Newsletter Signup

Modifications to the Adopted Official Plan Endorsed by City Council


*Please see below a media release issued by the City of Burlington.

Burlington, Ont.—Oct. 8, 2020— Burlington City Council endorsed the modifications to the adopted Official Plan at the Council meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 7. The Official plan will now go to Halton Region for final approval.

The City first adopted a new Official Plan in April 2018. In early 2019, City Council directed City staff to re-examine the policies in the adopted Official Plan that guide development in the Downtown and in Neighbourhood Centres.

Since summer 2019, City staff have engaged the public through various public meetings, Action Labs, pop-up events, online surveys, and virtual public meetings, to understand what is important to the public about Downtown, and how the community wants to see Downtown grow in future.

City staff, working together with a team of planning consultants, considered the public input alongside technical studies, the existing context of the Downtown, and the need for City policies to conform with regional and provincial policies.

On Jan. 27, 2020, City Council endorsed a vision and preliminary concept for the Downtown. This formed the basis for staff and the consultant team to develop detailed policies that will guide development to the year 2031.

On Sept. 30, 2020, staff presented their recommendations for consideration at a public meeting of the Community Planning, Regulation, and Mobility Committee of Council.

The recommendations included new policies and mapping for the Downtown. The policies and mapping recognize the distinct character, needs, functions, and opportunities of various different areas within the Downtown, and identify how the City intends to achieve its objectives for each of those areas and for the Downtown as a whole.

On Sept. 30, Committee made 10 amendments to staff’s recommendations.

The recommendations, as amended, were endorsed by Committee on Sept. 30 and by City Council on Oct. 7. Council has directed staff to submit the endorsed policy modifications to Halton Region for inclusion in the Region’s approval of the adopted Official Plan.

“The Official Plan is a monumental step for the city. 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. Stakeholder and resident engagement has been on-going for several years. Thank you to all the residents who provided input and to staff for their dedication to this project that will define and shape our city for many years to come.” — Heather MacDonald, Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation & Mobility, City of Burlington

Neighbourhood Centres

In addition to the re-examination of the Downtown policies of the adopted Official Plan, Council also directed City staff to re-examine the adopted policies for Neighbourhood Centres.

Neighbourhood Centres are clusters of commercial plazas centred around key intersections throughout the City (Brant Street and Upper Middle Road, Guelph Line and Upper Middle Road, Walkers Line and Upper Middle Road, Walkers Line and Dundas Street, Guelph Line and New Street, Walkers Line and New Street, Appleby Line and New Street, Kenwood Avenue and Lakeshore Road).

The adopted policies for Neighbourhood Centres will guide their redevelopment into walkable, mixed-use nodes that can be focal points for the community and serve the daily and weekly shopping needs of residents in the surrounding neighbourhoods.

The purpose of re-examining the Neighbourhood Centres policies was to refine the policies to make them clearer and easier to understand.

City staff recommended minor modifications to the Neighbourhood Centres policies of the adopted Official Plan. These modifications were endorsed by City Council on Oct. 7, 2020. Council directed staff to submit the endorsed policy modifications to Halton Region for inclusion in the Region’s approval of the adopted Official Plan.

“In lock-step with our community, I believed a better plan could be achieved and was possible. The endorsement of this revised Official Plan and the work to bring forward a community vision has proven this, and now moves onto the next step.

This plan is a win-win that will welcome moderate development that is compatible with our city values. Our residents were clear on what Burlington values: a strong connection to the waterfront, greenspace, preserving and encouraging places to shop and work, maintaining the character of the downtown and protecting heritage.

I know for certain that our city is better off in the long-term for the work we stand by today. I express gratitude to everyone who has been engaged in carefully evolving our city.” — Lisa Kearns, Ward 2 Councillor, City of Burlington

Official Plan – Next Steps

The City will send the Council-endorsed policies and mapping for Downtown and Neighbourhood Centres to Halton Region to be included in the adopted Official Plan that the Region is reviewing.

Halton Region is the approval authority who will make a decision to approve the City’s new Official Plan.

The Region will provide a draft decision for City Council to consider before the Region makes a final decision on the City’s adopted Official Plan. The Region’s draft decision is expected later this year.

After Halton Region makes a final decision to approve the City’s new Official Plan, parts of the Official Plan can be appealed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT).

For more information, visit the New Official Plan website at or the “Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown” project webpage at

Design Guidelines – Next Steps

In August 2020, City staff released a first draft of the new Downtown Burlington Placemaking and Urban Design Guidelines, which will help to implement the Official Plan policies for Downtown. The City will continue to seek public feedback on the draft guidelines before presenting the final guidelines to City Council for approval.

For more information, visit the “Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown” project webpage at


We reached a significant milestone in the city’s history today, with council endorsement of a revised Official Plan for the downtown, as well as our commercial plazas. I want to thank council and planning staff for getting this done, as well as the many stakeholders and residents who took the time to share your vision with us for the future of downtown over the last three years, and specifically the last 18 months of review.

Residents spoke loud and clear during the last election that the 2018 Adopted OP was not their vision and it certainly wasn’t mine. With today’s step forward, we have a plan that is better than the existing Official Plan, better than the 2018 Adopted Plan, and better than the initially proposed plan, which went through several changes over the last year to get to this final vote. This now goes to Halton Region for review and approval, which is expected before the end of this year.

The downtown belongs to the whole city, and everyone had a voice in ensuring that appropriate development will continue at the right scale in the right place, to keep our downtown a desirable place to live, work and visit well into the future. Thank you!

Links and Resources:

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

Receive new post notifications by email

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Here are guidelines before you comment, and our expectations before we will post:

  • Be civil. Would you speak this way to a good friend? If not, rewrite.
  • Focus on the issues. Build your argument and make your case in support of your opinion from facts, research or other sources. That way we can all learn. “I disagree with so-and-so because…” is fine; “So-and-so is naïve/stupid  for thinking the way he/she does and here’s why…” is not acceptable.
  • Don’t make personal attacks. Don’t assume motives of those you disagree with, make unfounded allegations, spread rumours, or engage in any other behaviours that would discourage you from participating if someone said this to, or about, you. The Golden Rule applies: Do unto others as you would have done to you. We will edit or not post comments with this type of content.
  • Say it once: When comments from the same individual or individuals become repetitive, going over ground already stated, we reserve the right to close commenting.
  • Use your full, and real, name. If wish to make a comment in public, we expect you will publicly stand behind it with your name. If you don’t want to publicly reveal your name, that’s fine; you are always welcome to share your thoughts with me privately via my email below. I welcome and consider all feedback in making decisions for the community.
  • Have fun, consider and learn. Share your views and read those of others. May we all benefit from a healthy exchange of ideas, and learn a little more about the people in our community, what you think, and what’s important to each of you. You may end up changing your mind about an issue; even if you don’t, we hope everyone will gain a greater understanding of why people have different perspectives.

Newsletter Sign Up

Phone: 905-335-7607

Media Specialist: John Bkila