Downtown Burlington

Here’s a Crazy Idea…

Why don’t we include developers vested in the downtown in the City’s ongoing “engagement” process on Grow Bold?  Why not bring developers to the table?

Why are we afraid to ask the private sector, experts in development, to participate openly in the process?

Why not bring developers together in a room (initially away from the public – away from the anger, hostility and venom) and ask for their “help” in dealing with the public fears on:

  1. The loss of sunlight;
  2. Increase in vehicular congestion;
  3. Loss of green and liveable space;
  4. Ensuring safe pedestrian flow and places of gathering;
  5. Promotion of downtown businesses;
  6. Ensuring sufficient parking for residents and visitors; and,
  7. Any other big issue item….

Developers are not afraid of criticism.  They deal with it all the time.  And, they can be a powerful team to help with resident issues if we ask them.

Why not ask them to sign onto a Memorandum of Understanding to come up with a coordinated design away from the fear of public scrutiny and criticism, at least in the initial stages of brain storming and design.

Challenge them to put together a coordinated plan or design, and more than one plan or design, which addresses the public concerns and ensures an integrated approach to responsible development rather than the “one offs” we are currently getting with individual development applications.

Put their coordinated plan or design(s) before the citizen engagement forums.  At least the residents would have something tangible to review and comment on.

Developers will listen, and even though they may not like the resident feedback, the hope is that their engagement gives them an incentive to incorporate the good design ideas into their individual development applications.

What do we have to lose?

I told you it was a crazy idea…..

Karmel Sakran