Early look at city tax increases for 2023 come in at just under 8%

By Pepper Parr

July 4th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Council will debate the tax increases they expect to impose during a meeting on Monday.

They will dance around a lot of numbers – the ones that count and set out for you below.

The number that matter is the top line; that is the amount the city is going to levy.

When the city tax levy is added to the total tax bill it looks lower.

The city collects taxes for the Region and the Boards of Education

 

How did they get to the 7.97?

The Finance people, amongst the best in the province have done a very good job cutting and chopping – they are up against hard reality. The challenge for the taxpayers is to hope that the members of Council will spend more conservatively.

Tough weeks ahead for the city treasurer.

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Housing strategy fundamentals in place - now for the really hard work in an uncertain economic environment

By Pepper Parr

July 3rd, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

City Council decided January 2021 that there had to be a housing strategy that would make it possible for people to be able to live in Burlington and at some time in their lives buy a hone.

The provincial requirement that the city grow meant intensification had to take place which amounted to growing up  – translate that to mean high rise towers – rather than growing out because there was no more greenfield land left.

At the same time the value of single family dwellings sky rocketed – due in part to cheap money from the banks and the realization that if you didn’t get into the marker now you might never get in.

Traditionally municipalities do not involve themselves in the supply of housing – they determine what can be built where through the zoning bylaw.

In June City Council took the first step in recommending the creation of a Housing Strategy.

The lead up to getting to the point was an 18 month process that resulted in a report yesterday that set out

12 actions – six of which were priorities

5 themes

5 pathways

1 vision

Most of the city departments were involved in putting the report together but there were five women who were at it every day of those 18 months.

It was a very proud day for Alison Enns and her team: Laura Daly, Kate Hill-Montague and Alexandra Mathers.

Increasing options for housing across the city was identified as a top priority and goal in the From Vision to Focus Plan. A key action item associated with this priority was ‘to complete the City’s Housing Strategy and implement the plan to address the needs related to young families, senior’s housing, affordable housing, special needs housing and newcomers by Q2-2022’.

A key action associated with this priority is to employ a range of communication and engagement tactics to ensure citizen involvement.

The objective was to

“…develop an innovative Housing Strategy for the City of Burlington that sets out policies, tools and actions to address residents’ housing needs now and in the future and will build on and support the Region’s Housing Strategy through the development of local solutions to housing issues in the City of Burlington.”

The Housing Strategy provides a road map for addressing local housing needs and increasing housing options that meet the needs of current and future residents at all stages of life and at all income levels. It identifies the key players in housing and their respective roles, including the role of the City of Burlington (See Action 1 of the Housing Strategy).

Burlington, as a lower tier municipality, has two key opportunities to do its part to “make moves” in addressing the broader housing crisis:

  • First, through partnership and advocacy to help deliver the deep affordability and housing options needed by residents of Burlington within the lower income deciles; and
  • Second, through focusing on implementing the direct actions that the City can take to increase housing options and opportunities for residents of Burlington within the middle-income deciles.

The key findings of the Housing Needs and Opportunities Report are summarized below:

  • Rental housing supply is not meeting the needs of existing and future
  • Housing is not affordable for many Burlington In the City of Burlington, the supply of housing that is affordable for all incomes is diminishing. In particular, home ownership for middle-income earners has become a challenge;
  • Burlington residents do not feel there is enough diversity or options for housing in the City to meet residents’ needs throughout their lifecycle;
  • As Burlington continues to grow and evolve, housing options will need to reflect this growth and change;
  • As a lower-tier municipality, one of the greatest actions and areas of focus will be to leverage relationships with upper levels of government and local community organizations to advocate for housing affordability and foster partnerships for the delivery of housing to address needs across the continuum; and
  • A lack of understanding among the general public about the benefits of a range and mix of housing options in the City often results in opposition to development that would address housing gaps.

The need was clear, what wasn’t as clear was how to get this done.

The pathway that Enns and her team had to determine was cluttered with what the other jurisdictions were doing.

The federal government was going to provide funds.

The Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) would be heavily involved

Ontario produced a report saying the people would just have to get used o the idea that there were going to be four plxes on streets that were single family dwellings.  Try that idea on a city councillor who has to deal with property owners who say – certainly, great idea – but not on my street if you want my vote.

The Regional government had the task of determining what the urban growth boundaries were going to be – and had to work aganst a lot of deeply rooted resistance from the farming community.

