Regions takes a hard look at the Official Plan and tells Burlington the document needs more work. A grateful Mayor may have offered to drive to the Region to retrieve the document.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

December 5th, 2018



The city adopted its Official last April, on the 26th; and sent it to the Region of Halton where it has to be approved.

On May 11, the Region acknowledges the Burlington Official Plan was received and that they are the approval authority to make a decision on the Plan.

Official-Plan-Binder_ImageDuring the last number of months, Halton Region staff have been working closely with City of Burlington staff in the review of the newly adopted Plan to address conformity to the Region of Halton Official Plan.

In a media release the Region said: “Through this review, Regional staff have identified a number of matters with respect to the Plan’s conformity to the Halton Region Official Plan that need to be resolved prior to making a decision on the Plan.”

A notice the Region sent the city set out additional information related to these matters and having to do with non­ conformity with the Halton Region Official Plan.

The Region has said they are ready to work with Burlington in an expeditious manner.

The Planning Act states that if the approval authority (the Region of Halton) fails to give notice of a decision in respect of all or part of a plan within 210 days after the day the plan is received by the approval authority, any person or public body may appeal to the Tribunal all or any part of the plan.

An exception to this provision applies if the approval authority states that the plan or any part of it does not, in the approval authority’s opinion, conform with the upper-tier municipality’s official plan.

The Region of Halton, has informed the City of Burlington that through its delegated authority to the Chief Planning Official, is of the opinion that the Plan does not conform to the Region of Halton Official Plan (2009) (“ROP”).

The Plan does not conform to the ROP with respect to policies and mapping related to, among other matters:

The city is more than just the Escarpment to the north and the lake to the south. It is the people in between that determine who we really are. And it takes more than a magazine saying we are the #2 city in the country doesn't make it so.

Farmland use was one of the issues the Region had with the Official Plan Burlington submitted.

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.

The Region takes the position that the 210-day review period does not begin to run until the Region of Halton confirms that the non-conformity with the ROP is resolved.

As such no appeals under subsection 17(40) of the Planning Act may be filed at this time.

Which is probably just fine with the new Mayor and city council as well as the hundreds of people who didn’t want the Official Plan approved before the election.

With the Official Plan now back in the hands of the Burlington Planning department city council can issue a different set of instructions to deal with the issues that had people upset and angry.

The Downtown Mobility Hub is probably history and the boundaries of the Urban Growth Centre may now get the consideration Meed Ward wanted when she was the ward 2 Councillor.

The creation of the Downtown Mobility hub was argument enough for the Adi Nautique development to get out of the Ontario Municipal Board without a scratch.

It is certainly good news for the new Mayor and those people who delegated to put the Official Plan on hold until the voters decided who they wanted running the city.

The Planning department now has to wait until new instructions are sent and also wait until a new interim city manager is in place.  There has been no suggestion that the current Deputy City Manager will fill that interim role.

The Region’s decision to send the Official Plan back to the city is a validation of the election results even if the Regional issues are not part of what Burlington voters were angry about.

Confusing times – with the right leadership doing the right things for the right reasons, the city could be a much different place in five years.

Assuming the new city council doesn’t blow it

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7 comments to Regions takes a hard look at the Official Plan and tells Burlington the document needs more work. A grateful Mayor may have offered to drive to the Region to retrieve the document.

  • Kevin

    The Region made the right decision here! Anyone who has been involved in detailed discussions around the existing and adopted OP could see there are glaring issues with the Adopted OP. The sad part is how much advertising the City did for the Adopted OP, how much did that cost us as taxpayers?

    I really hope that while they revisit this new OP they also review the City Wide Parking Plan in conjunction with it and revise it as well. People tend to gloss over or ignore what is coming with this new change to parking and development requirements for parking provisions. If it is formally approved as-is it will be a disaster for our City. All you have to do is drive in the Orchard northbound on Sutton (approaching Dundas) and you will see all the cars parked on the on street provided areas AND on the boulevards of driveways (serious safety concern), this amount of provided parking has been dramatically reduced in the City Wide Parking Review so new developments only need to provide a fraction of this space for parking.

  • Tom Muir

    Things will change when the orders to change them are given with no excuses for failure allowed.

    It’s not difficult if that is the intention.

  • Carol Victor

    The official plan news is good for Burlington, listening to constituents is what has been missing at City Hall for quite some time; we have had enough of the talk and the one way communication.
    Anticipating a poor response and or getting no response has been the result of the way issues were communicated, I daresay that the citizens of Burlington have had a wake up call and that with a more inclusive and open line of communication under the direction of our new mayor we will be more responsive and engaged citizens.
    Municipal government has been on the back burner for much of the public for many years; hopefully the results of this past election in our city has reversed this trend.

  • Stephen White

    “With the Official Plan now back in the hands of the Burlington Planning department city council can issue a different set of instructions to deal with the issues that had people upset and angry.”

    This time the Planning Department can start by actually listening to the input and feedback of local residents instead of just paying lip service and conducting a sham consultation process with preconceived conclusions. The Mayor made this pretty clear on Monday night. And while we’re revising the process, let’s also dispense with all the jingoism and public relations hucksterism around “Grow Bold”. Scrap the videos, trash the pretty PowerPoint slide decks, banners and leaflets, open the laptops and notebooks, and start recording in detail what residents think, want and feel. This time, it isn’t about the Planning Department’s agenda or timeline, it’s is what the voters of this City demand.

    • Steve

      When Mary Lou Tanner our director of planning and building thinks that just listing the public meeting dates in the spectator counts as a rebuttal that the city fails to incorporate feedback from citizens into it’s plans I wouldn’t hold my breath that things will radically change. She couldn’t even come up with one concrete example of any changes made as the result of feedback at these meetings, a truly sad showing that she thinks that just telling people what they’re going to do is engagement.

      I know that you can’t always listen to often conflicting points of view from citizens but basically she’s saying that in years of public meetings not one person in the audience or forum ever managed to contribute an idea worth implementing? Not even once? Its farcical and gets at the heart of the matter: they were never really looking for feedback or seriously listening. They were just going through the motions to tick off the “public consultation” box on the planning agenda and then do what they always planned on doing anyway.

      Hopefully the new council can change this but institutional momentum is sometimes really hard to stop especially bad habits that have developed over the years. Makes one wonder changes the new city manager might be making to the directors of the various arms of the city after they get hired.

    • Hans

      Re: “…let’s also dispense with all the jingoism and public relations hucksterism around “Grow Bold”…” – Right on! Sadly, that silly slogan seems to have been interpreted by developers as “grow upward”.

  • Don Fletcher

    Hallelujah, and Amen.