City council is almost mute on the decision to grandfather seven development sites while approving the move of the Urban Growth Centre

By Pepper Parr

November 17th, 2021



Information is a little like water: it has its own way of finding the direction in which it wants to flow.

Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing – Steve Clark

We learn a bit more about what took place and how the Minister of Municipal Affairs did the dirty to the city when he announced the Official move of the Urban Growth Centre and the removal of the MTSA designation to the bus terminal and then added that he was grandfathering seven developments that were within the older Urban Growth Boundary.

That kind of takes the wind out of the Mayor’s sails.

But the woman who won public office on the promise to be transparent and accountable hasn’t been able to make use of those skill sets.

And that promise made during her first election in 2010 when she told a group of her supporters that she wanted their votes but more importantly she wanted their trust.

She got the votes – hard to see where she delivered on the trust part.

We have learned that November 10th was when the decision the Minister made became final. That would suggest that there were ongoing conversations – if they were negotiations – what did Burlington get?

Gazette readers are asking what the city is getting other than the Mayor’s spin that, as one reader put it, goes like this: “Look what I have done, oh, by the way it was too late to stop the high-rise development that will destroy the waterfront”

Ward 2 Councillor Kearns told a resident that she “didn’t receive the actual decision until late on the 11th, then needed some clarity, then the weekend, over to Monday to ensure Council had a chance to review before release.

To be fair to Kearns she did make some rather pithy comments that were part of the media release the city put out. She said:

Ward 2 City Councillor Lisa Kearns

“The Minister’s decision may help reduce the long-term development pressure on existing infrastructure and neighbourhoods. On behalf of our residents, I believe there is good reason for concern about the excessive applications already underway. This decision doesn’t fully support the thoughtful and considered conversations we have had to preserve the character of downtown and welcome responsible growth. I understood us to be working towards the same outcome; should the Minister’s decision fail to address this transition issue, it could result in intense pressure for incompatible change.”

Every member of council sat on their hands over this one. How accountable the voters will expect them to be is anyone’s guess.

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Minister of Municipal Affairs finally gives Burlington the decision it needed six months ago

By Staff

November 16th, 2021



Update from the City of Burlington on Minister Clark’s decision on Burlington’s Downtown Growth

On Nov. 10, 2021, the City of Burlington received official notification of the boundary adjustment of the City’s Urban Growth Centre (UGC) designation from the Hon. Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. The Minister also confirmed the removal of the Major Transit Station Area (MTSA) designation in the downtown.

This marks an important step in Burlington’s effort to stop the over-development of its historic downtown. The removal of the MTSA designation and boundary adjustment of the UGC takes effect immediately and applies to all new applications. This will help control overdevelopment moving forward.

A 3D rendering of some of the development planned, some approved and under construction in and around the the two Lakeshore Roads.

However, the Minister chose to grandfather seven applications that were submitted prior to November 10, 2021 from the UGC boundary adjustment and the City is seeking additional clarification on how to proceed.

The changes announced by the Minister were the result of City Council asking the Minister to adjust the UGC boundary and remove the MTSA designation based on Council’s vision for the downtown. As part of the process, the City was required to work with the Region of Halton to make these changes through a Regional Official Plan Amendment (ROPA). The ROPA process involved extensive work and collaboration between the City and Region and consultation with the public.

The immediate adjustment of the UGC boundary and the removal of the MTSA designation will complement provincial transit investments and contribute to the development of sustainable, transit-oriented complete communities in Burlington. These provincial actions also send a clear signal that the scale and intensity of recent development activity in Burlington’s historic downtown was driven by misuse and reliance on the UGC and MTSA and was not sustainable given on-the-ground realities of physical and social infrastructure.

The football is the land between Lakeshore Road and Old Lakeshore Road where intensive development is planned.

Five of the seven applications located in Burlington’s downtown are before the Ontario Lands Tribunal and the City will strongly advocate that the tribunal take into account the City’s vision for the downtown and the new changes brought in by the Provincial Government.

This is the development Carriage Gate wants to build on the eastern end of the football properties

The City will defend at every opportunity the vision that this Council has set out and worked tirelessly to have included in the Region’s official plan amendment (ROPA 48). We will encourage proponents of those applications to revaluate their projects given the updated provincial policies.

City of Burlington Council and staff will continue to work with the Hon. Jane McKenna and Minister Clark to see that the pace and scale of development in downtown Burlington is appropriate given the wishes of residents and the availability of infrastructure needed to support it.

This progress is the result of City Council and staff working over the last three years to define the vision for the downtown and see it enshrined in local, regional, and provincial planning policy; this work was done by engaging residents and local businesses who provided clear feedback to Council that the downtown is not the place for large-scale development.


  • On Aug. 24, 2020, Burlington City Council unanimously approved requesting the Region of Halton through its Municipal Comprehensive Review of the Regional Official Plan (MCR), to adjust the boundary of the Downtown Urban Growth Centre (UGC) to generally align with the lands in proximity to the Burlington GO Station, and to remove the Major Transit Station Area (MTSA) designation from the Downtown.
  • In 2020, the City of Burlington received a joint letter from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and Ministry of Transportation stating that the Region of Halton, working together with the City of Burlington, can remove the identification of a mobility hub and the MTSA designation in Downtown Burlington.
  • The Interim Control By-law Land Use Study focused on assessing the role and function of the downtown bus terminal and the Burlington GO station as MTSAs, and scoped re-examination of Official Plan policies that focused on the Downtown.
  • The Mobility Hubs Study started in 2017-2018 and focused on area-specific planning work for the three GO Station areas: the Aldershot GO, Burlington GO and Appleby GO Major Transit Station Areas (MTSAs). At that time, the City gathered feedback through visioning, public engagement and technical studies. From there, precinct plans were drafted for each study area around the Aldershot, Burlington and Appleby GO Stations.

Mayor speaking at an event from Spencer Smith Park: How much of the waterfront area is she going to be able to salvage from the Minister’s statement?

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward siad in a prepared statement that:  “Burlington’s Council was elected with a clear mandate to stop overdevelopment, and we will continue to do everything within our power to do so. The adjustment of the boundaries of the UGC and the MTSA are a victory for good planning in Burlington. However, implementation issues still remain to be resolved. The Minister’s decision that the policies apply only to new applications presents a greater challenge to achieving our vision for downtown with the applications already in. But we remain undaunted in our efforts to keep advocating for the best planning outcome for our community.  We thank the Minister and our MPP, Hon. Jane McKenna, for their support on this important work to date, and look forward to their continued support as we seek to achieve the community’s vision for development downtown on all applications before us.”

Lisa Kearns: Is the Councillor for the ward that is facing just about all of the contentious development on the same page as the Mayor

Councillor Lisa Kearns, Ward 2 added to the Mayor’s statement with one of her own, saying:  “The Minister’s decision may help reduce the long-term development pressure on existing infrastructure and neighbourhoods. On behalf of our residents, I believe there is good reason for concern about the excessive applications already underway. This decision doesn’t fully support the thoughtful and considered conversations we have had to preserve the character of downtown and welcome responsible growth. I understood us to be working towards the same outcome; should the Minister’s decision fail to address this transition issue, it could result in intense pressure for incompatible change.”

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Are we stuck with a 29 storey building on Lakeshore Road because the Mayor trusted the Minister of Municipal Affairs ?

By Pepper Parr

November 8th, 2021



Bad enough that the two witnesses from the city’s planning department were not on the same page; now we know that the city was fudging some of the material they were presenting and that they tried to argue that a media release, supposedly put out on June 15th amounted to policy.

Worse – the press release was really a transcript of what a planning staff member recalled understanding what the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing is reported to have said.

We don’t make this stuff up – it comes out of the written decision released by the OLT Ontario Land Tribunal last week that gave Carriage Gate approval to build a 29 story tower. The decision, which appeared to have surprised Mayor Meed Ward when she said:  This is a devastating and shocking decision imposed on our community, which completely disregards the vision of residents, council and staff for this area.

This decision completely dismisses the considerable feedback from residents in opposition to this file – and their valuable suggestions for what would be appropriate. This decision ignored over 100 people who took the time to attend a community meeting, delegate to council, and write pages of letters. There was no acknowledgement of our community’s voice in this decision.

The decision highlights the inappropriate application of Provincial Planning Policies to justify overdevelopment and underscores the importance of a speedy decision from the Minister to remove the Major Transit Station Area designation from downtown and adjust the boundaries of the Urban Growth Centre to the Burlington GO Station, where this scale of development should be. We will continue to work to defend our plan and put growth where it belongs.

Unless the city can pull a rabbit out of a hat – the building on the lefty is a done deal.

The City had argued that on June 15, 2021, the Minister announced that he was moving the location of the Burlington Urban Growth Centre from its existing location to the area surrounding the Burlington GO Station. As a result, the City maintains that the Development is no longer within a UGC area.

The City originally submitted that an adjournment “is required to allow the Parties to provide supplemental witness statements in order for the Tribunal to have the opinions of the expert witnesses on the effect of the subject lands no longer being within a UGC at the time of the Tribunal’s eventual decision in this matter. Without this, the city argued, the Tribunal will not have expert opinion evidence that reflects the policy regime that must be applied to consideration of the applications.

The OLT decision said: “The position taken by counsel for the City and for the Region therefore wholly depends on the contention that a new policy regime was ushered in solely by the Minister’s June 15th oral announcement. This alleged policy pronouncement is claimed to have been captured in an informal transcript filed with the Tribunal – prepared by an unidentified person – of the Minister’s remarks made at the June 15th press conference.

“It appears conceded by the City that the ‘unofficial’ informal transcript that is attached as an exhibit to the sworn Affidavit of the City’s planning witness Mr. Plas is not a complete record of the Minister’s comments made on that occasion. An adequate explanation for this was not offered to the Tribunal.

“Despite the unusual evidentiary basis described above, there seems to be no controversy between the Parties about the main gist of the Minister’s remarks made at this press conference. However, Lakeshore’s (This is the Carriage Gate corporate name for the proposed development on the NE corner of Lakeshore Road and Pearl) counsel adamantly maintains that those verbal comments by the Minister did not and could not constitute the formal lawful introduction of new provincial planning policy.

For marketing purposes it will be known as Beausoleil

During the time period leading up to the hearings, the Region of Halton adopted ROPA 48 (Regional Official Plan Amendment) on July 7, 2021, which, among other things, reflects the noted change in location of Burlington UGC that was apparently mentioned orally by the Minister on June 15th (although Ms. Yerxa for the Region points out that the prior process leading up to ROPA 48 was of considerable duration and reflected much work and consultation along the way, much of which is contained in the supporting Affidavit of Ms. Poad). ROPA 48 is apparently now before the Ministry for approval.

“However, beyond the remarks of counsel for the City and the Region, there was no evidence to demonstrate that the Ministry will approve it beyond a statement to that effect from Mr. Plas in his Affidavit tendered before the Tribunal. In the Tribunal’s view, this is not proper subject of opinion evidence – it is merely argument, which was repeated in more detail by counsel for the City and the Region at the Motion hearing.”

“In response, the Appellant filed an Affidavit from Mr. Smith, an experienced Planner who challenges the conclusions expressed by Mr. Plas about the effect of the press conference announcement from the Minister and also the allegation that the Minister’s oral announcement was “supportive of ROPA 48”. Again, in the Tribunal’s view, Mr. Smith’s statements are also not proper opinion evidence determinative of this particular issue.

