Civic Square project gets through a lengthy meeting - final preferred concept design released

By Pepper Parr

July 9th, 2024



It was supposed to be a project update on the preferred concept design for Civic Square – it turned out to be an hour and 17 minute dive into the weeds.

Council was not prepared to let staff make all the decisions on this project.

The basics of the preferred concept are now on the table.

The project aims to visualize, design, and implement the renewal of Civic Square, City Hall Entrance, and adjacent streetscapes to contribute to a healthier and more vibrant downtown core.

The final preferred concept design is an evolution of Concept 2 – Atrium with modifications to include some design features from the other two concepts.

Use your cursor to enlarge parts of the graphic.

The preferred concept design includes key features such as a consolidated vestibule entry, focal point canopies with branding at Brant Street / James Street and Elgin Street, continuous canopies along the building facade, transitions to adjacent properties and streets, a variety of seating elements, inclusion of flag poles adjacent to the building entrance, an in-ground water feature with water jets, and waves themed patterning in paved surfaces.

Key features of the preferred concept design are:

  • A consolidated (single) vestibule entry
  • A focal point canopy with branding at Brant Street / James
  • A focal point canopy with branding at Elgin Street
  • Continuous canopies along building façade (where feasible)
  • Size, configuration, and flow of exterior spaces, including ‘3 Rooms’ approach and associated parking lot reduction (50%)
  • Transitions to adjacent properties and streets
  • Variety of seating elements
  • Inclusion of flag poles adjacent to building entrance
  • An in-ground water feature with water jets
  • Maximize landscape opportunities while maintaining flexibility and use of space
  • ‘Waves’ themed patterning in paved

The project is now transitioning into Phase Three of the engagement plan – before that could take place city council made sure that there finger prints were all over the project.

The project schedule includes detailed design, permits and approvals from July 2024 to March 2025, tender period in February – March 2025, and construction period from June 2025 to June 2026.


The budget for the project is approximately $7.6 million, with funding from the Government of Canada, Government of Ontario, and the city.

In 2021 the city received Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) – Community, Culture and Recreation Stream funding for the renewal of Civic Square and Brant Streetscape (from Elgin to Ontario on the west side).

To achieve efficiencies and a cohesive design, the Civic Square renewal project has been combined with two additional capital projects – the Brant Street entrance to City Hall and streetscape improvements on Elgin Street.

The overriding goal of the Civic Square and Brant Street Renewal project is to visualize, design, and implement the renewal of Civic Square, City Hall Entrance, and adjacent streetscapes to contribute to a healthier and more vibrant downtown core.

In May 2024 council approved report ES-10-24, that provided an update on the project and presented and summarized three concept designs.

Staff see engagement as critical to this project and built that into all stages of design development. While including the public is the goal, the one occasion when visuals were available for viewing and consulting staff were on hand to answer questions – less than 40 people took part.

Three concept designs were “Canopies,” “Atrium,” and “Portals.” Through engagement and an analysis of the feedback, a preferred concept design was developed.

Through the City’s Public Art Program, LeuWebb Projects has been selected by a community jury of artists and arts professionals to join the project team. In the first phase of their contract, LeuWebb will collaborate with the project team to design site-specific, integrated public art for Civic Square. In the second phase of their contract, LeuWebb will lead the fabrication and installation of the public art, in consultation with the project team.

To date, the project is meeting all critical milestones.

The implementation and scope of work for this project is clearly defined and is in alignment with ICIP funding requirements and capital budget planning, thus limiting other options.

The preferred concept has been designed to the construction budget.

The Government of Canada is investing $1,984,900. The Government of Ontario is investing $1,653,917. The city has already committed capital funding of $884,744 with an additional $808,750 forecasted in the 2025 Budget.

Capital funding in the amount of approximately $2,365,000, to support changes to City Hall related to this project, was approved in the 2024 Budget.

The project continues to be a major undertaking for the project team. The commitment the city has made to fulfilling the schedule requirements of the project are well supported by the internal project team and the consulting team. Getting this done without city council xxx

The projected completion date is June of 2026.

