A former Mayor said to the current Mayor that ...


opinionandcommentBy Staff

November 11, 2017



What does a former Mayor say to the current Mayor on issues they disagree on?

Munron Mary

Mary Munro – Burlington Mayor 1997 and 1998

Mary Munro, Burlington’s Mayor in 1977 and 1998 has said to Walter Mulkewich Mayor from 1992 to 1997 that she didn’t ever vote for a high rise on Lakeshore Road.

The Bridgewater project was approved during Mulkewich’s term as Mayor.

Now Munro wants our current Mayor to know that she isn’t particularly impressed with what he is doing either.

In a Letter Munro said:

Dear Mayor Goldring:

First of all, I was bemused the City Manager, James Ridge, led off @ what was a Planning Committee discussion of a proposed project. Also bemused by his statement of the desirable merits of the project, leaving no doubts about his support. I wonder about Ridge’s history and his planning experience, let alone the propriety of his intervening @ the outset of discussion — would it be he wanted to forestall the usual agenda, i.e. Planning Dept.’s introduction and explanations of the effects of the project? or to discourage interveners’ arguments or presentations ?

James Ridge - looking right

Burlington city manager James Ridge

I believe Ridge’s statements were prejudicial to the aim of the public meeting, i.e to hear from Burlington citizens their views, and to let City Councillors debate the issues without the bias, possibly formed by Ridge’s remarks.

On the merits of the project , as an active and involved Burlington resident since 1959, I somehow “blew it” by long before now, not being aware of the changes to the Official Plan and Zoning By-Laws that allow dense development on Burlington’s “Main Street “. I thought , obviously wrong, we all had a vision of Burlington following the wise moves of our sister communities on the shores of Lake Ontario to stand against density in their downtown and to promote historical and profitable enterprises in their town centres.

It seems to me, B has little likely hood of becoming more than a city of tall towers, not treasuring it’s history and wonderful attractions. More than that, it might be possible to affect change, so late in the game, by looking carefully at candidates in our next City election.

Ask yourself, do we really want reps who say “The future is in tall buildings.” Or one who called “the project fantastic”. Or one who said ” Councillors have to view everything from a high level'”.

This is your city evolved by truly dedicated people — so why not take ownership of your own interests in how we live?

Mary G. Munro

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18 comments to A former Mayor said to the current Mayor that …

  • […] Open Letter from former Mayor Mary Munro to the current Mayor is also a solid insight on how this development proposal has been […]

  • Joan Gallagher Bell

    Mary now you know how good your Mayorship was. I personally often think how much I appreciated you. Again your words echo with truth. Many seniors have hyst given up because of *the same old same old*. Colour me happy to hear your words but more than skeptical living in Burlington.

  • Jack

    As a resident of Burlington for over40 years, and having spent all of it in the downtown core My wife and I love living here. The downtown back in the 70’s and 80’s was drab and not much of a desirable area. The restaurants and shops along with the increase in residential dare I say including high rise condos has made the area what it is today. The pier, park, beach, and events attract many people. Yes this has resulted in more people wanting to live in downtown to take advantage of all of this. The concerns about traffic congestion are misplaced. Congestion is from people avoiding the highway traffic. Not sure there is anything that will help that. I watched with great interest the plan for the downtown mobility area which was supported by all of council. Seems to me it was well thought out. Appears council agreed. Would the development at James be better off at the OMB? That is a crap shoot that favours the developer. Even a councillor used it for his own advantage. Salvatore’s restaurant moved from downtown Oakville to Burlington. And opened underneath a condo building. What does that tell you about the ‘success’ of Oakville limiting development downtown? Everyone will have views on this issue. Informing yourself by reading ALL of the information is key to an educated opinion.

    • Scott Lambert

      Jack, do you really believe that the downtown will be a more desirable area when it’s replete with sky-scraping condo towers. What is the attraction of that? Is that something you’d really love to stroll through?

      I am sure that I am as informed as you but my opinion is not solely based on how much I know. Replacing the historic downtown with cold steel is in no way a desirable outcome for Burlington.

  • W. Becken

    There is a place and even a need for high rise buildings but not in downtown Burlington. We get only one chance to develop our downtown to maintain its unique character and we better get it right. Do we want a mini mess like the Toronto waterfront or something more like what Bronte and Oakville have done? It is clear our elected officials are not listening to the people and and are pushing their agenda down our throats. You have to wonder why they are going in this direction. Citizens must get involved and make their voices heard at the next election. There needs to be a significant change at city hall.

  • Greg

    She was mayor from 1977-1978, I believe Burlington’s population at the time was only half what it is today

    • Phillip

      Greg, and your point is? The issues she raises are very current. City council and the mayor are there to serve the RESIDENTS of Burlington, not the special interests. And don’t tell me that the current “engagement” initiative is serving the people–I’ve been to enough of them to know that they are merely window-dressing, that the bureaucrats and politicians, unduly influenced by lobbyists and special interests. have already made the decisions. And the role of the City Manager should be to implement the decisions of council, not influence those decisions.

