So this is where things are with development in Burlington?

By Pepper Parr

December 6th, 2023



Dave Amborski, a professor at the Centre for Urban Research at Toronto Metropolitan University, formerly Ryerson.

Dave Amborski, a professor at the Centre for Urban Research at Toronto Ryerson delivered a lecture on the home building industry and how development finance works and ties into municipal finance.  He has graduate degrees in both economics and planning.  He teaches planning at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson, this is his 50th year. He started the Center for Urban Research and Land development.

We will publish the complete lecture once the transcription is complete.

Today we want to share the questions that Councillor Sharman asked.  The answers may surprise you – they surprised us.

Sharman dropped this one on Amborski:

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman puts questions to a Toronto Metropolitan University lecturer.

We have this little conundrum. Here in Burlington we’ve committed to build 29,000 units or have built 29,000 units by 2031. And we look at our official plan and what we see is that we’re going to have 82% of the of our development in the future to be high density 12% to be mid rise, mid density and 6% to be low density. And we live in a world defined by how interest rates and were built out. Do you have any suggestions on how we might accomplish 29,000 units in the next 10 years?

Amborski: Well, I haven’t looked very carefully at your official plan and your boundaries. That mix seems wrong to me; having too much high rise and not enough ground associated here. The data should tell us something about what some of the issues are. But it would seem that you would need more ground associated homes to meet the needs of your of your community if people want to live here because that seems to be what people are looking for.

Sharman later said to Dave Amborski:

We have 41,000 units presently in our planning pipeline. We know, we believe, that none of them or a lot of them cannot be built because of the need for pre-sales which at this point are just not there. This is the first time Sharman has said this publicly.

Sharman also asked:

And that other question is with respect to affordable housing, because one of my one of my colleagues online is terribly keen on this.  We can’t figure out how to get affordable housing here in the province in a city where land is extremely valuable. And there’s no upper level government support because it’s not happening anymore and given what I’ve already told you about, you know, the mix of mix of development that’s in the plans.


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5 comments to So this is where things are with development in Burlington?

  • Jim Barnett

    Anybody who thinks Hamilton can manage anything is not watching what goes on in their council!

  • Jim Barnett

    Maybe this is the first step to solving the many interrelated problems with planning and housing in Burlington.

  • Gary Scobie

    Interesting that Councillor Sharman would be so revealing of development statistics and concerns at a lecture away from City Hall, yet not so revealing when sitting in Council with citizens present.

    Sometimes the “closed doors” do open, but not often in official view it seems.

  • Ted Gamble

    The described situation should not come as a surprise to anyone. Real estate sales and prices are falling generally everywhere. Our property values are hyper inflated. Interest rates will not be coming down any time soon and the governments are broke unless they raise taxes further which will promote serious back lash. I am hoping what we see in Spain is exported here soon. We need serious downsizing of all governments; 25% minimum as a start. Its not the thirties when we had small government and paid much lower taxes. The problem is the government!

  • Anne and Dave Marsden

    What Sharman and his colleagues do not understand is that affordable housing is something that should have been front and centre of our city’s priorioties for the last 30 years as it was for others, such as Hamilton. Instead this council first priority was to address panhandlers and give the homeless the choice of a bus ticket to Hamilton or Toronto. Going back some years Fern Rankin ran for Mayor in Hamilton to expose the Burlington treatment of their homeless. She did an excellent job