Planners have recommended the first high rise for th downtown core - they are on for 23 storeys - developer wanted 27.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

October 21st, 2017



The city’s Planning department have said in a report to city council that they can live with a 23 storey tower across the street from city hall

They want something in the way of Section 37 benefits and they will require the developer to sign a Residential Development Agreement.

421 BrantThe Planners are recommending a mixed use development consisting of a 23 storey building with a maximum of 169 residential apartment units, a minimum of 365 square metres of office space and 900 square metres of commercial retail space which will rise at the corner of Brant Street and James Street.

The city’s Sustainable Development Advisory Committee is onside. In their report to city council they say: “We support the general concept of this building design if the New Official Plan determines this is where Tall Buildings should be built in the future.”

The report is more than 70 pages long and has six appendices – it will take more time than we have today to get through it all and then report.

The recommendation will be debated at a Planning and Development Standing Committee meeting November 1st.

The direction development in the downtown core will be determined by how city council votes on this application.

Where does the public sand? In the appendices there are a number of comments that range from:

The Growth Plan has been around since 2006. This is bigger than one lady in “the Pink Palace”. There has always been an understanding that that each municipality should accommodate its fair share of growth. I find it astonishing that people continue to refuse to face this reality. Burlington is going to grow. Ratcheting up the rhetoric does not help the situation and does nothing but lead politicians to suggest that they support down zoning. And where do they want this down zoning? In the core of the City! The downtown. The “Urban Growth Centre”!

Like it or not, Burlington is going to grow – ESPECIALLY in the downtown.


My wife has just handed me a flyer regarding a proposed 27 storey mixed use building in our downtown core. I also see that there was a meeting and comments due by the 7th of this month.

If the City has lost their minds and approved this project I would like to know who specifically is responsible for allowing this to go ahead. Hopefully the Burlington residents have been respected.

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10 comments to Planners have recommended the first high rise for th downtown core – they are on for 23 storeys – developer wanted 27.

  • Jeremy Skinner

    Report Number: PB-62-17
    Subject Report recommending modified approval of an Official Plan and Zoning By-law amendment for 421 – 431 Brant Street
    Can be found at—brant-st/pb-62-17-recommendation-report—421-431-brant-street.pdf

  • Steve

    I hope somebody is looking into the future; what is needed with all this growth. Hopefully to maintain what we had. Any plans for matching growth of infrastructure and holding or improving on current level of services?

    Traffic congestion is really bad at times. Unbearable. We need more lanes, fewer bike lanes. Needs are more important than ticking certain boxes so that Burlington looks cool and trendy on paper or in urban planning circles.

    What about the increased burden on our landfill site as Halton grows. The usable life limit of the dump must be dramatically decreasing. With this rate of growth, what plans are there for when we need a new one, where will it go? Or will we now be paying big time to have it all trucked away; increasing our taxes even more.

    Closing schools, really? What will be put in their place, 23 storey condos?

    The fire department could use some new equipment I would guess to cope with these tall structures. Where should the money come from to support this ambitious expansion. Plans made anybody?

    Grow boldly but don’t grow foolishly.

  • Stephen White

    “I find it astonishing that people continue to refuse to face this reality. Burlington is going to grow. Ratcheting up the rhetoric does not help the situation and does nothing but lead politicians to suggest that they support down zoning.”

    Seriously? This comment is not only disingenuous and naive but it seriously distorts the position of those who have raised real concerns around the Mobility Hubs issue.

    To be clear: no one is questioning the need for growth or intensification. We aren’t in the slow lane. We get it! Politicians and developers who persist in portraying this argument as a dichotomy between “growth” and “no growth” or “intensification” and “no intensification” clearly aren’t listening to the nuances. The devil is in the details and the process. There are many people who have raised real and legitimate concerns regarding the type of development, the impact upon existing neighbourhoods, increased traffic congestion, and the debilitating affect upon the environment.

