Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown

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In early 2019, Burlington City Council directed City staff to re-examine the downtown policies in Burlington’s adopted Official Plan.

By the fall of 2020, Burlington City Council will vote to endorse changes to the policies in Burlington’s adopted Official Plan that guide development in the downtown until 2031, including the height and density of buildings.

To assist Council in making their decision, the City is committed to leading an open and transparent public engagement process to ensure the voices of people from every corner of the city are heard and valued.

Please register with Get Involved Burlington and subscribe to this project page for details about opportunities to provide your meaningful input.

The downtown belongs to all of us. Let’s work together to make the core of our city the best it can be.

In early 2019, Burlington City Council directed City staff to re-examine the downtown policies in Burlington’s adopted Official Plan.

By the fall of 2020, Burlington City Council will vote to endorse changes to the policies in Burlington’s adopted Official Plan that guide development in the downtown until 2031, including the height and density of buildings.

To assist Council in making their decision, the City is committed to leading an open and transparent public engagement process to ensure the voices of people from every corner of the city are heard and valued.

Please register with Get Involved Burlington and subscribe to this project page for details about opportunities to provide your meaningful input.

The downtown belongs to all of us. Let’s work together to make the core of our city the best it can be.

  • City Council Endorses Modifications to the Adopted Official Plan

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    09 Oct 2020

    Burlington City Council endorsed the modifications to the adopted Official Plan at the Council meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 7. The Official plan will now go to Halton Region for final approval.

    On Sept. 30, 2020, staff presented their recommendations for consideration at a public meeting of the Community Planning, Regulation, and Mobility Committee of Council.

    The recommendations, described in report PL-16-20, included new policies and mapping for the Downtown. The policies and mapping recognize the distinct character, needs, functions, and opportunities of various different areas within the Downtown, and identify how the City intends to achieve its objectives for each of those areas and for the Downtown as a whole.

    On Sept. 30, Committee made 10 amendments to staff’s recommendations.

    The recommendations, as amended, were endorsed by Committee on Sept. 30 and by City Council on Oct. 7. Council has directed staff to submit the endorsed policy modifications to Halton Region for inclusion in the Region’s approval of the adopted Official Plan.

    Follow-up on Sept. 16: Virtual Open House

    Thank you to those of you who joined the virtual Open House on Sept. 16, 2020. We hope it was a helpful resource to answer your questions about the recommended modifications to the adopted Official Plan for Downtown and Neighbourhood Centres.

    If you missed the virtual Open House, you can view a video recording and transcript - transript will be posted soon.

    During the meeting, staff said they would follow up with more information about two questions that were asked:

    1. Regarding Bird-Friendly Design Guidelines: the City will be working on Bird-Friendly Design Guidelines in 2021.
    2. Regarding the number of new residential units and jobs expected in Downtown during the time covered by the Official Plan: for more information, refer to section 3.6 of SGL’s October 2019 report, “Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown: Themes, Principles, and Land Use Concepts” page 35.

    Minor Changes to Technical Reports

    The City has made minor changes to some of the technical reports released on June 8, 2020. The changes were made to respond to comments made by Halton Region and Conservation Halton. They are explained in a memo included in the meeting package for the Sept. 30, 2020 meeting of Community Planning, Regulation, and Mobility Committee.

    The revised reports were included in the meeting package for the Oct. 7, 2020 special meeting of Council. They are:

    • Appendix 10.A-1 of PL-16-20: Flood Hazard and Scoped Stormwater Management Assessment with Appendices (September 2020);
    • Appendix 10.A-2 of PL-16-20: Flood Hazard and Scoped Stormwater Management Assessment Drawings (September 2020);
    • Appendix 10.B-1 of PL-16-20: Hager-Rambo Flood Control Facilities Study Report: Downtown and Burlington GO Mobility Hub (September 2020);
    • Appendix 10.B-2 of PL-16-20: Hager-Rambo Flood Control Facilities Study Report: Downtown and Burlington GO Mobility Hub - Appendices (September 2020);
    • Appendix 10.B-3 of PL-16-20: Hager-Rambo Flood Control Facilities Study Report: Downtown and Burlington GO Mobility Hub - Drawings (September 2020);
    • Appendix 11 of PL-16-20: Downtown Burlington Traffic Overview (September 2020);
    • Appendix 13 of PL-16-20: Updated Area-Servicing Plan (ASP) for Stormwater, Water, and Wastewater: Downtown Burlington (September 2020)


    Release of Submissions

    Staff summarized and responded to comments that were received between March 20, 2020 and Sept. 4, 2020 in Appendix 21-A of report PL-16-20, “Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown: Recommended Modifications to the Adopted Official Plan”.

