Civic Action Lab draws solid participation from the community - good ideas came out of it - now we wait for the Staff report.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

May 30th, 2019



They spent two days on the task – held three public meetings at which the turnout was more than respectable – to answer one question:
How might we enhance the way Citizen Advisory Committees engage with Council?

It is a question that lurked in the background during the October election. Those people that take an active interest in what’s going on in the city were not happy with the way city council at the time was listening to them and they wanted a change.

They got a change – a new council, except for one holdover and a new Mayor.

Dwyer-Tanner-preg lady

A combination of a staff member and citizens doing the thinking – produced the base information from which a Staff recommendation will emerge.

The city has had Advisory Committees for years. The challenge, and the struggle, for staff at city hall was to find qualified people who had the interest, the experience by way of background and the time to take part.

The Gazette has asked a number of staff people which Advisory committee really worked well. All had to pause and think about it – and everyone we spoke to agree that Heritage Advisory was doing a great job.

Many added that Sustainability was also doing a good job but that the job they were being asked to do was to big – the scope of their mandate was just too wide.

There was once Transit Advisory Committee that was a disaster – it just didn’t work and the Waterfront Advisory Committee had a chair that didn’t know what the job was – his years as a leading practitioner in law resulted in a mind that couldn’t see very far beyond a tightly written legal brief. That committee met a sundown date. There are plans to revise that one and to create a new transit advisory committee.

Change agent Stephanie von

Ideas were put forward, debated and revised.

Outside the strictures of city hall there are a couple of committees that work very well – Bfast is seen as being the best of them.

The Direction given to the Clerk’s office was to:

Conduct an overall review of citizen advisory committees, including consultation with the public and citizen advisory committee members, and report back to council with recommendations and options for any changes to improve effectiveness by Q2 2019.

Changing the structure of the Advisory committees in place was the issue and what about 100 people spent two and a half hours on at three session this week. The participants were grouped at tables of three to five with a city hall staffer in place to help them work through the tasks they were given.

The session we observed was a group of people working through the agenda and having fun.

Rick Boersma Juice

Rick Boersma was the facilitator who took the participants through each of the several steps needed to get from the early investigation to their best idea.

Rick Boersma, the lead facilitator who worked for Juice Inc. (a different corporate name) a company out of Guelph, made sure that each step of a process happened on time.  Each group began by investigating the root causes of the problem they wanted to resolve; the do some Brain Storming to come up with ideas, then choosing the best of the ideas and be able to put forward a well articulated proposal that met the criteria.

The group we watched did some investigating on what the root causes behind the issue were and added some analysis before they did some brain storming and played a quick hand of Brain Poker that told the group what kind of a thinker each participant was. It’s was a short game worth playing.

With the Brainstorming done the group had to choose the best idea had and ensure that it met three criteria:

How desirable it was for the participant
How feasible it was.
How viable it was.

With that done they then had to write an articulated proposal.

It was really interesting to watch run of the mill people digging away and tossing out ideas. One table we watched closely included a pregnant mother, a young woman who could have been in high school student and an adult male with a doctorate in Medieval studies and a staff member who has an irrepressible level of energy.

LAdy with post it -

Narrowing the ideas and ensuring they met the criteria needed to defend them before the decision makers.

Did every group come up with boffo ideas? No, but there was nothing that was embarrassing – everything that was put up on the wall had merit.

One group however did catch the spirit of what we think the public and many of the staff were hoping would come forward. Their solution consisted of a circle – with three lines coming out of it with a letter beside each line: A, B, C

A: Redevelop the application process.
B: Develop technical and communications tools for the Advisory committee.
C: Create a fluid cycle between staff, the committees and council.

Another idea that did qualify as boffo was having a Workshop event for Council where every Advisory committee met annually with council to talk about what was working for them.

Group 7 blonde lady

Weighing an idea, ensuring it met the criteria and then getting buy in from the rest of the group.

Many feel that the application process is suspect – has too much council control and not a true reflection of the citizens in the city. Some saw sitting on an Advisory committee as the beginning of a political career while others just liked to be around the people who make decisions but bring little to the table in terms of skills and experience.

Danielle Manton

Danielle Manton, Manager of Committee & Election Services

Danielle Manton, Manager of Committee & Election Services, said there would be a Staff report to Council by September and she committed to ensuring that those who took part in the Civic Action Labs got copies as early as possible.

From where we were sitting to looked as if the participants got a lot out of it – staff seemed really pleased – there were several that put a lot of themselves into the process of drawing ideas and thoughts out of the participants.

The report gets tabled in September – let’s see what they come up with.

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Public loves what they are hearing about an improved transit service - finally.

News 100 yellowBy Jan Mowbray

May 7th, 2019



Doug Brown and that band of merry men who have been advocating for better transit celebrated their fifth Bfast Transit Form and were able to publish a report card they weren’t sure they were ever going to be able to issue.

It was a stellar day for transit users who realize now that there is a different city council in place with a mandate to improve both the funding for transit and making it more usable with schedules and equipment that will allow the transit staff to operate the kind of service they think the city needs.

Audience with JE

It was a full house with the more than 100 people who took part listening intently to the speakers. The interest in a better transit service is palpable.

Sue Connor has been with the transit department for three years now and has needed time, patience and quite a lot of forbearance to get the departments needs through committee and approved by council

The free transit service for the 65+ crowd that will begin June 1st and operate from 9:30 to 2:30 Monday to Friday for an 18 month trial run was approved by the new council is a battle that took years to win.

McKenna at the door

Burlington MPP Jane McKenna, on the right, poked her head into the meeting, lingered for a few minutes and left.

Most of the council members were on hand, Burlington MPP Jane McKenna, poked her head into the packed room, looked about, listened for a few minutes and was able to tick of that box and went on her way. McKenna said she was there just to listen.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward told the audience that
“This year’s budget made incredible strides for transit,” and she thanked those colleagues present for their support. This year’s budget contained additional dollars for more buses and drivers. “We want our transit system to be something the public chooses because it’s the best way to get around”.

“No change would have happened without your advocacy. Life is a marathon, not a sprint.” She had advised them “to keep speaking up, and you did! We can’t do our job without you.”

The mayor thanked Bfast for never giving up, keeping up the feedback to staff and advised everyone to keep good ideas coming.

Brown thanked the various financial and in-kind supporters: Burlington Seniors’ Centre, Poverty Free Halton, Burlington Age-friendly, Burlington Seniors Advisory Committee, Customer service at the Seniors’ Centre, Community Development Halton, Poverty Free Halton, and engaged citizens and Councillors in attendance.

Brown told the audience (he’s done this for the past four years) that Burlington spends less per capita than comparable communities. He said the city manager of the day managed to get Sue Connor from Brampton to help turn Burlington Transit around; she became a powerful voice for council in 2017.

Stolte + Connor +

Ward 4 city Councillor Shawna Stolte and Director of Transit Sue Connor engage in a conversation with a transit user at the 5th Annual Bfast Forum.

Referring to drivers having to work excess hours contrary to driver standards, Brown said “transit is still in a crappy situation but at least we will be running within the law; we still have a long way to go – it’s a long journey. Bfast is still pushing for a comprehensive transportation plan; we need to break out of the silos that limit a transit plan”.

Brown noted that Waterloo had developed scenarios, then put them out for public comment; and went with the preferred plan – Regional Transportation Plan. “Municipalities can make no better investment than in transit.”

Director of Transit Sue Connor mentioned initiatives for 2019: Free Srs Pilot starting June and running for 18 months; free split pass. She welcomes feedback from the public; acknowledges that there will be changes, that change is hard for everybody. Community Connection Routes will be changed, and that staff will be on board those buses to help explain the need for change.

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte is turning out to be the voice for transit on council – a bit of a surprise there.
While researching transit she told the audience of an article she came across in an American publication
that acknowledged the rock star status of “Sue Connor and her premier leadership for a successful transit system that works for everyone” in Brampton.

Doug and Colin Bfast

Doug Brown, who has laboured on transit issues for more than a decade and Collin Gibbons wore smiles at the 5th Annual Bfast Forum.

Bfast Forums are two way events – Doug Brown and his side kick Collin Gibbons make plenty of time for questions and have transit people on hand to give answers.

Transit staff are a happier bunch of campers as well. They are keen and are enjoying their work. Strong positive leadership will do that. One transit staff member transferred out of city hall where he worked on communications: he was wearing a very visible smile while putting together a bus model made out of cardboard.

One staff member told the Gazette that whenever Sue Connor opens up a staff meeting she starts by making sure staff know that they are there to make city council look good.

Don’t hear words like that from other departments at city hall now do you?

Transit users wanted to know why there was:

• No connection between Via rail and Burlington transit at the Aldershot station; service for seniors is needed.

• There are no guides at Burlington GO for Burlington Transit. Staff will rectify that.

• Request that bus motors be turned off rather than idling for extended periods.

• One senior said it was going to be strange to get free transit and must pay for her grandchild. Response from Connor is that services must be balanced. The more free services provided, the more it will cost to deliver the rest of the service.

• To a response about using the service, making some sense as to just how the Presto Pass service works (good luck on re-loading your card the first time you try) – Connor said staff is looking for ways to provide videos on the city website, and travel training on the buses and in the schools. It will take some time she added – and her audience seemed ready to give her all the time she needed.

• A young man asked that at some point service be provided free for 18 years old and younger rather than current 13 limit, that subsidized fares for his generation would help them to get around, get jobs, etc. Connor said staff is working with the school board.

• A request that electric buses be used to help control green house emissions. Electric buses are part of the future but it was noted that the mere fact of using transit is helping to reduce those emissions; also that the current buses are cleaner and greener than they used to be.

• Sue Connor said Burlington was part of Phase II list for 8 electric buses, which come at a much higher cost. Funding was pulled back by the current provincial government but again emphasized that public transit is a greener option.

• A request around shelters that have advertising covering a whole wall: that they have a clear narrow band so that people can see in each direction – that it’s a safety issue.

• There was a request for heated and lit shelters. It has been considered but apparently the hydro that is provided to shelters is very minimal. Staff is setting a standard for shelters; will be assessing need and demand, and reasonable placement of shelters.

• A request that drivers be more considerate of passengers when using their brakes, that it’s particularly hard on those less-mobile.

• The public was advised to put suggestions in writing.

• Complaint that too many people talk too loud on their phones on the buses – perhaps bus drivers could remind people of common courtesies.

• Many issues around the Handivan – that there used to be quarterly notices, that there have been none in several years; that notices posted on Handivans are sometimes 3 years and older; and request that notices that are placed in the big buses, also be placed in the Handivan buses. These issues will all be reviewed by Sue and her staff.

• A comment from one attendee that it was a shame not all Councillors stayed for the whole event and asked about providing presto cards to each of them so they can better assess the service.

Something few people knew: Burlington Transit had provided each Councillor with a Presto pass when the service first started – a question that might be asked is how many actually tried the system out.

Collin Gibbons told the Gazette that Mayor Meed Ward has signaled that she will propose the re-establishment of a Transit Advisory Committee, chaired by new Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte.

“It will be a rebirth for the Committee, said Gibbons, “which was axed by the old City Council and supposedly rolled into the Integrated Transportation Advisory Committee (ITAC). But nothing useful on transit ever came out of ITAC. Bfast made the re-establishment of the Transit Committee one of its key proposals in the civic election.

As reported in the Gazette, previously, the Transit Advisory Committee will be part of a shakeup of the City’s advisory committees that the new Council must approve.

Gibbons added that the Mayor is recommending the transit committee cooperate with the Cycling Advisory Committee and the Integrated Transportation Advisory Committee.

“We have over 1 million rides annually on our transit system but no dedicated citizen’s advisory voice to council on transit,” said Meed Ward’s report. “Establishing a committee honours the importance of transit in the community expressed during the election campaign and honours the direct request for a stand-alone transit advisory committee from Burlington For Accessible Sustainable Transit and others”, said the Mayor


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Every bus rider has their own story. Part 2

opinionviolet 100x100By Lawson Hunter

April 20th, 2019



Lawson Hunter is an observer; people watching is a hobby.  He chose to watch people who ride buses – this is part 2 of his experience.

bus - reading from screen

This is not a distracted driving offence.

Yes there are a lot of interesting people that ride the bus, each with their own story about how and why they take transit. I don’t usually plunk myself beside people and strike up a conversation. I tend to sit and read or look out the window, but I wanted to learn more about my fellow passengers so I spent a few days riding on a number of buses throughout the city. I gathered up my courage and introduced myself as a writer doing a story about people like – us.