“The Tribunal is unable to accept the contention that the oral remarks made by the Minister at the June 15th press conference, taken alone, constitute the promulgation of new Ontario planning policy by way of an ‘update’ or other ‘revision’ of the Growth Plan in terms of the location of the Burlington It is to be noted that the Minister’s remarks do not specify the precise boundary of this apparent location change, nor do they indicate the effective date of the change. In any event, the Tribunal was not convinced by the City counsel’s submission that no written statement or enactment of the change in the Burlington UGC location is required by law.

Did the City of Burlington get screwed over by the Minister of Municipal Affairs or did he just plain forget what he said he would do?

“Neither Counsel for the City or the Region could cite any jurisprudence specifically on this point to support this unique argument. Moreover, in the Tribunal’s view this notion seems counter-intuitive in light of the very detailed provincial planning regime currently in force. The Tribunal specifically disagrees that the Minister’s remarks described above can be treated as a lawful, formal issuance of Provincial policy within the meaning of s. 1, 2 and 3 of the Planning Act.

“The Tribunal also agrees with Lakeshore’s counsel that for the purposes of this appeal the relevant provincial policy provisions include those set out in the current Provincial Policy Statement (PPS)  and the current GP. The Tribunal thus rejects the contention that the current GP has somehow been changed or ‘updated’ in relation to the location of the Downtown Burlington UGC by reason either of the June 15, 2021 oral comments of the Minister or the content of the draft ROPA 48 which has not been approved by the Province.

“The Tribunal is of the opinion that the City’s proposition that a hearing should be adjourned to deal with anticipated possible future changes in provincial policy is:

(a) without foundation and without case law authority;

(b) amounts to a repudiation of long-established jurisprudence since it requires the evaluation of planning applications on the basis of alleged “emerging” policy intended to signal a new evolution of priorities for intensification in the City; and

(c) is highly unusual given that the very notion of modifying the UGC boundary in the City was not introduced until nearly 2 years after the Appellant’s applications were deemed complete by the City.

This is the Urban Growth Boundary that Mayor Meed Ward fought hard to have changed. She thought she had – the Minister of Municipal Affairs said he would approve but had not yet signed the decision. So, legally it has not been changed and the Beausoleil development get the go ahead from the Ontario Land Tribunal

Nick Carnecelli had a stronger case and lawyers who knew what was acceptable in terms of evidence – something the city didn’t have .

The Tribunal also agrees with the submission of counsel for the Appellant that:

“the press conference statement itself goes no further than suggesting the Minister “will be moving” the UGC, not that it already has been moved. This is a statement of possible future intention and nothing more. It provides no indication of how or when. It does not discuss implementation at all. There is no reference to ROPA 48 despite the statement of Mr. Plas. It refers to “long-term planning” as opposed to immediate effect”.

As a final matter, the Tribunal further disagrees with the argument of the City’s counsel that the purposes and policies underlying the Tribunal’s Rules of Practice and Procedure in any way require the granting of the City’s adjournment motion in the unique circumstances of this case, and the Tribunal declines to exercise its discretion to do so.

What does all this mean? First that the city is made to look like a couple of high school students screwing things up.

Secondly, it leaves the Mayor with a problem with the OLT decision, which, try as she might, is likely to hold.

This piece of land and the site of the Waterfront Hotel will be the next battle ground. Then there is the north side of Lakeshore Road from Brant to Martha that will get the developer treatment.

What impact is the decision going to have on the several development across the street in a piece of land known as the football where there are two developments working their way through the application process and at least two properties within the football that do not have any development activity ongoing.

Mayor Meed Ward had put everything on getting the Urban Growth Centre Boundary moved and she thought she had it done.

Both Planning and Legal are responsible for this one.

How many more like it are there out there?

Related news story.

City planner described as not an expert witness in OLT decision.

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High rise is coming to Waterdown Road - 29 storeys is what they are looking for. No mention of any parkland.

By Pepper Parr

November 5th, 2021


Rendering of the proposed development.


We have been told they were coming and indeed they are coming.

Not all the development is taking place in the downtown core either.

Infinity Development is holding their required pre-application meeting on November 17th via Zoom.

Their proposal is for a 29 storey, mixed-use development, including 295 residential units within a tower portion and retail/commercial land uses on the ground level of a 4-storey podium. The remaining three (3) floors of the podium are proposed for above-grade parking area. A total of 320 parking spaces (and bicycle parking) are proposed in a combination of two levels of underground and podium level parking.

No comments are received by the City during the Pre-Application phase. Public comments may be directed to the applicant during this time. Once a complete application has been received the public will be notified, and comments will be received by City staff.

The planner on this development has, as in other developments it has presented in, been sparing in the amount of detail they choose to share.  Listen closely and press them for details when you get the opportunity.

The two houses on the left will come down. Not the kind of street that is safe for children.

This development seems to be the cookie cutter of choice design that is being offered: Four level podium with a tower rising up to the 29th level.

This is a part of the city where development is being encouraged; it is within the Major Transit Service Area.  What is missing is something in the way of public space; Waterdown is already a high traffic area – cars move along at quite a clip.

Check the ward 1 Councillor’s web site for zoom details.  The Gazette will publish those details the day before the event.

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Did the GO train screw ups impact you? Here's what happened


By Staff

November 2nd, 2021



Did the GO train schedule screw up impact you this past weekend – Oct. 30 and 31?

Metrolinx explains what happened.

There is never a good time to shutdown the busiest commuter rail line in the country.

This past Saturday (Oct. 30) was particularly rough with the combination of Halloween festivities, sporting events, and concerts all drawing people to downtown Toronto.

So, what happened? During a routine track inspection, GO Transit crews discovered a section of the tracks between Port Credit and Clarkson GO stations was unstable, so much so that trains could no longer pass through the area safely.

The transit agency made the difficult decision to shut down that section of track.

This huge hunk of equipment was brought in to smooth and stabilize the tracks which then had to be tested to ensure the tracks were stable. It could have been worse and happened during rush hours.

Making the fix

Behind the scenes, transit experts at Metrolinx drew up a plan to keep people moving and got started immediately on the repairs. Extra GO buses were called in to shuttle people between Port Credit and Clarkson, and Lakeshore West train service was reduced to hourly to avoid further delays.

The team initially estimated it could take up to 24 hours to complete the repairs but crews worked through the night – during the rain – on Saturday to get the repairs done as quickly as possible, in hopes of reducing the impact to people on Sunday.

Once the initial repairs were made, a large machine known as a DynaCAT was brought in to smooth and stabilize the tracks. Finally, GO had to run a test train over the repaired section at slow speeds to make sure everything was good to go.

In the end, the teams got the job done in time for regular GO train service to resume on Sunday morning.


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What happened to the Waterfront Hotel study that got mentioned in 2005 ? It doesn't seem to have a timeline - however, the owner of the hotel site has a timeline

By Pepper Parr

October 26th, 2021



This is one of those chicken and egg situations – which came first ?

We’d like to revise that just a little bit and ask – which should come first?

The public was recently treated to a pre-application presentation by Bousfields, the planning consultants hired by Vrancorp to re-develop the Waterfront Hotel site.

The twin towers would change more than the skyline of the city.

The designs that were made public were stunning – but much of the public reaction was less than enthusiastic – what stunned them was the idea of putting two towers on Lakeshore Road, one that would be the highest in the city.

Nice buildings but not in Spencer Smith Park, was the predominant comment.

The two towers were proposed for what the planners called the iconic ground zero location – the intersection of Brant and Lakeshore Road where a 35 storey and a 30 story tower were to replace the nine storey hotel.

The site has been the focus point for a lot of planning – some of it going back more than a decade.

An agreement had been put in place to have a study done on how best to develop the hotel site and have it compliment Spencer Smith Park and the Promenade.

The area to be covered in the Waterfront Study that started back in 2005. At this point there isn’t a completion date – there is a report that is scheduled to go to Council in 1Q of 2022

Vrancor, the corporation that owns the hotel, is reported to have put up the $150,000 to have the study done. They are understandably upset. They paid for the study but the study was not completed. The city doesn’t have a planner assigned to the study – the most recent word is that the planning department will be getting something to council in 2022.
This may be one of those times when the horses are out of the barn and it’s too late to close the door.

In June 2018 Council went along with a revised Work Plan for the study that was to be completed by Q1 of 2019, (This was before Meed Ward became Mayor.)

The re-thinking of what could be done with the site goes back to 2005 with a follow up report in 2006.

There was a subsequent site-specific policy requiring that a planning study process be completed prior to any redevelopment of the subject site.

Residents at a workshop setting out their ideas with planner Thomas Walker.

The 2018 report called for a high quality of urban design reflecting the landmark nature of this site, that “shall be contingent upon the completion of a master plan to the satisfaction of City Council.”

Public meeting to consider what the waterfront area should include.

In 2015 Council approved the terms of reference for the Waterfront Hotel Lands Planning Study.

In 2017 the Waterfront Hotel Planning Study was publicly launched, beginning with a pair of visioning workshops in May.

In November of 2018 the site’s significance was affirmed at the Planning and Development Committee meeting, evidenced by a number of delegations that presented a varied set of interests and development concepts.

A series of drawings that got whittled down to two Preferred Concept – and that as far as the study of the Waterfront Hotel site has gone.

At this point, 2018, the public had a series of drawings that resulted in two preferred concepts for development.

A group known as Plan B inserted itself into the process with their position that a thin red line be drawn beyond which there would be no development west of the hotel site.

Despite extensive engagement opportunities, a clear consensus on direction had not yet been achieved. Staff then built upon the consultation work done through three community workshops (a total of six sessions); what came out of the Planning and Development Committee held on November 28, 2017, and significant contributions from the Vrancor Group and the Plan B Citizen Group; they created key policy directions to move forward.

The key policy directions were intended to align with the vision statement, accommodate an iconic landmark building, and reinforce the site’s unique location as a major gateway to the waterfront.

One of two renderings of what the site might look like. The entrance to the development would be from John Street not Brant


Early concept didn’t have the height that was shown in the pre-application presentation.

The key policy directions have been organized around the study’s three frameworks and guiding design principles of Land Use and Built Form, Public Realm, and Mobility and Access, as follows:  Land use and built form and Public Realm are important and it is vital that everyone share the same understanding as to just what this means.

Land Use and Built Form
1) Create building frontages along Lakeshore Road and Elizabeth Street with building placement that establishes a defining street wall and frames the street zone.
2) Provide active uses at grade along Lakeshore Road and Elizabeth Street.
3) Achieve active and animated edges adjacent to Spencer Smith Park, with a requirement for retail and service commercial uses at grade:
a. Built form next to the south property line shall activate and animate this edge, respect the existing grade, and be scaled to the waterfront trail with higher levels stepping back as necessary.
b. Built form next to the west property line shall activate and animate this edge, respect the existing grade, and be scaled to Spencer Smith Park with higher levels stepping back as necessary.
4) Require a minimum of two uses within buildings and where feasible, encourage three uses.
5) Establish an iconic landmark building on the site subject to the following:

a. A new public, pedestrian space is provided at the foot of Brant Street where public views to the Lake and Pier are enhanced;
b. The iconic landmark building must contain a destination use or function;
c. The iconic landmark building shall enhance the City of Burlington’s image/identity.
6) Require design excellence in all matters of architecture, landscape architecture, sustainable and urban design and require that all public and private development proposals on or adjacent to the site be evaluated/reviewed by the Burlington Urban Design Advisory Panel.

An unobstructed view of the Pier from Brant Street was objective number 1 for almost everyone.

