Depending on who Tyandaga residents choose to believe, the meeting was either positive and helpful or a failure to connect.
Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and Councillor Kelvin Galbraith met privately last week with representatives from the Tyandaga Community Coalition (TCC).
The aim of the Mayor’s meeting was to create “a more informal, two-way dialogue to hear the residents’ concerns and suggestions, and ensure they can continue to make their voices heard through this process in advocating for the best outcome for the community.”
The TCC is protesting a proposed new development at the southwest corner of Kerns Road and Four Seasons Drive. A developer wants to remove the existing small retail plaza and replace it with a four-storey retirement home.
Responding to media inquiries after the meeting, Meed Ward described the session in positive terms. “It was a very valuable and productive meeting with residents”.
Councillor Galbraith did the same. “I am thankful that we can continue a respectful dialogue”.
TCC representatives who attended agreed that the meeting was cordial, but they are disappointed with the result.
“The Mayor seems to have a blind spot for retirement homes and the negative effects they have on a neighbourhood”, said Doug Stewart, leader of TCC in an e-mail exchange.
Another TCC representative who attended was even more outspoken, also via e-mail.
“To hear the Mayor say that Planning has indicated that the proposed development meets the new Zoning requirements in the Official Plan – apparently only because it meets 4 storeys – was extremely depressing………. there is absolutely no doubt that the developer is the one being catered to and that the residents have little or no value in the eyes of this City”, said Pamela Gowing.
A virtual public meeting, held recently, featured fourteen delegations and 230 letters and e-mails opposed to the development application. It was frequently referred to as a “monstrosity”.
FGL Kerns Inc requires a change to the existing Zoning Bylaw to permit the four-storey retirement home which would include 123 residential units and 66 parking spaces, most of which would be underground.
For the neighbours it’s not just about the height. They also have concerns about parking, traffic, privacy intrusions and the loss of the current retail plaza.
Public discussions about the building began in 2019. The issue remains unresolved as City Planning Staff still have not yet made a recommendation to Council.
The entire matter is somewhat awkward for Mayor Meed Ward as she once lived in the neighbourhood.