Council unanimously rejects 35-unit townhouse/4-semi proposal in single family neighbourhood

blue-water-aerialAt its Oct. 31 meeting, City Council unanimously voted to reject a proposed rezoning to allow 35 townhouses and 4 semi-detached units in a single family neighbourhood along the waterfront, on two properties between Avondale Court and Blue Water Place.

bluewater-placeIn a detailed report, staff  recommended against the proposal, stating that established neighbourhoods are not the focus for significant intensification. Some intensification will be permitted in established, low density, single family neighbourhoods, but it will take the form of “gentle” intensification, the director of planning Mary Lou Tanner told committee, such as granny flats, accessory dwelling units, or an apartment over a garage. This proposal is “well beyond what we think gentle intensification is,” she said.

Residents in the immediate and surrounding neighbourhoods formed an association and hired their own planner to make the case that this proposal did not fit the neighbourhood for many reasons including height, density, built form, compatibility, removal of trees and greenspace, drainage issues and more.

bluewater-siteDuring the committee meeting, which occurred in the afternoon, followed by council the same night, a representative for the applicant stated they were prepared to withdraw the proposal and submit a plan for single family homes.


Read the staff report: Oct. 31 D&I and Special Council

My Take: I’m delighted by this outcome and that the voice of the community has carried the day. Kudos to residents for organizing and providing thoughtful, well-researched feedback. This proposal is inappropriate development in a single family neighbourhood; if it could be approved here, it could be approved in any neighbourhood. The recommendation by staff and decision by council signals a commitment to directing intensification where we want it, and away from areas we don’t, such as low density residential neighbourhoods.

That said, this isn’t the end; the developer can appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board (at least until we are able to reform and reduce its jurisdiction!). However, it’s great the developer will consider an alternative proposal. Let’s see what comes back for popping the celebratory cork.

Written by Marianne Meed Ward

A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made.

As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington.

The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful.

Got an idea or comment you want to share privately? Please, get in touch:


Leave a Reply
  1. I would like to thank you on behalf of all Lakeshore area residents for your support to reject the proposal for Blue Water/Avondale townhouses. Approval of this proposal would have set a major precedent and allowed townhouses in “any” low density zoned area in Burlington. You supported residents from day 1 and gave us valuable advise on how to fight this abomination. Other Council members were non committal until they saw the massive public support at the first public meeting.
    You seem to be the only Council member who fights for rational development according to the Official Plan. I believe that the only way to get some value out of the new Official Plan and all the time and expense that went into it is to print the new Plan on soft tissue paper about 5 inches wide and wrap it around cardboard rolls.
    All citizens of Burlington should be grateful that you are always giving them your intelligent support. You would make a wonderful mayor.

  2. The Burlington Lakeshore Residents Association are indeed very grateful for the support of City Planners and Council in response to the community-at-large who were instrumental in highlighting the issues with this development through their engagement, comment letters and emails, delegations, and turnout at the Public Meetings on September 14th at Paletta Mansion and October 31st at City Hall.

    On a personal note, we are sincerely appreciative of all your efforts to get the word out via your ever-excellent Ward 2 Newsletter and for your encouragement of citizen-led efforts to empower the community voice. You are a role model and have most definitely “done something about that”!

What's your take?





$60k for Optimist park proposed as community benefits for Prospect development

2017 community garden applications due Nov. 30