Amendments to the draft new Official Plan

Planning & Development Committee Meeting. Tue., Jan. 23/18

It has been a busy week for both residents and Burlington City Council.

It was just over a week ago that I held the Reverse Town Hall, which was a great opportunity for me to hear from the community on the future of downtown Burlington. There were many perspectives shared, and it helped me prepare for the Planning & Development Committee meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday, where we considered the Proposed Downtown Mobility Hub Precinct Plan. Thank you to everyone who attended, you made a difference.

The concerns from residents that I heard at the Reverse Town Hall and from delegations at the Committee meeting included: building height, parking, public engagement, defer the Official Plan until after the 2018 municipal election, growth targets, downtown mobility hub and urban growth centre, and the need for balanced growth.

Many of your concerns resonated with me. I reviewed them closely, and I consulted staff to gain insight into the implications and potential opportunities.

I am pleased to provide you with a Committee update.

We listened and acted and made important amendments to the Proposed Downtown Mobility Hub Precinct Plan.  I believe these changes significantly improve the plan and are reflective of much of the public feedback that was provided.

Downtown Precinct Map

Here is a summary of the amendments to the Proposed Downtown Mobility Hub Precinct Plan:

  • Amend the proposed Downtown Core Precinct as follows:
    • Development shall be a maximum of 12 storeys; or
    • Development may be permitted additional storeys, subject to a site-specific zoning by-law amendment, to a maximum of 17 storeys subject to the following:
      • One additional storey for every 150 sq metre of office/employment floor space provided; or
      • One additional storey for every 8 public parking spaces provided in an underground parking structure

NOTE: I brought this motion forward because I heard loud and clear the importance of moderating the height in the area South of Victoria St. as well as the need for more parking in the east end of downtown

  • Change the north-east corner of Brant Street and Lakeshore, located in the Cannery Precinct to the Downtown Core Precinct with conditions as listed above.
  • Increase minimum tower separation requirement for tall buildings within the Downtown Mobility Hub from 25 metres to 30 metres which will create a greater feeling of openness around the buildings.
  • Include policies to allow additional density in developments that preserve heritage buildings based on square footage preserved. (I am very supportive of this. I look forward to staff providing details on how this can be implemented)
  • Direct the Director of City Building to include policy encouraging consideration of public-private parking partnerships in the Official Plan
  • Direct the Director of City Building to prepare mid-rise (6-11 storeys) building guidelines by the end of Q3 2018
  • Place targets for 2-3 bedroom units in residential buildings to accommodate families with children
  • Add the north-west corner of Burlington Avenue and Lakeshore Rd. to the special planning area to match the north-east corner.
  • Direct staff to work with the Region to review the Downtown Urban Growth Centre boundaries, and consider restoring original boundaries with the exception of Spencer Smith Park.
  • Change the rezoning application requirement for a housing impact statement for more than 200 dwelling units and add a percentage target affecting mid and high-rise residential to achieve affordable, assisted, and special needs housing, as defined in Halton Region’s Annual State of Housing report.

I also want to respond to the residents who said that approval of the Official Plan should be deferred until after the municipal election.  Council decided against this idea and here is why.

There are significant benefits to having a Council approval decision sooner rather than later. This will actually better address the significant public concern and interest for establishing greater certainty in the planning process.

A new Official Plan means we can move away from a site by site negotiation and instead bring more certainty to the application process.  This is what residents have been very clear about.

Staff confirmed that the City will be in a better position to plan within a clearly defined framework with an updated Official Plan that can be defendable by today’s standards.

Staff will be able to use the new Official Plan when working with developers even though the Official Plan won’t officially be approved by the Halton Region until some time likely in 2019.

Staff will continue to develop a detailed Downtown Area Specific Plan which includes matters such as transportation, parking and servicing.

I believe that it is not only important for the reasons I have outlined, but a responsibility of this Council to bring as much certainty as possible to our downtown planning.  Our current council has the necessary understanding of the development of the Official Plan.  It’s important that this Council complete the process.

The draft new Official Plan, with the above amendments, will be presented to the Planning and Development Committee on April 4, 2018.

Burlington’s New Official Plan Update

There has been significant interest from many people about the proposed new Official Plan and as a result city staff have created a revised schedule of meetings.

Discussion with Burlington City Council about the city’s proposed new Official Plan, including the proposed new Downtown Precinct Plan will take place over the next two months.

If you have any questions or comments, I encourage you to contact my office.

