in ,

Plans released for highrise (20+), retail & office development at three GO stations

To Planning & Development Committee Dec. 4, 6:30pm

Appleby GO
Aldershot GO
Burlington GO

Proposals for the redevelopment potential at Burlington, Appleby and Aldershot GO stations call for heights up to 20+ storeys, as well as mid and low-rise buildings closer to established neighbourhoods, more parks and more retail, industrial and commercial uses.

These areas are considered “mobility hubs” in planning documents, as they offer a range of transportation options: vehicle, bus, train, bike or walking. The hubs cover roughly 800 metres around the stations. Provincial policy directs growth to these hubs, which must meet or exceed the minimum of 300 people or jobs per hectare.

The preferred concepts for these hubs have now been released and will be discussed at the Dec. 4 Planning & Development Committee meeting. The guiding principles used to develop the hub concepts are detailed below.

More detailed Area Specific Plans will be developed and are expected to come back to committee and council in the second quarter of 2018, and no later June 2018.

Highlights are below, including links to the staff reports and maps, as well as details on registering to speak at the meeting.

Dark purple = 20+; medium purple = 12-19; light purple = 4-11; light blue = 1-3; green = parks

Burlington GO Station Mobility Hub Preferred Concepts


  • The plan adds residential areas as well as parks, which are not currently in the hub area (with the exception of the tall residential Paradigm development under construction)
  • Covers an area of 97 hectares
  • At full build out the plan delivers 12,000 residential units; 22,000 residents; 1100 retail jobs; and 8400 office jobs. This will deliver 448 people or jobs per hectare (minimum 300 is required)
  • At full build-out the plan delivers 465,000 square feet of retail and 2,700,000 square feet of office space; the only remaining employment/industrial area is the Nalco plant on Truman St at the East end of Churchill Ave (more on employment land conversions below)
  • Tallest buildings (20+ storeys, dark purple) in the GO station parking lot; on North East & West corners of  Brant & Fairview (Gray’s Ln/DePauls Ln); on the south west corner of Fairview/Brant (existing car dealership and plaza); and along Fairview closest to the CN tracks (tall buildings 12-19 storeys facing Fairview)
  • Tall buildings (12-19 storeys, medium purple)  North side of Fairview from Walmart to Drury Lane; on the four corners of Brant/Plains; east side of Brant between Prospect and Maplewood Rd; low-rise (blue) abutting neighbourhood
  • Mid-rise buildings (4-11 storeys light purple) West of Brant in Graham’s Lane/Legion Rd commercial district; South West side of Plains Rd/Brant between road and CN tracks; plaza area on south side of Leighland Rd and Brant; East side of Drury Lane both North and South sides of Fairview; South West corner of Drury/Fairview.
  • The plan requires 40% ground floor retail in properties fronting Brant and Fairview streets, as well as closest to the GO station; and 20% ground floor retail in remaining areas
  • Tallest, Tall and Mid-rise blocks within mixed-use areas include an office to retail ratio of 2 to 1.
  • The plan has to accommodate a future 407 transitway connection to the GO station (burgundy line at the top left connecting to the GO), subject to further discussion with the Province

Aldershot GO Station Mobility Hub Preferred Concepts


  • area covers 129 hectares
  • requires 60% ground floor retail on properties fronting Plains Rd and adjacent to the Station; 50% office and 50% residential on properties fronting Waterdown Rd and the GO station area to Hwy 403; 40% ground floor retail in properties fronting Masonry Crt; remaining mixed-use areas include 20% ground floor retail.
  • delivers office to retail ratio of 3:1 for Tallest and Tall blocks within mixed-use areas; ratio 2:1 for mid-rise (7-11) areas; and 1:1 for mid-rise (4-6) areas
  • At full build-out, delivers 970,000 square feet of retail and 3,000,000 square feet of office space
  • At full build out, delivers 5,100 new residential units; 27,200 new residents; 2300 retail jobs and 9300 office jobs, for 300 people or jobs per hectare (minimum required is 300)
  • Tallest buildings (20+): North of Queen Mary Ave between Waterdown Rd and Clearview Ave; West side of Waterdown Road, North of Queen Mary, East and West sides of Waterdown Rd north of Masony Crt; North GO rail lines, East side
  • Tall buildings (12-19): West side of Waterdown Rd south of Queen Mary; North West side of Cook Blvd and Queen Mary; South-East side of Clearview & Masonry Crt
  • Mid-Rise (7-11):North side of Plains Rd from West of Howard Rd to White Oak Dr
  • Mid-RIse (4-6): South side of Plains Rd from East of Howard Rd to West of St. Matthews Ave; North side of Plains Rd from St. Matthews Ave to White Oak Dr; North side of Plains Rd  from Gallagher Rd to roughly Filmandale Rd
  • Low Rise (1-3): West side of St. Matthews, North of Plains, and along Eastern edge of Masonry Crt, and north side of Aldershot Park

Appleby GO Station Mobility Hub Preferred Concepts


  • covers an area of 207 hectares
  • at full build out delivers 11,500 new residential units, 20,000 new residents, 6200 street oriented retail jobs, 1400 big box retail jobs, 26,600 office jobs, and 8800 light industrial jobs. This translates to 304 people or jobs per hectare (minimum required is 300)
  • at full build out delivers 2,600,000 square feet of retail, 1,000,000 square feet of big box retail, 8,600,000 square feet office space, and 7,000,000 square feet of light industrial
  • Tallest buildings (20+): Along the CN Rail tracks, south side; South East corner of Appleby & Harvester
  • Tall buildings (12-19): South of the tallest buildings along the CN Rail tracks; South West corner of Appleby & Fairview; West side of Appleby, north of the CN tracks; North East side of Appleby & Harvester to South Service Rd
  • Mid-Rise (7-11): Along the North side of Fairview both sides of Appleby (buildings tier up in height from Fairview to the tracks); Along Paletta Court, on the North West side of Harvester & Appleby, and along the South Service Rd East of Appleby
  • Mid-RIse (4-6): along the South side of Fairview, East of Appleby
  • Low Rise (1-3): the balance of lands in the area, mostly north and east of the CN tracks
  • Properties fronting Fairview St and adjacent to the Station Area include 40% percent ground floor retail; Tallest and Tall blocks within employment areas to accommodate 90% office use, 10% retail; Mid-rise blocks within employment areas accommodate 20% office, 20% retail and 60% light industrial; Low rise blocks within employment areas to accommodate 70% light industrial and 30% big box commercial / retail.

