40k to pull the weeds from the medians; it's what the citizens expect when you're the number 1 mid-sized city in the country.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

August 26th, 2020



It was all about what people thought – the brand, the image – backing up why Burlington was the best mid-sized city in the country.

Marthat at New stre intersection

The stretch of Road at the bottom of the section of Martha the Mayor lives on – not what her Worship thinks the city can put up with.

It has to do with the weeds – the things that were sprouting up through the pavement in medians all over the city.

During Standing Committee meetings Staff did their best to tell Council that they didn’t have the people to get out and do the work.

Walkser and New

Walker at New Street

WAlkser line - lush

This is the Burlington this council believes the citizens want and they were going to make certain that they got it.

All the part time and summer help had been let go when the lock down took place in March.

There wasn’t a member of Council who wasn’t prepared to push Staff and direct them to find a way.

And find one they did.

They came back with three options: contract the task out to someone; spend $40,000 and have the work done internally or do nothing.

Do nothing was not an option.

Angelo watching Roru

Councillor Angelo Bentivegna – he will remind Council of this spend when the budget is on the table.

The $40,000 didn’t look so bad from Councillor Angelo Bentivegna’s perspective – it worked out to $98 a median.

So they went for it.

Bentivegna didn’t vote for it. Everyone else did.

The shiver that the budget is going send up the spines of this Council isn’t being felt – yet.

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15 comments to 40k to pull the weeds from the medians; it’s what the citizens expect when you’re the number 1 mid-sized city in the country.

  • Howard

    recruiting students at the drop of the hat. It does not work that way. You also need to train staff on the different equipment and more importantly on the safety measures so that we do not have students injured or killed while working on active roadways. Don’t forget the horrible accident just a year or two ago! Lastly 40K……that number isn’t worth discussion for a city budget, its overall expenditures are far greater. Lastly and I mean it this time, let’s stick to the topic folks this article is not about street racing on Maple or loud mufflers on Appleby Line where it is worse than anywhere else in the city. I didn’t know know noise from a muffler(or lack of one) was particularly worse on different city streets. Give Sharman the raw data on that one.

    • david barker

      Howard. Thanks for the comments.

      Actually, it dies work that way. The City has a program it runs annually where it takes on students to assist in the landscape maintenance of the boulevards, medians, trees etc. So I would guess they have a intake system that includes good training.

      Yes, it is “just $40,000” ! But how many “just $40,000s” do we let slide by before the expenditure is questioned. Remember it comes straight from you pocket too.

      There is the old saying, which remains as true today as it ever did – “take care of the pennies, and the pounds will take care of themselves”. Yeah that’s old currency LOL !

  • david barker

    I still ask; what happened to the funds that were in the R P & F department’s 2020 budget to cover off hiring students for the 2020 spring and summer seasons. The students were never hired ! I would guess the funds were diverted elsewhere, but it would be nice to hear that officially !

  • Joseph A Gaetan

    Agree, weeds are an eyesore. I saw one on Maple that had to be 6 feet tall. I would now like to see COB put an end to the speeding, street racing and noise on Maple that has gotten out of hand.

  • Alan Harrington

    Many of boulevard medians I see have a sign stating that the flowers and maintenance are sponsored by a local company / organization.

    That sponsor gets their name on the sign.

    Why not roll this idea out further into the city and save the $40k?

    PS I don’t mind the milkweed, Queen-Anne’s-lace and other wildflowers anyway – and neither do the butterflies.

  • emile godin

    any one with a brain would hire students less cost and helps students wow

    • Eve St Clair

      Students collect Justin’s CERB ,WHY WOULD THEY WORK?

      • david barker

        I do not believe you are right.

        Students are not eligible for CERB. That benefit is only available to those laid off or furloughed employees only. Students did get a benefit (CESB – Canada Emergency Student Benefit). That benefit was paid, no questions asked, for a short term. But it ended. It was to be replaced by a new benefit that was to be administered by WE. When the PCs went after Trudeau and WE the benefit proposed benefit was scrapped!

        So students do have an incentive to work!

        • Eve St Clair

          Spoke like a true Liberal . Word salad ,different acronyms but with the same outcome . Employers are having a hard time recruiting students ,any business can tell you that WE foundation or whatever you Liberals labelled it was a scam from day one

          • david barker


            This subject has nothing to do with my politics or those of anyone else. Not sure why you feel the need to turn the discussion into a “you Liberals” thing. This is not a “you Liberal” thing or a “you Conservatives” thing. This is a “cohort of students caught up by the pandemic” thing.

            You had incorrectly stated students are getting a federal COVID benefit. I corrected you. They are not ! They are getting no government support !

            Are you willing to concede you were in fact incorrect in that statement?

            Whether or not WE’s services were worth what they would have been paid, I suggest neither you nor I know. What is for sure is the program was scrapped and now students are getting nothing at all.

            I’m sure you must be speaking with first hand knowledge as to employers not being able to source students for employment. Right? Or is that another unfounded rash statement?

            My experience through my 24 yr old younger daughter, who has just graduated college, is that she has been unable to find a paying or volunteer position in her field. The refrain from potential employers, who were all gung ho before the pandemic, is the same across the board:- “not taking on new staff until those laid off are all taken back”. Sure she could volunteer for the City or other organization but that does not put money in her pockets!

  • Sam

    Angelo should have voted towards the clean up. The over grown weeds are also part of his Community and he should stand proud of his territory. Have some dignity and help fund the clean up. Does he care what his backyard looks like ? I care what my city looks like, including North Burlington. Set the example for our children and the future. A clean tidy City will set the tone for the future.

  • Penny Hersh

    If the City can go to the public and businesses for donations to provide free facial masks, I am surprised they didn’t go to landscaping companies to pull the weeds for free.

    I agree that the weeds that are sprouting through pavements and medians are unsightly, however, if the city is allowing for programming at city facilities and day camps for children, certainly they could hire a few students to take care of the weeds.

    $40,000.00 to clean up the weeds, $10,000.00 for free facial masks – Priorities?????

  • Ben Tuinman

    Permanently remove the weeds? Otherwise they will grow back again….and another $ 40.000.- to be spend? Curious…..

  • david barker

    I’d like to take a bit of credit for getting some a tion on this, having brought it to the attention of each councilor and the Mayor. I also noted it here in a comment to the Gazette on another article. So thank you to each councilor and the Mayor for listening and acting.

    However, a question:- is the $40,000 from within the budget of Roads Parks and Recreation or us it an additional cost over and above its budget?

    I certainly accept the reason for the weeds to have got out of control, i.e. lack of summer staff being taken on due to COVID. But that makes me think R P & R should be well within its budget at this time having not had those seasonal staff costs. If the money has been used elsewhere either within the department or elsewhere, it would be nice to know where it went.

    Surely now that we are in Phase 3 and noting R P & R staff have been out trimming trees etc all through the pandemic, it must have safe workplace protocols in place. That being so, why not hire students or others who have lost their jobs during this pandemic. It’s not like a lot of training is needed?