Long term growth plan for Burlington

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

May 12th, 2021


In an earlier version of this article we neglected to mention that ward 1 Councillor Galbraith did take part.

The bigger picture is often the one that gets missed.

Big picture - who does what

The Planning Hierarchy – each of these policy statements and plans have to be adhered to. The Region reviews each municipal plan to ensure that everything in the hierarchy is met. It is a very complex process.

Last night the Regional government took people through a two hour discussion on what population and job growth is going to have to look like in 2051

2051 is a long time out – the future however gets determined to a large degree by decisions we make today.

Burlington certainly learned that lesson when in 2016 a bus terminal got identified first as a transportation hub and then as an MTSA (Major Transportation Service Area) that allowed a developer to put up a 26 storyey building on the corner of Martha and Lakeshore Road. They are digging the hole in the ground now for what will be called the Nautique.

The Regional Planning department, which has to approve anything and everything in terms of the Official Plan for the municipalities of Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills, is doing the required five year review of its Official Plan and figuring out how it will integrate the growth in the Region the province has called for.

The meeting last night was focused on how the Region thinks things should be approached for Burlington.

Growth concept

Regional Staff and their consultants working from data already collected developed four concepts – each of which would have a different outcome in terms of population growth, where it would take place and new ob potential. The objective is to take the best from each concept and come up with a preferred concept and present that to the public; ideally in June..

More than 80 people took part in the virtual meeting that included eight people from the Regional Planning staff and presented the current growth concepts.  There were just two elected representatives from Burlington; Mayor Meed Ward and Councillor Bentivegna. Perhaps those that chose not to take part have decided they won’t run for re-election

Former Mayor Rick Goldring and former Councillor Rick Craven took part. Is Goldring looking at the possibility of a comeback?

The meeting took on the task of getting the views of those taking part using several on-line polls and setting out what might be decided by setting out four possible concepts and explaining the impact each of those concepts would have on how the community evolved.

For Burlington, the over riding concern was development of the land north of the Hwy 407 – Dundas boundary. Urban to the south – rural to the north of that boundary.  Burlington’s identity as a city rests on two fundamental and foundations beliefs: never touch the Escarpment lands and keep your development fingers off Spencer Smith Park and the Beachway.  They are part of the city’s DNA.

population and growth for region to 2051

The planning that will get us to 2031 has for the most part been done. The focus now is what does Burlington want to build between 2031 and 2051 and where do they want to growth to be located.

circle graphic 1.1 million peoplecircle 500k jobsWhile much of the planning is a numbers game, there is room for community values and growth aspirations.

The Region is given a number by the province that has to be met.  The Region divides up the provincial number between the municipalities.

147,00 people and 69,000 jobs in next 10 years in current approved urban areas

334,000 people and 150,000 jobs between 2031 and 2051 which must be planned for now

How do we make that happen.  Later this week the Gazette will be dig into some of the data and the choices Burlington faces.  Do your homework or don’t complain when you learn five years from now that your Burlington is going to look a lot different.

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2 comments to Long term growth plan for Burlington

  • Connor Fraser

    Thank you for posting about this meeting a few days back, Pepper – it was through the Burlington Gazette that I learned about it + decided to attend! For the record, Kelvin Galbraith (the councillor from Ward One, or someone with the same name) was also in attendance.

    The majority of attendees believed that option #3 – and specifically 3B – is the best. If that result carries over to the majority of Burlington residents, will council commit to supporting it?

    Something that came up from breakout room discussions. If Option 3 is the one we go with, it implies building up higher density within the space we already have. However, some were concerned that higher density without proper access to basic amenities >>within walking distance<< (such as groceries, pharmacy, schools, etc.) will exasperate the traffic congestion even further.

    So, will the council have tenacity to push for these basic amenities to be included within the vicinity of 'Major Transit Station Areas' and 'Urban Growth Centres' so residents can reduce their dependency on the automobile? This is a big opportunity to make sure the future of our city is a low-carbon future. It's not rocket science. But it will take vision and some political wrestling. I'm interested to see if our elected representatives can step up to the plate when we need them.

    Once stuff gets built, is very hard to 'un-build.'

  • Do your homework or don’t complain is right Pepper. But let’s start with the Region’s “approval” of the Burlington New Official Plan. Our homework to date has involved at least 50 hours of research and Burlington Clerk Kevin Arjoon’s refusal to certify copies of 2018 and 2019 Planning and Development Meeting and Council minutes related to the Burlington New Official Plan as they appear on the Agenda and Minutes pages, as accurate copies! A service Halton Region Senior Counsel provided without hesitation.

    A review of the Halton Region Council minutes May, 2018 – November, 2020 shows the adopted Burlington New Official Plan 24-2018 approved by Burlington Council on a 6-1 vote April 26, 2018 (Meed Ward being opposed) shows the Plan has never been reviewed by Halton Region Council (never mind approved by them as the November 30, 2020 Notice of Decisions claims). Burlington Council May 11, 2018 (with Goldring in the Mayor Chair) forwarded the April 26, 2018 adopted Burlington New Official Plan to Halton Region with all the i`s dotted and t`s crossed expecting Halton Region Council with 7 members of the Burlington Council sitting at the table, would review, approve or defer the Burlington Plan.

    Fast forward to December 11, 2018 Planning and Development Meeting. Heather MacDonald, Director of the Burlington City Building Department, at that time, is on the webcast record (but not the minuted official record) of the December 11, 2018 Planning and Development Meeting chaired by Paul Sharman “that the plan would be reviewed by Halton Region Council”. There is no record of Sharman advising Meed Ward that the New Official Plan approval status decision letter she was referencing in a question to MacDonald during the Primer Planning Agenda item 2.1, was not on the agenda (as one would expect it should have been) and she would have to wait until it was properly before Committee before asking her question of MacDonald. Instead December 11, 2018 is the webcast recorded but not the official minuted record as the start of a very successful Meed Ward/MacDonald/Benson plan to change Burlington’s adopted new Official Plan outside of the city AND province’s Planning Legislated Framework .

    The December 4, 2018 letter from Curt Benson, Chief Planning Official at Halton with LPAT stated “oversight” for the approval process for the Burlington New Official Plan and posted on the Burlington New Official Plan website, changed the course of Burlington New Official Plan history regardless of the letter signed by Benson never making it to a Burlington or Halton Council agenda or into the hands of anyone other than MacDonald and Meed Ward as far as we can tell. The December 4, 2018 letter claims many non-evidenced things including Benson was the Halton Region delegated authority for approving Burlington`s New Official Plan and there could be no appeals for non-decision of the upper tier (Halton) approval authority of the New Burlington Official Plan despite it being outside of the legislated time frame for making such a decision.

    We are glad Goldring and Craven are seen to be involved at the Region level at this time, with Official Plans that impact Burlington. They owe it to those they were well paid to “serve” for 12 years to help bring out the truth at LPAT. We will be in touch with them both with the evidenced facts and expect they add their names to community members registering to be participant members for the LPAT PL210040 file that holds its first virtual Case Management Conference on June 11, 2021 to ensure LPAT has the facts about Halton Region Notices of Decision. Notices of Decisions that are well evidenced as worthy of investigation as “false documents” as defined by the Criminal Code of Canada. We will make sure the Gazette gets a copy of the letters to Goldring and Craven and any response they choose to make.