Lancaster's comment on the approval of the Official Plan

News 100 blueBy Blair Lancaster

April 28th, 2018


Burlington city council heaved a sigh of relief Thursday afternoon and approved an Official Plan. The 400 page document now goes to Regional Council where it will be debated again, perhaps revised and sent back to Burlington.  The Gazette has asked each member of council for a copy of the remarks they made after the Official Plan had been approved. Comments made by Blair Lancaster for Ward 6 are set out below.

The Official Plan will lead our City into a time of prosperity, sustainability and affordability while ensuring our city will continue on its current healthy, vibrant and livable path.

Councillor Blair Lancaster" not a big fan of public meetings.

Councillor Blair Lancaster

In fact, this plan will create over 3,500 jobs, which is important to residents of Burlington. The majority of this growth will occur around mobility hubs and in the downtown. It also addresses the fact that over the next decade, we will be receiving over 1,800 residents per year (most of them being new immigrants). This plan also looks to address the challenges of future generations, the millennial and their families.

This being said, different points of view have caused significant changes to the Official Plan as residents and stakeholders asked some very difficult questions. This caused us to pause and re-think the plan at every stage. I want to thank the residents and stakeholders who also have invested countless number of hours into the process.

The community engagement on this plan has been unprecedented reaching every ward. I want to congratulate our professional staff team who have stick handled all of the input from residents, council, and stakeholders. I shutter to think of the number of hours that we have all dedicated to this important initiative. It has touched every department from planning, legal, transportation, clerks, recreation, capital works, and more.

This plan was not only informed by residents and stakeholders but also by many other plans that we are legally required to conform to, such as The Niagara Escarpment Plan, The Green Belt Plan, Places to Grow, and new Provincial Policies. The existing Official Plan was out-of-date and does not comply with new provincial legislation and therefore was not defensible.

Blair Lancaster brings a soft approach to Council. Doesn't speak nearly as much as the other members. To early to tell if she is effective as the constituent level.

Councillor Blair Lancaster

The Official Plan document is a high level document that uses blobs on a map to indicate what might be possible. I emphasize what MIGHT be possible because we have just established a vision and now the work will begin to define more closely what is possible and what will be compatible on each site. The exciting part is that the work has just begun, as we now move into more detailed plans that will address important issues, like a housing strategy, and transportation plans.

Additionally, the plan we have just adopted at Council must be approved by the Region of Halton before it will be in effect. This will take approximately 210 days. The approval process is not automatic and City of Burlington Council must prepare a strategy to fight for many of the changes that are outlined in the new Official Plan.

The changes in this plan represent leading practices that look into the future and the fact that our economic development plan, strategic plan, and the new Official Plan all work together establishing a future that embodies affordable, sustainable and slow growth. Looking into the future takes leadership and a willingness to make decisions that are good for the long term even though they maybe disruptive today. This plan is bold but rational, and most importantly defensible.

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6 comments to Lancaster’s comment on the approval of the Official Plan

  • Josie Wagstaffe

    I agree with one of Councilor Lancaster statements: “The community engagement on this plan has been unprecedented reaching every ward.”
    Sadly, right after this statement, Councilor Lancaster proceeds to thank the staff for doing their job!? This is not surprising though, as we had all seen her line of questioning the engaged community evolve from – Where have you been last 6 years? to Are you aware off..? and finally, Is this your personal opinion or have you talked to a lawyer?
    Not to mention how just last week, she had tried to cut the delegates time from 10 minutes to 5! This shows just how much she values the opinion of our citizens.

  • Penny

    For years I have called Councils vision for Burlington the “PLUNK VISION”. Plunk a high-rise here and another there.

    If the adopted Official Plan is the vision that this Council is congratulating itself on I have to wonder if they walk the streets of Burlington, use public transit and are in the congested traffic in peak travel times.

    Ms Lancaster seems to have forgotten that residents spent thousands of UNPAID hours trying to get their concerns heard, in the hope that Council would listen. Staff no doubt worked extremely long hours, but it is their job, for which they got paid.

  • John Sweeny

    Ms Lancaster, I would say the term that City staff “stick-handled” this is accurate. However, it also shows that you are not very knowledgeable about hockey. Since the purpose of Stick Handling is to move through the opposition towards your own objective. This is clearly what happened as this was very clearly stock handled through regardless of the opposition.

    To say that you have not given away the People’s ability to have influence is just not correct. This is a plan that was completed without understanding the details underneath it which will be “made up” as we go.

    Simply unacceptable! Please don’t run again. This City can’t handle another 4 years of your type of “leadership”.

  • Allen Jones

    Stu … My view of Sharman is YES, he not only proof-read Lancaster’s response but he wrote it, as there are too many big words in it which are well beyond normal vocabulary of a beauty pageant contestant.

  • Stu Parr

    Ms. Lancaster:

    With all due respect your comments seem both vague and defensive. Vague in the sense that they are very general statements that could have been written twelve months ago – they offer very little light on the issues raised by residents over the last four months and the almost dysfunctional relationship between Council and the citizens that they supposedly represent. ‘Defensive’ in that you seem to be already excusing the Plan and positioning how it can be changed or reversed. If you are proud of this accomplishment – and God help you if you are – then have the decency to “Be Bold”,, whatever the hell that actually means. I watched your performance over these final months and found your Mutt and Jeff routine with Paul Sharman to be highly entertaining. Did he proof-read your statement? I think that you have all seriously underestimated the anger of most (my opinion) of Burlington’s citizens but will have your wake-up in October.

  • Michael Jones

    Councilor Lancaster How many delegations and feedback against this would it have taken for you to vote against this. Now boasting what a great job you did is inappropriate at best. Looking forward to the new Council as you have taken Burlington down a path that no informed citizen suppprted. please go..go boldly or just go