Council decides not to seek a review of Ontario Land Tribunal Ruling on 2069-2079 Lakeshore Rd

By Pepper Parr

December 1st, 2021



It was a hard decision to accept and one that will have an impact on the way the city develops in the months ahead.

The city decision not to seek a review of or appeal from, the Ontario Land Tribunal’s decision of October 27, 2021.

“Council is disappointed and continues to disagree with the Tribunal’s decision, however, Council has determined that the most effective course of action is to focus its time and resources on pushing forward with the approval of the City’s new Official Plan, which is currently under appeal at the Tribunal.

“Once the new Official Plan has been approved, Council expects to be in a stronger position to require that significant growth occur only in the areas of the City that Council has planned for such growth.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward n her city hall office

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward issued a statement saying: “I know this will be very disappointing news to residents who wanted us to challenge this decision. Council deeply considered all options and the best long-term interests of the community in making this difficult decision. I know that all of council will continue to do what we collectively believe is best to protect our community’s interests and vision for the downtown now and for the future. We also know the Minister’s decision and its effect in grandfathering certain applications as not subject to the adjustment of the Urban Growth Centre boundaries downtown has made our task more challenging. But we will continue to advocate that the vision of our staff, council and the community as outlined in our city and regional official plans, and in provincial decisions, be respected by developers and be considered at hearings before the Ontario Lands Tribunal.”

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns added her comments: “I assure community members that the commitment to advocate and advance our downtown planning vision and values remains steadfast. Planning matters that far exceed the planning vision for downtown and especially the waterfront continue to be an incredible concern amongst residents city-wide. We know the community expects Council to take the time to do the additional diligence that examines legal options to lessen impacts of the unfavorable decision delivered by the Ontario Land Tribunal for 29 storeys at Lakeshore Road and Pearl Street. So at this time, the best path forward for our community is focusing on having our new Official Plan in place. We look forward to defending and implementing our new Official Plan, so we can properly manage the growth in our downtown and beyond.”
What is probably needed most is a pause and time to think through what the city is really up against.

The south side of Lakeshore Road may now become a concrete jungle.

The threat to the future of the land known as the football is very real.

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4 comments to Council decides not to seek a review of Ontario Land Tribunal Ruling on 2069-2079 Lakeshore Rd

  • Phil

    It’s clear when you read the full OLT decision that the city had no legal standing to deny the building in the first place. The ideas of form and fit were vague and poorly written in the zoning and the building complied the traffic, shadow and wind requirements laid out for the area. The city did not hire any consultants or commission any studies to dispute these facts and instead relied on staff testimony, which ended up agreeing with the development’s experts that there were no detrimental impacts of a 29 story building versus the cities arbitrarily decided 22 story limit.

    I am convinced that this whole ordeal was a huge waste of time and money by the mayor and council members using a political dog whistle to call support to an easy cause.

    I’d like to know the demographics of citizens against these types of projects, because young adults are struggling to get into any home in Burlington and it seems like the majority of NIMBYs out there are happy to kill any new housing stock anywhere except north of Dundas St.

  • Tom Muir

    Given the situation I think that this decision is the best way forward. Seeking a review of the OLT decision already made in October will take the resources and resolve trying to change the this past away from fighting for decisions that are not yet made. This is not a battle that we should pick at this time. Save our resources and focus for this new drive.

    There are many appeals outstanding, about virtually the entire OP, and these are not argued, justified, decided, or settled. All these many have to be argued and justified at a whole new hearing process in the future. The City is on new ground in this and can focus on a new start, not try to change something already done, and get sucked into a distraction.

    I just want to see a full out effort, that is fully visible, fighting for what we want.

  • Deborah

    So not only have the team of citizens who fought against overdevelopment downtown for so many years, given up trying to stop or curb developers, the CoB and it’s Council has also given up.

    Great. Just great.

    • Tom Muir


      I agree with your sentiment, but giving up in this case is not what really happened.

      The Province, led by Mr. Ford, has created a central planning dictatorship and put OLT in charge of enforcing it. Developers just go through the motions where citizens get a look at their demands and can squeak a very limited little and then go away. If City refuses the application, or fails to make a decision, the developers just go to the OLT.

      Citizens are then cut out. The OLT decides using the Provincial Policy folder that guides the central planning dictatorship from this point. What the City and citizens want doesn’t really matter.

      Their only recourse is to show up en masse to demand Participant Status in the appeal Hearing and make a lot of noise going in. They can’t speak, only write, to the OLT during the Hearing process. Mob planning democracy in Ontario?

      So giving up is not what residents really do because they are really just eliminated, except if they can fund a team as an appeal Party. $$$$$$$

      The City itself is a creature of the Province and subject to their planning laws and policies. They don’t make the final decision on what is allowed anymore because the planning dictatorship at OLT ultimately rules. More democracy?

      As well, Burlington is in a particularly notable position, as the former Director of Planning for the City is in charge of OLT. He left the City with no explanation.

      Talk about a rock and a hard place.

      So I said, pick your battles, and where you choose to stand fast.