Public Realm
7) Protect public view corridors to Lake Ontario from Brant and Elizabeth Streets, and where possible John Street.
8) Enhance the Brant Street view corridor to frame views to the Brant Street Pier, and require a significant building setback from the west property line.
9) Create new and enhanced publicly accessible green/open space, which would include new north-south pedestrian connections between Lakeshore Road and Spencer Smith Park (mid-block and along the site’s edges).
10) Minimize changes to the existing grade along the southern edge of the site and enhance the interface with Spencer Smith Park.
11) Integrate a public washroom within the future redevelopment; with an entrance that is accessible, highly visible and within close proximity to Spencer Smith Park.
12) Identify opportunities for the placement of public art on and adjacent to the site.
Staff was to continue with background work and in early 2019, re-start the process with a refreshed look and feel building on the above policy directions. This will include a revised work plan and new public engagement plan which leverages the city’s newest communication and engagement software and tools.

Changes to the existing land use designation and permitted building height are not included in the new Official Plan – as it was in the then current Official Plan – not the one that the new Council adopted in 2019.

The process would involve a site-specific amendment to the Official Plan at such time as the study is completed by the City and approved by City Council.

What muddies up a clear understanding was the existence then of a downtown mobility hub, that problem was resolved; then a change in the Urban Growth Centre boundary.

The ICBL – Interim Control By Law was imposed and then the world was hit with a pandemic brought about by the Covid19 virus.

We are now at the point where a sense or normality seems to be returning.

Add to that a frenetic increase in the development applications that required the city to hire more than a dozen new planners.
Then along comes the planner for the hotel site owner saying they were tired of waiting and did a pre-application presentation that shocked many.

That pre-application is the beginning of a process that has a ticking clock.

The towers are closer than many realize – closer to the street than the hotel on the site.

So back to that first question:  which should come first – the completion of the Waterfront Study or the accepting of a development application.

There is an important connection between this Waterfront Study and the City’s new Official Plan, the Downtown Mobility Hub Area Specific Plan, the City’s Transportation Plan, Cycling Master Plan, Community Trails Strategy, the Transit Plan and the Tall Building and Downtown Streetscape Guidelines, all of which are necessary to ensure that redevelopment of the subject property meets the City’s urban design and growth management goals, as well as enhances the adjacent public space and waterfront.

People began asking – what about the Waterfront Hotel Study and wondering how a pre-application presentation could be done before the study was complete.

There is a lot riding on what is to be built on the hotel site; people are getting anxious.

Will the downtown core begin to look like the Toronto waterfront where a lot of the land south of the Gardner Expressway is studded with towers that limit the view of Lake Ontario?

Not much is being heard from the politicians – they have taken the view that they can’t say much at this point without being accused of being biased.

The point at which they feel they can comment is when planning staff produce their report that either recommends that a development proceed, or that the development not proceed or that they should continue working with the developer.

The stickler at this point is this: the city has 120 days to produce their report to council – something that is close to impossible for a development of this size.

Once the 120 point has been met the developer has the right to go to the Ontario Land Tribunal to ask for permission to proceed with the development.

Burlington has not done very well at the tribunal level, partly many feel because of the direction that comes out of Burlington’s legal department.

With all those agencies commenting the project begins to create some momentum that it might not be possible to hold in check.

The Gazette has made the telling of this story a mission.

The people of Burlington are going to have to make it a mission to ensure that Council hears what they think and feel.

In the next 13 months we are going to go through a provincial election and a municipal election.  The strategy for those who care about where growth takes place and the kind of growth that takes place should be a mission as well.

Related news stories:

The pre-application presentation

Is there a different approach to how the site can be used?  A land swap perhaps?



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Engagement Plan that is detailed and filled with information that hasn't been discussed yet at MTSA meetings

By Pepper Parr

October 20, 2021



This Background piece is on the long side.  It is the first time we have seen such a comprehensive engagement plan with so much detail and really relevant information.  While we are surprised we also want to thank the Communications people for being this candid.

Burlington is in the next phase of city-building as it approaches full build-out of the urban area. The undertaking of area-specific plans (ASPs) for Burlington’s Major Transit Station Area (MTSA) represents the City’s continuing implementation of its vision for appropriate intensification and the protection of established neighbourhoods by focusing future population growth to key areas, and in particular, a focus around higher order transit.

Way back in the beginning the GO stations were called Mobility Hubs and at that time the bus terminal in the downtown core was included a Hub. That mistake made it possible for a developer to put up a 26 storey tower which opened things up for other developers.

This is a big big deal – it involves something in the order of 20,000 people and or jobs in what will be a small village of its own.  It will take decades to get through it all and it may well change in some form going forward.

The city has put together an Engagement Plan – it runs 13 pages long – with a lot of surprising information.

Area Specific Plans for the properties within each MTSA  have to be created.

This work started out as a Mobility Hub study which was placed on hold in Q1 2019 to allow for a shift in focus to emerging planning priorities, including the Region’s Municipal Comprehensive Review, the scoped re-examination of the adopted Official Plan and the Interim Control Bylaw Land Use Study.

There are a number of key differences that resulted in significant changes to the scope and considerations of the work that had to be done including the completion of all required technical studies, further public and stakeholder engagement and the completion of three (3) area-specific plans, as well as the associated implementing Official Plan and Zoning By-Law amendments and other implementation strategies which may be required to get everything before Council.

Citizens will show up for a meeting if you make it interesting enough and promote it effectively. We will have to wait until we are out of Covid19 rules for events like this to take place

The Engagement Plan highlights the points in the process at which engagement will take place, who will be engaged, and the level of engagement. The plan also clearly defines which aspects of the process the City and public can influence throughout the discussion.

Decision Statement
At the beginning of an engagement process, it is helpful to know, “what is the decision to be made?” A decision statement clearly identifies:
• what decision needs to be made;
• who is the decision maker; and
• when the decision is required.

The decision statement for the MTSA ASP project is as follows:

“By June 2022, Burlington City Council will vote to adopt amendments to the Burlington Official Plan, 2020 to incorporate Protected Major Transit Station Area (MTSAs) area-specific plans to guide development and investment around the Burlington, Appleby and Aldershot GO Station Areas.

“Amendments adopted by Burlington City Council will then be forwarded to the Region of Halton for approval.”

Summary of Stakeholders

A stakeholder is anyone who has an interest or concern about a specific topic. To identify the stakeholders for the MTSA ASP Project, a mapping process will be used to confirm all the people who are affected by this work, those who have influence or power over the work and those that have an interest in its outcome, based on the stakeholders previously identified through the Mobility Hubs Project. It is expected that various individuals and groups will be identified across the following categories:

• Residents and resident groups (including newcomers, young families and young people) • Community organizations; special interest, advocacy, and activism groups
• Government and public service providers (internal and external) • City Advisory Committees and arms-length city agencies
• Indigenous Communities • Development industry
• Businesses and business groups • Major facilities1 within or adjacent to study areas
• Private and non-profit community service providers • Elected officials
• Media

Once the stakeholders and interested or affected individuals and groups have been confirmed, the engagement milestones in this plan will be refined to reflect the tactics and level of engagement required for each party throughout the MTSA ASP Project.

Objectives of Engagement
The following objectives provide a clear understanding of what the public engagement will strive to achieve through the community discussion about the MTSA ASP Project:

• Provide relevant information about the project, decision-making process, and how the public can provide input and feedback;

• Work with City communications and engagement staff, as well as consultants, to provide a coordinated approach to engagement, communication and evaluation of the MTSA ASPs and their implementing policies.

• Provide multiple channels for people to provide meaningful input virtually and, if possible, in-person at appropriate decision points;

The Getting Involved web site has loads of information and is the place documents are stored for quick retrieval. It takes some practice to get the hang of it all – but it works.

• Create an ongoing record of what is said during engagement opportunities and make it available to the public throughout the process, so they can track the progress of the project, including reports back to the community that highlight how feedback was or was not incorporated into the final recommendations to Council;

• Gather meaningful input from members of the community whose voices are historically underrepresented in conversations about city issues;

• Establish a project page on as the main online platform for up-to-date information about the project and upcoming engagement opportunities;

• Use clear, plain language in the delivery of the Engagement Plan to inform the public about what can and cannot be influenced through the MTSA ASP Project.

Project Stages and Engagement Milestones
At a Special Meeting of Council on June 8, 2021, City Council [modified/endorsed] the work plan for the MTSA ASP Project. The key project stages and associated engagement milestones are presented below. For each project stage, the engagement plan identifies where public input will take place, who will be involved in the engagement and what level of engagement will occur.

The strategies that will be used for public involvement in the MTSA ASP Project reflect the feedback provided to the City in the May 17, 2021 Council Workshop. Relevant feedback from related projects has also been considered, including the new Burlington Official Plan, the Scoped Re-Examination of the Downtown and the Interim Control By-Law Land Use Study. These strategies will be further refined by the MTSA ASP Project Steering Committee.

Policies and Factors That Cannot be Influenced
In every public engagement process, it is important to be aware of the things that cannot be influenced: either because they are beyond the City’s control (for example things that are required by regional or provincial policy or law), or because they are outside the scope of the project as set out in the Council-approved work plan. In discussing the Major Transit Station Area (MTSA) Area-Specific Planning (ASP) Project, the following aspects are considered ‘givens’ and will not be included in engagement activities:

1. Planning policy at the local municipal level is informed by legislation, policies and plans such as the Planning Act, Provincial Policy Statement, Growth Plan, Halton Region Official Plan, Metrolinx Regional Transportation Plan and others.

2. City Council can adopt proposed amendments to the Burlington Official Plan, but Halton Region is the designated approval authority. Halton Region may modify City-proposed amendments prior to approval and, if appealed, the approved amendments may be subject to further change through the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, (Now named the Ontario Land Tribunal) except for PMTSA policies and zoning regulations protected from appeal under the Planning Act.

3. The proposed Area-Specific Plans and associated implementing mechanisms will be prepared for the Burlington Official Plan (2020), not the Burlington Official Plan (1997).

4. This study is focused only on the Downtown Burlington Urban Growth Centre/Burlington GO MTSA, Aldershot GO MTSA and Appleby GO MTSA. MTSA boundaries and the corresponding minimum growth targets are being set by Region of Halton through its Municipal Comprehensive Review. Draft Halton Regional Official Plan Amendment (ROPA) 48 proposes updates to the Regional Structure and includes formal boundaries for each of the MTSAs within Halton Region. Once approved by the Province, these boundaries and targets cannot be appealed.

5. Urban Growth Centres (UGCs) are strategic growth areas that are planned for greater population and job growth and higher rates of development than other areas in the City and Region. Provincial policies set out minimum density targets for these areas, which are implemented through the Regional Official Plan, and then through the Burlington Official Plan. Draft ROPA 48 includes an adjusted boundary for the Burlington Urban Growth Centre (UGC). If approved by the Province, the adjusted UGC boundary will center around the Burlington GO Station Area.

6. In 2017, a new policy framework for “Protected Major Transit Station Areas” (PMTSAs) was established in the Planning Act, R.S.O 1990. PMTSAs are a municipal tool used to support Higher Order Transit infrastructure around Major Transit Station Areas by establishing minimum density targets and transit-supportive land uses which are protected from appeal. In accordance with Planning Act section 16(16), once identified in an upper-tier municipal official plan and approved by the Province, PMTSA policies cannot be appealed.

Similarly, once implementing policies and zoning have been enacted at the lower-tier municipal level, the prescribed policies cannot be appealed.

