Two of Aldershot's best go up against Oakville Mayor Rob Burton

By Staff

May 16th, 2022



Tom Muir, a committed advocate for stronger public voices at the planning table sent a note to Oakville Mayor Rob Burton on planning matters.  Burton responded saying:

Tom, all four parties with seats in the Legislature have embraced in their platforms the call for a million and a half new housing units over the next ten years, effectively double or triple what has been planned and financed out to 2031. One might expect significant changes to urban planning processes in the name of the supposed need for haste.

Greg Woodruff, an Aldershot resident who has run, unsuccessfully for both Regional Chair and Mayor of Burlington responded to Burton:

Hello Rob,
Whatever “changes” you imagine in the urban planning process – if you imagine required infinite growth on the same land area …

If your entire city was of single family houses, then knock them down for duplexes.

If your entire city was duplexes, then knock them down for 4 floor apartments.

If your entire city was 4 floor apartments, then knock them down for 12 stores.

And if your entire city was 12 story apartments, knock them down for 50 stores.

Instead of all that building and knocking down – why not jump to the 50 story buildings?

Why can there be no reasonable or nuanced building? Because if you concede infinite sustainable growth – every single location’s destiny is a building as high as technology allows.

And once you conceded that – there is no sensible limit to the building in any one location.

In his comment Mayor Rob Burton, BA, MS, signed off as Head of Council & CEO.

I thought the city manager was the CEO – with authority delegated to him by Council. Am I wrong?

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8 comments to Two of Aldershot’s best go up against Oakville Mayor Rob Burton

  • Tom Muir


    Opinions are not facts. You are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts. I am not obliged to answer or challenge everything you say like it’s the truth.

    I’m afraid, as I said, that we will never agree. So i am going to let you have the last word in this narrative, with this exception from me.

    We are not making any progress, which is featured by less and less speech, until we arrive at silence. Instead, we seem to be getting longer and longer. Enough.

    You can sleep tonight at 3:53 am.

  • Alfred


    Let me answer all your questions and not skip over the facts the way you did on my post.

    No Mayoral aspirations for me, unless you want Burlington to become the Best Midsize City in the World. At the present time I’m not aware of any other Mayoral candidate that will be running in Burlington. If I had to choose one person that I think would fill that role very well it would be Paul Sharman. Not that I’m out canvassing for candidates. But you have to admit the Mayor has set that bar pretty low.

    Contrary to your claim, I’m am not a lobbyist for developers to do what they want and damm the City and it’s residents. I will admit I find it frustrating when the residents of Burlington elect a Provincial Government that controls and decides housing policies that Municipalities must conform to. Then they get conned into voting for a Mayor who claims she does not have to follow those rules. The result OLT now decides everything in Burlington. The Mayor knowing this, sends everything to OLT and loses all the cases, then blames the OLT. For following the rules of development in Ontario. Tom you believe and seem to agree with the Mayor that the OLT. is corrupt and controlled by developers and come up with every excuse why the City loses all it’s appeals.

    If the City was winning all of it’s appeals the Mayor would have provided us with a reason to listen to her. The only thing that saved this Mayor’s last shread of credibility is the fact that the 50 odd appeals have been delayed by covid. I think the results would have shown one of the worst losing records ever recorded by any Canadian Mayor.

    Yes, the people of Burlington did vote some of the councilors that made the City of Burlington, Best Mid Sized in Canada for many years in succession. In return they created a broken City in chaos. It now takes almost a year and a half to process a application to get final approval for a building permit for a one room addition to a house. How is this incompetence possible. This is the new normal under your Mayor.

    May I remind you that the residents voted for Premier Ford and if polling numbers are correct it appears he is what they still want. That makes him the housing Boss. Not the Mayor.

    Even if the Liberals win, nothing changes. Shall we remind the flip flop voters that they are the ones that created all these intensification mandates.

    Tom you appear to be confused in terms of the Infill low-density areas. In these areas Medium and high density developments are generally not permitted. I am refering to approx 70 percent of the City in which only single family home as of right now are permitted. It appears that soon we will be seeing up to 4 dwellings permitted on these lots as outlined in the Provincial Housing strategy.

    You and the Mayor are touting Inclusionary zoning yet you are very short of facts. You danced over the fact that the Official Plan mandated and called for Inclusionary zoning for over 20 years and this Mayor has done nothing. Perhaps your comments on this issue.

    What exactly are you and the Mayor suggesting we do in the low density areas in terms of numbers of housing units per lot?