Many, many years ago, when I was a high school student, in another city, I didn’t have much choice when it came to getting around town. It was either the bus or walk. Things have changed a bit since then but judging by the number of students I see riding the bus each day, it’s still a fact of life and no one seems to be too upset about it.


Running for the bus.

Sometimes I took the bus to get to my part-time, after school job. That was a bit more stressful because I had to get to work on time – or else. I never did find out what “or else” was. I was pretty good at figuring out the schedule and the bus usually arrived on time. Finishing work late, however, meant that I would miss the last bus and have to walk home.

I was reminded of those days when I chanced upon Fatima on bus no. 87. She was on her way to work at one of the stores at the Power Centre on Brant street. Number 87 is the bus that runs along North Service Road and into parts of Tyandaga. It’s a weird little run – 6am until 9am and then 3pm until 6pm (approx.). It’s one of the ‘employment’ routes that service a particular area around ‘peak’ work hours.

I asked Fatima, politely, how she got home since the bus would not run around normal closing hours. “My Mom picks me up,” Fatima said. “Good,” I replied.

I continued on no. 87 and watched as a hoard of cars pulled into the parking lots of two private schools along North Service Road. I got off at the Aldershot GO station, took the train to Appleby glad with the fact that my Presto Card handled all the transfers seamlessly.

Bus station 1

City staff applauding the roll out of a new bus.

Then I traveled up to the Alton area. Specifically, I jumped off at the 407 carpool parking lot to watch a few buses come and go. Pretty thin ridership, but then it wasn’t quite time for commuters arriving via the handful of GO buses that stop there. I then saw Bill. I didn’t catch him coming off a bus so as I approached him I asked where he was coming from. He mentioned that he was actually dropped off by one of his work colleagues at the Region of Peel in Brampton. “They encourage carpooling at the Region,” Bill stated. “I get dropped off here and the rest of the group carries on along Dundas Street (Hwy 5).”

Bill then explained that he usually catches a city bus (it could have been 6, 11, 25, 3A or 5A) and goes to the gym, to workout, before he continues, via bus, to his home. Sounded pretty good to me.

Haber name in sign

Haber, a destination for students using transit.

I decided to head back down to Appleby GO and chose the no. 11 bus. That took me past the Haber Recreation Centre and Dr. Frank J. Hayden Secondary School. The bus stopped long enough for a few students to get on board. It was after school hours, I guessed by the carrying cases they had. Musical instruments maybe. But the word ‘Badminton’ on the side of the case gave it away what they were up to.

A few minutes later, Brenda, got on the bus. “Why are you taking the bus?” I asked.  “Had a car accident,” Brenda replied. “I have to wait two weeks for it to get repaired and there wasn’t a rental car provided.” As we got closer to Fairview Street, Brenda said goodbye and got off the bus to make her transfer.

As Brenda got off, Graham got on the bus. He’s saving his money so that he can take a driver’s course and get his licence. Even then he noted, “I’ll still have to take the bus until I get my full G2 licence.” As we pulled into the GO station I lost track of where Graham headed next.

Tatyana, who works in Mississauga, got off the GO train at Appleby and was on her way to catch the no. 10 bus. Well dressed, with a professional satchel on her hip – containing a laptop I guessed, Tatyana stopped long enough to tell me that she could have taken 4, 10 or 20 but the no. 4 bus ends at 6:30 so she doesn’t catch that often. “By the time I get off the train all I want to do is sit back and let someone else drive me home,” Tatyana exclaimed. Then she dashed off and onto her bus.

Haber and Associates have been aggressive advertisers using the space on city buses for public exposure.

John Street terminal.

On a different day, at the John Street Burlington Transit depot I met an older lady. She didn’t want to give me her name but, like everyone else I met during this adventure, she had no qualms about chatting, briefly, about riding on Burlington Transit. “I prefer to walk,” she said. “But I can only walk so far and then I get tired. That’s when I wait for the next bus.” Good for you I thought.

When asked where she was headed she told me “Walmart”. “I go up there to buy groceries and such, but just one or two bags at a time,” she explained. I asked her which bus went up Brant Street. “Two or Three,” she replied. “They changed it a while ago. I’m not sure.” I told her I would ask at the kiosk on John St.

My final ‘victim’ was Lacey. Lacey works at Tim Horton’s and needs to get to work most days by 6am. “There’s not a lot of people on the bus at that time,” noted Lacy. She relies on the bus even though, in a pinch she could walk the distance.

“Not much fun in the winter,” I suggested.

“No,” she replied. “That’s why I’m grateful there is a bus. But,” she hesitated, “there could be a schedule, maybe electric, at the stop to let us know if and when the bus will arrive.”

I think about that and other things that would make me take the bus more often. I admit, I’m an occasional bus rider these days. I don’t ‘need’ to take the bus but when I do I feel a little more ‘connected’. More so than with others that drive past me. Sure, there could be more buses, more frequent departures, more routes, and softer seats, free wi-fi on the bus, maybe even more room for parcels or groceries.

It’s a chicken and egg thing. Would more riders mean better service, or vice versa? If more ‘gas tax’ money was spent on transit improvements rather than potholes, red light cameras, or parking lots would I be happier taking the bus? I’ve observed that everyone has an opinion about the money the City spends on public transit, for sure.

Bfast 2018 forum

A public meeting on transit problems.

I’d be happy to hear what others would like to see happen to our transit system because public transit is not going away. It’s needed more now than ever – to move more people and get fewer cars on the road – to provide an alternative to the wasteful fact that most cars sit, parked somewhere 20+ hours a day – and to help combat climate change.

What do you think?

Lawson Hunter can be reached at:

Part 1 of On the buses,

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Transit as a lifestyle - one man's experience.

opinionviolet 100x100By Lawson Hunter

April 16th, 2019


Part 1 of 2  Lawson Hunter approached us a number of weeks ago asking if we might be interested in publishing the experiences he has as he rides the Burlington Transit system. He doesn’t offer any solutions to the problems that exist; all we get are his observations on how transit works for some people. Enjoy and expect some interesting feedback from readers on this one.

Sitting two seats in front of me on the bus a woman was talking, loudly, on her phone. I didn’t recognize the language but it was fascinating none the less. She was speaking non-stop, so that the person on the other end of the conversation couldn’t get a word in edge-wise. And though it might have annoyed a few of my fellow passengers, I revelled in the fact that ‘where else in the world could I experience this cultural phenomenon?’

I enjoyed the fact that this woman, perhaps a recent immigrant, felt comfortable enough amidst strangers to talk so… did I mention – loudly. Was this any different than listening to a bunch of students chatting and giggling with the energy that comes after a day at school? Or two people in the midst of a heated argument?

If you’re a bit of a people-watcher, like I am, sitting on a bus is the place to be.

Old, young, affluent or otherwise, riding on the bus has an equalizing affect. We’re all along for the ride, trusting the expertise of some unnamed driver. The maddening pace of rush hour traffic has no effect on our psyches. Some turn to books, or ever-present cell phones, or keeping a brood of children in line and quiet. Me, I like to witness the exchange between fellow travellers. Taking the bus gives me the chance to experience life up close while watching the city slowly unfold outside the windows.


Aldershot GO was part of the trip.

One day I’ll be on the bus along with, say, Nolan and Lana and their two little children in a double-stroller. They came to Canada from the Congo. They’re travelling from Hamilton to Waterdown via the No. 1 bus. Wait! They’re Hamilton residents but they need a Burlington bus to connect them with downtown services and their home. Almost every day they, and their kids, travel using a Hamilton bus to get to the Aldershot GO station, then Burlington Transit drops them off at King and James, and then they make the return trip. “So much better than our country,” Nolan exclaims. And I got to practice my rusty French for a bit – before we (I) gave up.

At the other end of the city, I noticed a handful of people jumping off an Oakville Transit bus rushing to catch the GO train at Aldershot station – heading for the Blue Jay game vs. Boston. I’ll let you guess how I knew they were Blue Jay fans. Again, wait! It’s easier to go from parts of Oakville into Burlington to catch the train. “The cars are empty,” shouts one fan as she runs past me, “at this time of day. They’ll be full at the Oakville station.” Ahh. So there is some strategy when taking transit.

“I can take more than one bus to get home,” notes Jack who lives not too far from Appleby GO. He works ‘downtown’ (Toronto, but wouldn’t get into specifics). His wife has the family’s one car. Jack sees no need to buy a second car “just to drive six kilometres and then park it all day” or worse drive into Toronto and pay for parking all day.


Some can’t live without a car – others know they will never need a driver’s license.

Sitting next to Jack on the bench waiting for No. 80 is Nick. His job is, “on the other side of the (Appleby) tracks. I just walk under the tunnel to catch the bus”. Nick, who works in IT, doesn’t think he’ll ever own a car. He doesn’t even have a driver’s license.

But not everyone on the bus has the option of owning a car. Students like Liam and Liam, I’m not kidding, take the bus to school every day. Liam (1) complains, ever so slightly, that when he went to Central’s elementary school, the School Board arranged a school bus to pick him up. Each school year, approximately 33,000 students who attend 150 public and Catholic schools across Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton, and Oakville rely on school bus transportation to and from school.

Now that he’s in Secondary School, Liam has to pay to ride the civic bus – albeit the School Board subsidizes students’ fares. Liam (2) notes that his parents pay for his monthly bus pass. Both Liams claim that if they were involved in extracurricular activities, their parents would probably pick them up. “The bus is okay,” said Liam, “but it could be cheaper”. That would be, again, up to the School Board that has a limit on bus travel of greater than 3.2 km between school and home.

Uber taxi

Uber and Lyft are now part of the transit ecology – both are now public corporation’s as well.

I caught up with Nancy, who works in downtown Burlington, and takes the No. 3 or 10 bus almost every day due to the fact that she is visually impaired and can’t drive. She mentions that the signage could be larger. “Connections are always a challenge,” Nancy observes. It’s a common complaint for any transit service in North America.

“If I have to go anywhere other than between work and home, I might consider Uber,” says Nancy. She also comments that Burlington Transit seems to be constantly modifying routes or schedules. “They say it’s to make improvements but I think it’s just to make it more convenient for drivers.” When I ask if she is planning to attend any of the public meetings set out to discuss transit issues, Nancy admits that she was unaware that they were actually taking place on the day we met.

I’ve long ago realized that public transit is not about getting about in a speedy manner. Taking the bus is a different lifestyle for sure. It takes longer but don’t we often hear experts tell us to ‘slow down and enjoy the journey’? I can’t do that when I’m concentrating on the other crazy drivers that blast along the roadway as if they were the only person on the road. For me, the bus gives me the time to slow down, maybe read a book, write a story, notice that Spring is finally here, or let me do a bit of people watching.

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A happier Bfast will be holding their 5th Annual transit event.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

April 15th, 2019



These are happier days for the BFAST (Burlington for Accessible Sustainable Transit) people. They finally have a Director of Transit services who understands transit and wants to bring about changes.

BFAST has struggled for a number of years just to be heard. They bore the brunt of past Directors of Transit who were just plain incompetent.

A transit staff member said recently that “our Directors tells us every week that a large part of our job is to make this council look good”.

BFAST event 2019

So far they are doing that part of their job quite well – and this city council is providing them the funding they need to create a transit service that people will use.

BFAST announced today that they will be holding their 5th Annual Transit Users’ Forum that will take place on Saturday, May 4 at the Burlington Seniors’ Centre. It will be the fifth annual such gathering sponsored by more than a dozen community organizations in Burlington.

The forum starts at 10:00 a.m.. Doors open at 9:30, and a continental breakfast will be served.

Transit riders will also have a chance to discuss service issues with drivers, who will participate in a panel discussion, and to vote on an annual transit report card.

“Where past forums were dominated by pleas for greater funding, this year’s meeting will focus on sustaining and improving the service. A significant increase in the transit budget, approved by the new City Council, has opened the door to a better transit service in Burlington,” said Doug Brown, chair of Burlington for Accessible, Sustainable Transit (BFAST), the lead organizer of the event.

“We were extremely pleased with the budget increases that transit achieved in this year’s city budget,” said Brown. “City Council’s decision means that Burlington is on the way to providing support for transit that at least meets the average of comparable communities. We are very optimistic about the future of transit in Burlington.”

“Transit is an essential building block for an inclusive and environmentally-friendly city,” Brown said. “Everyone benefits from an improved transit system, including drivers.”

Sue Connor at mike

Sue Connors, Director of Transit

This year’s meeting will be co-sponsored by Burlington Transit, which will also provide logistical support for the event.