PMTSAs may also require Inclusionary Zoning to support affordable housing objectives. Specifically, official plan policies may authorize Inclusionary Zoning by authorizing the inclusion of affordable housing units within buildings or projects containing other residential units, and by providing for the affordable housing units to be maintained as affordable housing units over time.

7. This project will refine and build upon the draft precinct plans developed through the former Mobility Hubs Study in 2018. However, as these plans were released as preliminary and were neither endorsed nor approved by City Council, they are subject to change based on further public engagement and the completion of technical studies.

8. Certain aspects of this project will be informed by the outcome of various technical studies, many of which are required by legislation and policy. These technical studies are undertaken in accordance with established criteria and completed by qualified experts.

9. The Burlington MTSAs are complex, previously developed areas with multiple landowners. The City does not have control over the speed of change related to development. Property owners decide when and if they will develop or redevelop their property.

10. The implementing Official Plan Amendments must be adopted by City Council by June 2022.

11. The implementing Zoning By-Law Amendments must be approved by City Council by December 2022.

Kwab Ako-Adjei, Director, Corporate Communications & Engagement at City of Burlington, has set out a demanding criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of the Engagement Plan. Burlingtonians haven’t seen an approach like this before.

How the City Will Collect and Respond to Feedback
Throughout the engagement process, City staff will diligently collect and record all input provided by stakeholders. All input will be recorded by theme into response tables, showing in detail how the comments were considered and how they did or did not shape the study process, the Area Specific Plan and their associated implementing Official Plan amendments recommended to Council, and why.

Evaluating the Engagement Process
Throughout the MTSA ASP Project, City staff will capture interim feedback on the engagement process through measures such as feedback/satisfaction surveys. This will allow for ongoing and incremental evaluation of engagement efforts and will support an iterative process where feedback may influence the engagement process throughout the project.

To assist in measuring how the public participation contributed to the final project decision to be made, the following will be used to evaluate the overall public participation process.

1. Once the project is complete, measure the degree to which community members felt they:

a. Understood the project’s process and its limitations
b. Understood how the feedback they provided influenced the outcome of the City Council approval.

2. Evaluate each form of engagement. How did each of the engagement approaches used help to achieve the engagement objectives?

3. Analyze how the feedback received about the forms of engagement informed new or alternative approaches to the overall public participation process as the project moved forward.

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City of Burlington recreational facilities and vaccine status

By Staff

October 20th, 2021



The City of Burlington will continue to follow the Provincial mandate and require proof of vaccination in City recreational facilities for all who are eligible for the vaccines.

City-operated services and facilities not impacted include:

  • City Hall at 426 Brant St.
  • Outdoor sports fields
  • Diamonds, parks and playgrounds
  • Burlington Transit
  • Halton Court Services

Parents can watch – but they must show their proof of vaccination papers.

To enter a City facility, visitors will need to show a piece of identification with their name and date of birth and either:

• Show their vaccine certificate with QR code (paper or electronic), or
• Show their vaccination receipt (paper or electronic)

Parents and/or guardians may enter a facility for a maximum of 15 minutes to drop off and pick-up a participant for a program, without showing proof of vaccination. Parents who are required to stay in the facility for the duration of the program must be fully vaccinated.

All current regulations around screening, masking and physical distancing will not change based vaccine status.
To download your vaccine certificate, go to

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Making decisions: Soon maybe on some key issues

By Pepper Parr

October 20th, 2021



To get some sense as to where your ship is going – you want to know something about the person at the wheel and the decisions they make.

Same rule applies to the Mayor of Burlington.

There have been some very good decisions. The decision to have the Urban Growth Centre moved north was a good decision.

A smart lawyer and a planning department that didn’t understand just what the concept of Mobility Hubs (now called MTSA’s) was all about.

The Mayor was dead on about the bus station that was declared a Major Transit Service Area – as soon as she had all the information she saw the obvious.

The disturbing part of that was that the council that served from 2010 to 2018 neither knew or weren’t told by the planning department that the designation given that bus station was an error. Instead they left it in place and the result is the 26 storey Nautique that is now under construction.

Someone in Planning should be wearing that one.

Meed Ward understood the mood of the electorate and chose limiting development and making sure that the development that was coming was the right kind in the right place.

She basically chased the developers out of the downtown core.

Admittedly there are a number (about four with several pieces of land within the football that have not been dealt with) of development along Lakeshore Road and within the football that are a problem.

Mayor Meed Ward does not appear to be ready to take a position on the re-development of the Waterfront Hotel site. Is this one of those “right things in the right place”?

And of course there is the Waterfront Hotel development that could take the growth of the city as we know it today in a much different direction.

Perhaps it is time to think in terms of how Burlington could adapt to the change and make it work for them. We don’t see the city planning department getting in front of issues and being proactive.

The decisions in front of the Mayor now that are a concern are:

The Holiday market, which is now  a done deal that got through Council under the shadiest of circumstances;

The park within the Molinaro development at Brant & Ghent;

The Waterfront Hotel site and the redevelopment of that property; and

her enthusiasm for the Holiday market scheduled for December 9th to 12. The Mayor buys into the claim that 1000 people will take part. What that market will do to the merchants in the downtown core who are struggling to stay above water is something they Mayor doesn’t seem prepared to take into account.

Very recently the Molinaro Group took part in a Statutory meeting in which they revealed their plans for a half acre park that would be created at the east end of the development at Brant and Ghent.

Traffic for the towers on either side of Brant would exit and enter via Ghent. The half acre park is shown on the far right. Title to the land would be registered with the Condominium Corporation .

The plan was to create the park, then turn it over to the condominium corporation that would eventually be set up to represent the interests of the condominium unit owners.

The idea that the unit owners will go along with their owning and maintaining a park that would be open to the public is a real stretch.

Anyone who has served on a condominium board would tell you that this is one of the craziest things they have ever heard of.

This is described as a half acre part which was described as bringing some of Spencer Smith Park north

The Mayor seems to think that the city would get another park at no cost and residents of a condominium will cover the costs of keeping it operational.

Renderings on what a park could look like.

Will the information about the park for which unit buyers will have to be clearly set out in the sales literature? Will it be clearly set out in the condominium agreement – those things run to several hundred pages which only the lawyers read.

The Mayor does not appear to have taken a position on the proposed redevelopment of the Waterfront Hotel site. One has to ask: Where is the claim that this Mayor wants the right development in the right place ?

There was a time when Meed Ward was all about Truth to Power – now that she has the power Truth seems to have been mislaid.

Growing from a really ballsy ward councillor who brought about some significant changes to the way the city operates, we appear to have a Mayor who has lost the wind she used to have in her sails.

She has pulled together a large part of her re-election team and she is in campaign mode.

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman – considering his options?

And at this point there doesn’t appear to be anyone willing to run against her – except for Councillor Sharman who is probably considering his option.

Go for it Paul!

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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Planning the new Aldershot - time for public input - there is a workbook to help

By Staff

October 18th, 2021



Burlington has embarked on a huge city building project.

When completed the city will have three distinct neighbourhoods; the eastern part of the city will have a new neighbourhood centered on the Aldershot GO station.

This is the western boundary of the Station West Development built by the ADI Group.

A significant part of the community building has already taken place in Aldershot.  The Station West development by the Adi Group is well underway with three more towers to be built on the south west corner of the property that edges onto Masonry Road.

The other two new neighbourhoods will be centered on the Burlington and Appleby GO stations.

The city Planning Department is now working to get feedback from the people who will be impacted by these very significant changes.

A public meeting was held to explain what is planned.  To get feedback from the public the Planners have devised a WORKBOOK that they say will take 30 to 45 minutes to complete.

Completing the WORKBOOK is voluntary and the information people provide is confidential (even to city staff).

The Planners recommend you complete the workbook on a laptop, tablet or PC to view the images in a larger format and keep a copy of the Preliminary Preferred Precinct Plan open in another tab or browser window to assist you in answering the questions and as a point of reference.

The link to the WORKBOOK is HERE.  It is a little complicated.  Just scroll through the pages, click on the images and then return to the page.  There is enough instruction to get you through it.

The workbook is available in other languages. To request, e-mail  You may also use the “Select Language” translate button found on the project page to translate both the page and workbook.

An MTSA (Major Transit Service Area) is the area within 500 to 800-metres of a higher order transit station (these are the three GO stations) that are expected to be about a 10-minute walk from the GO station.

These are seen as the three most critical locations within the urban area expected to accommodate the majority of the City’s forecasted growth to 2031 and beyond.

Through the preparation of the new Official Plan, new policies were developed to guide development and change in the Downtown and Uptown (at Appleby Line and Upper Middle Road). The MTSAs are now the remaining priority locations for which detailed planning must be completed to establish the vision for growth, to guide development, investments in transit, infrastructure and public service facilities, including parks, and to support significant future population and employment growth.

To some this project may feel familiar.  From 2017 to 2019 the City worked on developing area-specific plans (ASPs) for the three GO Station areas, then called the Mobility Hubs Study.  The MTSA ASP project will build upon, and advance, the work done through the Mobility Hubs Study.

The objective of this project is to plan to accommodate new residents and jobs by setting a vision for three unique, complete communities that are centered around the City’s three GO Stations along the Lakeshore West rail line.  These communities will be environmentally friendly, infrastructure-efficient, walkable, bikeable, and will support local and regional transit with a diverse mix of employment, housing, recreation, and shopping features.

What have we heard so far?

Engagement was a key element of the previous Mobility Hub Study work. From the feedback received through 2017 and 2018, a number of key themes emerged to provide guidance in planning for these areas:

Increase, Improve and Support…

Public spaces by supporting existing and new open spaces, parks and other community spaces that are safe, usable, inclusive and interactive, and incorporate public art, landscape features etc. to enhance placemaking.

Community amenities by encouraging an increased scale and mix of commercial/retail uses at grade, including grocery stores, coffee shops, community and recreational space etc.

Mobility by designing a well-connected, safe and accessible public realm with active animated streets and robust cycling and pedestrian networks, focused on direct connections to and from GO Stations.

Housing options by planning for a diverse range of different and affordable housing choices to cater to all ages and abilities.

Private Spaces by encouraging sustainable design and variety of architectural styles to create distinct buildings and enhance neighbourhood character, and by reinforcing midrise corridors.

Public engagement by providing residents with enough time to engage and increase resident engagement and clearly explaining the required growth targets for Burlington.

Parkland by planning for park and public spaces that consider the needs of the entire area including developing fair approaches to meet that objective.

Traffic congestion by supporting the public transportation network and investing in additional facilities for walking and cycling.

Solid Gold site as it exists today.

Building height and transition concerns by clearly explaining planning rationale for where height is being located, ensuring and explaining how height will be regulated, and by reducing losses of sunlight and privacy through appropriate building height transitions.

Speaking of height limitations – this rendering represents what the owners of Solid Gold want to build on a site that currently has a single story structure.


Established residential neighbourhoods by ensuring built form, height and transition support and respect existing character, and providing clear policies for heritage protection.

The planners learned that:

Beyond the broad themes highlighted above, a number of key themes specific to the Aldershot GO MTSA also emerged, including the consideration of:

– opportunities for new bike paths, including through Aldershot Park;

– opportunities for amenities to support residents and employees;

– opportunities for complete streets, including Cooke Boulevard;

– ways to manage the impacts of increased traffic along Plains Road;

– opportunities to incorporate mid-rise development along Plains Road and Waterdown Road; and

– excluding the low-density residential properties located on Clearview Avenue and a portion of St. Matthew’s Avenue.


