Burlington wins ‘first-step victory’ in Waterfront Hotel development application

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Published January 6, 2023 at 1:24 pm

The City of Burlington has won a “first-step victory” after the Ontario Land Tribunal recently released an update regarding an appeal on a proposed development application in downtown Burlington.

On Jan. 3, 2023, the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) released an update related to the appeal of a development application for the site of the Waterfront Hotel.

The proposed application aims to demolish the existing six-storey hotel and develop two mixed-use tall buildings of 35 storeys and 30 storeys with five-storey podiums. The proposed development includes 4,445 square metres of commercial space, 4,348 square metres of office space, 557 residential apartment units, and a hotel with 122 guest suites. The application also proposes an outdoor mid-block connection from Lakeshore Rd. to Spencer Smith Park, in line with John St.

The recent update from the OLT concluded that the application was “made” on the day a complete application was accepted by the city.

A joint statement from Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns indicated that this date was after the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing “shifted the Urban Growth Centre (UGC) and Major Transit Station Area (MTSA) designations from the downtown towards the Burlington GO station area.”

According to the statement, this means that the applicant can no longer rely on the UGC or MTSA designations to justify their proposal that Burlington City Council unanimously rejected last year.

“The OLT’s determination is a significant victory in our city’s priority to control overdevelopment in our downtown, particularly along our waterfront,” reads the joint statement.

“We worked hard with staff, our Council colleagues, and the Province of Ontario to shift the UGC and MTSA designations to better direct major developments to where they are more suited, namely around our Burlington GO station. This gives us better tools to combat overdevelopment and this finding by the OLT reflects Council’s efforts.”

The statement proceeds to state that there is still “a long way to go” on this file and that a final decision will ultimately be made by the OLT.

“The City is committed to ensuring that the development of this unique property is in line with the best planning outcome and the community’s needs primarily in mind. We will continue to work with our City staff to advocate for the best interests of our residents for a more appropriate project on this key piece of land in our downtown,” concluded the statement.

The community can stay up-to-date on this project here.

Photo: Mayor Marianne Meed Ward’s website

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