Just what the problem is with the 'approved' Official Plan the city sent the region is far from clear.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

January 17th, 2019



Remember all the hoopla around City Council pushing to get the new Official Plan voted on and sent to the Region where it would be approved

The push by the 2014 – 2018 city council cost most of the council members their seats. The Mayor lost his job and Lancaster and Dennison headed for retirement.. Two other council members had resigned and did not seek re-election.

Curt Benson, Director, Planning Services and Chief Planning Official for Halton Region
reports in a letter to anyone who was interested in the status of the “approved” Official Plan that “On April 26, 2018, Burlington City Council adopted its new Official Plan (the “Plan”). On May 11, 2018, the record pursuant to subsection 17(31) of the Planning Act was received by the Region of Halton as the approval authority to make a decision on the Plan.

Official-Plan-Binder_Image“Over the last number of months, Halton Region staff have been working closely with City of Burlington staff in the review of the newly adopted Plan to address conformity to the Region of Halton Official Plan. Through this review, Regional staff have identified a number of matters with respect to the Plan’s conformity to the Halton Region Official Plan that need to be resolved prior to making a decision on the Plan. The attached Notice provides additional information related to these matters in accordance with s. 17(40.2) of the Planning Act.

The purpose of this Notice is to inform you that the Region of Halton, through its delegated authority to the Chief Planning Official, is of the opinion that the Plan does not conform to the Region of Halton Official Plan (2009) (“ROP”). The Plan does not conform to the ROP with respect to policies and mapping related to, among other matters:

• proposed employment land conversions and permitted uses within the employment areas and lands;

• the identification of and permitted uses within agricultural lands;

• the identification of and permitted uses within the Natural Heritage System; and

• transportation matters, including road classifications.

Muir with pen in hand

Aldershot resident Tom Muir wants more in the way of detail as to why the Region hasn’t said Ok to the Plan.

Tom Muir was taken aback by the correspondence and the lack of any detail in the Notice and wrote Curt Benson saying: “I was expecting that specific details would be provided as to the four items of adopted OP non-compliance that were listed in the opinion herein that you sent to the City of Burlington.

“The 4 items listed are of general interest but are not of much value if not dissected so that the separate issues in each can be examined.

Can you please provide the details of the issues involved in each item of non-compliance?

When one looks at the information from the Regional Planning department on why they sent the “approved” Official Plan back to the city you have to wonder if that is all there is.

It just seems pretty thin and doesn’t touch the issue that were the focal point of the election. Something doesn’t appear right here.

The rules within the provincial; Planning Act, set out a 210 day period for the city to appeal a Regional government decision. The Region points out that a clock doesn’t start ticking until the Region of Halton confirms that the non-conformity with the ROP is resolved. As such no appeals under subsection 17(40) of the Planning Act may be filed at this time.

City Council isn’t going to be doing very much on the Official Plan issue – they will be focused on the budget for the immediate future.

Timeline 2019


Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

6 comments to Just what the problem is with the ‘approved’ Official Plan the city sent the region is far from clear.

  • Joe Gaetan

    Hey Lucy, you have some ‘splaining’ to do, what in tunket is a COW budget?

    • Gary Scobie

      Joe, that’s the budget for the collection of frozen cow hockey pucks in our rural area for distribution to the open air suburban hockey rinks constructed by volunteers in Burlington.

      Of course with hardly any cattle anymore in Halton, they sometimes have to “cross the border” into neighbouring regions to grab the shrinking supply. Hence the budget increase.

  • Gary Scobie

    I have heard the “New” Official Plan referenced as “informing” decisions, used “in considering” planning decisions and now according to Tom Muir used “as guidance” in planning decisions.

    All of these words do not offer comfort in any way to citizens who want this “New” Official Plan revamped where it encourages over-intensification. It does not offer comfort to citizens who voted to change members on Council.

    A flawed, unapproved “New” Official Plan should not be used in any of the three ways described above. Doing so only allows the mistakes of the last Council to live on and gives the impression that the new Council has little power to do anything about it.

    I hope that these impressions are wrong and that a new day is actually dawning in planning for Burlington’s future. If we are to be constrained by past mistakes, then perhaps we were mistaken in just what “change” we were actually voting on in October 2018. Please let me be wrong.

  • Tom Muir

    The real legal adjective for the Plan sent to the Region by the previous Council and returned by the Region as “non-compliant” is “Adopted”, not “Approved”.

    Approved is what the Region does, and in this case they did not. The refused OP has no standing.

    In any case, it appears that nothing has changed as the city planning is still using the non-compliant OP to make decisions on developments.

    You can see this for yourself in the “New post on A Better Burlington | Marianne Meed Ward” published today by the Mayor’s PR person John Bkila.

    Says it right there – the adopted but not compliant Plan is live and in play as a “guidance”, despite what the election campaign promised, and the Region refusal was said to mean about this Plan being on hold indefinitely.

    Is this what residents voted for?

    At the meeting this new post is about, the residents were sure pointing that out as their understanding of the election.

    Plus ca change, plus la meme.

  • Penny

    There was a lot of confusion in the minds of the residents that attended the Public Meeting for the proposed development on North Shore Blvd. last Thursday. Both staff and representatives from Amica kept referring to the “adopted official plan” and when asked which Official Plan was in place we were left with the impression ( rightly or wrongly) that both were being looked at although the current official plan is in force and then told it was way out of date and it could not be defended.

    It would be nice to know just what in the” Adopted Official Plan” is open for discussion
    and change and what is not. Jane McKenna’s information made it perfectly clear that while it would be possible to change a mobility hub designation, it was only possible to change the boundaries of the” Downtown Urban Growth” designated area. Both would have to be done to get some control back with regard to development.

    My question is how long will this take? The city planners at the Public Meeting for the North Shore Development indicated that the Official Plan in place at the time the city is in receipt of the development application determines what changes will be asked for by the developer.

    If the current official plan is deemed indefensible just where does it leave us with regard to development applications?

    • Tom Muir

      Penny, the adjective used repeatedly by the planners, and I made careful note of this, was that the “new” OP was “approved” or “Council approved”, but was not referred to as “adopted”, which is the proper term.

      This is important to get the words right as the staff know better than to refer to this new OP as approved, which everyone knows it is not. It was Region refused as non-compliant, so it has no standing. They are misleading us all with these words.

      It is on hold indefinitely, so that’s how long it will take. But it is still being used for “guidance”. So nothing has changed on the face of it.

      There’s no accountability here, and the transparency is more like a smoke screen.

      You have likely read the story today from the Mayor’s office on this meeting, you will see the same story, and from the words of her staffer John Bkila, the Mayor looks to be going along with it.