A little more detail on what might go where

Now the planners need your feedback. The input you provide may inform:

– Refinements to the vision (i.e. land uses, building heights, urban design considerations etc.);

– Precinct changes (i.e. policy directions, boundaries, built form directions, etc.);

– The preparation of the area-specific plans or the development of policy.

There are more specific details about all of the work that has informed the preliminary preferred precinct plan, including technical studies, can be found at


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Mayor hosts Mayors from 29 big cities - shows them what we have going for us

By Ryan O’Dowd: Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

October 15th, 2021



Ontario’s Big City Mayor(OBCM) caucus met in Burlington for the first time since the pandemic began yesterday. The housing crisis, municipal finances, COVID-19, and what the OBCM will ask of provincial candidates this election featured on the agenda. Rocked by the pandemic the OBCM issued a stern call to action for long-term stable funding for municipalities from the federal and provincial governments.

Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward with Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman and Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie.

Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, and Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie joined Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward to speak to the media about the meeting’s content.

The OBCM presented a united front on the lifting of pandemic restrictions, agreeing decisions on this matter should be made uniformly across the province citing citizen movement between regions under different levels of lockdown as a primary concern. They reiterated that lifting restrictions must be based on science rather than political pressure.

Mayor Guthrie wanted to see more action from the federal and provincial government to assist municipalities through pandemic recovery, accusing them of finger-pointing responsibility to each other. Guthrie pointed out the municipal government is the only sector of government legally not allowed to run a deficit. Guthrie felt municipalities have had to ask the government for assistance too often without action.

“Municipalities are ready, we already know what our impacts are from the pandemic, and we know what we need. So we ask respectfully the provincial and federal government to put the fingerprinting away and get to work on trying to help to make sure municipalities are made full, especially when it comes to the impacts financially, the deficits that we’re all facing. We thought we would only have those deficits within the 2020 year and here we are in the 2021 year.

“Our budgets are staring us in the face the next couple of months,” said Guthrie.

Mayor Crombie brought up a request for a new model of funding for municipalities, saying “we’re still asked to build 21st-century cities with 19th-century tools.” She pointed to municipalities as the only sector of government that had to lay off staff as among the reasons long term sustainable funding is required. The OBCM members in attendance voiced their support for this request, a request Mayor Guthrie said has been discussed for some time.

Facing public transit ridership slashed by over 50% Mayor Lehman lamented the difficult decisions facing municipalities under the current funding model in deciding what services to cut.

“Ridership numbers are a big gap from where we were two years ago, and that’s going to require some changes to be made faster and that’s the kind of support that we will need now, it’s less about emergency funding week by week now it’s about how we recover strong; that will be addressing deficits that make cities make critical choices in terms of cutting services,” said Lehman.

Mayor Meed Ward put the figures of the municipal deficit strain in sobering terms for Burlington residents.

“In Burlington, the combination of lost revenues and added expenses for us is close to $5 million. If we had to make that up just through taxes, that is close to a quarter percent tax increase before we do anything else that is just to dig ourselves out of a hole. So when we look at all the other needs that we have in the community and inflationary pressures, we would be looking at outrageously high taxes – close to 10, or 15%, if we had to make it ourselves and clearly that it’s not palatable or acceptable or sustainable for anyone,” said Meed Ward.

Ontario’s Big City Mayor caucus features mayors of Ontario’s 29 cities with a population over 100,000 which means they represent nearly 80 percent of the province’s population.

Housing crisis considerations were discussed ranging from homelessness to the middle class, with what was labeled an increasingly clear gap between supply and demand in Southern Ontario. Rental costs were included in the discussion, where Burlington ranks the fifth most expensive city in Canada to rent, one-bedroom apartments averaging over $1800, as per the latest available data from The kind of policy-based action used to combat the housing crisis will grow clearer with requests put to provincial candidates this upcoming election.

Few municipalities have the breath taking views.

Discussions were had about bail reform and addressing what OBCM called the catch and release policy which has seen repeat offenders commit violent acts. It was a topic brought up in the meeting by former provincial leader of the opposition Mayor Patrick Brown, who did not appear for media availability, the present members voiced support for change.

The meeting was hosted at the new Pearle Hotel and Spa, an impressive venue at the waterfront.

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Rivers: A Halloween Scary Story - All Trick and No Treat

By Ray Rivers

October 13th, 2021



City Council passed resolutions to phase out natural gas

Burlington is one of over 30 municipalities, comprising 60% of Ontario’s population, which have passed resolutions for Ontario to phase out natural gas electrical production by 2030. They get it. Fires, floods, droughts, insects, storms – climate change will affect us all. This week, Canada has been accused of being one of the top 10 countries by most responsible for bringing climate destruction upon the world. On a per capita basis, we rank No. 1.

Nature Climate Change, has published a new scientific report examining 100,000 events and concluding that 80% of our global land mass and 85% of the world’s population has already been affected by global climate change. The World Health Organization, the UN and health care practitioners have pointed out that air pollution from burning fossil fuels, which also drives climate change, is causing more than seven million premature deaths each year, that’s 13 deaths every minute – and almost twice what we have seen with the COVID pandemic.

Ontario was the first jurisdiction in North America to ban burning coal for electricity production, in part to clear the air of smog pollution, but also to reduce the province’s carbon footprint. By 2014, the government had shuttered the largest greenhouse gas (GHG) point source on the continent, reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the province by the equivalent of removing seven million cars off the road.

To replace coal, the province began the process of developing wind and solar energy projects to complement its nuclear and hydro resources. Gas powered electricity was included only as a transitional source while the province fully developed its renewable sources, and to assist with peak power demands

He marches to his own drummer – to a tune that sounds out of key.

That all came to a stop with the election of a new government to Queen’s Park in 2018. Premier Ford did everything he could to reverse Ontario’s transition away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy. He fought the imposition of a federal carbon tax; shut down Ontario’s emissions trading system at a cost of billions; more recently he has acquired new gas plants at a cost of $3 billion; and he has expanded natural gas infrastructure committing thousands more to the continued use of that fossil fuel.

Almost on day one Ford killed every single new renewable project he could, and even stopped those in process – some 700 in total at a cost of hundreds of millions to Ontario ratepayers. His intention was clearly to cripple the province’s renewable energy systems so that when the nukes go down, as they eventually will, natural gas powered electricity will be the only way to keep the lights on.

Natural gas is misnomer. Methane, its real name, is just another fossil fuel, and no more natural than coal or oil. However coal or oil don’t impact our climate unless they are burned. Methane, is a powerful greenhouse gas (GHG) on it’s own, as much as 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide. And methane is released at all stages of its lifecycle, from the well head to the home consumer.

As this is being written Canada is joining other nations in promising to reduce domestic methane emissions by 30%. But what are the chances of that if gas consumption is increased? Ontario will fail to meet the premier’s 30% emissions reduction target if fossil fuel use is expanded. And that would imperil’s Canada’s Paris commitment of a 40% GHG emissions reduction.

When the lights went out.

So when all those municipal resolutions requesting the province phase out gas production started arriving on his desk, Mr. Ford turned to the province’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), which manages the overall provincial supply of electricity. However the IESO is not as independent as their name implies and answered the premier’s call with the exact answer he was looking for. They scribbled two phrases on the back of their provincial pay packets. Phasing out gas by 2030 might mean power shortages and it might mean higher costs.

But this impact assessment, as they called it, is a sham. Real experts, people like Prof. Mark Jacobson of Stanford University, considered the world’s leading climate technology expert, tells us that gas power plants now cost twice as much as solar power. He should know, his team of engineering scientists and PhDs have been advising governments on renewable energy in over 140 countries, including the White House. And Canada’s ever increasing carbon tax will make the gas alternative even less competitive by 2030.

This is not the first time an arm of government, even one which calls itself independent, has let the government politicos hold the pen. And scary stories of lights flickering out and hydro bills leaving us without bread on the table could never be more timely with Halloween just around the corner. But this is very much a trick and no treat.

Wind farm in Eastern Ontario

2030 is only about a decade away. According to the Canadian Wind Energy Association, more wind energy had been built in Canada between 2009 and 2019 than any other form of electricity generation. Over that period wind energy alone went from scratch to meeting the needs of over three million Canadian homes. Does anyone really believe that only gas can keep the lights on? And the cost of wind energy has fallen 70 per cent in the last nine years,

That this IESO report lacks vision is undeniable. And it is shameful that the body which manages energy supply in Canada’s largest province could produce such a rubbish projection. That is what’s really scary – that the folks in charge of our energy supply haven’t a clue about all the technological progress occurring in renewable sources of energy and energy storage systems. And that the IESO has apparently never heard of global warming.

And even when they decide – or are told to – proclaim gas as Ontario’s future energy source, the IESO picked the wrong gas. They barely mention hydrogen gas, particularly for energy storage to back up wind and solar when the weather is uncooperative. The federal government and the oil and gas industry is pouring vast sums of research money into developing green, and even blue, hydrogen resources. And work is progressing on how to adapt existing pipelines for its safe transmission.


Burlington and the other municipalities deserve better than the slam dunk, shut down they have been handed by the IESO and the premier. Under the IESO plan, methane to produce electricity will skyrocket from 7% to 30% by 2030. The City of Ottawa has rejected the IESO report and demanded they go back to the drawing board. This will also impact the air quality of people living everywhere in the province, since methane burning also yields significant amounts of smog pollution.

What is really scary about this IESO report is that while most countries are trying to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels, the Ontario government is planning a major expansion of its carbon footprint – possibly expanding GHG pollution from the gas plants by more than 300% by 2030.

Even as global leaders sit down to discuss how they can further reduce GHG emissions, Ontario’s premier is thumbing his nose at those efforts. He is swimming against the tide to defy world opinion and federal climate policies. And he is ignoring the will of all the people he claims to represent in this province who, who unlike him, seem to care about the future of this planet.

Ray Rivers, a Gazette Contributing Editor,  writes regularly applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was once a candidate for provincial office in Burlington.  He was the founder of the Burlington citizen committee on sustainability at a time when climate warming was a hotly debated subject.   Ray has a post graduate degree in economics that he earned at the University of Ottawa.  Tweet @rayzrivers

Background links:

Ontario Coal Phase Out –   Methane Emissions –   IESO Study

Ontario Energy Policies –   Wind Power Cost –  Australia Battery Storage

Climate Change Impacts –   Canada Methane Commitment –  7 Million Deaths

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New Director of Transportation: Tolone retired more than a month ago, doubtful there will ever be another like him

By Pepper Parr

September 29th, 2021



When there is a new appointment at city hall the Gazette reports on the newcomer and their experience.

Craig Kummer, newly appointed Director of Transportation.

Craig Kummer was announced as Director of Transportation Department; it is an important job and he brings an impressive record of achievement with him.

But before we get into telling you about the new Director – we would be amiss if we did not say goodbye to the Director who retired.

They called it the New Street Diet. Tolone never got a chance to say what he really thought of the idea. He kept his head down and lived through it – until the then Mayor gave up on the idea.

There will never be another Vito Tolone at city hall. He was more than unique – a pleasure to listen to, even when he got excited when an audience was giving him grief. Vito had to deal with traffic and in Burlington that is a touch point.

With Craig Kummer now signed on and fresh business cards to hand out he may want to get an idea of what Vito had to deal with.

Vito Tolone was not impressed. He had to deal with a city that had too many cars, not enough roads and a public that did not want to give up on their cars.

Vito knew more than anyone else what was needed to keep traffic moving – he was seldom listened to – even though he usually had the answers. We are told that Vito is about to take up carpentry on those occasions when he isn’t chatting with his friends at the Fortinos at Limestone Ridge.