    Here is a link to the full submissions:

    • Submissions received between March 20, 2020 and Sept. 4, 2020

    Official Plan – Next Steps

    The City will send the Council-endorsed policies and mapping to Halton Region to be included in the adopted Official Plan that the Region is reviewing.

    Halton Region is the approval authority who will make a decision to approve the City’s new Official Plan.

    The Region will provide a draft decision for City Council to consider before the Region makes a final decision on the City’s adopted Official Plan. The Region’s draft decision is expected later this year.

    After Halton Region makes a final decision to approve the City’s new Official Plan, parts of the Official Plan can be appealed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT).

    The City will share updates about the Region’s approval process on the New Official Plan website at burlington.ca/newop and the “Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown” project webpage at getinvolvedburlington.ca/official-plan-2019.

    Design Guidelines – Next Steps

    In August 2020, City staff released a first draft of the new Downtown Burlington Placemaking and Urban Design Guidelines, which will help to implement the Official Plan policies for Downtown. The City will continue to seek public feedback on the draft guidelines before presenting the final guidelines to City Council for approval.

    The City will share updates about how you can get involved with the Downtown Burlington Placemaking and Urban Design Guidelines at www.getinvolvedburlington.ca/official-plan-2019.



  • September 16, 2020 - Virtual Open House Information

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    14 Sep 2020

    You are invited to attend a virtual Open House on the recommended modifications to Burlington's Adopted Official Plan (adopted in April 2018).The recommended policy modifications will update the policies of the adopted Official Plan (2018) for Downtown Burlington based on a refined land use vision and built form concept for Downtown as endorsed by City Council on Jan. 27, 2020. Additionally, minor modifications are proposed to simplify and clarify the policies for Neighbourhood Centres, which apply to various locations across the city.

    The virtual Open House will provide the public with the chance to learn more and ask questions about the recommended policy modifications with City staff. There will be a short presentation followed by a question-and-answer period.

    Join us for the Virtual Open House on Modifications to the Adopted Official Plan.

    September 16, 2020 from 7 – 8 p.m. hosted on Microsoft Teams Live

    How to participate virtually:

    · Join using a laptop or personal computer

    · This is recommended for the best viewing experience.

    · Click the link below just before the start of the open house. Once you click the meeting link, a pop up will appear. Click on the box that says, “watch on the web instead.”

    Meeting link for: Adopted Official Plan on September 16, 2020

    · Join from a mobile phone or tablet

    · Download the free Microsoft Teams app prior to the start of the open house. Then, click the link below to join. Once you click the meeting link, a pop up will appear. Click on the box that says, “watch on the web instead.”

    · You may also copy and paste the URL in the link below into the browser on your phone or tablet. Once you click the meeting link, a pop up will appear. Click on the box that says, “watch on the web instead.”

    Meeting link for: Adopted Official Plan on September 16, 2020

    What to expect when you join the meeting:

    · During the Microsoft Teams Live event, the microphones and video cameras of all the participants are automatically turned off so none of the attendees will appear on screen.

    · You can ask a question in real time during the event by pressing the question icon in the top right of the screen.

  • September 10, 2020 - Release of New Appendix 21 to Report PL-16-20

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    The meeting agenda has now been released for the virtual public meeting at the September 30th meeting of Community Planning, Regulation, and Mobility (CPRM) Committee. At this meeting, staff will recommend modifications to the Downtown policies in the Adopted Official Plan through Report PL-16-20: Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown: Recommended Modifications to the Adopted Official Plan.

