Has the Planning department got more on the plates of the average citizen than they can comfortably eat?

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 20th, 2017



A comment from an experienced staff member of a developer doing some work in the city highlighted a concern that many have.

“There are so many concurrent planning activities going on in the City, it is quite something” said this well-placed source.

MMW with mob hubs in background

The Downtown mobility hub sits in Councillor Meed Ward’s political turf – some of the outcome of the community engagement exercises may not square with the way she thinks the city should evolve.

Quite something indeed and quite a bit more than the average person can handle.

There is an Official Plan that is being circulated.

There are mobility hub proposals that are getting a serious look – all four of them

There is a transportation study that is also going the rounds.

The Go Bold statement that came out of the planning department some time ago has turned out to be more than just a tag line added to media releases.

Centre ice - fully engaged audience

Planners are besieged with questions from a public that wants to be engaged and wants to understand the bigger picture as well.

The work has to be stressing the planning staff; it certainly has the development community watching carefully.

There are a number of development proposals that are sitting in planner’s limbo while the Planning department works on the bigger picture.

There was a time when a much larger bus termial existed 25 yards to the left of this small terminal onm John Street - it was where people met. There were fewer cars, Burlington didn't have the wealth then that it has now. We were a smaller city, as much rural as suburban. The times have changed and transit now needs to change as well.

Is this to be the epicenter of the downtown mobility hub?

There are developers who feel they have shabbily handled who claim the planners have gone back on their word on projects that were progressing quite well – at last the developer thought so.

Add to all this are the Ontario Municipal Board hearings that relate to some of the ADI Development Group Projects. Things were never tight with the Adi people and the city – when Tariq Adi said:  “Oh yeah, absolutely. “Look, I’m not going to sugar-coat it, I know what’s going on here.” and added that “… what happened at Martha absolutely has something to do with this. That’s fine, that’s part of doing business. We’ll just deal with it.”

Any good will that might have existed between the city and this developer went up in smoke with not much more than bitter feelings left on the table.  Adi will want to describe the Mayor as biased and unfair – words the Gazette has heard before.

Spat between the Adi Group and the city over the Alton project.

Community meeting that had planners listening to the public.

A closer look at what the public had to say about a Downtown mobility hub

There are said to be two development options for the Downtown Mobility Hub that will be presented to the public on Wednesday evening at the meeting scheduled to take place at the Art Gallery of Burlington at 7:00 pm.

What will the city have in the way of surprises for us?

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5 comments to Has the Planning department got more on the plates of the average citizen than they can comfortably eat?

  • Pauline

    Last night the City and its consultant team presented and obtained feedback from the public on two options for “the ultimate build out” of the Downtown. At a glance, it is difficult to see why so many of the unique an special attributes are shown as being replaced or eliminated – Village Square especially comes to mind, our only grocery store is to disappear and ALL of the parking lots are to disappear. The suggestion that John Street could be recreated into a new central spine sure has me scratching my head. In addition, to accomplish either of the options presented, the Downtown would be blown up and redone with low rise buildings. I don’t know how many sites were noted on the options but it has to be at least 50. Is this realistic? How much growth is proposed to be included in the Downtown? No one told us that! Wouldn’t it be better to limit the disruption and have fewer strategically located tall buildings? At least this way, the key elements that make Burlington special will be kept. I sure hope that there is more public consultation on this. It sure is complicated and Planning Department staff have a lot of questions to answer.

  • Phillip

    Clearly what the residents/taxpayers of this community have to ask themselves is this: Is Burlington a better place to live than it was prior to 2010? Most of us who will vote against this mayor and council in 2018 will vote NO!

  • David Fenton

    I live downtown and apparently live in one of the Mayor’s hubs, iv’e seen lot’s of changes over the years but nothing like todays construction activity, it’s almost frantic. Is there some clock running out of time somewhere? What’s the rush? Are we expecting someone? Thats the only time I get a ‘giddy up’ from the wife when Aunty Mabel is coming to stay. Or is it the Mayor’s plan to get all the construction done in one go and then he can reduce the staff at city hall to become just caretakers. Will the big announce be ‘Job Done’

  • Stephen White

    There are far too many initiatives in play, and far too little time to fairly and effectively read, review, understand and absorb the cumulative impact that all of these development proposals will have upon the City.

    This process is not being effectively managed and the Mayor and Council need to wake up to this reality. Citizens are attending meeting after meeting trying to get a grasp on what is going on. These meetings make a mockery of public participation because they assume the average citizen: 1) has had the time to review materials; 2) is able to attend public meetings and forums despite other personal and business commitments; 3) has reviewed content online; and 4) has had sufficient time to ask and receive informative answers to poignant questions. Add to this separate meetings and discussions around smaller planning projects, school closures, etc. and it is a lot to absorb.

    We are all being held hostage because of Kathleen Wynne’s intensification mandate. This sad, sorry, pitiful government has one foot in the grave and despite the Gazette’s optimism it is not a certainty that their re-election is assured. The Liberals should take a long, hard look at recent results in B.C. and Nova Scotia if they want confirmation of that. Add to that growing public dissatisfaction with the Trudeau government, and recent policy initiatives that will prove incredibly costly and problematic to implement (e.g. a 32% increase in the minimum wage by January 2019) and you have an election minefield ready to explode.

    At a minimum the timeline for review and implementation of these planning initiatives should be extended by a year to eighteen months. Let’s agree to take the time and do it properly and fairly rather than subscribe to an artificially imposed timeline.