Kummer brings over 20 years of public sector experience in the Transportation Industry to the City of Burlington.

For the past five years, he has served as the Senior Manager of Traffic Services with the City of Brampton and was responsible for the strategic alignment and delivery of programs within the Traffic Services Section.

During this period, he oversaw the implementation of many citywide initiatives including one of the province’s largest Automated Speed Enforcement programs and Brampton’s Active Transportation Master Plan.

He listened, he watched and he made a difference.

Kummer was an active member of the City of Brampton’s Smart City Team and the Hurontario Light Rail Transit Transportation Management Committee where he provided guidance and insight on transportation issues.

Prior to this, Kummer held several roles within the City of Brampton in the areas of Traffic Signals, Street Lighting, and Traffic Operations. In these roles, he was instrumental in the implementation of Transit Signal Priority and Brampton’s traffic management centre.

It was a day Vito Tolone just wanted to forget.

An active participant within the Transportation Industry, he offers support to moderate certificate programs, and currently sits on the board of directors for Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Canada.

Kummer is a graduate of the Transportation Engineering Technology Program from Mohawk College and has completed numerous management certificates.

He will join the Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility Service Group on Oct. 13 and report to the Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility.

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Architect explains what will make Waterfront Hotel site the top destination in the city

By Pepper Parr

September 26th, 2021



Lilia Koleva is a partner with the firm of architects that did the early design work on the structure the proponent wants to build on the site of the Waterfront Hotel.

Lilia Koleva

Ms Koleva did not determine how high the towers would be – her job was to find a way to create as much density for what is expected to be a multi-use development that will include 537 apartments, a 130 room hotel, four levels of parking, office space and retail space.

She told the audience taking part in the Zoom presentation that she was there to explain what had been done so far in the way of design work and to listen to what the public had to say.

Unfortunately, the public wasn’t very large for what was a required pre-application presentation by the developer at which the Mayor and the Ward Councillor got to say a few words. The Mayor explained that the city had yet to receive an application to build anything. The ward Councillor assured everyone she would be following things very closely.

Before Ms Koleva spoke the proponents planner explained how the plans fit into the various levels of the municipal planning process and proceeded to try and show that there were tall buildings under construction around the waterfront and that this development, the largest ever, was going to be located at what he called “ground zero”  for Burlington – the intersection of Brant Street and Lakeshore Road.

The Gazette published an article on that part of the event on Thursday.

They will soar above Lakeshore Road.

Ms Koleva’s job was to move from the planning realm to that of architecture and explain what the site was going to look like and how it would work as a place where, to use a favourite city phrase, people would live, work and play.

The public entrance to the site would be from John Street into an open area with the towers on either side. A graded slope would lead to the open area leading to the edge of the lake. The slope, which is quite steep, will be terraced.

The project includes two towers, a 35 storey and a 30 storey tower that sit on top of a four storey podium that frames the public realm and creates a large courtyard space in the middle.

The podium has been scaled to urbanize and animate Lakeshore Road to the north, and Elizabeth Street to the east and Spencer Smith park to the west by adding new amenities to the park.

Not sure the citizens of Burlington are ready to have this part of the city “urbanized and animated”.

Ms Koleva explained that the distance between the towers is generous, minimizing overshadowing enhancing privacy of residents, and also giving ample space for the public below.

In what can only be described as ‘architect speak’, Ms Kolev said: “Careful articulation of the architectural elements like terraces, … in the kind of white color creates a gentle curve that reflects the lake ripples and appealing gentle curve of the façade …. providing beautiful views of the lake”.

The views of the lake are a huge concern for many people. The design presented does away with a wide view of the lake from Brant Street with a four level podium butting quite close to the pathway leading to the Pier and the Promenade..

The view from John Street will lead right into a large open space that will be part atrium and part open space leading to the land that leads to the lake.

That space will be terraced – how steeply terraced isn’t clear yet. Ms Kolev did acknowledge that there is a substantial slope that has to be dealt with.

Additional architect speak has “the owner and the project team envisioning a truly landmark project with high quality design and excellence achieved through the iconic tower curves, novel materials and subtle lighting accentuating the curve for the podium which includes a transparent atrium.”

The illustration below is unfortunately small in scale making it difficult to figure out what is going to go where.

In this cross section of the building, the view is looking down to the lake. In pink are the residential uses, in blue the hotel which is limited to the podium level on the west side where the views will be to the lake and the Promenade. The amenity spaces are in green and there they are the kind of the bar or the bridge that connects at the podium level. The office functions are in purple; two levels of office function are proposed at this time. Commercial is shown in orange. Amenities are shown in green.

The towers are diamond shaped with a slender front facing the lake and then a kind of step like podium. Below in gray.

There is then a large setback to the north, the footplate of the towers meets the requirements of the tall building guidelines; those floor plates gently reduce in size as the towers go up. This reduces the shadowing effect, and also makes the towers look sharp and slender. Setbacks are provided at all four with a generous setback along Lakeshore road. At the core of the project is an ample public realm of green space.

From a landscape perspective the setback along Lakeshore road envisions patio space and flexible seating, large canopy trees and decorative metal fencing around the perimeter.

In reports to Council a number of design principles were set out. The architects were expected to incorporate these principles into the design.

The first row of trees are those that exist now along Lakeshore. The architect envisions a second row of trees which along with the pavers would create a pattern look that differentiates the active users from building entrances.

The team is also continuing to develop the central zone, the space between the two buildings.

The continuation of the atrium leading to the lake will have accessible ramps and stairs with planters and some trellis and furnishings to create a unique space for event gatherings and public use of the podium which frames the views from the towers which rise from this level.

This Open Atrium is what connects a complete open vista from John Street to Lake Ontario.

The site has a significant slope to the green space on the south side.  In the image there is a  substantial grade that will be terraced with trellises and seating areas.  The terracing will step from Lakeshore down to the Waterfront Trail.

The residential space in the towers will break down currently into 23 studio units;  212 units as one bedrooms; 165 one bedroom plus a den; and 139, as two bedrooms; and some units of three bedroom for a total of 557 units.

These numbers would adjust, the importance here is to stress that they are envisioning a variety of spaces, and a variety of units.

We are at the beginning and we’re looking to hear your feedback on this as well. So of some of those strategies are commercial opportunities at grade. We are envisioning this to be a very open, transparent, ground floor with an active street frontage and a truly animated experience very, very different to what the experience is at the moment with the large setback of the existing building.

We also envision public art opportunities.

Last but not least, the importance of the connection to  Spencer Smith. Park, where we adjusted the building to the natural topography, allowing the entrances and active uses at Lakeshore level and what we call the lake level.

Essentially, what that means is we have a higher level along Lake Shore and a lower level at the lake, and we’ve stepped up the program in such a way that these active frontages could maintain the natural sight topography.

Being in one of the city’s prime locations, we acknowledge also the importance of active transportation and connectivity to the public transit network. So, we are providing short term and long term bike storage.

It is difficult to convey what the architects have in mind with so little in the way of images. Ms Kolova did her best.  Had this pre-application event been held in a public place with people in attendance – and be assured the room would have been packed – Covid19 has robbed us of that opportunity – much more information would have been available and better questions asked.

Once an application has been filed there will be a required Statutory meeting at which questions can be asked.

We can expect as well that groups opposed to the idea of high rise development on the site will have things to say.

Now that the public has a glimpse of what the proponent wants – might we hear something from the members of council?



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Developer's consultant explains what they have in mind - looking for feedback.

By Pepper Parr

September 25th, 2021


The Gazette has been able to tell this story after wrangling with city hall to get access to the recording of the Zoom event.  Details on what that was all about are set out in the link at the bottom of this story

On September 8th a required pre-application presentation was done virtually by the planners for Vrancor, the company that owns the Waterfront Hotel site.

David Faletta

David Faletta is a planning consultant speaking on behalf of the owners, about the proposed plans for the re-development of the site.

Faletta is a senior planner with Bousfields, a top ranking Ontario Planning Consulting firm.

He started with a brief overview of the planning policy framework that applies to the site and setting out what the early thinking was for the site which he described as both ground zero for Burlington and an iconic location in the city. (Iconic is certainly getting a work over by anyone talking about the features in the city.)

The towers sitting atop a four storey podium that would house office space, a 130 room hotel. The towers would be residential.

He was joined by Lillia; Lillia described the development proposal in detail making use of a lot of visuals.

Faletta said he was there to provide some clarity regarding the proposal and to hear what people think.

The number of people taking part in the Zoom meeting was believed to be less than 100.

Faletta described the site and its surrounding contexts.

The red locations signify developments that are over 11 storeys. They set out the pattern of the built form and show clusters of tall buildings approved and proposed in the area. ave been completed or are in the planning stage. At this point in time there are two development in the downtown area that are under construction with a third being built close to Maple Avenue.

The site was described as “pulled away from the street lines” and is “very underutilized in an area that is asking for urban edges that animate the surrounding context.”

The developer’s planner points to the nine structures above – one has been approved and built – the others are concepts that are in different stages of planning. Most are at an appeal stage.

Faletta uses visuals “to show some of the development activity in the neighborhood. It’s also intended to show the pattern of built form surrounding the site. And “wanted to to illustrate the pattern of building heights in the area. “There are clusterings of tall buildings that surround the site, some of which are existing, some of which are proposed, and some of which are approved.

“In terms of what those heights are directly surrounding the site there are existing buildings that range from 12 to 22 storeys.

There are buildings that are approved of up to 26 storeys. And then there are buildings that are proposed up to 29 storeys.

“There’s been a significant amount of new urban tall buildings being built and or proposed in the vicinity of the site. And this aligns with provincial regional and local planning policy, which mandates intensification, especially in strategic growth areas, such as the urban growth center.

“The intention is to move to a more compact, transit supportive and sustainable development form and policies have been directing this type of development since the inception of the growth plan in 2006.

“Buildings are taller, they’re more slender. They include podiums that are pulled close to the street line that include active uses that animate surrounding streets and public realm elements.

The only development that has been approved on Brant Street is The Gallery located directly opposite city hall and under construction.

There are buildings further north along Brant street that have been approved, and are under construction: 374 Martha Street, 26 storey building and the Bridgewater development approved and built at 22 stories.

Faletta has the site located within the urban center the downtown urban growth center and designated as a site specific policy area that requires the downtown waterfront hotel planning study to be completed.  Faletta was technically correct – the revised boundary has yet to be approved by the Minister; however the Minister has said publicly that he would sign the document approving the Regional Official Plan which sets out the boundaries of the Urban Growth Centre

That study is intended to guide development of the site, given its, its strategic location.

In terms of a planning policy framework sites within a strategic growth area are intended to intensify into urban compact development form that is sustainable and transit supportive.

The ongoing Waterfront Hotel planning study, that was fully funded by the proponents who paid the city, a significant amount to undertake the study (the amount has been reported to have been $150,000. It was started back in 2017, and halted in 2018. And it has sort of sat idle since.

And at this point, we’re looking to progress. The development of the subject site. So the Waterfront Hotel study as you will recall, had a number of public information centers and public engagement elements. There were two emerging preferred concepts that came out of the study.

This is what came from the city planning department. It sets the entrance to the site coming from John Street. Brant Street would be the entrance to Spencer Smith Park and the Pier. Elizabeth Street would be the eastern boundary and where vehicles would enter and exit the four levels of parking.

It was the emergence of the Preferred Concept designs that resulted in the creation of a citizens group that came forward with a Plan B – that called for no development west of a thin red line.

