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Video: 23 Storeys on Burlington’s Brant Street – Whose City Is It?

Final Council Vote Council: November 13th

Spread the word! Final Council vote on November 13th

I’m hearing from many residents who do not agree with the 5 to 2 vote by councillors to approve the 23 storey building that will loom over city hall, replacing low-rise shops and a restaurant.  In the winter time, it will cast a shadow 6 blocks long.

The rationale for the increased height is we’ll get a larger civic square and better designed building.  We can get both at the current height limit of 12 storeys through the parkland dedication fund, daylight triangle tools and tall building design guidelines.

This is only a tall building.  Retail space in one of the highest traffic areas of the downtown will drop by 30% along with a reduction in office space versus what currently exists.  The approval provides no affordable housing and we no have guarantees by the developer that family-sized units will be provided.

Public input to keep height on Brant at 4 storeys was ignored.  Though we’re on track for our intensification targets, staff want another 23 storey building on the opposite corner of Brant Street.

The coming and approved condos will weaken the downtown retail.  Too learn more, click here.

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. Joan, well said. We need to remind all how elections work. I too have lived and contributed to this city for many years. It is all I know and want to know. I’m now panicking about retirement looming ahead as I realize that I probably will not be able to live here after all. While they approve huge condos for the “younger generation”, who will not live where they can’t park, not to mention afford, seniors will not be able to retire in their familiar surroundings.
    Merry Christmas!

  2. I am appalled to see what is happening to our city. I cannot understand how our councilors approved a 23 story building which most of the citizens of Burlington do not want. The character of the downtown area is being overwhelmed by a forest of high rises, none of which provide affordable housing for seniors like me on a fixed income although I have lived, worked and raised a family here and also shopped here for more than fifty years, having certainly contributed to the economy of Burlington during all that time. It seems to me t hat we need almost a clean sweep of our municipal representatives. In the next election, I will be looking to give my support to someone who will listen to his or her constituents and not be swayed by the promises of developers.

  3. I have given up going to town hall meetings. Why? Because staff seems to approve development whether the citizens or the elected officials are opposed. I have, as have many others, made many comments that any development proposal cannot be assessed properly in a vacuum. The collective effects of all current approved developments MUST be taken into consideration to determine if any additional development proposal is warranted. City Staff seem to be totally following the intensification mantra from Queens Park. The ancient practice of the OMB and other unelected boards who have a say that overrides the consensus of the local residents needs to be overturned. Carriage House approved. Shameful. And I bet Adi’s Nautique will be the next development approved. We are creating a giant wind tunnel in the downtown core….just like downtown Toronto and downtown Mississauga. The traffic is already a disaster. Say goodbye to our quaint and charming Burlington core..I give it 3 more years to be totally destroyed.

  4. Thank you Marianne for trying your best to look after our neighbourhood. I honestly don’t know how you do that job. God bless you. Sitting there last night I was wondering about democracy… the citizens get five minutes to state their case, but can’t ask questions. Yet they can be questioned. Similar to the OMB, how could counsellors of other ridings ever know what actually transpires downtown. And why would they care.I would really like to know if any of them live here.
    Once again, I do appreciate your efforts.

  5. Great video Marianne and thank you for fighting for the citizens of Burlington.

    Great work Kelly Childs to oppose this Brant/James proposal.

    The concerned citizens of Plan B: Burlington Waterfront Hotel Redevelopment applaud your efforts. We are encouraging all our supporters to sign your petition opposing this Brant/James redevelopment. This is a dangerous precedent for all future development in downtown Butlington.

    The citizens of Burlington need to voice concerns early in the process of redevelopment. The waterfront development project is a good example and the process is underway.

    Reject the Planning department’s 2 options and their survey and please go to:


    Sign this petition to drive a process lead by concerned Citizens which respects the land owner’s rights while preserving greenspace and Spencer Smith’s vision for Burlington’s waterfront. Be part of a solution for future generations.

    • Surveys go out asking for peoples input! When we give our thoughts, they are not heard anyway??
      It is not rocket science, and it was originally stipulated that Lakeshore/Downtown would stay “low-rise” and graduate higher nearing the GO Stations and the QEW. Why can’t a firm stance and commitment be made as to what everyone knows is right for the downtown? I don’t get it – there are no leaders out there, just followers into the laps of the developers to do as they please. Duh! A precedent being set in stone for other proposals already on the Planning Board table!

  6. RT @MariannMeedWard: Video: 23 Storeys on Burlington’s Brant Street – Whose City Is It? (Ward 2 News) https://t.co/kwpkPnvMHQ https://t.co…

  7. I just signed the petition asking the City to stick to the law (zoning bylaw), but unfortunately – like many people feel – I don’t have much hope that it will change anything. It works the same way on every level of political scene. Electorate is only needed for election. As soon as the politician is elected he/she starts to represent corporations not people who elected him/her. On a smaller scale we are seeing it in our City. Elected Councilors are supporting developers not their own electorate. Public opinion becomes just a facade for the files, to prove that people had a voice.
    But at the end I must say that all of the above comes with a glorious exception of our Councilor; Marianne Meed Ward. Marianne: thanks to you there is light in that dark tunnel.

