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.

  • Save the Date: Jan. 16, 2020

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    Preferred Concept going to Committee of Council


    On Jan. 16, 2020, Planning staff will present a report to the Planning and Development Committee recommending a land use vision and concept for the future built form of the downtown. This recommendation will be based on the evaluation of two preliminary concepts that were presented for public feedback in fall 2019.

    For information about the recommended concept and the Jan. 16 meeting, where it will be presented, please visit getinvolvedburlington.ca and subscribe for project updates (using the “subscribe” form at the bottom of the page).

    In early January 2020, staff will publish:
    • The recommended concept
    •The evaluation of the two preliminary concepts
    • Details about the Jan. 16 meeting
    • Information about how to register to delegate at the Jan. 16 meeting.

    To subscribe for email notifications on the Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown project, please email newop@burlington.ca with a request to be added to the project mailing list.



  • Information Report to Planning and Development Committee - December 5, 2019 at 9:30 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. and reconvene at 6:30 p.m.

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    Upcoming Council Discussion

    Discussion about the re-examination of the downtown policies in the adopted Official Plan will continue at a Burlington City Council Planning and Development Committee meeting on Thursday, Dec. 5 at 9:30 a.m. at City Hall in Council Chambers at 426 Brant St.

    City Council will consider a staff report

    At the meeting, City staff will:

    • provide an overview of the project
    • present a report, PB-89-19: Taking a Closer Look at Downtown: Concepts Discussion, that highlights the themes, principles and land-use concepts developed to show two possible concepts for how downtown Burlington could accommodate growth and development in the future
    • share a preliminary review of the public feedback received to date and preliminary directions.

    Register to speak at the meeting:

    The meeting will also provide an opportunity for input from the public and City Council. To register as a delegate to speak to Council at the meeting, please visit burlington.ca/delegate. Opportunities to delegate in the evening at 6:30 p.m. are also available. Register to speak to Council by Weds. Dec 4 at 12:00 noon.






  • Just Added *Drop-in Sessions* to review the two proposed concepts

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    Thank you to everyone who took the time to attend an Action Lab over the last few weeks to review and share your thoughts on the two future concepts of downtown Burlington. Revising the downtown policies in Burlington’s adopted Official Plan is complicated and we appreciate your continued commitment to participating in the discussion and the process. The feedback shared at the Action Labs and through the online survey will help City staff identify which aspects of the two concepts you like and dislike so that they can develop a third concept which will be presented to City Council in January 2020.

    If you did not have a chance to attend an Action Lab but would still like an opportunity to meet with a City planner to review the two proposed concepts, please drop by a pop-up event on the following days:

    Friday, Nov. 8 from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at City Hall, room 305

    Tuesday, Nov. 12 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at City Hall, room 305

    Friday, Nov. 15 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at City Hall, room 307

    These informal drop-in sessions will provide participants with an opportunity to:

    1. Review the work done to date on the project
    2. Ask questions about the two concepts
    3. Talk to a planner





  • Report outlining the 2 Concepts are now available

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    This report presents an updated vision for Downtown Burlington and a Land Use map with revised precincts, and introduces two different concepts for how the downtown vision can be achieved with different development approaches in each precinct.

    The report also explains how the vision, precincts, and concepts were created based on public feedback received in August-September, as well as technical studies and consideration for the need to conform with regional and provincial policy.

    Survey is live and open until end of day on November 19th.

  • Feedback Report - What we Heard in August and September

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    Read the Feedback Report

    An objective set out in the public engagement plan was to create an ongoing record of what is said during engagements and to make it available to the public throughout the process. This is so the public can track the progress of the project, including reports back to the community to highlight how feedback was or was not incorporated in the final recommendations to Council.

    The purpose of this report is to provide that record. The Feedback Report summarizes what we heard through the August engagement period and includes feedback received up to and including the September 14th Food for Feedback event.



  • Thanks for your feedback! - What we've heard so far:

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    Thank you to everyone who participated in the first round of public engagement in August to share what matters most to them about the downtown.

    Some things heard most often include:

    • Keep and attract new businesses
    • Protect and enhance existing green spaces, strengthen connections to the waterfront and plant more trees
    • Enhance downtown's role as a year-round cultural, tourism, shopping, leisure and event destination
    • Housing options and affordability
    • Mid and low-rise built form is preferred in many areas
    • Enhance pedestrian spaces and provide more transit and cycling options, and reduce congestion
    • Maintain the small-town charm and preserve heritage
    • Safer, more usable, inclusive public spaces
    • Parking
    The full Feedback Report will be out soon. The next phase of public engagement on this project is starting in October.

  • Background Report - What you need to Know is now available

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    The background report - Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown - What you need to Know is now available.

    This report is provided on behalf of the City of Burlington by SGL Planning and Design Inc. It is the first step in the re-examination of the Official Plan, and it is intended to provide you with a guide to the background to the City’s Official Plan (OP) Policies for the Downtown and the process the City is currently undertaking to re-examine the Downtown OP Policies


  • Citizen Action Labs - Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown

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    In the summer and fall of 2019, there will be two key opportunities for public engagement where your input will directly inform a recommendation that will be presented to Burlington City Council in March 2020.

    The first public engagement opportunity will take place in August both online and in person. Look for the following events to participate:

    1. Citizen Action Labs: Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown
    To help identify what matters most about downtown Burlington, the City will host two Citizen Action Labs on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019. No registration is required.

    Citizen Action Labs: Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown
    When: Thursday, Aug. 22
    Times: 1 to 3 p.m. or 7 to 9 p.m.
    Where: Art Gallery of Burlington, 1333 Lakeshore Rd

    What to Expect
    At these in-person, public sessions, participants will work in small groups to discuss and identify what is most important to them about downtown Burlington. The feedback gathered will be used to inform the creation of two concepts of what the downtown could look like in the future. These concepts will be shared with the public in October for further review and input.

    Please note:

    • Free parking passes will be provided
    • This event is accessible to people who use mobility devices. To request other disability related accommodation, please contact thomas.douglas@burlington.ca or 905-335-7600 ext. 7811.

    2. Participate Online
    For those who are unable to attend one of the Citizen Action Labs, an online survey will be available beginning the week of Aug. 12 until Aug. 30 on Get Involved Burlington.

    3. Drop by a Pop-up Event
    Throughout the month of August, City staff will be visiting a variety of locations and events throughout the community to talk with residents and identify what is most important to them about downtown Burlington. Stay tuned to Get Involved Burlington for a full list of locations and times.


  • First Steps in the Project

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    Over the next few months, the City of Burlington will be looking for your feedback and ideas to help refine and improve the downtown policies.

    In early August, the City will share with the public:

    • An engagement plan that will outline opportunities for the community to share their input
    • Background report that will contain everything you need to know to get involved in this project.
    Engagement opportunities will begin in mid-August. Stay tuned for more information.