Councillor Taylor beats around the Bureaucratic bushes explaining why the draft OP has to be passed ASAP.

News 100 redBy Staff

April 10th, 2018



We are beginning to get a little more detail on why the city chose to hold an additional public meeting on the draft Official plan that a number of people want to see moved back until after the municipal election when they hope they will have a different city council to deal with.

Not through this part of th Escarpment if you don't mind. Citizens want to make sure the province fully understands how iopposed they are to a raod through this part of our city.

Rural lands and how the province is determined they are to be used is the most recent hiccup with getting Burlington’s draft Official Plan adopted and sent along o the Region.

John Taylor, Councillor for ward 3 explains to Jim Young, an ECoB member, that the meeting in Alton last night “really has nothing to do with the Official Plan Review process at either the City or Region of Halton.

“The blame rests solely with the Province of Ontario and their February 9 unilateral decision to gazette their error filled mapping of agriculture lands and natural heritage systems for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and require full municipal compliance. As this was at the end of the city’s OP process this required us to delay our process for an additional public consultation.

(When Taylor refers to the gazette he is not referring to the Burlington Gazette but rather to the publication the provinces uses to formally issue its decisions.)

”The way forward is not completely clear at this point and I have requested senior planning staff from the Region and City to meet next week in an attempt to resolve this mapping issue and how to make our new OP fully compliant with provincial legislation at the same time as the new regional OP is adopted. I will expect city staff to report back on these issues at the April 24 Planning and Development Committee meeting.”

Young replies saying:

Jim Young

Jim Young delegating before council – reminding them who put them there and what they are expected to do while they are there.

“I was commenting that it seems perfectly acceptable to delay the adoption to clarify one item for council while the many other outstanding concerns for citizens are blithely ignored in the rush get this really unpopular OP through council before an election.

“This OP does not belong to council or staff. It belongs to the people of Burlington whether urban, rural, farming, commuter, working or retired.

“Clarity for Councillors is not the criteria by which it should be judged, delayed or implemented.

“Clarity for the people of Burlington should be the only criteria and the fiasco at Haber on the mapping issue is simply one more indication that people are not clear on how this OP affects them and when they become aware of some of its impact they do not like what they hear.

“Again I ask, Why the Rush? Why not Clarity for All?

Tanner and Taylor at June 21-17 workshop

Councillor John Taylor on the left n conversation with then Director of Planning Mary Lou Tanner on the far right

Taylor’s rationale for moving forward with all possible haste is set out in this statement: “As for intensification it is in the best interest of Burlington as a whole to adopt the official plan now in order to put forward a new defendable reference point on this issue. To continue to rely on a way out of date OP is irresponsible and will only invite further land speculation.”

Having been a member of a city council that has dithered away with the writing of a new official plan for years, during which time the developers were quietly assembling properties, it is a little disingenuous of Taylor to claim that the barn door has to be shut when we can see all the horses in the fields.

The Planning department is now flooded with development applications. The developers have got this figured out. They are doing what any good business does – look for a good business opportunity and make the best of that opportunity.

Citizens were expecting their council to protect them.

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8 comments to Councillor Taylor beats around the Bureaucratic bushes explaining why the draft OP has to be passed ASAP.

  • Tom Muir

    Watch out for the Catch 22 that Taylor refuses to see.

    This Council and planners and planner managers have made a crock of the OP process, either with incompetence, or deliberate and deceitful intent.

    Despite what they say, approving the proposed OP as now written will not make any difference, and the writing is on the wall as to the momentum and direction we are heading, whatever they say.

    The existing OP is what is being argued, and the planners have handed the arguments, OMB precedents, and their own precedents, of which there are several ongoing, to developers.

    Whatever form of appeal venue,OMB or Tribunal, is used as a lever against us, the City, the proposed OP has been set up by our planners and Council as a place to start to go up to more, as we already see.

    To Cathy, take heart that John is still around for a while, and you can certainly make your needs known to his successor, who will, or should be, eager to serve you.

