Mayor assures audience that intensification will not impact traditional communities - Tyendaga golf course seems to be safe

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 30, 2015


For an event that is critical to how Burlington decides to grow and of concern to a lot of people who aren’t all that excited about the idea of intensification – Mayor Goldring had some hurdles to get over.

Fortunately he had some good news – Burlington is going to handle the intensification that has to take place very well.

Goldring at Inspire April 2015

Mayor Rick Goldring speaking to a full house at the Performing |Arts Centre about intensification.

The speech was the first Mayor Goldring has given to a large public audience since his re-election and he took the podium at the Performing Arts Centre as the first speaker in his Inspire events. The Inspire events were begun during the Mayor’s first term and have proven to be one of the brightest things he has done. Taking the podium himself put him in the same league as some of the best thinkers in the province.

The public didn’t hear anything astonishingly new during the presentation – basically it was told that intensification is going to take place because it is something we have to do and that Burlington’s traditional neighbourhoods are not going to see significant change.

Ghent trees

The bulk of that magnificent tree canopy in the center of this project on |Ghent east of Brant met with chain saws – it didn’t have to happen.

That statement doesn’t square all that well with the development nearing the final stage of construction on Ghent Avenue where 8 houses were taken down and 58 homes built. But let us not quibble over details. The properties did have a hold designation and they were going to be assembled – there was the chance to do something magnificent but the developer chose to cut down more than 100 trees and build back to back townhouses. That was what they determined the market wanted.

The Mayor explained that the federal government handles immigration and determines how many people are going to be taken in. While the federal government can’t tell the 250,000 people who arrive on our doorsteps where they have to go but it does know that they head for the major urban centres. Burlington is within in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area – we call it the Golden Horseshoe and they come here by the thousands.

The province told the Region how much its population had to grow; the Region took that number and began to allocate it amongst Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills.

Burlington’s population now is at about 178,000 – we have to grow to 193,000 by 2031 – the information available at this time suggests Burlington is on track to reach its targets – the suggestion is that we are a little bit ahead.

Mayor Goldring talked about the opportunity along Plains Road and Fairview. He acknowledged that Aldershot residents are concerned about how growth in their community is likely to change their life styles; he pointed to the very significant potential for better use of land along Fairview.

He added to that the eventual residential development at Eagle Heights at the western end of Aldershot and the interesting way development is taking place in mid-town.

The city has come to realize as well that there is a lot of room for intensification within both the Burlington and Mapleview Malls where some medium rise buildings could be placed with commercial at grade and three to six floors of residential above.

BSP - 730  760 Brant Street

Intensification that complies with the existing Official Plan and the zoning on the property will begun construction early next Spring on Brant Street just south of Ghent

The addition of well over 100 residential units to the Brant Square Plaza is a fine example of intensification that will add value to a community. In this instance it will anchor the new northern boundary of the Burlington Downtown Business Association.

At some point someone is going to do something with the Lakeside Plaza in eastern Burlington.

There was potential along Tremaine Road north of Dundas and some room left in the Alton community.

Mayor Goldring did say that we would not be expanding the urban boundary – that is developing north of the Dundas – 407 border – the statement didn’t come across as a ringing statement – it sounded just a little on the limp side. We will watch the Cogeco broadcast and pay closer attention to the strength of his comment.

The reality is that Burlington cannot on its own change the urban boundary – we would have to convince the Region to let us do that and then we would have to work within a provincial policy and the Niagara Escarpment rules and regulations.

However, during a drive around the Burlington properties that could be developed with then Executive Director of the Economic Development Corporation Kyle Benham, he made the statement that the land on the north side of the 407 was just too good from a commercial exposure point of view to be used for just growing hay. This city knows what developers have been able to pull off in the past.

Bridgewater from the north looking south

The height of the Bridgewater condominium at the edge of the Lake is going to stun the public as the watch it rise storey after storey. It may well prove to be the justification for an even higher building yards away.

That point will get driven home when the Bridgewater condominium begins to rise twenty stories on the edge of Lake Ontario yards from the downtown core.

The Mayor told the audience that the average sale price for a single dwelling was $565,000 – which is great for all those seniors who are approaching the point in their lives when they will want to sell and move into a dwelling that doesn’t require the effort to cut the grass or blow the snow away; a place they can lock up and head to Florida for a couple of months in the winter.

The flip side of that of course is finding younger families who can afford to pay $565,000 for a home.

Brock Condo

The Brock condominium was opposed by the community – it was approved and is now selling – it fits into the community – but that wasn’t the way the public saw it two years ago.

The Mayor pointed out that there have been developments the public didn’t like but were approved nevertheless.  He mentioned the Strata project on Maple.  He could have mentioned he Brock Project as well when he explained that these projects were opposed by the pubkic but they were built and and it didn’t take long for people to move in and like the buildings.

