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.

 

April 2015 Progress Report

Committee and Council Meetings

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

Upcoming Meetings

Development & Infrastructure Committee: Monday, May 11 at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.*

Community & Corporate Services Committee: Tuesday, May 12 at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.*

Committee of the Whole: Thursday, May 14 at 1 p.m.

Burlington City Council: Monday, May 25 at 6:30 pm.

*Times yet to be confirmed.

Hospital Groundbreakingshovelcropped1 Continue reading

Managing Burlington’s growth through intensification

This column appears in the February 13, 2015 edition of the Burlington Post.

Intensification is a word we use at city hall and around the community, but I’ve heard questions about what it means, especially as it applies to Burlington.

One of my priorities is engaging with residents on the topic of intensification.

To understand intensification, we need to understand what’s driving our growth. Continue reading

Burlington Economic Development – The New BEDC Inc.

 

April 30, 2014

Burlington Economic Development

As many people know, economic development has been a key initiative for me. Ensuring the continued prosperity of our community is vitally important.

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Queen’s Park Day; Community Report; No. 1 Again: April 2014 Progress Report

April 23, 2014

Burlington Progress Report: April 2014

Committee and Council Meetings

Information on the most recent standing Committee meetings is available online, including agendas, minutes and videos.

  • Development and Infrastructure Committee: April 14, 2014
  • Community and Corporate Services Committee: April 15, 2013
  • City Committee Highlights: April 7, 2014

Our next Council meeting is on April 28.

Burlington Again Voted Best Mid-sized City in Canada by MoneySense Magazine

Last month we received news that Burlington was again ranked the No. 1 mid-sized city in Canada according to MoneySense Magazine’s Canada’s Best Places to Live 2014.  MoneySense ranked Burlington the fifth-best city overall in Canada, including the third-best place to raise children, the second-best place for new immigrants and the third-best place to retire. The top five cities on the list are St. Albert, Calgary and Strathcona in Alberta and Ottawa and Burlington in Ontario.

We are all extremely proud to have achieved this designation again this year and to remain on the top of this list of great Canadian cities. Interestingly, based on the MoneySense rankings, small towns and mid-sized cities top the list of best places to live in Canada.

For more details about the MoneySense ranking, please visit www.moneysense.ca.

Burlington Delegation to Queen’s ParkBurlington Queen's Park

Earlier this month I led a delegation from Burlington to Queen’s Park on the GO for the day to engage with members of the Provincial government. The delegation included most of City Council, senior staff, and we were also joined at the end of the day by members of Team Burlington, Burlington Hydro, Joseph Brant Hospital, McMaster University and Chair Gary Carr and Jane MacCaskill from Halton Region.

Read more about it in my blog, “Burlington Day at Queen’s Park”.
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