There was a time when the transit service neglected to provide transit service that would get people to their event.

Can transit fans expect to see the Director of Transit behind the wheel of one of the big buses?

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Transit people want feedback from the public about significant transit changes.

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 5th, 2019



The transit people aren’t going to give up on getting your attention.

Burlington Transit is looking for feedback from the public about significant transit changes proposed to take effect in September 2019. Transit riders and non-riders are invited to share their feedback at an upcoming open house session on April 8, 9 and 11, or online at until Friday, April 19.

Transit report card 2017

Has anything changed? Funding has certainly improved.

At the drop-in sessions, attendees will have an opportunity to share feedback on proposed changes that will help Burlington Transit move toward a grid network that operates buses along the city’s most-travelled roads in an east-west and north-south direction.

Some of the proposed changes include:

• the relocation of all transit stops at the Burlington GO station to the south side, off Fairview Street

• the introduction and expansion of weekday 20-minute service on routes, including 1, 10 and 25

• the discontinuation of routes with low ridership, including 15, 40, 83, 300, 301 and 302, to improve frequency on grid network routes.

Open House Dates

• Monday, April 8 – 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Central Arena, 519 Drury Ln
• Tuesday, April 9 – 3 to 6 p.m., City Hall, 426 Brant St.
• Thursday, April 11 – 6 to 9 p.m., Tansley Woods, 1996 Itabashi Way

A series of drop in sessions in March held at three different locations didn’t get much in the way of a response from Gazette readers.

Two readers had these comments:


  • I went to one session and felt it was the same old public meeting. Handed a number of dots to put on various maps. Little interaction. No vision or sense of urgency. No mention of a Master Transit Plan – due Sept. What was the point again?

    I echo the message –


Let’s see how this next drop in session  woks out.  They are being held at the same locations – which are accessible by transit,

There has been a significant change on the part of city council and the amount of money they are prepared to spend on transit to meet what they believe is going to be a much needed change in the way people move around the city.

Now it is up to the residents to look over the ideas and comment – dialogue runs in both directions.

Charles Stolte, Transit Operations Manager explains that: “Establishing a grid network to meet the mobility needs of the city’s population over the next 20 years is not something that will happen overnight, but there are improvements to our current transit service that we can make in the short term that will help lay the stepping stones of what is to come. In making these improvements, we need the thoughts and ideas of transit riders and non-riders to learn more about what’s important to them.”

193000Over the next 20 years, the City of Burlington will grow in its urban areas, with 193,000 people expected to live in the city by 2031. As the population grows, ensuring people can move around the city easily and conveniently, whether by foot, car, bicycle or Burlington Transit, is important.

In the last two years, the city’s budget has made investments to enhance public transit, including $1.9 million in the 2019 capital budget and $1.55 million in the 2018 operating budget.

The free transit service that will start in June and run from 9:30 to 2:30 Monday to Friday is part of a pilot program to see if people will use transit if there is no fare to pay.


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Transit holding drop in sessions on the plans for service going forward.

News 100 redBy Staff

March 13th, 2019



Burlington Transit getting new buses - to deliver less service.

Burlington Transit getting new buses.

Now that transit is something the city is prepared to spend money on (they approved the purchase of three new buses) the transit people want to know what you think should be done in terms of frequency of service, peak service hours, key travel destinations and transit connections in the GTHA.

“As Burlington’s population grows, moving around the city should be easy and convenient, including on Burlington Transit”, according to the transit people.

Transit service - ridership decline

Bfast has consistently provided reliable data setting out where the problems are.

A series of drop in sessions are being held by the Transit service for you to learn more about the future vision for Burlington Transit and for you to share your input on what the future is going to hold.

The Drop In sessions will take place on the following dates and at the following locations:
Monday, March 18 – 3 to 6 p.m.
City Hall 426 Brant St.

Wednesday, March 20 – 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Central Arena, 519 Drury Ln

Thursday, March 21 – 6 to 9 p.m.
Tansley Woods, 1996 Itabashi Way

The people in Aldershot, Alton and the east end of the city are going to have to truck themselves into the middle of the city to take part.

Hopefully, the Drop in Sessions will be more of a listening exercise than a one way flow of information from them to us.

Bfast Transit group logoThis is also an occasion for Bfast to put together a well-researched paper on what the city needs and where it is needed.

There are changes in the air – make sure the changes reflect what you need – take part.

Sue Connor at mike

Director of Transit Sue Connors

Burlington currently has a Director of Transit who brought a strong past with her – she changed the way Brampton put its buses to use – that city once had a terrible transit service.  When Sue Connor left it was one of the best in the province.

She listens and genuinely wants a transit that works for people who use buses.  Let he know what you think.

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Planners want to impose a freeze on development in parts of the downtown core.

News 100 redBy Staff

March 5th, 2019



The bylaw is pretty clear, almost blunt and it has $100,000 behind it to, get the work done “expeditiously”.

The task is to:

Assess the role and function of the downtown bus terminal and the Burlington GO Station as Major Transit Station Areas, including assessing the existing and long range planned transit service for the Study Area and the connections between the two respective MTSAs;

Examine the planning structure, land use mix, and intensity for the lands identified on attached schedules. (These are the maps included in the Staff Report.

Update the Official Plan and Zoning By-law regulations, as needed, for the lands identified.

Delegate authority to the City Manager in conjunction with the Director of Finance, the ability to single source or sole source work for this initiative that may exceed $100,000, allowing staff to begin the Study expeditiously.

To do all that the city wants to put a one year freeze on all development within a designated area. They will use an interim control by-law to permit the development freeze. That bylaw they want to have council pass states:

Notwithstanding any other by-law to the contrary, no person shall, for the lands identified on Schedule ‘A’ attached hereto:

a) use any land, building or structure for any purpose whatsoever except for a use that lawfully existed on the date of the passage of this By-law as long as it continues to be used for such purpose; or

b) be permitted to construct, alter or expand any building or structure, save and except where such construction, alteration or expansion is an outcome of a site plan application currently in process on the date of the passage of this By-law that is fully in accordance with the approved zoning bylaw. Site plan applications received for lands within the study areas include: 374 Martha Street, 490-492 Brock Avenue, 421 Brant Street, and 442 Pearl Street.

This By-law shall come into force and take effect immediately upon its passing by Council and shall be in effect for a period of one year from the date of passage of this By-law, or until such time that the Study is completed to the satisfaction of the City Council, unless this By-law is otherwise extended in accordance with the provision of the Planning Act, R.S.O., 1990, c.P.13, as amended.

The Municipal Clerk is hereby authorized and directed to proceed with the giving of notice of the passing of this By-law, in accordance with the Planning Act.

This means those developers with projects that have yet to be approved will be getting a letter in the mail.

Putting the brakes on

Planners asking council to put the brakes on development.

What does it all mean? The city has put the brakes on the number of development applications being put before the Planning department – with the exception of the four that are exempted because they are in the site plan phase.

Anything else is on hold while the city figures out what it wants to do with the Urban Growth Centre boundary and the Downtown mobility hub that has been a contentious issue almost from the day it was dropped on us.

The Planning department explains:

“The need for an interim control by-law is due to staff concerns with the cumulative growth pressures quickly emerging in the Urban Growth Center and on lands in proximity to the Burlington GO Station that are requesting intensities significantly higher than anticipated by the Official Plan.

“The proposed study area includes lands that are within the Urban Growth Centre and lands in proximity to the Burlington GO Station. The interim control by-law will allow the City the opportunity to complete a land use study.

“An interim control by-law would ensure that new developments within the Study Area will be informed by the City’s transit, transportation and land use vision for the Study Area. The recommended interim control by-law will ensure the City can realize the following objectives as set out in the City’s 2015-2040 Strategic Plan:

“An interim control by-law puts a temporary prohibition or limitation on the development of certain lands while a municipality is studying or reviewing its land use policies. This “freeze” can be imposed for only a year, with a maximum extension of a second year. In accordance with the Planning Act, there is no ability to appeal an ICBL when it is first passed; however, an extension to an ICBL for the second year may be appealed.

“The Planning Act provides that an ICBL remains in effect if the new zoning regulations resulting from the ICBL are appealed. The Planning Act also sets out that when an ICBL ceases to be in effect on certain lands, a subsequent ICBL may not be imposed on those lands for a period of 3 years.

ICB lands

The part of the downtown core that will be subject to a development freeze. There are more detailed maps below.

“lCBLs are an important planning instrument as they allow a municipality to reconsider its land use policies by suspending development that may conflict with any new policy. ICBLs can also be exercised in situations where unforeseen issues arise, as a means of providing breathing space during which time the municipality may study the issues and determine the appropriate planning policy and controls for addressing the issues under study.

“The 2017 Growth Plan identifies an Urban Growth Centre as an existing or emerging downtown area and mandates a density target of a minimum of 200 residents and jobs combined per hectare. It is noted that there is a minor discrepancy in the boundary for Burlington’s Urban Growth Centre (UGC) when comparing between the city’s current and in force Official Plan and that of the Halton Region Official Plan. For the purposes of this interim control by-law, the boundaries of the UGC as shown in the Halton Region Official Plan will be used to establish the boundaries of the study area relating to the UGC.

ICB lands tighter

The northern part of the study area.


ICB lands tighter #2

The southern part of the study area.

The 2017 Growth Plan defines a Major Transit Station Area as:
“The area including and around any existing or planned higher order transit station or stop within a settlement area; or the area including and around a major bus depot in an urban core. Major transit station areas generally are defined as the area within an approximate 500 metre radius of a transit station, representing about a 10-minute walk.”

GO train Go Bold

This is part of the transportation system.

The 2017 Growth Plan defines Higher Order Transit as:
“Transit that generally operates in partially or completely dedicated rights-of-way, outside of mixed traffic, and therefore can achieve levels of speed and reliability greater than mixed-traffic transit. Higher order transit can include heavy rail (such as subways and inter-city rail), light rail, and buses in dedicated rights-of-way.”

“The 2017 Growth Plan does not define a Major Bus Depot.

Transit terminal - John Street

Is this part of the “higher order” of transit?

“It is also noted that amendments to the Major Transit Station Area (MTSA) policies are currently proposed by the Province in Amendment No. 1 to the Growth Plan. For example, the area around a Major Transit Station Area where intensification may be supported is proposed to be increased from 500 to 800 metres.

“In the context of the UGC and lands in proximity to the Burlington GO Station, staff are concerned about the role and function of the Downtown John Street Bus Terminal as an MTSA as set out in the 2017 Growth Plan, and as relied upon by the Ontario Municipal Board (0MB) in the Adi Decision for 374 Martha Street.

“While the concept of an MTSA has existed since the emergence of the 2006 Growth Plan, the 2017 Growth Plan differentiates between those MTSAs located along a priority transit corridor (such as the GO Transit rail network) and those that are not. For those MTSAs located along priority transit corridors, the Growth Plan assigns prescribed minimum density thresholds of 150 residents and jobs combined for lands served by the GO Transit rail network. It is noted that this density threshold is less than the minimum density threshold of 200 persons and jobs combined as ascribed to the UGC by the 2017 Growth Plan.

“For all other MTSAs, the Growth Plan directs municipalities to plan and design these to be “transit-supportive” in accordance with Section of the Growth Plan. Transit­ supportive is defined by the Growth Plan to essentially mean compact mixed use development that has a high level of employment and residential densities.

Burlington aerial

In order to get a better grip on development in the downtown core the planners are asking city council ti impose a freeze on development for one year.

“The 2017 Growth Plan does not include minimum density thresholds for transit supportive MTSAs that are not located on a priority transit corridor.

“While the Terminal is located in the UGC and a number of bus routes connect to it, it generally would not be considered to be “higher order transit” as would a GO Transit Station (for example: Burlington GO Station) or a conventional subway station as is the case in the City of Toronto where significant transit ridership occurs.

“The Study will allow for a detailed examination of the future planned function of the Terminal, which is a critical element of planning justification for the Downtown precinct framework which is absent in the Official Plan. The Terminal comprises a potential key land use element of the Downtown, and in staffs view, pursuant to the Adi Decision, is emerging as an unanticipated driver of residential intensification which may be unjustified, and which has not been planned for in the context of community and infrastructure services.

“Studying the appropriate role and function that the Terminal should play is critical in shaping the final pattern and mix of land uses and transit supportive development within the UGC and is consistent with MTSA policies.

“Moreover, given the close proximity of the Burlington GO station to the northern part of the UGC, it is prudent to study these two MTSAs and the areas around them in concert as they could have a direct influence on one another.

