A policy that needs another look prevailed, residents are going to get $4,335.000 worth of sidewalk they don't want

By Pepper Parr

January 21st, 2024



After two city council meetings; one that heard 13 delegations, who for the most part were opposed to a Staff report that called for placing sidewalks on one side of several streets in a community that wanted nothing to do with sidewalks.

The community was well organized – better than the city.  They met as neighbours – they got petitions signed and they went door to door asking people what they wanted.  The chart below is pretty clear.

Tough numbers to argue with – nevertheless City Staff stuck to their guns and a majority of Council went along with the policy.

One Street that was exempted from the final decision was Maureen Ct, a street with two houses on it that led into Bromley Park.

A Court leading to a small park has just two houses. Council decided to exempt the Court from the policy.

The City’s Bromley Road Area Reconstruction project is estimated at $4,335,000. This includes:

  • Bromley Road, Linwood Crescent and Maureen Court, as mentioned plus
  • road reconstruction to:
    • Broughton Crescent – this road has sidewalks, both sides
    • Verhoeven Road – this road has sidewalks, both sides
    • Brewer Court

If the project was not approved there was a possible additional $1,170,000 if there were delays that meant the work that had to be done by the Region could not be done when the city work was being done.

The driving force in the Staff report was IMP

The recently approved Integrated Mobility Plan (IMP) recognizes that everyone is a pedestrian at some point in their trip, if only between their bus stop or parking place and their front door. This makes walking or using a mobility device a critical activity, both as a stand-alone mode and as a connection to other modes of transportation. The IMP sets the walking mode share target at 9.0% by 2051. Achieving this target will require improvements to pedestrian facilities and environments across the city. Policy direction through the IMP supports:

  • The creation of a complete and connected pedestrian network;
  • Improving pedestrian safety;
  • Enhancements to the pedestrian experience; and
  • The City’s commitment to building a walkable

Policy 2.1 of the IMP requires that the City examine every opportunity to fill in gaps in the existing pedestrian system and work with partners to extend the pedestrian network to new areas when the opportunity is presented. Implementation and expansion of the pedestrian network is to be achieved through the following approaches, as applicable:

  • As part of new development, through the development review process;
  • As part of street construction/reconstruction projects;
  • As part of a retrofit project to fill in “missing links” of an existing pedestrian network; and
  • As part of other capital

It is through the lens of the Council-approved IMP that staff have recommended the inclusion of sidewalk infill as part of this capital project.

The city’s existing Sidewalk Warrant and Installation Policy has been in place and utilized by Transportation Services and Engineering Department staff for over 15 years. Its purpose is to determine the need for sidewalks based on a number of technical factors, then provide a recommendation with respect to the need and placement of sidewalks.

Three critical factors are assessed to determine if a sidewalk is warranted along a local street:

  • Traffic Volume
  • Number of Dwellings; and
  • Pedestrian Volume

Council didn’t seem to be able to accept the wishes of the residents: Every vote taken was a 4 wanting sidewalks put in and 3 not wanting sidewalks put in.

The arguments for no sidewalks were sound; the Policy was the problem.

The residents didn’t want sidewalks and there was never enough evidence put forward to justify the need for sidewalks. Policy beat what the residents wanted.

When it got to voting on a decision things got acrimonious.  Unfortunately ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns didn’t understand the question that was being voted on – that vote was struck.  When the vote was taken a second time the result was a 4-3 vote not to install to install sidewalks on Linwood Crescent.

Councillors Galbraith, Kearns, Nisan and Stolte voted for the Staff Direction.

This is the community that residents didn’t think needed sidewalks. It is as good as suburbia gets.

Two things surprised us.  The number of delegations that made their views and wishes very clear.  And that fact that the Councillors, except for Stolte, were not anywhere near the community.

Traditionally municipal councillors tend to go with the wishes of the ward Councillor.

Councillor Galbraith, who represents the Aldershot community where there are miles of streets that do not have side walks was nevertheless prepared to vote for sidewalks.

This was a very hard loss for Councillor Sharman.  A bit less so for the Mayor.  Councillor Bentivegna tends to go along with Sharman on the rights and wishes of residents.

It is an even harder loss for the citizens who live in the community who thought their views would prevail.  Isn’t that what local government is all about?

