Ward 5- its problems and its opportunities. Is it well led?

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

October 24, 2104



It is the ward that current MP Mike Wallace ran in; it is the ward that Current Mayor Rick Goldring ran in and it is the ward currently served by Paul Sharman who is completing his first term as an elected official.

It is a diverse ward with that doesn’t have the patch of affluence in the south end that wards 4 and 2 have. It does have communities that were poorly planned – no fault of Sharman’s – that have significant parking problems.

Ward 5 croppedThe ward runs from Appleby to Burloak – Dundas to the Lake.

The plaza at Appleby and New Street could be a challenge – depending on how one looks at the building of high rise towers. The First Capital project will certainly go a long way to producing the housing units the city has to come up with to meet the province’s Places to Grow intensification mandate.

There is a considerable amount of Employment Lands in the ward as well – much of it owned by the Paletta interests. While Sharman has been a member of the board of the Economic Development Corporation we’ve not heard much from him or seen much in the way of leadership in developing the property along Mainway and Harvester Road that run through the ward.

Nothing either on what could be done with the large tract of land on Upper Middle Road where it joins Burloak.

The economic engines of Burlington are located for the most part on Mainway, Harvester and that clutch of buildings at Burloak and the QEW.  Has Paul Sharman manged to have any influence on how the economy and the job growth of this has been shaped during his first for years on Council?

There is a significant senior’s population in the ward that Councillor Sharman has catered to but he hasn’t delivered all that much for that demographic.

The Skyway Plaza in the east end is in desperate need of an upgrade but no one at council or at city hall can get through to the owner. Despite Sharman’s producing a staff direction nothing has come of the various efforts. Is there something going on in the background? Is there going to be a surprise announcement? Probably not at this point but that plaza does need serious attention.

The Appleby arena is in the ward; there isn’t a hockey parent in the city that isn’t unhappy with the way the place is scheduled but there is nothing any member of Council could do to keep those parents happy.

There has been some excellent small scale development at Dundas/Appleby cluster and quite a bit of development at Dundas and Appleby.

The major development at the top of the ward – at Sutton and Dundas has managed to get out of the planning department and past city council to the Ontario Municipal Board.

In May of this year the city chose to oppose the applications for Official Plan and Zoning By-law amendments, submitted on behalf of Adi Development Group Inc., to permit a mixed use development consisting of 298 residential units in four connected apartment buildings and 1249 m2 of ground floor commercial development. That project is now at the Ontario Municipal Board where there is a settlement that has not yet been signed off on yet.

The Planning department was the lead on this – there didn’t appear to be much input from the Council member.

ADI Link aerial rendering

It is going to be a large project – the OMB will make the decision probably based on agreements that are already in place.

Council supported a modified approval of the applications for Official Plan and Zoning By-law amendments to permit a mixed use development at the southeast corner of Dundas Street and Sutton Drive in accordance with the revisions recommended by planning staff.

On January 2, 2014, the city received an appeal of the Official Plan Amendment and rezoning applications, submitted by the applicant, for council’s failure to make a decision on the applications within the 180 and 120 day time frames in the Planning Act.

The record of the applications are now before the Ontario Municipal Board. The Ontario Municipal Board held a hearing on June 24, 2014 that was scheduled for four days – lasted just two. Minutes of settlement have been prepared and agreed upon – the city now awaits a decision from the OMB.

During the various deliberations there wasn’t all that much heard from Councillor Sharman. We did hear him talk about the need for more space between the project – which is very large in scale and the houses to the south.

We did hear from Sharman on the need for better security along the pathway beside Bronte Creek. One never got the sense that the council member for the ward was really in charge of; leading and directing the growth in his ward.

A project of this size and significance in ward 1 would have Councillor Craven’s finger prints all over it – that level of involvement doesn’t seem to be the way things are done in ward 5.

Yet when it comes to the budget or the need for better, more detailed data – Paul Sharman is all over the discussion. He would appear to be more comfortable with paper and numbers than he is with people.

In his campaign literature Sharman sets out what he feels he has done.

John W. Boich Public School surplus land parkette in The Orchard was approved after much community involvement. Getting started has taken a year longer than expected because contaminated soil found on the site had to be removed. I expect work will begin in spring 2015.