“The Growth Plan has steadily promoted the intensification of development within settlement areas since its inception in 2006. The 2017 Growth Plan has placed additional importance on intensification and transit through prescriptive policies targeting all UGCs and MTSAs. This is readily apparent from the Decision of the 0MB in the Adi case for 374 Martha Street. The 0MB held that compliance with the provincially prescribed minimum density target for Burlington’s UGC is not entirely sufficient; that the provincially prescribed target for the UGC is but a minimum, which municipalities should not hesitate to exceed, subject to good planning. Moreover, lands located within the boundary of the downtown MTSA deserve even higher densities.

“The City strongly objected to this Decision and requested a Section 43 review by the 0MB. The Section 43 Decision was released on November 5, 2018, and dismissed the City’s appeal for a re-hearing.

ADI Nautique sign

The OMB approval of the ADI development threw all the long term thinking in the air. The Director of Planning at the time missed a major opportunity to change the way the original hearing was proceeding.

“The Adi property is located within the Downtown Core Precinct which has a maximum height limit of 8 storeys in the Official Plan. Contrary to the Downtown Core Precinct policies, the 0MB approved a height limit of 26 storeys for the Adi property. The Adi Decision causes serious concern as it throws into question the merit of the established land use framework of the current and in force Official Plan for allocating and distributing the Growth Plan’s mandated density target within the UGC and the Terminal’s capacity to absorb the transit impacts of such unanticipated growth.

“When the boundary for the UGC was defined, staff’s best estimate at the time indicated that at build out, the densities prescribed in the current and in force Official Plan could meet the target set by the Growth Plan.

“With the incorporation of Adi’s recently approved density, together with other pending development applications that are requesting intensities higher than anticipated by the current and in force Official Plan (or the 2018 adopted Official Plan now before the Region for approval and currently under review), staff are concerned about the cumulative growth pressures quickly emerging in the UGC. At the Adi hearing, the Terminal was seen to be an MTSA that supports intensities well in excess of those contained in the Official Plan. Moreover, the OMB’s view was that by not approving the Adi proposal, it would be contrary to MTSA policy of the Growth Plan.

A portion of Growth Plan policy reads as follows:
“Within all major transit station areas, development will be supported, where appropriate, by …
d) prohibiting land uses and built form that would adversely affect the achievement of transit supportive densities” After considering the Adi decision, and the reliance that other developers in Burlington will place on the downtown MTSA as a rationale for additional intensity, it is imperative that the role and function of the Terminal in concert with the Burlington GO Station, be determined as part of a land use study.

“The Study will provide certainty as to the future use of the Terminal and in turn, provide staff with the planning justification to undertake any policy refinements which may be warranted, both to the study area and to the City’s urban structure as a whole. Clarity respecting the long term structural role of the Downtown as an intensification area will also assist in setting infrastructure priorities for the City as a whole, including the land in proximity to the Burlington GO Station.

“The findings of the Study will facilitate an examination of the mix of land uses within the study areas and the role of their respective MTSAs in these intensification areas. The Study will also assess the existing and long range planned transit service for the study areas and the connections between the two respective MTSAs.

“Considering the two study areas together will inform staff and Council on the future planned function of the Terminal with regard to transit supportive development.

Matammy - James St

Developer is requesting intensities that are well in excess of those anticipated by the current and in force Official Plan. James at Martha

“There is an urgency that this Study proceeds as soon as possible as cumulative growth pressures in the UGC continue to escalate. Planning staff are aware of multiple pending developments in the application review stage such as 2082-2090 James Street, 409 Brant Street, 2069-2079 Lakeshore Road, as well as other expressions of high density development interests in the UGC and on lands in proximity to the Burlington GO Station, which similar to Adi, are requesting intensities that are well in excess of those anticipated by the current and in force Official Plan (or the 2018 adopted Official Plan now before the Region for approval and currently under review).

Brant looking north - Kellys

Development proposed for south east corner of Brant and James.

“It is noted that there is an appeal of the application at 409 Brant Street, which at the time of writing this report is scheduled for a case management conference in summer 2019. Staff are also aware of a number of major land assemblies within the UGC where higher than prescribed intensities are anticipated to be applied for over the next few years.

Land Use Study Exemptions
“Applications for site plan approval fully in accordance with the approved zoning bylaw, received prior to the date of the passage of this by-law, on lands within the study areas shall be exempt from this by-law given that most of these developments have received planning approvals by the OMB/LPAT or Council.

“At the time of writing this report, site plan applications received for lands within the study areas include: 374 Martha Street, 490-492 Brock Avenue, 421 Brant Street, and 442 Pearl Street. No new site plan applications for lands within the study areas will be processed from the date of the passage of this by-law.


Nautique will rise at the corner of Lakeshore Road and Martha.

high profile 421

The Carriage Gate development – The Element will get built across the street from city hall.

“Staff recognizes that there are some existing uses such as low density residential within the study areas that will be affected by the ICBL and they will be prevented from being altered or expanded during the term of the Study.

“There are some downsides and perhaps unintended consequences. “Potential financial matters as an outcome of an interim control by-law will likely include: reduced planning development application fees and revenues, reduced building permit and construction activity, reduced development charges received, and deferral of Capital Works projects within the study areas.

“Given the need to proceed expeditiously with the Study, this report recommends that the City Manager be delegated the authority for single or sole source the required work should the value exceed $100,000.
“The Study will require collaboration with the Transit and Transportation Departments to ensure the function of the Terminal aligns with the planning structure of the UGC and lands in proximity to the Burlington GO Station. It will also provide greater clarity to the Capital Works Department when predicting life cycles and investments for various city assets within the study areas.

“No notice is required prior to the passing of a by-law for an interim control by-law however, notice has been provided for the proposed interim control by-law. Notice of passing of the interim control by-law shall be provided pursuant to the provisions of the Planning Act.

“Given the implications of the recent Adi Decision and its reliance upon the MTSA status for the approval of 26 storeys, which is beyond the density level established in the Official Plan, and the above-noted significant development pressures, staff recommends that an interim control by-law be passed as outlined in the Recommendation section of this report. The interim control by-law will provide sufficient time for the Study to examine the planning structure, land use mix, and intensity for the lands within the study area. It is planned that this Study would be initiated immediately by staff in order that there be an expeditious planning process in 2019.”

This gets debated at a Standing Committee meeting this afternoon.  Assuming the recommendation coming out of the meeting is to go forward – the Standing Committee will become a city council meeting and the by law will be passed.

Would it be fair and reasonable to cal this a Bold move?

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Capital budget for the city comes in at $96.4 million.

Budget 2018 ICONBy Pepper Parr

February 28th, 2019



The first part (Capital) of the 2019 budget has been approved;city council now moves on to completing the debate on the Operations part of the budget.

This city council has shown that it is ready to do things differently. The capital focus has been on infrastructure and transit. Spending for 2019 will amount to $96.4 million with a 10-year program of $819 million.

Seventy two per cent of the 10-year capital budget will be invested in renewing Burlington’s aging infrastructure.

A breakdown of spending for the 2019 capital budget of $96.4 million includes:

We have ream upon ream of data that sits on computer hard drives or dervers - Burlington wants to let the public at some of it instead of it all going down some kinf of a tunel to information never, never land.

Burlington has to do a major upgrade of its information technology systems – some of it is urgently needed.

• $49.5 million, the largest component, for roadways
• $10.1 million for facilities and buildings
• $8.4 million for parks and open spaces
• $6.3 million in storm water management
• $10.6 million towards fleet vehicles and equipment
• $9.5 million for information technology
• $0.9 million for local boards (Burlington Public Library, Burlington Performing Arts Centre, Art Gallery of Burlington, Burlington Museums)
• $1.1 in parking.

Some highlights of the 2019 capital budget include:

Burlington Transit getting new buses - to deliver less service.

Burlington Transit getting new buses – to deliver less service.

• $1.9 million in funding to improve public transit with the purchase of three new conventional buses
• $234,000 in funding to purchase one new para-transit bus
• $550,000 in funding to build a new splash pad in Brant Hills Community Park
• $450,000 in funding for a new sports lighting system for the ball diamond and pathways at Maple Park
• $600,000 in funding for new amenities at Tansley Woods Park.

Council was able to whittle away some of the Finance department recommendation of $96.8 million down to $96.4 million.

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Sunday - March 3rd: Chilly Half Marathon will disrupt transit routes 3, 10 and 20 -for just part of the day.

notices100x100By Staff

February 28th, 2019



Coolsaet crossing the Half Chilly Marathon December 2014

Crossing the finish line: Easy when there is no snow. It is going to be a challenge this Sunday.

That time of year again – when hundreds of runner take to the pavement and tun the Chilly Half Marathon.  This time it is really going to be chilly.

There will be transit route disruptions.

Routes 3, 10 & 20 Detour – March 3
Detour Area: Brant St. south of Caroline St. and Lakeshore Rd. from Brant St. to Burloak Dr.

Detour Dates: March 3, 2019 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Detour Routes:
• Route 3 Northbound will leave the Terminal and travel along New St. turning left onto Guelph Line and continue regular routing

• Route 3 to Burlington GO will leave the Terminal and travel along John St. and Caroline St. then turn onto Brant Street and continue regular routing

• Route 10 will leave the Terminal and travel along John St., Caroline St, Locust St., and Ontario St. then turn onto Maple Ave. and continue regular routing

• Route 10 from the Burlington GO will travel along Maple Ave. then turn onto Ontario street and travel along Locust St., Caroline St. and John St. to the Terminal

• Route 20 will travel along Appleby Line turn left onto Spruce Ave. and travel along Hampton Heath Rd., Stratton Rd., Boxley Rd. and Winston Rd. then turn left onto Burloak Dr. and continue regular routing
Stops not in Service:

• Lakeshore Rd. between Brant St. and Guelph Line and between Appleby St. and Burloak Dr.

• Burloak Dr. between Winston Rd. and Lakeshore Rd.

• Appleby Line between New St. and Lakeshore Rd.

Transit changes 3-10-20 Chilly half

Transit route changes – Sunday March 3rd, 2019

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Bus route changes on Ontario Street - due to apartment construction.

News 100 redBy Staff

January 31st, 2019



The construction of the second tower on Brock Street is going to mean a detour for Burlington Transit route 300 from Feb. 4, 2019 to June 2019

Brock 2 - in context

The second Molinaro tower (shown in white) in the area fits in well and adds to the need for accommodation.

The detour is on Ontario St. between Maple Ave. and Nelson Ave.  Construction will begin on the second Molinaro tower in the area.  The site is minutes away from Spencer Smith Park.

Detour Dates: February 4, 2019 to June 2019

Route: 3
Proceed to stops:
• On Maple Ave.
• Ontario St. east of Nelson Ave.

Stops not in Service:
• 765 – Ontario St. at Maple Ave.
• 766 – Ontario St. at Brock Ave.
• 775 – Ontario St. at Nelson Ave.

Bus rote - Ontario st detour

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How to reduce the tax bill - stop collecting leaves and eliminate a right hand turn lane. Don't give the fire department a drone.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 18th, 2019



Before they broke for the Christmas holidays a city council that had been sworn in just ten days earlier asked staff to sharpen their pencils and tell them how they would reduce the 2019 budget increase to 2%, 3% and 3.5%.

The budget they were looking at was coming in at 3.99% – and they didn’t want to have to swallow a number like that.

Council also asked staff to tell them what the impact would be of removing the 1.25% infrastructure tax levy for the 2019 budget.

Part 1 – 2019 Operating Budget Options

The options presented below largely result in decreased funding to the capital program. It is important to note that any changes to the dedicated infrastructure levy impacts both renewal projects as well as new projects in the capital program. The city’s asset management plan is about the long-term management of our existing infrastructure.

New capital assets add to the city’s base inventory and therefore increase our funding requirements for renewal needs. If we are unable to sustain our existing portfolio of assets it is recommended that we limit future expansion and/or new infrastructure. Continued investments in new or expanded assets compound our inability to financially manage our infrastructure.

Staff have provided this memo for information and have attempted to communicate the future challenges and impacts that each of the options pose.

Option A – 3.25% (0.74% tax reduction from 3.99%)


Options for service reductions are:

• Elimination of the loose-leaf collection program.

o Ongoing operating savings of $450,000 (0.28% tax reduction) and approximately $45,000 of average annual renewal costs for the replacement of equipment.

o Allows for 2,400 staff hours to be reassigned to other program areas including parks, trails, sportsfield maintenance, and road maintenance.

o Allows for winter snow fighting equipment to be ready in November. Currently only one weekend of turnaround time between leaf collection and winter work.

