Citizens are asking why council has not decided to ask that the John Street bus terminal no longer be designated an MTSA.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

January 10th, 2020



They are referred to as MTSAs – Major Transit Station Areas – they have be-deviled the thinking of city council for some time.

There was a point when a former Mayor, trying to assure residents that over-development would not take place, wasn’t fully aware of what role MTSA’s played in development.

The city has since learned that they are the biggest influence in what is going to be built where. There are those who knew and understood the bigger picture – they just didn’t want to be the one to tell the public what the public did not want to hear.

Public transit is what is being pushed upon a public that still clings to its automobiles.


There was a point at which the transit department had recommended tearing down the transit station.

Few in Burlington really want to ride a bus – but they are going to have to if they want to get around efficiently.

Somewhere in the bowels of city hall there is, hopefully, at least a draft version of a longer term transportation report – it is now four years overdue. But that is another matter.

Transportation is not efficiently led and has yet to produce a significant report since the new leadership was put in place. But that is another matter to be discussed at a more appropriate time.


Were it not for the designation of the John Street Bus terminal as an MTSA – this building may never have been approved.

Burlington was assigned two MTSAs – one at the Burlington GO station, which was close to perfect and another at the John Street bus terminal which didn’t make any sense to anyone – other than the developer who used the existence of the designation to get a favourable OMB decision due to the existence of the John Street MTSA.

Many citizens have urged the city to make application to the Ministry of Municipalities and Housing to move the location of the Urban Growth Centre (more north) and to scrap the idea of an MTSA on John Street.

A consultant the city had hired said at a Standing Committee meeting to the best of his knowledge no one had asked the provincial government to change the boundary of an Urban Growth Centre.

The removal of an MTSA was said to be a Regional matter.

Meed WArd at PARC

Marianne Meed Ward wearing a smile.

In her most recent Newsletter the Mayors said:
“Only the Region and Province can change MTSA designations and until that happens, Burlington needs to update its Official Plan policies and Zoning Bylaw before the development freeze ends on March 5 to better define and control the impact in each area. We are on track to meet that deadline with upcoming discussions at committee Jan. 14 and Council on Jan. 30, followed by a 20-day appeal period.”

True but what bothers many is that the Mayor and council have yet to ask the province or the |Region to remove the John Street MTSA designation.

McKenna left hand out

Burlington MPP Jane McKenna – waiting for a call?

Why hasn’t this been done?” asks one very active ward 2 citizen. She is not alone in asking that question.

MPP Jane McKenna is reported to have explained to ECoB what the city has to do and is said to be waiting for a call.

There may be some egos at play here. There isn’t much in the way of thinking shared by the Mayor and the MPP.

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1 comment to Citizens are asking why council has not decided to ask that the John Street bus terminal no longer be designated an MTSA.

  • The 2019 Spring newsletter of MPP Jane McKenna clearly depicts that in July 2018 she hit the road running on the how and why Burlington could get rid of the downtown MTSA designation and change the UGC boundaries to allow us the downtown it is clear the majority of residents want. This is not our area of expertise (ours is legislation compliance audits) but it should be the city`s but apparently not – we have had it figured out for ages now that the city has failed to do what they should have immediately done – go to the province and ask for what they want and have it explained to them (as McKenna has obviously done already) what they need to do to sort this ……. just saying (yet again)….. the Mayor apparently does not believe in non-partisan municipal politics otherwise she would have been knocking on Doug Ford or Minister Clark`s door long ago.