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Burlington Council votes to re-examine Adopted 2018 Official Plan

Burlington City Hall.

At Thursday’s (Feb. 7) Special Meeting of Council, following the Committee of the Whole – Budget meeting, council unanimously voted to approve my motion to re-examine the policies of the Adopted 2018 Official Plan and review matters of height and density in our city.

I want to thank all of Council for the vote – I really appreciate this and I know the community appreciates it and it will provide some clarity going forward.

Burlington residents have consistently raised concerns about over-intensification and development in our City. They have clearly indicated the need to review the scale and intensity of planned development, especially in the Adopted 2018 Official Plan.

Halton Region has also recently identified areas of non-conformity – that stopped the clock on approving the Adopted 2018 Official Plan and opened it up for any other matters of discussion. This allows Council the time to define what areas we want to study, undertake that work, consult with the community, and send back a comprehensive plan.

We expect that plan to truly reflect the needs, best interests and vision of the community and its elected Council.

Below is the motion that was passed at Thursday’s Special Meeting of Council:

  • Direct the Director of City Building to immediately commence a process to re-examine the policies of the Official Plan adopted April 26, 2018 in their entirety related to matters of height and intensity and conformity with provincial density targets; and
  • Direct the Director of City Building to send a letter in respect of the Official Plan adopted by Council on April 26, 2018 (Adopted 2018 Official Plan), to the Region of Halton acknowledging receipt of the Region’s Notice of Statement of Opinion of Non-Conformity with the Regional Official Plan dated December 4, 2018 and requesting sufficient time to address the conformity issues identified; and
  • Direct the Director of City Building that until such time as the modifications that result from the work being undertaken, but not limited to, in (1) and (2) above are brought forward and adopted by Council and sent to the Region for approval, that the Adopted 2018 Official Plan policies not be given weight in evaluating development applications that may be processed in the interim period.
  • Direct the Director of City Building to report back to the Planning and Development Committee meeting in March to provide a progress update on the Official Plan work plan with key milestone dates, public engagement plan, budget and resource requirements; and
  • Direct the City Manager to discontinue the use of the “Grow Bold” brand.


I am grateful the vote went as it did at Council regarding this motion; it is the start of getting back on track to building the future Burlington our residents want. We also heard from the community that there was confusion about how development was being assessed, particularly around the status of the Adopted 2018 Official Plan that is not yet approved. This motion makes it clear that staff are not to use the Adopted 2018 Official Plan and the existing Official Plan is still in full legal force and effect. We will take the time necessary to review and make appropriate changes to the plan to reflect the concerns we heard from the community during the election and adopt a community-based vision for our city.

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9 thoughts on “Burlington Council votes to re-examine Adopted 2018 Official Plan”

  1. Development in Burlington needs to be mindful and not so naive about the need to handle More Vehicles not Less.. We will always have motorized vehicles due to our weather and affluence…be they gas or electric powered. We have not kept up with the Parking Demand over the past 20 years and have even allowed developers to not only Increase Density but also Reduce Car Parking Requirements…which as an example has Negatively Impacted the Downtown…since Business Parking Needs have to compete with Residential Occupant and Visitor Requirements. That is the main reason why the Increased Density passed by Past Councils has actually Created Problems in Burlington instead of Alleviating them.

  2. Without some level of intensification you cannot responsibly fund transit at a decent frequency. You risk having semi-empty schools or school closures forcing busing or long walks. You add to the cost of clearing roads and sidewalks and unnecessarily drive taxes up. Imagine a single family home paying for the bus, fixing and clearing the sidewalks and roads that pass it. Now imagine 50 families in an apartment doing the same. What is the quality and cost difference. Our roads are already starting to go the way of Hamilton. Let’s not do that. As to the “free university person”, that’s provincial and Dougie Ford just killed that.

  3. Thank you Mme Mayor and Councillors. Your respect for the wishes of a majority of Burlingtonians is very obvious and greatly appreciated.

  4. if we look at what people want, they want less taxes and keep (at least) our current level of services, as a minimum, do not cut!
    BTW, can we extend the free school model to the university Level?

  5. Michel Lecavalier

    Well done Mayor and all members of our city council! Burlington is growing fast enough, – preserve our downtown and our neighborhoods!

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