There goes the football and the opportunity to do some spectacular planning

By Pepper Parr

May 11th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

WHERE   While much of the recent attention has been on the ongoing saga related to the Waterfront Hotel site, under the radar there has been a lot happening at the Ontario Land Tribunal.

The Lakeshore (Burlington) Inc.(referred to as a Carnicelli development) that would be built on the east end of the football.

Within two hours of city council announcing publicly that it intends to oppose the Lakeshore (Burlington) Inc. application for a high-rise building at the easterly tip of the Old Lakeshore Planning Precinct (“the Football”), the Ontario Land Tribunal issued its decision for the 27-storey high rise development proposed by CORE  Development applications, immediately next door. We find it odd that the public was not advised by city council that a hearing was being held for the Core applications yet now makes public statements about another appeal.

How did this one get away?

The city went to some lengths last week to explain how and why they were appealing the Ontario Land Tribunal decision on the Carnicelli (Lakeshore (Burlington) Inc.)  development on the eastern side of where Lakeshore Road and Old Lakeshore Road meet.

There are a lot of questions to be asked about how the opportunity got away.

There was the hope as far back as the 2010 election that something unique would be built in this space. Instead developers bought up the properties and sought to develop high rise towers. This was the second lost opportunity in this part of town.

Later in the day while Council was debating a decision from the OLT on the Carniceli development the OLT released their decision on the CORE development.

The two are side by side in the football.  That brings to an end any opportunity to do something smart and spectacular with the space between the Old and the current Lakeshore Road.

In its decision, the Tribunal states:

This isn’t what citizens were expecting. It appears to be what they are going to get.

“The Tribunal finds that the proposed instruments [applications] constitute good planning. It finds that they facilitate development that is compatible with the existing and planned context and will make a positive contribution to the area in terms of improvement to the public realm, access to the waterfront, and built form, while optimizing the use of under-utilized lands through appropriate intensification for the area. Taking these factors into account, the Tribunal finds that the proposed instruments are in the public interest.”

In addition, the tribunal was not convinced by the testimony of the special planning consultant hired by the city to oppose the development or the city’s urban designer.

A Gazette reader described the decision:  “The failures at the Ontario Land Tribunal keep adding up for Mayor Meed Ward. We are not aware of a single hearing the city has won since she became mayor. What has become clear through several decisions from the tribunal is that the new Official Plan that the mayor boasts about has no legal status at appeal hearings because it has been appealed. Consequently, the evidence put forward by the city is based on the old Official Plan — the same one that has been confirmed to be out of date and non-compliant with existing provincial policies. In other words, the city’s witnesses have no real defence and are left blowing in the wind without approved policies to support them.”

How is that idea going at this point.

“How will the city fare at the Lakeshore (Burlington) Inc. hearing? Only time will tell, but it will certainly be a rough ride.

While Meed Ward ran on a populist, anti-development platform promising the world to the public, her ability to deliver on her promises is nothing more than a dismal and complete failure.

Related news stories:

The development on the eastern end.

The idea that CORE development brought to the table

 

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11 comments to There goes the football and the opportunity to do some spectacular planning

  • Penny Hersh

    If residents of Ontario vote in a Liberal government we will see if they decide to get rid of any type of land tribunal.

    As for the courts – I think there are more urgent cases for the courts to be dealing with.

  • Penny Hersh

    Mr. Leigh, I had the opportunity to work with the reformed OMB or LPAT. LPAT promised that appeals by non-developers would be much easier and much less expensive. The main reason being that it would not be necessary to have professionals argue the case.

    In reality, the “judge” did not look favourably on what they felt were non-professional opinions and did not hold the weight that the developer’s professionals had.

    There were many issues regarding who was allowed to speak on behalf of the residents who launched the appeal. In one case a community group in Burlington filed an appeal and had raised $7,000.00 and ended up with expenses over $12,000.00 which they had to make up. In the end LPAT decided in favour of the developer.

    We were also told that we could get free legal expertise from LPAT. This was not the case. The only thing they were mandated to do was to explain how LPAT worked.

    I don’t know what the answer is, but leaving it solely in the hands of the Municipality could be a disaster waiting to happen, when there is no clear vision for the city.

    • Bruce Leigh

      What you describe seems to have been an effort by the Liberal administration to allow for better access for non-developers to be heard. Ford PCs did away with that, tipping the scales firmly in the favour of developers. So Please don’t try to justify Ford PCs’ actions as being inherited problems.

