The Hamilton Spectator

Big plans proposed for Burlington


Spring is near! Closing King Road at the escarpment for endangered Jefferson salamander­s to cross safely to their breeding ponds is a sure sign for me. King Road is closed until April 22.

Peregrine falcons Judson and McKeever are courting and will soon nest again on a ledge of the Sheraton in Hamilton. It’s the 30th year for peregrines. And bald eagles are nesting again on RBG lands. What more could we ask!

Tyandaga Golf Course will remain 18 holes, pleasing Burlington golfers. And council is finally tackling ward and council sizes — the first review since the 2006 change. Its workload is excessive for seven people. Last week, one was absent. Another had a conflict of interest, thus couldn’t vote on an important item. This small a council just doesn’t work, and Mayor Marianne Meed Ward increased members’ loads by making them all deputy mayors of different programs. She supports enlarging council.

Last week’s committee agenda was about 500 pages long! The mayor and Ward 2 Coun. Lisa Kearns especially appear to read agendas thoroughly. Others seem to zero in on specific items, but appear less familiar with others. A new format has delegation­s speak at the onset on items from all three sections. Thirteen did. Each has up to 10 minutes, thus meetings are necessaril­y long.

The most intriguing item was a proposal by Alinea (formerly Paletta Group) for its 1200 King Rd. 48-hectare property (about 120 acres). They envisage housing, sporting and entertainm­ent venues, possibly a post-secondary campus and retail. But they want a partner. Burlington would have to buy land from them. The committee wants a staff report in Q2. No applicatio­n has been received yet, but residentia­l units should not be allowed to proceed without some of the other desirable components. I recall a Carriage Gate approval for a condo, medical office and parking garage, where only the condo materializ­ed.

Two proposals on Cooke Boulevard near the Aldershot GO station were approved last week. A 22-storey condo at 1026, just north of Plains Road, has 0.95 parking spaces total (resident and visitor) per unit. Burlington’s OLT-approved standard is 1.25 per unit. This property is close to Plains, where heights are lower. The number of units is unclear, but can have a 10.5:1 floor area ratio.

Three buildings at 1120 by the Adi group — 34, 32 and 30 storeys — north of Masonry Court, from Cooke to Waterdown Road, have 1,165 units. There is one massive interconne­cted garage, six levels deep. This one has 0.97 spaces per unit total. As I’ve noted before, local “wars” can occur over parking.

Our transporta­tion department often agrees to parking ratios developers want, and never says roads can’t handle more traffic. But drivers do! It doesn’t matter that rushhour traffic will make the city a parking lot when all approved units are built. Lots of bike parking in both projects, but when did we last see cyclists doing the weekly grocery shopping? Our transit just isn’t convenient enough.

The “Pipeline to Permit” committee held its first real meeting last Thursday. It has 13 members: four from council, one each from a nonprofit, Conservati­on Halton and Halton Region, three from the developmen­t industry and three from the public.

Developers don’t like posting letters of credit as safeguards because it affects available cash.

An individual from a company that sells demand bonds explained the difference­s. It felt like I was watching a half-hour commercial for bonds and sellers. It bothered me, too, that the spokespers­on for West End Home Builders Associatio­n moved the motion for staff to prepare a report on using them. This is the only committee that reports directly to council that has non-council voting members. If our excellent finance people support the switch, I’ll feel more confident, but I hope there’s no pressure applied to staff from any source.

These items will go to council on Tuesday.

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