(A few word mention was all that Plan B got from Mr. Faletta.)

The black line denotes the east side of Brant Street. The red line is what the Plan B people think the western boundary off any development.

I just want to finish off on the Waterfront Hotel planning study that council approved and pointed to the three design principle categories that fall into eight preferred design principles that speak to active uses at grade, active and animated edges, iconic landmark buildings view enhancements to the public realm and connectivity to public art and a pedestrian oriented gateway.

The purpose of the required pre-application meeting was to give the public a chance to see what the developer has in mind and for the public to make comment – directly to the developer’s planner – Bousfields.

The developer is required to explain how they responded to the suggestions and ideas that were submitted.

If you have something you want to say – write it out and send it to:

David Faletta


1 Main Street West

Hamilton ON

Faletta.was followed by the architect who did much of the work  She gave a closer more detailed look at what the site would look like and how it would work.

Her presentation is set out as a separate article.

Related news story:

Getting the story was not a slam dunk

Part 2: Architect explains how the site will work

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What is being done to address the issue of housing affordability ?

By Staff

September 22, 2021



The evidence is in, and it is overwhelming. The cost of housing has grown much more quickly than household incomes. The past year has seen housing affordability discussed frequently as the impact of COVID-19 on changing work arrangements has created different opportunities for where people are located. This Community Dispatch will look at what is being done to address the issue of housing affordability.

Based on the belief that every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable home, The National Housing Strategy (NHS) is a 10 year, $70-billion plan that the federal government has put in place to create a new generation of housing in Canada that is affordable and inclusive. The NHS is designed as a toolkit to address challenges across the housing continuum and spectrum of housing needs, with its initial focus on vulnerable Canadians including women and children fleeing violence, Indigenous peoples, seniors, and newcomers to Canada. The National Housing Strategy will result in up to 100, 000 new housing units and 300, 000 repaired or renewed housing units creating an entirely new generation of housing in Canada.

Using a mix of funding, grants, and loans, the strategy will create affordable, stable, and livable communities that are mixed-income, accessible (located near amenities and transportation), and sustainable. Rising house prices have made home ownership more difficult. Additionally, Canada’s rental housing supply is aging, many buildings are in poor shape and in need of costly repairs, and the overall supply is not keeping up with the needs in many cities. Therefore, by bringing together the public, private and non-profit sectors, the NHS can create new affordable housing supply by increasing the capacity of the community housing sector, increase funding for building new affordable shelters and supportive housing, encourage construction of sustainable rental apartments using low-cost loans, and utilize surplus lands and buildings to create socially inclusive housing that provides solutions to housing challenges. However, recent analysis of the NHS by the Parliamentary Budget Officer has found that the impact on housing need has been limited over its first three years.

Housing is a federal issue.

While ambitious in its targets, the NHS’s program design is not beyond critique. Its centrepiece financial instrument, the Rental Construction Finance Initiative (RCFI), for example, is ostensibly designed to address rental stock gaps by providing housing developers with quicker access to loans, thereby accelerating housing supply. Critics have argued that the RCFI – which is receiving 85% of the total increase in the NHS budget – may help increase housing supply for “middle income renter demand,” but the inflated income thresholds used in its framework impedes it from providing significant affordable housing solutions (see CURE Brief, Review of RCFI, Jan, 2021).

The government of Ontario is supporting the goals of the National Housing Strategy through the Community Housing Renewal Strategy and the Housing Supply Action Plan. 56% of renter households in Ontario cannot afford the average rent for a 2-bedroom apartment ($1,266). Rising housing costs have a significant impact on low-income households, and many require some form of assistance through the community housing system.

The Community Housing Renewal Strategy outlines how the government of Ontario will work with community partners to stabilize and grow the community housing sector. It is proven that when people have the housing they need, they have better health, education, and employment outcomes.

The province needs to show serious leadership if the number of new affordable housing are to be built.

When housing is affordable and in areas near transit, schools, workplaces and amenities, individuals have the opportunity to manage their lives and raise their families. Community housing provides a home for people working in low-income jobs, for seniors, those living on social assistance, and for individuals with developmental disabilities, mental health and addictions challenges and for people who have experienced homelessness, domestic violence, or human trafficking. Community housing provides homes to over 250,000 families and individuals across Ontario.

In order to increase the supply of market housing, the Ontario government is developing a detailed Housing Supply Action Plan to create more affordable and good quality places to live. During an online consultation, more than half of the submissions from the general public said their top criteria when looking for a home were affordability, followed by transit, schools, and services located nearby. By making the most of infrastructure investments and encouraging more density around major transit stations the plan will make it easier to build the right types of housing in the right places and help Ontarians find a home that meets their needs and budget.

The success of the National Housing Strategy also requires collaboration with municipalities to empower communities to create strategic plans and locally informed approaches to curb and reduce homelessness while creating new housing opportunities for vulnerable residents. The Comprehensive Housing Strategy, initiated in 2014, serves as the Region’s 10 year housing and homelessness plan that strives to encourage and protect affordable housing in Halton. In 2019, Regional Council endorsed the Comprehensive Housing Strategy Update 2014-2024 – Five-year Review, which provides updated actions and targets for the CHS. These include creating a range and mix of new housing across the housing continuum to meet the needs of the Halton community; protecting existing rental housing so that it continues to be available to residents; and, providing coordinated services to Halton residents who need support to obtain or maintain their housing.

The State of Housing Report is prepared annually to provide a review of housing supply and demand and is used to inform the Comprehensive Housing Strategy.

Halton is a community of more than half a million people with some of the most expensive housing in the province – creating affordable and attainable housing is proving to be a challenge.

Halton’s vision includes advancing the supply of an adequate mix and variety of housing to meet differing physical, social, and economic needs. The report also assesses the Region’s success in achieving its Regional Official Plan housing targets that call for at least 50% of new housing units produced annually in Halton to be in the form of townhouses or multi-storey buildings, and at least 30% of new housing units produced to be affordable or assisted housing.

Halton’s Housing Model gathers various information including household income, household spending, housing costs, and average rents in the region from a variety of data sources including Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), Statistics Canada, and Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC).

An analysis is then conducted on this data that generates thresholds based on household income and housing cost and that calculation is undertaken for both the assisted and affordable (non-assisted) segments of the housing continuum. A table showing the income and housing cost thresholds in included below.

Income and Housing Cost Thresholds table from the State of Housing Report 2020, Halton Region

Lasting impact of COVID-19
According to the Oakville Resiliency Report of 2020, the pandemic has also made the task of finding affordable housing more difficult. Cost of housing including rentals have fluctuated and many congregate living situations have become dangerous due to the difficulty of physical distancing. Long-term care facilities were hit the hardest by the pandemic with overwhelming outbreaks among residents and staff.

Emergency shelters were also impacted by the pandemic, having to reduce their capacity to abide by social distancing guidelines. Within Halton, a new shelter for families and single women was acquired, while the Lighthouse Shelter was transformed to a men’s only shelter with targeted mental health supports. As well, hotels were being leveraged as needed to address surge demand.

According to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board Market Watch, as of August 2021 the average sale price for a home in Halton was $1,206,016, an increase of 17% from the previous year.

The pandemic has created extra challenges and exacerbated others. For women in abusive relationships, there was increased risk when stay at home orders were implemented and violence escalated. According to Halton Women’s Place, shelter capacity decreased based on Covid guidelines, leaving many fleeing violence unable to secure space. As a result, women were waiting longer to come. It is anticipated that there will be a surge after the pandemic ends.

Evictions during the pandemic rose – then there was a ban – but the ban ended.

Changes to the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) in the context of the pandemic have also impacted low- income and otherwise marginalized tenants and brought awareness to inequalities and accessibility concerns moving towards online hearings, as documented by Ontario Legal Clinics. Access to technology is highly unequal and the LTB cannot assume that all individuals have equal access to computers, internet connection, phone minutes, or the private space to participate meaningfully in hearings. Additionally, accessing legal assistance or advice during the pandemic when many legal clinic staff are working remotely is challenging especially with short timelines and delays in processing of important documents electronically. With these changes, the LTB has a responsibility to ensure that its response to COVID-19 does not unfairly exacerbate homelessness or the effects of the pandemic on racialized, Black, and Indigenous communities, or renters living in poverty.

This Community Dispatch was produced by Community Development Halton, a not for profit organization that focuses on community development for the Region.

Related news stories that will be published in the near future are on: Inclusionary Zoning; newer forms of housing arrangements and Renovictions – a rather nasty practice some landlords are  using.



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City of Burlington will observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30 as a holiday

By Staff

September 22nd, 2021



The City of Burlington will observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Thursday, Sept. 30 as a holiday. To mark the importance of the day, City of Burlington administration buildings will be closed.

Residential school survivor Lorna Standingready (left) is comforted during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada closing ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, June 3, 2015.

Beginning Sept. 27, and leading up to Sept. 30, City employees will observe the holiday by focusing on educational events and opportunities that reflect on the nation’s past and recommit to understanding the truth of our shared history and advancing reconciliation.

We encourage residents to visit the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation website for educational materials and event opportunities.

City Services open and closed on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021:
City Service Holiday Closure Information

Animal Services The Animal Shelter at 2424 Industrial St. remains closed to the public due to COVID-19. To report an animal control-related emergency, call 905-335-3030 or visit

Burlington Transit Burlington Transit will operate a regular weekday schedule on Sept. 30. For real-time bus information and schedules visit

The downtown terminal at 430 John St. and Specialized Dispatch will be open.
City Hall The Service Burlington counter at City Hall (426 Brant St.), will be closed to all appointments and walk-in service on Sept. 30.

Many service payments are available online at

Halton Court Services – Provincial Offences Office All court proceedings will be closed on Sept. 30 and all matters that were scheduled for that day will be rescheduled.

Court administration counter services at 4085 Palladium Way will be open and operating with skeleton staff on Sept. 30, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Telephone and email services will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at: 905-637-1274 and

With the exception of the skeleton staff operations on Sept. 30, telephone payments are available at 905-637-1274, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. All in-person services are available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday to Friday. Many services are also available by email at or online at Halton Court Services.

Parking Paid parking will be in effect on Sept. 30.

In Downtown Burlington, receive 90 minutes of free parking when you pay for parking at the pay station or using the HonkMobile app.

Parking in Downtown is Burlington is free after 6 p.m. and on weekends.

Recreation Programs and Facilities Drop-in recreation programs and rentals will run as scheduled on Sept. 30. Visit or follow @BurlingtonParksRec on Facebook and @Burl_ParksRec on Twitter for the latest updates.

Registered recreation programs will be closed on Sept. 30. Participants impacted will be contacted with additional details.

Please note: In keeping with the provincial regulations and Ministry of Health guidance, effective Sept. 22, 2021, individuals entering indoor City facilities used for sports, recreational fitness activities, meetings, and events, will be required to be fully vaccinated (as defined in the provincial guidance) and provide proof of vaccination, along with identification (unless otherwise exempt). To learn more, visit

Roads, Parks and Forestry The administrative office will be closed on Sept. 30. Essential services will be provided as required.
Burlington is a City where people, nature and businesses thrive. As residents continue to rediscover many of their favourite spaces and activities in the city, City services may look different as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19. The City’s commitment to providing the community with essential services remains a priority. Sign up to learn more about Burlington at and follow @CityBurlington on social media.

Quick Facts
• Sept. 30, 2021 will mark Canada’s inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation also known as Orange Shirt Day.

