Burlington's Development Will Be a Major Election Issue

It's been said time and time again that Burlington is seeing a lot of development lately, whether residents like it or not.

But the July 10 Planning and Development Committee meeting at Burlington city hall was a rather busy one for councillors for precisely that reason, as four development applications came forward for their perusal.

Here is some information about each proposal and subsequent comments from various members of the public:


409 Brant / James Street

A condo application previously reported by inhalton.com earlier this year, it was slated to be 24 storeys. Since then, the application has been amended and the height has been reduced to 17-18 storeys, keeping the 227 units but reducing the height of the podium has been reduced from 4 to 3 storeys.

But this development has been criticized for driving out local businesses, the most prominent of which is Kelly's Bake Shoppe, owned and operated by successful entrepreneur Kelly Childs. This application was approved in a 5 to 2 vote at planning committee and received final approval at the July 16 city council meeting.

Roland Tanner, a candidate for council in Ward 2, said the consensus from Burlington residents has not been listened to by city planning staff and council. "Unhappiness over this issue is bordering on universal," Tanner said. He might be a politicial candidate looking to stand out from the field, but it should be no surprise that view is widely shared.


1335-1355 Plains Road at Helena

DVLP Property Group is proposing to build a development consisting of 36 townhouse units in total, comprised of nine 3 storey standard townhouses and twenty six 3 storey back-to-back townhouse units, with a common private roadway accessed from the public street on this 0.46 hectares site.

Below is the development over a map of the existing area.

According to the applicant's presentation, the main wall of the buildings facing the public streets will have a setback of 4.5 metres, with 6 metres to the garage portion. Public transit options include transit stops surrounding the Plains Road East and Glendor Avenue intersection, which connect to GO Stations within Halton Region and Hamilton.

Some of the key concerns raised about this application include not enough parking, preservation of trees if a retaining wall is to be installed, relocation of tenants, and construction impacts on existing residents.

No decision has been made on this application yet; a future meeting will be scheduled in which residents can speak on the recommendation.


2087-2103 Prospect Road

Ruth Victor and Associates is requesting to build 50 stacked back-to-back townhomes, but keeping the existing 8 storey. Below is a sketch of the development site:

Below is a slide from the staff presentation outlining the developers' proposal and the requesting zoning amendment.

Under Burlington's official plan, 2087-2103 Prospect is designated for residential medium density, with 2095 Prospect designated for high density. Ruth Victor and Associates is requesting that entire area be zoned as high density residential.

Along with this submission, a number of public comments were included from various residents' letters and emails raising various issues. Here are some examples:

  • "Stop packing us in like sardines. Burlington is losing its charm; we are NOT Toronto."

  • "The property already has limited parking options, so the large addition of a the proposed townhouses can very likely cause limited parking available in the future for any new and current tenants."

  • "Already dealing with townhouse construction to the right of the building, which is causing noises complaints, messy roads and driving delays. But adding another construction project you are only making life unbearable!"

  • "This property is already poorly managed now as it is without adding more tenants".

  • "2095 Prospect was at one point a community, not a perfect one but one that felt cared for by its owners. Now it's just a slum, run by slumlords."

No decision has been made on this application yet; a future meeting will be scheduled in which residents can speak on the recommendation.


The Tremaine / Dundas subdivision

Also known as the Tremaine Dundas Secondary Plan, the idea is to incorporate renewable energy initiatives for an environmentally responsible mixed-use community. The 133 hectare site at full build out is expected to have a total population of between 1945 and 2030 people and provide approximately 816-900 employment opportunities.

Below is a map of the area to be affected by this plan:

According to Ward 2 Coun. Marianne Meed Ward, she voted in favour of the plan at the committee stage, saying the site is more suitable to residential than industrial/commercial uses. She also noted significant commercial space on the property, providing potential for people to live and work in the same community. But it is in an isolated spot and not currently well served by transit or other community services, so that would need to be addressed.


Meed Ward, who is also running for mayor against incumbent Rick Goldring, former Burlington MP Mike Wallace and businessman Greg Woodruff, is pressing in her platform to protect neighbourhoods from overintensification and vertical sprawl, saying there is a “leadership vacuum” at Burlington City Hall.

With a competitive mayor’s race for the October 22 elections, plus three wards with no incumbent councillors running (Ward 1, Ward 2 and Ward 3) and incumbent councillors facing challengers, it’s safe to say that development and intensification will become a hot button issue during the campaign.

As Ward 2 candidate Tanner said, if the elected politicians over and over again are not listening to their own residents, what justification can they put forward to warrant their reelection?

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