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Burlington’s mayor says future growth will ‘reflect the community’s vision’

Years of frustration over the scope of downtown and waterfront development led Burlington voters to elect an almost entirely new council in 2018. Don Mitchell / Global News

Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward says her city can once again “grow and evolve in ways that truly reflect the community’s vision.”

Ontario’s minister of municipal affairs and housing, during a media event at Burlington city hall on Tuesday morning, announced that Burlington will be allowed to adjust the boundary of its existing provincial Urban Growth Centre (UGC) designation.

Steve Clark said the adjustment of the boundary of the UGC, once centred on the downtown core, will move the focus of the designation to the Burlington GO Station.

Read more: Homebuilders disappointed as Burlington approves temporary freeze on downtown development

“This redesignation puts homes near transit, and it also preserves all the incredible features that make downtown Burlington unique,” said Clark.

“This is smart, thoughtful, long-term planning” that aligns with the government’s priority of supporting the development of transit-oriented communities, Clark added.

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“We heard the call for change across this city,” said Meed Ward. “Today’s announcement is a crucial step in the journey towards creating the community we envision.”

Read more: Election brings new mayor, sweeping changes to Burlington city council

She added that the adjustment of the UGC designation that once centred on the downtown core “allows us to direct height and density in future developments to where it belongs,” near mass transit.

“They did not see the cherished character of our downtown and lakefront being protected,” she said of residents, “and this is a big part of the reason that we elected, in Burlington, a new mayor and five new councillors in 2018.”

The West End Home Builders’ Association says it is disappointed by the removal of the Downtown
Burlington Urban Growth Centre.

“In the middle of a housing crisis within a region challenged to achieve existing growth expectations”, association CEO Mike Collins-Williams said “now is not the time to remove opportunities for new housing supply in complete communities.”

The homebuilders also believe the decision is a “disservice” to downtown businesses and will set a precedent for other mayors and municipal councils throughout the Golden Horseshoe that are opposed to density and intensification in their core areas.

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