The next municipal election take place in October of 2026

The six ward Councillors and the Mayor need this project to draw waves of public approval when the ribbon is cut – the election for their third term takes place 60 days later.

There is a part two to this article.  Reading how members of council made sure they had major input on this Capital project. Later in the week.

Related news stories:

The three options.

Redesign of Civic Square Part 1

Redesign of Civic Square Part 2

Redesign of Civic Square Part 3

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8 comments to Civic Square project gets through a lengthy meeting – final preferred concept design released

  • Charlie Schwartz

    As usual the politicians “AGAIN” force their will on the community with a nice to have being turned into a “gotta “ have. People are living in tents, can’t afford food & politicians force crap like this on us. What people who support this blinded by the supposed contributions by the Feds & Province is that its ALL tax payers money, 100% no matter where it comes from & we don’t need it.

    • Anne and Dave Marsden

      Yes Charlie “force” not concerned that they are and have been since 2019 Q1 been non-compliant with legislation without a peep from the Audit Committe who have a DUTY to report such to Council. Look at the new organization chart in the Gazette compliance is right there. We are determined to ensure accountability on this even if it means a Human Rights case.

      A new CAO should mean that will not be necessary as unlike the former CAO he is yet to be part of the non compliance but he cannot claim ignorance for too much longer of the city solicitor and Accessibility co-ordinator clear and consistent almost five years of thumbing their noses at the laws it is there duty to uphold.

      Hoping to get lots of support at Council to stop this now. We have been successful since the early 90s in ensuring compliance in Burlington with Federal, Provincial access laws on every case we tackled except those led by MMW. 2018 Council agreed Civic Sqare barriers would be removed in 2019 as law required and provided budget in their last year of office. This Council cancelled a democratically elected council’s decision to comply with legislation and delayed compliance for 6 years AND despite Bentivegna’s warning increased the cost by 6.6 million. They need ousting now not in 2026, we need to take back our city, now we cannot afford their blatant anti best interest decisions any longer.

  • 7.6 Million! You have got to be kidding me. This is nuts! Time to leave Burlington.

    • Anne and Dave Marsden

      Nuts that every single member of Council thinks they are going o get away with it, and even worse non-compliance issues, ,even Bentivegna who voted against it in 2019 and now supports it.

  • Lynn Kirouac

    Most of this is an unnecessary waste of tax payers dollars at a tough economic time. The Pretty Things do not need to be done this year!

  • Caren

    This entire Civic Square Renovation Project is such a waste of Our Tax Payer dollars!! How much time and money has our “Burlington City Council and Staff” wasted on this project to date? How much money has been spent on Consultants, Architects, Engineers and Artists? Additional Costs?

    Just because our Burlington City Council wants to build a “Shrine” for themselves, doesn’t mean they will be around in October 2026 to enjoy it!!

    Read the Room! Tax payers are Not Happy!
    This Council has already cost Burlington Tax Payers an exorbitant amount of extra money on other frivolous vanity and legacy projects which we didn’t need or want!

    All we really need at Civic Square is to have the ground surface area redone with something smooth that will prevent “tripping” as the existing surface is old.
    Please Stop this project now.

    • Anne and Dave Marsden

      Caren we also need the 2019 planned under surface electrical work, the planned system to allow trees to flourish along with the 2019 planned reinforced surface to take loading and unloading of heavy equipment.IF we want to have this as a usable Civic Square, but not the rest of the bells and whistles rhis council deems ‘they want’. We want lots of things to make life easier for our vulnerable families but we don’t have them nor are we likely to get them with a council that repeatedly spends money on selfishly motivated projects.

  • Anne and Dave Marsden

    “Fingerprints” is right. The fingerprints of a hypocritical council. A council that insists on delegations do not deviate in any way from their rules for such. However. setting aside of compliance with provincial legislation, previous democratically council’s decisions and the continuing falls hazards in terms of Civic Square is an entirely different situation. The significant non-compliance with legislation and risk management issues allowed by Tim Commisso and the City lawyer’s blessing on the will of council, will we believe eventually go down in Municipal administrative history on what CAOs should never allow to happen Sooner or later depends on whether the new CAO does the job we pay him to do.

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