The blame game begins: Is Goldring thinking of running for his old job in 2022 ?

By Staff

October 31st, 2021



Is former Mayor Rick Goldring getting ready to jump back into the political ring again?  He recently wrote an Opinion piece for the Local News (he was the founder of that online news source).

At this point the structure on the left has been approved by the Ontario Land Tribunal.

He came out pretty strongly against the Mayor Meed Ward about the Ontario Land Tribunal decision to permit the building of a 29 storey tower at Lakeshore and Pearl.  But he doesn’t tell the whole story.

His opinion.

“This week, the Ontario Land Tribunal (formerly the OMB — Ontario Municipal Board) ruled in favour of the developer Carriage Gate Homes for a 29-storey mixed-use condominium development on the northeast corner of Pearl and Lakeshore. The City of Burlington press release, along with the comments from

Meed Ward with then Mayor Goldring: the two never did get along all that well.

the mayor and ward councillor, had a strong tone of indignancy as result of the decision. It makes good politics to blame others and not look in the mirror to consider whether the mayor and council could have approached this differently.  Now council will have a closed session meeting in early November with City of Burlington planners and lawyers to hear what options they have in an attempt to remove seven storeys from the development. (The mayor and council have already voted to accept a 22-storey building on the site.)

“I am reminded of the  Nautique development application immediately to the east of the Carriage Gate site.

“Adi Development Group originally submitted an application for 28 storeys in 2014; they then reduced the height to 26 storeys and in 2016, council, with yours truly as mayor, rejected the application. Adi appealed the council decision to the Ontario Municipal Board and won the appeal in 2018. Council then asked for a review of the OMB decision to no avail.

The ADI Group had better legal talent in their corner and they were tougher. The city missed several opportunities to put forward a stronger case.

“When I look back on the process of the Nautique development application, council, led by me, made mistakes. The best way to deal with the situation politically is to fight the developer and application and that is just what we did, but that approach invariably does not (and did not) end up in a winning situation for the city.

“We would have been much better off to negotiate with the developer from the beginning. We could have saved the city time and money and we could have saved the developer time and money by reaching a compromise much earlier in the process. However, that approach is not good politics. Politically, it is better to fight and lose than compromise and look like you are acquiescing to developers.

“Based on previous development applications that resulted in 17-storey buildings (360 on Pearl and the Berkeley), the right approach with Adi back in 2014 was to push to compromise at 17 storeys (between the 28 that Adi wanted and the four to eight allowed in the Official Plan). This would have been defensible at the OMB even if Adi did not agree.

This small bus terminal on John Street that the Transit people wanted to demolish at one point has had a massive impact on the kind of development taking place in the downtown core.

“Fast forward to 2021, the current council will most likely decide to keep fighting the Carriage Gate 29-storey development when they already have approved 22 storeys, and for what purpose? To look good politically with an election coming next year? After all, looking good is much more important than making thoughtful decisions.”

What Goldring didn’t comment on was the way that  OMB hearing went.

The ADI Group took their case to the OMB because the city failed to make a decision within the required time frame.  How the city missed that deadline was never explained at the time.

Between the time that ADI filed their appeal and when the appeal was actually heard the ADI Group bought the small property to the north of the site they had acquired.

The dark shaded area was the area that ADI owned and made an application to build on. They later bought the house in the area to the north (marked as a 4 storey) and added it to their plans – making it a new development. The city had a chance to insist that ADI file a new application – but they let that opportunity get away.

And that purchase made it a totally different application – which had not been presented to the city.

The city could have advised the OMB member of that fact – but they chose not to do so and they were out-maneuvered by a lawyer who saw a loophole and made it work for her client.

That loophole was the transit station, smaller than some washrooms in the larger monster homes that got defined as a Mobility Hub (that’s what they were called at the time).  The words Mobility Hub were replaced with MTSA (Major Transit Station Area).

The blame for the Nautique rests on the Goldring Council.  It looks as if Goldring wants to place a layer of blame on Mayor Meed Ward for the Carriage Gate property at the corner of Lakeshore and Pearl – to be known as BeauSoleil.

Cute isn’t it.

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9 comments to The blame game begins: Is Goldring thinking of running for his old job in 2022 ?

  • Mary there are no 2020 OP parameters it never got past the 2018 adoption stage when Goldring was Mayor. Get your copy of Official Plan or Official Scam

  • Carol Victor

    Golding is not the answer…he is an enabler….he did nothing to get rid of the bus depot downtown (the hub) that gave license to developers to build the massive ” out of character ” structures that will continue to dominate our downtown ….
    What a shame that Burlington’s charm has been so eroded .

