Finding the right balance in the Roseland Character Area Study

An aerial view of Roseland.

An aerial view of Roseland.

The Roseland Character Area Study is nearing its completion, with the fourth public consultation meeting held last night.

The city’s planning staff has outlined a list of proposed changes to the city’s Official Plan and zoning bylaw for the neighbourhood of Roseland, which consists of approximately 115 acres and 300 dwellings.

The five proposed changes listed in a brief prepared by city staff on the Character Area Study for Roseland and Indian Point include:

  • Develop Official Plan policies to protect and manage development in Character Areas.
  • Prepare amendments to the Zoning By-law for Roseland and Indian Point to reflect the existing housing stock.
  • Maintain the Site Plan Control By-law for Character Areas.
  • Develop an Urban Design Brief to evaluate Site Plan, Minor Variance and Consent applications in Character Areas.
  • Co-ordinate opportunities to plant trees on public rights-of-way as part of the Urban Forestry Management Plan.

Further details of proposed amendments within each of these five changes encompassing such aspects as setbacks, building height and lot coverage are outlined in the brief.

I know Roseland well. I grew up in the neighbourhood, so I have firsthand knowledge of its unique status and character as one of our oldest communities within Burlington. I know the people living in this neighbourhood want to preserve its uniqueness and charm.

My desired outcome of the Character Area Study is to provide the city’s planning staff with additional considerations when assessing the merits of applications for development from homeowners and developers in Roseland.

Last night, I heard from residents that the proposed directions do not go far enough compared to what was suggested in the consultant’s report. I heard the request for staff to reconsider legacy zoning. I heard the concerns about clearing vegetation and houses from lots before making applications to sever. I heard the request for a private tree bylaw – even if it starts out as a pilot project in the Roseland neighbourhood.

I have long believed a private tree bylaw would help control tree removal.

Unfortunately, there was not enough support from city council in 2013 for moving forward with a bylaw. Only I and a another member of council supported a staff direction in 2013 asking for options for a private tree bylaw. I look forward to a renewed discussion on this topic in the coming weeks.

Our planning staff also heard you last night and will be considering your suggestions.

As I stated last night, I believe our building and planning staff have been diligent throughout the process to find the best solution. It is not easy to create a balance between the need for growth and the community’s desire to stay the same. It may not be possible to arrive at a balance that satisfies everyone in the community – difficult choices will have to be made.

Staff will consider community feedback as they prepare the final report, which is expected to go to the Development and Infrastructure Committee in late March or early April.

At that time, it is ultimately up to city council to approve, modify or refuse the study recommendations.

In regards to the Indian Point study, our staff is continuing to communicate with the community about its preferred options. I have heard there is a strong will from the majority of residents in that neighbourhood to maintain the current Official Plan and zoning bylaw.

Written comments on the Character Area Study can be emailed to planner Rosa Bustamante at by Monday, February 9. I welcome to you also share your thoughts and feedback with me at

More details can be found on the city’s Character Area Study webpage.


Can we produce energy in a more sustainable way? Burlington’s Community Energy Plan

September 20, 2013

Burlington’s Community Energy Plan

Burlington Community Energy PlanIn Canada, we often take energy for granted that energy is widely available. Whether we are turning on our lights, electronics or appliances, heating and cooling our homes, or fueling our vehicles – energy is everywhere.

We do seem to take notice when there is a spike in costs, a brownout, or a severe storm knocks out power like it did in Burlington earlier this summer.

Cities and Energy Planning

Traditionally, municipalities have not considered energy usage in their strategic or land use planning but this is beginning to change. Many cities are now setting targets to reduce energy by using it more efficiently or producing it more sustainably.
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Inspiring Healthy Communities

May 9, 2013

Over the past 2 years we have heard from some great speakers about what makes a great city and they have provided us with inspiring ideas on how to build our community better. Several of our events have involved conversations around ways that urban planning can impact community life – whether it is the environment, our economic prosperity or public health.

Last week we heard from Dr. David Mowat, Chief Medical Officer of Health for Peel Region about building healthy communities and how the built environment (our roads, buildings, parks) can have a direct impact on public health. Picture1

Some key points that really resonated for me:
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Health and the Built Environment: Inspire Burlington hosts Dr. David Mowatt

April 26, 2013

“We often act as if the only things needed to ensure good health are knowledge and willpower, but there is a mass of evidence that where we live and how we live exert a strong influence on our health. Building cities which help rather than hinder physical activity is an example of something we can do as a society to increase our chances of leading a long and healthy life.” – Dr. David Mowat, Medical Officer of Health, Peel Region

I am pleased to host leading industry-expert, Dr. David Mowat, Medical Officer of Health, Peel Region at Inspire Burlington on May 2, 7 pm at The Burlington Performing Arts Centre.

This talk will relate to our Official Plan Review and building healthy, vibrant communities.  As we review our Official Plan in line with efforts at the Region and the Province, we will consider opportunities to support the creation of healthy built environments.
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Highlights from Inspire Burlington “Perverse Cities” Discussion

March 1, 2013

Inspire Burlington featuring Dr. Pamela Blais will air on TVCogeco:

  • Monday, Mar. 11, at 2 pm
  • Tuesday Mar. 12 at 3 pm. 
  • Wednesday, Mar. 13 at 1 pm

Last night Dr. Pamela Blais gave a very interesting talk about municipal finance and planning at the first Inspire Burlington event of 2013.

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