    I’ve been to several Mobility Hubs meetings. No one has provided a concrete, concise answer to how many people we are supposed to accommodate in the downtown core. No one has provided details regarding schools, or improvements in public transit, or upgrades to roads, etc. And what about all these wonderful retail establishments that are supposed to magically appear once these high rise developments appear. Where is the parking? Oops, sorry….I guess they haven’t thought of that yet. In the meantime, the questions go unanswered, the Mayor sits stonily silent, and the officials from the Planning Department tell us it will all become clear later.

    There may be some who want to line up to drink the Kool-Aid, but there are several of us who have serious doubts around the consultation process, the approval process, and what will be in the final recommendations. Many voters want straight answers to real questions, and aren’t prepared to hand the Mayor and this Council a blank cheque.

    • Tom Muir


      I’m going to wait to see the staff report before making more specific comments, but I must say that pretty much everything you say is what is happening in reality.

      What I am hearing and seeing is that we are going to get a half-baked Mobility Hubs idea – I can’t in any way yet call it a plan yet – that will be glommed onto a draft OP, with all the holes and gaps shining through. We are supposed to move ahead with that jury-rigged contraption.

      I also heard that while the OP is coming out for discussion in November, the Hubs drafts won’t appear until December or later. That’s what I mean by half-baked Hubs in what will have to be a half-baked OP by default of a Hubs idea that constitutes maybe 95% of the growth.

      If these things are all approved by Council, even though not approved by Halton Region, they then become what are known in planning lingo as “informative” and they can be legally used together with the existing OP, which is called “determinative”, to rationalize and proceed with whatever developments that can be brought forward.

      My opinion of this is that we will be subject to development approvals by amendments to the existing “determinative” OP/bylaws, using the draft OP/Hubs apparatus as “informative”.

      That is how the new view on tall buildings and density will become how we live.

      At an Aldershot meeting last week, it was mentioned that the population supposed to be accommodated in the Hub there, is about 10,000. This is about 30 buildings like the 23 story, 169 units, with say 2 people average each, equals 338 people, into 10,000. The math can be tweaked for other scenarios.

      For downtown, the latest target I saw was for almost 6,000 people more. So this is say about 18 of these buildings. This math can be tweaked too.

      My impression is that the heat is on for ever more people in Burlington, but I don’t know how many, or what constitutes over-intensification, or if anyone is keeping track.

      Remember, it’s policy based evidence making, not evidence based policy making.

      I’m waiting to see how the planning justification is written.


  • Judy

    What is the meaning of “They want something in the way of Section 37 benefits”? Is that what they call giving the city something in return for the planning department changing the height requirements for extra tall condos?
    Growing Burlington responsibly is one thing but what city planing wants to do is totally different.
    The city Planning Department does not have to “live with the 23 storey tower” – we the residents will have to IF it passes.

  • C Jester

    Will this go down in history as the day Council and its planning and advisory groups threw in the towel, stopped on the dime and went full-in with fill-up the downtown with highrises? I can see it on Broadway! As a musical!

  • steve

    “There has always been an understanding that that each municipality should accommodate its fair share of growth”

    You don’t agree? Your attitude has been noticed.

  • William

    Love the fatalism of the first comment, that growth means that we must accept the developers’ desire to increase their profit margins and our city planners’ desire to experiment with the latest planning fad – the tall tower on the podium. Growth doesn’t mean anything goes, as other municipalities like Oakville have proven.

    The mayor and head planner have been advocates of ‘Grow Bold’, their joyless vision for warehousing large groups of people in bland structures, devoid of greenery and public amenities. Say goodbye to what we loved about Burlington – special interests have taken over the future of this city.

  • Shannon

    I live in the neighborhood, and I’ll be happy to see this built. Hopefully it will also be the start of fixing up John Street which currently looks like one big back alley.

  • Penny

    Ask fro 27 get 23 – now that’s what I call compromise. How many parking spaces?