ECoB claims Council made a mistake; Mayor explains why the decision not to defer approving an Official Plan until after an election was the right decision.

News 100 redBy Staff

January 27th, 2018



In a statement released on Friday ECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington said that: “Once again Burlington City Council has chosen to ignore the voices of the very citizens it is elected to represent.

Public at councileet Jan 23 - 24

Packed Council chamber during a Planning and Building meeting.

Jim Young, an Aldershot resident and one of the ECoB founders said “For a city that boasts its level of engagement with its citizens the irony of this seems to escape them. In rejecting Councillor Meed Ward’s motion to delay a decision on the New Official Plan until after the election, council not only overruled the one Councillor who truly understands engagement, they flagrantly silenced the majority of citizens who since November have sent more delegations, more letters and raised their voices more often than any other time I recall in 36 years in Burlington.

“It is difficult to decide which is worse; the ongoing disrespect by council of Councillor Meed Ward and her advocacy for her constituents, or the growing disrespect for the voices of citizens when raised to suggest improvements to the long term plans which can alter their lives.”

ECoB is developing plans to host an All-Candidate Workshop for potential candidates who want to run for office in the October municipal election.

Jim Young

ECoB member Jim Young

Young points out that “… it is this very refusal to give electors a voice in October that will do most to ensure the New Official Plan becomes an election issue for those Councillors who hoped it might not.

“Citizens may not be aware that a new council will be able to revisit the issue in a new three year session. It is our responsibility to elect a new slate of Councillors who will not only revisit the issue but will do so in an atmosphere of real citizen engagement and respect that has been missing in some of council’s interactions with citizen groups.

“Not only have council ensured that this will be an issue in the October election, they have brought an element of negativity to their positions which may not serve their electoral ambitions well.”

Engaged Citizens of Burlington will work to oppose those who have chosen not to hear our voices in the next election and support potential candidates who, regardless of political affiliation, will help guide our city to a real level of public engagement in the years ahead, and re open to revisiting the Official Plan in the next Council Session (2018 – 2021).

The ECoB position is clear. Mayor Goldring put out a statement on his blog where he explained why he voted against deferring the approval of an Official Plan until after the election.

“There are significant benefits to having a Council approval decision sooner rather than later. This will actually better address the significant public concern and interest for establishing greater certainty in the planning process.


Mayor Rick Goldring

“A new Official Plan means we can move away from a site by site negotiation and instead bring more certainty to the application process. This is what residents have been very clear about.

“Staff confirmed that the City will be in a better position to plan within a clearly defined framework with an updated Official Plan that can be defendable by today’s standards.

“Staff will be able to use the new Official Plan when working with developers even though the Official Plan won’t officially be approved by the Halton Region until sometime likely in 2019.

“Staff will continue to develop a detailed Downtown Area Specific Plan which includes matters such as transportation, parking and servicing.

“I believe that it is not only important for the reasons I have outlined, but a responsibility of this Council to bring as much certainty as possible to our downtown planning. Our current council has the necessary understanding of the development of the Official Plan. It’s important that this Council complete the process.”

Wallace at council meeting

Mike Wallace -sitting in on a Council meeting.

No word yet on where candidate Mike Wallace stands on the question of deferral of the approving of an Official Plan.  Wallace did sit in on council sessions.

Deferring a vote on an Official Plan has to be seen on light of the number of people who will run for office in October.

Nominations cannot be filed until May 1; at this point there are just two people who plan to run for a council seat – both are eyeing the same ward.

Burlington could end up with a Council close to identical to the one in place now.

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8 comments to ECoB claims Council made a mistake; Mayor explains why the decision not to defer approving an Official Plan until after an election was the right decision.

  • Joe Veitch

    I would like to know what the significant benefits of having this council deciding sooner rather than later are. We have not seen any benefits from this council so far.

  • @Downtown Deby

    ‪All evidence to the contrary your worship Mayor Goldring. City Council just approved 23 storeys at Brant + James, currently zoned for 4 to 8 storeys; which is proposed to be zoned for 17 storeys in the new draft official plan. How is this better control?‬

  • William

    The mayor is putting lipstick on a pig. We know it’s a pig. Does he?

    His blog post mentions that he put forward a motion to amend the downtown precinct plan. At the meeting, he said “I sat down with the planning department, who helped me compose this”. When asked a question of his motion, he immediately turned to staff asking them to respond.

    Planning says jump, and the mayor says, how high.

  • Judy (ward 2)

    The high rise buildings have already been started. The city has already decided what heights it wants in each area. The developers that have put in applications will have started their high rises by time the election comes. So how are we to fix this mess the councilors and planning department have created??? So much for Democracy.

  • George

    The citizens of Burlington need to take back control of their city from politicians and bureaucrats. It is apparant we need to replace the mayor and five councillors in October (all but MMW). Also Mr Wallace in my mind is not a good choice for mayor.
    One fellow whom has several excellent articles regarding the Burlington and its politics is Mr. Rory Nisan. He is smart, well spoken and presents himself well in his written and spoken communications.

    Burlingtonians would be wise to elect Mr. Nisan to the city council.

  • Allison

    The Mayor’s statement that until council approves a new OP, the developers’ engagement with the Planning Department is a “site-by-site” discussion speaks volumes. We have an OP right now, and it is supposed to be enforced. And so are the zoning by-laws. But our City (except Marianne Meed Ward) treats it as a free for all. And that’s a big problem.

    Developers may pay fees and generate revenue at the front end. But if their plans are poorly-conceived and don’t fit a well-conceptualized vision for a workable and livable city, they will cost us all far more (economically, environmentally and socially) for years and decades after the developers have pocketed their profits and moved on. It is important to both get it right for the future, and enforce what we have right now.

  • Zaffi

    interesting time to be a Burlingtonian.
    In my own personal and humble opinion turning this into an election issue would have been be risky on a number of fronts.

  • If anyone knows anyone willing to run in Ward 4 or 5 please get in contact through the Burlington Citizens for Responsible Development – Facebook page or you can contact me through .

    We have people lined up to challenge all wards and Mayor only 4 and 5 are needed.

    Thank you!