A city council that has shown it can work together and achieve good things: let us hope it lasts.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

March 1st, 2019



The shift that has taken place in the way city council works now is almost seismic.

Burlington voted for five new council members in October. Two of the five were the result of former councillors who decided not to run again. The other two were defeated at the polls.

The Mayor lost his chain of office – Marianne Med Ward now wears that symbol of office.

The 2010 to 2018 Council was almost always mean spirited – the Mayor was not able to change the culture of that Council. Meed Ward’s relationship with then ward 1 councillor Rick Craven was close to toxic; Meed Ward often felt her personal safety was at risk. The Gazette didn’t see it that way, however they certainly didn’t get along.

pink shirt in council

The 2019 city council – seven people quite pleased with themselves – they have every reason to be proud of what they ave done so far.

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman was almost as bad as Rick Craven – they seemed to feed off each other with former Councillor Lancaster following along and former Councillor Dennison, who should have known better, let them get away with it.

Marianne Meed Ward was determined that this was not the way the city council she was to lead would work. She made that abundantly clear during the final meeting of the 2010 – 2018 city Council.

The question was: Could she pull it off?

Too early to be definitive but if what we are seeing so far – it is and will continue to be a much more collegial and effective city council.

Meed WArd at PARCMeed Ward gets to laugh from time to time.

When she realizes after hearing what staff and other Councillors have to say that her opinion needs to change – she is direct and forthright – and changes her mind.

She is also challenging staff in a way they have not been challenged for the past ten years. This is really healthy. There is certainly some chatter amongst the Directors as to how she inserts herself into a situation – they will get over it and come to realize that they are fortunate to have a Mayor who will actually lead.

Meed Ward still has some work to do on getting her council members onside. In an important vote related to the Randall Reef work being done in Hamilton, Meed Ward said she wanted her colleagues with her on this one. The motion passed but it was one of those 4-3 votes Burlington used to see every council meeting.

Councillors Lisa Kearns, Paul Sharman and Kelvin Galbraith did not vote with her on the item which had to do with using reserve funds money for a short period of time.

Randall Reff - The secomnd worst environmental waste depsoit in the country is pretty close to home isn't it

Randall Reef – The second worst environmental waste deposit in the country had to be cleaned up: Burlington paid $2.3 million over ten years.

Randall Reef is a three government level undertaking to bury tonnes of toxic sludge in Hamilton Harbour. Burlington is in for $2.3 million, Hamilton $6 million – the Region and federal government in for the balance.

The most socially liberal spend came from Councillor Sharman who said free transit for people who do not have enough money to live on “is the biggest gift we can give them” put the expense in the base now.

The Region uses a formula that is made up of LICO + 15%. The low income cut-offs (LICOs) are income thresholds below which a family will likely devote a larger share of its income on the necessities of food, shelter and clothing than the average family.

Thus a household with one person will be eligible for the free transit if their income is below $29,139.

The cut off point for larger households is set out below.
1 person 29,139
2 persons 36,276
3 persons 44,597
4 persons 54,147
5 persons 61,412
6 persons 69,262
7 persons or more 77,113

There were some extraordinary decisions made at the Standing Committee meetings this week. They should hold up at the Council meeting at the end of the month.

Related news stories:

Meed Ward – final 2018 Council meeting.

Randall Reef

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette

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