Was making private property a public park like space a way to get around parkland dedication?

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 8th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

When I first heard the word POPS at a Standing Committee this week, I thought the speaker was talking about a pop up stand or an event that takes place for a short period of time – like a couple of hours.

The tower

The 27 storey tower seen from Old Lakeshore Road. The view to the lake would be unobstructed.

City council was listening to the Statutory presentation being made by the Urban Design Group on behalf of CORE developments who are proposing a 27 storey tower with a heritage building kept on the site that is in the “football” opposite the bottom of Martha Street..

One of the features of the development is a piece of property on the west side that was described as a POPS which stands for Privately Owned Public Space.

POPS property

The space shown as green would be private property that the public could use. The called it POPS

The developers plan was to open up the space to the public who would be able to walk around and enjoy the ambience.

The POPS space lined up with the foot of Martha Street and would allow a clean line of sight from Lakeshore at Martha through to the lake.

No mention was made of Emmas Back Porch sitting in the south side of Old Lakeshore Road.
Park space in that part of the city is going to be limited. Spencer Park is in the area but it is a bit of a walk.

Every development has to provide the city with 5% of the land as park dedicated land. Developers can choose to give cash in lieu of the land.

The cash that is given goes into the Park Reserve fund and can be used elsewhere.

POPS north to Martha

The POPS looking north to Martha

POPS south to lake

The POPS looking south to the lake.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward saw what looked like a bit of an opportunity to apply some leverage to a development that no one seems to want; she asked how much area would the POPS take up – would it amount to 5% of the overall land.

Turns out the 5% Park dedication would equal just 15% of the POPS space. The Mayor might not give up on that angle.

Martha street opening

If you were standing on Martha Street, half a block up from LAkeshore Road – this is what your view would look like.

There are several concerns with the POPS concept. The owners of the development will eventually be the condominium corporation that takes over once the development is completed and at least one very vocal condominium resident pointed out that a public space is 24/7; condominium owners would really have no privacy.

With ownership of the property comes the right to do whatever they want with it as long as they stay within the rules. And that might well be the end of the “public space” part of the POPS.

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