City council decides it can live with a 23 storey tower in the downtown core opposite city hall.

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 3rd, 2017



Well … at least it wasn’t one of those dreaded 4-3 votes that our city council strives to avoid – it was 5-2 to approve the construction of a 23 story tower that will rise at the corner of Brant and James Street opposite city hall.

421 Brant

When completed it will be the tallest building in the city.

The developer had asked for 27 storeys – Planning department came back with 23 and that is where they settled.

“The future is tall buildings” said ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven who added the “citizens need to get over there concerns.”

Councillor Blair Lancaster was very impressed with the staff work – she saw all kinds of best practices. Councillor Dennison liked it – no surprise there.

Councillor Taylor said he will not support waterfront buildings but did support this one because it was not on the waterfront.

Sharman: in favour of project.

Meed Ward H&S profile

Councillor Meed Ward wanted the height limited to 17 storeys – other than the Mayor no one agreed with her.

Meed Ward was not in favour of the development. She said residents want Brant protected from tall buildings. “We must adhere to our official plan and mobility study. There is a disconnect here between staff and the public. It should be a maximum 12 stories.”

Taylor: no tall buildings on the waterfront. Will not support waterfront build but do support this one as it’s not on the waterfront.

The Mayor said the draft mobility hub plan and official plan (albeit old) should be considered and that he thought 17 stories is best. The Mayor said the city needed to protect Brant south of Caroline.

Sharman: in favour of project.

This city council has decided that they can live with what was proposed. Quite what the difference is between a 23 story structure and a 27 storey structure other than the 4 storeys escapes this writer.

The developer now needs to continue the negotiations with the city on the site plan and what there might be in the way of benefits to the city for the additional height and density.

Require the developer to put up a building that would make everyone proud.

Goldring - Christmas picture

The Mayor thought 17 floors was better and decided to vote against the staff recommendation of 23 storeys.

One observer at the meeting pointed out that the Mayor managed to wait until it was clear which direction the vote was going in and then managed to vote against the development after it was a fait accompli. “So much for his support” said the observer who added that “Marianne Meed Ward is alone on this council with regard to the tall building fight! It seems the other Councillors don’t care if it’s not in their ward.”

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16 comments to City council decides it can live with a 23 storey tower in the downtown core opposite city hall.

  • Brad

    My point is, if people don’t like what the City is doing, MOVE OUT, it’s a no brainer. I thinks it’s great for Burlington. Job well done. It’s the future.

    • Stu Parr

      Unfortunately, this is a fairly common refrain from those who uncritically support the ‘tall building’ movement – anytime, anyplace, at any cost. If you don’t like it, “move out” (sorry I think ALL CAPS is “comment shouting” and rude). “My point” is that true progress is only made when all viewpoints are embraced and respectfully considered. Short-form, dismissive remarks, such as yours, do not advance the dialogue and are not helpful.

  • Sharon

    Just think of all the families that will be moving into a 23 story building that will have children that will be able to WALK to Central. Awesome!!

    • Phillip

      I was able to grow up backing onto Red Hill Creek in East Hamilton–back when it was full of wildlife. Nature was my playground. I weep for kids growing up in a concrete jungle!

    • Tom Muir


      Either you are joking, or conjuring up awesome holographic fiction.

      The Board of Education just told us, in their decision to close two schools (almost including Central), that developments such as these do not yield many if any children. So where are you getting your reasons for saying the opposite?

      Anyways, these condos will be configured and sold on a first come first served basis, reflecting the demand for sizes, and at $500 to $600 a square foot, plus parking, plus fees and taxes, will not be exactly affordable for family needs.

      And I would argue that, if they can afford these prices, families would not likely want to raise their kids on busy Brant St., right across from city hall.

      And now, with the precedent this building sets, we can expect another like it across James on the other corner, and even more builds as the word spreads that there is gold being handed out for the asking at city hall. Are you saying that more traffic, and busier streets, attract families with kids?

      But if what you say comes to pass, I can only say that strange things happen.

  • Stephen White

    Kudos for Marianne Meed-Ward for sticking by her principles and fighting this.

