Will the Mayor's ammendments become an issue should the Official Plan get to LPAT ?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

October 16th, 2020



At some point we will learn that the endorsed version of the most recent Official Plan that Council has spent a year and a reported million dollars on has been delivered to the Region.

The Region will review the plan and ensure that it complies with the Regional Official Plan at which point they will send it back to the city where it will again be presented to city council who will give it their stamp of approval (not a rubber stamp, notes the Mayor).

The document has to sit in political purgatory for a short period of time during which people can object to the document and file an appeal to the (LPAT) Local Planning Act Tribunal. That this will happen is almost something you can bet the mortgage payment on.

At some point there will be an official plan in place.

How it got to being the document the city has needed for some time is an interesting story in itself – with more than one story to tell.

Two issues concern us:
The way the Councillor votes were cast at the Standing Committee and the way the votes were cast at the council meeting.

Sharman confused

Councillor Sharman

Angelo - not getting it -deferal

Councillor Bentiovegna

Galbraith slight smile

Councillor Galbraith

At the Standing Committee meeting three of the seven members of Council – Galbraith, Sharman and Bentivegna voted against the nine amendments that were introduced.

Councillor Sharman asked Executive Director Heather MacDonald, who is also the Director of Planning, if she supported the amendments – she did not.

Councillors Galbraith and Bentivegna took the same position – without the support of the Chief Planner the validity and integrity of the amendments is suspect from a pure planning perspective.

Meed Ward style

Mayor Meed Ward took a moral and ethical stand in introducing amendments to an Official Plan revision that was more than a year in the works.

Mayor Meed Ward was correct when she said Council had the right to add amendments, she saw it as the moral and ethical thing to do – even though three of the seven members of council did not support her.

That is a sticky wicket no matter which way you look at it.

It challenges the best advice of the planners and presents less than a united front from the council table.

This is not a strong hand with which to approach the LPAT card table.

The three members of Council who voted against the amendments at Standing Committee and then say at the Council meeting where the vote that counts takes place, that this has gone on long enough and it is time to move on, forget that there are consequences to the decisions they make.

The Gazette fears that this could come back to bite us very hard where it hurts.

Mayor Meed Ward is quick to say that this council has delivered on the election promise and to a considerable degree she has.

She may also have blown it badly with those amendments.

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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6 comments to Will the Mayor’s amendments become an issue should the Official Plan get to LPAT ?

  • david barker


    Are you going to respond to my questions of you, or just leave things as they are; simply putting out unsubstantiated commentary? Please help me and others here understand your thoughts.

  • Penny Hersh


    These amendments are not defendable at LPAT, and those who voted in favour know this.

    • david barker

      And what evidence or knowledge do you have to back up your statement? Or is it just your assumption?

      In the past experience showed to a large extent it did not matter what position a municipality took, LPAT went with the developer. If that trend continues then what harm will the amendments have done?

      However, the hope is LPAT will now respect a a municipality’s OP that meets all Provincial policy requirements.

      I note you did not answer the question I posed to you:- “What problem do you have with the maximum building height for the lot specified being set at 17 stories ?” Follow up question for you:- Would you have rather Council had left that specific lot with a higher maximum building height and definitely leave the gate wide open for a developer ?

      I’m most interested to understand your thoughts and why you criticize Council for passing amendments that further restrict building heights when that is the goal I believe, you and I and pretty much all residents want.

      It would be nice if you would respond directly to the questions I have posed to you here.

  • Penny Hersh


    These amendments seem more like posturing for the next Municipal election.

    • david barker

      Political posturing? Really ?

      Could the Mayor and the three councilors that supported her with the ammendments not possibly have brought each amendment forward because it was the right thing to do?

      Perhaps you would like to share what difficulty you have with those amendments. Let’s take as an example amendment 5, since you previously took an interest in it. What problem do you have with the maximum building height for the lot specified being set at 17 stories ?

  • david barker

    This article must have been written by Eyore but under the publisher’s pseudonym. It is all doom and gloom.

    OK, the Director of Planning said she could not support the amendments. Who did we elect to run the city? The Mayor and the 6 Councilors or the Director of Planning? I am sure there have been over the years many instances where Council has not taken the advice of staff on a particular matter.

    I wonder what would have been the reaction from the publisher and residents as a whole had the Mayor and the other councilors accepted the position of the Director of Planning, which would have left various important parcels of land wide open to high, high rise development. Likely many would have been up in arms (figuratively speaking) had the amendments not been introduced and passed. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    All LPAT should consider the OP and it’s zoning bylaws, and whether it is consistent with Provincial policy. I do not believe it will take into account the vote at Council that approved it. Whether the vote was unanimous, 6 to 1, 4 to 3 or whatever is irrelevant. It passed !

    The Council has stuck by its pledge to the electorate and that is to be applauded.

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