      • Greg

        The thing is she said she didn’t vote for any high rise buildings on Lakeshore road. Well of course, she was the mayor 40 years ago and none where proposed at the time. Her opinion is this day and age doesn’t carry a lot of weight. I’m sure it was an honest mistake saying she was mayor from 1997-1998 but its quite misleading.

        • Phillip

          Greg, you need to read the article! Mary Munro doesn’t say she was the Mayor in 1997-8, the Gazette does. And which of her criticisms is not valid? You didn’t deal with those! BTW, you should read Tom Muir’s article this morning which shows that the public consultation process is a complete fraud.

          Editor’s Note: It was a typographical error that has been corrected.

  • Lynn

    Great letter by Munro. Who elected James Ridge? Nobody. Yet he seems to think it is his misplaced views that are the ones that are supposed to be adhered to. I absolutely agree that he had no business taking over the meeting as he did and the councillors who voted for this knowingly chose to vote against their citizens’ wishes. And Goldring waited until he could see where the vote was going and vote No since he’s already announced his intentions to run for mayor, so he’s in campaign mode. (I thought you were supposed to wait for May 1 before you had big election announcements at golf courses with media invited, etc.?) Rules are for other people I guess.

  • Stephen White

    I remember Mary Munro very fondly. She was a great Mayor and displayed enormous class, poise and vision. She also had and still has great affection for this community. Great to see her set the record straight!

    What is becoming painfully evident is that there is a growing divide in this community between the citizens and the politicians. Many of us aren’t inclined to “drink the Kool-Aid” as evidenced by several writers on this forum and over 1,200 signatures on Kevin and Joanne Arnold’s petition. We do not like, and we do not agree, with the current direction of this city.

    Clearly, we need to rally behind new political faces and a new candidates on Council who not only possess a backbone and listening skills, but also, have a love of this city and aren’t prepared to sell it out to developers. The other thing that is woefully apparent is that the current crop of senior public servants at City Hall also need to be replaced, starting with James Ridge. He is clearly out of his depth, has overstayed his welcome, and his lack of tolerance for divergent opinions, coupled with his overbearing management style, has angered and intimidated many taxpayers.

  • Brian Jones

    I guess council years ago blew it. Ss i inderstand, intensification by the province alloed Oakville and Burlington to specify population base. Oakville apparently in its wisdom pushed it away from downtown. Burlington though specified downtown ie Caroline to Lake: Martha to Maple (could be incorrect here).So in mid 90’s Bridgewater planned and in 2006 allowed to proceed.
    Now hi rises have been planned- challenged but 421-431: staff recommended at 23 storeys. VOTE IS NOV 13 CITY HALL 6:30 PM
    If confirmed several more downtown high tall buildings will push quaint little old downtown Burlington into mini Toronto.
    No parking, much congestion, huge tunnel even ig 4 storeys, high prices, no acfordability, resident frustration, retailer losses, large shadows. U am sure others can expound.
    Cudo to Mary Munro now. The province should stay out of city’s places to grow.
    Tall buildings should be away from city centres. Historical and in Burlington’s case- a beautiful and vibrant lakeside and current view is priceless.
    Councilors pretend we have an Official plan and do lack a certain policing of it.
    Burlington has many problems in view and the residents of Burlington have an imminent gavel to change.
    Many have expressed their displeasure of Brant St building. Email all councilors NOW. Remember their vote is this Monday evening 13th city hall. Don’t let them get away with huge structures. Even 4 stories along Brant St is a huge cold tunnel.

  • Hans

    Well said, Mary Munro.

    I won’t even consider that “the future is in tall buildings” when I see Mayor Goldring and Rick Craven living in them.

    James Ridge needs to stay out of making city Policy; his job is to carry out Policy, not to influence it, unless he first runs for office successfully. The Council should tell him that and write it into his job description.

    • Hans

      Correction: “I won’t even consider that “the future is in tall buildings” **UNTIL** I see Mayor Goldring and Rick Craven living in them.”

  • WalterMulkewich

    Correction: Mayoral dates

    Mayor Mary Munro was Mayor from 1996 – 1998

    Mayor Walter Mulkewich was Mayor from 1991 – 1997

  • Joe Gaetan

    Hear Hear! Could it be that incumbents, some having served for decades, have become so comfortable in their chances for re-election that they no longer pay attention to the electorate. Take notice Burlington, nothing will change until we change how we vote.

  • William

    Mary Munro’s comments are blunt and incisive. Far better than the honeyed words emanating from city hall that mean the opposite. Our current mayor spent almost all his speaking time at the meeting praising planning staff for their fantastic work, then quickly said he was not supporting the proposal, preferring instead 17 storeys.

    Munro astutely points out Ridge’s inappropriate conduct, stating his strong support – even before the public delegations. Indeed, whose city is it?