This crew will probably not be clearing the leaves from your property. They were working along New Street when this picture was taken.

Can Burlington afford to be collecting the leaves?

o Loose-leaf collection is not always completed due to onset of winter weather. This frustrates residents and challenges staff to convert equipment over to snow fighting in a timely fashion.

o Results in reduced greenhouse gas emissions from equipment operating for 6 weeks and trucking by contractor to Halton Waste Disposal site. Currently leaves are collected and trucked to a central area and later picked up by a contractor who transports them to the Halton Region transfer station where the city pays a tipping fee to dispose of the leaves.

o Halton Region provides bagged yard waste every other week from April to December.

o In lieu of this program, the city would promote more environmentally friendly options including mulching leaves on site or composting at home.

o Reduced service to residents

o This will increase collection of bagged leaves by Halton Region Waste Services.

o Will require extensive public education / communication.

• 2019 capital program reduction of $750,000 for new infrastructure (0.47% tax reduction).

o Results in ongoing reduction of funding to the 10-year capital program of $7.5 million.

o The list of 2019 projects that would be impacted are:


Should this option be considered, an amendment to the 2019 capital budget would be required for the projects identified above. Future years would need to be amended as part of the 2020 capital budget.

Brant at Elgin

Nothing vital about putting the elimination of that right hand turn on hold.

The removal of $7.5 million of funding from the 10-year capital budget and forecast would limit the city’s ability to address any requests for future new infrastructure. This would constrain future investments to implement recommendations resulting from the integrated transportation mobility plan, cycling master plan, school closure opportunities, and enhanced neighbourhood amenities such as splash pads and skate parks.

Option B – 3% (0.99 % tax reduction from 3.99%)


In addition to the items included in Option A, a further service reduction option is:
• Further reduction of $400,000 of funding to the capital program for new infrastructure (0.25% tax reduction).
o This would result in an ongoing reduction of funding to the capital program and require the removal of an additional $4 million of projects from the 10-year capital program.
o The remaining new / enhanced project meeting this dollar threshold is:

4th Elgin St Prom

Should this option be considered, an amendment to the 2019 capital budget would be required for the projects identified above. Future years would need to be amended as part of the 2020 capital budget.

Pathway outside the Poacher

The Promenade is to stretch across the downtown core – and when that core has undergone all the high rise construction it might be something to complete – but not now.

The Elgin Street Promenade is included in the Core Commitment Implementation Strategy as a short term initiative to improve active transportation in the downtown and enhance the connectivity of existing pedestrian and cycling connections to the Centennial Multi-use Pathway and the Downtown Transit Terminal through the creation of an enhanced promenade with landscaping and pedestrian facilities that meet Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities (AODA) guidelines. The first three phases of this project have been competed. The final phase of this project is planned for 2019 and extends from Pearl Street to Martha Street.

The completed Elgin Promenade will create a significant piece of downtown infrastructure through an east-west pedestrian and cycling corridor that provides opportunities for active transportation including cycling connections, access to transit, walkability and accessibility and brings significant social, environmental and economic benefits to the downtown core. The promenade connects the downtown to the Downtown Transit Terminal and the Centennial Multi-use Pathway which extends northeast across the City.

Without funding for this project, the final phase of this project can not be completed and the objective of connecting the east and west sides of the downtown through a safe, accessible cycling and pedestrian connection will not be realized.

Option C – 2% (1.99 % tax reduction from 3.99%)

5th the 2% option

In addition to the items included in Options A & B, a further service reduction option is:

• Reduction of $1,610,000 of funding to the capital program for renewal (1% tax reduction).

o This would result in an ongoing reduction of funding to the capital program and require the removal of $16.1 million of renewal projects from the 10-year capital program.

Should this option be considered, an amendment to the 2019 capital budget would be required for the projects identified above. Future years would need to be amended as part of the 2020 capital budget.

The Asset Management Plan is built on the premise of being able to address the city’s infrastructure needs at the right time in the asset’s life cycle and in the most cost-effective manner. This is vital to ensure that city assets continue to provide a standard of service that residents expect and to minimize long-term costs.

Resurfacing a road at the optimum time results in a cost of 1x. Delaying this treatment begins to compromise the base materials, escalating costs to 3x the original value. Further delay results in the street requiring full reconstruction at a cost of 10x the original value. Removal of funding to the local road resurfacing program will result in sub-optimal timing of construction and cost escalation.

Deferring the renewal of community centres will also result in an increase in the total long-term costs to the City. This includes increased operating and maintenance costs as the facilities age as well as increased risk of system failures impacting service delivery. Recent examples of emergency facility closure include Appleby Ice Centre in December of 2018 and Nelson Outdoor Pool in the Summer of 2017.

Part 2 – Impact of removing 1.25% infrastructure tax levy
Staff interpreted the direction to include the impact for the 2019 budget year only with future dedicated levy increases continuing.

At a high level, the impacts associated with any reduction or removal of the dedicated infrastructure levy includes:

• Impact on the city’s asset management financing plan and the city’s ten-year capital program. Removing the 1.25% dedicated infrastructure levy for 2019 removes the equivalent of $2 million of capital projects (renewal/ new) in the budget year, and $20 million worth of capital projects over the ten-year capital program as the levy has a cumulative impact

• The removal of one year of funding leads to an unsustainable funding plan.

• An increase to the city’s unfunded renewal needs, meaning a backlog of renewal projects beyond the 2016 amount of $126.5 million that will require immediate attention. It is important to recognize that it is possible for the Unfunded Renewal Needs (URN) to grow to a point where the possibility of tackling the immediate requirements and continuing to keep pace with current needs will not be possible due to capacity constraints and unreasonably high financing requirements.

• Deferred maintenance and deferred renewal is inevitable. The result will be an increase in the total long-term costs to the City of Burlington by way of;
o increased operating and maintenance costs to prolong the life of the asset from accelerated infrastructure deterioration

o Increased rehabilitation costs due to deterioration beyond the life of the asset

o Escalation of capital costs due to required higher cost rehabilitation treatments

o Emergency, unscheduled maintenance due to system failures impacting service delivery

o Passing costs to future generations to manage existing assets
• Infrastructure renewal investment is crucial to replacing and upgrading assets to better adapt to climate change

There is a considerable amount of room to get a budget that is very close to inflation.  It will take some courage for these council members – but they asked what was possible and staff set out what will be lost if the proposed budget is changed.

Do we really have to have the leaves picked up?  Does the Fire Department really need a drone?  Does that right hand turn elimination need to be done now – and why would we spend a dime on the Promenade when the downtown core is going to begin to become a decade long construction site in the not too distant future.



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A deeper look at the planned mobility hubs - a five part series.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 10th, 2019


First of a five part series.

Back in July of last year, before the residents of the city decided they wanted a different city council, there was a report that was discussed debated and filed.  It was a discussion paper on the draft precinct plans and land use policy directions for the Aldershot GO, Burlington GO and Appleby GO Mobility hubs.  The report was  received and filed and will, in the near future come back to council.

Mobility hubs were put into the planning lexicon by the provincial government- they wanted to see more intensive development close to the GO stations.  For Burlington that meant development in Aldershot, along Fairview next to that GO station and in he east end beside the Appleby Station.

Each of these stations has large pieces of land on which cars park while residents take the GO train to some other location.

Burlington planners didn’t seem to be fully aware of what the term a mobility hub meant; the Mayor at the time certainly didn’t have a firm grip on the concept.

Those days are behind us – those who are aware of what is going on in the city certainly understand the concept – where the differences exist is – do we want what the province is suggesting and who determines the boundaries of each mobility hub?

Mobility hubs

The mobility hubs are part of a much larger picture – there is a Strategic Plan that is going to get some tweaking to make it fit into the priorities of the new council; the Official Plan is back in the hands of the city and that will get a review that most people expect to be significantly, if not radically different than what was approved WHEN

The purpose of the report that went before a Standing Committee, was to present the draft precinct plans for the GO Station Hubs (Aldershot, Burlington and Appleby GO) and associated draft key land use policy directions for community and Council feedback and discussion. These draft precinct plans are key inputs into the creation of the Area Specific Plans (ASPs) for the three GO Station Mobility Hubs.

By undertaking secondary plans or Area Specific Plans (ASPs) for Burlington’s Mobility Hubs, the City continues to implement the objectives of the Strategic Plan and Official Plan to direct intensification, achieve transit-supportive densities and develop pedestrian and transit-oriented mixed uses areas in the downtown Urban Growth Centre and at the City’s key major transit station areas (i.e. the GO stations).

In 2014, through the Official Plan Review process, the City along with consultants from Brook McIlroy completed the Mobility Hubs Opportunities and Constraints Study, which provided a high-level analysis of each of the City’s Mobility Hubs and informed the development of the study areas for future Area Specific Planning work to be done in each of the Mobility Hubs.

In July 2016, Burlington City Council approved a staff report which outlined a work plan, allocation of staff resources and required funding to simultaneously develop four ASPs, one for each of Burlington’s Mobility Hubs. The project was approved with unanimous City Council support; most of that council is now part of the city’s history.

In December 2016, the Mobility Hubs Team undertook a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) process to retain a consulting team to assist with the development of ASPs for each of Burlington’s four Mobility Hubs, with the goal of supporting the future redevelopment and intensification of these areas.

In April 2017, the Mobility Hubs team initiated the study publicly with a launch party followed by the beginning of a comprehensive public consultation program around the future vision for each of the Mobility Hubs.


The province knew it had to upgrade the GO train service – it will become every 15 minute service in the not too distant future and the longer term plan is to electrify the system.

In addition to achieving City Council’s objectives for intensification and growth, the Mobility Hub ASPs will also support the objectives of Metrolinx’s The Big Move, including the development of Regional Express Rail (RER) service, through the creation of complete communities with transit-supportive densities, as identified through the Province’s Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and in the Region of Halton’s Official Plan (2017).

Doug Brown wants an affordable, frequent, reliable transit service. Is the city prepared to pay for it?

The Downtown mobility hub will be somewhere along John Street – making use of the small station that the Transit department once recommended be removed.

Schedule 1 of The Big Move recognizes two Mobility Hubs in Burlington: the Downtown Mobility Hub is identified as an Anchor Mobility Hub and the Burlington GO Mobility Hub which is identified as a Gateway Hub. In the City’s New Official Plan, all three GO Stations and the downtown are identified as Mobility Hubs and as areas of strategic importance to accommodate the City’s future growth.

The hubs were to be where the growth was to take place which made sense.  The problem was that development proposals for the downtown core began to come in that used to creation of a downtown mobility hub as part of their justification.  A large number of citizens didn’t see that kind of development as ideal for the city.

The creation of a Downtown hub has been very controversial.  Many feel that the creation of this “anchor” hub made it possible for developers to justify more height and density than was felt fit in with the small town feel that people wanted in the core part of  the city.

Those developments became the election issue that resulted in a new council who now have to decide what they want in the way of development in the city.  MArianne Meed Ward made it clear during the election that she believed the population growth expected of Burlington by the province had already been achieved.

On December 4, 2017, staff brought forward a report which presented preferred concepts and supporting technical memos for the GO Station Hubs (Aldershot, Burlington, and Appleby GO) for community and Council feedback and discussion. The preferred concepts outlined land uses and building heights within each of the three GO Station Hubs. These preferred concepts were based upon public and stakeholder feedback and were intended to prompt discussion regarding the emerging vision for each of the hubs. Since that time, staff have taken that feedback and used it to develop draft precinct plans for each hub which will be further explored in this report.

With this as background let us take a look at the plans for each of the mobility hubs and better understand what is planned and what the impact on the city is likely to be.

Proposed bldg type

The coloured shading sets out where the different forms of development could be located in the Burlington GO mobility hub,

The objectives for each hub include:

  • Directing the highest intensity to areas in close proximity to major transit stations and to current or planned frequent transit corridors;
  • Minimizing shadowing impacts on public parks and open spaces and low density established residential neighbourhoods;
  • Providing height transitions to established low density residential neighbourhoods outside of the hub boundaries;
  • Providing increased permeability for active transportation options to and from GO stations;
  • Providing recognition of existing cultural heritage resources;
  • Creating feasible opportunities for new parks and open spaces to serve current and future residents and employees in each area;
  • Identifying new and existing streets and other linkages to serve as key green, active transportation corridors to facilitate improved connectivity within, to and from the hubs;
  • Creating new parks and open spaces that integrate with and enhance the existing city-wide parks and open space system;
  • Providing a level of intensity to attract new retail and commercial functions to serve current and future residents and employees;
  • Recognizing existing employment functions and providing for a variety of new and expanded employment and commercial opportunities;
  • Planning for a variety of housing forms to attract a broad range of
  • Identifying opportunities for a broad range of future public service facilities in locations that provide the greatest access to future residents and in locations that provide the greatest flexibility to accommodate a variety of functions and uses;

The Aldershot, Burlington and Appleby GO Mobility Hubs each required unique considerations with respect to the location and distribution of building typologies, parks and open space networks, public service facilities, active transportation connections, and streets based on the existing context within and around the hub, which was informed, in part, by public and stakeholder feedback.

