Time for the taxpayers to speak up on the Waterfront hotel site development; several Councillors appear to have lost their tongues

By Pepper Parr

February 25th, 2020



Quiet, quaint, downtown Burlington may become a thing of the past.

The owners of the Waterfront Hotel have filed a development application to build two towers on the site; one at 35 storeys, the other at 30 storeys with both sitting on a five storey podium.

This is what we have. Some development can be justified – but it has to be the right development for the city.

There is a public that is opposed to a development of this size.  Disturbingly there is also a city council that has been less than vocal in its views on the development.

During the Statutory meeting held earlier in the month the Mayor, the ward Councillor and one other member of council spoke out not totally against the development but certainly against the height the developer was asking for.

The developer would like to make Lakeshore |Road 6 m narrower; they want to put up towers that will rise 40 storeys.

This is what the developer want to build. It is very good design, it could well win awards – it is the location that is wrong.

Of the limited number of delegations (there were six) the one that drove home just what the issue is came from Plan B, a group that has 500 supporters and 5000 people following them on the Facebook page – which you can find right HERE

There are two processes being handled at the same time which to many seems awkwardly odd.  The city is processing a development application while at the same time the city is working its way through a Waterfront Study that will “inform” and guide the development of the area.

Part of the study is a survey that is asking people how they feel about some of the ideas that were put out during the Statutory meeting last week.

Confusing – true – the developers, their legal counsel and their planning consultants are quite comfortable with the confusion – they understand the issues and they have a tonne of money invested in the process.

For parents dealing with the fallout from Covid19, stressed and struggling to run households – finding time to respond to a survey about an issue of which they may not be fully informed, is a stretch.

Two processes – out of which there will be only one result and it may not be made by the city council you elected.


The survey isn’t the easiest to navigate.  They appear to be looking for responses from people who live in specific parts of the city.  When you are asked to enter your postal code, you have to know what it is – you get a thank you for taking part.

We live in a time when there are serious decisions to be made – don’t leave it up to the people you elected unless they are fully transparent and prepared to be accountable for the decisions they make.

Are these three now mute?  Do they not have a view of how the city should grow?

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte

Angelo Bentivegna ward 6. While members of Council are elected by the people in a specific ward the have a responsibility for the growth of the city as a single entity.

Kelvin Galbraith, ward 1.

Based on the Statutory meeting last week Councillors Bentivegna, Stolte, and Galbraith have some explaining to do.  And one might ask – where is the most experienced Councillor on this issue – other than his remarks on the failure to come up with a vision, Councillor Sharman hasn’t had much to say.

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7 comments to Time for the taxpayers to speak up on the Waterfront hotel site development; several Councillors appear to have lost their tongues

  • Maggie, The prescribed process must be followed is good advice. Sad that City Council did not follow it for the Burlington New Official Plan beginning during Goldring’s reign. We are not surprised he could not figure it out, after all he still has difficulty understanding why his and Craven’s 2014 Nomination Paper did not entitle them to have their names on the ballot. Have a listen in to our delegation at the December, 2014 Audit Committee and the following Council meeting if you want to catch up on that issue.

    The approved BNOP By-law required the Clerk, Angela Morgan to forward the plan to Halton Region (i.e. their Council). Morgan never sent it to anyone never mind Regional Council. The plan never got out of the starters gate, instead it became a figment of the imagination of Council, Heather MacDonald and Curt Benson supported by Carr who has spent most of this term napping and the Regioin lawyer`who, along with all members of the Region Council, has a problem understanding what the delegation by-law allows and does not allow. Waiting for the hammer to come down on this one from Steve Clarke who should have all the information necessary to take over the role normally carried out by Halton Region Council in terms of Official Plans, if and when he finally reads Official Scam or Official Plan which we understand was supposed to be put in his hands back in the summer. Combine the Official Scam with all the other unacceptable issues at the Region, particularly those related to infectious disease, and there should be no surprise to anybody if there is no Region either just before or just after the Provincial election. No, that is not the reason Anne is not running for Chair, she just believes Burlington Mayor gives her input into working to fix the problems in both our municipalities through the Mayor’s Chair and she is not one for taking half measures as all who know her will tell you.

    • Maggie Riley

      Yet you do not address or acknowledge your ignorance as to why councilors are silent on this application? It has been discussed within the Gazette a number of times. You ofcall people should know this, particularly as someone who touts themself as an expert in municipal process requirements.

      I’ve seen you in action delegating. So I don’t need to give myself a headache and watch reruns. You are definitely not leadership material. And yet you want to be Mayor. God help us.

      • Bob

        He say’s in his post towards the end that is why Anne is running for Mayor. Vote for Anne and you get two whackadoodles for the price of one

    • Error Correction December 2016 Audit Committee not 2014

  • Carol Victor

    What does it matter if these monstrosities are not in your ward. We all live here and everyone should care about the fate of our waterfront. Get off your derrieres and make your objections known. We cannot let this happen!!!

  • “And one might ask – where is the most experienced Councillor on this issue – other than his remarks on the failure to come up with a vision, Councillor Sharman hasn’t had much to say.“
    Dumbstruck! as he was as Chair of first Planning Meeting after 2018 election when Mayor Meed Ward showed how she intended to reign and introduced a topic NOT ON THE AGENDA (A NO NO) of a letter from Halton Chief Planner about the Burlington New Official Plan. A letter that she made sure never made it to Council it stayed on the new Mayor`s Better Burlington site. A sign of the four years to come – little or no transparency and setting aside multiple rules Meed Ward helped carve in stone. There are many things they are silent about Stolte who we publicly endorsed for election is our biggest disappointment, she remained silent about a Heritage Advisory Committee meeting held outside the quorum rules approving their own lunch expenses while Rory Nisan looked on and the Marsdens sat there gob smacked as they were not allowed to speak. We could and did write to the appropriate Council Committte Chair, however, Shawna Stolte,and it was the beginning of the end of our belief that she would make a difference. Sounds like small potatoes we know but a sign of total lack of respect for right and wrong and a very poor recommendation for the 2022-2026 council members.

    Burlington taxpayers deserve much better than this. We will never all agree what our city should look like but we need to ensure we are doing what we can to properly consider public opinion.

  • Maggie Riley

    Editor, you have been down this path before.

    Not only have council members made it clear to you and to everyone else, but many of your readers have also pointed out to you that it would be entirely inappropriate for any member of council to publicly take a position on the application prior to staff completing its review and presenting its report to Council for review and consideration.

    That staff review is not yet complete and so council does not have a report to review and comment upon.

    Any statements made by a council member prior to the staff report being handed to council could very well be seen as showing the council member as being biased and predisposed to a position without having all information to hand.

    Members of council did not ask questions of the applicant during the statutory meeting which was undertaken for the benefit of the public. Council members did ask staff questions at the council meeting that followed the statutory public meeting. That was an appropriate venue for members of council to seek clarification to matters that arose in their minds as a result of the statutory meeting. If I recall correctly council members did not ask questions of the applicant.

    The prescribed process must be followed.