Gary Parker wants to know if the 421 Brant community benefit package put forward by the planners is a done deal.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 13th, 2018



It is getting harder to communicate with the seven people who were elected in 2014 to serve the interests of the city.

421 Brant

Many citizens didn’t like the idea of a 23 storey tower in the downtown core – many more don’t like the benefits the community is being offered for the additional height given the developer.

Gary Parker gave a strong delegation at city council earlier this week and said to the Gazette later that : “After hearing in the Carriage Gate delegation that the deal was done and not subject to public input I wrote to Councillor Rick Craven, who was chairing the meeting and asked him why, if this was in fact the case he didn’t challenge that assertion and if it was true, why the public was invited to delegate on this issue? ( albeit with little notice and obscurely posted)

In his initial response he advised that “the city doesn’t negotiate real estate deals in public”. I challenged him on this description and again asked: “Is this a done deal or not.”. In his final response he advised “not until a vote of four to two takes place”.

Rick Craven

Ward 1 City Councillor Rick Craven

“It was a bit like pulling teeth to get the answer and I can’t help but feel, vote or not, this really is a ‘done deal’.”  Parker said he thinks “almost everything included in the indirect community benefits part of the package is not in fact a benefit to the citizens of Burlington at all.”

The Standing Committee that heard the delegation recessed at just after 10 pm and will reconvene as part of a Standing Committee meeting scheduled for April 24th.Burlington flags

Ward 2 Councillor Meed Ward, now a declared candidate for the Office of Mayor, has said she is going to bring a motion asking that the matter be moved back to a May 8th meeting.

The Parker delegation.

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5 comments to Gary Parker wants to know if the 421 Brant community benefit package put forward by the planners is a done deal.

  • Joseph Gaetan

    Lets have more of this,
    “A Community Benefits Agreement (“CBA”) in the United States is a contract signed by community groups and a real estate developer that requires the developer to provide specific amenities and/or mitigations to the local community or neighborhood. In exchange, the community groups agree to publicly support the project, or at least not oppose it. Often, negotiating a CBA relies heavily upon the formation of a multi-issue, broad based community coalition including community, environmental, faith-based and labor organizations.”

    And less of this,
    “In the United Kingdom, Section 106 agreements and in Canada, “Section 37” agreements[1] similarly require certain benefits from developers, but differ from CBAs in that they are part of development agreements with governments, not communities. CBAs are generally private, contractual agreements, although they can in some instances be made part of a development agreement with a city”.

    And lets make Community Benefits a provincial and municipal campaign issue.

  • Penny

    Section 37- Community Benefits – is an oxymoron. Most Municipalities don’t have Community Benefits. What is the point of having Community Benefits when the city’s report says MAY ENCOURAGE instead of SHALL? Developers should they wish do not have to follow through with any of the “benefits” listed in the report.

    The UP TO 10 units for a value of $300,000.00 – Is this $300,000.00 per unit or all ten units? If it is for all ten units, then no wonder Halton Housing doesn’t have the funds to purchase 10 units – what is a $30,000.00 discount on a unit that cost upwards of $400,000.00.

    Burlington needs to defend its Official Policy with NO Community Benefits.

  • Joseph Gaetan

    The entire so called “Community Benefits” regime and process needs a complete overhaul.

  • “Ward 2 Councillor Meed Ward, now a declared candidate for the Office of Mayor, has said she is going to bring a motion asking that the matter to moved back to a May 8th meeting.”

    People need to think about what they are doing here. I believe the 120 day OMB deadline is moving up. After which I believe they can present the entire thing as a de novo plan (E.G. Back to 27 stories or whatever.) Since in that hearing the staff are going to argue for the deal they just pitched council – how do we expect to get any more?

    Keep in mind the “New Offical Plan” may be passed by council in the 24th.

    At that time it has “informative” weight in the OMB hearing. Now people have some argument as to what that means exactly, but it’s not better – that is for sure.

    I dislike the direction and the 421 building as much as anyone, but the council can’t pass official plans that encourage that sort of development – then we stand in wonder when it happens.

    All the momentum in this direction are contained in directions to staff made months/years ago when few people were paying attention.

    We need to really understand what the ramifications are of stalling this into an OMB hearing where the city themselves has presented all the logic the developer needs for all sorts of extra height/density.

    • Tom Muir

      Good points by Greg that need thought.

      Anyone who has been paying attention to how Craven acts should know where he stands – slippery and dodgy and has been called out publicly by residents that he never represents their concerns but always the developers interests. Not hard to show in the written and Council meeting video record.

      The hardest part Greg sees and says is to catch up on that the managers, planners and Council have apparently cast the die on development both by failures to act, and by deliberate actions.

      They approved way over, at 23 stories, the proposed OP permission of 17 stories at 421 Brant. So by their own hand they have screwed the City and set up development by conflict or by self-inflicted wounds that the developers smell as blood in the water and are swarming.

      They allowed the ADI Martha appeal to trigger by failure to decide. We all know that resulted in 26 stories – a compound of a failure that the City tried to dismiss as significant at the time.

      They recently triggered an appeal at 35 Plains Rd E, for the same reason of failure to decide, This project they had already approved, subject to the Section 37 report, but the developer appealed anyways in order to take advantage of another try under the old OMB rules of start again, as Greg notes is possible.

      In this 35 PLains Rd case, all the parties planning justifications were stated by them as “good planning”, and the application was approved. That is the old OMB planning criterion brought to bare.

      Does an appeal in this case mean that “good planning” judgements don’t mean anything really? That the first one was maybe not “good enough”, so let’s argue for another?

      It all sounds ridiculous to me. But this is what City planners and their managers have brought down on us. Same excuses.

      Watch out for the Catch 22 that Greg is warning of – me too.

      This Council and this set of 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, there is to use 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.

      This has got to stop.