Will Bill 108 spell the end of the Burlington that exists today?

opinionred 100x100By Penny Hersh

June 17th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

BILL 108 – It is a definite “wake-up” call for Municipalities. I am probably in the minority, but perhaps it is needed. I have watched the Planning Department not be able to process an application in 210 days – WHY!  Some of the answers provided by some city planners were “we had an understanding with some developers to allow us to work together and not be concerned about the time frame”. Is this the way to do business?

nautique-elevation-from-city-july-2016

The ADI Nautique development on Lakeshore at Martha,

I guess not because the City has been taken to the OMB/ LPAT for non-decision and with regard to the ADI Development on Lakeshore/Martha failed to defend its position. I doubt that ADI ever expected to get 26 storeys on that site.

The claim that the new 120 days does not give Municipalities enough time – perhaps the process the planning department is using is flawed. Why meet, as we have been led to believe, individually. Have all the players in the room at the same time – and have an understanding of who has to do what with definite time frames.

Old Lakeshore proposal

The sky appears to be the limit for a proposed development on Old Lakeshore Road across from Emmas Back Porch. Note the scale with the two storey heritage structure that the developer proposes to keep.

What I have heard at Council Meetings from the planning department is that the wind, the shadow, the parking , and transportation studies etc. have all been completed and the development application is “good to go”. Every development application is taken as a one off – not looking at the other three applications in the same area that are asking for the same if not more.

Try walking on Lakeshore across from the Bridgewater Development – we now deal with a wind tunnel that on days makes it almost impossible to walk. We have traffic congestion on Lakeshore Road when at certain times there are long lines of cars trying to get off of Lakeshore ( and there are no accidents anywhere), and Bridgewater is not completed. Potential owners have been told that their move in date is now June 2020. Residents get to look at this unfinished construction for yet another year. ADI is scheduled to start construction on the 26 storey condo on Lakeshore/Martha shortly. All those studies and we are dealing with a canyon effect on Lakeshore with only one development partially completed, and not occupied.

We have insufficient parking for condominium owners and their guests. Anyone who cycles along Lakeshore and in the downtown takes their lives in their hands. Sharrows on narrow streets do not provide a safe place for cyclists. New developments with less retail space does not make Burlington the “most livable , etc. city” that is always being touted. We have enough nail and hair salons, we need retail that will keep people from using their cars.

Handi vanWe have a public transportation system that does not meet the needs of the residents and certainly will not prevent people from using their cars. Free transportation from 9-2:30 Monday-Friday for seniors, while a nice thing to offer, is not the answer. It is a band aid approach to a more serious issue. Did you know that if someone takes a Handi-van into Hamilton, they have to change vans and get on a Hamilton Handi-Van to complete the journey? People who are eligible to use the Handi-Van have mobility and other medical conditions – and they have to change vans in all kinds of weather. Municipalities should have been working together, but they have not.

Is it really the responsibility of a developer to provide affordable housing? Perhaps Burlington should have used the money they spent on the Pier to provide some affordable housing? It’s all about priorities and “legacy projects”.

Bill 108For a few years I have said that the OMB/LPAT has to go. I now question if all Municipalities are able to act alone to meet Provincial Mandates. Developers are in the business to develop. It is the responsibility of Municipalities to have in place an Official Plan that meets the mandates of the Provincial Government. Some municipalities seem to have done this. It seems, unfortunately, that Burlington has not, and I question if any new Official Plan that is passed will stand the test.

We are ill-prepared to deal with what is coming down the road, and complaining and blaming others is definitely not the answer. Things have changed.

Get your house in order. Hire people who can do the job, and get rid of those who cannot. This is how business operates in the real world.

Penny HershPenny Hersh was part of the driving force that created ECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington.  She serves at the co-chair of ECoB

 

 

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