• In June 2021, the federal government passed legislation proclaiming Sept. 30 as a public holiday. The holiday is one of 94 calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and is intended to honour and commemorate Indian Residential School survivors and those children that did not make it home.

• Before it was a public holiday, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was started in 2013 as “Orange Shirt Day” where Canadians would wear the bright colour as a sign of their allyship and support toward Indigenous communities.

Links and Resources
• Learn more about Orange Shirt Day and how you can contribute:
• Hear Survivor stories and read the Calls to Action at National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.


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Enhanced vaccine certificate - What this means for City of Burlington facilities

By Staff

September 17th, 2021



The Province of Ontario’s enhanced vaccine certificate to stop the spread of COVID-19 launches on Sept. 22:

What this means for City of Burlington facilities

The Province of Ontario will require people to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of their vaccination status to access certain businesses and settings starting Sept. 22, 2021.

Requiring proof of vaccination in these settings reduces risk and is an important step to encourage Ontarians to get their shot, which is critical to protecting the province’s hospital capacity, while also supporting businesses with the tools they need to keep customers safe, stay open and minimize disruptions.

Impacts to City-operated facilities
In keeping with the provincial regulations and guidance, effective Sept. 22, 2021, individuals entering indoor facilities used for the following purposes (unless otherwise exempt, see “exemptions” below):
• Recreational fitness activities
• Meetings
• Events
will be required to be fully vaccinated (as defined in the provincial guidance) and provide proof of vaccination, along with identification.

Individuals may use a paper or downloaded vaccine receipt as proof of vaccination until such time that the Province introduces an enhanced digital vaccine receipt that features a QR code.

When visiting an indoor facility used for sports, recreational fitness activities, meetings, and events, pleasebe prepared to show proof of identification, proof of vaccination, and a completed COVID-19 screening, at point of entry. Please plan ahead to allow additional time for entry to the facility and programs.

City-operated facilities not impacted
City-operated services and facilities not impacted by the provincial regulations include:
• City Hall at 426 Brant St.
• outdoor sports fields
• diamonds, parks and playgrounds
• Burlington Transit
• Halton Court Services

A COVID-19 screening, physical distancing, face masks and capacity limits remain in place at all City facilities regardless of the proof of vaccination requirement.

Under the provincial regulations, providing proof of vaccination against COVID-19 does not apply to:

• Workers, contractors, repair workers, delivery workers, students, volunteers, inspectors or others who are entering the business or organization for work purposes and not as patrons. This includes sport coaches and officials.

• A patron entering an indoor area solely (15-minute limit):
o to use a washroom
o to access an outdoor area that can only be accessed through an indoor route
o to make a retail purchase
o to pay for an order or purchase admission
o as may be necessary for the purposes of health and safety.

• Children under 12 years of age.

• Patrons under 18 years of age who are entering an indoor facility for the purpose of participating in an organized sport, including training, practices, games and competitions.

• Patrons who provide a written document completed and supplied by physician (designated as “MD”) or by a registered nurse in the extended class (designated as “Registered Nurse (Extended Class)”, “RN(EC)”, “Nurse Practitioner” or “NP”, stating that the individual is exempt for a medical reason from being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and the effective time-period for the medical reason. Patrons with a medical exemption are required to present identification and a written document stating the individual is exempt for a medical reason.

Individuals who have registered for a program and wish to withdraw
Individuals who anticipate the proof of vaccination requirement will impact their ability to participate in City-run activities they have registered for, can contact Customer Service at or 905-335-7738 (Monday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and weekends 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.) to withdraw for a credit or refund.

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Halton opening four community immunization clinics to help students catch-up on important vaccinations

By Staff

September 15th, 2021



To support the health and safety of Halton students, Halton Region will begin operating community immunization clinics to offer the Hepatitis B, HPV and Meningococcal vaccines that are part of the school-based immunization program.

Clinics will open the week of September 20, and residents will be able to book an appointment through Halton’s online booking system at  – starting Thursday, September 16.

“Supporting the health and safety of our community continues to be a top priority for Halton Region,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “Halton residents have shown their incredible commitment to getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and protecting our community.

Push is on at the Regional level to get student brought up to date with the immunizations.

With many local pharmacies and primary care providers now offering the COVID-19 vaccine, Halton Region will be able to transition some of our clinic locations to help Halton students catch-up on their important school-based immunizations, as well as continuing to operate COVID-19 vaccine clinics for those who haven’t gotten their COVID-19 vaccine yet.”

The COVID-19 pandemic required Halton Region Public Health to pause the delivery of school-based immunizations. Currently, over 30,000 students born in 2004-2009 require at least one of three school-based vaccines. Post-secondary students born in 2002 and 2003 who may have missed their opportunities to receive these important vaccines will also have a chance to catch-up. Eligibility is as follows:

Hepatitis B HPV-9 Meningococcal-ACYW 135

Birth Year 2006*, 2007*, 2008, 2009
• Females: 2002*, 2003*, 2004-2009
• Males: 2004-2009
• 2002-2009

Grade in 2021-2022 school year Grade 7, 8, 9, 10
• Grade 7-12
• Females: Grade 12 in 2019-2020
• Females: Grade 12 in 2020-2021

• Grade 7-12
• Grade 12 in 2019-2020
• Grade 12 in 2020-2021

*remain eligible until August 31, 2022. Series must be complete by that date.

Residents can book appointments starting September 16. Immunization clinics are planned for each municipality and are expected to run September 20 until mid-November. As more clinic options and appointments become available, residents are encouraged to check regularly for the latest updates.

“As our COVID-19 vaccination clinics wind down, Public Health is ready to get our student population caught up on their school-based vaccines, which are critical for protecting the health and safety of our school community,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health. “This program will leverage the successes from our COVID-19 clinics, including many of the clinic locations, resources, supplies and technology, to efficiently implement these mass clinics and begin catching up students as quickly as possible.”

In addition to the launch of school-based community immunization clinics, Halton Region will continue to operate two COVID-19 vaccination clinics in September—the YMCA in Oakville and FirstOntario Arts Centre in Milton.

Appointments are available on a walk-in basis only. To learn more about options to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Halton, including clinic locations and hours, visit

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Turns out Ms Brown wants to be the chief gun lobbyist and avoid being vaccinated

By Staff

September 10th, 2021



The job of media is to report.

We do that by meeting with people and asking questions.

During this campaign a few candidates  asked us to send them the questions and they will send us their answers.

That is not journalism.

Most of the candidates have done what politicians seeking public office do – meet with the media.

Emily Brown, the Conservative candidate, has refused to meet with media or take part in well organized debates sponsored by respected community groups.

Ms Brown did find the time to take part in the Chamber of Commerce event.

We want to interview the candidate.

She didn’t appear to be willing to take part in the Halton Environment Network  debate  she was invited to take part in  – didn’t respond and didn’t take part.

However, Ms Brown did take part in the Chamber of Commerce event – it really wasn’t a debate but it was an occasion to hear what she had to say.

Andrew Drummond was in the room during the Chamber of Commerce and did a live tweet.

We have set out what he saw taking place.

Drummond was the NDP candidate for the provincial legislature and is the campaign manager for the NDP candida the in this federal election

Here is what we picked up from the live tweet – it is edited for space.

You can access the full tweet HERE.

What you are reading is what Drummond tweeted live.  You are getting his direct response – no time to think through what he might want to say.

Opening statement summary:


Gave a personal bio


We have a choice between going forward or going Conservative


We need to support small business and make everyone pay their fair share.


Business is an ecosystem

Top 3 priorities


Stop fossil fuel subsidies, electoral reform, universal basic income


Finish COVID, climate action, universal daycare


Reduce divisiveness, Environment, Transit


Finding workers, affordable housing, crime

On Labour Shortages:


“We need to make sure that our citizens can survive regardless of their job status”


looks really uncomfortable trying to explain her party’s tax plan “Grow the tax base without taxing individuals more”


“The government has supported small businesses during the pandemic, but ONLY because the NDP forced them to. Large businesses have profited enormously during the pandemic and we will tax them more so they pay their fair share.”


says that we need to eliminate capital gains on rental housing so we encourage more people to invest in rental properties.


“I have heard that the Conservative candidate has brazenly lied to our residents about a Liberal plan to raise capital gains taxes on primary residences. It’s the first time I have faced a Conservative candidate who has brazenly misled people like this.”


talks about how important it is to reducing flipping of houses to ensure supply is used.

He then goes on to explain the NDP rent to own plan to allow lower income people to save a down payment.


wants to restructure the definition of affordable housing to ensure that it accounts for everyone needing a home.


Currently developers are incented to build the most expensive homes possible. We can’t just build luxury homes. We need people to be able to afford a rental home without spending the majority of their income on it.


again thinks that the solution to affordable housing is to offer incentives to rich investors to build low income housing.

On vaccines:


Mandatory vaccines for travel and gvt work


People should choose their own medical treatments


Vaccines are part of our country’s social contract.


I agree with Ms. Brown. Dividing us is bad.


declares that since GHG emissions went up while carbon taxes were in place they obviously don’t work and should be scrapped


replies that it’s hard to believe that Ms. Brown cares about the environment if she couldn’t even show up to the enviro debate


we don’t need gimmicky things that increase red tape to help small business. We need quality programs that she has been working on.


The way we can help small businesses reduce expenses and paperwork is by introducing universal pharmacare. That way small businesses will save on benefit costs AND eliminate the costly burden of paperwork to support small benefit plans.


We need to reduce government oversight because at the door she is hearing of so many companies fleeing Canada because of regulatory burden.


argues that COVID supports are an issue of humanity that we need to get everyone through this in one piece.


emphasizes that she has more in common than in dispute with @ChristianCullis

Used as an example of cross party cooperation.


We have been the most collaborative gvt in history.


fights back with the only reason they listened to others was because of a minority government. Electoral reform will ensure that all Canadians work together ALL THE TIME and not just when convenient.


Addiction help needs to be focused on why people get addicted. It’s because of poverty and people’s basic needs not being met. These problems will get reduced when we implement a UBI and people don’t have to devote so much to just surviving.


Important to bring mental health under the Canada Health Act. Also highlights as a developed tool to help people in crisis.

Wellness Together Canada was created in response to an unprecedented rise in mental distress, and is funded by the Government of Canada. Whatever you’re going through, we’re here to provide mental…


talks about how mental health problems are derived from our hyperfocus on profitability and economic performance.


CERB did a great job protecting people who lost jobs but completely abandoned those that weren’t employed when the pandemic hit. We need a ntl childcare strategy but also UBI to allow women to thrive.


to help working women we need childcare, childcare, childcare. Conservatives will cut the childcare plan.

This was Ms. Gould’s most passionate answer yet.


references being raised by a single mom, and how he understands that women get stuck in situations that have no easy way out.


I was a stay at home mom that wouldn’t have benefited from gvt subsidized care so we need to ensure that those families get choice in childcare.


closes with arguing that there are not only 2 parties to vote here. The NDP came second provincially and is a viable threat. If any bad results come they are on Ms. Gould for her party calling an unnecessary election.


closes by highlighting she believes in gun control, women’s rights, and other progressive ideas and that we cannot risk those things by allowing a Conservative to win.


closes with asking not for your vote but that you think carefully about who you vote for. Think about whether candidates talked about their own platforms or whether they stoked fear of others.


closes with highlighting that her top priority is public safety and enforcing mandatory sentencing. She believes that police are being prevented from protecting citizens by Liberal laws.

What did we learn from all this – that Ms Brown appears to support thosse who have decided they don’t want to be vaccinated.  Just what Burlington needs.


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