Why I Voted Against the 23-Storey Development Proposal

421-431 Brant Street Development Rendering

On November 1st, the Planning and Development Committee approved a Planning staff recommendation to allow the development of a 23-storey building right across from City Hall at the North East corner of James and Brant Street.

The building would include 169 residential units, office space on the second floor and ground floor retail.

The Committee voted 5-2 in favour of this recommendation. I voted against this proposal.

Downtown Burlington is a very desirable area to live and work for obvious reasons.  There are great restaurants, unique shops and amenities including the Performing Arts Centre and proximity to the waterfront.

There are also great places to live, in existing modern high-rise buildings that were built over the last 20 years including 360 on Pearl, the Pearl and Pine Retirement Residence and the Baxter. None of these buildings exceeds 18 storeys.

In my view, our downtown has an appropriate scale of current development that provides an urban intimacy. The proposed 23-storey building across from the City Hall is not consistent with the present scale, and we should not approve it.

The development proposal is not consistent with the new Downtown Mobility Hub Draft Precinct Plan that was presented to council by Planning staff in October.

The Draft Precinct Plan called for a Special Policy Area at the corner of James and Brant that would allow building height of 17 storeys, assuming that certain public benefits could be achieved. I supported that plan and believe that this site is appropriate for a well-designed building that is either mid-rise or up to 17 storeys, not 23.

I understand the rationale for taller and more slender buildings, but a well-developed mid-rise or lower high-rise will fit the scale and form the character of our downtown that many residents have asked us to maintain. Planning staff have stated that a larger, wider and shorter 12-storey building can house the same amount of residential, office and retail space that the proposed 23-storey building would contain.

Our downtown, South of Caroline, can be shaped with well-thought-out buildings that are 17-storeys or lower that provide an inviting, pedestrian-friendly and attractive street.

Brant Street can improve without dramatically changing it.  The focus in our downtown should be distinctive and attractive design, not excessive height.

I am concerned about the negative consequences of this decision. We cannot look at this decision in isolation as there is reasonable planning rationale to mirror the same height and density on the opposite side of James Street.

I am concerned that this proposed development will have a considerable impact on the Draft Downtown Plan and undermine the confidence that residents are being asked to have for the City’s vision for future growth in the downtown.

Burlington City Council will make the final decision at our next meeting in the council chambers at City Hall on Monday, November 13th at 6:30 p.m.

If you’d like to have your voices heard, I encourage you to email the members of the council and me.  You can also register to delegate at the council meeting, which allows you to state your perspective publicly.

 

September 2017 Progress Report

Media Shines Spotlight on Burlington

CBC’s “The Current”

CBC’s “The Current” host Anna Maria Tremonti and producer Kristin Nelson, spent the day in Burlington to talk about how our city is adapting to climate change after being hammered by the flood of 2014.
The show features residents of Burlington and Blair Feltmate from Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation.  The episode came together exceptionally well. You can listen to it here.

Metro Morning

The producer of Metro Morning with Matt Galloway contacted my office because they were so intrigued by our Official Plan“Grow Bold”.
Especially the idea that the City of Burlington won’t build another single family home again. We’re building up, not out.  Listen to the full interview here.

 Reality on Transit

At the last Committee of the Whole Workshop, city council received news that our Transit department is operating at a level that will not meet future growth. Simply put, we haven’t made the investment needed to keep up.
Our service lacked reliability. Our maintenance team was unable to keep up with demands. Our transit staff and drivers continue to go above and beyond despite the lack of funding.
The message is loud and clear. We need significant investments in our Transit department to support a key pillar of our Strategic Plan. A City that Moves.
A report will be coming out ahead of budget schedule on how we can stabilize our system, and we’re taking this opportunity to review our entire Transit operations to make sure it meets the needs of current and future residents.

