Work at growing bold begins - city hall will be figuring out where the mobility hub focus should be and then the kind of development that they want..

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

July 28th, 2016


If there was any doubt as to what is going to happen to this city in the next 20 years – that doubt was dispelled in a media release issued by the city today.

We are going to grow and we are going to do it as boldly as possible.

Mary Lou Tanner

Director of Planning coined the phrase: Bolder, Smarter, Beautiful. That is how she plans to lead development in the city and has the full support of city council behind her.

Director of Planning for the city Mary Lou Tanner underlined that point at a recent city council meeting when she said we will build “Bold, Smart, Beautiful.”

City City Council approved the Official Plan Review reports that lay the foundation for how and where the City of Burlington will grow for the next 20 years, inspired by Burlington’s 2015-40 Strategic Plan.

Two Official Plan Review reports that will help establish how and where the City of Burlington will grow over the next 20 years were given the stamp of approval.

Those reports set out where growth will take place and the kind of growth that will take place. There are a couple of locations that are intended for one type of growth when the owners of the property want to do something different. Is that another “OMB here we come?”

“This is an important time for our city,” said Mayor Rick Goldring. “We have the opportunity to plan the type of growth we want in the locations we want to ensure we continue to be a thriving city. We will grow responsibly, with detailed planning that will result in new neighbourhoods that provide public amenity space, walkability, cycling infrastructure and public transit options, while minimizing the carbon footprint.”

Getting all that done is critical if the city is to be the kind of place the public seems to want. Sitting in on public meetings and hearing what a developer wants and noting how much they vary with what the city has set out as its model points to some stiff battles ahead.

Air Park entrance uly 2013

The Air Park learned that a developer cannot do whatever they choose to do nor can they apply their own interpretation to the regulations.

It has been said that you can’t beat city hall and the Air Park has certainly learned that lesson. There are developers putting up impressive, large in scale projects that are well within what the city wants to see. There are others battling the planners at almost every yard. The city asked residents what to call the new direction for growth in Burlington. Two-thirds of the hundreds of people surveyed chose “Grow Bold” over the other option, which is “We Are All In.”

“After months of engagement with the community, City Council made the decision earlier this year, in the city’s Strategic Plan, that Burlington is going to grow,” said James Ridge, Burlington’s city manager. “With this direction, the city’s planning team has been hard at work updating the city’s Official Plan, the blueprint that defines where and how growth will happen over the next 20 years.”

Of the two reports approved by City Council, the Urban Structure and Intensification Policy Directions report contains a policy direction for an intensification framework that clearly outlines the parts of the city that are being targeted for growth and those areas that will not see a significant amount of development. Among the primary locations for intensification are the areas around Burlington’s GO stations, called mobility hubs.

The second report, Burlington’s Mobility Hubs: A Work Plan for Area-Specific Planning, addresses the need for a dedicated mobility hub planning team.

Mobility hubs at the GO stations is close to a no brainer - it is the possible hub in the downtown core that has yet to be thoroughly thought through. Council decided that closing the terminal on John Street to save $8000 a year was not a bright idea.

Mobility hubs at the GO stations is close to a no brainer.  Which of the four identified hubs should be first – thatis what planners will be figuring out in the immediate future.

City Council approved $2.5 million in funding for four full-time staff who will work to ensure future developments around the mobility hubs reflect the city’s vision for new neighbourhoods that are walkable, offer a variety of affordable housing choices and have easy access to transit, shopping, parks and recreation centres.

At one point it looked as if Aldershot was going to be the first mobility hub for the city. They seem to have backed away from that and are looking at all four hub locations to determine which should get the focus and attention

“We have the opportunity to plan the type of growth we want in the locations we want to ensure that Burlington is a vibrant 21st-century city,” said Mary Lou Tanner, chief planner and director of Planning and Building with the city. “We are going to grow bold, which means we are going to build up, we are going to build smart and we are going to build beautiful.”

These are exciting times for the planners. Will enough of the work have been done to have something to take to the public before the next election in 27 months?

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3 comments to Work at growing bold begins – city hall will be figuring out where the mobility hub focus should be and then the kind of development they want to take place.

  • astheworldturns


    Thought maybe is was a Trump tactic…lots of slogans but no content…lol

  • Why no population projection figures?

    Because the plan put forth makes no sense if you use math or logic to asses it.

    Get ready for “we want higher buildings” for more people. Don’t hold you breath for more trees, high capacity commercial spaces or anything for existing residents, just more low grade housing for those priced out of Toronto. The existing developments are devastating to the greenery and commercial capacity of the area and its only getting worse from here. As the staff try and remove parking and slow roads to a crawl to try and force people to become pedestrians. It’s a plan that makes no sense.

  • Steve

    “Bolder, Smart, Beautiful”

    Sounds like a commercial. Why no population projection figures? Why no mention of That? Why no mention of the type of buildings, or the average sq footage of those buildings? What will Burlington’s population density stats be in twenty years?

    Not a lot of substance, and mostly slogans.