Part two of the visualization exercise council recently went through - what might our city look like?

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 4, 2015


Second of a multi part series on how the city thinks intensification could be managed.

Last month the Gazette did an article on what intensification could or might look like at a number of locations around the city.

We passed along what planners thought could be done under the current zoning and what could be done with enhanced zoning

We showed what the plaza at New Street and Guelph Line could look like and the number of people + jobs that would be attracted to the area.

Urban corridor scenario 2

In an earlier article we published several drawings of the kind of development that planners thought could be done along Fairview at Cumberland.

We showed what could be done with parts of Fairview – a part of the city that is certainly car friendly but not a place for people or bicycles for that matter.

We showed what would be possible in the way of changes along the widened Waterdown Road, which the Gazette sees as the hot spot in the city when it comes to growth – the challenge out there will be convincing the citizens that the growth is in their best interests. Aldershot is a part of the city where many of the streets do not have sidewalks – and they like it that way.

The purpose of what the planners called a vizualisation exercise was to give city council an idea of what things would – could look like as the city works its way towards a bigger more populous city.

This city council, with the possible exception of ward 5 Councillor Jack Dennison, would prefer not to see any growth. That there will be growth is because the province is telling us we have to grow – and they are telling the Region how much growth there will be – and the Region will decide how much of that growth lands on our streets.

Council has to find a way to make the growth happen and to keep the taxpayers happy by ensuring them that their part of the city isn’t going to have to absorb that growth.

Existing Official Plan and Zoning By- Law permissions can accommodate 200 people and jobs per hectare within the Urban Growth Centre (UGC) by 2031

This amounts to 22,800 people and jobs within the UGC by 2031

There are no wide swaths of land that the developers can put residential housing on – well there are a couple. The growth in residential is going to have to be up – which means higher density.

We are seeing that with the Molinaro project beside the Burlington GO station and with the Nautique structure that ADI development wants to put up at the intersection of Martha Street and Lakeshore Road.

The visualizations are intended to provide a high level understanding of:

What intensification could look like
The level of development that can be generated through intensification
How well the City’s current planning framework supports intensification

Another development hot spot is the downtown core – specifically along Lakeshore where shovels will go in the ground for the Bridgewater development that will see a 22 storey condominium, a seven story condominium and an eight story hotel operational by sometime in 2018.  Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward wanted to see more interest in developing the downtown core and getting high quality office space built which would attract new corporate clients.

The final two locations that were given a vizualization treatment were Appleby Line north of Upper Middle and Harvester Road at the Appleby GO station.

Uptown existing

Appleby Line north of Upper Middle Road – described as Burlington’s Uptown – the street as it looks today

Appleby Line has seen some very good development south of Upper Middle – the streetscape north is waiting for something to happen.  The street width is very good and the depth of many of the properties is exceptional.  Are there developers that will see the opportunities or will current property owners see an opportunity to improve the return on the land they own.

Uptown scenario 1

Appleby Line north of Upper Middle – a drawing setting out the kind of development that could be done today under the existing zoning. The direction Burlington wants to go in includes well marked bicycle lanes and public open space at either intersections or beside buildings – they are looking for a livable city look with plenty of trees and foliage.

The planners envision three storey retail and high rise up to eleven storeys.  significant increases in the number of trees and wide strips of grass between the sidewalks and the clearly marked bicycle lanes with benches almost anywhere one can be fit in.

The planners want to see open space at the intersections with benches and plants.

Uptown scenatio 2

In order to achieve the intensification targets the province has imposed on the Region – greater density might be needed. This drawing suggests where additional height might might be permitted

Urban employment - existing

Entrance to the Appleby GO station on Harvester Road as it looks today.

An Urban Employment area near the Appleby Line GO station was also reviewed.  Burlington has become quite keen on the idea of hubs – places where commercial, residential and transit would all be in very close proximity to each other.  The city identified five such possible hub locations and appears to be very close to making a decision on which they would like to focus their energy and efforts on.

The extent of possible development around the south side of the Appleby GO station doesn’t appear anywhere near what was thought to be possible suggesting that the planners don’t see this part of the city as that significant a possible hub.

urban employment scenario 1

A vizualization of what current zoning would permit close to the entrance to the Appleby GO station.

What they pointed out could be done under the existing zoning is shown below.

During the discussion and debate that took place as the visuals were shown and at the Strategic Plan creation meetings that have been taking place at the same time were several comments from Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward who wanted to see the Downtown core as a place where office space was being built.

Meed Ward argues that the hope for a future Burlington is not the attraction of the seniors – but the attraction of young people who want to live and work in the city – and ensuring that there is housing they can afford. She argues as well that the core needs more people to make the retail and hospitality sectors more viable.

These vizualizations are ideas – what could be done if all the people involved – the owners of the property – the residents in the community, the different agencies who are part of the approval process and city council working from advice their planning staff give them found themselves in agreement.  There were no decisions made, nor were  recommendations put forward – the meetings were an occasion for staff, council members and the consultants that were hired to advise to look at some ideas and and discuss some potentials.

Part 1 of the vizualization exercise.

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