Who decides what the city is going to look like 20 years from now?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

August 29th, 2017



Who decides what a city is going to look like?

Is it the planners?  They set the rules the builders will be required to follow.

Is it the developers who look for the best return they can get on the investment they make and the risk they take?

Or is it the architects who put ideas in front of the developers?

Waterfront hotel Taylor

Ward 3 Councillor John Taylor is one of the people who will vote on future project – at least for the balance of this term. He took part in a community forum on waterfront plans.

Is it the public and the comments they make a community meetings?

The private homes that will get built on tree lined streets and the condominium towers that now define Lakeshore and are proposed for parts of Brant Street are signs of what we might look like.

The significant number of what can only be called mansions going up now on the eastern side of Lakeshore Road are another part of that definition.

We know what we have – and we know something about what is being proposed.

Are there any striking looking buildings going up? Are there any designs that are taking the city in a different direction?

Dennison - second house

What is going to be permitted along Lakeshore Road got taken in a different direction when this lot severance was approved and an additional home squeezed in.

Are there any mistakes being made?

Three structures deserve a closer look: The Saxony on Locust and Elgin that is not much more than a hole in the ground, the Paradigm that is going up on Fairview where it is very clear what the city is going to have when that project is completed and the Link2 that is being built on Dundas are worth a closer look.

Saxony early version - classical

The Saxony is a development that could have been five storey’s high – they opted for just four. The project was sold out before the opened the sales office.

The Saxony is going to represent home for the moneyed set that want comfort and stature – they will get both in a building that is respectable and solid – once they get a handle on the problems they have had with water they didn’t realize was there when they started digging.

There is nothing bold or exciting about the building. It is the 21st century edition of the solid homes that were built along Burlington Street and that collection of homes on the eastern side of Brant and south of Caroline.

Link2 - ADI

It is a large project far from the downtown core in one of the fastest going parts of the city – with a view over Bronte Creek on the east side.

While the Link2 is not a building that many will see – located as it is on Dundas and Sutton – yards away from the border with Oakville. The project has a couple of things going for it. The location especially for those on the eastern side where the view will be over Bronte Creek, and the design which is daring and certainly different.

It won’t appeal too many but for those who like to live in a building that makes a statement – this is one of the places to be. Too early in the construction stage to fully appreciate what the Link2 is going to look like – all we have to go on are the architectural renderings.

The bright picture is seen in the Paradigm being put up by the Molinaro Group. It has a daring look to it – there is actually a design – not something that is all that evident in the buildings they put up along Lakeshore a couple of decades ago.

Paradigm July 2017

The Molinaro Paradigm project is changing the skyline in mid-city. The first of the fivee towers has topped off

The cladding on the building makes a strong statement and has to add to what the city is going to look like twenty years from now when all the Grow Bold plans take hold.

Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

6 comments to Who decides what the city is going to look like 20 years from now?

  • Pauline

    It is hard to turn back time. My impression is that the land development economy has changed dramatically since the 50’s. The GTA appears to be growing faster that anyone would have thought. Burlington is unique, unlike Oakville and other GTA suburbs – greenfield opportunities do not exist anymore. All of our growth must happen through intensification south of the 407 rea and as much as many of us may hate to admit it, Burlington has a role to take its fair share. My hope is that the City of Burlington works hard to make sure that all of the new development we get is of high quality so that we can all be proud of it. All cities want to make their downtown better. So do I. Come on Burlington – lets do it right!

  • CMG

    Indeed, and this is why my son and his wife, both university educated and gainfully employed, both raised in Burlington, and both dearly wishing they could find a starter home in Burlington, have now opted to invest in Hamilton…. They will be moving away next month, as will many of their friends.

  • stoneycanuk

    I agree with Stephen White.

    Here’s my simplistic summary:
    1. Anonymous bureaucrats mandate that we should grow to a specific population level by a pre-determine date.
    2. Developers submit proposals that far exceed height and density levels to generate the greatest return.
    3. The City don’t have the experience and legal resources to fight the developers.
    4. OMB rubber stamp the developers proposals.
    5. Today’s residents loose out with the loss of green space and its heritage
    6. Tomorrow moves ever closer to creating a depressing concrete jungle that is downtown Toronto.

    Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984!

  • Stephen White

    This city planning experience is rapidly becoming one of extremes. There is no such thing anymore as a “middle ground” or “average” or a “middle of the road” approach to development. It is either 30 storey highrises or multi-million dollar mansions. Whatever happened to those 1,200 sq. ft. bungalow starter homes built during the 1950’s that gave young families an opportunity to own a home without putting them into bankruptcy? Guess there wasn’t enough profit in it for developers like Adi.

    Years ago the prevailing approach was for neighbourhoods to evolve over time. Some residences would be preserved, some would change purpose (i.e. residential to commercial), and some would be transformed. As new people moved in they would be absorbed into the community, and gradual change promoted reasoned transformations and a sense of belonging. Back then developers like Sutherland who built a good chunk of east Burlington actually tried to design some character and distinctiveness into their developments. Now the attitude seems to be: knock it all down and build anew, and make sure you maximize profits.

    I look at Oakville which has brilliant municipal management under a savvy, smart Mayor where historical buildings have been preserved, and new developments (usually under six storeys) blend into the surrounding neighbourhood. Even in the north end I see more variety architectural styles than I do in Burlington. Oakville’s downtown is vibrant, their transportation system works, and their history is preserved. By contrast, our feckless Mayor is mesmerized by gimmickry and bike lanes, our downtown is quickly becoming a concrete jungle devoid of retail establishments, and Spencer Smith Park, our beautiful “Jewel by the Lake’, will be hidden behind 20 to 30 storey condo towers.

    Rick Goldring and this Council DO NOT not have a mandate to radically transform the urban landscape of this community. That is not what the electorate voted for in 2014. If the Mayor believes so much in his beloved Grow Bold and Mobility Hubs plans then: 1) postpone the timeline approvals by a year; 2) run for re-election and campaign in support of it in October 2018; and 3) let the electorate decide whether or not this is how they want their community to evolve. Mine vote will be one the Mayor won’t be getting.

  • steve

    Long ago the social engineers decided that they needed to create a very high density overcrowded region, the Golden Horseshoe, so that people would get out of their cars and onto mass transit, and bicycles. A boundary was established called the green belt to achieve that goal. Everything else works within that concept.

  • William

    The article lacks objectivity with its praise of Paradigm that’s side by side with a paid advertisement for the same development. The Gazette comes off as a shill for the developer. It’s money that determines who will decide what Burlington will be; it’s those with the deepest pockets who set the city’s agenda.