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16 comments to A policy that needs another look prevailed, residents are going to get $4,335.000 worth of sidewalk they don’t want

  • Joe Gaetan

    More to the story. Apparently, to accommodate the sidewalks, residents will only be able to park on one side of the street. So, gain a sidewalk, lose a parking spot.
    But what about COB’s commitment to Net Zero? Worldwide, 30 billion tonnes of concrete is produced each year and roughly 600 kilograms of carbon dioxide is released for every tonne of cement produced, contributing 8% of global CO2 emissions.
    Proposed sidewalk infill on Bromley Road, Linwood Crescent and Maureen Court, Report TS-01-24 contains the following, Vision to Focus Alignment statements. I have taken the liberty to score COB on each statement.
    Improve integrated city mobility (Check, I guess)
    Support sustainable infrastructure and a resilient environment (Not so much)
    Building more citizen engagement, community health and culture (Nope)

  • Willow Teressa Firth

    This decision by Council also highlights a critical structural flaw – there are too few Councillors and decisions affecting a City of almost 200,00 people are made by only 7 elected representatives. In this case, the sidewalk issue was decided by four people, none of whom live in Ward 5 or were elected by Ward 5 residents. This structural weakness needs to be addressed.

    • Gary Scobie

      I agree also. Ties in with my earlier comment that four people can shut down resident wishes on a subject.

    • David

      I also agree. On another noteI I check Wendy Fletchers property tax increase petition daily this petition just broke 3700 signatures and is still averaging 50 to 80 signatures per week.

    • Cassius

      Hear, hear! Residents have been angered immensely by various proposals, including the plans to tear up the existing community Track and Field behind Bateman into a multi-million dollar Parking Lot. Hundreds of Residents in the area are heavily against this, and city staff and council have been rather undemocratic and disengaged in dealing with the community’s concerns about tearing up this hidden gem… What happened to Community Advisory Groups, made up of residents directly affected by proposals and plans in their community? Do we not get a say in direct democracy as well?

      What’s that saying: “They Paved Paradise to Put Up a Parking Lot”

  • Syd

    Surely there are areas that actually want sidewalks or have existing ones that desperately need repairs? Perhaps Council could offer a forum that will let you put your street on a list for considering either? But no, that would mean they are listening to their constituents……. Perhaps some of the Councillors who voted to impose sidewalks in Mr. Sharman’s ward could choose an area in theirs instead?
    And surprisingly, this is a Council that supposedly has already pared its budget to the bone – hmmmm! Where else is there almost 5 million dollars being wasted on something residents don’t want or need?

  • Gary Scobie

    Beware residents of Wards 1, 2, 3 and 4 who live on streets without sidewalks and like it; your Councillor just signified with his/her vote that sidewalks will be coming for you! And don’t think that a petition will stop them coming. The gang of four can run the Council on this subject, and will.

  • Joe Gaetan

    So, the community is getting a $5 million dollar sidewalk they did not ask for, or want. I would like to know if this is a public interest sidewalk, is it being installed for safety reasons? Once installed it would need to be maintained. Next up, how many more $5 million dollar sidewalks are on the councils spending docket?

  • Chris Ariens

    Article is factually incorrect. The cost of the entire project was $4 million, which is mostly the reconstruction of the roads. The cost of the sidewalk was $190k.
    Editor’s note: Not so my friend. There is some additional money for the work that the Region will be doing.

  • Perryb

    Must be some mistake. $4,335 for all these sidewalks? That wouldn’t even pay for the staff time to schedule the work, much less do anything. Maybe that’s the cost per metre?

    Editor’s note. The difference between a . and a ,


  • David

    Sidewalks are approx 48” wide and 4”thick, a cubic yard of concrete emits about 400lbs of CO2; this from a council that announced a climate emergency.

    • Syd

      Plus consider all the green space taken out of the equation when putting in a sidewalk. Presumably they’re not going to narrow the road to do it?

  • Grahame

    Right decision.Others will move there sooner or later with small kids etc.

  • Lynn Crosby

    “It is an even harder loss for the citizens who live in the community who thought their views would prevail. Isn’t that what local government is all about?“

    Not in Burlington.

    Over and over again this council thumbs their noses at residents, pretends they listen but then ignore petitions and delegations and feedback unless it happens to already match what council wants to do. Then they go overboard touting that they listened.

    What a waste of money to spend on something not needed and not wanted. And the usual arrogance shown to residents who worked hard to be heard – for nothing, again.