Halton is reviewing policies to consider provincial and municipal planning priorities around transit, growth and development in Downtown Burlington and the Burlington GO Major Transit Station Area.
The Provincial Growth Plan (2019) requires Halton Region to plan for 1.1 million people and 500,000 jobs by 2051. To address the need to plan to 2051, the Region is completing a Regional Official Plan Review. As part of the review, through the Integrated Growth Management Strategy, the Region is reviewing land use policies to advance provincial and municipal planning priorities around transit, growth and development in the Region.
On August 24, 2020, Burlington City Council requested that Halton Region, through its Municipal Comprehensive Review of the Regional Official Plan, adjust the boundary of the Downtown Burlington Urban Growth Centre and remove the Major Transit Station Area designation from the John Street Bus Terminal.
To address this request and facilitate a comprehensive community discussion on the changes being sought by the City, Halton Region has worked with the City to develop a joint Supplemental Discussion Paper (pdf file) on these changes.
An Urban Growth Centre is an existing or emerging downtown areas identified by the Growth Plan, 2019. The Growth Plan provides strong policy guidance for the vibrant, transit-supportive, mixed-use development of Halton Region’s three Urban Growth Centres.
The Province developed guiding principles (in a 2008 Technical Paper) to identify the boundaries of Urban Growth Centres as:
The Burlington Urban Growth Centre and Major Transit Station Areas are strategic growth areas that are planned for greater population and job growth and higher rates of development than other areas in the City and Region.
The Urban Growth Centre in its existing configuration has been a benefit to the City as it has generated investments that will help develop a healthy mix of jobs, local stores, access to existing community services, housing and transportation options to support population growth and development.
A Major Transit Station Area is the area within a 500 to 800-metre radius of a transit station, representing a 10-minute walk. They are primarily along existing or planned transit corridors (for example, Bus Rapid Transit, and GO Train). Major Transit Station Areas are intended to be developed as higher density, mixed-use communities that enable people to rely on transit to access local amenities, housing, and work.
Directing population and job growth to areas around transit stations or corridors ensures the efficient use of existing land and municipal infrastructure. This form of planning encourages development around accessible public transit, reduces our reliance on single-occupancy vehicles, and helps reduce our production of greenhouse gas emissions. It also protects vital agricultural and natural areas from the pressure of development
Halton Region is working with the City of Burlington to examine options for the Urban Growth Centre boundary and removing the Major Transit Station Area designation from the John Street Bus Terminal in Downtown Burlington.
As a result of City Council’s request for the Region to adjust the Urban Growth Centre boundary to generally align with lands in proximity to the Burlington GO Station, the Supplemental Discussion Paper (pdf file) explores a potential option to adjust the Downtown Burlington Urban Growth Centre boundary.
The area around the Burlington GO Station is well suited to accommodate an adjusted Urban Growth Centre boundary that focuses on greater density as it is well serviced by dedicated rail transit with frequent service on the Lakeshore West GO rail line. This GO rail line is considered higher order transit based on the definition in the Growth Plan, 2019.
In contrast, The John Street Bus Terminal in Downtown Burlington has been interpreted as a major bus depot in an urban core and is not located on a Priority Transit Corridor and is not serviced by higher order transit nor frequent within a dedicated right-of-way. Based on the analysis and recommendations of the City of Burlington Interim Control By-Law Land Use Study (external link) and the direction from the Province (external PDF), the Region is exploring the removal of the Major Transit Station Area designation in areas not on the GO Rail line from the Regional Official Plan in Downtown Burlington.
Proposed Adjusted Urban Growth Centre Boundary
Existing Urban Growth Centre Boundary
Major Transit Station
Schedule C (Adopted OP April 2018)
Urban Corridor - Employment
Residential - Medium Density
Residential - Low Density
Schedule D (Recommended September 2020)
Upper Branch Precinct
The Regional Official Plan shapes how and where Halton grows—and your input is valuable as we make these decisions for our community!
To help you learn more about this topic, you can read our Burlington Urban Growth Centre and Major Transit Station Area Supplemental Discussion Paper (pdf file). The paper provides more detailed information about how the Burlington Urban Growth Centre and Major Transit Station Areas relate to the Regional Official Plan.
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