It is your waterfront - let the city know what you think of the current concept for the Waterfront Hotel site

By Pepper Parr

February 18th, 2022



It is the development that will change for decades what the core of downtown Burlington is going to look like.

And while 110 people took part in a virtual presentation on what the issues are – there didn’t seem to be all that much in the way passionate interest.

There were more questions about parking during the virtual meeting than there were about what the impact would be of two 35 storey plus towers sitting on a five storey podium perched at the edge of Lakeshore Road and Brant Street at what the developer called Ground Zero for the city.

The city now wants feed back from the public.  A recording of the February 15th meeting can be reached HERE

The survey can be found HERE

Closing date for public feedback is March 1st – not a lot of time.  Get your views in now – they matter.

The Waterfront Study Plan people and the developer are far apart.  The Study group is suggesting  two 15 – 17 storey buildings and taking a 20 metre strip on the west side as park land along with another small patch on land on the east side at the southern end (lake side) of the site.

The developer has proposed two towers – one 30 storeys high and the other 35 storeys high – both sitting on a five story podium.

Parking for both would be underground exiting and entering off Elizabeth Street to the east.

While the study is for the area shown below – all the attention up to this point has been on the Waterfront Hotel site.

Spencer Smith Park defines Burlington. Few cities in Canada sit on the edge of the largest body of water in the country. It is host to some of the biggest public festivals in the province.

Will 40 storey structures take away from what the park offers the citizens of Burlington; will they diminish what is left of the small ton feel of Brant Street?

Do you think the big flashy buildings are what the city needs. A decision is going to be made – get your two cents in now when it matters.

Children playing innocently – a man having snooze under a tree – the Spencer Smith Park we have today – will that change if there are 40 storey towers looming over everything?

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15 comments to It is your waterfront – let the city know what you think of the current concept for the Waterfront Hotel site

  • Susie

    We are heavily taxed by our City planning departments for their expertise in the handling of proper design and layout of developments that suit/enhance the area/site they are being constructed on. When a builder takes full control of development, such as the massive towers on our waterfront, this only says that expertise or lack of control of direction, has lead to this “out of control” situation we are now in. We all know the answer, and that being the decision is too stacked on one side to make a difference. Plain and simple!

  • Gary Scobie

    The Bridgewater Condo, at 22 storeys right beside the Waterfront Hotel property, was accepted by City Council in the later years of the last century as “the” landmark building to be located on the waterfront near Brant Street. Of course, it took some decades before it was built.

    A landmark is defined as “an object or feature of a landscape or town that is easily seen and recognized from a distance, especially one that enables someone to establish their location”. That fits the Bridgewater, from either the water or from either approaching direction on Lakeshore Road.

    The use of landmark and gateway terms for buildings is getting to be old hat in Burlington. We have the Nautique being constructed nearby at 26 storeys. Similar buildings of similar heights are planned across the road from it on Old Lakeshore Road. At Lakeshore and Pearl a 29 storey condo is planned. And now the developer for replacement of the Waterfront Hotel wishes to have two towers of 30 and 35 storeys. Each wants to claim to be either a gateway or a landmark (or both) at our waterfront. It seems to be getting a little crowded with gateways and landmarks at our historic waterfront downtown.

    It also seems the quest to outdo each next landmark with another is belittling the single building that was to have been “it”. I’m not impressed with how we got here and who brought us. And I hold little hope for preservation of the landmark title by the Bridgewater.

    Editor’s note: The Bridgewater was originally designated a “legacy” development and at one point was set to be 30 storeys high. It was approved when Walter Mulkewich was Mayor


    Hi Bob. Are you a developer? The lakefront is for anyone. We do not need giant highrises on the water!! Do you think we are living in Paris or New York. We have enough with the Bridgewater, a very nice building! Why do we need more? More parkland is what the small town of Burlington needs!!

    • Bob

      There is already a building there though Judy, this isn’t a new building it is only replacing what is already there, so sightlines of your lake are a moot point, and no I am not a developer. I’m just a citizen who lives downtown and realizes this project is going to be built no matter how loud we yell. There are two ways we can go with this, make it the best possible use of the land, which I think this is a landmark building and quite attractive. Or fight fight fight and the LRT will choose the option they think is the best argument. Since the Ontario government has already grandfathered this site, they are going to choose whatever the developer argues.
      If it was parkland you desired then PlanB, ECOB and the rest of the anti development persons should have been advocating for the city to purchase the land.
      That didn’t happen, and unless the city finds the kind of money to purchase this site parkland won’t happen.

  • Judy G

    A definite NO to the high rises. The lake is to be admired by EVERTONE. Burlington used to be a very beautiful quaint lake area. NOT ANY MORE!

  • It won’t be a popular comment, but I think the new buildings look incredible and will advertise Burlington as a modern dynamic city that will propel the downtown core into the 21st century.

    • Bob

      I totally agree.
      The NIMBY’s on this site are grasping at straws as to why not to build a landmark building and I said that on the

      • Don Fletcher

        Steve Warner is entitled to his opinion & to voice it. He had the courage to use his full name & didn’t revert to juvenile name-calling.,

        • Bob

          It is not juvenile name calling. It is a fact.
          And just like Citizens’ Plan B not using their name or anyone else, it has no bearing on the argument. Over and over again I read all these anti development people on here with their lame excuses why not to build downtown. None are going to stop this project that the Ontario government has already grandfathered.
          Shadows? puleeze
          Birds will fly into the windows if you build it that high? Really?
          36 stories will block the view of the lake? As if he existing building is see through…

          On and on. so if you’re saying its not NIMBYism, please come up with a rational reason why this already approved provincially building should not be built.

  • Peter Rusin

    Don’t be fooled by the mayor’s input process. It’s exactly these types of delays that exacerbate the housing crisis. Input value is zero; political value and wasting time is what the mayor feeds on. Bring on the shadows and more cranes. Don’t like it? move.

  • Citizens' PLAN B

    Consider that shadows from the west tower of what the developer is proposing will be cast up Brant all the way to Elgin (i.e. Queen’s Head patio) every March & September, and this is according to the developer’s experts. If this doesn’t enrage or awaken citizens to the potential threat to our downtown/ waterfront heritage, we don’t know what will? Please wake up, Burlington!

    • Bob

      At what time of day is the shadow cast upon the Queens Head patio?
      Considering the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, by noon (opening time for the patio) the shadow should be cast upon the existing buildings along Brant Street.

      • Citizens' PLAN B

        Thanks Bob.
        Is it not egregious enough for you that shadows reach that far at all?
        Please check out the applicant’s Shadow Study for yourself for times.

        • Bob

          No more so than any other building in our downtown Core. The Queens Head itself casts a shadow at times on the grounds of City Hall.
          Do you advocate to tear down the whole of the downtown so we have no shadows?
          Cut down the trees in the downtown as their shade is also a shadow?
          In case you aren’t aware, shadows and the sun move and any one location you complain of a shadow will not be there for longer than lets say 1 hour out of 24 so your argument here is moot.

  • Terra O'Brien

    I am a senior and have lived at Lakeshore & Torrance for 8 years. I was so happy to be able to retire overlooking the lake and being close to our beautiful downtown and parkland, I have experienced the Bridgewater erection that took my view of Spencer Smith away. I am now looking a 3 cranes erecting highrises on Martha and surrounding area. I have the application approvals to look forward to for the 2 building proposals on Old Lakeshore Rd. and voila! My view of the lake just disappeared.
    way to go Burlington!! After 40 years of contributing to this city through hard work of my own this is what we get! Well done.