This column appeared in the Burlington Post, March 20, 2012 and is available online.
March 20, 2012
Part of building a city is the challenge of different ideas about what shape the city is taking.
Development ideas often seem great until they are happening right next door and in our backyards. Over the past 30 years Burlington has grown significantly. Most of this growth has been in “greenfield” areas; new communities and developments built in open areas.
Growth in neighbouring communities Oakville and Milton will continue to be this type of greenfield development for the near future, with lots of open green space still to be developed. Burlington’s future is different. Our growth will be within existing urban boundaries.
We are committed to protecting our rural area north of Dundas Street. This is defined by greenbelt legislation and also in our city planning. Our growth will create opportunities to create vibrant neighbourhoods across the city while we protect traditional neighbourhoods. Part of creating vibrant neighbourhoods is creating more local employment opportunities so that more residents can work in the community they live in. We will have increased density in both residential areas and employment areas.
As we work through these changes over the coming years, we will face several challenges together. How do we plan for residents that will be here in the future? What will their needs be?
How can we, as elected representatives and city officials, keep the plan in front of residents so that everyone knows which direction our community is headed in? How do we keep residents interested in planning the future of our city?
The process of planning for land use is called the Official Plan. Official Plans are formal documents done at both the city and regional level which define the layout and land use for the future. They take into account residential needs, employment needs and infrastructure needs. In this way, we define what we want our city to be in the future. The process is ongoing.
Right now Burlington is starting an update to its Official Plan to identify plans for the city through 2031. This process will take three to five years to complete.
There will be many public sessions that I invite you to attend.
In support of this process, I have invited Ken Greenberg to Burlington to speak on Wednesday, April 11 about city planning as part of the Inspire Burlington series. He is a highly-respected visionary on city planning and will share some of his ideas with us to consider as part of our Official Plan update.
I know our planning staff is excited about his visit. For anyone interested in the future of our city’s development, this is a great opportunity.