  • Cathy

    Stu, to give you a fuller picture , and since you asked, the issues I was referring to are not leaf removal, coyotes or speed bumps as you suggest. I wish I had time for such high class worries. By “us” I meant my family. We have a seriously disabled daughter and over the years Mr Taylor’s office has been a great help and resource from everything from bussing , schooling , accessing health suppports etc. If John and Sheri can’t help or don’t know the answers they find out who can help. So perhaps my priorities are different. We just try to survive everyday. Taylor’s office has impacted the quality of our lives on a daily basis. Just trying to explain why he and Sheri have loyalty. By the way Sheri if you are reading this— if John retires why don’t you run?

  • Stu Parr

    There are a few things in this piece and the submitted comments that deserve attention. First, as a resident of Ward 3, I appreciate John’s years of service and his attention to the community but it’s time to move on. For the past two elections John has said, informally if not formally, that “this will be my last”. It’s time that he was true to his word and stepped down to a well-deserved retirement. Second, his has been a fairly easy ride for a Councillor, if there is any such thing as an easy ride for that position. Cathy, I’m sorry that you see “a lot more issues for us” than the proposed new OP and the over-intensification of our downtown core but, for Ward 3, what are they – speed humps, coyotes, leaf removal?? John’s rationale for approving the new OP now rather than deferring and using the time to develop the missing pieces and ensure that the public is truly engaged and consulted, is faulty. William is quite correct – the City lost to ADI at the OMB not because it had an outdated plan but because it provided no justification for it’s suggested height whereas ADI did. Indeed, the City did not even address ADI’s revised proposal but depended on its initial arguments. It was a lazy, undisciplined effort that gave the OMB no choice but to find in ADI’s favour. In my view, the file was completely mishandled. More to the point, however, the proposed new OP provides no justification for the suggested precinct heights and thus can be challenged in every instance. It has significant missing pieces and is “data light”. It is more a ‘vision statement’ than a plan. We need to take the time to get it right.

    Finally, there are four decisions that John has made or supported over his last two terms that, for me, are fundamentally wrong:
    – the sale of the City’s Water Street property to private homeowners rather than using it to extend the Waterfront Trail,
    – support of the permanent wave break for the LaSalle Marina,
    – approval of the proposed development at 421 Brant Street, and
    – support of “rushed” approval of the proposed new Official Plan.
    In each case, I would argue that the people of Burlington have been or stand to be significantly disadvantaged. I respect John’s years of service and his commitment but all things must end sometime.

  • Cathy

    Also be careful what you wish for in waiting until after the elections, if the conservatives get in provincially developers may have an even stronger hold. I doubt Mr Ford will indulge our nostalgic need to keep Burlington’s WASPy and small town feel.

  • Cathy

    John Taylor also has a lot of loyal constituents. His assistant Sheri is always so helpful and has always come through for us on a number of issues. We can count on them. I don’t really care if buildings have 12 or 17 stories. Don’t assume he will be voted out! There are a lot more issues for us.

  • Penny

    After spending almost 4 hours at the Planning & Development Committee this evening it was quite obvious that public engagement in this city is nothing more than lip service.

    What I found most interesting in this entire process was the fact that in the delegation on behalf of Carriage Gate’s Community Benefits for the increased height and density for 421 Brant, “it was stated that Section 37-Community Benefits were not open to delegation by the public. This was an administration matter that the developer along with staff with some ward counsellor input agreed upon and was not open to public discussion, or change. ”

    I found this shocking, and I have to wonder just how much of what the Ward Councillor suggested was actually taken into account.

    Not all municipalities have Community Benefits as part of their Official Plan. Tonight was a perfect example of why Burlington should not allow for Community Benefits. Community Benefits would not be necessary if Burlington simply followed their Official Plan.

    What is being accepted for this increased intensity is a travesty.

  • Hans

    Exactly – Taylor, along with a few other career politicians, sat on councils that helped to create this mess. He needs to step aside so that new people can try to fix this mess he will be (hopefully) leaving after the next election.
    The OP approval process must be delayed, since there may be a new provincial government after the June election and that government may rewrite the rules again – they might even revive the OMB.

  • William

    We’re fed up with Taylor. His drive to expediency with his shallow rationale reveals how poorly served we are. The city lost at the OMB to Adi because a middle level planner offered up increased heights without providing any rationale. The developer jumped on her testimony.

    No Taylor, the problem isn’t the plan is out of date. The problem is the city no longer defends its plan – because it wants to foist on us its grow bold agenda.

    We’re also tired of his frequent puerile explosions in council chambers.