Burlington Mayor comes out swinging at MPP Jane McKenna. Will this go 10 rounds?

News 100 blueBy Staff

June 8th, 2019



Mayor Meed Ward issued a statement earlier today pointing to factual inaccuracies in published by Burlington’s MPP Jane McKenna and published in the Burlington Post and, in a slightly different version on the We Love Burlington Facebook page.

In her statement the Mayor said:

Meed ward election night 1

She was Mayor elect in this photograph but clearly quite prepared to step into the ring and battle it out.

Democracy is the foundation of our country, and accurate information is a key pillar of it.

It’s therefore essential that our residents and local elected representatives have the facts when commenting on community matters and advocating to Queen’s Park on our behalf.

To that end, I’m writing to correct factual inaccuracies in an advertorial by Burlington Member of Parliament Jane McKenna, titled “Setting the Record Straight on Bill 108,” published in the Burlington Post newspaper on June 20 — and a slightly different version of the article posted on the local group WeLoveBurlington Facebook page (June 17) and to the MPP’s website (June 19).

I have also requested a meeting with MPP McKenna and Oakville North-Burlington MPP Effie Triantafilopoulos to ensure they both have accurate information, to best represent our interests at Queen’s Park as our elected representatives.

Here are the facts:

Bill 108 makes changes to 13 pieces of legislation. It was introduced in May and received Royal Assent in June — and much of the concerns raised by mayors and their residents across the province were ignored. The Region of Halton and the City of Burlington both passed resolutions detailing the problems with Bill 108 in advance of passage. You can read those here: https://bit.ly/COBResolutionBill108 and https://bit.ly/HaltonRegionResolutionBill108. Many other municipalities have also passed resolutions expressing their concerns with the legislation.

Two key changes are in the areas of development charges and the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT).

Development charges are intended to ensure growth pays for growth. It doesn’t now — paying roughly 80% of the costs of growth, while taxpayers pick up the remaining 20%, for everything from community

centres to parks and transit. The changes in Bill 108 will make that worse as certain items we used to be able to collect for have been removed from the development charges and are now included in a new “community benefits” formula that is to be determined. However, that new formula has a “cap.”

If the actual costs of growth are higher, taxpayers will again have to pay the difference.

There are certainly challenges with the current development charges system and related to that is the determination of Section 37 benefits, which are cash or in-kind payments for things such as park amenities or parking — these are negotiated for extra height and density.

As noted in the MPP’s article, I have long been a critic of Section 37 benefits. However, Bill 108 does nothing to make this system better and for the reasons I noted above, it will, in fact, make it less likely that growth will end up paying for growth.

You, the taxpayer, will get the bill. Further, there is no guarantee that the savings to developers from reduced contributions to the costs of growth will, in fact, be passed on to homebuyers.

Citizenship head lineup

Mayor Meed Ward was with Burlington MPP Jane McKenna and Oakville North-Burlington MPP Effie Triantafilopoulos on Canada Day – they could have had a little chat at the swearing in ceremony and gotten the facts straight then.

The second change is to LPAT. The previous provincial government worked extensively with the development industry, municipal governments and citizens to reform the powers of the former Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) to overrule local planning decisions and speed up the process of approvals so that housing could get to market faster and cheaper. Bill 108 essentially reverts the LPAT back to the older OMB rules where, once again, there will be extensive hearings with lawyers and witnesses that start from the beginning of the planning process and redo all the planning analyses completed by municipal governments and their trained and knowledgeable staff.

This will add more time and more costs to the delivery of housing — the exact opposite of the stated intent of Bill 108.

It is clear that as long as the tribunal exists (in whatever form), not only will housing be more expensive and slower to market, but democratic decisions will be overruled by an unelected body. Ontario is the only province in Canada with such a tribunal — and communities across the country are successfully being built without one. It is time to eliminate the LPAT entirely, and I will be introducing a motion to Halton Regional Council on July 10.

Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT)


TO BE CONSIDERED:                Council Meeting – July 10, 2019

MOVED BY:                                Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

SECONDED BY:                         Mayor Rick Bonnette

WHEREAS The Government of Ontario, on June 6, 2019, passed the More Homes, More Choice Act, 2019, (Bill 108); and

WHEREAS the changes to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT), contained in Bill 108 will give LPAT the authority to make final planning decisions based on a subjective “best planning outcome” approach rather than compliance with municipal and provincially approved official plans and consistency with provincial plans and policy; and

WHEREAS Bill 108 restricts third party appeals of plans of subdivision only to the applicant, municipality, Minister, public body or prescribed list of persons; and

WHEREAS Bill 108 takes local planning decision-making out of the hands of democratically elected municipal councils and puts it into the hands of a non-elected, unaccountable tribunal; and

WHEREAS the LPAT adds cost and delays delivery of affordable housing by expensive, time consuming hearings, contrary to the intent of the More Homes, More Choice Act, 2019; and

WHEREAS Regional and City Councils have spent millions defending provincially approved plans at the OMB/LPAT, including more than $5 million over the last three years;

WHEREAS the reverting back to de novo hearings adds delays and costs to the housing delivery, as planning decisions start from scratch requiring lawyers, experts and witnesses, repeating the planning analysis already done by local councils;


THAT in the short term, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing immediately restore the amendments to the Planning Act that mandated the evaluation of appeals on a consistency and conformity with Provincial policies and plans basis;

THAT in the long-term the Government of Ontario eliminate the LPAT entirely, as an antiquated body that slows delivery and adds costs to housing supply via expensive and drawn out tribunal hearings;

 AND THAT this resolution be forwarded to the Premier, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Halton’s Members of Provincial Parliament, Leaders of the New Democratic, Liberal and Green parties; the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, the Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario, Mayors and Regional Chairs of Ontario and Halton’s local municipalities.

Finally, some facts regarding Burlington’s Official Plan (OP). As required by legislation, the City’s OP is regularly updated, including an extensive update in 2008 to incorporate the intensification measures proposed by the Province in its Places to Grow Act.

Burlington was allocated a population of 185,000 by 2031. As of the 2016 census, we were at 183,000. With known and approved developments underway and recently completed, we have already reached our population target — 12 years early.

Further, there are specific density targets that are required in certain areas of the city. Downtown Burlington is designated as an Urban Growth Centre, with a density of 200 people or jobs per hectare by 2031.

According to multiple analyses by staff, we are well on track to meeting and surpassing that density. The most recent was included in the staff report for the 421 Brant Street development, which calculates the current density at 174 people or jobs. It also states that we are well-positioned to meet or exceed the density following the existing Official Plan provisions.

I have gone into more depth and details about how the changes Bill 108 will affect Burlington residents in previous posts on my website, mariannemeedward.ca.

It is critical for residents to have accurate information, and especially for our local representatives, to have the facts of Burlington’s situation and fully understand our concerns so they can best represent our interests to the Premier and Cabinet. We will be scheduling meetings to ensure that correct information is circulated to the public and will be circulating this information publicly, as well as to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the Premier.

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25 comments to Burlington Mayor comes out swinging at MPP Jane McKenna. Will this go 10 rounds?

  • Alfred

    Hans when you build your argument on an outdated Official Plan that was conjured up 10 or 15 years ago, along with By-Laws of the same vintage your foundations are built on mud. That’s why the OMB rules in favour of the developer most of the time. Consistent with what is going on in the rest of Ontario. Burlington Mayor is 10 years behind in her thinking. Times have changed. She wants to be Queen of Burlington not the Mayor.

    • Hans Jacobs

      Developers’ plans are typically based on the real estate world’s standard “highest and best use” philosophy; i.e., maximize value/profit for the developer. While that is rational behaviour from the developers’ perspective, highest and best use is a narrow-minded quantitative philosophy that benefits people in the industry but it does not benefit Society from a qualitative perspective. Thus we end up with development that exceeds the capacity of infrastructure with dysfunctional buildings that are too close to roads and have inadequate parking.
      Most of the rest of what you wrote, re OMB rulings and criticism of the Mayor, is not worthy of further comment, since your bias is so strong that you can not benefit from others’ points of view.

