You’ve heard about Burlington’s proposed new Official Plan, right? You may have seen documents at City Hall or eavesdropped on folks at coffee shops across the city discussing the Martha St. condo that’s been approved by the province. Well, residents have a chance to weigh in at two public meetings. They’re being held on Tuesday, Feb. 27 at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. The meeting is taking place at City Hall in council chambers. Anyone who would like to speak isn’t required to register in advance. Here are five things to know about Burlington’s proposed new official plan.
5. Its definition.
Burlington’s proposed new Official Plan is the city’s community vision that will guide decision-making on how Burlington uses land, manages growth and invests in infrastructure to 2031 and beyond. An Official Plan is a statutory document required by the province which addresses the location and form of new housing, industry, offices and shops as well as anticipated needs for infrastructure. Streets, parks, transit, schools, community amenities, and other elements of a growing city are all considered in the Official Plan.
4. Vertical growth.
The policies in the plan reflect the key directions in Burlington’s Strategic Plan 2015-2040, approved in April 2016, which include saying no to urban sprawl and protecting Burlington’s rural area. Through the strategic plan, city council has made the decision to grow up in key parts of Burlington’s urban area instead of growing out.
3. Burlington’s population is growing.
About half of the 250,000 to 300,000 people who immigrate to Canada each year will settle in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA), including in the Burlington. Data from the 2016 Census shows Burlington grew by 7,535 people between 2011 and 2016 – that’s a 4.3 per cent overall growth rate. Burlington’s proposed new Official Plan will help the city plan for a growing population.
2. It’s been revised over and over.
The third version of the city’s proposed new Official Plan was released on Feb. 7, 2018. Since the plan was originally released in April 2017, input received from the public has resulted in hundreds of revisions to the plan. A complete list of all the updates can be found online.
1. Land use.
In the proposed new Official Plan, 50 per cent of the city will continue to be protected rural land; 34 per cent will remain established residential neighbourhoods; and 11 per cent will be land for employment. Only five per cent of the city will see targeted growth. The majority of this growth is targeted in the areas around the city’s GO stations and in downtown Burlington. These areas are called mobility hubs.
Images courtesy of the City of Burlington