Unexpected population growth forces Burlington to rethink future service needs


Published March 23, 2023 at 5:07 pm

Burlington will grow larger than expected which is forcing the City to re-evaluate how it will deliver services and programs in the future.

The approach is needed because of new demands to increase the housing stock which Burlington has pledged to meet with at least 29,000 more homes by 2031.

A report that will be presented at an upcoming meeting of the City’s planning committee highlights the need to start preparing for the population burst in the coming decades. Specifically, it will look at recreation and cultural needs.

“(Because of) the changing landscape of the city, it is timely to re-evaluate community needs and priorities for parks, recreation and cultural services for the next 20-30 years,” reads the report. “The biggest change is the projected growth of the City through the intensification policies….this projected growth will have a significant impact on parks, recreation and cultural services.”

Current estimates list Burlington’s population at approximately 190,000. That number is expected to swell to $260,000 if the new housing targets are met.

The report states that City planners have started working on updates on how services and programs will be delivered in the future because of the changing demographics. When the updates are concluded the City expects to have a clearer picture of the future needs for new recreation and leisure facilities and programs and revitalizing existing facilities and how much it will cost.

A City official, who asked not to be named, said this study — which is expected to be completed next year — will show the costs associated with this unanticipated growth.

“We were already planning for the future but now we have to look at it differently,” said the source. “The Province has put pressure on us to approve more homes and condos and apartments but that comes at a cost. Parks and recreation facilities are just part of it. But we’re going to need more firefighters, more police, more roads, more transit, everything…and somebody is going to have to pay for it and ultimately it will be the taxpayers. This is an issue all levels of government are going to have to deal with.”





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