    New Appendix 21 for Downtown report PL-16-20

    Report PL-16-20 recommends modifications to the Downtown policies in the Adopted Official Plan, resulting from the Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown project. This report was released on June 8, 2020, with appendices 14 and 15 being released in August. Additionally, the City has now released a new appendix, Appendix 21, which includes the following:

    • The main body of Appendix 21 is a covering memo that provides an update on what’s new with the Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown project since the report was released in June.

    o PL-16-20 Appendix 21: Project Update and Responses to Submissions (September 2020)

    • Appendix 21-A contains a summary of all the feedback that was received during the spring and summer, with responses provided by staff.

    o PL-16-20 Appendix 21-A: Response Matrix for Mar-Sep 2020

    • Appendix 21-B is intended to replace Appendix 2. It includes an updated version of the recommended policy modifications, with a few edits made to address feedback received during the summer. Edits are highlighted in grey.

    o PL-16-20 Appendix 21-B: Revisions to Recommended Policy Modifications

    • Appendix 21-C provides a minor edit to the new Schedule D that was released in June in Appendix 3 (the edit corrects a labeling error).

    o PL-16-20 Appendix 21-C: Revisions to Recommended Schedule D

    • Appendix 21-D provides the latest Urban Growth Centre Density Analysis.

    o PL-16-20 Appendix 21-D: Urban Growth Centre Density Analysis, 2020

    • Appendices 21-E and F are intended as aids to illustrate how the current recommendations for Downtown Burlington compare with the 2018 adopted Official Plan and the current, in-effect Official Plan.

    o PL-16-20 Appendix 21-E: Official Plan Comparison Table by Issue

    o PL-16-20 Appendix 21-F1: Official Plan Comparison Table by Precinct

    o PL-16-20 Appendix 21-F2: Official Plan Comparison Table by Precinct – references Schedules

    Report PL-16-20 and all of its appendices can be accessed in the Document Library or by visiting the City calendar as described below.

    Neighbourhood Centres report PL-18-20

    Also, on September 30, staff will be presenting report PL-18-20, which recommends modifications to the Adopted Official Plan policies for Neighbourhood Centres. In accordance with the work plan approved by Council for Neighbourhood Centres, these are minor modifications for the purpose of clarifying the policies that were adopted by Council in 2018.

    How to Access the Reports

    To access report PL-16-20, PL-18-20, and all of their appendices, visit www.burlington.ca/calendar and search for the September 30, 2020 meeting of Community Planning, Regulation, and Mobility Committee. The reports are linked in the Meeting Package.

    Next Steps

    • Virtual Open House on September 16 at 7 p.m.
      1. Attend the virtual Open House to learn more and ask questions about the recommended modifications to the Adopted Official Plan for Downtown (PL-16-20) and Neighbourhood Centres (PL-18-20). A link with meeting instructions and how to access the meeting will be posted on Get Involved closer to the meeting date. Please submit questions in advance by Sept. 15, using the form here. You can also ask live questions during the meeting.


    • Virtual Public Meeting on September 30 (full day)
      1. Attend the virtual Public Meeting where staff will present the recommended policy modifications for Downtown and Neighbourhood Centres to the Community Planning, Regulation, and Mobility Committee of Council.
      2. Meeting is on September 30, beginning at 9:30 a.m. and continuing through 1 and 6:30 p.m. sessions. To access the virtual public meeting, visit the City’s website at burlington.ca/calendar and search for the Sept. 30 meeting of the Community Planning, Regulation & Mobility Committee.
      3. Join the discussion: if you would like to speak at the meeting, you can register in advance (optional) at burlington.ca/delegate or email clerks@burlington.ca. To speak without pre-registering, email clerks@burlington.ca during the meeting.
  • September 2020 - Virtual Open House and Public Meeting

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    You are invited to attend an Open House and Public Meeting on the recommended modifications to Burlington’s adopted Official Plan (adopted in April 2018). The recommended policy modifications will update the policies of the adopted Official Plan (2018) for Downtown Burlington based on a refined land use vision and built form concept for Downtown as endorsed by City Council on Jan. 27, 2020. Additionally, minor modifications are proposed to simplify and clarify the policies for Neighbourhood Centres, which apply to various locations across the city.

