The grandfathering given to developments south of Lakeshore Road and east of Brant make Burlington a much different city

By Pepper Parr

November 17th, 2021



We now know a little bit more about the developments that have been grandfathered by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and will proceed through the Ontario Land Tribunal process.  If past appeals are any example, they will be approved at that level.

Five years from now Burlington will be a much different city.

A closer look at what has been grandfathered and what they want to build is now possible even though city hall and the Office of the Mayor haven’t had much to say.

It is a different skyline. The degree to which it will change the small, local feel that many people have of Burlington is something that will work itself out if these two towers go up.

The Waterfront Hotel site, even though not yet at the application stage has been grandfathered.

The Core Development that runs from one side of the football to the other – from Lakeshore Road on the north to Old Lakeshore Road on the south has been grandfathered.

The development planned for the eastern end of the football, one of the Carriage Gate developments has also been grandfathered.

This is the structure that will sit right next to Joe Dogs. How that hospitality operation will operate is something that they are certainly thinking really hard about.

The development that would be next to Joe Dogs on Brant street – put forward as a 30 storey building has been grandfather as has 407 Martha – a building that is very close to Rambo Creek where part of the retaining wall has been described as not all that safe.

2085 Pine, a property that has changed hands a number of times and been before council with different suggestions on just how much height there could be and at the same time preserve a heritage building at the front of the property – that, too, is at the OLT.

The land between Old Lakeshore Road and Lakeshore Road, known as the football because of its shape was at one time described by former Toronto Mayor David Crombie as a jewel we should not let get away on us.

It became a jewel that developers realized needed a bit of polishing up and then sold off as a very desirable high end property that would never have a building put up between it and the lake.

Somewhere in the last ten years the city was never able to come up with a plan that would secure that land and make it more public space.

The CORE Development takes up all the land between Old Lakeshore Road and Lakeshore Road in the centre of the football area. The plan is to keep the popular but expensive restaurant that has been on the site for a long time.

The Carriage Gate people see this development as the eastern gateway into the city. Old Lakeshore Road is to the left with Lakeshore Road to the right.

With the grandfathering in place all the planners are left with is the south side of Old Lakeshore Road:  Top of bank rules limit what can be done on that land.  The heritage designation Emma’s Back Porch has, will limit what can be done with that property.

Once we are out of the pandemic we can expect someone to lease Emma’s and get it back into operation. Not sure how pleasant a local it will be with all the construction that will be taking place.

The triangle shaped property will be where Carriage Gate puts up their 25+ tower – they see it as the eastern gateway to the city. The property to the immediate left is where the CORE development will be built. To the left of that is parking across from Emma’s Back Porch which is owned by 2084 Lakeshore Holdings Ltd.   They also own the small parking lot to the east of Emma’s. On the western tip of the football the property is owned by a trust – we’ve yet to learn who the beneficiary is of that trust.

What does all this leave the city with?  Is there nothing more in the way of options?

The pandemic has changed the way citizens can communicate with the elected leadership and that elected leadership hasn’t done all that much to find ways to hear what citizens have to say.

The Office of the Mayor has seen this as an opportunity to put her spin on what has taken place.

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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6 comments to The grandfathering given to developments south of Lakeshore Road and east of Brant make Burlington a much different city

  • Denise

    Politics have never been something I could get my head around very much. Probably everything is being looked at for development. I have noticed what looks like an archeological dig underway on the south side of Appleby line, just north of Mainway. People screening lots of dirt. School project? Or is this a normal event prior to development?

  • Alfred


    The Housing policies in Ontario are the responsibility of the absolutely elected Provincial Government in this case the Conservatives. Who followed the absolutely elected Liberals. By the way both parties had similar policies. City council, the developers and the Ontario Land Tribunal are all required under the Planning Act to do their jobs while following the direction given by the elected Provincial Government. Burlington fortunately is not exempt from this process.

    Why are you having difficulty understanding this system that is in place?

    The rest of the people in Ontario appear to grasp this concept without problem. In the wise words of James. With the intensification mandates now in place. The GTA. may no longer be a place for you and those like you.

    Remember the Provincial Housing Minister could step in at any time and issue a Ministers zoning order MZO on any property and stop everything in its tracks.

    A faint hope clause? I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  • Don Fletcher

    The clergy principle which provides for this has been long held in the planning/ regulatory world. I don’t think Burlington needs to be poked in the eye by the Minister by making a special “grandfathering” pronouncement. The real problem is that the unelected Ontario Land Tribunal with the “best & brightest” legal & urban planning minds that money can buy advocating for the developers is a process that is patently unfair and needs to be reined-in.

    • Mary Hill

      Is there no ability to take the OLT &/or the Provincial Government to court, just like Toronto did over the change in size of its Council. Surely no body is above the law.

  • Spin is right. The mayor with the permission of CHCH who have failed to do their homework as media and just handed her the mike today with no responsive questions asked, to tell it AS IT IS NOT.

    WE WERE TOLD IT COULD NEVER BE DONE! was just one example of the Meed Ward spin..

    2018 not only was the Council told it could be done they were told how to do it.

    Instead of immediately taking tbe action needed beginning with getting Regional Council behind them ( they never discussed the matter once, at Regional Council) Council led by Meed Ward decided to go with an ICBL.

    How could anyone, let alone the Minister believe moving the UGC was anything but an election gimmick in this new Council’s mind.. Then when those who had been Meed Ward’s biggest supporters, believing they were on the same page began to understand moving the UGC was simply a wanna be election gimmick and publicly say so, the back peddling began knowing the UGC could not be moved in time to prevent what those who elected her believed she was trying to stop!

    What we have is not what all Burlington taxpayers believe is bad. How we got there has hopefully been a hard lesson learned.