  8. I would urge everyone to seriously consider the ramifications of more gridlock in our beautiful downtown. Please take a few minutes to read the letter below which I set out for our counsellors earlier this year.

    March 30, 2017

    Dear Marianne,

    Re: Brant & James 27 Storey Mixed-Use Proposal

    This is further to the Downtown Burlington Neighbourhood Meeting of March 28, 2017.

    I would sincerely like to thank you and City staff for all the work entailed, including the Mayor who ran around with the microphone. It shows that we are all willing to go the extra mile. I wish I could have stayed till the end, but was not able to do so.

    By the time I got to speak, I was confused as to whether we were still in the “question” mode or “comments” mode and am afraid I was not very clear. Like a lot of people who never stand up, I am not fond of public speaking. I feel you misunderstood my concerns with respect to parking and would like to clarify my comments. Yes, we have a parking garage that lies empty a lot of the time, but that garage does not help with the issues at hand. Contractors cannot park there.

    The questions I wanted to ask of the developers were:
    1) Where is the main residential entrance for people being dropped off or their deliveries?
    2) Where are the loading zones for commercial deliveries?

    I am not opposed to the project. It appears to be a significant enhancement to Brant Street. However, I am opposed to the height and yet another mixed-use building being planned without sufficient thought going into the problems that arise with a mixed-use building.

    We simply do not have the capacity on Brant Street, at the area in question, to house 300 people with shops, offices and restaurants. It is all well and good to say “people in a City should give up cars and walk”. That is not the point. The residents will have their designated parking. The streets are not wide enough for regular traffic, trucks and tractor-trailers (on a daily basis for more than one restaurant). We all know there will not be enough room on James either.

    The City is fully aware of what our building is going through with respect to daily deliveries to the shops and restaurants on Locust Street. This has come about because of developers and the City (at the time) not thinking ahead. I am pleased to see that our current council are thinking ahead and not permitting 27 storeys at Brant and James. If the City is considering mixed-use buildings anywhere in the downtown core it should bear in mind that any restaurant/store can only stay in business if they have deliveries and clients. We have a whole lot of vacant space below our luxury residential units, as do the other mixed-use buildings on Brant Street. Has a study been put in place for the reasoning behind this turnover in businesses over the years? Why do they not stay in business?

    Mixed-use buildings entail (for each separate corporation):

    – Garbage trucks (which could be completely different companies for each corporation
    – Pest control on a weekly basis (restaurants attract rodents)
    – Landscapers (summer/winter)
    – Maintenance trucks/vans
    – Superintendent
    – Window replacements
    – Plumbers
    – Electricians
    – HVAC
    – Handymen
    – Drain cleaning trucks
    – Oil cleaning trucks
    – Linen deliveries
    – Food trucks (meat/seafood/bread/produce)
    – Beer trucks
    – Coke (beverage) trucks
    – Water trucks
    – Staples (office supplies)
    – Courier (postal) deliveries
    – Window cleaning
    – Furniture deliveries
    – Moving in/out trucks

    I reiterate from previous correspondence:

    “ADI DEVELOPMENT: I understand that this 28 (now 26) storey building intends to dig SIX levels of underground parking in a densely populated area. They propose 240 units with 241 parking spaces (assuming 1 spot for a superintendent). Where are their spouses going to park? Where are their visitors going to park? Where are their contractors going to park and, more importantly, where are the customers for the commercial units going to park? Not forgetting, if you have businesses, you also have employees. Where are they going to park? Bear in mind, if the businesses cannot keep customers (because of the parking), they will eventually bow out of the building and commercial units will lie empty below a luxury residential building. This is a fact.

    We are all aware that there is not sufficient parking around this entire area for the residents, people who come into Burlington to work every day and tourists. We currently have a skyscraper (Bridgewater mixed-use) going up across the street from this (ADI) proposal. We have absolutely nowhere for those people to park or their visitors/vendors/customers/staff/contractors.”

    I trust this may come in handy when you are dealing with the OMB.

    Yours sincerely,

    Mozelle Cole.

    • Amazing that this was in March and ignored. This is the frustrating part. Please attend tonight with your letter and ask those questions. They are spot on. This is the time to air exactly what you said in March and ignored. Commercial deliveries will be impossible with this density.
      One parking spot per unit with ADI dev is not possible. It will not fly with 2 income families. Baby Boomers are our biggest demographic and our biggest spenders. Downtown Burlington is affluent and there needs to be progress to deal with parking issues. Baby Boomers want two cars. This group can afford the $700,000+ price tags. Not new ‘young families’ that the city says they want to attract. They can’t afford these prices in the core so they will go to Ward 2, 3, 4 or 5.

