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

The Indian Point meeting learned that those in attendance were split into two groups; those who had lived in the community for more than twenty years and those who had lived there for about five years.  The tension between these two groups was just below the surface with several people carrying plans for the house they wanted to build in the community.

It was a very polite meeting; not the kind of noise heard when the Beachway people were fighting to maintain the 28 homes in that part of the city.  Significantly different social and economic demographics between Indian Point, Ghent Street and the Roseland Community.  Are these factors in how Burlington approaches its planning?

The maintenance of the tree coverage was a consistent concern with one resident asking that the city begin planting new trees NOW to replace the aging forestry.  He wanted to see new trees with some maturity to them as well.

The good people on Ghent would like to see the trees on their property kept – but that isn’t going to happen.  Burlington is tip toeing around a tree by-law – that will be a noisy conversation.

The eight houses on Ghent were sold to a developer; those owners had every right to reap a profit and the price was obviously right for them. It was their “private” property and with the economic system we have – people can sell what they own for the best price they can get.  That there is a downside for the people who remain in the community is not their issue.  Is it anyone’s issue?  77% of the people at the Indian Point meeting were in favour of some kind of tree by-law.

Some of the Indian Point residents had no problem with appropriate development.

Lots at Indian Point are between 24 and 60 metres wide – “there is one that is 18 metres wide” someone called out from the audience – these people clearly know their small community.  Lot coverage is minimal, private landscaping is important and traffic flow through the enclave is troubling to some.

Anne McIlroy on the left, who served cookies to the 25+ people who attended the meeting, talks with Andrea Smith, an Acting Manager in the planning department.

Anne McIlroy told the audience that once the data has been pulled together the planners will work on tools that can be used to protect the neighbourhood.  Zoning, possible Heritage District, which McIlroy didn’t seem to be all that keen on, guidelines and zoning changes are possible tools to be developed.

Where do they go from here?  First, pull all the data together and understand what was learned from the meeting and then meet with the Steering Committee that will produce an interim report on the findings and take that back to the community.

Early in the summer hold a second workshop and learn what the community thinks of the findings and the recommendations and work them into the Official Plan Review.  It is a lengthy process that takes time and consideration.  It is also a fascinating process that brings the thinking from bright planners and the feelings, hopes and aspirations of the neighborhoods.

Hopefully, the planners complete the Indian Point work before they get too far into the Roseland study so that lessons from one can be applied to the other – no need to make any mistakes twice.

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