Employment Land Conversions:

There are employment lands in each of the mobility hubs which don’t allow for residential development. In the Burlington GO area, for example, these include the commercial/industrial district off of Graham’s Lane and the commercial areas on the north side of the GO station between the tracks and Plains Rd. Staff are recommending converting some of the lands around the GO stations to mixed use which could allow residential (if it is compatible with nearby commercial uses) or a broader range of commercial uses (for example, major retail, which isn’t currently permitted in employment areas).

Water/Waste Water/Cultural Heritage:

The three GO stations have adequate water supply to serve 800,000 residents; local improvements will be required for waste water management. Each study area has potential Euro-Canadian and Indigenous archaeological sites and will require a Stage 1 archaeological assessment, including a property inspection, once a preferred concept has been determined.

Guiding Principles:

Staff created a common set of guiding principles which are applicable to each of the hubs and helped to shape the development of the preferred concept for each hub.These guiding principles are:
  • Directing the highest intensity to areas in close proximity to major transit stations and to current or planned frequent transit corridors;
  • Minimizing shadowing impacts on public parks and open spaces and low density established residential neighbourhoods;
  • Providing height transitions to established low density residential neighbourhoods outside of the hub boundaries;
  • Providing increased permeability for active transportation options to and from GO stations;
  • Providing recognition of existing cultural heritage resources;
  • Creating feasible opportunities for new parks and open spaces to serve current and future residents and employees in each area;
  • Identifying new and existing streets and other linkages to serve as key green, active  transportation corridors to facilitate improved connectivity within, to and from the hubs;
  • Creating new parks and open spaces that integrate with and enhance the existing city-wide parks and open space system
  • Providing a level of intensity to attract new retail and commercial functions to serve current and future residents and employees;
  • Recognizing existing employment functions and providing for a variety of new and expanded employment and commercial opportunities;
  • Identifying opportunities for a broad range of future public service facilities in locations that provide the greatest access to future residents and in locations that provide the greatest flexibility to accommodate a variety of functions and uses; and
  • Planning for a variety of housing forms to attract a broad range of demographics

Resources & Registering to speak

Read the agenda and associated staff reports here: P&D Dec. 4

In order to speak at a Planning and Development Committee – Public meeting, individuals must register no later than noon on the day before the meeting. To register, complete the online application at, email or phone 905-335-7600, ext. 7481.

My Take:

The GO station mobility hubs offer potential to meet the city’s job and residential growth, without impacting stable neighbourhoods, with several notable exceptions discussed below. I will be seeking changes in these areas.

  • The Burlington GO hub is the only one without two classifications of mid-rise: 4-6 and 7-11; the permissions up to 12-19 storeys are inappropriate East of Brant between Graham’s Lane and Maplewood. I will suggest the lower mid-rise category (4-6) be used in this area.


  • The area south of Graham’s Lane is slated for mid rise up to 11 storeys; this area can probably take additional height (12-19 storeys) given it backs onto existing highrises of this height.


  • Some of the tallest building in the Aldershot GO abut stable residential neighbourhoods along Clearview Ave. and St. Matthews Ave. I will recommend that development in this area be mid-rise (4-6) rather than tall (12-19). Conversely, there could be more height on the north end of Howard Rd (currently 4-6, could be 7-11). There was a lost opportunity for more density around the GO station where the townhouses are currently being built.


  • The Aldershot GO market analysis (pg 4 bullet 8) speaks of the potential of a supermarket, but doesn’t identify land for this use. I have asked where it will go.


  • The Appleby GO hub is  mostly employment lands north of the CN Rail, and could potentially absorb higher density commercial (currently most of the land is low rise 1-3). This hub also includes big box retail, which is not the kind of development normally seen in a mobility hub.


  • There doesn’t appear to be an affordable/assisted housing strategy, or family-unit strategy with all this new growth. That’s a lost opportunity.

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.

Got an idea or comment you want to share privately? Please, get in touch:


Leave a Reply
  1. I have 1 question regarding the Burlington Go hub. With the increased intensification around the Fairview/Brant intersection, will there be any upgrades to Brant St south of Fairview? Severe traffic congestion is already caused around rush our with the bottleneck at Ghent Southbound and vehicles not being able to get into the left turn lane onto Maplewood and ending up stopped southbound on Brant as the vehicles turning onto Fairview take up all the space.

  2. This is where 20 + stories maybe too short depending on mass and ‘breathing’ spaces between buildings.
    Adaquate immediate greenspace/parkland
    should be part and parcel of proposals. Parkland from the Burlington GO station is too far to get to by foot.

What's your take?





23 storeys is just the beginning; more highrises coming in proposed downtown plan

23 storeys is just the beginning; more highrises coming in proposed downtown precinct plan. Speak out Nov. 30

City revises Waterfront Hotel site plan to add greenspace, keep towers 14-25 storeys; Residents offer alternative