People I talk to just do not know what the City of Burlington is doing.
I want people to realize that city development is no longer being done for the purpose of making an enjoyable place to live. It's now driven the belief that a "better" city is a more dense city. Under this way of thinking the purpose of the city it to "hold people" not "provide for them". Thus the plans for this city are ever more extreme and less in sync with the local taxpayers who fund it as taxed spiral out of control. Things like the New Street Road Diet, 421 Brant (The 23 story hi-rise across from city hall), 409 Brant (The 18 story twin tower) are examples.
A slow down or slight modification of this "growth at all costs" agenda will not make any difference in the end. A city filled with 11 story buildings is not really any different than one filled with 18 stories. In the tight alleys that emerge, you are not going to have any idea how high the buildings are. We need to completely reset this system and refocus it on residents. I suggest a citywide 6-floor limit.
Instead of residents creating a city environment that residents want, planners intend to create a city that will simply produce the residents that fit the plan. Democratic decision making has been completely reversed in favour of what the authorities think best. That is why no one cares what the local residents want. Locals just need to be “adapted” to the “plan” preferably before they understand it and definitely before they vote the architects out.
The current plan is little more than to jam people in wherever you can in any way possible; the more the better. Thus producing an infinitely growing tax base at theoretically no cost to the Province, GO train users with little choice for Metrolinx, spreadsheets showing greater density for Places to Grow and endless employment for urban planners. Thus the groups encouraging all this get an endless number of clients for themselves. There is no focus on high-value urban environments, vibrancy, transit or any liability issue. Proponents just reference some vague future where an urban utopia might occur – seemingly without plan or cost – created by density alone. So long as you can walk to a local convenience store and stagger to the train in the morning while passing modern art, these groups see you as fully serviced by the standards of this new urban model.
The plan is Burlington and other municipalities will grow forever – the only thing changing over time is the level of grotesques required to house the next batch of migrant workers. Costs remain steady by simply rationing what is, among whatever the new population is. Our communities converted into high-density worker tenements to hopefully drum up train usage and our roads deliberately clogged to drum up walking or cycling. Hi-rise condos to be built everywhere.
These projects are being promoted as part of an agenda by groups like Metrolinx, not through democratic action, but by authoritarian direction from the top. We have the right to determine what happens in our local communities. This is a free country, not an authoritarian dictatorship where bureaucrats can simply draw over people's homes with skyscrapers because it fits in with the fad of the moment. This is intolerable. I suggest we vote in a clear pattern that demonstrates to provincial and local politicians that proceeding with this madness will carry a fatal political cost.
These Provincial plans seem to have activated an authoritarian streak and converted the city government into a subsidiarity of Metrolinx or Places to Grow. This has effectively removed any method the local population has of modifying any of these schemes. Engagement with the public only centers around minor issues or informing people on these plans. Any discussion on if the changes make any sense or are even wanted by the people living here is off the table.
Top-down visions of utopia don't work. They have never worked in the past, and this new version of a high-density urban utopia will fare little batter. The reason is simple – people are different and the top down authorization prescription never fits enough people. It's not for people – it's for one type of person that planners think we all should be and believe they can force us into.
I want people to understand this all comes from the notion that our lives are to be "managed" by "professionals" set on master plans. When a conflict exists between our local rights and preferences the "plan" will always take priority. This a system that can only end in ruin.
What we need to do is send a clear message to all levels of government that we as voters have identified this and find it unacceptable. In my experience, once politicians at any level understand that a position is fatal to them – things change immediately. It's important that we elect people that understand this trend fully voice opposition to it and are keen to reverse it.