The following objectives were developed for the Burlington GO Mobility Hub

The existing area around the Burlington Hub is comprised of large parcels in areas heavily fragmented by rail/spur lines, grade separated overpasses and underpasses and wide arterial City and Regional streets.

The study area is almost void of any existing residential uses, with the exception of the residential Paradigm development on Fairview, that will have residents in the first of five towers in the near future.

Parks and open spaces

With little to none in the way of parkland within the Burlington GO mobility hub planners are going to have to be creative and ready to do some arm wrestling with the property owners to get parkland.

The area also lacks any functional parks or open spaces. Most of the properties currently contain large-scale and/or auto-centric commercial uses as well as heavy employment uses both within and adjacent to the study area.

Within the Burlington GO Mobility Hub, the following were identified as additional unique objectives for this area:

  • Limiting intensity in areas within close proximity to existing industrial uses which continue to have a planned employment function; and,
  • Locating the highest intensity developments in locations that will support strong active transportation and frequent transit corridor connections as well as provide new uses and amenities that will support the planned functions of both the Urban Growth Centre / Downtown Mobility Hub and the Burlington GO Mobility Hub;

Within the current and Council-adopted Official Plans, the City utilizes a precinct planning system for the Downtown in place of traditional city-wide land use designations typically found in other areas of the city. For Burlington, this precinct system allows for the recognition, and focused long-term planning of, discrete but inter-related areas, each with their own specific characteristics and/or planned role/function within a concentrated geographic area of the city.

Because of the limited geographic area within which precincts apply, precincts can provide the opportunity to establish highly detailed and customized policies and regulations to address a variety of matters specific to that area.

As a result of on-going public and stakeholder feedback, technical studies as well as discussions with Council at the December 4th, 2017 Committee of the Whole workshop, staff incorporated general changes in terms of mapping and terminology as part of the development of the draft precinct plans which are presented in this report. The following outlines these changes:

  • Mapping Changes
  1. Conceptual Streets/Public Rights-of-Way: Early-stage concepts included the identification of conceptual street locations (including both new streetsand extensions to existing streets) to improve pedestrian and cycling permeability throughout the hub as well as to enable conceptual opportunities for new development on large parcels. For the purposes of precinct planning, the majority of the conceptual streets have been removed from the mapping with only key new or extended arterial streets being retained in mapping.

The location and nature of any additional streets/public rights-of-way will be subject to the outcome of identified transportation/traffic infrastructure requirements resulting from the Mobility Hubs transportation studies and incorporated as part of future draft Area Specific Plan mapping and policies for public consultation in the new year.

  1. Proposed Parks and Open Spaces: Early-stage concepts included the identification of new park locations as well as the conceptual configuration of such parks. The exact configuration of parks was, in part, correlated to the conceptual street network which has been removed for the purposes of precinct plan As a result, staff have refined the mapping to identify parks with a symbol rather then an exact configuration. However, the general locations of key proposed park locations have been maintained and are reflective of staff collaboration with the City’s Parks and Open Space team.

Upon completion of a more detailed street network, staff will identify any recommended detailed park requirements, including sizes and configurations, as part of the future draft Area Specific Plan mapping and policies for public consultation in the new year.

  • Terminology
  1. Community Use – Public Service Terminology: Early stage concepts included Community Use (CU) symbols to indicate the need for community use facilities in particular locations throughout the hubs. For clarity and consistency, staff have revised the terminology from Community Use facilities to Public Service facilities to align with the terminology included in the City’s newly adopted Official Plan and the terminology used in the Provincial Policy Statement. These facilities will accommodate current and future public services within the hubs including healthcare, education, emergency and protective services, cultural activities, and civic administration, among other things.
Waterfront hotel Taylor

Citizens, developer representatives and members of Council took part in the public sessions. Now retired Councillor John Taylor attended most of the sessions

Since the Fall of 2017 staff have held numerous public engagement events to engage with the community about the future of the GO Station Mobility Hubs in various formats including public open houses, online surveys and individual meetings with various residents, property owners and other stakeholders.

Staff held nine (9) public open houses, three within each of the GO station hubs,  to solicit feedback regarding the most recent draft precinct plans presented through this report.

Staff have identified the following recurring topics which have emerged from feedback provided by the community to-date with a corresponding staff response.

Parkland dedication requirements:

Some property owners and developers have expressed concerns regarding the potential need to provide parkland dedication to the City as part of a future development as identified in the draft precinct plans.

Staff Response:

Under The Planning Act and City of Burlington Parkland Dedication By- Law, the City is entitled to a parkland dedication from a development equaling 1.0 hectare for every 300 residential units or 2% of the total land area for commercial/industrial developments. Historically, in urban intensification cases where physical parkland was not deemed to be required, the City has exercised cash-in-lieu of parkland in accordance with The Planning Act and the City’s By-law. In the mobility hubs, physical parkland dedication will be a priority as these areas are being comprehensively planned as transit-oriented urban neighbourhoods that will accommodate a significant increase in residents and employees relative to what exists today.

The provision of new park spaces will be integral to ensuring that the mobility hubs are developed as healthy, active and livable neighbourhoods. As such staff have been highly focused on identifying new strategic park locations which would be the focus of future parkland dedications resulting from redevelopment. In identifying new strategic parks, staff have been cognizant of the potential constraints a physical parkland dedication may have on the overall redevelopment potential of a property. Working in collaboration with the City’s Parks and Open Space team within Capital Works, the precinct plans identify significant park locations within the hubs to ensure park needs for the entire hub are not borne by a single property and to also ensure that park locations are focused on larger parcels which have a greater opportunity to provide a parkland dedication while continuing to allow for significant redevelopment of the site.

Maximum height of tall buildings:

Comments have been received expressing concerns regarding the maximum height peak that could be achieved within the GO station mobility hubs.

Staff Response:

The draft precinct plans provide for a mix of building types at varying heights and intensities. The tallest and highest intensity developments are limited to the “Central” precincts proposed within each of the GO hubs.

Generally, these precincts are located in closest proximity to the GO stations themselves and rail corridor which provide for a significant separation from low density residential areas within or adjacent to the hubs. The draft precinct plans contemplate a maximum building height of 30 storeys within these precincts.

mid resident precinct

Locations for possible mid rise buildings are defined; will developers push for more height and density?


This maximum building height is intended to recognize the significant opportunity these sites have to accommodate both population and employment growth in close proximity to higher-order transit balanced with the need to ensure that building intensity is limited so as to not permit long-term build-out of the mobility hub to be concentrated to a limited number of properties. Staff continue to review best practices from other municipalities for this precinct and continue to seek community feedback regarding this proposed maximum height for these “Central” precincts.

It must be noted that not all sites within a “Central” precinct, or any precinct contained within the mobility hub draft precinct plan, may be able to achieve the maximum building height contemplated. The ability of a development to achieve the maximum permitted height/intensity will be based on a variety of site specific considerations such as shadowing, transportation impacts and other infrastructure capacity matters, among others, which can only be properly assessed at the time of a development application.

Current and future traffic congestion:

Concerns regarding impacts of future development within the mobility hubs on traffic congestion have been raised consistently throughout mobility hub public engagement.

Tsp Fairview

The planners want to see more in the way of traffic along Fairview. Getting into the southern GO station parking lot is a challenge as it is.

Staff Response:

Consultants for the Mobility Hubs project are currently undertaking transportation studies to evaluate the existing traffic conditions within each hub and the projected impacts resulting from the planned people and jobs capacity of the hubs at build-out. This information will inform staff’s development of new transportation policies and new transportation infrastructure proposed for each hub, including potential active transportation connections and new streets, which will be needed to mitigate future impacts. More detail about all technical studies being undertaken as part of the development of the Area Specific Plans, including transportation studies, are provided in Section 6.0 of this report.

Compatibility with established residential neighbourhoods:

Concerns have been raised by residents of established residential neighbourhoods both within or adjacent to each of the mobility hubs about the potential impacts of tall building on their homes and neighbourhoods.

Staff Response:

As part of staff’s development of the draft precinct plans, tall building precincts were located in strategic areas to mitigate potential impacts on any existing established residential neighbourhoods and further refined in response to public feedback received through the various public meetings held. Each of the mobility hub precinct plans also utilizes a variety of building typologies and scales of development, such as mid-rise buildings and low-rise formats, to create transitions between the tallest buildings in the hub and any established residential areas.

As staff develop detailed policies for each precinct through the Area Specific Plans, additional building design and built form requirements will be investigated and established in policy and future design guidelines, to further enhance the compatibility of developments that occur adjacent to established neighbourhoods.

These measures may include, but are not limited to, angular planes, building setbacks and landscaping buffers. In addition, compatibility matters are further reviewed and addressed on a site-specific basis at the time of a development application

Burlington GO Mobility Hub

Supply of public parks and community amenities:

It has been recognized that the Burlington GO mobility hub study area is currently absent of any public parks and community gathering spaces.

Staff Response:

Through the draft precinct plan for the Burlington GO Mobility Hub, staff have focused on identifying numerous strategic parks and potential public service sites to serve new residents and employees of the hub. Given the presence of various rail and spur lines, over/under passes and large arterial streets which result in a fragmented urban structure, staff have focused on distributing park locations and other public use functions throughout the hub to ensure all new residents and employees to this hub will have meaningful access to these integral neighbourhood amenities.

Active transportation connections and permeability:

Residents in the Glenwood Park established neighbourhood located north of the rail line and east of Burlington GO station have identified a need for additional, direct pedestrian and/or cycling connections from the neighbourhood to the Burlington GO station.

Staff Response:

New active transportation linkages have been identified in the precinct plan that would connect the neighbourhood to the GO station. These linkages would be achieved at such time as the intervening lands located between the neighbourhood and the GO station are redeveloped.

Employment land conversion

Within the Aldershot, Burlington and Appleby GO Mobility Hubs, there currently exist Locally and Regionally identified employment lands. As part of the new Official Plan process, the City studied its employment lands. As part of the “Burlington Employment Lands Policy Recommendations and Conversion Analysis Report” prepared by Dillon Consulting, both City and privately initiated employment conversions were considered. The report also included a detailed analysis with respect to employment lands in close proximity to Mobility Hubs.


The planners have proposed some urban employment can be located near the rail line in the northern part of the Burlington mobility hub boundary.

The outcome of the analysis was to establish which lands would be preliminarily recommended for conversion. It is critical to note that a recommendation for conversion does not imply that the lands are no longer intended to serve an employment function. Rather, a preliminary recommendation to convert should be understood to mean that the City wants to achieve a mix of uses including employment, commercial and residential. Equally important is to reinforce that a potential mix of uses does not necessarily include residential uses, but could include a broader range of commercial uses.

The City’s recommendations for the conversion of employment lands can be organized into two categories: those conversions to support sites with unique constraints; and, those conversions to support the emerging urban structure. Employment land conversions within the Mobility Hubs support the emerging urban structure and constitute the majority of lands and parcels recommended for conversion.

The new Official Plan presents the Area of Employment overlay which both removes and adds land from the Regional Area of Employment overlay. Lands that are proposed to be removed from the Regional Area of Employment overlay will be deferred and considered subject to the Region of Halton Official Plan Review.

The Area Specific Planning (ASP) process will proceed with planning of these lands in the context of the broader objectives of the Mobility Hubs Study and the guiding principles and unique considerations for each of the hubs. The ASP process also plans to achieve new employment uses within the Mobility Hubs which are compatible in a mixed-use context.

