Being heard is why people appear before City Council - do they get treated with the respect they deserve?

Pepper Parr

February 17th, 2024



Most of the people who delegate before City Council do so with some trepidation.  They spend hours and hours writing what they want to say; editing to ensure that they have chosen the words that will convey what they feel and cutting things out to keep their delegations to the five or ten minutes they are given to speak.

Irene Goodman reading her delegation to City Council

They want to be heard; they want the members of Council to understand what their concern is.

More often than not, the people who delegate are talking about their homes, the streets they live on and the sense of neighbourhood that is so very important to them.

Most bring a sense of earnestness to their delegation.  They want Council members to feel what they feel for their city.

They don’t understand why the members of Council don’t engage with them on what they worked so hard at saying to them.

It took the seven people who make up this City Council some time before they came up with the phrase: ‘You have made yourself perfectly clear, so much so that no one has any questions for you’, or words to that effect.

Those that have delegated for years bristle that that bit of lip service.

Councillors Galbraith and Kearns appear to have had some urgent business to attend to while Irene  Goodman was reading her delegation.

On February 6th, when residents in the Shore Acres community wanted Council to listen to the concerns they had over an application to change the zoning on a piece of property that had a single detached dwelling to zoning that permitted semi-detached dwellings that would in this case permit two homes on a lot that had a single dwelling.

Do they listen?

These two didn’t listen when Irene Goodman was delegating.

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9 comments to Being heard is why people appear before City Council – do they get treated with the respect they deserve?

  • Joe Gaetan

    On top of the many hours that go into preparing for a delegation, many delegee’s then have to wait many more minutes if not hours before they get their 5-to-10-minute shot at making their thoughts/concerns known to council.
    As a suggestion and as a back-up, these efforts may be better spent penning a letter to all members of council. Please note, do not send it to your member and carbon copy the rest. By sending to each member of council and the Mayor, they each then have to make the choice of answering you or not. If you receive a response, that may mean they have actually read the correspondence. If you do not receive a response, then at least you have a record of the fact. In the end you may also want to take the extra time to present your delegation in person.
    Sending a copy of the delegation to the press or BG is another options to consider.

  • Joe Gaetan

    If you are so inlcined, the YT video in the link was made on July 13, 2018, at a time when many taxpayers felt they were not being listend to and we needed a change at council.
    On the subject of delegating, former Mayor Rock Goldring once truthfully stated, “we are almost giving people false hope”, fast forward to today where delegee’s seem to be ignored and there is no hope.

    • Lynn Crosby

      And when then-councillor Meed Ward was actively encouraging sometimes as many as 30 delegates to come and be heard, shouting about democracy and promising that if she became mayor, we the people would be heard truly listened to and respected.

      Mr. Goldring and Mr. Craven: you were right all along and I was wrong.

      • David

        Please be advised the ‘donkey ears’ you were previously awarded are to be used sparingly and owing to the increasingly high demand across Canada supplies are currently limited; please be assured we are not singling you out by any means as my own set is in very poor condition with the right ear having been taped up. (Management)

  • Anne and Dave Marsden

    Albert Faccenda surely holds the record for trying to be heard on the city’s failure to comply with legislation and approve a by-law as do other municipalities, to allow compliance with the OP and allow semis to be built in low density housing areas in Burlington.

    Watch him delegate at Feb 13 2024 Council and then read the minutes that shows a three out of 3 score card in terms of turning a deaf ear to the need for such a legislated required by-law. A by-law that could have helped with our present housing situation if put In place when required, or even when Alfred started to address. Sharman and Meed Ward have been present at all three bids to have the bylaw put in place as required.

    • Anne and Dave Marsden

      Our apologies for a poor review of our comment and changing Albert’s name to Alfred in the second paragraph!

  • Eric Stern

    I certainly felt heard. I delegated about how misleading the Mayor’s 4.99% tax impact statements were at about 2:00pm and less than 3 hours later the Mayor’s communication team posted on X about her 4.99% tax impact. I may as well have stayed home and talked to my wife. A good reminder that we have one opportunity to be heard and that’s on October 26th, 2026.

    • Lynn Crosby

      Sometimes it seems like they put out these communications literally out of spite. There’s something really really wrong in there. And the 4.99 % impact statements are shameful. We have the ability to look at our tax bills and do the math – it is far beyond 4.99%!

  • David

    Why would they listen? You’re a tax-paying homeowner living in a comfortable neighbourhood with like-minded families, you have everything, you have realized the Canadian dream and you want your children to have the same experience as you while you look forward to a pleasant retirement and enjoy your grandchildren. So why would they listen to you?