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Discussion paper released on changing MTSA/UGC in downtown Burlington; comment by Dec. 22


Halton Regional Council has released a discussion paper on changes to the Major Transit Station Area (MTSA) and Urban Growth Centre (UGC) designations for downtown Burlington. Both designations have contributed to pressures of overdevelopment. Public comment is due back to the Region by Dec. 22.

A proposed new map for the adjusted UGC boundary has also been released.

In August Burlington City Council asked Halton Region to consider removing the MTSA downtown entirely, and shifting the boundaries of the UGC to more closely align with the Burlington GO station MTSA boundaries. The Region is reviewing these requests for changes as part of their Municipal Comprehensive Review, currently underway. Council also asked the Region to prioritize approval of these changes ahead of the completion of the balance of the MCR work.

The recommendations to change to MTSA/UGC designations arose out of extensive study over the last 18 months as part of the Interim Control Bylaw review of the downtown and Burlington GO MTSAs, and the Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown review of the 2018 Adopted Official Plan. Both studies led to substantial changes to Burlington’s Official Plan.

The Interim Control Bylaw review found that the downtown MTSA doesn’t currently function as an MTSA, and won’t in the future due to land and infrastructure constraints. The study further found that in order to support the growth framework of the City’s adopted Official Plan, intensification growth should be directed to areas around primary transit corridors and MTSAs.

The UGC in the City of Burlington is the only one in the Region that is not located on a GO Transit rail line. The Growth Plan (2019) requires that UGCs will be planned as focal areas for investment, able to accommodate and support the transit network at the regional scal and provide conectino points for inter- and intra-reginal transit. Refocusing the UGC to the area around the Burlington GO station would align with the intent of the Growth Plan, and the Province’s investment in transit infrastructure.

Through the work of the Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown, staff found that the downtown UGC is on track to achieve the required density of 200 people or jobs before the 2031 timeline, thus it’s done its job. Further the adjusted boundary around the GO station could also accommodate the required density, and is roughly the same size as the current downtown UGC.

The proposed new boundary would be along Fairview from Drury to Brant, and down Brant to Blairholm.

The UGC boundary adjustment is intended to achieve the following goals:

  • Direct intensification growth to an MTSA along the Provincial Priority Transit Corridor and improve access to transportation options;
  • Leverage efficient use of existing public investments that are served by higher order frequent rapid transit;
  • Align with the Region’s proposed hierarchy for strategic growth areas by focusing growth and investments to an MTSA located on a Priority Transit Corridor; and
  • Achieve a complete community consistent with the guiding principles for UGC established in the Growth Plan 2019.

A summary staff report and landing page, along with the discussion paper, are available on the Region’s Council agenda for Oct. 21.

A ‘Landing Page’ that has been developed to provide a simplified, plain language summary of the Supplemental Discussion Paper in order to make the material accessible to the general public. Discussion questions are included on the Landing Page where people will be able to provide their responses to questions posed and/or general comments using an online survey tool. The questions are as follows:

  1. Is there anything else that should be considered when removing the Major Transit Station Area designation from Downtown Burlington?
  2. We’ve mentioned that the Province established several guiding principles to identify and delineate Urban Growth Centres. What additional factors should be considered when adjusting the boundary of the Burlington Urban Growth Centre today?
  3. Is the proposed adjusted boundary appropriate for an ‘emerging’ Urban Growth Centre? How can the Region and City support the development of an ‘emerging’ Urban Growth Centre?

Additional engagement opportunities are outlined in the discussion paper and include at least one joint virtual public meeting with the city, as well as consultation with advisory committees and other stakeholders. Feedback can also be mailed directly to

As always, you can connect directly with me to share your thoughts, at

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1 thought on “Discussion paper released on changing MTSA/UGC in downtown Burlington; comment by Dec. 22”

  1. Whoa!
    This has been a long time coming, and one that few (including the tireless civic crusader Gary Scobie) would have thought possible.
    Speculative developers who have aggregated properties downtown will undoubtedly claim “foul” before the LPAT.
    It’s far from over, but whether you’re a fan or not, you must concede that Mayor Marianne Meed Ward has kept her election promise and her word.
    Cudos to you, Marianne!
    The highly-sensitive redevelopment of the Waterfront Hotel property still remains to be decided, but clearly will be impacted by these changes.
    Hopefully, we can all move forward on this basis, for the sake of all Burlingtonians, current and for generations to come!

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