    I love the way Councillors, the Planning Department and developers portray these discussions on urban redevelopment as dichotomies between those who want to see Burlington grow, and those who don’t. Burlington residents are not stupid. They understand the need for redevelopment. My personal opposition to most high rise developments is that most of them look sterile, unattractive and tacky. Many look like a throwback to something one would expect to see in the old Soviet Union. Not only are the designs out of keeping with the character of surrounding neighbourhoods but the buildings do nothing to enhance or promote a sense of community. 12 storeys should be the max downtown, 4 storeys elsewhere. If developers don’t like it let them take a hike!

    Craven once again demonstrates an incredible arrogance befitting someone who has spent far too long on Council and who genuinely believes he is the only smart person in the room. As for the Mayor, his equivocating stance on redevelopment is all over the place which is probably befitting someone who stands for nothing, represents nothing, and has no courage of his convictions.


    “The future is tall buildings” said ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven who added the “citizens need to get over there concerns.”…………..When did Trump move to Burlington?? Citizens aren’t smart enough. Citizens voted us in and it’s our vision now. Citizens should genuflect in my presence. Citizens should be seen and not heard……..

    Why have a ‘planning department’?? Twelve floors which is now 23 floors. Im sure council will make it look like a win by saying we stopped if from going to 27 floors.

    Mississauga’s Mayor Hazel would have negotiated with the developers (knowing that the OMB will always favour the developers…….wonder why) some sort of settlement/agreement that would benefit the city by having the developers denote capital/land to create open space/parks/bike lanes/etc within the city. This has been said repeatedly but council has never implemented this and now it is too late.

    Very weak city negotiators but good at capitulating.

    Perhaps the child Craven should learn from the grown-up developers.

  • Marilyn A.

    Once again, Marianne Meed-Ward is fighting for the Jewel in the Crown of Burlington and its citizens.

    As for Councillor Rick Craven “the citizens need to get over their concerns.” We thought you were elected to fight for the citizens not the developers who are permanently destroying the heritage and charm of our downtown.

  • Pauline

    This is so exciting! It sure will enhance the civic square and the streetscape. James Ridge gets it and then there are the others … sigh

  • Lynn

    Rick Craven: “The future is tall buildings. Citizens need to get over their concerns.”

    What arrogance!!!! Aldershot, you can do better than this. Vote him out!

  • Stu Parr

    “Councillor Taylor said he will not support waterfront buildings but did support this one because it was not on the waterfront.”

    Still much too close John and, having heard you talk about tall buildings downtown, I’m very surprised and disappointed that you supported it. As a resident of Ward 3, I’ll be keeping this (and sale of the City’s waterfront lands) in mind when October 2018 arrives. Yes, I do expect you to pull “this is my last run” for the third successive time.

  • William

    Three observations:

    1- James Ridge false choice between the quality of building design and height as well as his dismissive response to public objections is a reminder he doesn’t really get Burlington. He believes the planning model he employed in Vancouver should be foisted on Burlington.

    2- Planning and council are willfully blind when they ignore the city’s past experience with Carriage Gate – a developer who appears to have done a bait and switch on the Berkeley project. We need to be skeptical of the developer’s promise that 20% of the units will be family-sized, and that he’ll deliver quality ground-level retail. There is nothing obligating him to do either.

    2- The mayor’s vote against the project feels like an empty gesture. He’s been chief cheerleader of the intensification agenda, without providing an honest portrayal of its shortcomings and where the city needs to set boundaries. On CBC radio, he was misrepresenting residents as wanting to bubble-wrap the city. He supported staff’s tall building guidelines even though staff had only consulted with the developers and not the public. He’s been a “useful idiot” for Burlington’s head planner.

  • Penny

    The Councillors work in silo’s. Each councillor defending their own turf only. This has been going on for years. I remember when I moved to Burlington and contacted a councillor not in my ward to ask about at that time saving the waterfront from tall buildings. His response to me was that it was not his ward so why would he be interested in anything in Ward 2. That says it all.

    It would be nice to see the councillors working together to do what is good for all residents not just those in their wards.

    If the retail space becomes less and less as development takes place, how walkable will the core be. I think the days of the boutique shops in Burlington is coming to an end. Soon the downtown will have no ambiance, just high-rise buildings with inadequate parking for both owners and guests.

  • Judy

    Thank you Marianne for standing up for us. You seem to be the only one who cares for the residents. We need you as mayor!

  • steve

    “The future is tall buildings”

    The future is not Rick Craven.

    • Yvonne

      I totally agree ,residents” will not get over it” Sad day for downtown Burlington indeed . Thanks to the Mayor and Councillor Meed Ward for opposing these monstocities