    Let me make this process clear so there is no misunderstanding and we can start to move forward. Builder buys house, then knocks it down. In Tom’s and Mayor Ward’s world how many units can she be trusted to permit to be built? Please answer, remember you are demanding no oversight by OLT. We also know what the Province is suggesting.

    If you and the Mayor want credibility it’s time to put the cards on the table with specific densities. Or shall I remind you the Province will do it for you and eliminate Mayors from this process completely. Thus eliminate red tape. If the Mayor comes up with a simple plan consistant with Provincial policy, I’m all ears. Not holding my breathe.

    Tom I understand completely that you don’t want the Province controlling development in Burlington. That you would rather have it be in the hands of an anti-development Mayor. That would throw a blanket over the City. If you plan on changing the Housing rules that have been in place for many years and hope that the Province will hand over authority to you and the Mayor. I wish you good luck.

    In my view, the Province is seeking to eliminate nimby’s and anti-development Mayors from the process completely, for all the right reasons.

    Oh yes, I almost forgot can you explain why only 40 single family home were built in all of Burlingtons infill low density areas? Also 0 semi-detached 0 duplex 0 triplex 0 fourplex. Were is this imaginary inclusionary zoning you keep talking about. You and the Mayor have had plenty of time to think about it.

    There clearly is none and your Mayor is the problem. These types of units are being built everywhere else in Canada. Put what ever spin you want on it. Please don’t side step this issue as I attempted to address all of yours and did not cherry pick.

    Let’s move over to Hamilton if you will. All forms of housing are being built in the low-density areas unlike Burlington. Kudo’s to Mayor Eisenberg.

    It appears that the citizens of Hamilton want to freeze the urban boundary, even though, through the years it was expanded to provide many of them with homes. These same selfish Nimby’s will be complaining when the reduction of development land causes the greater intensification and Highrise buildings in their City. Now many of these folks will vote for Trudeau even though he’s bringing in 450,000 new Canadians with no idea were to put them. Remember. Not in my City Nimby’s are everywhere.

    If you can defend this Mayor, you are one heck of a salesman. Good night.

  • Tom Muir


    Are you planning on running for Mayor? Or to support some as yet unnamed candidate? You are always a lobbyist voice for developers freedom to do what they want and damn be the City and residents.

    If you are planning this venture for elected office, with the required exposure to the voters with your style and claims, the platform you have been pushing in your usual and endless pick on Mayor Meed Ward attack crap is a loser for sure.

    i know well what she has been been advocating for at least her last 2 terms as Councilor, and then Mayor. She was elected by residents as Mayor because of her platform. The candidates pushing your platform were all voted out of office. It’s what the residents wanted, and want still.

    The Mayor has spelled out her housing ideas all that time, in writing and in speech. She offers simple policy and rule changes to free up more choice that will provide for the missing middle in housing form and affordability. Isn’t this what you want? To get rid of red tape?

    She does not submit development proposals to the City Planning Dept – it’s not her role. It’s the developers that do that and this planning process is governed by law and provincial policies. To my observation, except at the Regional DC Planning they don’t generally submit low density applications or requests for allocation. In Burlington, they have applied for high-rise and density mostly, and this is encouraged by the provincial policy frame and the always availability of OLT.

    This Mayoral suggestion of inclusionary zoning – to use her words – requires some exemption from the OLT appeal right to enable this to happen. It is OLT, as the provincial policy fail safe trump card for developers that has killed affordability, and development planning itself in Burlington, and I expect elsewhere.

    I believe It costs $200 a square foot for medium density that can be built and sold quickly, a few at a time, but $600 a square foot for concrete and rebar high rise that that has to be 80% pre-sold to get the bank by-in, and fully built before sold. In the last 6 years all of the higher density applications, 6 to 29 stories, approved or not, are still weedy sites sitting idle, with nothing built or started. This amounts to more than 2500 units,

    One that did get started on Brant St. before inadequate storm water engineering controls suspended the start of building, was 2-3 story medium density townhouse and condo units. It seems apparent that the point made above on costs to build and saleability, is borne out.
    I drove by there yesterday and saw some work being done on the roadway at the entrance to the subdivision, and there are other signs of material and equipment suggesting something is restarting, although I can’t be sure.

    You don’t seem to like to hear this, or like the truth the facts bear out contradicting your bias, apparent here and now. This is just like you don’t seem to hear me when I spell out my position on provincial absolute control on planning, using OLT, always at the will of developers pushing speculative gains with high rise and density.

    I responded to you here on May 8, to another ask of yours for reasons why I was giving up on Ford. I told you my heartfelt reasons in detail, and this kind of thing right here and now is what I get back. You don’t listen and you don’t care what I think, as you just want an excuse to rant diatribe on the City and Mayor.

