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Don Fletcher suggests the new city council ask the Region to send the proposed Official Plan back so that it can be re-written.

100 daysWe asked Burlington residents that we know and have communicated with in our seven years of operation what they think the new city council needs to do in its first 100 days.

They get sworn in on December 3rd.  There are a lot of people unhappy with transit; with the thinking  coming out of the Planning department and worried about 4% tax increases.   People voted for a new path to get the city out of the rut many feel it is in.

By Don Fletcher
November 18th, 2018
BURLINGTON, ON

“What a great initiative!

Asking for engaged citizens’ ideas, prior to the swearing in of our new Council.

While not original, I think the primary objective of the new Council has to be to “fix” our proposed Official Plan.

Official-Plan-Binder_ImageBy “fix”, I mean to retract from the Halton Region’s inbox our current proposal, and in particular, modify and resubmit a downtown plan (with community support) to be a mid-rise (4-8 storey) community, as opposed to the proposed high-rise ( 14- 25 storey) alternative.

Why?

Because:

1) This is what our Mayor-elect Marianne Meed Ward campaigned on. Trust needs to be restored.

2) The urgency of the submission was self-imposed and the Region will understand, given the “sea change” based on this issue at City Hall.

3) It’s what most engaged citizens want, because they felt that they were being ignored with its’ hasty approval. It became an “election issue”, maybe the central one.

4) It will unquestionably be the “elephant in the room” with all other matters. Deal with it upfront!

5) The developers need certainty with what is permissible in making future investments.

6) LPAT, unlike its’ predecessor OMB, treats the Official Plan as an enforceable criterion (I.e. teeth).

7) The Official Plan has longevity, unlike many of us.

Planning staff put together charts and posters to advise, educate and inform the public. An Official Plan review isn't a sexy subject but it deserves more attention than it is getting.

Planning staff put together charts and posters to advise, educate and inform the public.

Okay.   So nothing radically new there!

I would like to add a “how” we could do this..

Relationship is the medium for results and accomplishments.

I learned this as an executive of a $5B successful Canadian public corporation.

We have a largely new Council with a current understanding of what the residents want, and a staff that mistakenly thought they did.

I’m not a big fan of the one employee of Council, City Manager construct, with all of its’ implications.  It feels as though we, the citizens through their representatives, are having our input constricted through a straw.

I recommend that the new Council convene an offsite (3-day) planning session, with all the functional heads in the administration (including the City Manager) at City Hall, to work through the City’s values, objectives and plans. A derivative benefit of such a meeting would be to begin developing those relationships needed to move the City forward and in a positive direction.

I know of a few very capable facilitators who could help.

What should I be paid for this idea?

A seat at the offsite meeting table. After all, I am a management consultant.”

Don Fletcher is a downtown Burlington resident who has been a city council watcher for some time.  Before retirement he was a senior vice president with a public Canadian company in the communications and entertainment field.

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5 comments to Don Fletcher suggests the new city council ask the Region to send the proposed Official Plan back so that it can be re-written.

  • Barry

    Absolutely!
    Rejection of the “official plan” was the main issue of the election, and the voters spoke loud and clear with all councilors except one turfed from office (or chose not to run).

    Our mayor elect ran on a platform of rejecting that plan and won easily. There is no doubt recalling and rewriting the OP is the mandate given this mayor and council. The mayor elect ran on that platform and now needs to deliver.

  • Penny

    With regard to asking the Region to send the proposed Official Plan back so that it can be re-written. I read the following that appeared online. This interview by the Hamilton Spectator asked Marianne Meed Ward 10 questions and this was the response to the Adopted Official Plan.

    The hot potato in this election was rapid highrise development. What are your first steps in addressing this as mayor?

    “The first step is to push the reset button on the downtown plan submitted earlier this year and modify it before the region approves it on December 8. The community has never been against development, and neither have I. They spoke very loudly about that by essentially electing a whole new council. It’s about overdevelopment in general and especially downtown. In many respects the election was a referendum in the plans to put that many highrises downtown. It’s about putting the right development in the right place.”