    Virtual Open House - Sept. 16, 2020 from 7 - 8 p.m. on Microsoft Teams Live

    The Open House will provide the public with the chance to learn more and ask questions about the recommended policy modifications with City staff. There will be a short presentation followed by a question-and-answer period.

    A link with meeting instructions and how to access the meeting will be posted on Get Involved closer to the meeting date.

    Please submit questions in advance by Sept. 15, using the form on the Get Involved here. You can also ask live questions during the meeting.

    Virtual Public Meeting - Sept. 30, 2020

    At a Public Meeting on Sept. 30, staff will present the recommended policy modifications to the Community Planning, Regulation, and Mobility Committee of City Council through two reports and presentations:

    • Report PL-16-20: Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown: Recommended Modifications to the Adopted Official Plan
    • Report PL-18-20: Recommended Modifications to Adopted Official Plan Policies for Neighbourhood Centres and for Mixed Use Nodes and Intensification Corridors

    These reports are the results of the Scoped Re-examination of the Adopted Official Plan, in accordance with the work plan approved by Council in May 2019 (PB-47-19).

    Both reports will be published on the City’s website in the meeting agenda on Sept. 10, 2020.

    Recommended Mapping for Downtown

    On June 8, the project team released report PL-16-20 and the recommended modifications to policies and mapping for Downtown. This included a revised map of Downtown precincts in a new “Schedule D”, which was contained in Appendix 3 of PL-16-20. Some members of the public have asked the project team to share a copy of the recommended new Schedule D that is separate from Appendix 3, to make it easier to refer to. As requested, here is a copy of that Schedule for ease of reference:

    Recommended Schedule D (June 2020) for Council consideration (PL-16-20)

  • August 27 - Two More Documents Added

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    Here are two more documents on the Downtown. These will be added to staff report PL-16-20 as appendices. This report will be presented to the Community Planning, Regulation, and Mobility Committee on Wednesday, Sept. 30.


    At this time, the City is sharing a first draft of the Placemaking and Urban Design Guidelines for your reference. This is to help you and Council better understand how Official Plan policies and guidelines can work together to guide development in Downtown Burlington. There will be more opportunities for you to be involved in developing the guidelines later in the fall. For now, the first draft of the guidelines is a reference to help you give feedback on the Official Plan policies.

    How to submit comments

    1. email newop@burlington.ca
    2. call 905-335-7600, ext. 7787
      Leave a message and staff will call you back during business hours. Staff are monitoring voicemail and will respond as soon as possible.
    3. Mail
      Alison Enns
      City of Burlington
      Community Planning Department
      426 Brant St. P.O. Box 5013 Burlington, ON L7R 3Z6


    You can also delegate at the public meeting on Sept. 30.

    Next steps

    This September, the project team will:

    • release a new appendix with an update on the project and responding to comments received before Aug. 28.
    • hold a virtual open house meeting where you can ask questions about the recommended policy modifications.
    • present the recommendations to City Council at a special meeting of the Community Planning, Regulation, and Mobility Committee on Sept. 30, 2020. Anyone can delegate at this meeting.


    On Oct. 7, City Council will make a decision on the recommendations. Council’s decision will then be sent to Halton Region to be included in the Region’s review of the overall adopted Official Plan.

    Thank you again for your interest in this project!

  • August 18, 2020 - Virtual Information Meeting Follow Up

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    24 Aug 2020

    Virtual Information Meeting follow-up

    Thank you to those of you who joined the virtual information meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 18. We hope it was a helpful resource about the recommended modifications to the Downtown policies in the adopted Official Plan.

    If you missed the virtual information meeting, there is:

    If you have more questions or comments, please contact the project team. Please send in your comments by Friday, Aug. 28 so they can be considered for the Council Report PL-16-20.