  • Alfred


    Why should we, the City, negotiate with the Developers you say??? Probably so we don’t get 29 story buildings rammed down our throats and being stuck with all the legal bills. Who do you suggest pay for the City’s portion of these?

    Do you think the judge just flipped a coin? Heads the City wins tails the developer wins? If you don’t see a pattern here your eyes are closed. Just as I predicted several times. Developers will not spend their millions fighting losing battles. Only incompetent sneeky politicians will spend taxpayers money to do that. This is going to happen time and time again in this City, get used to it.

    You do know that the adjudicators at the OLT. are obliged to follow the Planning direction mandated by the Government. Burlingtons Mayor and councilors and Planning staff are also obliged to do the same thing. The Tribunal then rules in favour of who’s closest. In this and many more cases to come.

    Just a reminder the Liberal Party were the parents of all these intensification mandates. They were then adopted by the Conservatives. A quick reminder, your Mayor ran as a Liberal in and around those times and never spoke a negative word about these policies. I also believe councilor Kearns had aspirations about running as a Liberal as as well.

  • Adam

    Those who think the province will act to further restrict development have their head in the sand. Housing affordability, and lack of housing supply was one of the top issues in the federal election. If anything is going to change it’s going to get easier to build, not harder. It already takes 5 – 7 years to zone and build a single building. This is causing a huge backlog of new housing and restricting supply. New Zealand has sky high housing prices and they just passed a sweeping new zoning by-law allowing 3 units on all properties within cities, effectively banning single family zoning. British Columbia is considering a similar law, so is California and host of other places. Housing supply is not keeping up with demand and the province is not going to restrict a building to 22 storeys when 29 storeys also seems to work.

  • Goldring should think twice about jumping in according to our files. Leave it to someone with less city baggage than he has to take out Meed Ward.

  • Cathy

    I’ve never been impressed with Goldring who always takes a position in the mushy middle.

    He says council should be there to save “the developer time and money”. He believes the city should be negotiating with the developer “from the beginning”. In other words, he’s advocating for back-room dealing with the developer, out of sight of the community and their input.

    And if staff are to be independent in their recommendations to council, pray tell, how does council tell staff “to negotiate with the developer from the beginning”. This is the height of sleazy, interfering politics that Burlington should reject

    If he registers as a candidate, then we can look back on his statement as his effort to woo support from the developers, to build up his war chest.

    Check out Goldring’s twitter feed. The pinned tweet is a statement from the CEO of the West End Home Builders Association, calling Goldring’s statement “a thoughtful article”.

    He’s lining up his developer support.

  • Penny Hersh

    Why does none of this surprise me?

    I will be the first to admit that I drank the kool-aid and believed that a new council and mayor could make significant changes to the over-intensification of the downtown. As the saying goes “be careful what you wish for”.

    I do understand that there are many things that are beyond the control of the municipality. What I find most offensive is that this was not explained by some campaigning in the last municipal election.

    I do agree with Mr. Goldring when he suggests that working with the developers could have been more effective. Compromise not with Community Benefits that include POPS ( Privately Owned Public Spaces) or public art that only end up becoming a problem, and cost for residents.

    The city does not seem to be able to defend itself at appeal hearings. Where does this failure fall – the City Legal Department, or the Law Firm they hire to defend the appeals?.

    It is time to face the reality of the situation. Fighting appeals that are not winnable is not the answer.

    Mr. Goldring hindsight is 20/20.

    • Bruce Leigh

      One of the other commentary on the Gazette told me you are a qualified planner. Is that Correct? If so how would you not know what you complain the 2018 candidates did not explain..

      It comes down to OLT completely ignoring the City’s OPS (does not matter which one you chose) and also ignoring the Province’s agreement tobalter the boundaries of the UGC.

      As Mary Hill says. Time for Council to mobilize a lobbying campaign.

  • Mary Hll

    Goldring and his council members, excluding MMW who opposed all Goldrings stupid pla Ning decisions. If Goldring had been more competent the City would have had back then an OP that met Regional and Provincial requirements that would have replaced then then informed OP which originated from the middle ages. But no, the council inherited a situation where developers recognized they could drive tractor trailers through the City’s antiquated planning and zoning set up.

    Goldring has a lot to answer for and has no right to try to shift the blame to the Mayor or this Council.

    Goldring is a Clement Atlee. Why should we, the City, negotiate with developers who care not one iota about our city.

    Now is the time for the Mayor and Council to bring huge pressure to bear on our MPP, the minister and Ford himself to step in and issue ministerial orders requiring the developers only build to within 2020 OP parameters. Council needs to mobilize residents to join the fight.