Tel: 905-335-7607 or

The meeting dates are as follows:

Jan. 8, 2018
1 p.m.
City Hall, Room 247, Level 2
Topics of discussion:
Sections of the proposed new Official Plan that relate to the rural area, agriculture, natural heritage, greenspace and mineral aggregates.
This meeting serves as a continuation of the Nov. 30, 2017, Planning and Development Committee meeting.
The public is welcome to attend the meeting or watch a live webcast. The meeting will not include further delegations.
Jan. 16, 2018
1 and 6:30 p.m.
City Hall, Room 247, Level 2
Topics of discussion: Employment policies, employment conversions and the mixed-use intensification area policies. This meeting serves as a continuation of the Nov. 30, 2017, Planning and Development Committee meeting.
The public is welcome to attend the meeting or watch a live webcast. The meeting will not include further delegations.
Jan. 23, 2018
1 and 6:30 p.m.
City Hall, Room 247, Level 2 
Topics of discussion: A recommendation report related to the downtown will be presented. The report will contain the supplementary information requested by the council (e.g. background information regarding the Urban Growth Centre boundary; proposed heights compared to the existing in-effect Official Plan; and potential redevelopment sites).


This meeting will consider a new staff report.
The public is welcome to attend the meeting or watch a live webcast.Delegations are invited to register.Note: All delegations are expected to be accommodated in the afternoon or evening session. Additional time may be scheduled if required.
Feb. 6, 2018
1 and 6:30 p.m.
City Hall, Room 247, Level 2
Topics of discussion: Growth management, implementation and any remaining topic areas identified by City Council. This meeting serves as a continuation of the Nov. 30, 2017, Planning and Development Committee meeting.

The public is welcome to attend the meeting or watch a live webcast. The meeting will not include further delegations.

Feb. 27, 2018
1 and 6:30 p.m.
City Hall, Room 247, Level 2
A second statutory public meeting to present any revisions to the proposed new Official Plan. The public is welcome to attend the meeting or watch a live webcast.

Delegations are welcomed but not required to register in advance to speak.

Links and Resources


October Update

Budget Telephone Town Hall

On Wednesday, October 18th, I hosted our first ever Budget Telephone Town Hall.  We had a great turn out and received many thoughtful questions regarding Burlington. I want to thank all the residents who participated in this discussion.

Questions ranged from investing in our transit, bike lanes to managing traffic flow on our city streets. We gained a tremendous amount of feedback that we will use to create our 2018 Budget.

This video is a snapshot of the topics raised on Wednesday night.

Inspire Burlington With Moses Znaimer

The Mayor’s Inspire Burlington Series, with the President of CARP, Moses Znaimer is SOLD OUT!  We announced the event earlier this month and we’re thrilled to see that this event is one not to be missed.

Moses will share his perspective on a “New Vision of Aging for Canada”.  How baby boomers have changed in the way they age.

Our experience has shown us that even when people register to attend, they miss the event due to conflicts.  We will initiate a stand-by line for walk-ins and try our best to accommodate everyone.

Downtown Mobility Hub Draft Plan

Last month, our city staff unveiled the Downtown Mobility Hub draft New Precinct Plan and Policy Framework to members of the council.

The new Draft Precinct Plan was produced after extensive consultation with the community.  It proposes dedicating 49% of our downtown for public use and establishes where mid-rise and tall buildings should be located.

I encourage you to take a look and let me know what you think.  You can watch the entire presentation HERE or read about it HERE.

Burlington Matters Back For Another Season


Another season of Burlington Matters is back on Your TV (Formally TV Cogeco).

I was in the studio last week taping the season premiere.

Our first episode focuses on the Draft New Precinct Plan for Downtown Mobility Hub. Mary Lou Tanner, Director of Planning and Building and Rosa Bustamante, Manager of Mobility Hubs joined me on the show and we had a great discussion on the future of our beautiful Downtown.
Burlington Matters repeats throughout the week and you can find the full
schedule here.Tune in on Cable 23 or HD Cable 700. To suggest an episode topic, please email 

Live with Kelly from Kelly’s Bake Shoppe

I had a wonderful opportunity to sit down with Kelly Childs, the owner of Kelly’s Bake Shoppe on Brant Street, to discuss something more personal.
I was invited to go LIVE on Kelly’s Facebook page to discuss the importance of mindfulness and the benefits of meditation. Not many of you know that I meditate on a regular basis. It allows me to pause from my very busy schedule to regroup and focus.
Thank you to Kelly and the team for a great start to my morning last week. You can watch the interview here.

Travel To Apeldoorn Netherlands!

This is a rare opportunity! Travel to Burlington’s twin city Apeldoorn Netherlands and stay with local families while you explore Amsterdam with Burlington’s Mundialization Citizen Committee! This is the best way to experience Dutch hospitality and culture.

You can learn more about the trip at upcoming information sessions or call 905-335-7600 ext. 7855 or email

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

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.

State of the City Address 2015


[Check Against Delivery]

How do we define Burlington?

What words can we use to describe the place where we live, the place where we work, and the place where we raise our children?

As Canadians, we often define ourselves by what we are not.

In our case, we are not Toronto. We are not Hamilton. We are not Oakville.

What and who is Burlington? Continue reading