally, on the Strategic Plan; the school board finds itself taking a very hard look at the level French will be taught; intensification is getting good discussion. Many think we have already reached the intensification level the province will expect us to grow to  in terms of population increase the subject got a lot of public discussion.

Showtime AGB - poor lighting

Walt Rickli’s sculpture – Showtime at the AGB.

Rickli sculpture unveiled at the Art Gallery – donated by Dan Lawrie.

Active transportation: Never heard of it ? You will – a Burlington school board has some ideas she wants to see become policy.

Bylaw prohibits feeding of wild animals – including coyotes – does not go into effect for one year. City wants to educate people particularly around Fairchild Park.

Summer school enrollment increases in public secondary schools – grew by 15%

Tom Muir wants to know why the city missed a 180 day deadline on a major project opposed by almost everyone.

Geraldos at LaSalle Park and Spencers on the Waterfront asking for lease renewals – one of them wants to lock in parking spaces for 15 years.

Parking to get a serious review: what do we have – what do we need? Consultants being hired.

Mary Lou Tanner

Mary Lou Tanner – city’s new Director o Planning.

City snags a planner from the Niagara Region: Mary Lou Tanner to head up Planning for the city.

Council finds the city manager’s Work Plan a little on the ambitious side and lacking prioritization.

The province wants to put more money into off road bike paths where would Burlingtonians like to see those paths built?

Public meeting to learn what the board thinks it should do with the French and English programs at the elementary levels.

Planning department creates drawings to show what parts of the city could look like with intensification in specific locations.

Public hears what the HDSB thinks could be done to manage the trend to increased interest in French immersion.

Grade 9 math test scores for Burlington public high schools release: Robinson and Pearson don’t rank all that well. Why?

First glimpse of the draft Strategic Plan for the balance of this term of office – some rash deliverable dates were put on the table.

Burlington is now represented by three women in Ottawa: Gould, Damoff and Raitt

Public school board posts policy documents on its web site – not that easy to find – Gazette provides instructions.

Henrys pier #1

A smaller pier.

The pier – a footnote.

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Roseland residents wonder where the Dennison OMB decision is - been sometime since the hearing took place.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

December 29, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

There are people over in Roseland who, in the dark of night, click on their computer mouse looking or the Ontario Municipal Board web site.

Maybe there will be as decision today? They don’t see a decision, wait all day before they try again. Then they hear that the decision is coming tomorrow. Some say maybe the OMB will clear files before year end, the never ending promise of delivery.

Council went into a closes session recently to hear from their lawyer and to get a update on the cost for their many legal issues. Councillor Dennison had a conflict of interest – his appeal of a Committee of Adjustment decision is among the legal costs the city is dealing with.

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

Ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison.

One wag asked: Did the Mayor actually make him leave the room? Dennison didn’t wait to be asked – he left on his own.

Was there new information about his hearing? The public will never know – but the good people of ward 4 did re-elect Jack Dennison.

There are those who maintain that a developable lot in Roseland comes in at about $1 million now- a lot of money can be made for someone who understands the system. Dennison has consistently argued that he has the same rights as any citizen property owner to apply, talk to staff, and citizen committees about his personal property.

But, as one citizen points out “citizens don’t make the laws, hire the staff, and appoint the Committees” members of Council do this.

A designated home, bought under a power of sale on a HOW WIDE LOT which the owner. Councillor Jack Dennison wants to have severed into two lots.

Bought under a power of sale, the owner sought a heritage designation and later sought a severance to create two lots. Committee of adjustment turned down the request – the property owner, a member of city council, appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board.

The world is getting ready to move into 2016 – the year that municipal conflicts of interest can be dealt with by the Provincial Ombudsman, and since Burlington’s city council does not have a Code of Conduct, the Ombudsman may be the place to take a complaint.

Another wrinkle – if, by chance, the OMB decides the Dennison appeal application is to be granted then are the two lots not to have the Heritage designation Dennison is so proud of?

This story is far from over.

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In six years time there will be a community of 2000 people settled into the Paradigm project on Fairview in between the GO station and Walmart.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

December 28, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

Roger Park stands on the observation platform at the back of the construction office that is in behind the sales office of the Paradigm project on Fairview Street east of the Walmart, south of the GO Station, watching a crew complete the concrete pour of the second level of the garage.