      Is putting matters solely in the hands of democratically elected local government in your mind not preferred to being in the hands of an unelected, politically appointed body which ignores the wishes of municipalities and residents? Really ?

      If in the hands of the municipalities, would not developers still have the option of seek redress via the courts. Courts which likely would have a more balanced fact based approach to decisions. That would make developers seriously weigh the cost of such appeals against the possibility of success.

      Has leaving the process in the hands of municipalities been a disaster in other Provinces? I’m not aware of there being any “disasters”. Remember, Ontario is the only province with an appointed tribunal.

  • Penny Hersh

    Carol

    The conservatves inherited the OMB, which then became LPAT and now the OLT. The liberals who were in power for many years had no desire to end this.

    It is my understanding that this practice came into being to prevent Municipalities from having total control of development. In the best of communities this would not be a problem, but it could be an issue in other communities.

    • Bruce Leigh

      Ms Hersh. You ignore the facts that the last Liberal administration reformed the then OMB. Those reforms were then reversed by the present PC administration. Also, I believe Ontario is the only Province that has such an unelected, politically directed body. Other Provinces leave the resolution of planning disputes to the courts where facts rule and legitimately passed OPs are seriously taken into consideration.

  • Carol Victor

    Perhaps it is because we have a provincial Conservative Government that doesn’t care about municipal concerns…it wouldn’t surprise me to see Ford try to limit even further the jurisdiction of the cities in this province…..he doesn’t care about farm land or conservation …developers and development are his top priority.

    • Bob

      This has nothing to do with Doug Ford, it was the previous government of Kathleen Wynn who set the path for intensification. Oh how soon we forget

  • Penny Hersh

    Our current mayor sat on council for 8 years prior to becoming mayor. Let’s not forget this.

    The OLT has the final say…..no other litigation is possible.

  • Bruce Leigh

    There goes the editor/publisher again showing his complete anti MMW bias. The editor/publisher and the anonymous reader quoted both ignore the fact that the Mayor and Council have done all they could to try to rectify the very deep hole that the previous administrations had dug for the City. Whilst the editor/publusher notes the OLT based its decisions on the old, but in-force at the time the applications were made, non-compliant OP, which was passed by a prior administration, the editor/publisher lays the blame at the our present Mayor’s feet. It seems the OLT in its decision has even to a large extent ignored the zoning and height limitations in that non-compliant OP so as to allow 27 storey towers.

    Do not blame the Mayor or this council. Lay the blame where it should rest. Blame the former Mayor’s and councils for their negligence in protecting our downtown. In not framing an adequate OP to hold the high rises at bay. Blame also Doug Ford and his politically appointed non-representative OLT, which ignores any and all OPs, zoning bylaws etc to find in favour of the developer.

    As an analogy for the editor/publisher’s position is like MMW was in the same position in becoming Mayor in 2019 as new baseball manager being appointed to manage an MLB team in mid season; it having gone 0 and 81 in the first half of the season (there are 162 games in a regular season) Then at the end of the season blaming the new manager for the team having had a losing season.

    Surely there must be recourse through the courts !

  • Penny Hersn

    One last comment – Perhaps the reason residents had no idea about what was happening in this area was because it was discussed “in camera”, under “litigation matter,” with no other information provided?

  • Penny Hersh

    All the residents living in the area of the” football “realized that this and past councils failed to protect this area. Perhaps because there was and continues to be no clear vision for the area. There were opportunities to protect this and other areas which the city failed to take advantage of.

    The one thing this city has going for it is the ability to never win at the OMB or LPAT or the OLT.

    It is impossible to defend an area that was included in the downtown urban growth centre and only recently been given approval to change its boundaries along with the un-designation of the John Street Bus Terminal as an MTSA. Developments had already been granted approval for large condominiums to be built in the area. Too little, too late.

    Why does this city always lose the appeals? Perhaps because our Official Plan is not defendable, because it does not conform to the that of the Province. How many times have we heard it is the OLT that is the problem? Or it is the Ford Government that is to blame?

    The OMB, or LPAT and now the OLT operated under the Provincial Liberals for many years before Ford was elected.

    The city lost every appeal under the OMB, LPAT and the OLT. The problem seems to lie with the City.

    It will be interesting to hear the “spin” on this approved development.

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