  • Alfred

    Putting the downtown area aside. 85 % of the City is deemed Low Density in the Official Plan which permits single detached and semi-detached homes as well as other forms of ground oriented (townhouses, duplex, triplex ect.) What do the nimby’s have in store for these forms of development? Remember the developers simply ask 2 questions. What can we build and where can we build it? If you can’t answer that question, people will not invest and bring jobs or spend money in your community. When I walk in to City hall it appears to me that it has become a lunatic asylum. Every one is scared to answer questions for fear of losing their jobs. I leave in a daze knowing less than I did when I walked in, When you enquire about development potential of a property it appears that you just released the plague into the office. Very weird and very dysfunctional. Nimby’s be as detailed as possible. Specifics if you will. This tail chasing with no better ideas or constructive alternatives gives me the same sensation as walking into City hall. I would also invite younger folks to help plan the future of Burlington. Some of the older folks collecting pensions with their houses paid off years ago want a blanket thrown over the City and put it to sleep.

    • Hans Jacobs

      I don’t agree with Alfred’s “..developers simply ask 2 questions. What can we build and where can we build it?”
      The answers to those questions are in the City’s zoning by-laws but apparently “developers” don’t read well and very often want to build much higher than the zoning by-laws allow. Then they want exemptions, which the OMB/LPAT seem happy to provide, creating an upward spiral where every new building is a little (or a lot) taller than the last one.

  • Rob Allan

    Doug Ford/Jane McKenna both got elected by default… McGuinty/Wynne gave them their chance on a plate and we have to live with the consequences of these two that are not worthy of our vote.

    • Hans Jacobs

      Agreed. The Conservatives could have run without a leader and they would still have won a majority. Patrick Brown probably would have done even better than “Mr. Buck-a-Beer” .

  • Stephen White

    The Tories need to seriously consider the significant damages they are causing to both their long-term re-election prospects as well as communities across Ontario with Bill 108. This is a hastily contrived, badly structured and egregious piece of legislation that vests far too much power and authority in developers, does nothing to promote affordable housing, and will end up costing Ontario taxpayers significantly.

    Ford needs to hit the re-set button, just as Kathleen Wynne was forced to do with her Green Energy Plan. Discretion is the better part of valour.

  • Alfred

    Thanks Mike I accept your challenge you pick the forum. My preference would be with a live audience. I would be glad to have MMW our Mayor sitting with you on your side. That my friend will never happen. 90 percent of the City is low density. The world does not revolve around the downtown area.The Mayors logic is 10 years behind the times. Her not following the rules of development in Ontario unleashed Bill 108 on us. Some fights you can’t win. Keep me informed. Time and place? Sounds like friendly fun. Bring our friend.

    • Mike Ettlewood

      Wonderful! I suggest sometime in the Fall as the two sides of the LPAT argument become more defined and the impacts of Bill 108 start to be felt across Ontario. Time and place tbd. However, I will enjoy the exchange of views in the interim – always worthwhile. By the way, are you a developer or associated with that industry?

  • Tom Muir

    Welcome to the world of “Ministerial Correspondence”. Having worked for the Province and the Fed I have experience in this, and it’s no different in this case. Just another example of commonplace government policy management.

    In this world, issues created by governments are all hands on deck for the issues managers to put together supporting narrative for the Minister, to be communicated out by the communications branch. Lots of workers in on this (our money), and on short notice.

    You will notice that the McKenna piece I read was lengthy, as this is needed for the political purposes of obfuscation. It makes for long and contradictory arguments that can go on long after release. That’s part of the tactics of denial and blaming the victims.

    Communicating the “facts” is not in the playbook unless they fully agree with the chosen message. As far as the “truth” is concerned, when I was caught telling the truth about the health effects of environmental pollution, I was asked/told by an ADM – “what has the truth got to do with it?”

    Truth in such matters is not primarily relevant unless it conveniently fits the spin, or is an actual everyone can see – like Lake Ontario is at a record high.

    It took a lot of work and a keen, knowledgeable eye to sift the crap, analyze, fact check and rebut this piece. Kudos to WeLoveBurlington and a few unidentified usual suspect brainy helpers. This has always been needed, but in short supply. Hopefully we are seeing more.

    And more Kudos to the Mayor for wading into this and adding her gravitas and the resources of staff. Unlike McKenna, who doesn’t represent anyone except the Ford government in this – for her it’s called caucus solidarity and there is a Whip – Mayor Meed Ward is stepping up for us in this and calling out the crap.

    Never give up Mayor. Branch out.

