Burlington’s Draft New Official Plan – What Do You Think?

Draft Official Plan cover page
Cover page of Burlington’s Draft New Official Plan

If you are passionate about sustainable growth and environmental and rural protection, the Official Plan is an important policy document to be aware of and to get involved in.

The City of Burlington wants to hear from residents about the city’s draft new Official Plan. The plan will be used to guide decision making on how the city uses land, manages growth and invests in infrastructure over the next 20 years.

What is an Official Plan?

An Official Plan is a legal document required by the Province of Ontario that describes a city’s land-use strategy. It addresses things that are needed for a growing city such as the location and form of new housing, industry, offices, shops, and anticipated needs for infrastructure like streets, parks, transit, and community recreation centres.

The policies in the draft new Official Plan reflect the key directions in Burlington’s Strategic Plan 2015-2040, approved by city council in April 2016.

Why is Burlington Growing?

Whether you have lived in Burlington for 30 years, 10 years or two, chances are you’ve noticed changes in your city. It’s grown. Over the next 20 years, Burlington will undergo an important transition; we are transforming and growing from a suburban to a more urban community.

Grow Bold - Grow pillar
Burlington’s New Draft Official Plan – Grow Pillar

The population for the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area grew by 380,293 people between 2011 and 2016, with 12 per cent of that growth happening in Halton Region. The Province of Ontario’s growth plan, Places to Grow, as well as the region of Halton’s Official Plan mandate that Burlington plan for growth. Instead of growing out, Burlington City Council has made the decision through the Strategic Plan to grow up or intensify in key urban areas. This direction will enable Burlington to curb sprawl, protect the rural area and make efficient use of land and existing infrastructure to accommodate more people and jobs.

Burlington's New Draft Official Plan
Burlington’s New Draft Official Plan – Gather Pillar

As our city grows, it is important to understand that many of the things we value about Burlington today will not change, like our established neighbourhoods. More than half of the city will continue to be protected rural land. Only five to six per cent of Burlington will be targeted for growth with a variety of building sizes, types of housing, jobs, transportation, shops, recreation and services. Established neighbourhoods will see some change, but it will be limited and that growth will not be required to meet the growth requirements of the Province.

Grow Bold - Green pillar
Burlington’s New Draft Official Plan – Green Pillar

Highlights of the New Official Plan

Policies in Burlington’s draft new Official Plan:

  • reaffirm the city’s commitment to a firm urban boundary that protects Burlington’s rural area and support the viability of farming
  • introduce a city-wide Natural Heritage System
  • support environmental sustainability, including direction on climate change, water resources, urban forestry, sustainable design, and more
  • prioritize growth to the Mobility Hubs – the areas around the city’s three GO stations and downtown
  • integrate land use and transportation planning and introduce a Frequent Transit Network to service the city’s areas of growth
  • protect established residential neighbourhoods by focusing growth to other areas of the city
  • place a strong emphasis on building design excellence and great public spaces
Grow Bold - Go pillar
Burlington’s New Draft Official Plan – Go Pillar

Take Action!

There are a number of ways you can get involved in the new Official Plan:

  1. Attend an Event

An open house for the draft new Official Plan will be held on:

Wednesday, May 17
7 to 9 p.m.
Tansley Woods Community Centre (Community Room 2), 1996 Itabashi Way.

The meeting will include a brief presentation about the draft new Official Plan followed by facilitated discussion groups to provide residents with an opportunity to share their feedback on the draft plan.

Visit our booth at the Let’s Live Green event:

Saturday, May 27
1 to 5 p.m.
Tansley Woods Community Centre (Atrium), 1996 Itabashi Way.

Two “Ask a Planner” drop in sessions will be held on:

Wednesday, May 31
1 to 4 p.m.
Art Gallery of Burlington, 1333 Lakeshore Road, Shoreline Room.


Monday, June 12
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Haber Recreation Centre, 3040 Tim Dobbie Drive, Community Room 2.

The “Ask a Planner” meetings are an opportunity for the public to drop in and talk to a planner and ask questions about the Draft New Official Plan.

  1. Take the Survey

A survey asking for input about the draft new Official Plan is available online.

  1. Complete the Grow Bold Workbook

The Grow Bold workbook allows residents to provide their input at a time and place that is convenient for them. The book can be completed individually or by a group. Copies of the workbook can be found online at www.burlington.ca/newOP until June 23, 2017.

  1. Look for Grow Bold at Community Events
Grow Bold logo
Burlington’s New Draft Official Plan – Grow Bold Logo

Throughout the spring and early summer, city staff will be at events throughout the community looking for resident input about the draft new Official Plan. For a listing of events and times, visit www.burlington.ca/growbold.

Feedback from the community about the draft Official Plan must be provided by June 30th and will be considered in the preparation of the proposed new Official Plan for adoption by City Council in the fall of 2017.

Take Action Burlington! Get involved in the city’s new Official Plan.


This post was written by Leah Smith, Senior Planner, Planning and Building Department with the City of Burlington.

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