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Public response and Amy’s Take on proposed 22 storey Brock/Ontario proposal

Statutory public meeting Nov. 6

Over 55 residents attended the Sept. 27 public meeting to hear about The Molinaro Group’s proposal for a 22-story highrise at the corner of Ontario and Brock, addresses 490 – 492 Brock Ave and 1298 Ontario St. There were many great questions and comments from residents that can be viewed in the Neighbourhood Meeting Notes Sept 27 2017.

Key concerns raised by the public include height, not enough parking, vehicular exit onto Ontario, and shadow impacts on homes with backyards facing the building.

The meeting was held at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre. A notice regarding the meeting was sent to all residents within 120m of the site. At the meeting, developers had an opportunity to outline their proposal, while the public had the chance to voice their opinions, ask questions, and provide suggestions.

The developers explained how their apartment located on Brock and Ontario would not only benefit those who want to live in the downtown area, but also provide more commercial retail space all citizens could use, with underground parking to minimize the amount of land needed; all which in their eyes, fit the tall building guidelines, “perfectly”.

A tall building is defined in Burlington’s Tall Building Guidelines as any building over 11-stories. In this case, developers would like to make their building 22-stories tall, while the maximum height bylaw in such an area is only 7. Many people questioned why the the height of the building almost tripling in the legal size was permitted. As one woman stated, “Why do we keep making exceptions to these rules?”

When the public had its time to speak, many comments and concerns overlapped with each other, pointing out some significant issues. Firstly, the traffic. It happened on countless occasions where either residents of homes in the area or renters of the Burlington Towers (located across from the proposed development), complained that as of now, there is already enough traffic on their streets. With only two lanes on both Ontario and Brock, an addition of cars driving to work every morning would only cause congestion on the roads. Residents also coming home from work would have to encounter a heavy flow of traffic throughout their small, residential neighbourhoods.

However it was argued that in having more people live downtown, there would be less traffic as a result of less people crossing the Hamilton Bridge and the QEW to visit our waterfront.

Another frequently mentioned issue was whether or not the development of the apartment would block houses and backyards from sunlight, leaving them in darkness. The developers acknowledged that this was a factor they had to take into consideration, and in result, they slimmed the width of the building.

People also wondered about the actual process of the construction of the building. Many wondered where trucks, supplies and materials would stay while the apartment was being built. The answer was that the construction management plan would be created a later date, after a decision has been made on the proposal.

Green space and noise were also two elements many people touched on.

Amy’s Take: I agreed with most of the public, who claimed that even by slimming the building, a lot of sunlight would be blocked; after all, with this development there would be something much taller, standing in front of the sun. Not only did I agree with this, but I actually felt quite passionate about the topic. Studies show that light effects our mood, and a lack of daily sun will for sure effect each individual living behind the apartment, negatively.

We take pride in living in such an environmental, healthy downtown area, and many wonder how we are maintaining this pride when we continuously squeeze apartments and buildings into tight spaces, where instead trees and flowers could bloom, and families could sleep in silence.

Marianne’s Take: I share many of the concerns of the residents about the scale of this project, sun shadowing, traffic and parking, and the precedent it would set. Some modifications have been recently made, including adding vehicular exits from the building to Brock and Elgin streets, to ease traffic on Ontario. Public input will be a key factor in my decision-making on this project.

Supporting Materials

Further details about the applications, including supporting documents and studies, are available on the city’s website at www.burlington.ca/492brock.

Statutory Public Meeting:

The next step in the process is for city staff to hold a statutory public meeting as part of the City’s regularly scheduled Planning & Development Committee. That will take place Nov. 6. The purpose of the meeting is for staff to share the details of the application with members of the committee (all members of City Council) and to allow residents to share their views.

Date: Monday, Nov. 6, 2017
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: City Hall, 426 Brant St., 2nd Floor, Council Chambers

Staff Report:

City staff have prepared an information-only report for the Nov. 6 meeting. The report does not contain a recommendation about the application at this time. A second report that includes a recommendation will be presented to the Planning & Development Committee at a future date.

The staff report is available here: P&D Nov. 6, Item 2.2

Speak at the meeting:

Residents may attend the Nov. 6 meeting to share their views about the project with council. As this item is part of a statutory public meeting, residents do not have to register in advance to speak at the meeting. However, those residents who do register in advance will be called upon first. The maximum time limit to speak is 10 minutes. More information about appearing as a delegation and to register, visit Register as a Delegation. Residents are also welcome to attend the meeting as audience members, to listen to the discussion, without having to speak.

Contact information:

Questions about the application can be emailed to the new planner on the file, Lola Emberson, at lola.emberson@burlington.ca or by calling 905-335-7600, ext. 7427.

What's your take?