City council begins major discussion on just how intensification is going to take place.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

July 7th, 2016


Building a city that is going through a significant stage in its development means working with a number of very large parts – that are all moving at the same time – in different directions.

The GO trains are going to have 15 minute service at some point in the not too distant future – that will change the way people commute. Tat service is going to be electrified, apparently starting in the Aldershot part of the GO system and on through to Union Station.

The city is more than just the Escarpment to the north and the lake to the south. It is the people in between that determine who we really are. And it takes more than a magazine saying we are the #2 city in the country doesn't make it so.

The Escarpment is a no go zone when it comes to intensification – except for the hamlets of Lowville and Kilbride.

The city has now completed its much touted Strategic Plan – now the Official Plan has to be completed to fit in with the Strategic Plan and at the same time comply with the provincial places to grow Plan and the restrains that are placed on Burlington with the Escarpment Greenbelt Plan.

The province has determined how many people are going to move into Burlington – that means having homes for them to live in – and that means some form of intensification.

Next to garbage collection – intensification is probably the most challenging file the planners have to work with.

City council will be in a half day Committee of the whole session later today going through all the options that present themselves – where should intensification take place – how much?

Mary Lou Tanner, the new planner has a solid grip on what has to be done – it is the how she is going to do it that matters now.

That means putting ideas before members of council who will determine a policy. Before that policy gets nailed down by council the issues have to be taken to the public – which is not as full informed as it could be.

Mary Lou Tanner

Mary Loy Tanner – Director of Planning

Tanner decided to hold a media briefing – something new for this town – which she did via a conference call during which the manager of communications for the city began to explain to journalists who have been covering this file for some time just what an Official Plan was. It was embarrassing – and not all that accurate. In Burlington we call these an “opportunity to learn”.

We know now that there will be something in the way of physical amenities in the station West development the ADI Development group are working on. The rules that were in place when the development first came to the public’s attention didn’t require as much as a sandbox.

Our information is that there is a ¾ hectare park/public space worked into the plans.

There is now more of a critical mass in the Upper Middle Road – Appleby Line part of the city – new forms of development are expected to take place there.

Tanner mentioned that there is some land assembly taking place in the downtown core as well – being driven in part by the development of the Paradigm project on Fairview next to the GO station.

There is also a significant focus on the Plains Road – Fairview corridor that is currently one of the most pedestrian unfriendly parts of town. Not a road one wants to drive a bike on.

Tanner has come up with a tag line she uses to describe the direction she is going in: Up – Smart – Beautiful. She speaks in terms of “appropriate density”; a term that will mean something different to everyone she talks to.

Tanner went to some lengths to assure people in established, mature communities that they aren’t going to see a 20 storey condo on their street. Maybe now those same residents will agree to not cut down trees that are on their private property.

Intensification New St at Guelph possible

A planners idea of what the Roseland Plaza could look like after intensification.

The Roseland Plaza and the Burlington Mall were referred to as “aging plaza’s and are seen, apparently. as places that could handle more in the way of density.

Affordable housing is still a serious concern in Burlington. While affordable housing is a Regional responsibility – it is the city’s planning department that has to work directly with the developers – in the past there have been some unfortunate miscommunications.

East of Emmas - For sale

One of two prime pieces of property on the south side of Old Lakeshore Road on the market.

There is something going on in the Old Lakeshore Road part of the city where the Bridgewater project is well underway. Two prime properties on the south side of Old Lakeshore Road – just east of Emmas Back Porch have for sale signs on them.

Hillier property - for sale

Both pieces of property are on the market.

There is a wonderful opportunity to do something both splendid and spectacular in that part of the city.

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1 comment to City council begins major discussion on just how intensification is going to take place.

  • Steve

    LOL “affordable” housing is still a concern. Well, no wonder when a development barrier is put up surrounding the city limits, which makes the limited space within that boundary, suddenly, very, very, precious. Burlingtonians can now enjoy 300 sq ft residences for 350,000 dollars…and rising fast…as all those limited spots disappear.