Paradigm - Roger Park at the site level 2 being poured

Roger Park is one of those rough, tough guys that people don’t mess around with. Described as having a bark that is worse than his bite – you don’t want to test that statement. He is the man managing the building of the five structure Paradigm site on Fairview that can’t be seen yet but is rising floor by floor.

Roger tends not to look at people when he is talking – his eyes are constantly moving over the site where different crews of men and doing different tasks. The weather has been exceptional and work is slightly ahead, which suits Roger, because construction projects tend to fall behind.

He is overseeing the construction of tower A – it will rise to 22 storeys. The first of five towers that will be built by the Molinaro Group on the 1.75 hectare site they acquired.

DSC05191

Tower A under construction with the second level of parking being poured. GO station crossing from the North parking lot to the tracks is shown. Tower A is expected to be completed in 2017

The scale of the project was determined by a 2008 Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) ruling and permits a mix of retail/commercial and multi-storey residential uses.

The OMB decision sets out specific requirements and development rights for the property, such as height, access, road improvements, public safety and noise mitigation measures, among other things.

The public involvement in the project was unique for Burlington; the Molinaro’s decided to involve the public. They decided to work with the community and listen to what the public thought. It was a novel approach for a Burlington developer and involved the ward Councillor who believed this was the best way to build community.

The Molinaro’s presented their plans to local residents first, ironing out any issues before submitting their plans to the City.

Molinaro-Site-Plan-Fairview

Layout of the five structure site on Fairview just south of the GO station – Tower A in the upper left corner is now under construction. The complete project is expected to take six years to complete.

“The workshops were great,” Sam Di Santo, General Manager and Vice-President of the Molinaro Group, said. “We were skeptical at first, because you never know what the outcome is going to be, but we informed the public, we gave the ability to give feedback and went through every single point and made a list of changes.”

The process has been phenomenal and it is exactly what we want to see going forward,” added city Councillor Marianne Meed Ward.

The Gazette intends to follow the development of the project that will create 929 units in the five buildings.

The Paradigm is going to change significantly a part of the city that was an empty field with places that had traffic going in and out all the time. No one lives at the GO station or Walmart.

The Paradigm will be home to more than 2000 people when it is completed – that is more than a neighbourhood in itself. That many people will want services closer to them which bodes well for the Brant/Fairview intersection.

All this however is sometime into the future – right now Roger Park wants to get the concrete slabs poured one by one.

He has been doing construction work for the Molinaro family for more than 30 years. His son is now part of the team that puts up the buildings that have made a big difference to the look of Lakeshore Road where they built most of the condominiums.

paradigm-image-2

Architects rendering of the Paradigm project as it will be seen from Fairview.

Tower A is scheduled to be completed in 2017 with the complete project expected to take six years. The three towers at the back of the property will be completed first – the front two towers will then be added.

Real estate market forecasters do their research and project as much as they can – but it is individuals who make buying choices. The proximity of the GO station and the long term plan to make the GO station the centre of a mobility hub with the hope that land along Fairview will shift from current usage – automotive and gardening at this point, to something that is more in tune with the changes the added population will bring about.

Home for Roger is in Sarnia. “The Molinaro’s are very good to me – I can stay wherever I want when I stay over” he says.

“They give me the plans and I put the buildings up – they don’t micro- manage me – they know that I deliver and if there is going to be a problem they hear it from me first.”

pool

Amenities galore suggesting a life style for the younger set.

At some point down the road Roger will get to the building of the party room, the party terrace, the Porte Cochere, the indoor pool and Spa, the Theatre Room, Sky Lounge, Activity Terrace and Guest Suites along with the Indoor Basketball Court for Tower A

For now he has one eye watching the skyline for changes in the weather and the other scanning the work site to make sure everything is going the way it was intended to go.

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Burlington skyline to see more construction cranes on the 2016 horizon.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 22, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

As 2015 comes to a close the look of the city during 2016 begins to become visible.

There are construction cranes are in the air where Lakeshore dips south at the Brant Museum and runs along the edge of the lake as the new hospital rises floor by floor.

Brant hospital - part of 4th floor

The Joseph Brant Hospital redevelopment is well underway – scheduled to open in 2018

Early in January Jeff Paikin, the president of the company that is going to build the three structure Bridgewater project, will take part in a ground breaking event that will signal the start of a project that will change the look and feel of the city’s downtown.

Bridgewater from the west - higher elevation

The Bridgewater development that is scheduled to break ground early in the New Year will change the look and the feel of the waterfront forever. It was defined as a “legacy” project when it was approved in 1995.