Mobility Hubs

We continue to collect public opinion on the four Mobility Hubs planned across Burlington. DowntownAldershot GOBurlington GO and Appleby GO.
I’ve attended many public meetings to listen to what residents have to say.
What do they think of the proposed concepts? Likes? Dislikes? There are a range of opinions dependent on a number of factors. Our younger residents are very supportive of more urban development while older residents prefer more traditional suburban development.
The next step on Downtown Mobility Hub is the Committee of the Whole workshop with the city council that will feature a presentation by our staff. That meeting is Thursday, September 28th at 1 pm.
I also encourage you to attend the Appleby Go Mobility Hub Concepts Public Open House on Wednesday October 11th at the Appleby Ice Centre.
No matter where you stand on the issue, your opinion is being heard and considered.

Waterfront Hotel Planning Study

On Thursday, September 14th, two community workshops were held at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre.
The public had the chance to study the preferred concepts for the site followed by small group discussions.
At these meetings, an emerging preferred concept was introduced along with the three original concepts used for the public survey. You can view the presentation here.
We are asking Burlington residents to continue engaging with us through this process. This is your city, your waterfront and your opinions matter. Staff will be delivering their recommendations in November. Stay tuned!

We Are An Engaging City

This is a proud moment for the City of Burlington. We have been named the Organization of the Year for being An Engaging City!
The award was handed out this month byInternational Association for Public Participation (IAP2) and it recognizes our mandate to consult and engage with residents in all matters. As one judge put it “Employees now ask how to engage — not whether”
Congratulations to the city staff, my colleagues on council and to the residents of Burlington!

Milton Logistics Hub Consultation

Canadian National Railway(CN) has chosen Milton as their preferred location to build a new logistics hub.
Currently, they are undergoing an environmental assessment to assess the project’s potential environmental and socio-economic effects.
From September 18 to October 31, CN will be consulting with Halton Region residents about the proposed mitigation measures to reduce the effects of the Milton Logistics Hub on communities and the environment. Further information about the proposed Project and the fall consultation period is available at cnmilton.ca.

Love My Hood Block Party

Have you hosted your Love My Hood event this summer?
My neighbourhood had ours this month, and it was fantastic! Our organizer Mary managed to pull out all the stops.
We collected over 3800 canned goods for the Burlington Food Bank. Our goal was 2500. They estimated that our donation was worth over $10,000!  Thank you Fortinos for giving us a head start on donations.
I also wan to thank Dairy Queen, The Coop Wicked Chicken, Turtle Jacks and Frat’s Cucina who donate their time and food for the event.

What’s Happening Burlington?

Agendas, minutes and videos on standing committee and council meetings, as well as agendas and reports for upcoming meetings, are available online.
The next found of committee meetings begin on Monday September 25th.

First day of fall arrived Sept. 22! As we welcome fall, another round of great festivals and events are in the works! Take a look at our calendar for all the events in your area.

My Summer in a Nutshell

Our family on the beach at Hilton Head Island waiting for the eclipse.

I hope everybody had a great summer! Although the weather wasn’t as hot as I was expecting it to be, it was still fantastic nonetheless.

The highlight of this summer was celebrating my 60th birthday in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina with thirteen other family members. I read books, watched the eclipse with my family and even hit a few golf balls. The uniqueness of Hilton Head that attracts me is that they have the most stunning tree canopy I have seen anywhere.  The island has a tree ordinance that states that one cannot remove any tree unless you have permission from the city.  It truly is gorgeous.

I also had a daughter get married this summer.  It was a beautiful ceremony.  And my wife Cheryl and I took in a Nascar Race in Watkins Glen, New York.  It’s my favourite sport to watch.

For my personal growth, I took courses to keep my accreditation for my financial planning and life insurance designations. Although I’ve stepped away from that career for the last seven years, I think it’s important to continue to build on your skills no matter where you are in life.

When I wasn’t with my family, I was back at the office where I had a packed schedule.

My council colleague Paul Sharman and I took a drive to Detroit and met with the leadership of the Presbyterian Villages of Michigan.  We wanted to learn about their not for profit Seniors Living Communities that we believe could take place here. I will be sharing our findings with the Mayor’s Seniors Housing Task Force at our next meeting.  You may not know that Burlington identifies itself as an Age-Friendly City, so I’m always looking for ways to improve the quality of life for all citizens.

