Indian Point neighbourhood gets first of several close looks by planning department as city creeps toward a new Official Plan.

The approach decided upon is to do “character studies” of a number of neighbourhoods and get a clearer sense of what they are and what the residents want.  At the Indian Point meeting Tuesday evening held at the Burlington Art Centre there was some tension between the traditionalists and those who want to develop.  There are just under 30 properties at Indian Point.

Councillor Rick Craven set out the dynamic that is taking place in the community when he put forward the  hypothesis of a couple in Winnipeg, with one having parents living at Indian Point who were suddenly deceased. The surviving family member decides to sell the property. “Looking for the best price possible” explained Craven “they would list the property with a real estate agent who might be approached by a developer who would seek to sever the property and build a second home.” There are people at Indian Point who see no problem doing this and in the “instant poll”  that was held during the community meeting it was evident that not everyone felt the nature of the community had to remain the same.  Such is the way society evolves.  And that is what planners have to deal with as they research and come to conclusions they put forward to city council who will eventually approve the Official Plan.

This version of the Official Plan is much more detailed than previous revisions.  The Strategic Plan put in place by this Council called for “vibrant and robust neighbourhoods”.   It also called for the continued defense of the rural, northern part of the city where a Rural Summit was held to hear the views of that much larger  community.

Bought in 1954 for $14,000; sold in 1961 for $27,000 and listed in 1972 for $600,000. Would list at $1 million today.  Community is dealing with property price pressures.

One Burlington resident at the community meeting pointed to a photograph of a property he bought for $14,000 in 1954 and sold for $27,000 in 1961.  The property was listed for $600,000 in 1972; today it would price at more than $1 million.

The Indian Point property, 15 acres at the mouth of Indian Creek,  is believed to be the oldest neighbourhood outside the city, was developed by Alfred B. Coleman in the early 1900’s.  He first made the development accessible by building a road and foot bridge, then he laid out a 6 hole golf course. He built several large bungalows which he rented to wealthy patrons. This later became an exclusive residential district, with attractive stone gates at each of the two entrances that are still in place today.

Coleman was what we would today call a “major player” in Burlington and once bought some of the Brant House property and built a huge modern hotel on the site and named it the Brant Hotel. It immediately became the holiday resort of choice for many Canadians and Americans. Steamers came from Hamilton to the dock in front of the hotel bringing crowds of guests for picnics and day trips. A.B., as he liked to be known, moved to Toronto shortly after completing the hotel but returned to Hamilton in 1909 and bought a small piece of property across the road from the hotel on the lakefront and called it his “country club”.

When the federal government expropriated the Brant Hotel as a military hospital in 1917. Coleman turned his attention to his “country club”. He expanded it into a fine hotel with fine dining and dancing and named it the Brant Inn.  During that period Burlington was a focal point for black musicians from the United States who could work, play and stay at the same hotel.

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