Locally the team had to work within a planning department environment that was struggling to cope with close to impossible work loads and significant changes at the leadership level.

This was an initiative put in place by a city council was about half way through its term of office and at a time when the leadership of the Planning department was experiencing some stability issues.

The Chief Planner found that her position no longer existed on the City Organization Chart so was given the opportunity to find employment elsewhere taking a significant financial settlement with her.

Mayor Meed Ward was never able to create the kind of relationship she wanted with Mary Lou Tanner who was the Director of Planning, which made her departure inevitable at some point.

Despite this Allison Enns and her team were able to work very effectively.

The presented their report and got the endorsement they needed quite quickly.  The recommendation vote was unanimous and went to Council on June 21st.

Then what?

Getting to this point meant loads of virtual meetings, all kinds of survey work.  Enns was particularly good at creating a pause during a virtual meeting and doing a quicky survey of those participating on line

The Housing Strategy is underpinned by extensive technical work by Dillon Consulting and SHS Consulting

And of course there was an engagement plan that drew more than 1,400 responses over the course of 4 online surveys and hosting 6 virtual Open Houses.

One key element of the engagement was the Housing Strategy Working Group who along with the Steering Committee guided the preparation of the Housing Strategy.

The Housing Strategy identifies 12 Actions to move toward the vision for housing in Burlington. It provides a set of action-oriented housing objectives (Themes) and an associated implementation plan that also identifies a list of Prioritized Actions and Quick Wins.

 

 

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Council agenda on Monday thick with closed meeting items.

By Staff

June 3rd, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The week long schedule of Standing Committee meetings begins on Monday.

Don’t expect it to be as dramatic as the Council meeting last wee.

The part that is going to keep this Council behind closed doors for much of the time on Monday is the items on the Confidential Agenda.

Confidential reports may require a closed meeting in accordance with the Municipal Act, 2001. Meeting attendees may be required to leave during the discussion.

5.1
Confidential human resources report providing a bargaining update for Local 2723 (HR-07-22)

Pursuant to Section 239(2)(d) of the Municipal Act, labour relations or employee negotiations.

Oh to be a fly on the wall when this gets discussed. The city’s legal department is usually loath to let any information get out to the public. City Solicitor Nancy Shea Nicol has not had yo release this information in the past.

5.2
Confidential legal report – waive privilege to release external legal costs for Planning Act appeals completed during current term of Council (L-25-22)

Pursuant to Section 239(2)(f) of the Municipal Act, advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege, including communications necessary for that purpose.

5.3
Confidential legal report – update on a litigation matter at 3200 Dakota Common (L-27-22)

Pursuant to Section 239(2)(e) of the Municipal Act, litigation or potential litigation, including matters before administrative tribunals, affecting the municipality or local board.

1025 Cooke Blvd: The proposal affects 1.08 hectares of land on the north side of Plains Road East, east of Waterdown Road. The redevelopment proposes two mixed-use, mid-rise buildings of 10 and 12 storeys with retail and service commercial uses at the street level and 450 residential units above. Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw amendment applications have been submitted. Access to the property is proposed off Cooke Boulevard and Clearview Avenue with parking located at the rear of the buildings and an underground parking garage. It is currently the site of Solid Gold – an adult entertainment operation.

5.4
Confidential legal report – update on Ontario Land Tribunal appeal for 53-71 Plains Road East and 1025 Cooke Blvd (L-29-22)

Pursuant to Section 239(2)(e) of the Municipal Act, litigation or potential litigation, including matters before administrative tribunals, affecting the municipality or local board.

5.5
Confidential legal report – update on a litigation matter regarding a class action (L-32-22)

Pursuant to the following sections of the Municipal Act: Section 239(2)(a) the security of the property of the municipality or local board; Section 239(2)(e), litigation or potential litigation, including matters before administrative tribunals, affecting the municipality or local board; and Section 239(2)(f), advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege, including communications necessary for that purpose.

Class actions are tricky business – no word yet from those who pass along information.

The public is now getting much more information on what is involved and who is involved.  At one point Councillor Lisa Kearns complained about the public not even knowing the address of a development that had become a confidential legal matter.

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Street level reaction beginning to come in on that Council meeting last week.

By Pepper Parr

July 3rd, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The street level reaction is beginning to come in now that people can see the 15 minutes of fame that Andy Warhol promised us.  You get to watch a train wreck taking place live.  Link to that stunning performance by the Mayor is set out below.