Area Specific Plan (ASP) Development and Timing

The development of the draft precinct plans included within this report are key inputs into the creation of the Area Specific Plans (ASPs) for the three GO Station Mobility Hubs. ASPs are plans that apply to a specific geographic area, such as the City’s four Mobility Hubs. ASPs can include a variety of studies and contain specific policies to guide future development which can form the basis of an amendment to an Official Plan. City Building staff are continuing work on the ASPs for the Downtown and the three GO Station Mobility Hubs. The work will include the development of more detailed policies which are not otherwise developed at an Official Plan level of detail. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Site-specific constraints;
  • Detailed heritage analysis;
  • Phasing of development;
  • Infrastructure capacity;
  • Stormwater management including floodplains;
  • Feasibility of future transportation connections;
  • Additional sustainability measures;
  • Area-focused community engagement;
  • Implementation and incentive tools; and,
  • Further area-specific design

In terms of timing, staff will be bringing forward four Area Specific Plans by Q1 2019.

ASP Technical Studies

Leland node

Some development could be added to the Leland community in the upper western part of the Burlington mobility hub.

Pub serv precinct

The planners have created a new name for a precinct – “public service”. Is a school proposed for the area?

Preliminary technical information regarding the projected densities; market analysis; environmental studies; stormwater, water and wastewater assessments; cultural heritage resource assessments and archeology were previously provided.  . The suite of technical studies consists of the following:

Environmental Impact Studies – A scoped Environmental Impact Study (EIS) is being completed for each of the four Mobility Hubs as part of this planning study. The purpose of each EIS will be to inventory existing conditions of the natural environment (e.g., woodlands, wetlands, valleys, wildlife habitat, watercourses), identify the potential impacts that the proposed Area Specific Plans may have on these features, and develop high-level mitigation plans, where appropriate, focusing on appropriately minimizing or eliminating impacts. The proposed approach for the scoped EIS work is to focus on two key objectives:

  1. Identifying lands which are not suitable for development based on their significance or related constraints; and,
  2. Identifying opportunities for ecological restoration, as a number of the lands around the hub areas are heavily

Functional Servicing – The detailed Functional Servicing Study involves a review of the existing water and wastewater services accessible to each of the hubs; confirmation of the capacity of the water and wastewater services accessible to each of the hubs; and preparation of water and wastewater servicing concepts for each of the hubs. This study will inform the Area Specific Plans in regards to water and wastewater infrastructure capital needs.

Air, Noise & Vibration – A Pre-Feasibility Noise and Vibration Study is being completed for the Aldershot, Burlington and Appleby GO Mobility Hub study areas (note: Burlington Downtown is excluded from the Noise and Vibration Study Scope). The Noise and Vibration Study includes reviewing the noise and vibration impact of introducing new sensitive land uses in proximity to existing stationary and transportation noise sources (e.g. industrial, rail, etc.). The Study will identify potential impacts which may exist and identify areas of impact and associated potential mitigation measures which may be required within the study areas. In addition, Provincial guidelines such as the D-6 guideline for compatibility between industrial facilities and NPC-300 for stationary and transportation noise, will provide staff with an understanding of the development constraints which may exist with respect to the introduction of sensitive land uses, such as residential uses, within the mobility hubs

Air Quality Impact – An Air Quality Impact and a high-level Risk Assessment Study for the Aldershot, Burlington and Appleby Mobility Hub study areas is being completed (note: Burlington Downtown is excluded from the Air Quality Study). This Study will review the air quality impacts of introducing new sensitive land uses (clusters of future sensitive receptors) in proximity to existing stationary and transportation sources of air emissions (e.g. industrial facilities, rail, highways, etc.). The Study will review these impacts, which exist within or outside the respective Mobility Hub study areas. Results of the risk assessment will be used to develop strategies to mitigate potential air quality impacts associated with the respective Mobility Hubs.

Transportation – A transportation study is currently underway to identify future transportation needs and parking strategies for all four Mobility Hubs. This Study will review the transportation network and identify improvements and enhancements needed to support the plans and encourage multi-modal transportation solutions. The Study will review the current and planned active transportation networks and identify improvements. Further, transportation demand management (TDM) strategies and policies will be developed for each hub. This work will also include a strategic parking review to identify appropriate parking rates within the mobility hubs and strategies to achieve the desired modal splits. This work will also identify a framework to deal with the changing parking demands over time and appropriate use of off-street parking; municipal parking lots, and shared parking.

This particular study is years behind – it is a critical part of the planning decisions that have to be made

Market Analysis – A market analysis is being completed for each Mobility Hub study area to help guide the planning and urban design aspects of the project. A contextual market analysis of the City of Burlington is being completed along with a more detailed assessment of the four Mobility Hub study areas. For each station area, the assessment will include development trends, land values, and an assessment of how the study areas relate to the Burlington and GTHA marketplace. This will include assessing the nature of residential, commercial and office development including both tenant and buyer profiles. This analysis will give a broad idea of the nature of long term demand and the expected development trends looking forward.

This work will also identify other development opportunities and challenges related to development economics and feasibility, the protection/enhancement of existing employment functions, development phasing, the need for financial incentives, population and employment forecasts for the land use scenarios, and other related market considerations. This analysis will inform and ensure the Area Specific Plans are both marketable and feasible from a development and economic perspective. In addition to market inputs, this study will provide strategies and advice related to overcoming development challenges (e.g. fragmented ownership and prohibitive land values, contaminated lands, land use compatibility concerns, etc.) and achieving municipal objectives (green space, affordable housing, community facilities, appropriate housing mix, etc.).

Fiscal Impact Analysis – The intent of the Financial Impact Analysis (FIA) is to measure the operating and capital cost impacts of intensification within each of the Mobility Hubs, both individually and in aggregate, for various types of residential, non- residential, and mixed-use development. The FIA would be undertaken for City and Regional services and measure the incremental costs for new development, including new infrastructure and associated lifecycle replacement requirements.

Archaeological / Cultural Heritage – The archaeological study will provide information about the history, current land conditions, geography and previous archaeological fieldwork of the hub areas. The Cultural Heritage assessment will focus on conducting and analyzing background research and field survey results for the purposes of identifying impacts of the proposed undertaking on cultural heritage resources.

ASP Implementation

Following the completion of the Area Specific Plans, there will be an implementation phase to the Mobility Hubs project. The implementation phase of the project will include the development of a wide range of tools and detailed discussion of partnerships required to implement the area specific plans over time. This phase may include the development of zoning by-law regulations; form-based codes (i.e. development permit / community planning permit system), urban design guidelines, community improvement plans, etc. Following the conclusion of the implementation phase, it is important to note that other development processes will be required. Development processes may include applications for minor variance, site plan, site-specific zoning and/or official plan amendments or development permits.

The Downtown Mobility Hub Area Specific Planning process has been conducted concurrently to the new Official Plan process. The Downtown Mobility Hub process has resulted in new policies and schedules that have been incorporated into the new, Council-adopted, Burlington Official Plan.

Citizens can expect much more on the Downtown hub once they get into the review of the Official Plan that has been returned to the city by the Region as not being complete.

To achieve the long-term objectives of the four Mobility Hubs including transportation modal split targets, future development in the Mobility Hubs must be supported by other ongoing City initiatives. There is an important symbiotic relationship between the Mobility Hubs Area Specific Plans and the City’s Transportation Plan, Cycling Master Plan, Community Trails Strategy, the Integrated Transit Mobility Plan and the Downtown Streetscape Guidelines, all of which are necessary to ensure that the four Mobility Hubs are connected to city-wide destinations through active transportation networks, a frequent transit network and well-designed complete streets.

The draft Precinct Plans for each of the GO Mobility Hubs were said to achieve key important city-building objectives including: the provision of a variety of housing forms to attract a broad range of demographics; creating opportunities for new and enhanced public parks and open spaces; the provision of sites for future community and public services; the concentration of tall buildings in proximity to higher order public transit (GO Transit) as well as the frequent transit corridors; the establishment of height peaks and built form transitions; and the provision of development permissions that will attract future population and job growth.

With a demand for more meaningful participation on the part of those who take an active interest in the kind of city Burlington is going to evolve into and a city council that has said it wants to respect the citizens that elected them – what gets built on the mobility hub sites may well be quite a bit different than what the planners have put forward to this point.

Rosa and MArk Bales

Rosa Bustamante with Mark Bales on the left and Nick Carnacelli of Carriage Gate; the company has three developments in various stages of approvals in the downtown core.

The city is at a critical transition point – whether or not this city council can pull it off is a large part of what 2019 is going to be about.

Planners Rosa Bustamante, Manager of Policy Planning – Mobility Hubs, Phil Caldwell,  Senior Planner – Mobility Hubs and Kyle Plas, MCIP RPP, Senior Planner – Mobility Hubs and  Samantha Romlewski, M.Pl., Planner II have been the leads on this file.

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Transit service makes changes to eight routes effective January 6th.

News 100 blueBy Staff

December 31st, 2018


As a result of customer feedback Burlington Transit has introduced improvements to Routes 1, 2, 5, 11, 21, 81, 87 and 101 on January  6, 2019.

One of the new buses added o the Burlington Transit fleet. There were busses that had more than 15 years on their tires - those old ones certainly rattled down Guelph Line when I was on one of them.

One of the new buses added to the Burlington Transit fleet.

Route Changes:
• Route 1 – Schedule adjustments to improve transit rider connections to other Burlington Transit routes

• Route 2 – Schedule adjustments to better service Brant St.

• Route 5 – Buses for Route 5 will wait at the Downtown Terminal to improve transit rider connections to other Burlington Transit routes

• Route 11 – Route 11 will add one morning trip leaving the GO 407 Carpool Lot, add one evening trip departing Appleby GO, and adjust one afternoon trip to improve transit rider connections at GO stations

• Route 21 – Late-night schedule leaves Appleby GO station on the hour to improve connections at the Burlington GO station

• Route 81 – Route 81 will add another morning trip leaving Burlington GO at 5:24 a.m.

• Route 87 – Schedule adjustments to improve connections with Route 1

• Route 101 – Early morning schedule adjustments for better connections with Route 21 and 81

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Changes made to eight transit lines - take place effective January 6th

News 100 yellowBy Staff

December 29th, 2018



Thank you to our Burlington Transit customers who contacted us with questions about route and schedule changes that were made in September and November this year.

As a result of feedback from customers, Burlington Transit has introduce improvements to Routes 1, 2, 5, 11, 21, 81, 87 and 101 on January 6, 2019.

One of the new buses added o the Burlington Transit fleet. There were busses that had more than 15 years on their tires - those old ones certainly rattled down Guelph Line when I was on one of them.

Part of the Burlington Transit fleet.

Route Changes:
• Route 1 – Schedule adjustments to improve transit rider connections to other Burlington Transit routes

• Route 2 – Schedule adjustments to better service Brant St.

• Route 5 – Buses for Route 5 will wait at the Downtown Terminal to improve transit rider connections to other Burlington Transit routes

• Route 11 – Route 11 will add one morning trip leaving the GO 407 Carpool Lot, add one evening trip departing Appleby GO, and adjust one afternoon trip to improve transit rider connections at GO stations

• Route 21 – Late-night schedule leaves Appleby GO station on the hour to improve connections at the Burlington GO station

• Route 81 – Route 81 will add another morning trip leaving Burlington GO at 5:24 a.m.

• Route 87 – Schedule adjustments to improve connections with Route 1

• Route 101 – Early morning schedule adjustments for better connections with Route 21 and 81


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Transit changes: number of routes changed to improve the service.

News 100 blueBy Staff

October 24th, 2018



The transit people want to improve bus arrival times and transit rider connections,  they are going to make changes to bus routes that will be introduced  Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018.

The schedule updates will affect routes 3, 5, 6, 11, 12, 21, 25, 80, 81, and 83. Transit riders are encouraged to check updated schedules before they ride at

Summary of transit schedule changes beginning Nov. 4, 2018:

Routes Change

5 and 80 Routes 5 and 80 will operate as separate buses and riders will be required to transfer between Routes 5 and 80 at the Burlington GO station at 2101 Fairview St.
This change will help ensure any delays that may occur on one of these routes will not have an impact on the other route.

6 and 11 Routes 6 and 11 will operate as separate buses and riders will be required to transfer between Routes 6 and 11 at the GO 407 Carpool lot on Dundas Street, west of Walkers Line.
This change will help ensure any delays that may occur on one of these routes will not have an impact on the other route.

12 Route 12 will operate on a 30-minute schedule all day.

11, 21, 25, 81 and 83 The schedules for Routes 11, 21, 25, 81 and 83 will shift by five minutes to improve transit rider connections at GO stations.

Updates to Burlington Transit schedules will result in more frequent bus service along Brant Street as riders will be able to take Routes 3 or 5 between downtown and the Burlington GO station.

Sue Connor with Jim Young

Sue Connor, Director of Burlington Transit with Jim Young an advocate for free transit for seniors one day a week.

