Our shoreline in the Old Lakeshore Road area of our downtown waterfront is not protected from development, as we’ve been led to believe, nor are the heritage buildings along the shore safe from demolition.
The Save Our Waterfront movement has been raising concerns about our weakened shoreline protection for a year now – ever since current city council removed the 20m setback from our own bylaws, inside of which no development is supposed take place. The rationale for removing the setbacks: Conservation Halton governs shoreline protection; they’ve got our back. This was a double regulation. Or so we were told.
Fast forward to last week, when the director of planning, Bruce Krushelnicki, told the Burlington Waterfront Access and Protection Advisory committee it’s possible a 3-4 storey building could go on the vacant waterfront lot beside Emma’s Back Porch – even though almost the entire lot is within the setback supposedly governed by Conservation Halton (and no longer governed by our own bylaws).
The penny finally dropped for the downtown councillor, who has been saying this land is undevelopable and has waved off Save Our Waterfront’s concerns as misinformed fear-mongering.
“I thought you couldn’t develop because of setbacks,” he asked at the meeting.
Developers are “creative” – replied our senior city planner. If they can stabilize the shoreline to Conservation Halton’s satisfaction, anything’s possible. And the heritage buildings? They could all be torn down and replaced with a building of the same size and footprint – news to us, since we’ve been told only repairs and renovations are allowed.
Clearly our concerns about shoreline development in the Old Lakeshore Road have been valid all along. But our downtown councillor’s approach – and that of other candidates in this election – has been to malign and misrepresent Save Our Waterfront rather than deal with the legitimate questions and concerns that have been raised. I’m hoping that the end of the election campaign period will mean an end to politically motivated misinformation, and a refocusing on the issues at hand: namely, how we’re going to undo the damage done by the current council and protect our waterfront and shoreline from inappropriate development.
To read the original article on the removal of shoreline protection click here.