The application for the Waterfront Hotel redevelopment, refused by the City of Burlington in April, 2022, and appealed shortly thereafter by Vrancor, was scheduled to be adjudicated at the Ontario Land Tribunal in a 3-week hearing commencing April 29th. But you knew that, right!

To our surprise, Vrancor has just submitted (2/6/24) a set of revisions to that application that includes a reduction of the podium from 5/6 storeys to 3/4, some dedicated parkland along the West property line, a relocated entrance/ exit off Elizabeth Street and a re-articulation of the two proposed 30 & 35 storey towers, to appease some of Burlington’s and Citizen’s PLAN B’s concerns.

We’ve dubbed it Design V1.1, simply because the package of revisions, when compared to the long list of deficiencies/ violations of the original application identified by the City’s Planning Department, appears light on remedies, and remains far from the Preferred Concept with 21 & 22 storey towers recommended in the Waterfront Hotel Planning Study (2022). It’s just not Version 2.0. Regardless, we have asked our urban planner to assess the new design and will keep you informed of what he discovers; good or bad.

What’s also interesting is that the submitted diagrams were marked “Issued for OLT Settlement” which seems presumptive to us, and even confusing to the City’s lead counsel, Chris Barnett.

The Waterfront Hotel redevelopment is just too important for the downtown waterfront community and hence all of Burlington, to be decided by the OLT on the basis of a package of “last minute” design revisions to an originally flawed application. Does it not deserve an entirely new application to be submitted for a comprehensive review by the City’s Planning Department?

Let’s take the time to get this one right!