  • Jim Thomson

    Too bad the Mayor doesn’t worry about getting accurate information when it comes to the LaSalle Park Marina. Staff’s reports at the COW last night were riddled with errors and inconsistencies. Rather than support a referral to the September meeting when all the facts will be known, she pushed ahead with a proposal to pre-spend. $4,000,000.

  • Alex Brooks-Joiner

    Yes kudos to Meed Ward, council and staff!
    Citizens should not be hoodwinked by manipulation
    of facts
    It’s not helping

  • Kelly

    Thank you Marianne! You are bright, brave and brilliant. You have us 10000% behind you. It is time we just say we have had enough.

    Enough of the bullying.
    Enough of the greed.
    Enough….that we are not being listened too.

    It is far from over.

  • Steve W

    It’s nice to have a mayor in our corner however I fear she is outmatched in this fight. Despite her best efforts the battle to save Burlington has already been lost. It’s time to move.

  • Hans Jacobs

    Why is it so difficult for Jane McKenna to get the facts straight? Is she afraid to stand up for Burlington?

  • Doug

    To bad Mead Ward didn’t come out swinging 8 years ago, with Winn, forcing us to grow towers.. If we are so efficient in Halton why do we still have 4 fire department and 4 seperate transit systems. Police, EMS operate fine as one. Amalgamating emergency service would save millions for all of the Regions residents. However no one has the guts to go against the unions to change the status quo.

  • Alfred

    I would love to ask the Burlington Mayor if she could find 1 developer who supports her position that Bill 108 will bring more costs and time to the delivery of housing? She was telling us a short time ago that bill 108 was all tilted in favour of the developers. How can her statement have a shred of truth to it. The only costs that will go up is to the taxpayers of this community. That will be stuck with the legal bills incurred for all the lost OMB decisions that will result from her distorted view of the Planning rules in Ontario. The OMB is in place just because of people like her.

    • Mike Ettlewood

      No sir – the OMB is in place just because of people like you. I will gladly debate in any forum you choose who has a firmer grip on the facts – Mayor Meed Ward or yourself.

    • steven craig Gardner

      I see we have one Doug Ford/Jane McKenna supporter left in town. Of course developers wont tell us the truth they never have. It sounds like you support 29 story buildings on every corner that the developers get to pay only a portion of the cost to the city (the taxpayers) and we pay the rest for buildings most don’t want. Sorry to discourage you but I think the mayor is right on and is saying what most Burlington residents support. She is saying facts and truth I wish Ford/McKenna would do the same sometime.

    • Perry Bowker

      Why don’t you ask her then, instead of ranting on a comments forum?

    • Lynn Crosby

      Are you a developer? You seem to have a history of making comments almost obsessively that target Mayor Meed Ward, even when the article in question has nothing to do with her. It has a certain familiarity to it and they all start to blend together. But to suggest here that the OMB is in place “because of people like her” is silly even for you. No other province in Canada has such a tribunal. Halton Regional council today unanimously passed the motion.

  • WeLoveBurlington

    WeLoveBurlington strongly supports Mayor Meed Ward’s statement and her correction of the factual errors and inconsistencies in Ms. McKenna’s published statement. We are very pleased that it was WeLoveBurlington’s request to Ms. McKenna that she provide us with the rationale for her support of Bill 108 that has facilitated this open exchange of very different points of view and thereby improved the general understanding of the serious impacts that Bill 108 will have. We fully endorse the Mayor’s analysis which is similar if not identical to ours. Ms. McKenna’s response to us and our reply can be found on our Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/weloveburlingtonstopamalgamatiion/
    Significantly, Ms. Effie Triantafilopoulos has yet to respond to our similar request that she provide us with the reasons for her Bill 108 support. WeLoveBurlington also completely endorses the motion of Mayors Meed Ward and Bonnette to Halton Regional Council on July 10.to abolish the LPAT. It is a sensible and courageous move.

  • steven craig Gardner

    Feels like a 1 round knock out already!!

  • Bill Davidson

    Kudos To Mayor Meed Ward …. For Setting the Facts Straight !!! “False News & Facts”. Seem to be Rampart in many areas of the Political Spectrum these Days! Time for the Ford Government to get the. Information Correct & “Listen To the People” !!!