    How to submit comments

    Comments are due to the project team by Friday, Aug. 28 by:

    1. email newop@burlington.ca
    2. call 905-335-7600, ext. 7787
      Leave a message and staff will call you back during business hours. Staff are monitoring voicemail and will respond as soon as possible.
    3. Mail
      Alison Enns
      City of Burlington
      Community Planning Department
      426 Brant St. P.O. Box 5013 Burlington, ON L7R 3Z6

    This will give the project team time to consider your feedback while finalizing the report for the Wednesday, Sept. 30 Committee meeting.

    You can also delegate at the public meeting on Sept. 30.

    Two more documents to come

    Two more documents will be released this week: a Fiscal Impact Analysis and DRAFT Downtown Burlington Placemaking and Urban Design Guidelines.



  • August 2020 Update - Virtual Information Meeting on Aug. 18

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    06 Aug 2020

    You’re Invited to a Virtual Information Meeting on Aug. 18. In June 2020, the project team released recommended modifications to the downtown policies in the adopted Official Plan, along with related reports.

    We know there is a lot of information to sift through. To help you navigate and understand the recommended modifications to the adopted Official Plan, the project team will hold a virtual information meeting on Aug. 18 from 7 p.m. - 8 p.m.

    Meeting details:

    Event date and time: Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020 at 7 - 8 p.m.


    Prior to the meeting, it is recommended that you review the SGL Planning & Design report here.

    The virtual information meeting will be a chance for you to ask questions and learn more about the recommended policy modifications. The project team will present the recommendations and then answer your questions. We hope you will find this to be helpful in case you would like to submit comments on the recommendations. Information on how to participate in the virtual information will be posted on the project web page on Get Involved Burlington closer to the meeting date.

    Your Feedback is Requested by Aug. 28

    If you have comments on the recommended policy modifications, please submit your comments by Friday, Aug. 28. This will give the project team time to consider your feedback while finalizing the report for the Sept. 30 Committee meeting.

    Questions and comments can be directed to the project team as follows:

    1. email newop@burlington.ca

    2. 905-335-7600, ext. 7787 - Leave a message and staff will call you back during business hours. Staff are monitoring voicemail and will respond as soon as possible.

    3. City of Burlington c/o Alison Enns Community Planning Department 426 Brant St. P.O. Box 5013 Burlington, ON L7R 3Z6

    You can also delegate at the public meeting on Sept. 30.

    Additional documents will be released in August

    Two additional documents were expected to be released in July but will now be released in August:

    · Draft Downtown Burlington Placemaking and Urban Design Guidelines

    · Fiscal Impact Analysis

  • June 8, 2020 - Release of Reports and Recommended Modifications to the Adopted Official Plan

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    08 Jun 2020

    The “Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown” (Scoped Re-examination of the Adopted Official Plan) project team has released recommended modifications to the downtown policies in the Adopted Official Plan. These policies will guide development in downtown Burlington to the year 2031. The recommended modifications and associated reports are linked below.

    The recommended modifications are discussed in staff report PL-16-20 and in Appendix 1 of PL-16-20, SGL Planning & Design Final Report.

    The Official Plan recommended modifications themselves are contained in Appendices 2, 3, and 4 of report PL-16-20.

    Appendices 5-14 of report PL-16-20 contain technical studies that have been completed in support of the Re-examination of the Adopted Official Plan.

    Appendix 15 of report PL-16-20 contains draft Downtown Burlington Placemaking and Urban Design Guidelines, to be prepared by SGL Planning & Design and released in July 2020.

    Appendices 16-19 contain information about public engagement that informed the recommended modifications to the adopted Official Plan. This includes responses to feedback received.

    Appendix 20 contains updates on other City projects, as of May 2020. This appendix may be further updated in September 2020.

    Appendix 21 of report PL-16-20 will contain a project update that will be prepared and released in September 2020, in advance of the public meeting. This appendix will address all feedback received up until August 28, 2020.

    The recommended policy modifications come from a re-examination of the downtown policies in the new Official Plan that Council adopted in 2018. In accordance with the August 2019 Public Engagement Plan for the project, these recommended policy modifications have been informed by extensive public engagement, technical studies, analysis of the existing context of the downtown, and the need for City policies to conform to regional and provincial policies and plans.

