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Want a voice on developments in your neighbourhood? These resources level the playing field

Getting outdone by development applications?Since I joined council in 2010 (and even before) residents have struggled to make their voices heard on development applications. You’ve had to become “volunteer” planners and experts in the process – playing catchup at a distinct disadvantage.

I decided to do something to help. Through my non-profit media company — Reset Communications — I’ve created two free documents to help level the playing field.

Feel free to download and share these in your community:



They tell residents what developers and planners know, and give residents a leg up on making their case, both before an application is made, or after.

Key rule of thumb: It’s never too early to organize the community. If you hear of land assembly, or an application that may come to your neighbourhood, it’s time to get started. Don’t wait till it’s reviewed and staff have made a recommendation — you’ll get that report about 10 days before it goes to committee for a vote, and a week or so later to council for a decision. You’ll have very little time to react and organize.

Several community groups in Burlington have used these strategies to present their case to City Hall staff, developers or council.

Want to learn more? I’m happy to come speak to your community group, and help you shape development, not just react to it.

Contact me at: or 905.335.1899

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.

Got an idea or comment you want to share privately? Please, get in touch:


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  1. Kim, I agree not all development and developers are bad. Residents realize that Burlington needs to intensify as mandated by the Province.

    The Province mandates the growth-COUNCIL decides where the intensification is to take place.

    Developers come to the city with a plan in mind. It is incumbent on Council to direct staff to follow the current official plan, after engaging the public and getting their feedback.

    Oakville involved their residents from the very beginning when they created their new Official Plan. They continue to meet with community groups. It is a perfect example that when a Council works hand in hand with the residents it provides an Official Plan that everyone is happy with.

    If this could be done in Oakville, why not in Burlington?

  2. It is always win-win when the residents can be involved early and feel that their voices are also heard. There is an ongoing series in the Toronto Star on the topic of development in the GTA and many of the articles I have read promote having residents be part of the process. There is no reason why residents, developers and cities cannot work together, if all three groups are willing. Thank you Marianne for providing your help, as always, and I know that groups have taken your wonderful advice!

What's your take?





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