Sue Connor, Director, Burlington Transit imported from Brampton is betting that the “schedule changes represent another opportunity to improve Burlington’s Transit service. The updated schedules will help to ensure buses are arriving on time so that riders can make their transit connections to travel through our city.”

Connor is continually reported to have done a great job in Brampton.  Let’s hope that can be achieved here as well.

There is in Burlington, a citizens group that approached the transit people with an idea:  How about aving a bus that runs up and down Brant – with no particular schedule.  It would be a hop on – hope off. And free.

The transit people said they didn’t have a bus that could be dedicated to an experiment like that.  One wonders how people would take to the idea of being able to stand at a bus stop – get on the bus and go anywhere you wanted on Brant Street.

Burlingtonians are married to their cars.  The only way they are going to evolve to transit users is if they are given a chance to try the service and find that it is convenient.


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BFAST releases transit survey results,Endorses Meed Ward for mayor.

News 100 blueBy Staff

October 3rd, 2018


BFAST’s news release earlier today said City Council defeated a motion to provide a pilot project for free fares for seniors by a vote of 6-1. The actual result was 4-3, with Mayor Goldring and Councillors Meed Ward and Lancaster in favour.

Bfast Transit group logoBurlington for accessible Sustainable Transit (BFAST) says the results of its candidates’ survey on transit policy could mean a change for the better. The group surveyed all Burlington mayoral and council candidates and endorsed Marianne Meed Ward for mayor.

“Marianne has been in the trenches, fighting for decent transit service in the face of a wall of opposition,” said Doug Brown, BFAST chair. “While the other candidates are not necessarily hostile to transit, Marianne’s record speaks for itself.”


Bfast survey a

Bfast survey b

Transit - unhappy customer

An unhappy transit user venting before the Director of Transportation Vito Tolone and Mayor Goldring.

BFAST welcomed the priority that both mayoral city council candidates are giving to transit in their survey answers and platforms.

“We were pleased at the fresh perspectives many of the candidates brought to the issue,” said Brown. “We sincerely thank everyone for their participation and congratulate them for participating in the electoral process as candidates.”

Thirty-three of the 37 candidates favoured establishing transit service before new developments were built. Twenty-nine favoured a pilot project offering free transit for seniors during off-peak hours, a proposal the present council defeated 6-1.

The survey results, and BFAST’s recommendations, are public at

Transit wkshp = Edwardth = Mayor with cell

Joey Edwarth, President of Community Development Halton, Mayor Goldring and on the far right Doug Brown of Bfast. Mayor is checking out a transit cell phone app.

The survey was conducted by email in late August and early September. All 37 of the mayoral and council candidates submitted responses. In some cases, the responses came with extensive comments, which BFAST published in full. Email addresses for the candidates were obtained from the city’s election website.

BFAST, established in 2012, is a citizens’ group that promotes public transit in Burlington. It is the lead organizer in the annual Transit Users’ Forum, delegates to city council and staff, provides information to transit researchers and works with other community groups to improve Burlington’s transit system.


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Drummond: Evidence is overwhelming, businesses adapted to $14 minimum wage. They would adapt to $15.

opinionviolet 100x100By Andrew Drummond

October 3rd, 2018



Last Wednesday, Ontario Minister of Labour, Laurie Scott announced that Ontario would not follow through on its commitment to raise the minimum wage to $15 on January 1, 2019. The new Ford administration argued that “The increase of 20 per cent this year was a lot for businesses to absorb so we’re putting a pause on the minimum wage,” Scott said. “What we’re doing is that businesses have the chance to catch up but we’re also helping the low-income people in Ontario with tax breaks,”.

The regressive position of the Ford government contrasts with the actions of the government of Alberta which on October 1, raised its minimum wage to $15 across the province. Alberta’s Labour Minister, Christina Gray claimed “Going forward, we know that paying a little bit more to workers will provide greater stability, lower turnover, more loyalty,” she said. “We hear that a lot from businesses that pay at or above that higher minimum wage — that there is a benefit in retention and lower training costs.”

The argument from the Ontario government and other fiscal conservatives is that business has been hurt by the increases in minimum wage and that has caused them to scale back on part time jobs, hurting the most vulnerable. “Employers are finding it hard to cope with the precipitous rise in the minimum wage. In response, they’re cancelling part-time jobs.” said Minister Scott in an editorial for the Financial Post. This statement raises the following questions: What is the reality of this assertion? What impact did the proposed wage raise have on businesses in Ontario and specifically in Burlington?

Ad 2The evidence is so far inconclusive. In Ontario, 51,000 jobs were lost in January. Many critics of the minimum wage increase incorrectly pointed to this as evidence of the detrimental effect of the policy – however the data told a different and more nuanced tale. In additional to the confusion over the data there was also anecdotal evidence showing that some companies (notably Tim Horton’s franchises) had dramatically scaled back their employment immediately on January 1 as response to the implementation of $14 as a minimum wage.

However, there was not nearly as much focus on the employment numbers after January to measure the long-term effect of the policy. When we look past the January employment figures, we see a different picture emerge. For example, in February, Ontario gained 16,000 jobs. In March another 10,000 were added. By July, Ontario had gained 132,000 jobs since the end of January, more than offsetting the gut jerk reaction from employers when the minimum wage came out. Ontario currently has the lowest unemployment rate it has had over the past 5 years at 5.4%. The argument that employment has struggled under a higher minimum wage appears to be disconnected from the actual employment figures.

Fortino adFor Burlington specifically, we need to understand what a living, rather than minimum wage should be. Living Wage Halton has done an exceptional job of figuring out what the minimum value needed to live here is. They take into account a 4 person family with limited expenses. The family does all its travel on public transit, needs only limited childcare for 1 of 2 children, and has a meagre entertainment budget (a weeklong camping trip and once a year to the zoo). This is measured against the current values of food, housing, and services in Halton to compute what exactly the 2 adults need to earn on a 40 hour workweek to support this family.

Servoce Ontario adThe current value for the Halton region is $17.95 an hour. This amount represents the bare minimum that a person needs to make while working full time and supporting a family on two incomes. Against that value, the current $14 Ontario minimum wage is clearly inadequate. A family with minimum wage earners would have a shortfall of $15,800 in their yearly budget just to make ends meet. To cover this shortfall, the family would need additional earnings from part time jobs that made up 22.5 hours a week. While there are obviously some assumptions made here in the makeup piece, (taxes would be lower for example) a family should not need many hours of part time work just to have a meager lifestyle.

Wimpys adThe question is then can Burlington businesses afford it? What has been the local result of the increase to $14/hour? There is relatively little unemployment data available at the city level. However, the 2016 census put Burlington’s unemployment at 5.7%, or 1.7% lower than the province as a whole. So Burlington is relatively well off compared to Ontario at large. Extrapolating, if Ontario gained jobs despite (or because of) a minimum wage increase, it is possible that Burlington did as well.

To test this theory, I conducted an informal survey of a number of plazas in Burlington over the past three  weeks. At every one of them, there were multiple companies looking to hire. As far as I can tell, every Tim Horton’s in the city is looking for more people, and many clerical/retail opportunities exist as well. If the minimum wage hike had done such damage, why are there so many businesses still looking for people willing to work at that wage?

What all this means is that the closer the minimum wage gets to $17.95 in Halton, the better off all families and by extension our entire community will be. The caveat on this is that it only works if business can sustain it. The evidence is overwhelming that businesses adapted to the $14 minimum wage, and they would certainly be able to adapt to $15 as well.

Businesses are doing Ok, so it’s time to make sure families are doing Ok too.

Andrew Drummond HeadshotAndrew Drummond was the New Democratic candidate for Burlington in the most recent provincial election.

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64,000 students, 6,507 teachers will be back in public schools on Tuesday.

News 100 blueBy Staff

August 31st, 2018



The Halton District School Board will be welcoming approximately 64,000 Kindergarten to Grade 12 students on the first day of school on Tuesday.

The Board’s 6,507 teachers, 3,117 non-teaching and support staff, and 222 principals and vice-principals are outfitting classrooms, tending to sports fields, polishing floors, cleaning buildings and organizing schedules to prepare schools for another productive and memorable school year.

New cladding roof MMR

New cladding on the sides of the high school and repairs to the roof are part of the work done at MMR during the summer.

The controversial transferring of Lester B Pearson students to M.M. Robinson High School starts on Tuesday as well. During the summer, MMR underwent some renovations to improve the educational experience for all students as the two schools merge into one community. The school’s Community Pathways Program (CPP) space has been re-constructed, new locker bays installed throughout the building, the theatre’s facade re-designed and renamed the Lester B. Pearson Community Theatre and new cladding added to part of the outdoor front facade, in addition to other improvements.

Students, staff and parents/guardians will also walk into many other Halton schools that underwent various renovations and upgrades this summer. Approximately $25 million worth of construction projects were completed at dozens of elementary and secondary schools. Work included roofing improvements, ventilation, new entranceways, windows, doors, flooring and washrooms, and more.

Over the summer, the HDSB transitioned to a new Student Absence Reporting system called SchoolMessenger. Families can register for SchoolMessenger through the website ( or the HDSB Mobile App. Resources and training videos to support parents/guardians with the transition to SchoolMessenger are available on the HDSB website ( by searching “SchoolMessenger”.

This new system enables parents/guardians to receive app notifications, text messages, emails and phone calls from schools and the HDSB. Families will now be able to report absences for their child using the HDSB Mobile App, the SchoolMessenger website or a toll-free phone number.

The HDSB Mobile App, rolled out earlier this year, consolidates important information for parents/guardians and students into one easy-to-access location. Report absences, receive school and Board news, social media and calendars all in one place. The HDSB Mobile App is available for download on the App Store and Google Play by searching “HDSB”.

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Kearns calls the stuff coming out of the Transportation department is 'phony baloney'.

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

August 24th, 2018



Lisa Kearns met with her community last night – she wanted to update them on where things were with developments in the ward and talk to them about her stand on most of the problems as she sees them.
It was clear that Lisa Kearns is for development – but the right kind of development.

Kerns at public meting Aug 23

Lisa Kearns talking to participants at her public meeting and handing out her T-shirts.

She has taken the position that the Carriage Gate development on the north east corner of James and Brant is a done deal. Her concern now is how does the community handle that construction – how long will there be serious disruption to how people use the downtown core which she defines as from the Lakeshore Road north to Caroline.

Kearns told the meeting that the Burlington Downtown Business Association and the Burlington Economic Development Corporation are working together on a study to come up with ideas to keep the downtown core vibrant.

Bentley - rendering

The Bentley, nearing completion on John Street is the first of a three phase development. Above ground parking and a medical building on the north at Caroline are to follow. Kearns thinks this is a great development.

Kearns pointed to the three phase Carriage Gate development on John Street that she thinks is great. It combines a location for new community services (in this case medical) has space for commercial tenants and will have significant above ground parking. She said she understands that 27% of the units in the Bentley are to be affordable housing. That does not appear to be the understanding of the developer.

One of the small pieces of good news is that there may be a solution to what was going to be serious traffic congestion on John Street at the downtown mobility hub with at least six transit routes going into and leaving the transit station and cars from the Revenue Properties and Carriage development emptying onto the same street.

Bus roites - 1st design

All those dotted lines are but routes that swing through the downtown mobility hub. Moving the transfer station north to ancempty lot at the corner of Caroline and John is said to be in the works.

Kearns told her audience that it appeared the property at the corner of John and Caroline that is now an empty lot will be made the transfer point for people who want to change buses. That transferring is now done at the location of the transit terminal on John Street just north of Pine.

Sounds like a sensible decision – nothing from city hall on this yet.

Kearns at podium

Lisa Kearns: Talks like a ward Councillor

Kearns looks and talks like the ward Councillor. She is in constant touch with the bureaucrats and used phrases like “I will take care of you” – “I’ve already been doing that.”

Kearns believes the downtown core – from Lakeshore to Caroline – is going to lose much of its character.

She appears to be basing her campaign on a sustainability lens – everything that gets done should be done through a sustainability lens – does what we want to do add to the sustainability of the community. Her message was that we need to re-think the way we do things.

Members of the audience were able to pick up Lisa Kearns lawn signs – and advised that they cannot be put up until September 7th.

Transportation and the study that seems to be taking forever to make it to the public drew this comment from Kearns: “Phony baloney – they don’t know what they are doing.”

That’s as blunt and direct as a candidate can be.

Expect more of that from Kearns who is going to be an interesting debater during the all candidate debates taking place for each ward.

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