Waterfront visioning workshop presentation doesn't reveal very much. Key question doesn't even get answered.

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 25th, 2017



The room in the lower level of the Waterfront hotel on Lakeshore Road was packed – standing room only.

Standing room only

It was standing room only for many of the people attending the Downtown Mobility Hub Visioning Workshop.

There was a very slick presentation being given on plans for redevelopment of the land on which the Waterfront hotel now stands.

Many – perhaps most of the people had two questions: How many and how high?

They wanted to know how many buildings did the developer want to build on the site and how high would they be.

They didn’t get an answer – the presentation was all about putting any development in context and relating it to what was already in place in the area.

Roz Minaj a Planning department staffer told the audience that the terms of reference were focused on redevelopment.

Some wanted to see the property purchased and turned into parkland and extending the size of Spencer Smith Park.  That is not going to happen.

At one point there were three wharves on the land the Waterfront Hotel sits on today.  A lot of fill was added to the shore line which extended the property further out into the lake.  The Pier got built and Spencer Smith had many upgrades making it all a prime attraction.

Should the plans for re-developing the existing Beachway community to the west ever get completed that part of the city will become a major attraction for thousands outside the city.

Waterfront to Lake enhanced

There was a lot of information on street views and other tall buildings in the area but not a word about how many buildings the developer wanted to put up or how high they might be.

When the presentation was done those who chose to stick around were invited into another room to take part in what we now call table work – a time when people gather around a table and write down some of the ideas they have for what should be built.

The results of those ideas will be put into a report which the Planning department will put in front of city council at some future date.

Tall buildings graphic

Is the argument going to be that there are tall buildings in the area so there could be tall buildings on the land the Waterfront Hotel is now on.

Last week the Mayor sent out the following informing people that:

Next week, the City of Burlington is starting a study that affects the future of our waterfront and I am asking everyone in Burlington to get involved.

The Brant and Lakeshore planning study commences on Wednesday, May 24, 2017. It will consider what should be located on the property at the foot of Brant Street that is currently home to the Waterfront Hotel.

The owner of the property ­­– Burlington 2020 Lakeshore Inc. — is interested in redeveloping the site. As such, the City’s Official Plan, which is the guiding planning document for Burlington, requires the City to complete a master plan for this area.

This master plan is critically important, as this site is prime waterfront land surpassing anything found in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area in natural beauty and access.

As Mayor, I am very concerned about the impact any redevelopment could have on our waterfront.
I believe an option needs to be considered that converts this property to open space as a natural extension to the existing park for the future enjoyment of all Burlington residents.

Residents frequently tell me public space on our stunning waterfront is important to them and to our community. I agree wholeheartedly. And I believe that redevelopment of this site will not be welcomed.

Waterfront hotel Taylor

City Councillor John Taylor was listening intently to people.

The people who share that view were out in force along with people from the offices of many of the developers in the city.

We didn’t see the Mayor in the room but it was packed – he might have been in there somewhere.  Councillors Taylor, Dennison and Meed Ward were observed.

Related article:
Development at the foot of Brant Street

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3 comments to Waterfront visioning workshop presentation doesn’t reveal very much. Key question doesn’t even get answered.

  • Chris Ariens

    On the other hand, I believe this site represents a fantastic opportunity for the city.

    Looking at the overhead view, about 40% of the space is occupied by a surface parking lot, 40% divided between the 7 story hotel and its podium, and the rest is the access road and the trees and shrubs used to screen the access road & parking lot from Lakeshore Road and the Waterfront.

    Clearly use of 60% of the land for car storage and freight access is wasteful in the extreme. I would recommend that the area where the parking lot is today be developed with a new structure. Something shorter than the Bridgewater next door that provides a transition, with a similar height of podium that creates a streetwall of boutiques and restaurants fronting Lakeshore with a wide sidewalk. Parking below grade. Freight access hidden off Elizabeth St. A high standard of design – possibly something in the art deco style to give the feel of Miami Beach (but whatever the style, something of a level well above the traditional glass and brick box we’re used to seeing is essential).

    The site of the existing building can be made into public space to blend in to the existing park. Patios for the restaruants and cafes, which will be blessed with an amazing view. Plant more trees to provide shade and comfort. Keep the path connecting the waterfront to the foot of Brant street.

  • Public space along the waterfront and convenient access to it is critical to the future use of this vital land and to a more powerful brand for our City. Ground level view lines are most critical to pedestrians who visit in their many thousands. Their view is not impacted above the first few levels of buildings, so long as view lines along streets are preserved, compared to those who view the water from condominiums. The latter number in the hundreds and their interests should not deter the best development forms for the City. Accordingly, the height of buildings along the waterfront is much less critical to the views of the vast majority. What is really critical to them is their continued use of the waterfront lands.

    Once that is recognised, everyone has to then acknowledge that increased height provides a much stronger and higher producing tax base which is also very critical to all citizens. All levels of government in Ontario have been in favour of higher densities for decades, mainly because they produce much greater utilisation of services and transportation, potentially leading to lower taxes per capita. And the tax yield from a taller structure is much greater since it is levied and collected from a larger number of commercial and residential payers.

    These two key facts should be taken into consideration by City politicians as they are very favourable to the great majority of our citizens.

    Lastly, unique architectural designs should be encouraged in order to bolster the brand of the City with the use of signature and highly recognisable buildings. As Churchill once said, “First we shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us.”

  • Helene Skinner

    Yes, the Beach way rresidents can vouch as to how slick they are!!! Remember, evening info meetings, workshops, opinion solicitation, delegation opportunities…are not acts of kindness or magical inclusions…they are simply part of a legal format. It only has to be recorded that these events take place…but public input falls on deaf ears. It’s simply smoke and mirrors.