City of Hamilton map showing area covered by the new Waterdown Secondary Plan Credit: HANDOUT

Council’s planning committee unanimously approved a new Secondary Plan for Waterdown, Urban Design Guidelines, and a new Traffic Management Plan for the rapidly growing suburb upon the escarpment.

The plans will work together to guide the transition of Waterdown’s residential core to a pedestrian-friendly form while enabling conversion of suburban commercial plazas to mixed-use while retaining the pre-confederation neighbourhood character of the original Euro-Canadian settlement area centred on Dundas Street around the Grindstone Creek.

Ward 15 Councillor Judi Partridge, who represents Waterdown and initiated the planning, says the new plans will “protect the heritage within Waterdown and Flamborough.”

Partridge asked staff to confirm the new plan provides heritage character protection to 40 Mill Street North, commonly known as the Jam Factory, which is presently for sale.

“40 Mill Street North and the other properties that the councillor mentioned are located within the existing Millstreet Heritage Conservation District and are therefore designated under Part V (five) of the Ontario Heritage Act,” stated City of Hamilton Planner Melanie Pham.

The new Secondary Plan limits properties to “three storeys within that area to maintain the small scale character of that portion of the core,” she added.

Councillors praised the plans.

Clr Maureen Wilson commended Partridge for initiating and working on the plans.

The Waterdown Transportation Master Plan says the City needs to add transit service connections west on Dundas Street into Burlington, and direct transit east to Downtown Hamilton. Additionally, the plan maps out plans for a network of bicycle and pedestrian routes to enable local trips to be taken by active transportation.

“We know where we are today with the traffic concerns, which are which are just ridiculous,” Partridge stated. “The sooner the last extension of the bypass is built, the better.”

Partridge asked how concerned Council and the community should be regarding rumours the Province will overrule local planning as part of expected Planning Act changes.

Hamilton’s Director of Planning and Chief Planner Steve Robichaud stated the Secondary Plan reflects present provincial planning policies.

“I’m not anticipating that we will see in the short term, any of the significant provincial changes around that anything could happen after an election,” Robichaud stated. Adding he is “confident that we can still proceed with a secondary plan today, and that we will then obviously respond to any provincial changes as they come down the pipeline.”

Councillors approved the plan unanimously. It needs to be ratified by the full City Council at the March 30, 2022 ratification meeting.