When the Mayor announced she was going to do some agenda management and moved directly to what she referred to as an Integrity Commissioner she was exercising a right that she had.  The problem with the decision she made and the position she took is that there was nothing from the Integrity Commissioner.  Click HERE and see for yourself.  It wont take much more than a minute.

Top row: Member of Council: Sharman, Galbraith and Nisan watching in stunned silence. Bottom row Councillor preparing to leave the meeting and Clerk Kevin Arjoon struggling to maintain some order. He never did find a way to bring the Mayor to order on the several occasions when he should have.

FACT:  Also the the Integrity Commissioner did not write a report to Council .

FACT: The Mayor had no right to bring something onto the agenda without a majority vote to waive the procedural by-law.

FACT: The apology was a private matter. Councillor Stolte had chosen to apologize during non-debatable statements by Councillors. That was entirely her right to choose how she wanted to proceed.

Most of the remarks set out below are from Gazette readers.  We didn’t make this stuff up. All asked not to be identified.

One writer said it “was not not clear how the Mayor had any ability to make a private matter public”; that didn’t deter the Mayor.

Some readers wondered “just where City Clerk was in all this” – he never did have control of the meeting which is what he was hired to do.

“Ms. Gartside clearly knew the matter was both private and not on the agenda. It is hard to imagine that she was a willing participant in what occurred.

“In the world of politics and drama, some scenes are meant to be watched, especially when you have no lines.”

The Integrity Commissioner can expect to be quite busy for some time yet – assuming he doesn’t drag his heels and then decide that this cannot be investigated or reviewed before the election.

Someone somewhere is going to have to do something to get this Council to the point where they walk their talk about Good Governance.

They all expect to be re-elected.

Related news story:

The event: the Mayor and her train wreck

A small poll on what readers thought the Mayor should do

 

 

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86% of the people who responded to the poll said the Mayor should have apologized to Councillor Stolte

By Staff

July 2, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward taking part in a Council Standing Committee meeting.

 

The first of our polls has been completed.

We asked: Should Mayor Meed Ward be apologizing to the public?

The response for something that was new and different for our readers was more than satisfactory.

The response was slightly above 10% of the people that saw the poll.

Our plan at this point is to publish a poll on the Sunday of each week and report on the results on the Thursday – last thing in the day.

We will set up our polling service so that people can look at the results of previous polls once they are complete.

You won’t be able to see the results of a poll while it is running – unless and until you have voted. We didn’t want people to see the results and then go with the majority.

The poll is set up so that you cannot vote more than once on any one question.

We’d like to get that response rate up to a 25% level.

And, if you have a question that you think should be polled – pass it along.

The results from the first poll are set out below.

Please keep in mind that this poll was taken BEFORE the Gazette published a video of the council meeting that was so disruptive.

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An excerpt from that disgraceful Council meeting - how did this Council become so dysfunctional?

By Pepper Parr

July 2nd, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Earlier in the month, June 21st, during a city council meeting, the Mayor and a member of Council went at it.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward taking part in a Council meeting on June 21st, virtually from London, Ontario where she was attending the university graduation of her daughter.

The Mayor, who has the right to revise a Council meeting agenda, decided that she was going to put an Integrity Commissioner matter at the top of the Agenda during which she expected Councillor Shawna Stole to read out an apology to a city staff member.

Stolte had already advised the Mayor that she would be making her agreed upon apology to Georgie Gartside, staff member with two decades of service, during the Councillor Comments part of the council meeting.

An item on the formal agenda is debatable, which would have permitted Council members to add their views. Councillors Nisan and Galbraith were the pair that took a complaint against Stolte to the Integrity Commissioner earlier in the year and resulted in the Commissioner recommending that she be docked five days pay.

Pay attention to the facial expressions and body language of these two council members.

The facial expressions were revealing. Councillor Sharman didn’t say a word; Galbraith kept this expression on his face throughout most of the meeting, Nisan hid from the camera most of the time. Stolte is shown packing up her stuff and leaving her seat at the council table. Clerk Kevin Arjoon will tell his friends it was the most contentious meeting her was every involved in.

Know that Mayor Meed Ward was not in the Council Chamber, she was in London, Ontario attending her daughter’s university graduation.

The irony of all this is that on the 21st of June Councillor Stolte was the Deputy Mayor and filled in for Meed Ward when she had to leave the meeting.

A Council members Comments at the end of the meeting are not debatable.

Mayor Meed Ward used the lame excuse that Gartside wanted the item at the top of the agenda and not at the end so she would not have to listen to the full meeting to hear the apology that she took part in crafting and had approved.