Burlingtonians tend to not like anything that is new or different – they want the city to remain the way it was when they were raising thi r families; those people are growing older and the houses they were raised in are growing older as well.


The proposed Maranatha retirement home on New Street, approved by the city and now before the OMB is an example of the kind of growth Mayor Goldring believes the city should be looking at.

Goldring took the position that the Maranantha project proposed for New Street, now before the OMB, is something people in the immediate community will want to live in – he said at the time that he thought some of the people opposed to the project now will eventually be residents in that building.

The phrase the Mayor said he heard again and again during the election was that everyone loved the city just as it is – one of the things they didn’t want more of was congestion.

Goldring at Inspire April 2015 - hand out

Rick Goldring – Mayor of Burlington explaining the why of justification to an audience of close to 200.

Mayor Goldring was the 17th Inspire speaker – did he Inspire? Well he didn’t get a standing ovation – it was more than just polite applause. Goldring speaks better in front of an audience than he does at Council. There he tends to be stilted, a little awkward, reads from a script and is certainly not relaxed.

There is a quote: “You can take the boy out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the boy.” It will be interesting to listen to Rick Goldring if there is every a day when he leans on a podium and talks from his heart about his vision and lets us see if the boy has outgrown at least some of the country that is in him.

The future concern for Burlington is how many people are we going to have to grow by between 2031 and 2041 – and what kind of people are we going to grow by. The Regions has been told that it has to grow by 220,000 people between 2031 and 2041 – how much of that growth is Burlington going to have to absorb?

Milton has been growing at an exceptionally rapid pace – can it be expected to take more.
GO train service is going to upgrade to every 15 minutes in the not too distant future and our infrastructure appears to be capable of handling a significant amount of growth.

The Region just might be asking Burlington to swallow a large chunk of that 220,000 projected population growth – Rick Goldring didn’t mention that earlier this week.

He will not be Mayor when that shovel full of if hits the fan.

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5 comments to Mayor assures audience that intensification will not impact traditional communities – Tyendaga golf course seems to be safe

  • Questions Raised ....

    I’m curious to know where this ‘220,000’ immigration stat is coming from. I asked the Region of Halton and no-one replied …. Does anyone have a ‘statistical sense’ of what has ACTUALLY happened over the past 5 years? How and where has Burlington ‘grown’? All the municipal signs of population posted around the city still hover around the 175,000 mark (as they have done for over 5 years.) Certainly, Acton & Aldershot have expanded and the area around those two communities will continue to develop, but, overall, it seems unlikely that 120,000+ ‘immigrants’, regardless of where they are coming from, will be able to pony up for a half million dollar home, fresh off the plane…. How does this work from a developers point of view? Are there ‘government incentives’ to build (fed? provincial? and/or municipal?) to meet this unsubstantiated Federal quota? What if the highrise condos don/t sell? What if there is a ‘glut’ of condo projects that none are willing to buy? Will that translate into genuine ‘affordable housing’ for low income dwellers and/or working renters in Burlington? … This whole ‘plan’ raises many more questions then it answers ….

  • Chris

    I don’t get it, all the fuss about us in ALDERSHOT. The bulk of our lawns and homes south of Plains will stay the same in our leafy green way. So what if the Main Street is refurbished. In no Main shopping Street that I can think of that works are there homes; it will mean that we do not have to leave Alderwhot to shop. Bring it on. It can’t look worse than it does. And the homes aren’t old brownstones or flagstones with “preserving “. Corne on people.

  • Peter Rusin

    You should ask the mayor about how he intensified 1100 Walkers Line for over $7M; worse than the pier scandal. You should also ask him how Number 1 Sideroad was the planned urban boundary prior to 407 and why people who owned land got paid development land rates for the highway, and why he did not speak prior to the election about expanding the urban boundary to double load highway 407 to do two things; capitalize on economic development and release prime lands in the urban boundary to accommodate the increase of population increase and traffic congestion. Tyandaga is not the story, there is no opportunity to intensify Tyandaga, or Roseland or other areas that are already developed; what an irrelevant point of discussion. This mayor did not know how to spell intensification prior to the election. Be thankful for the appealing sense of the OMB to overcome this propaganda. Better off listening to the mayors of Hamilton, Oakville, Halton Hills, and Milton, who have the skills necessary to manage this issue. Enjoy your tax increases.

  • “He acknowledged that Aldershot residents are concerned about how growth in their community is likely to change their life styles; he pointed to the very significant potential for better use of land along Fairview.”

    Be prepared to drive to Highway 5 past endless apartments for every single activity of your life. That’s the “change to your life style” part.

    • Chris

      Greg I generally like many of your ideas. But I don’t understand why are we driving up to highway 5? No one ever mentions in Aldershot we have the vast and abundant Lasalle Park. I go everyday and it’s so wonderful but mostly empty . Why do we then need more parks along Plains? Do we need parks where we buy our groceries ? We complain a lot but what about celebrating and utilizing what we do have?