    Next Steps

    July 2020: The City will share two more documents:

    • Financial Impact Analysis concerning the recommended policy modifications, and
    • Draft Downtown Burlington Placemaking and Urban Design Guidelines for public review.

    Aug. 28, 2020: Deadline to submit comments on the recommended modifications to the adopted Official Plan so the project team has time to consider the feedback in advance of the Sept. 30 Committee meeting.

    Sept. 2020: The project team will release an additional appendix to the staff report PL-16-20 that was published in June. This appendix will provide project updates and a response to all feedback that was received prior to Aug. 28.

    Sept. 30, 2020: City Council will consider all reports at a public meeting of the Community Planning, Regulation, and Mobility Committee on Sept. 30. This meeting will include a presentation from City staff and the project consultants. The public will have a chance to delegate.

    Oct. 7, 2020: Council will consider the Sept. 30 recommendations at a Special Council meeting on Oct. 7. Council will decide whether to endorse the recommended policy modifications and submit them to Halton Region for inclusion in the Region’s approval of the new Official Plan that Council adopted in Apr. 2018.

    Public Engagement

    Anyone with comments on the recommended policy modifications should submit their comments by Aug. 28 so the project team has time to consider the feedback in advance of the Sept. 30 Committee meeting.

    Questions and comments can be directed to the Project Team at

    • newop@burlington.ca
    • 905-335-7600, ext. 7787 - Leave a message and staff will call you back during business hours. Staff are monitoring voicemail and will respond as soon as possible.
    • City of Burlington
      c/o Alison Enns
      Community Planning Department
      426 Brant St.
      P.O. Box 5013
      Burlington, ON L7R 3Z6

    There will also be an opportunity for interested persons to delegate at the public meeting on September 30. As the meeting approaches, it will be possible to register as a delegation in advance (advance registration is optional).


  • June 5, 2020 – Update on Timeline for Release of Recommendations and Reports

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    05 Jun 2020

    The project team continues to work toward the release of the recommended modifications to the adopted Official Plan, and of the associated reports. The materials will be posted the week of June 8, 2020.

  • May 2020 Project Timeline and Process Update

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    08 May 2020

    The “Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown” project (Scoped Re-examination of the Adopted Official Plan) has experienced delays due to COVID-19. Here is an updated project timeline. It includes opportunities for you to get involved through public engagement.

    End of May 2020: The City will release:

    • the recommended policy changes for Downtown Burlington,
    • the associated staff report,
    • consultant report and
    • technical studies.

    These documents will be posted on the project web page on Get Involved Burlington for public review.

    July 2020: The City will share two more documents:

    • Financial Impact Analysis concerning the recommended policy modifications, and
    • Draft Downtown Burlington Placemaking and Design Guidelines for public review.

    Aug. 28, 2020: Anyone with comments on these documents should submit their comments to the project team by Aug. 28 so the project team has time to consider the feedback in advance of the Sept. 30 Committee meeting.

    Sept. 30, 2020: City Council will review all reports at a public meeting of the Community Planning, Regulation, and Mobility Committee on Sept. 30. This meeting will include a presentation from City staff and the project consultants, and opportunities for the public to delegate.

    Oct. 7, 2020: Council will consider the Sept. 30 recommendations at a Special Council meeting on Oct. 7.

    For more information, including information about the recent letter from the Province on the Downtown Major Transit Station Area and Mobility Hub, refer to the memo in the Council Information Package of May 7, 2020 by visiting the Council Information Package web page, selecting the May 7, 2020 and scrolling to page 13 of the package.

    Stay tuned to the project web page on Get Involved Burlington for the upcoming release of documents, and any other project updates.

    Questions and comments can be directed to the Project Team

    • by email: newop@burlington.ca
    • by phone: 905-335-7600, ext. 7787 - Leave a message and staff will call you back during business hours. Staff are monitoring voicemail and will respond as soon as possible.
    • by mail:

    Alison Enns
    Community Planning Department
    426 Brant St.
    P.O. Box 5013
    Burlington, ON L7R 3Z6