City removes signs at Martha & Lakeshore that contravene bylaw

On my way down to Remembrance Day Ceremonies this morning, saw work crews at Martha & Lakeshore.

A number of residents have contacted my office and city bylaw staff in recent weeks regarding the large signage at the corner of Martha/Lakeshore advertising a non-approved development, to ask whether the signage conforms to the city’s bylaw, and if not whether the city can compel compliance or remove the signage.

City of Burlington bylaw staff had arranged for work crews to remove signs that contravene our bylaw.


We expect all businesses will comply with our bylaws.
City provides ample time for compliance before taking enforcement action. It is a last resort.

The signage does not conform to the bylaw because of its size, and the city can remove signs on private property that do not conform.

The city has authority to enter private property to remove signs where voluntary compliance is not achieved.

Residents in the immediate area may be aware that the city has now removed the signage. Work crews were on site this morning. I passed them on my way to Spencer Smith Park for Remembrance Day services.

The developer who had put up the signs had previously been formally directed by the city to remove the signage and chose not to do so. Given there are no permits to do any work on the site, the city took the position that this signage is not hoarding, rather pure advertising signage. As such, it does not comply with our sign bylaw as it exceeds the sign size limits.

The city has taken a similar position with respect to other properties in Burlington where signage in the form of hoarding goes up in advance of permits. The developer has also been advised how to bring any future signage into compliance, including getting the proper permits from the city.

The city sign bylaws are in place to ensure public safety, as well as protect and enhance the aesthetic qualities and visual character of the City of Burlington, among other intents. (Read the full bylaw here: Sign Bylaw)

The city expects compliance from all members our community with all of our bylaws, and to that end provides the opportunity for appropriate notice to allow time to comply before the city takes enforcement action. Where compliance is not achieved within a reasonable timeframe, the city will enforce its bylaws in service of the public interest.

As of this morning, the city has now taken enforcement action with respect to the signage at Martha & Lakeshore.

Watch Cogeco Report on the sign removal

Written by Marianne Meed Ward

A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made.

As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington.

The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful.

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  1. I actually got a reply when I Tweeted Adi and asked what they actually were promising people since they do not have approval from the OMB. I was told that all of the prospective purchasers had full disclosure that they were not yet approved, and in any event, if they lose their appeal, then they will give the “investors” back their money. Sounds silly to me to tie up your funds on “the if come” but each to their own!

    I also suggested that Adi’s investment dollars would be better spent if they used their funds to find a property that was larger and more to scale for their dream project, such as somewhere further north of the lake. I was thanked for my input.

  2. Now you know of two. I too live in the “downtown” area and I know many progressive inhabintants who do want this. I do know Burlington needs these types of developments to keep the younger generations in this city instead of flocking to Toronto, a city willing to accomodate a growing population. Not to mention their economy is thriving as they are welcoming development with open arms.

    Downtown Oakville is dead, businesses are dying, 27 stores have closed in the last two years because of lack of development; Burlington is on its way. It will too become a ghost town if we don’t accommodate diversity and prosperity. This is a reality. It is possible for condo buildings to be built downtown Burlington and it still remain quaint. The waterfont is still there and always will be.

    No I am not on ADIs payroll – but perhaps I should be.

  3. Jason and Alexandra, you both sound like you are on ADI’s payroll. Your age-related comments are offensive and do not do anything other than reinforce the negativity surrounding this unwanted development. You have no idea how old I am, or how old any of the other people are who oppose this building. This is not a young verses old issue. This has everything to do with disproportionate height on a postage stamp sized lot, in an area that is zoned for 4 storeys. The people who live in the downtown core are of all ages, young and old. I know this because I call the downtown my home. The one clear commonality is that we are all passionate about our beautiful neighbourhood. Not one person I know of is in favour of this development, and that includes 20-somethings and 30-somethings. Not one. When the illegal signage came down, you could hear the collective applause.

  4. Anyone who has ever attempted to turn onto Lakeshore Road from Martha Street at certain times of the day realizes that this area of town is extremely congested. Erecting a 28 storey building on that small parcel of land would only increase traffic congestion. Imagine what it would be like at rush hour with everyone trying to exit the proposed building. It would be a nightmare. A lower rise building would be suitable for the area. When you make statements like “1940’s mentality” and “all the white haired…” YOU lose credibility. This has nothing to do with age.

  5. This is excellent news. Many thanks to Marianne and the City of Burlington.

    ADI is an arrogant and unwelcome developer who believes that his interests supersede the needs of an entire community and City.
    Burlington has many other developers who are respectful of the community and who work with local groups when planning developments – ADI does not. And they play hardball.

    I hope that the City is presently working hard and will be extremely well prepared for the OMB hearings in March. I’m sure that ADI will be very well prepared and that one of their tactics will surely be to trot out people like Jason (if there really is a Jason) and as many other purchasers as they can who will say that the ADI monstrosity is a really good idea.

    Thank you

  6. Good Work Marianne……we have too much traffic on that stretch of Lakeshore road to add more housing and more traffic, I would rather the city put money into Brant Street and improve the look of downtown……..

  7. You guys need to get out of your 1940s mentality. the city is growing, and this development is great for the city. Would rather bare posts showing an empty parking lot? Does that suggest prosperity? or regression?

    I think this development is great. I personally purchased a unit. My agreement states its not approved yet. That’s fine. prices will go up once it does and people will regret not buying a condo here.

    • Thank you, at least someone is progressive thinking. There is NO reason why this condo should not be approved for development. The “Burlington already has it’s 22 floor landmark” excuse is ludicrous and backwards thinking. We are lucky to have such a nice downtown area to be enjoyed, growth for business and more generations to prosper in. All these white haired negative comments are not fair to other generations wanting to enjoy Burlington’s future. This building is beautiful and specifically designed not to be obnoxious!! It is on a corner not, obstructing nothing. I also purchased and cannot wait until the OMB comes with the answer we are all looking for.

      • Like I said before….Anyone who puts a deposit down on an unapproved development is just plan STUPID! PS – sounds like you may work for them – n’est pas?

        • STUPID? Now now. I find it hard to believe that people are so ignorant to think somebody investing in at least $300,000 doesn’t know what they are doing. Perhaps you can find some time to read up on this development, it may do you some good in your future argument. I do not work for any type of developer……… I just enjoy prosperity.

  8. It is a privilege , to have you on council doing an excellent job. Keeping watch on the happenings here in Beautiful Burlington. thank you ……

  9. I feel sorry for all those people who have put down deposits for a project that may not even come to be…hopefully…this company have a very large presence in the core with their sales office…buyer be ware…

    • Anyone who put a deposit down on an unapproved development is just plan STUPID! PS – sounds like you may work for them – n’est pas?

  10. It is really satisfying to see that the city has both listened to the people and taken action!!!! To me this sends a very strong message to the developer, the city of Burlington puts their citizens first. I personally think that sending this type of a message is a very good use of my tax dollars!

  11. Glad to see the signs coming down and hope this project is turned down by the OMB. I expect the city will be sending a bill to the developer to cover the cost for removal, as I don’t think my tax dollars should pay for the their inaction.

    Herb Lewington

    • The City is supposed to bill the developer for taking the signs down. Many thanks to Mariann Meed Ward for being so proactive regarding this matter.
      The arrogance of some developers and their complete disregard for the law needs to be discouraged.

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