Aldershot resident believes city council has betrayed the citizens of Burlington.

opinionandcommentBy Tony Schafer

February 8th, 2018


Having attended meetings of the ECOB, the mayor’s reverse Town Hall and the January 23, 2018 committee meeting, I get an overall sense that this Council has betrayed the citizens of Burlington.

You seek our support to get elected. We elect you because we believe you will represent our interests. We work with you to develop a vision of what we want our city to become in the future and this is reflected in the Official Plan (OP). You then embark on a history of deal-making with developers that ignores this plan and what was at one time our collective vision of the future.

The introduction by staff at the January 23 committee meeting included a detailed history of many meetings held to engage the citizens of Burlington in the development of a new OP. It seems you wanted to convince us that staff and Council had done everything it could to get our input. Unfortunately for us citizens, your feedback of the way this was playing out was poorly communicated and whether this was by accident or design we will never know.

Approval of the 23-storey building across from City Hall was a wakeup call that you had your own agenda, and that a new OP would have no more integrity with this Council than the last OP. That was the first time it became crystal clear to me that the vision of the future was being formed by a small cadre (with one exception) of omnipotent demigods we call Council.

Debby Morrison

Debby Morrison

Lisa delegation

Lisa Kierns – delegating.


Citizens – waiting to delegate.

The people of Burlington who have come forward in the debate on the new OP overwhelmingly oppose what you are doing. While this may not be a large enough sample to extrapolate this opposition to the entire population of Burlington, it should provoke you to give pause in this process and seek a new vote of confidence from the people to proceed.

In a February 1 article in the Burlington Post, the deputy City Manager is quoted as saying “by delaying the approval, Burlington would lose an opportunity to shape how growth and change in the city and downtown is going to occur”. Since we are talking about an OP that looks decades into the future, it is a huge stretch of credibility to believe that a delay of several months until after the municipal election will make any difference in how this plan unfolds.

If you truly believe that the majority of our citizens support your plan then you should have no concern with putting your belief to a test with an election.

On the other hand if you persist in ramming this unwanted OP down our throats, we can only hope that there will be a sufficient slate of new candidates in the fall election so that this Council, will be removed from office in a free and democratic vote, and replaced by elected officials who will work with the citizens of this community to develop an OP that truly represents a vision of the future that we can all buy into.


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4 comments to Aldershot resident believes city council has betrayed the citizens of Burlington.

  • Sharon

    It’s interesting how similar Burlington City Council and the Halton District School Board is.

  • Glenda D

    Ward 2 councillor is the only one who listens to what the is brought forward by delegates at council meetings…the rest pander to developers.

  • Judy

    Well said. I totally agree with Mr Gaetan.

  • Joseph Gaetan

    During his state of the City address, Mayor Goldring proudly stated, “The City of Burlington was named the Organization of the Year by the International Association for Public Participation for applying the “Community Engagement Charter” adopted in 2013. It recognizes our mandate to consult and engage with residents in all matters.”
    The IAP2 has five levels of engagement, Inform, Consult, Involve, Collaborate and Empower. If the city fathers really, really believe in engagement there are at least two and perhaps 3 more steps to go. I think we easily meet Consult not so sure about Involve? The OP experience thus far has been as good a test of engagement as we will ever see.
    So why not challenge council to: “Go Bold on Engagement” and give us some Power?
    Link to IAP2