A Prosperous Burlington
If you ask me, Burlington is a great place to live and I want to keep it that way.
I found while raising my family that we have just about everything a family wants in Burlington, including:
- Community and sports facilities and programs
- Cultural centres and libraries
- Wonderful green spaces
- Safe neighbourhoods
- Many different housing options
- Local jobs so we can live, work, and play.
Looking forward, these programs and services could be at risk as we will face significant infrastructure challenges over the next ten years.
As your Councillor, I have been an advocate for slow targeted growth in specific areas to help us address these infrastructure challenges in the future. The idea is simple—if we allow intensification in the Downtown (Urban Growth Centre) and around the GO stations (Mobility Hubs) we can attract more people to Burlington, and more people will equate to lower taxes.
By specifically placing the growth in these areas, our existing neighbourhoods will not change.
I voted no to the 19 storey Thomas Alton development in order to protect the Alton neighbourhood and I voted no to the 26 storey Martha Street development because the development envelope was too small for the height they were asking.
I supported the Brant Street 426 and 401/409, 23 and 17 story developments to keep the growth in our Urban Growth Centre and to create a Civic gathering place for residents to enjoy and engage with the City.
This sounds good, but we faced significant challenges in accomplishing this because our Official Plan was out-of-date, and was not aligned with Provincial Policy. Therefore, it was subject to challenges by developers.
This led to a frenzy of developers trying to get their projects in before a new Official Plan was adopted. When the Martha St. Development came in, we refused the application to build 26 stories, but our Official Plan could not defend our position in court.
So when the developer appealed our no-vote decision, the OMB Court ruled against us based on our policies being out of date.
Another issue facing our community is our changing demographics, as we are poised for significant growth in our Seniors population.
This change could dramatically affect our housing market by putting a significant number of single family homes on the market as Seniors downsize.
I believe that by developing affordable options now, young people will be able to establish themselves, and when the time is right, they will be ready to up-size to the single-family homes—keeping our market stable and more balanced.
We are also under significant pressures from the Province to grow.
You may be aware of the Provincial Places to Grow Plan which dictates how much growth our community must take.
The original plan is 10 years old, and we have achieved or will achieve the targets as set out by this plan. The Province, however; put into law on July 1, 2018 new targets for growth and they have directed the Region of Halton to grow by 400,000 people.
The Region is currently in the process of determining the growth targets for Burlington, Oakville, Milton, and Halton Hills. The City of Burlington’s newly adopted official plan takes this into account and we understand the allocations will be made in early 2019.
The plan to grow in our Urban Growth Centre and Mobility Hubs should meet this anticipated growth. This growth will require exceptional planning to ensure its success, such as transportation plans and affordable housing.
A prosperous Burlington means slow targeted growth in our Downtown Urban Growth Centre and around our Go Stations.
This will keep our taxes low while creating jobs, and a mix of affordable housing options while our existing neighbourhoods as we know them will remain much the same.
The alternative is a City that does not grow, and in the words of our Economic Development group, “Cities that don’t grow simply stagnate and become derelict”. I don’t want this to happen to our beautiful City.
Let’s grow responsibly.