Residents opposed to a city hall decision told they cannot meet at city hall.

Newsflash 100By Staff

November 23, 2017



Jim Young sent us a note earlier today – a group of people who are very unhappy with city council’s decision to approve a 23 storey tower on Brant Street opposite city hall want to find a way to appeal that decision to the Ontario Municipal Board.

Jim Young

Jim Young

Young is the Aldershot resident who took city council to task over their attempt to limit delegations to five minutes from the current practice of ten minutes.

421 Brant

421 Brant – a 23 storey tower approved by city council by a 5-2 vote.

He mentioned to us that the group, Engaged Citizens in Burlington, planned a meeting under very short notice – it was to take place at City Hall, but had to be hastily rearranged when city officials banned the group from using the city hall room.

Banning seems to have become a bit of a practice at city hall. It can only be described as an astonishing decision by people who have a limited understanding of what community engagement really means.

The group was able to pivot quickly and will hold their meeting on Saturday, November 25th at Bunton’s Wharf, Brant St. and Lakeshore, 1.00 pm to 3.00 pm. The entrance to the building is on the Brant Street side

Young describes the now approved tower as a “23 story monstrosity, so out of character, in conflict with city height bylaws and opposed by 1435 signatures on a petition collected over just one week, may be the final straw for people who are opposed to downtown development.

Both the Gazette and Spectator columnist Joan Little have written about the need for new forms of engagement in Burlington

Little suggested it may be time for the good people of Burlington to organize to fight back against their city council’s refusal to listen to their concerns. Citizens feel ignored on new street bike lanes, under funding for transit, lake shore hotels and condo developments and most recently on the 23 story tower on Brant Street just across from City Hall.

City hall has this annoying habit of thinking that if you say something often enough it will become true.  In the comments made by the judges hat gave the reward they said:


  • The city knows “How to make P2 a part of everyday practice in the city of Burlington, through the Burlington Community Engagement Charter adopted in April 2013. Engagement was included as a strategic direction in 2016 Strategic Plan.”
  • “Employees now ask how to engage — not whether.”
  • “Engagement is part of the annual budget, has a dedicated, full-time staff person, and communications personnel promote and coach on P2.”
  • “Demonstrates an organizational long-term commitment to P2, beginning in 2013 and now enshrined in the 25-year Strategic Plan.”



Related article:

Young takes city council to task.

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12 comments to Residents opposed to a city hall decision told they cannot meet at city hall.

  • S. Hutchinson

    Reply to Craig Gardner,
    I’m not sure if an unbiased opinion is put forward on the websites of the different Ward Councillors where the citizens of their areas are indirectly impacted by the extreme to ridiculous changes in Ward 2. Moderation is completely acceptable, but “the sky is the limit”, shouldn’t even reach discussion! Common sense enters into this scenario of what is right and just, and what is not, so that answers a “not in favour” of, over 17 storeys as to what should have been the “final”!!!!!!!!! Take it, or leave it, to the developer!it!!!!!!!!!! Builder came in with 12 storeys, and “The City Fathers” themselves went back to him to up his ante. He decided go for gold of 27 storeys, and the City Fathers granted him 23. We are the citizens that pay their wages, and we are now being called for certain numbers in order to be heard. City Fathers need to move on!

  • craig gardner

    I do not see 1400 names on a petition as representing the vast majority in a city of 180,000+ by any means especially when some names are non-residents. I do below there a number of long time residents who do not want anything to change in Burlington and that is just not reality or acceptable. Perhaps 23 storeys is too many but developing the core from its current dead state is a necessity for the city. The downtown councillor did vote the wishes of the downtown folks perhaps the othercouncillors voted the wishes of themajority of their electorate also.

    • Tom Muir


      I asked you this before – how many people do you want to sign something in a week? Your “vast majority” would be 100,000 plus.

      Oh, and don’t forget the kids.

      I talked to John Taylor, and he told me that he heard from 2 people.

      Some majority.

      I agree 23 is too much. Is 12 to 17 not enough?

    • Stephen White

      So Craig: where is this “great silent majority” of Burlington residents who supposedly believe 23 storey high rises downtown are a good idea? I’ve attended several Mobility Hub discussions, and I was at the November 13th Council meeting. I sure didn’t hear or see them. However, I sure heard a lot of compelling reasons why this development wasn’t a great idea.

