First of the community consultations didn't go all that well

By Pepper Parr

June 20th, 2023



Heather Fenton wasn’t impressed.  After a meeting that lasted an hour and a half, Fenton, along with about 12 other people including Dr. Michael Shih, realtor Michael O’Sullican and Downtown Burlington Business Association Executive Director Brian Dean listened to a presentation about an area that was labelled Foot of Brant – Village Square for the purposes of the meeting.

One meeting participant called the map of the area under discussion an exercise in gerrymandering.

City Heritage Planner John O’Reilly was the facilitator.

Fenton saw the plans that were put forward as an attempt to gerrymander that part of the city so that the planners could locate and identify 25% of the properties in the area that would be defined as a Heritage Cultural District.  Burlington wants to create Heritage Cultural Districts which they can do if 25% of the properties in the HCD boundary if they meet two or more criteria in the regulation in order to be designated.

The fear that Fenton, and others have, is that the city is going to designate the properties and leave it to the owners to take the matter to the Ontario Land Tribunal (at the owners expense) and let them battle it out at that level.

Village Square is included as a Heritage site.

Bill 23 the Act under which all this is permitted was passed and effective January 1, 2023; it included an authority to set out processes to amend and repeal HCD bylaws in regulation; however, this regulation has not been developed yet

Those attending the meeting did not appear to have a document they could refer to when they got to the meeting.

The requirement for municipalities to make their municipal registers available on a publicly accessible website will not come into force until July 1, 2023 to provide municipalities with time to ensure compliance.

Elsewhere in the Act there is a section that states:  The ability to issue a Notice of Intention to Designate on a property subject to a prescribed event is limited to only those properties included on a municipal register.

It all appears to be a little messy – a second community consultation is scheduled for tomorrow; Heather Fenton expects to attend.

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2 comments to First of the community consultations didn’t go all that well

  • Jim Thomson

    Well the draft information was just posted on the Get Involved website.
    I find it interesting that the boundaries of the gerrymandered area are recommended to be revised to eliminate all the properties on the West of John St and all the properties below James St with the exception of 451.
    They are effectively recommending removing the gerrymandering.

  • Kathleen Szoke

    This hardly qualifies as gerrymandering; it’s not about electoral districts.

    Editor’s note:
    Gerrymandering is a word that applies to more than politics. We thought the writer was dead on.