A Statutory Public Meeting at Burlington City Hall this week revealed a number of questions and concerns about a proposed major development, east of Aldershot, near Mapleview Mall.
While no members of the public took advantage of the opportunity to speak, members of Council put their initial concerns on the record.
The Molinaro Group is proposing to build four mixed-use towers, 22- 35 storeys, on the northwest corner of Plains Road East and Fairview Street, near Mapleview Mall. The proposal would include 1,049 residential units, some retail space on the first floor, and five levels of underground parking. The developer proposes to relocate, on the site, an existing historic brick house.
Downtown Councillor Lisa Kearns made it clear that she expected the developer to comply with a Heritage Burlington Committee request that the historic building be formally protected by Provincial designation.
“Heritage is incredibly important to our community……..I have to admit that I am still a little bit nervous about how to secure that property for the future should anything change. I do not want to approve the project if I don’t know for certain that the heritage would be preserved”.
The developer’s representative said it is too early to agree to Provincial designation. He said that the future use of the building needs to be determined first.
The Queen Anne style house was constructed around 1814 and is already on the City’s Municipal Register of Cultural Heritage Resources.
Mayor Marianne Meed Ward reminded the meeting that Council has the authority to designate, whether the developer likes it or not, although forced designation is seldom used.
Meed Ward also expressed some concern about the lack of park space in and near the development. She questioned whether the developer could build a bridge from the site over the nearby railway tracks to Leighland Park.
“You are not supplying sufficient amount of parkland the way we would normally calculate it. Looking at Leighland Park, which is literally across the tracks….would it be possible to create some sort of pedestrian linkage from the site to Leighland Park, similar to the Drury Lane bridge?”
The developer’s representative responded that the idea would be very expensive and working with CN Rail is difficult. Meed Ward indicated she intends to pursue the matter.
Other concerns raised at the Statutory Public meeting were: the need for some affordable housing units within the project and the safety of three new driveways on the adjacent curved road.
Shadowing this entire discussion is the fact that the Province requires municipalities to make a decision within 120 days of the application being filed, after which the developer may appeal to the Ontario Land Tribunal. In this case the 120 days expire on September 16 but planning staff made it clear to the politicians that it will be 2022 before they have a final recommendation on the proposed development.
By Rick Craven