  9. Marianne, can I paste a long letter on this site which I wrote to the City re large buildings downtown in March. I would like to share that. Thanks.

  10. Please name the Councilors who vote for these tall buildings so that we know when the time comes who not to vote for…..

    • To answer Keith Sadier’s question as to whom the Councillors are that are in favour of the high rises in the downtown area – PLEASE ATTEND A COUNCIL MEETING on any of these downtown hi-rise proposals and it is very evident as to those in favour of the developer. Election time will tell us who should make a move! If we can’t get 100% agreement from the Councillors, then a change is needed.

  11. There are times that I think some council members are out to lunch. This is one of those times. 23 storeys is absolutely absurd. Stick to the official plan that is in place.

  12. RT @kellychildsxo: AWESOME VIDEO!: 23 Storeys on Burlington’s Brant Street – Whose City Is It? https://t.co/QD8PbhLs4O via @mariannmeedwar…

  13. Thank you Marianne for your persistence,openness,and taking a stand. Thank you
    for your communication and listening skills.

  14. The begining of the problem; is the lack of legal power of an Urban Plan as a design document.
    Any Urban Plan of any scale (for a City/Region) must be a restrictive law! not a bargaining tool for developers and municipalities through constant rezoning processes for almost every little piece of land.
    Considering every Urban Plan as a professional and knowledgeable planning document based on every aspect of demographic, social, technical, architectural…etc science; growth and progress must be regulated through periodicaly updating the Plan not through the bargaining process between developer, city planners and “staff”.
    We should abolish entirely or at least restrct drasticly the rezoning process. Public meetings and opinions don’t mean much.

  15. RT @MariannMeedWard: Video: 23 Storeys on Burlington’s Brant Street – Whose City Is It? (Ward 2 News) https://t.co/kwpkPnvMHQ https://t.co…

  16. RT @MariannMeedWard: Video: 23 Storeys on Burlington’s Brant Street – Whose City Is It? (Ward 2 News) https://t.co/kwpkPnvMHQ https://t.co…

  17. I’m getting tired of asking people locally to speak up. A great number of them say “There is no point”. After all these years I’m beginning to see what they mean. We go for the meetings, write letters, speak up… it doesn’t make a difference. How some counsellors can continue to pass/accept these proposals is beyond me. What part of WE DO NOT WANT SKYSCRAPERS IN DOWNTOWN BURLINGTON don’t they get???
    Which one of these counsellors actually lives downtown?
    Why not build something that will help the vendors, like another multilevel parking garage, to encourage people to shop in the daytime, rather than be known as the City of parking fines…
    How about some affordable housing for our seniors? Have you taken a look at people that line up for food because they can’t afford to live? These are the people that made this City.
    Please don’t knock on my door at the next election.
    M. Cole.
    Downtown Burlington.

  18. We live on Pearl and would be affected by that monstrosity’s shadow! The movie is great and sure shows how totally out of place the building would be. Terrible! Build it in north Burlington!

  19. I’m on The Issue tonight at 8pm – November 7. Please tune in. I will discuss what it’s like owning businesses in the downtown core and living here too. It’s not as easy as you’d think.
    Our retail is shrinking. We need more vibrancy and more retail. We have serious parking problems. We need a vision to grow. Not all developers to decide this for us.

  20. Hate it. Find it interesting that council makes an official plan and then ignores it. Thanks Marianne for standing alone all the time for your ward.

  21. LOL @ people freaking out over 23 storeys. Is this a city or not?

    That said, anything built in that area should have storefronts on the ground floor. Single-use is inefficient use of space.

  22. AWESOME VIDEO!: 23 Storeys on Burlington’s Brant Street – Whose City Is It? https://t.co/QD8PbhLs4O via @mariannmeedward @dtburlingtonon

  23. The Planning Department seems concerned about our profile from across the lake. Not sure that those residents pay taxes here.
    Our City Manager, James Ridge, supports the quality over quantity argument (i.e. forget about the hideous heights). The last Panning Director who could say”no” to greedy developers was Bruce Krushelnicki.
    I miss him.
    Paul Sharman thinks that the Mississauga/ New York skylines are wonderful. Paul, we’re in Burlington!
    Rick Craven thinks that the future for Burlington is tall buildings and we just need to get over our “height aversion”. Talk about a ultimate NIMBY perspective, Rick!
    John Taylor thinks that the other Carriage Gate development,The Berkeley, is “butt ugly”. Who voted to proceed with it, John?
    And then there is Jack, who won’t sign on to a Code of Conduct. Why? It’s so important to do this prior to the October 22nd, 2018 municipal election, don’t you think?

    Three (3) times the height of City Hall is just out of proportion and anyone/ everyone in Burlington can see that, even though the majority of our councillors can’t/ won’t.
    This decision is a “no brainer”.
    Just saying.

    Another disenfranchised tax-paying resident. One of many, I suspect.

What's your take?