Parking changes that he promoted in Uptown and The Orchard that allow overnight parking, coupled with the city wide on road increase from 3 hours to 5 hours, have been well received. However, a change that was made with insufficient community engagement banned parking on the apron, perpendicular to the road. This has caused significant, unnecessary disruption and many tickets and needs to be permitted. Community members are circulating petitions for change, which I support.


SKYWAY WITH SHOPPERS SIGNSKYWAY WITH SHOPPERS SIGNSKYWAY WITH SHOPPERS SIGNLakeside Plaza is a blight on the delightful neighbourhoods of south east Burlington. I asked and obtained council agreement to direct staff to contact the owner about making improvements. As a result, the owner has approached the City to discuss possibilities for redevelopment. Preliminary plans call for residential and retail mixed use. It will be a while before we hear anything official.

Skyway Arena

It is an arena badly in need of an updte. There was discussion about a plan to roll the arena into a package that would see a major upgrade done to a part of the city that needs an economic shot in the arm.

Skyway arena play fieldI asked staff to evaluate how Skyway Arena might be improved to better serve the community in which it is located. Someone misinterpreted that as meaning it should be sold. The possibilities for Skyway Park/Arena include additions of a library branch, seniors centre, community meeting rooms and a transit hub, which should be designed to work well with the redevelopment of Lakeside Plaza.

Appleby Mall rendering 2 structure proposal 16 & 11 floors

The First Capital proposal doesn’t have the blessing of the ward Councillor – he doesn’t want kids to have to play in a supermarket parking lot.

Appleby Mall proposed towers are unacceptable to me and community members. Apart from all the other concerns, the idea of raising hundreds of children in a parking lot is really troublesome.

ADI development at Sutton and Dundas has been a problem since it was first discussed. At the outset I held community meetings to review developer proposals. I have always opposed the plans because of height, density, traffic and congestion concerns. Those concerns led to the development application process to be slowed down. The developer then asked the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) to intervene, effectively taking the matter out of Councils hands. In an attempt to settle at the OMB, ADI negotiated increased setbacks with City staff. We still await the OMB final ruling. Irrespective, the development is still going to be a source of much discomfort for existing community members. Meanwhile ADI have recently filed a site plan with about 290 units, 3 x6 story and 1x 4 story building.


The debate between the delegator and the Council member on this project on Pineland was memorable. The delegator ended up being the candidate and James Smith is now running against Paul Sharman

By working with the community we accomplished significant changes to be made from what was originally proposed for Pinedale Plaza. Those changes made it more acceptable to the community. Neighbours are understandably frustrated with the amount of time it is taking to get things moving, they want it finished.

Combined 4 year City, Region and education property tax increase on your household bill 2011-2014 was 6.2% inclusive of funding for the Hospital. City budget increases of 12.7% including the hospital levy were offset by assessment growth in Region of Halton and education budgets. Total council pay increase for the last four years was 5.75%. Council pay increase calculations are very thoughtfully determined by an advisory committee, which stops Councillors from meddling.

Council is investing in Burlington Transit (BT), despite what some people like to say. Smaller buses have been purchased and Council voted, this year, to spend $2m to implement software that will, amongst other things, allow management to track buses and analyze where people get on and off buses. This information was not available previously. In 2012, Council was advised that BT operating performance was the worst in its peer group of 13 other municipalities. I support good transit management and future investments in a good transit plan when staff is able to provide one.

FLOOD basement blur couch

The flood became a political issue that the Council members for wards 4 and 5 didn’t know quite how to handle. It was a Regional matter and Burlington’s city Council doesn’t have much in the way of clout at the Region.

Damage to both the property and the lives of the people whose homes were flooded got turned into the base on which an election campaign was built. Sharman tried very hard to get something going at the Regional level but that organization has chosen to be unresponsive.

Will that change after the election? If Sharman is re-elected will he manage to make a difference at the Regional level. Try as he might – he hasn’t managed to get the Region to respond to the needs of his community – so far.

Related material:

Paul Sharman: An assessment.

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1 comment to Ward 5 – its problems and its opportunities. Is it well led?

  • Angela

    Recently, I tried to look up the status of Pinedale Plaza and the entire project on the City of Burlington Ward 5 project list has been removed. Have you heard of any changes or cancellations to the project at Pinedale Plaza?