I was in Ottawa for the annual Association of Municipalities of Ontario Conference. We discussed the long term financial sustainability of municipalities, the effects of the legalization of marijuana and new changes proposed for the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

Community events are in full swing during the summer.  I participated in a Burlington Chamber of Commerce Business Forum, the first Halton Freedom Festival, Joseph Brant Day and the Rotary Club of Burlington Central golf tournament just to name a few.

As we transition into September, there is much to look forward to on Council’s agenda, particularly with regards to development.  I hope you’ll be engaged as we move forward with the city’s strategic plan. A City that Grows.  A City that Moves. A Healthy and Greener city. An Engaging City.

I hope to see you out there on our beautiful streets.

Sincerely,

Rick

October 2015 Progress Report

 

Committee and Council Meetings

Agendas, minutes and videos on standing committee and council meetings in October, as well as agendas and reports for upcoming meetings, are available online.

New Players in Burlington Following the Federal Election 

Like most of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area, Burlington was swept up in the Liberal red tide that dominated voting in Ontario in the federal election on October 19th.

Following redistribution of electoral boundaries, Burlington now occupies all or part of three federal ridings.

I want to offer my congratulations to Karina Gould, the Liberal candidate and next MP for the riding of Burlington and also to the successful Liberal candidate in the new riding of Oakville North-Burlington, Pam Damoff. Congratulations are also in order for Lisa Raitt, who has been re-elected in the riding of Milton (which now includes rural North Burlington.)

I hope to meet with all of the MPs soon. I look forward to ongoing dialogue with all three of them on how we can work together to foster a vibrant and even more prosperous Burlington. Continue reading

Tune in to Burlington Matters with Mayor Rick Goldring

Please tune in as I lead a discussion with a panel of community leaders about current news and events in the city of Burlington on my new community television program, Burlington Matters with Mayor Rick Goldring. The show airs on TVCogeco Cable 23/HD Cable 700. For more information or to suggest an episode topic, please email mayor@burlington.ca or call 905-335-7607.

Episode One: Get Engaged with the City of Burlington

How citizens can become engaged with City Hall and their community through the different opportunities offered by the City of Burlington.

Mayor Rick Goldring disucsses public involvement with Michelle Dwyer, Coordinator, Strategic Initiatives at City of Burlington; Marianne Meed Ward, Ward 2 City and Regional Councillor; and Gloria Reid, citizen member of the Charter Action Team.

Mayor Rick Goldring disucsses public involvement with Michelle Dwyer, Coordinator, Strategic Initiatives at City of Burlington; Marianne Meed Ward, Ward 2 City and Regional Councillor; and Gloria Reid, citizen member of the Charter Action Team.

Featuring host Mayor Rick Goldring and guest panel: Michelle Dwyer, Coordinator, Strategic Initiatives at City of Burlington; Marianne Meed Ward, Ward 2 City and Regional Councillor; Gloria Reid, citizen member of the Charter Action Team.

Air dates:

Sept. 27, 2015 @ 11:30

Sept. 28, 2015 @ 14:30

Sept. 29, 2015 @ 21:30

Oct. 4, 2015 @ 11:30

Episode Two: Environmental Sustainability in Burlington

A discussion about the City of Burlington’s strides in environmental sustainability through current and upcoming initiatives.

Mayor Goldring films Episode 2 of Burlington Matters on the topic of environmental sustainability with the City's Senior Sustainability Coordinator Lynn Robichaud, Burlington Hydro CEO and President Gerry Smallegange and W5 Councillor Paul Sharman.

Mayor Goldring films Episode 2 of Burlington Matters on the topic of environmental sustainability with the City’s Senior Sustainability Coordinator Lynn Robichaud, Burlington Hydro CEO and President Gerry Smallegange and W5 Councillor Paul Sharman.

Featuring host Mayor Rick Goldring and guest panel: Gerry Smallegange, President and Chief Executive Officer of Burlington Hydro; Lynn Robichaud, Senior Sustainability Coordinator with the City of Burlington; Paul Sharman, Ward 5 City and Regional Councillor.

Air dates:

Oct. 6, 2015 @ 21:30

Oct .11, 2015 @ 11:30

Oct. 13, 2015 @ 21:30

Oct. 18, 2015 @ 11:30

Oct. 20, 2015 @ 21:30

Oct. 25, 2015 @ 11:30