Region tells the city the Official Plan they sent isn't legit - so that rush to get the thing 'approved' before the election was a waste of time.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 10th, 2018



The City of Burlington received notice from the Region of Halton on December 4th regarding the city’s Official Plan.

Noting that the notice did not arrive until the 4th, that means the surprise Mayor Meed Ward told the inauguration audience she had for them was not about the Official Plan – it was about the firing of the City Manager which took place the following day.

The notice from the Region advised that the city’s adopted Official Plan did not conform with the Regional Official Plan in a number of respects related to policies and mapping, and among others, in the areas of:

Regional Chair Gary Carr tasting honey while on an agricultural tour.

Regional Chair Gary Carr tasting honey while on an agricultural tour. There is some serious farming being done in the rural lands – not as much as the Planning department thinks.

• proposed employment land conversions and permitted uses within the employment areas and lands;
• the identification of and permitted uses within agricultural lands;
• the identification of and permitted uses within the Natural Heritage System; and
• transportation matters, including road classifications.

A media release from city hall said:

Ongoing work will continue between the city and Region which will result in a draft notice of decision containing modifications to the city’s Official Plan. These modifications will be shared with the city and brought forward to City Council for consideration.

The process for final approval of the city’s Official Plan will include:

• The ability for the city to make additional modifications before the Official Plan is approved by Halton Region where there is appropriate planning justification and public consultation

• Once city staff is of the opinion that the issues of non-conformity have been addressed, the proposed changes would be brought back to Council for a vote before final approval by the Region

• An indefinite “pause” of the 210 days the Region has to approve the Official Plan

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward will work with her Burlington Council colleagues to ensure the city and Region are able take the appropriate time necessary to continue work on any potential modifications of the Official Plan.

This will also allow time for any additional matters the new Council would like to address before final approval.

Burlington city staff will bring forward a memo through the Council Information Package on Dec. 14 about next steps on this matter.

This process is going to be complex and there are just two members of the new seven member city council who have a solid grasp of what this is all about.

Holding hands

A great moment – and the beginning of a four year term of office.

The really steep learning curve for the new council begins this afternoon when they meet as a Standing Committee and get down to business – unless one counts the quicky Special Meeting of city council that took place last Tuesday.

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4 comments to Region tells the city the Official Plan they sent isn’t legit – so that rush to get the thing ‘approved’ before the election was a waste of time.

  • Hans

    Re: “..that rush to get the thing ‘approved’ before the election was a waste of time..” – That’s for sure.
    In addition, it’s intuitively obvious that any government’s mandate becomes weaker with the passage of time; i.e., no action should be taken or decisions made in the year before the next election that will bind the next government into contracts that they might not have approved, unless there is an urgent and justifiable reason. The previous council, with its diminished and rapidly fading mandate, appeared to be attempting to create a large amount of baggage for our next council to deal with. It may have been legal but I call that unethical.

  • Stephen White

    So much for all the naysayers, including most of the incumbents, who during the election campaign kept telling voters that the OP was a “done deal”, that we all had to just “suck it up”, that there was nothing that could be done to change it, and that we had to live with it. Hell hath no fury like scorned voters!

    Let’s hope the folks in the Planning Department have learned to read the tea leaves, and will work with residents to design a new OP that better reflects the needs of local residents and not those of developers.

    • Tom Muir


      Hope, even with prayer, will not be enough to get this done. Citizens have to gather together in numbers and take action to get what they want. It will not come calling.

      The planners in my 25 years of experience have never been held accountable. They do what they are told, and what the bosses want, and have been doing that for this whole OP process as the latest installment.

      They are the self anointed high priests of development. You know, the “expert planning witnesses”, who tell us that “good planning” is what they say it is..

      They have a vested and intellectual interest in the OP they wrote.

      Don’t expect that to be given up easily.

      There is still no accountability.

      And there are many consequences of past actions and development expectations sown around town that still have to be dealt with and will be haunting us for a while.

  • Don Fletcher

    I remember that many delegations (myself included) regarding the Official Plan wanted its’ approval to be an election issue, and that failing that, promised to vote out their incumbent Councillor. Who would have thought that all of this has come true at the hands of the electorate on October 22nd? Democracy is alive and well in Burlington.

    As an aside, I believe that Marianne Meed Ward would have been working with the Region on their approval of our adopted OP once elected, and that she would have likely known that they would be officially returning it on December 4th. Surely, this was the surprise update that she had for Burlington that she alluded to at the December 3rd Inaugural Meeting of Council. The termination of James Ridge is barely a footnote to this, MMW’s election promise kept.