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Mayor’s Monday Mailbag – Nov. 8, 2021 – Why did the OLT Approve the 29-Storey Tower at Lakeshore & Pearl?

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Welcome to the Mayor’s Monday Mailbag, an initiative Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and the Mayor’s Office has launched to share weekly answers to questions from the public we’ve received through our main email inbox at or the Mayor’s social media platforms.

At the end of the month, we’ll publish a roundup of those most pressing questions we’ve received in the weeks prior.

Mayor’s Monday Mailbag – Nov. 8, 2021


“I can’t believe the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) approved the 29-storey tower at Lakeshore and Pearl — how did this happen?”


The Mayor’s Office has heard from many Burlington residents about how upset and discouraged you are about the recent Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) decision regarding a 29-storey tower at Lakeshore and Pearl. In its published ruling, the OLT made it clear it was choosing to give no weight to all the changes the community, council, and city and regional planning staff have brought forward in the last three years to better align downtown development, including this site, with our community’s vision.

It is truly shocking and devastating to see our input set aside, which is why Council continues to discuss its options with Legal staff.

This term of Council has done everything within its legal jurisdiction to fight overdevelopment on behalf of our community, including:

  • Revising the downtown OP to remove many of the most egregious heights (including a 17-storey building in the middle of Village Square);
  • Imposing an Interim Control Bylaw (ICBL) to pause the processing of development applications while the City studied the Major Transit Station Area (MTSA) designation downtown and at the Burlington GO station. The MTSA was the foundation for a previous OLT ruling against the City and used as justification for this most recent ruling as well. We were successful in getting Halton Region to commit to removing the MTSA from the downtown, and it now awaits approval from the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing;
  • Working with the Province to agree to adjust the Urban Growth Centre (UGC) boundaries downtown towards Burlington GO. The UGC is also being used to justify overdevelopment, including in this recent OLT ruling. The Province announced this summer that it would commit to making the UGC adjustment — we are still awaiting final sign-off, expected this month.

We are in the process of righting this ship, but it will take some time — particularly with a ship of this size. We will continue to fight as a city for what our community believes in, even if there is no guarantee of success. We have lost some of the battles, but we’ve also had some major wins as described above. Setbacks sometimes happen, but we do not give up. This Council and City staff will continue to do all that we can to see our community’s vision through.


*Posted by John Bkila, Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist

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Phone: 905-335-7607

Media Specialist: John Bkila