The magnitude of the changes in a six block area in the downtown core are quite stunning.

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 14th, 2018



For those concerned about what is happening to their city and what the downtown core is going to look like the following numbers are pretty brutal.

22 – 23 – 24 – 26

The Bridgewater condominium will top out at 22 storeys.

The 421 Brant project has been approved for 23 storeys

The 409 Brant project (where Elizabeth Interiors used to operate) is asking for 24 storeys

The ADI Development Nautique has just has its 26 story project approved by the Ontario Municipal Board.

Joe Gaetan, a downtown resident who delegated against more height said: “the city is a goner”

In a prepared statement Meed Ward said:

“The OMB decision to approve the 26-storey ADI proposal at Martha/Lakeshore is devastating for the downtown. This will be the new precedent height.

“The decision referred to the Bridgewater at 22 storeys (and other tall buildings in the area); it also referred to the fact that the city had “received” other 23 storey applications (how is that relevant is anyone’s guess; these were only “applications” with no approval at the time of the OMB hearing).

“I am not confident that by rushing adoption of the proposed new Official Plan we will gain more control over planning; the proposed plan calls for 17 storeys for this site. The OMB approval is nine storeys higher. The Brant and James corners (north and south) are both 17 storeys in the proposed new Official Plan, but council approved 23 storeys on the north side and we just got an application for 24 storeys on the south side.

“Developers can, and will, continue to ask for more than what is permitted in the existing or proposed plan.

“The decision also referred to the downtown as an Urban Growth Centre and transit hub, thus the development needed to meet certain densities appropriate for those designations.

“Until we remove those two designations from the downtown (Urban Growth Centre, Mobility Hub), we will not wrestle control of planning back into the hands of staff, council and the community. (Credit goes to Gary Scobie for suggesting these designations be removed, which is what led to my motion.)

“My motion Jan 24 to move the Urban Growth Centre from the downtown to the existing Burlington GO Station Mobility Hub (as Oakville has done to protect their downtown), and to eliminate the downtown as a Mobility Hub, failed 6-1.

“In light of this OMB decision, we have to reconsider this vote. I will bring a reconsideration motion to the next Official Plan statutory public meeting (starts Feb. 27, 1pm and 6:30, extending to Feb. 28 if another day is needed)

“What can residents do? Use your democratic tools:

“There is a provincial election coming up June 7. Ask all candidates who are running if they will work with the city to remove the Urban Growth Centre and Mobility Hub designations from the downtown.

“There is a municipal election Oct. 22. Ask all candidates who are running if they will work with the region to remove the Urban Growth Centre and Mobility Hub designations from the downtown. There is still time: our new plan isn’t in effect until the Region approves it, which won’t happen until the Region begins its review of its own plan in 2019.”

In its media release the city in part said:

In its decision, … the OMB states that the city’s current land-use policy for the site does not reflect Provincial Policy.

As the OMB noted in its ruling, “the evidence suggests to the Board that the current designation is no longer appropriate for the site and a proposal that is taller and more transit-supportive is both preferable and better implements the transit-oriented and intensification policies of the province.

The OMB further notes that “While the provincial policy regime emphasizes the importance of a municipality’s official plan, there is no suggestion in the provincial policy regime that a municipality’s official plan may undercut provincial policy.”

Mary Lou Tanner, the Deputy City Manager, comments: “In light of the OMB’s ruling, it is even more important that the city move forward with the adoption of the new Official Plan. As this ruling shows, our current OP is a liability; it is out of date and is open to challenge. The area-specific plan for downtown Burlington will strengthen the city’s position on development in the downtown by replacing outdated polices with a plan that better reflects provincial policy, while also protecting the character of the city.


Downtown 4 projects

The black diamond shapes show where the four developments are going to be located.

Rendering with Bake Shop

409 Brant – south of James Street. Application is for 24 storeys.


Nautique – Lakeshore at Martha – OMB approved for 26 storeys.

421 Brant

421 Brant, north side if James – city council approved for 23 storeys.

The Delta Hotel will give the city some first class convention space that could radically change the way the city is seen by the small corporate convention community. Add the Performing Arts Centre to the portfolio and the city has a good offering. Now to put a team in place that could work with the Delta Hotel organization.. We don't have that in place today.

Bridgewater development – under construction at Lakeshore and Elizabeth – 22 storey condominium

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8 comments to The magnitude of the changes in a six block area in the downtown core are quite stunning.

  • Judy Gilbert

    Like I have said before, the developers run the city NOT the city council or planning department. Shame on Burlington City Hall.

    • Ben Tuinman

      Fully agree Judy….the developers are in charge, not the mayor and his council….Burlington is in danger of becoming another Mississauga, and will lose its character for good….thank goodness that there are elections coming soon !

  • Joseph Gaetan

    I would appreciate a comment from Mary Lou Tanner on S.[39] of the decision in terms of the “test” that is applied per the following excerpt:
    [39] The Act contemplates applications for an OPA and ZBLA, with the possibility of appeal to this Board, as in this case. Under the Act that is applicable in this case, the test in the Act is not whether the in-force official plan (“OP”) or the in-force zoning bylaw(“ZBL”) meets the requirements of the Act. The test is whether the decision on the application meets the requirements of the Act.
    In particular, in what instances, does the “test” override an OP?

  • Perry Bowker

    Sorry, Deputy City Manager Tanner, the horse is out of the barn and Burlington has lost. Two decades’ worth of poor planning and indifferent Councils have sealed the deal for developers. Might as well build a wall around the downtown and let them play. Or turn downtown into a no-car zone, pedestrians only. Sad.

  • Stephen White

    “As this ruling shows, our current OP is a liability; it is out of date and is open to challenge.”

    I would submit to Ms. Tanner that the real liability in this City is a Council and a Planning Department that, in the face of overwhelming public opposition to the Mobility Hubs, the OP and intensification plans, can’t, don’t or won’t listen and change. Repeating the same mantra over and over and expecting a different result is both tiresome and futile.

  • Just so everyone is aware, this is not just the plan for downtown. It’s the plan for everywhere.

  • Gary Scobie

    Yes, the designations of Urban Growth Centre and Anchor Mobility Hub must be removed from the downtown ASAP while we figure out a way to gain control of our re-development planning for the downtown. This new OP will not do it; not in the form it has taken. It just buys into the Province-think of over-intensification.