Is heritage something the city should be paying attention to or has it become a tool some council members want to use to bring developers closer to the table?

By Pepper Parr

January 20th, 2023



The business of heritage building in Burlington is getting a little sticky.

Some members of Council want to require developers who have a property that could have heritage significance to integrate original structures into a new development. Others feel that using the power the city has is a misuse of that power used to gain what some see as heritage that should be kept is certainly not a best practice.

A study is a good idea – it does mean more spending at a time when tax increases suggest the city is going to have to cut back somewhere.

In the meantime:
Burlington is launching the Downtown Heritage Study and is looking for feedback from the community and stakeholders.

Anyone interested in the project can visit the getinvolved part of the city web site to take a heritage survey, pin suggested heritage features on a map and learn more about the study.

This property on Brant has heritage significance but the way both the developer and the city ave handled the difference leaves a lot to be desired. The city feels very strongly about keeping at least some of the facade – the developer isn’t answering email requests.

The study will run until next fall and will look at eight individual properties with potential heritage value. There are also six groups of properties that may qualify as potential “cultural heritage landscapes”. A “cultural heritage landscape” is a term for a group of heritage features such as buildings, trees, landscaping, views and spaces that have significance as a group that is different from their individual parts.

The planners have created six clusters within which they are touring and looking for properties that could be determined to be of heritage significance.

Residents are invited to join City of Burlington staff and a heritage consultant at virtual and in-person public consultation meetings to learn about the City’s Downtown Burlington Heritage Study and Engagement Program on:

January 23, 2023
Virtual stakeholder meeting – 10- 11:30 a.m.
Click here to register.

January 25, 2023
Virtual stakeholder meeting – 7 – 8:30 p.m.
Click here to register.

Public Meeting #1: Monday, Feb. 13, 2023 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Art Gallery of Burlington, Shoreline Room, 1333 Lakeshore Rd.

Staff will share information about significant places, stories, buildings and landscape features in the study area. Attendees are asked to submit questions in advance and share their ideas about heritage conservation in Downtown Burlington.

By the end of the Study, Burlington City Council will receive a staff report to decide if any of the properties or areas assessed in the study have heritage merit and should be protected through a heritage designation.

The three properties shown in this image are yards away from the home of the ward Councillor: possible conflict problems?

Designation is only one tool to conserve historical character. Other conservation strategies will be explored with property owners and stakeholders during the engagement process. Based on study findings, Council will also consider whether the 26 properties added to the heritage register at the July 12, 2022 City Council meeting and the Sept. 20, 2022 Council Meeting should continue to be listed on the heritage register or removed.

There is more information Click HERE   This page also contains project background reports, policy documents and guidelines, a map, historical resources and videos and an option to subscribe for project updates. Residents can connect with the City’s Heritage Planner at or 905-335-7777, ext. 7427.

Heritage consultants have been retained to conduct historical research, inventory sites in the downtown, and host a series of engagement sessions with property owners, stakeholders, and the public. The team will be in the downtown heritage study area to photograph buildings, sites, and streetscapes, or to visit local archives.

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7 comments to Is Heritage something the city should be paying attention to or has it become a tool some council members want to use to bring developers closer to the table?

  • Thank you for putting this out there. I agree with your opinion and I hope more people would come to agree with this as well.

  • Keith Demoe

    As a candidate running for council this past fall, I was privy to contact lists. As the post indicated, Kearns home is yards away from these heritage designations. If these sites are designated heritage, the value of all homes in that area will spike in value (not that we already have a housing affordability challenge). This is the real Kearns you are seeing…she is office to be a vote for Ward on local agendas and to push anything else that will benefit her.

    • Bob

      Please explain how designating one house as Heritage would spike the price of all homes in the area. Or even the three on Brant St. which have absolutely 0 Heritage value.
      The property currently used by the Rocca sisters Real Estate was just renovated, painted and I didn’t hear any complaints put forward about its Heritage properties from any politicians when they applied for their permits, nor any previous candidates for mayor.
      Both of the other two properties as well have had structural changes done which negates their heritage.
      This is just a political move by certain politicians to stop development of the downtown core, which the Land Tribunal and the Provincial Government are just going to over ride after we spend countless hundreds of thousands more money on a useless fight over intensification.

      • Keith Demoe

        Bob, from google – ‘Heritage properties often attract higher resale values’. Also, all the soon to come downtown high rises could have been prevented if council had of planned responsibly, but they didn’t.

        • Bob

          And as a former contestant for council, how would you have done things differently? It is the provincial government, both the prior Liberal government who made our downtown bus station a transit hub, thus allowing the current high rises to be passed through the OLT and the current Conservative government who will just override our NIMBY councils decision in the name of building better faster.

          As to your point about Googling “Heritage properties often attract higher resale values”. I used this link as it is a Canadian source. What they found was the individual property often increased in value, so unless our local councilor owns one of these properties, which you have said she doesn’t, she lives in the neighbourhood, then it has no benefit to the council person and your accusations are void of reason.

          • Keith Demoe

            In the neighborhood??…Lisa Kearns lives RIGHT ACROSS the street from those properties…she is clearly doing this for her own gain…I’m surprised she didn’t also designate her own home, but maybe she felt it may be a conflict of interest…so just did it for her neighbors.

    • Bob

      She does? those three properties are along Brant Street so across the street being she lives in which? Joe Dogs? BMO or the Italian Restaurant?
      Your slanderous and inflammatory accusations show why you polled so poorly in the 2022 election.

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