High rise towers, community benefits and city managers – are all these in play?

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

March 8th, 2018



421 Brant

Approved – community benefits have yet to be worked out.

What is Carriage Gate going to have to give the good people of the city of Burlington for the additional height they were given by city council several months ago when they approved – on a 5-2 to approve a 23 storey building on the NE corner of James and Brant.

The practice is for the city to negotiate benefits for the community based a formula that calculates the additional value of the land the building is on – based on the additional height and density.

The form that value takes could be whatever the city negotiates.

Meed WArd at PARC

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward – taking care of business.

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward advises that “Staff are required to consult with the ward Councillor in advance, which they did. I suggested they negotiate affordable/assisted housing (owned and operated by Halton Region), additional parking and a contribution to a downtown waterfront parkland acquisition fund.”
Meed Ward added: “We won’t know till the report comes to us what has been agreed to by all parties.

Committee could turn down what is in the report and direct that additional negotiations take place..
The report on what comes out of the negotiations could be learned at the Committee of the Whole meeting on April 3.

The earliest the Sec 37 report could come to committee is the next Planning & Development Committee which is on April 4 when the Planners hope the report can be adopted and go to city council later in the month.
It could be later than that depending on how negotiations go.

It is complex – the Planning department wants to get this settled while some citizens are saying “not so fast” and asking that the Official Plan be put on hold until after the October 22nd municipal election. A significant number of people want to make the adopting of a new Official Plan an election issue.

In the municipal world city manager’s come and go. Burlington hires city managers under five year contracts. The Burlington experience has seen city managers warming their seats for about three years before they are either asked to leave or find a better opportunity elsewhere.

Roman Martiuk was asked to leave the job in 2014; it does happen.

James Ridge Day 1 - pic 2

James Ridge at his first city council meeting.

With three people expected to seek the Office of Mayor; Mike Wallace and current Mayor Rick Goldring have already declared and Marianne Meed Ward is expected to file her nomination papers on May 1st., a reasonable question is – do any of them want James Ridge to continue to run city administration?

The Gazette has it on very good authority that the Mike Wallace people are not that keen on Ridge. Would Meed Ward want to keep him on if she were elected Mayor?

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2 comments to High rise towers, community benefits and city managers – are all these in play?

  • Stephen White

    Admittedly I’m not a big fan of the City Manager’s style, but James Ridge isn’t the the only problem or the biggest one.

    Continuity and consistency is the hallmark of a good organization. If the City of Burlington were a publicly corporation, and that corporation had gone through 4 CEO’s in six years, someone on the Board of Directors would be asking the inevitable question: why? Turnover is usually indicative of a much broader problem. That, in itself, presupposes an investigation, and truthfully, that is best conducted by a neutral third party who, ideally, would probe for reasons, issues, concerns as well as solutions.

    Based on what I have seen a big part of the problem at City Hall comes down to a lack of alignment, a lack of genuine engagement, and a dysfunctional corporate culture. You have a Mayor and a City Manager who, frankly, have a vision that does not strongly resonate with many citizens. Public trust is seriously lacking. You have a Council with a very broad array of personalities and personal agendas, many of whom have been on Council way too long, are seriously disconnected from mainstream opinion, and often appear to be mouthpieces for special interest groups. You have a Planning Department spearheading a major initiative that, to put it kindly, has gone seriously awry. Finally, you have an electorate that is growing increasingly militant and is uncomfortable with not just the vision (i.e. OP, intensification, Mobility Hubs) but with a perceived lack of receptivity and understanding from both elected and appointed officials.

    This is not a good dynamic, and it does not bode favourably for those at City Hall. If you can’t change the culture and you can’t change the behaviour then the only real option is to change the players. Since the Mayor and the City Manager set the tone for the organization that’s usually the place to start.

  • James Smith

    Mike would be a better fit for Burlington. I’m sure he’d fit in with the views of the majority of people who want a suburban city without the bother & fuss of messy things like intensification, walkability and a funded transit system.