Shift of the Urban Growth Centre closer to GO station is approved by Ministry of Housing and Municipal Affairs - a big win for the Mayor

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

June 15th, 2021



For those who said she couldn’t do it – fess up and admit you were wrong.

Meed ward election night 1

Her election was based on changing the way the core would be developed. They elected her and today the promise was delivered.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward believed she could present a strong enough case to convince the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs Minister of Municipal Housing and Affairs that the city should be allowed to determine what the Urban Growth Centre boundary should be.

Today the Minister visited Burlington and stood with the Mayor and MPP Jane McKenna for the announcement that Burlington can adjust UGC Boundary

The adjustment of the boundary of the UGC, once centered on the downtown core, will put the focus of the designation on the Burlington GO Station, allowing the City to direct future height and density near mass transit and help build more complete communities.

This decision supports the work already incorporated into Burlington’s revised new Official Plan (OP), already approved by Halton Region. Burlington’s new OP includes stronger protections for green space, heritage, jobs, the rural community, established low-density neighbourhoods and a special focus on preserving the character of the downtown.

The existence of an Urban Growth Centre in the downtown resulted in development applications that brought a number of developments into the core; two are currently being built.

Others are in various stages of applications; several are before LPAT.

Mayor Meed Ward acknowledges the work MP Jane McKenna put into getting the approval from the Ministry but make no mistake about this – it was Mayor Marianne Meed Ward who made it happen over the doubts of many.

McKenna’s contribution included a photo op of the start of construction for a 20+ condominium tower across the street from city hall.

Ground break - Oct Suz Hammel, +

The ground breaking for the tower that has changed what Brant Street used to look like was celebrated by MPP Jane McKenna as she took part in the event.

The building should never have been approved. Responsibility for that one lies with previous city councils.

There is more to say about the significance of the announcement – but for today let the Mayor revel and celebrate a decision that will result in a much different Burlington in the decades to come.

The decision is more than enough to re-elect her – would anyone take a chance and try to run against her.


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12 comments to Shift of the Urban Growth Centre closer to GO station is approved by Ministry of Housing and Municipal Affairs – a big win for the Mayor

  • Dave Turner

    I thought I had posted here earlier in the week. I must have not hit the submit button or it got lost in the ether.

    I wish to commend the editor/publisher for rightly giving kudos to the Mayor for this huge achievement.

    I once delegated at Council in support of the Major’s efforts towards the new OP, the change in status of the John St. Terminal, and the redrawing of the UGC. Maybe I’m entitled to a share of the Mayor’s kudos like other here feel they are.

    Mr. Scobie I too love Carol King and rank Tapestry as one of the top 10 albums of all time. But have to disagree. It’s not too late baby.

    LPAT is comprised of people appointed by the Provincial government to adjudicate planning appeals in accordance with the Provincial government’s policies towards planning. Hopefully LPAT will adjudicate the appeals before it per its brief to reflect Provincial government’s policies and directions, which are now clearly reflected in the City of Burlington’s OP and UGC.

  • Dave Turner

    WOW. So many commentators here have an Eeyore complex ! Some here seem to be shamelessly clamoring to get a piece of the Mayor’s kudos. I delegated to Council in support of of redrawing the UGC, the status John St bus terminal change of status, and the enforcement of high restrictions. What percentage of the kudos is mine them ?

    The editor/publisher has often been in my view overly and unnecessarily critical of MMW, but here has graciously congratulated the Mayor, for what is a huge victory for her.

    The Mayor and Council has done all it can to put the City in a position to control its own destiny. LPAT is a body comprised of Provincial Government appointed individuals. Their brief, I believe, is to fairly adjudicate appeals that come before it taking into account a municipality’s OP and Provincial government policies and directives. One must hope it does just that with the appeals before it. The City’s OP is compliant with Regional and Provincial government requirements. And now the Provincial government has supported the re-definition of the urban growth centre. If LPAT ignores all of that, one must ask what is the point of having an OP that meets Regional and Provincial governments’ requirements.if it is to be ignored.

    I love Carol King and Tapestry is one of the all time best albums produced, but it’s not too late, baby. LOL

  • Carol Victor

    That’s why many of us campaigned and voted for MMW. Thanks to everyone at ECoB who got behind this issue and made it happen.
    However, there is still much to do before we become Mississauga West….

  • joe gaetan

    Many thanks to the Ford government and Jane McKenna for ending the Wynne era intensification fiasco that created the Monstrous Epitaph in recognition to bad planning that is being built on Martha St. As well a huge and well deserved shout out to Gary Scobie who tirelessly advocated that the bus station on John St. was not a Mobility Hub. For those who were there, Gary’s message fell upon deaf ears at COB and particularly within the planning department and Council. Burlington’s downtown will never be what it could have been if not for the LPAT decision that turned on the Mobility Hub designation.

  • Penny Hersh


    Unfortunately I have to agree with you- “too little too late”. This issue should have been dealt with in 2017-2018 when all municipalities who were in the process of updating their Official Plans had to ability to make this change.

    When I found out about this I asked a member of council at the time if they knew about it. They did, but felt that having the downtown UGC and the John Street Hub was not an issue.

    Talk about not seeing the “big picture”.

  • Mozelle Cole

    Congratulations to MMW and all parties involved. This was not an easy task.
    Thank you.

  • James

    Let’s not get too excited, this is a symbolic victory at best. With the highrise development applications already approved, in the process of being approved, and those applications that will continue to come in, this basically changes nothing. LPAT will continue to be the decision maker after Council denies, denies, denies, same as how things work today. The UGC designation isn’t as important as you may think, downtown is still a desirable and justifiable place for redevelopment and intensification from a planning perspective, with or without the UCG label. Maybe now instead of 35 storey towers we’ll get 25 storey towers, but is standing in the shadow of a 25 storey tower really that much sweeter? Let’s not forget Councillor Sharman’s recent comment, one that Planning Director Heather MacDonald did not deny nor dispute, that in order to accommodate the anticipated growth in Burlington to the year 2051, we likely require the construction of over 300 new highrise towers with over 20 storeys each. They can’t all go around the GO stations. Anyone who thinks downtown is suddenly safe from redevelopment is kidding themselves.

  • Hans Jacobs

    Congratulations to MMW!
    While much damage was done before she took office, at least she may have mitigated it for the future. Now, if only there were a way to fire the OMB….

  • Gary Scobie

    Do the words “Well it’s too late baby, now it’s too late” ring a bell? Damage already done. Nothing to see here folks.

  • perryb

    At last our MPP may have done something useful. Now, how about also getting rid of the OMB… oops, LPAT?

  • Penny Hersh

    ECoB has pushed for this from the very start of its inception. Residents that delegated at Council prior to the last municipal election indicated that to stop the overdevelopment of the downtown core both the downtown UGC and the John Street Mobility Hub had to be moved. Moving one without the other would not accomplish anything.

    ECoB lobbied Jane McKenna prior to the Municipal election to act on this matter and she did. I am certain that there were many people behind the scenes involved in making this happen – “it takes a village”.

    My question. Will this change any of the development applications that are presently at City Hall for the downtown?

    I want to thank Jim Young, Gary Scobie, and Roland Tanner who delegated on this issue for ECoB.

  • Don Fletcher

    This is a big win for MMW & ultimately all of Burlington. With more certainty about our downtown’s future, perhaps a much needed, small business and building rejuvenation can commence?