The City of Burlington remains luke-warm at best to a proposal that would bring part of the 2030 Commonwealth Games to Aldershot and spark massive development of the lands south of the 403 and north of the railway tracks.
Land owner Paul Paletta is working with the Hamilton 100 Games Committee on a private sector plan to develop the 49-hectare site in conjunction with, and in support of, the games. Louis Frapporti, Chair of the Hamilton team told Burlington politicians that the group is not looking for any kind of commitment at this point, only that “we want Burlington at the table in our discussion with the Province”.
“We are serious. This effort is about seizing the moment”, said Paletta.
Frapporti advised that Gymanstics Canada and Sheridan College are particularly interested in Aldershot. In the past he has also referred to the possibility of track and field facilities.
But, in a report to a Committee meeting last week, City Manager Tim Commisso said “staff are not in a position at this time to recommend to Council that the City of Burlington submit a proposal”. He described the entire subject as “exploratory”.
Commisso pointed out that Paletta already has a proposal for the land before the City, dating back to 2015.The application to create commercial/industrial lots and two large blocks near the GO Station for residential development, is under appeal and now falls under the jurisdiction of the Ontario Land Tribunal. He told the meeting that “legally we must follow-through with the appeal”. He also pointed out that the new Regional Official Plan calls for the land to be used for employment purposes and many of the Commonwealth games related ideas are “not permitted in the current Official Plan and Zoning designations, and then there is a process to be considered”.
Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said that she appreciates the private-sector-led model and that Paletta and the Commonwealth team are not looking for money, but “There is no jumping the que on planning applications. If the private sector wants to build something at 1200 King Road, regardless of whether it’s connected to the games or not, they’ve got to giddy-up, let’s go and bring in an application so we can deal with it”.
After reading the staff report, Paletta commented that the City’s position is not ideal.
“But at the end of the day the City has a job to do. We’ll find a way to work with them and find some common ground to help Burlington meet its goals. …. We haven’t presented this to the City yet, (formal application) but we will. We hope to get a positive response. This is a blank canvass and if there are things they would like to see that aren’t there, we’re happy to accommodate them”.
The submission of an international bid by the Hamilton 100 Committee is anticipated in Fall 2022 with the 2030 host city being announced in November 2023.
By Rick Craven