      1,400 names on a petition in less than a week is a pretty compelling indication of where public opinion is on this issue. The fact that a handful of people who signed are non-residents doesn’t in and of itself discredit the petition or contradict the prevailing trend. And a dead downtown isn’t going to be re-vitalized by luxury condos with astronomical rents that small businesses can’t afford. The current collection of condo high rises downtown aren’t exactly teeming with vibrant retail businesses, so what makes you think a monster development is going to attract retailers?

    • Steve

      “developing the core from its current dead state is a necessity for the city”

      A more vibrant downtown would be great, but you don’t get that from replacing the existing commercial space with condos that have generic commercial space on the ground floor.

      You know what some of the most vibrant districts in Toronto are? Queen Street and Bloor Street in both of which the City of Toronto have protected the historic street frontage to ensure it doesn’t become cookie cutter commercial space.

      You know what you get if you make a field of condo’s with token commercial space on the ground floor? You get the forest of glass condo’s called City Place you see to the left of the Gardiner at Spadina as you come into Toronto. Take a walk around there if you want to see what it would street life would be like if that vision is allowed to take hold in downtown Burlington. The people I know in those buildings go to other places in Toronto to eat, shop and do their errands. City Place itself is soulless and barren feeling and has zero street vibrancy or green space. If you want to take out some money from an ATM or buy a pack of gum you’re in luck though.

      I don’t want that for downtown Burlington. The very vibrancy you’re seeking to create isn’t served by things like displacing existing businesses like Kelly’s Bakeshop and the others that already exist in the core. Saying that we shouldn’t worry because that space will be replaced is not a valid argument because that unique business will be long gone in favor of some possible business that may move in after 2 or 3 years of construction, not to mention the lost employment in the meantime. Take a google street view tour of north Vancouver and City Place in Toronto if you think that’s the kind of Burlington you want. I certainly don’t and it seems like other citizens don’t either.

      Why don’t we focus on developing around the existing commercial core instead of letting developers pave it over? That way we could preserve the existing charm while protecting jobs and still having a reason for people to still go there in the meantime. Apparently though its easier for the city to just lay down and let developers snap up properties instead of engaging in actual smart growth and trying to protect businesses that are already there. Apparently their and other citizens voices are unimportant to the current city council.

      • Allan

        Totally agree. “Queen Street and Bloor Street… have protected the historic street frontage to ensure it doesn’t become cookie cutter commercial space.”

        Why can’t the City learn from Chicago with it’s undeveloped waterfront or Paris, France where hi-rises are not allowed until 4 miles out of city. They could even learn from downtown Oakville!

        Jamming high rise apartments into the downtown is madness. Our roads and infrastructure can’t handle what we have now.

        Developers now control our city and all they are interested in is the almighty dollar.

  • Centerline

    This is not a new policy by any means. It has been in effect for years.
    Why not go rent a Church Hall if they are that serious.

  • S. Hutch

    We, the citizens, are the ones paying these Councillors and Mayor their hefty wages. Thank you Jim and your followers for holding strong, and also for the Gazette for bringing the truth to the eyes of the citizens of Burlington through your web page and the opportunity for all to make their comments.

  • Dee Gee

    Citizens of Burlington Unite! There is less than a year to set things right. Send the Mayor and Councillors a message that they might understand. Fire them all at the next election!

  • Stan Dupp

    Our City Council is totally out of touch with the will of the people they have been elected to serve.

    If this 23 storey building proposal goes ahead, despite the massive public outcry, then the only recourse is to vote them out of office next year, and help bring this hi-rise insanity to an end. Each councillor and the mayor have made major decisions during their terms which are completely opposite to the will of the majority of Burlington citizens.

    Voter turnout at municipal elections is traditionally very low, which will benefit those wishing to remove public officials from office. When organized opposition to the incumbents turn out en masse to vote against them, then those councillors and mayor, thankfully will be gone, and in 2018 we will have a new council, people more in line with the thinking of the majority of Burlington’s residents, who will stand up and fight for what we believe is best for our beautiful city.

  • Hans

    “….an astonishing decision by people who have a limited understanding of what community engagement really means….” – that’s actually an understatement 🙁

    I applaud the Gazette for staying engaged in this issue and providing a forum for comments. Thank you!

  • Phillip

    In contrast, City Hall actively supports the Cycling Lobby meeting at City Hall with taxpayer $$$ to advocate changes that the overwhelmingly majority of Burlington residents don’t support. And by the way, I see Goldring is spending more $$$ bringing back the Vancouver visionary for another large dose of Toderian koolaid.