    December 8th does not give the new council much time to ask to have the proposed Official Plan back so that it can be rewritten.

  • Hans

    I agree.
    Another previous council legacy that needs to be reviewed is the Goldring Strategic Plan, which is weak or poor on a number of points, most notably its duration.
    Obviously 25 years is much too long to be a useful time period for a plan, e.g: in the short term, changes tend to be small; in the medium term there can be changes to important factors, such as election results, economic changes such as interest rates, legislation, etc.; in the long term, technology changes; in the very long term, everything changes. Twenty five years is an excessively long time; a five year plan with annual review would be more useful.
    The best approach would be to scrap the 25 year plan and create a new one with a more sensible McLuhan ratio, using a competent facilitator to lead the process.

  • Lucy

    Right on, Don. The east end Lakeshore Road residents also want the new Official Plan recalled and changed. Our reason is this: It appears that over a period of several years, the Developer through Dana Anderson pushed the city staff/council members over and over again through meetings and delegations to change Lakeside Village Plaza from a secondary growth area to a primary growth area without any consultation with residents during these years. (I found online documents that support this statement, along with city video of meetings that show how Dana pushed and pushed for the Developer that employs her.)

    https://burlingtonpublishing.escribemeetings.com/Meeting?Id=6db7ec92-d24d-4ae5-94eb-7b5f999b874c&Agenda=PostMinutes&lang=English (April 6, 2017)

    All we got was a meeting in Nov. 2015 where we expressed our hopes and fears. Then 3 years later, in July 2018 we got the shocker that a monster development was planned and all our fears ignored. City staff succumbed to the wishes of the Developer’s greed from Dana’s push, push, push and Paul Sharman is all for it!

    https://burlingtonpublishing.escribemeetings.com/Meeting?Id=c8179faa-b556-4215-b246-42137c355001&Agenda=PostMinutes&lang=English#30 (November 30, 2017)

    It will destroy our neighbourhood character. One Councillor at a meeting in April 2017 actually called the site ‘a Golden Egg’ (watch the video). The new official plan changed the definition of Neighbourhood Centre to allow a floor area ratio (2.5:1) equal to the Uptown Corridor. The Developer Proposal requires a series of amendments and even wants the city to ignore the “no amendments for two years from the date of approval” policy. Paul Sharman favours the developer and all the amendments!

    We want the Official Plan to return Lakeside Village Plaza to its former designation where only moderate medium density growth/building would be permitted. Appleby Village (Community Commercial previously) is 6.66 hectares and the plan is for 324 residential Units. Lakeshore Village Plaza is 3.84 hectares and the initial plan was for 900 units, but Paul Sharman is in favour of 720 units–the revised Developer’s plan will likely come back with this number in the community meeting planned for early next year. The city has stated that Lakeshore Road will never be widened. It will become a nightmare traffic scenario endangering children and seniors here and diminish our quality of life. Recall the new Official Plan and make the changes that will stop the over-intensification of our city. We the taxpaying residents across the city deserve to be heard!

    • Stephen White

      Right you are Lucy!

      Following the first Open House in July which unleashed a storm fire of residents’ anger Dana Anderson invited Ward 5 residents to send feedback, and there was talk of a subsequent meeting in August or September to reconsider the planning proposal for Lakeside Village. Well, August and September have come and gone, and still no follow up meeting. When you can’t honour your commitments it doesn’t give you much credibility going forward.

      Let’s hope Ms. Anderson and her client read the tea leaves a whole lot better than incumbent politicians during the last municipal election. The development proposal for Lakeside Village Plaza is an unmitigated disaster on so many levels, and the residents’ feedback is both unmistakeable and unequivocal in its’ opposition. The planned density for this site is patently ridiculous regardless of whether it is 900 or 720 units. The traffic nightmare that will be created is going to create massive gridlock on Lakeshore Road. As for that a vibrant retail experience Ms. Anderson referenced in her remarks back in November 30, 2017 one can pretty much forget that since no one will even be able to see the plaza from the road through the forest of high rise condos.