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In 2004, the North End Neighbourhood Association was a stakeholder in the planning process for the Setting Sail Secondary Plan for West Harbour. This plan would help define the growth of the neighbourhood into the future. 

Read more on the role of the Setting Sail plan in helping build a vibrant North End Neighbourhood, and the journey from Setting Sail to today.


In 2004, the Setting Sail secondary plan set out some guidelines for future growth in the North End neighbourhood, including designating Pier 8 as a mixed-use residential development.

The Setting Sail plan designated most of Pier 8 as a Medium Density Residential 2 Area, with densities of 150-300 units per hectare.

Under the Setting Sail plan, approximately 400 family-sized units (defined to mean residential units comprised of two or more bedrooms) would be built on Pier 8. 

This was an important goal of the Setting Sail plan, as attracting families to the Pier would dramatically change the way that Pier 8 residents relate to their neighbours in the North End.

More kids ensure that our local schools, parks, and recreation assets get the attention they need.  That helps keep schools and Benetto Recreation Centre used and funded.  When the Jamesville residence was closed, the neighbourhood lost almost 100 children, threatening the schools in the area.  


Local neighbourhood schools are important as many of our children walk to school.  This is a privilege that many students in the rest of the City don’t have.


It was important for the neighbourhood that the Pier 8 development include family-sized units. More families + more children = a strong future for the North End neighbourhood. 

Families strengthen our local schools, represent a long-term investment in the neighbourhood, and connect residents of the pier to the rest of the neighbourhood. 


The plan to create a unified, child-friendly neighbourhood was directly threatened in 2014 when City staff ignored the wishes of the neighbourhood and proposed an additional 900 units on Pier 8.

This brought the total number 1,600 units; a significant increase in the number laid out in the Setting Sail plan.

The development area on Pier 8 is fixed as a “cube.” There is a set area that can be developed, with a set length, width, and height. 

Because of this “cube,” the proposed addition of 900 units meant that all of this density still had to fit into the set area. This meant that the unit size had to be drastically reduced.

Against the wishes of the neighbourhood, the City reduced the number of family-sized units in favour of single-bedroom units to accommodate the change in the number of units on Pier 8.

A Settlement was reached between the City and local residents.

The Settlement was to restore family housing by moving units from the original Pier 8 development land to a proposed 45-storey landmark tower on Block 16. The proposed tower would open up space in the rest of the development for larger, family-sized units. This would also result in lower building height across the street from the homes on Guise Street.


The Settlement also reduced traffic on John Street between Burlington and Guise, saved Bayview Park, renewed the City's promise to create a beautiful entrance to the neighbourhood at James and Strachan, and eliminated the potential for restaurant development on the shore of Piers 1 to 4.


In order to mitigate the damage to the neighbourhood as a result of the City staff's recommendation to increase the number of units on Pier 8, local residents appeal to the Ontario Land Tribunal in 2019. 


The result? Families are back in the neighbourhood.

The kids are back on Pier 8!

With the proposed 45-storey landmark tower on Pier 8, it became possible to shuffle a large chunk of the density out of the approved 8-storey building cube in the rest of the development.  This will permit family housing to be built in the rest of the pier and also provide lower-density housing to be built on Guise Street.

While NENa supported the 45-storey building as a landmark, from a neighbourhood point of view, moving the density into the tall building helps protect our streets, our schools, our recreational features and our character as a place where parents will choose to bring their children to live.


NENa would have preferred that the City had stuck to the original Setting Sail agreement for 750 units with family housing. But when City Council agreed to 1600 units, and a drastic elimination of family-sized units on Pier 8, we were left with no choice but to support an appeal and settlement to save our child and family friendly neighbourhood. 

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