Business community wants to Mayor to change her approach to development issues: voters chose Meed Ward because she said she would do something about the developments

By Pepper Parr

October 26, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The chicken are on their way home – and about to roost on Mayor Meed Ward’s desk

Former Mayor Rick Goldring and the President of the Chamber of Commerce want Mayor Meed Ward to ease up on her current approach to handling development challenges.

We are advised that there are “currently 111 buildings within the city’s development pipeline. How those properties are managed will have a drastic effect on what Burlington will look like and how it functions in the future.”

Former Mayor Rick Goldring has some advice for Mayor Meed Ward: “embrace” development.

Former Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring (2010-2018) said getting development right will continue to be this council’s greatest challenge and that they should consider taking a new approach.

“I firmly believe that council, after fighting development for four years, needs to embrace it. And I understand the political challenge of doing that, but we’d rather embrace it and shape it and form it than fight it at the Ontario Land Tribunal and lose. And our residents will be a winner if they take that approach,” Goldring said.

A city staff report released in July revealed the city has spent $219,735 since 2019 on external legal and expert witness fees. These fees were paid in respect of each individual appeal that has been concluded during this term of Council to the Ontario Land Tribunal and its predecessors, the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal (LPAT) and Ontario Municipal Board.

The ward 2 Councillor “inadvertently” told a BDBA meeting that the city has budgeted $500,000 to fight the Waterfront Hotel site re-development.

Getting people to return to work has been easier said than done. Attitudes on life style and work have changed; people don’t want to drive long distances and they want to be able to work from home when it suits them.

The commercial world has yet to fully understand and adapt to this change. The hospitality sector can’t convince their servers to work under the conditions they had to cope with before the pandemic.

There is a labour crisis, with many businesses unable to find enough qualified employees. A recent symposium hosted by the Burlington Chamber of Commerce brought local business leaders together to discuss and hear solutions to the issue.

Chamber of Commerce President Terry Caddo

Terry Caddo, president and CEO of the Chamber, said workforce development will be a challenge in the future. The roots of that problem result from numerous factors, including congested roads and a lack of affordable housing options. Those baby boomers are finding they are content to retire taking a significant part of the middle management demographic out of the labour pool.

The challenge is going to be to find a way to deal with this situation and at the same time understand that Covid19 is still with us and likely to be around for some time.

Challenging times indeed.

Portions of this article were first reported in other media

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8 comments to Business community wants to Mayor to change her approach to development issues: voters chose Meed Ward because she said she would do something about the developments

  • Eve St Clair

    Only 27.6% chose this Liberal Mayor . MMW does not speak for the majority

    • Jim Thomson

      Actually only 6% of the eligible voters voted against the Mayor.
      The 72.4% that didn’t vote don’t get to complain that she doesn’t speak for them.
      They didn’t care enough to vote for someone else.

  • Keith Demoe

    I think those who voted Ward back in care less about the development projects in the city and more on maintaining the value of their homes. People know Ward mishandles development in the city, but they are willing to sacrifice what happens to Burlington to keep status quo. The challenge is exactly what the chamber referenced. If workers are only making so much money, it may not make sense for people to stay living here if they do not already own or rent. You cannot expect someone (for example) making 40k to pay rent that will be upwards to at least 20k/yr – 24k/yr and then all other expenses on top…they will not be able to live here.

  • Joe Gaetan

    Wise words from our former Mayor. Like it or not the development as proposed will have over 500 residential units. Even if COB is willing to spend $500k to fight the proposal,the developer can easily match that with the sale of one unit with 499 units left in the “kitty”. Then what? On top of that the push from the feds and the province for new housing and intensification is only increasing. Unless we have an extremely strong case, it may be time to negotiate Burlington.

  • Jim Thomson

    There is no labour crisis, there are only businesses that haven’t adjusted to the new reality.
    They can’t find employees for the working conditions at the salaries they are willing to pay.
    They can’t find qualified employees, and they don’t want to hire someone they would have to train.

  • Tony Schafer

    What else would you expect from a former mayor who seemed to be in bed with the developers and was at the helm when the ultra high-rise buildings got their start in our community

  • Alfred

    Hello Terry.
    We are presently in a very confusing situation. The people of Burlington and Ontario voted for the Conservatives to run the Province. Which amongst other responsibilities include. Governing housing matters in the Province. They Province delegated it’s athourity to the Municipalities and Cities to facilitate development. With the clear understanding that they follow the rules and Provincial Policies as spelled out in the Planning Act of Ontario. Pretty simple?

    On Monday the citizens re-elected an Anti-development Mayor and some councilors. Who appear not to understand Provincial mandates and guidelines or refuse to abide by them. Which it is their duty to do so. By losing all their appeals, the City has become a liability to good planning and development practices.

    It now appears that the Province has had Burlington in their radar for some time. They have clearly concluded that time and money wasting politicians and nimby’s should be relegated to the back shadows of the development process and generally be ignored. The Mayor has been given an opportunity to now cast the blame on the Province. Something she is very good at.

    The Province wants her out of the process. The PC housing policies are generally similar to the policies of all the other Major Political parties. So even if we unelect the Provincial Government of the day. Nothing changes. They all appear very pro-development and search for creative ways to create housing that is more affordable. Something this Mayor has never created nor lifted a finger to facilitate.

    The old guard of nimby’s will soon be retired. They can meet at the coffee shops and talk of days past. And ask themselves. How did Alfred know all this and make a prediction that this would happen years ago?

  • Donna Lavert

    So is Rick Goldring saying the City needs to abandon its Official Plan and Zoning Bylaws that are in place. If this is the case then why does the City need a Planning Department