Backing down on the public survey over the sale of a sports field is proving to be a little awkward

REVISED By Pepper Parr

May 25th, 2022


The city’s Communications department had some concerns about wording we used to describe what we referred to as a self inflicted wound. There are some subjects that are very sensitive and we decided to remove a phrase we used.  Other than that – the story stands.  We changed the date as well from the 20th to the 26th.

Sometimes things don’t work out the way you want them to.

The decision to get public feedback on the city decision to sell the sports field to the west of Central High school has, to be polite about it, hit a speed bump.

The words transparency and engagement seemed to have been lost by the city communications people.  They are now falling over themselves trying to back out of a survey that wasn’t thought out all that well.

The tweet on the right, sent out earlier today, is kind of embarrassing.

City Manager Tim Commisso is reported to be putting together a public meeting to pass along more in the way of information.  What isn’t clear at this point is – will it be a joint meeting with the Board of Education or is the city going to have to wear this one all by itself.

What is so perplexing is that the rush that has been behind all this just wasn’t necessary – these are self inflicted wounds – the people who put together the survey need to really think through what took place and look for different approaches to what is a serious problem.

There is a public that is confused and angry.

City manager Tim Commisso needs to get a grip on this issue. It is close to being totally out of control. There are tens of millions involved.

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5 comments to Backing down on the public survey over the sale of a sports field is proving to be a little awkward

  • Penny Hersh

    Once again the “Communication Department” has found something not to its liking. For the record the survey sent out by the city was disgraceful and an insult to the residents of Burlington.

    Perhaps it is time for the ” Communication Department” to look at what it sends out to residents under the guise of “Public Participation”. In the tweet above it indicates that at some time, not now, but after meeting with the School Board etc. the City will share “SOME BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON THE CITY’S INTEREST IN PURCHASING THE ROBERT BATEMAN PROPERTY”.

    It is very magnanimous of the city to INFORM us why taxpayer’s should pay for this project, while having no input as to whether or not the residents want it.

    This is not a small project, this is a large, expensive project with the loss of a public track field as part of the deal.

    Public input SHOULD come before this project is a done deal, not after.

    I urge all residents ( either pro or against) to contact the mayor, the city manager and council members to let them know how they feel about this purchase before it is too late ( one email cc’d to all of the above would do the trick)?

  • I can see no reason why we should place a publicly accessible down town sports field into the control of the Halton School Board – that would then be in danger when they decide to sell that school.

  • Hopefully the public meeting – perhaps it should be a Special Meeting of Council with Halton Board of Education people contributing – will receive delegations from the bill payers and be web cast. There is nothing else that can meet the Municipal Act requirements for “transparency” in such an important matter. A survey simply does not cut it, especially when surveys can be worded to always give the answer the city wants.

    Our guess on the reason for the sudden change in terms of a survey first is they got their first taste of the bill payers responding to the Gazette challenge “We push for better transparency – your job is to demand it.” at the last Council meeting when it was clearly explained that transparency is a legislated requirement that every single member of Council and staff involved in the LPMA issue. Lack of transparency was clearly identified in their first LPMA staff report on this matter, provided far too late, and it was very clear it was not a screw up, council members and staff had purposely chosen to ignore it which equates with “lack of integrity”. Yes, the very thing that Shawna Stolte took a huge hit on when trying to bring a little integrity to the table.
    Have a g reat Victoria Weekend folks and then lets get down to finishing what the Gazette started – demanding transparency, truth and trustworthiness from our Mayor, Councillors and city staff on every item they consider that affects the interests of the bill payers!

  • Jim Thomson

    Council asked staff to report to council with recommendations at the June 21st meeting.
    Reporting to council rather than to committee is getting to be a habit.
    It’s just another way to avoid public input.

  • Penny Hersh

    If you read the tweets sent out by the city it specifically indicates that”a public meeting can be arranged where the City and the Halton District School Board staff and will share information about the proposed land transaction. Meeting details will be SHARED and communicated to the public once confirmed”

    The last tweet indicates that “once the public meeting has been held we will seek additional feedback from the public.”

    When is a “public meeting” not a “public meeting”? Is it a public meeting that includes only the City and Halton District School Board Staff?