Fourth draft of the proposed Official Plan released; to committee/council for adoption April 24/25

Burlington Official PlanFrom the Councillor: The latest draft of Burlington’s new Official Plan has been released online. Limited print copies are available for view at the Central Public Library and City Hall. If you are interested in obtaining a hard copy, please contact my office (905.335.7600, x 7368,; I can arrange for a small number of printed copies for members of the community.

The April draft will come to the Planning and Development Committee April 24 (and if necessary April 25) immediately followed by a council meeting to adopt the Plan. Residents can attend and speak at both (details below). I will have more to say after I’ve had a chance for a detailed review of the plan.

Details on what’s changed and other OP information is below, and posted in the city webpage dedicated to the OP.

City of Burlington update: The project page for Burlington’s new Official Plan has been updated to include the fourth version of the proposed new Official Plan, Grow Bold: Burlington’s Official Plan (April 2018) recommended for adoption.

What is an Official Plan?

An Official Plan is a statutory document required by the province that describes a city’s land-use strategy to 2031, and beyond. It addresses the location and form of new housing, industry, offices and shops as well as anticipated needs for infrastructure. Streets, parks, transit, schools, community amenities, and other elements of a growing city are all considered in the Official Plan. Read Burlington’s current Official Plan.

Why are we doing a new Official Plan?

The Planning Act requires every city to update its Official Plan at least once every five years. Burlington’s last Official Plan review began in 2002, and the revised document was approved by Halton Region in 2008.

As the city continues to change and grow, we must regularly revisit the Official Plan to ensure we are realizing the city’s collective vision and responding to our community’s needs.
On April 11, 2016, Burlington City Council unanimously approved Burlington’s Strategic Plan 2015-2040, which captures the priorities of the city’s residents and community leaders for the next 25 years.

Among these priorities is that Burlington is A City that Grows – a city that attracts talent, good jobs and economic opportunity while having achieved intensification and a balanced, targeted population growth for youth, families, newcomers and seniors.
To implement this vision, the City of Burlington must develop a new Official Plan to guide growth in Burlington. The new Official Plan will help the city plan for the type of growth it wants in the locations it wants to ensure Burlington continues to be a thriving city in the 21st century.

What is the status of the new Official Plan project?

NEW April 2018

A fourth version of the proposed new Official Plan, Grow Bold: Burlington’s Official Plan (April 2018) was released on March 28, 2018, and is recommended for adoption Download the Official Plan for Adoption April 2018.

Individual chapters of the proposed new Official Plan (April 2018) are available for download here.

A document that compares the proposed new Official Plan (February 2018) and Grow Bold: Burlington’s Official Plan (April 2018) in tracked changes can be downloaded here: Tracked Changes.

A report recommending adoption of Grow Bold: Burlington’s Official Plan will be presented to Burlington City Council at a meeting of the Planning and Development Committee on Tuesday, April 24 at 1:30 and 6:30 p.m., and if required, Wednesday, April 25 at 9:30 a.m. at City Hall in Council Chambers.

A special meeting of Burlington City Council to consider the proposed new Official Plan recommendation report will take place immediately following the Planning and Development Committee meeting.

After Council adoption, the new Official Plan is subject to approval by Halton Region, and then may be appealed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal.


What are the top highlights of the new Official Plan?

The new Official Plan:

1. Updates the community vision and guiding principles to align with the 2016 Strategic Plan;
2. Reaffirms the commitment to maintain a firm urban boundary;
3. Introduces a new Urban Structure and Growth Framework to direct growth to the right parts of the city, and to prioritize growth around our Mobility Hubs. Mobility Hubs include the downtown and the lands within a short walking distance of our three GO Stations;
4. Protects established residential neighbourhoods by directing growth to other areas of the city;
5. Highlights the importance of employment by supporting the retention of employment lands, supporting innovation and supporting employment intensification;
6. Improves integration of land use and transportation planning, and introduces Frequent Transit Corridors to service Burlington’s growth areas;
7. Updates policies and land use designations to better support mixed use development in our intensification areas;
8. Puts a strong emphasis on design excellence and great public spaces;
9. Includes direction to protect and strengthen our rural area, by supporting the viability of farming through an agriculture system, and the protection and enhancement of the natural environment;
10. Introduces a city-wide Natural Heritage System, and improved policies to support environmental sustainability;
11. Emphasizes the important role of public participation, and includes updates to other implementation matters; and
12. Includes new policies for the Downtown.

What are the key differences between the proposed new Official Plan (February 2018) and Grow Bold: Burlington’s Official Plan (April 2018) recommended for adoption?

The proposed new Official Plan recommended for adoption now includes:
1. New natural heritage and agricultural systems mapping that was released by The Province of Ontario on Feb. 9, 2018 as part of its Places to Grow program;
2. A revised urban structure and employment policies to conform to Halton Region’s Area of Employment;
3. Modifications to the Downtown Precinct Plan including changes to: the Upper Brant Precinct; site specific policies within the Brant Main Street and Downtown Core precincts; the Downtown urban design section and other various minor technical modifications;
4. Revisions throughout the plan to improve clarity, to address Council motions and to address conformity to provincial and regional plans.
Staff report PB-04-18 (available April 6) provides more detail on the updates included in the proposed new Official Plan (April 2018).

Where can I get more information on the Downtown policies?

The downtown is considered an Urban Centre and is identified as a mobility hub in the proposed new Official Plan. This area was reviewed through the Downtown Mobility Hub Area-Specific Plan, and as a result the proposed new Official Plan contains the proposed new Downtown Precinct Plan and associated policies resulting from this study. For background information on the Mobility Hubs Area Specific Plan please visit the Mobility Hubs page.

How can I participate in the adoption of the proposed new Official Plan?

Please see our Get Involved page to learn about how you can participate.

Visit the New Official Plan Project page for more information.

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.

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