    Do you treat the City of Hamilton Mayor Eisenberg, who has the same problems and concerns with the province in his own City planning, and threats from the housing Minister to overrule their new Plan with a MZO? Please go there for a change.

    The FACTS are, it’s the provincial policy frame and unrelenting OLT aoppeal rights that are killing planning development and affordable housing.

  • Alfred


    Why can there be no reasonable or nuanced building?

    Sir. What are your suggestions and or ideas. Being critical of someone is easy. Coming up with better ideas not so easy.

  • Alfred


    You do know that Burlington is the slowest growing Municipality in the GTA?

    Under your Mayor Ward only 40 single family homes were built in the whole City last year. As far as inclusionary Zoning. There are no properties in the Low-density infill areas that are zoned for anything other than single family homes. While all other Municipalities allow for a large range of housing types. Your Mayor is excluding the whole City including Special neighborhoods from inclusionary zoning deliberatly.

    The various Official Plans over the past 20 years in Burlington called for the building of Sem-detached homes as well as other forms of ground oriented developments. The Mayor and councilors have up to 3 years to implement Zoning by-laws that match their Official Plan. This is mandated under the Planning Act. (Burlingtons dirty little secret).

    For those of us that understand this process. Mayor Ward never spoke of affordable housing until recently because she did not want it in her City. The thought of putting inclusionary zoning in the hands of the Anti-development Mayor and to boot take away rights of developers to go to the OLT. Can only be described as ridiculous. She was elected to put this City to sleep.

    Your Mayor was the poster child for abuse of process and the Province is now clipping her wings and taking Anti-development Mayors powers away from them as they were only obstructions and cost adding, time wasting speed bumps. (Adi development only took what 9 years?) In the development process which appears to run fine in most of all the other Cities in Ontario

    Last year there were 0 Semi-detached homes built in Burlington. Also the City has lost most if not all their appeals to the OLT. At a great cost to the tax payers. All this under your Mayor.

    Where are all her creative housing ideas?

    Could you please explain if you so choose. Good night!

  • Tom Muir

    I watched the debate and didn’t see a single mention, never mind an embrace, of this imagined 10 year Plan from anyone. What was mentioned by all, numerous times, except of course Ford, were the land speculators, and rental property investors, that are milking people shamelessly, and being further fed fat by Ford’s development policies, and of particular note in terms of priorities, his promised 60 miles of $10 billion Hwy 413.

    Ford says it will reduce trips by 30 minutes, but where that number came from was not stated. The other Parties said it will save 1 minute on average, and I need to fact check both. In any case, all but Ford promised to cancel that plan.

    It is safe to say that this housing Plan will never solve the affordability problem and I have seen no evidence at all that it will. 10 years is more than 2 terms of office and elections. Fat chance it would ever survive the next 2 budgets when the bills come in.

    I would hope that Mayor Burton would have had something more encouraging to say about some stomach at the Region to protest being used in this millions of houses fantasy, as they are the ones that will have try to deliver whatever emerges and it will be at great cost if they try. Of course, they work for the province and are at the command of Ford at the moment.

    Mr. Burton should have mentioned that I wrote that Mayor Meed Ward has another plan to get something going on in affordability without shooting for the moon right out of the gate. It’s just using OP and zoning tools that can get affordability into action with things like inclusionary zoning. This can work relatively quickly, and be implemented with only paper rules.

    This needs exemption from OLT which I extensively described in my note to Mayor Burton and all of City and Regional Council, with factual evidence, as a profound failure in Burlington, delivering zero housing units in more than 4 years, and no completions in the pipe so far, never mind any affordable units. More are being backed up by appeals to OLT.

    OLT is the bitter enemy of affordable. It is the definition of red tape. It kills time and adds cost. It feeds speculation and this is a visible plague in Burlington where it abounds, killing real housing starts for everyone.

    Inclusionary Zoning can be the friend, but Ford needs to allow suspension of OLT in the planning process, for a quick start right now as an election pledge, or delivery now.

    His ads speak to Ford’s slogan – “Doug Ford, Lets Get it Done” – well here’s something people agree with, and Ford says only his Party will get it done for the people.

    Well Mr. Ford – Get it Done!

  • Sorry Pepper you are wrong this time. Burton is Head of Council and Chief Executive Officer according to the Municipal Act as is Carr for the Region! City Manager is simply City Manager!

  • Jim Thomson

    You are essentially correct, although the Town of Oakville has a CAO not a city manager.
    You can actually find her contact information on the Town website.