Waterfront development: likely to be the top story in 2022

By Pepper Parr

January 1st, 2022


Sticky bit of news came out the last few weeks of last year.  It will probably be the top story between now and the municipal election this October.

The hotel is set back from the street, does not loom over the road, gives a clear line of site to the Pier

On a site referred to by the planner for the developer as Burlington’s Ground Zero, there are plans to demolish the existing Waterfront Hotel and build two towers: one 35 storeys, the other 30 storeys.

What makes it sticky is some of the politics.  The city has created a new Official Plan that still has a few steps to go before it is THE Official Plan.

There were changes in where growth was to take place in the plan.  More than 40 organizations have filed appeals against different parts of the Official Plan – which is not all that unusual.

The podium will butt up against the street and have the two towers on top

What was unusual is the grandfathering of a development application that city council has said is not complete.

For the average Burlingtonian all this politicking doesn’t get much attention – however the eventual results will have a very significant impact on Spencer Smith Park which is seen as the jewel in the crown that is the city’s waterfront.

A small group of people formed Plan B – which sets out what the downtown lake edge and the core of the city could look like – if only there were real citizen input.

Plan B really wants your help.

They are arguing that it is your city and you deserve the right to have input on decisions made.

On the political side the provincial Minister of Housing announced that the incomplete application to redevelop the Waterfront Hotel site would be grandfathered, that it will come under the old Urban Growth centre.

From this – the site as it is today…


... to this. The planning proposal currently before the city.

You may have heard that the application for the Waterfront Hotel redevelopment was submitted to Steve Clark, Ontario Minister Of Municipal Affairs & Housing, on November 10th, effectively eliminating two intensification arguments (MTSA & UGC designations) used by developers trying to justify increasingly high condo developments downtown.

That’s all true… but did you know that the City in a 7-0 unanimous vote of Council supported the Planning Department’s recommendation to deem the application incomplete.

It seemed logical to the PLAN B group that this application should be re-submitted when it was complete.

For those who care about how the downtown core of the city is developed and what happens to Spencer Smith Park the Plan B people ask you to “Stay tuned, because things have just gotten a lot more interesting!”

Follow what they are up to on their Facebook page. Click HERE

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2 comments to Waterfront development: likely to be the top story in 2022

  • Penny Hersh

    What makes this development any more special than all the other developments that have been approved, or grandfathered in the downtown core and the waterfront?

    Presently there is a 26 storey building being constructed on Lakeshore/Martha and another 29 storey development by the OLT will be starting shortly on Lakeshore/Pearl.

    Let’s not forget that this and previous councils also failed to protect the area known as the “football” that will probably result in 2 more high-rise developments with POPS ( privately owned public space).

    All these developments have impacted the waterfront. This one natural beauty that has been destroyed by a lack of vision and will by present and past municipal councils. What is now called the Ontario Land Tribunal has been operating and affecting development for many years, under the Liberal Party not only by the Conservative Party.

    With a municipal election in 2022, residents will once again be told how this council and its members will be able to stop this unrestrained growth. They can’t.

    I have heard it all before, and as the saying goes ” Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me”. What does Fool me three times mean?

  • S. Hutchinson

    The new tax bill for 2022 has been approved with an increase to us all. Why, wasn’t this piece of City Gem property site not factored into the 2022 expenses to show that the City does have some control over the planning of our City. As it stands now, the City planners are following the guidance of the developers, who have pussy footed the Prog. Govt., and the developers are given the green light to override and lead our City. How sad is that to the paying population for such ridiculous unacceptable leadership. Since when can the Prov. Min. of Housing just step into a Municipality and make these decisions without the consent of the leaders of the Municipality? We must have some legal rights to have a Mayor and Council opposing all this? If they have no powers in this area of design and planning of their City, then the Provincial Government needs to set us all straight on this new scheme of grandfathering in sites that everyone opposes. Strong lawyers need to move quickly on this one as this is all too suspicious what ever way one looks at it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!