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Residents forming “Plan B” alternative to waterfront hotel redevelopment

Emerging Preferred Concept

A group of residents have created a Facebook page and are starting a petition to develop an alternative development proposal to the “emerging preferred concept” created by consultants for the Waterfront Hotel site.

The site is the subject of a public study currently underway to determine the best development alternative for the property. Current permissions allow 8 storeys, up to 14 with provision of community benefits.

The emerging preferred concept proposed two buildings on the site, 14-18 storeys on the West, 20-25 storeys on the East, with a public walkway between, similar to the Bridgewater to the East.

Residents think we can, and must, do better. A group has begun a Facebook page to start a conversation with the community about the future of Burlington’s waterfront, and to solicit public input on a more environmentally friendly Plan B – the B stands for “better.”

“Our PLAN B is under development but fundamentally proposes to eliminate the western building and restrict the height of the buildings on the northeast corner of the property to the maximum allowed under the current by-laws for the whole property,” states the Facebook page. “This plan would effectively extend greenspace into Spencer Smith Park and enhance vistas for all park goers.”

The group is also working on a petition, with an option to advise city council members of your views.

Staff are planning to bring an update report to the Planning and Development Committee of council in November, to allow for additional community consultation. The recommended land use concept will come to council in the new year for approval.

To see the powerpoint and notes from all the public meetings leading up to the emerging concept, visit the project page on the city’s website here: Waterfront Hotel Planning Study

My Take: I am not inspired by any of the options, including the emerging preferred concept, which is too high and dense, as well as unimaginative – just copying from the Bridgewater. Instead, by locating buildings only on the East side of the site – as suggested by Plan B – we can gain more greenspace next to Spencer Smith Park, and respect existing development rights. I look forward to working with residents to create a better plan for this key area of downtown and our waterfront. Please share your views below, or on the Facebook page.

Written by Marianne Meed Ward

I was inspired to seek public office because I believe, like so many of you, “I can do something about that” on the issues we face. As councilor, my role is to take a stand on what’s best for residents and go to bat for it. Pushback is inevitable from those who don’t have the community’s interests at heart. I will stand with you and for you, to achieve the best interests of our city, without caving to unacceptable compromise in the name of consensus.


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  1. Regarding the canyon effect on Lakeshore: I lived in Calgary for years, and the many tall buildings that were allowed along the Stephen Avenue mall created a massive wind tunnel (and this will happen on Lakeshore). So what did the city do? Put up some god-awful structures to mitigate the wind. Which they did, while blocking out any remaining sunlight. This is where Burlington is headed. Here’s a visual of the Calgary structures (euphemistically referred to ‘Galleria Trees’).


    I currently rent an apartment at 360 Pearl, directly across from the new hotel going up. The traffic is already intense – I can’t imagine how much worse it will get once the new hotel/condos are open, the Adi building gets built, and the new skyscrapers go in on the Waterfront hotel site. The city can act now by refusing to approve the Brant street building at 23 stories, and sticking with the regulated 12 stories. I think a message needs to be sent to developers – Burlington is happy to welcome your projects, as long as they align with Burlington residents’ vision for THEIR downtown. (And don’t get me started on the brick pedestrian crossings on Lakeshore – I’m sure anyone living on Lakeshore can attest to how noisy they are, every time a car passes over them).

  2. We strongly support the plan B concept or some compromise to that plan that preserves the southern sight line that makes Brant Street our signature avenue. We were on the Lakesore at Perl St. just yesterday and even at this stage of the Bridgewater development, the canyon effect so often mentioned is already discernible. I am told by friends supposedly ‘in the know’ that we will lose the fight against the ludicrously inappropriate ADI tower at Martha and the lakeshore. It also looks like approval will be granted for the Carriage House development at Brant and James with a mirror image building likely to follow on the south side of James. This despite the fact that this developer reneged on its promise to fully develop its property between Maria and Caroline with the parking and medical centre that were part of the approved plan. (We are told that this development will proceed once proceeds from the completed portion are available?) Given how difficult it has been for our city to deny developers approval for what are clearly inappropriate building heights and locations we need to dig in our heels on the Waterfront development. No compromise should be accepted that does not have majority support of the citizens of Burlington.

    Gary Parker

  3. The report from staff containing all the input from residents isn’t available yet but, http://www.change.org/p/planbwaterfronthotelredevelopment-burlington-against-emerging-preferred-concept-for-redevelopment-of-the-waterfront-hotel

  4. Please, at the very least make it so that you have an unobstructed view of the lake and the new pier as you drive down Brant St into the downtown area. This open area would also mean an increase in the size of Spencer Smith Park. Burlington already has good access to the lakefront from downtown, especially compared to a city like Oakville for example. Here is an opportunity to make it so much better, lets not waste it.

  5. Plan B is already way better than “The Emerging Preferred Concept” i think it needs tweaking but already a far better improvement. I have spoken with many people about the “The Emerging Preferred Concept” and i have yet to hear anyone say they like it. I want to know who thinks, or who staff spoke with that gives credence to the word “Preferred” in the title of that particular option. Nobody i know ‘prefers’ it!!


  7. RT @MariannMeedWard: Residents forming “Plan B” alternative to waterfront hotel redevelopment (Ward 2 News) https://t.co/IHMO3gWUYQ https:/…

  8. Totally agree on the new emerging preferred concept, however at much lower heights!!!! It s time to make a firm commitment, to what is knowingly proper for this unique area. Making a strong commitment in decision making without interference is pertinent. The preservation of this waterfront property is not rocket science, and towering buildings shouldn’t be allowed to alter it in anyway. This outcome will be for generations of Burlingtonians to enjoy, (or not), their one and only Burlington Waterfront Park.

  9. Thank you for your support Marianne. Let’s hope Mayor Goldring and the other councillors also speak up in support of a solution advocated by voters. Let’s ensure our Planning Department hear us and propose a solution which extends Spencer Smith’s vision and generous donation to the City of Burlington. Green space on the northwest side of the property is the only solution. It should not be walled off by skyscrapers. This is the developer’s vision. This is your opportunity Burlington to speak up and ensure our Mayor and councillors entrusted with preserving our waterfront take action and ensure our Planning Department is listening!

What's your take?