The Molinaro’s have their cranes up as they begin the development of the five structure Paradigm project.

The Bentley is getting close to the point where it too will break ground at the Caroline and John intersection.

The ADI Group has plans for what started out as a 28 story structure on a small lot. The city of Burlington managed to mangle the file – they couldn’t make a decision within the 180 days the Planning Act gives the city to approve or not approve a development application.

ADI site with new sign Dec 21-15

The ADI Group is seeking Ontario Municipal Board approval to put up a 26 story structure on thus piece of property. The design of the proposed structure is on the sign.

That file is a major mess – with not much credit going to the city – ADI took advantage of the right they had to take their development to the Ontario Municipal Board after the 180 day time frame.

The project has since been downgraded to 26 storeys – the OMB hearing is due to take place in March.

Not sure if we will ever see cranes and construction crews on this site. While not approved ADI is nevertheless selling units – a piece of property is not being sold – the right to purchase a piece of property at a given price is being sold – a common practice in the development business. What bothers many people is that the development is subject to a hearings at which the city intends to vigorously oppose the application

Some are convinced that the project will get OMB approval – others in the real estate industry will tell you that it will not get approved. The zoning on the site allows four storeys with a possible eight storeys which is a heck of a leap to a 26 storey application.

The Bridgewater project is going to soar to 22 storeys – the lawyers and the Planners will argue that one out. The project first got serious mention in 1985 and was approved by city council in 1995.

Councillor Lancaster made mention of the 26 projects in ward 6; there are a number of developments taking place in ward 1 where the ADI people are proposing a two stage project that will create a whole new community that has been named Station West.

Lakeside-Village-visioning-meeting-Nov-24-15-1024x463

The city got it right with this meeting – they held a community meeting and asked the residents what they wanted to see on the Lakeside Village Plaza site that today is a pretty run-down piece of property.

The really run down plaza on Lakeshore close to NAME might get new life if the views of the 300 residents who met to tell city planners what they wanted to see, in what has been named Lakeside Villa Plaza, match with what the developer and his architect have in mind.

Some developers have learned to meet with a community and hear what they would like to see – and if what the community wants is viable the developer will go forward with a plan knowing that the community is on side.

Lakeside-with-trees

The yellow portion of this graphic is the plaza property – and yes those round green circles are there to represent trees – imagine a shopping plaza with trees.

Ken Greenberg, who was one of the speakers Mayor Goldring brought to the city in his first term, told an audience that the smarter developers have learned to work with a community and develop projects that meet the needs of the community. Add community input to intelligent architecture and an appreciation for the environment and a city planning department that will see itself as part of a collaborative team and you get developments that add to a city and are not seen as mistakes.

Watching and reporting on the public reaction to major changes that are about to take place in the city is something the Gazette looks forward to doing. The upcoming OMB hearing on the ADI development will be interesting to watch as well.

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Regional government buys another home in the Beachway for $405,000 - they have scooped up six so far

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 15th, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

It is a little like bowling pins – this great big ball comes rolling down on the pins that are standing there unable to get out of the way. Every time the ball comes rolling – some of the pins take a whack and disappear.

Another pin took a hit – the pin was one of the houses on Willow Street in the Beachway.

Beachway - Willow Street residences

The house in the centre was sold to the |Region for a reported $405,000 with the owner becoming a rent free tenant for two years.

Another house was reportedly purchased by the Regional government which basically puts an end to housing on that street.

The house is reported to have been sold for $405,000 with the owner having the right to remain in the building for two years rent free.

Beachway 1011 sold for $600k

This house was sold to the Region for a price in the $600,000 plus range.

This latest sale brings the total to six out of the 28 homes that are in the community.

While the Regional real estate people pick off the homes one by one people in the Regional Planning department toil away at completing the design of the Beachway Park.

Beachway - Full park

Regional planners are working up a plan that will turn what was once a community that had its own newspaper and was home to hundreds of people. The plan for the park is a splendid piece of planning – but will it meet the longer terms needs of the city – and will it b a safe place?

The park design, at least what the public has seen to date, is splendid. The intention is to purchase the homes in the Beachway, on a willing buyer – willing seller basis – which is a bit of a canard and they do seem to be grinding away.

Quite why some of the homes could not be left in the park making it a safer place when the public gets to use it has never been made clear.

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