That kind of behaviour gives the phrase “your pound of flesh” a whole new Better.

During the meeting we heard “point of order” and “point of personal privilege” being tossed around like horse shoes at a fall fair.

The Gazette has reported on this in the paste. We decide to take the time to excerpt the full discussion (it’s just shy of 14 minutes long) and ends with Councillor Stolte leaving her seat at the council table.

We didn’t cut a word.

We do have some comments following the video.

The video CLICK here

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Race for the next Regional Chair has the potential to be very interesting

By Pepper Parr

July 2, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

A look at the nominations in place for the seat of Regional Chair, one can’t help but see several layers of political intrigue.

The first out of the gate was an announcement from MP Jane McKenna that she would not run for the Burlington seat in the provincial legislature but would run for the chair of the Region.

That had a lot of the senior people at the Region sucking in air: McKenna as the Chair of the Region?
In the meantime the sitting Chair Gary Carr moved from his rural home in Milton to downtown Burlington leading many to conclude that Carr was hanging up his spurs.

Gary Carr tasting honey on a Regional farm tour.

Carr was seen as a Conservative; her served as the Oakville MPP for period of time and at one point was speaker of the Legislature.

For McKenna to decide to run as Chair of the Region the assumption was that she had cleared it with Carr.

The Gazette has not interviewed Carr – we were preparing to interview him as he exited local politics.

Unless there is a huge change in the way Gary Carr handles himself in the next couple of months, he will be returned to office and Jan McKenna will be looking for another job.

However, the world of politics nothing is certain.

The Regional level of government is often not fully understood.  The issues they handle are a little removed from the services people look to each day.

Waste management, water and sewers, social services, maintaining an Official Plan that the municipal sector has to comply with.   The work done at the Regional level applies to every municipality.

Besides being a professional hockey player Carr was a Member of Provincial Parliament, Speaker of the Ontario Legislature and later a Member of Parliament.

Gary Carr is tired – he has been at it for a long time and has ensured that the Region is stable, that the budgets are manageable and that the people of the Region feel safe.

Jane McKenna at a Freeman Station event

Is this a job he really wants? My response would be probably not but the thought of having Jane McKenna as Regional Chair was enough to have Carr putting his hockey pads back on.

But then – out of the blue (red actually because she is a Liberal) Andrea Grebenc files her papers to run for the Regional Chair.

Andrea Grebenc, former Halton District School Board trustee, served as chair and sough the Burlington nomination for the provincial Liberals

Andrea who?

Pay attention to this one. She was Chair of the Halton District Board of trustees for two terms and developed a profile that had CBC and the Toronto Star going to her for comments on the state of education in the province at a time wen a public voice was badly needed.

Grebenc was bold in her comments and not afraid to think well outside the box and ask the awkward question.  Jumping from trustee to Regional Chair is a leap – but if Carr is tired and McKenna is a non-starter and if the public is prepared to listen to a bright almost 50 year old parent with significant depth in Information Technology – it could happen.

Would it be a good thing for the Region: probably.  The Staff at the Regional level is for the most part very good.  They would help her ease her way into the job and soon realize that there is depth and the capacity for seeing the bigger picture.

For the record, Grebenc appears on the list of people running, McKenna’s name is there, no address; think she is still in the little blue house.

Gary Carr’s name does not appear but he has sent out a tweet indicating he will be running

More on these three candidates going forward.

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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Gary Carr, Andrea Grebenc and Shawna Stolte - now part of the municipal election race

By Pepper Parr

June 30th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We are beginning to see a more active phase of the October municipal election.

Gary Carr has been Regional Chair for some time – was expected by many to retire.. Did the McKenna decision to run for Regional Chair change his mind?

Gary Carr has decided he will run for re-election. Was that decision influenced by Jane McKenna’s decision to run for the Regional Chair.

Andrea Grebenc did a top notch job as the Halton District School Board where she served as chair for two terms.

Then along comes Andrea Grebenc, former chair of the Haltom District School Board of Trustees – a surprise entrant who might go on to surprise everyone.

Expect to see a statement from Shawna Stolte who has filed her papers to run for the ward 4 seat that she won in 2018.

Shawna Stolte, after a turbulent couple of months has filed her nomination papers. Will her ward see it the way she saw things?

The decisions made by these three deserves some analyses – why and what can the public expect.

Enjoy Canada Day and come back on the weekend for an update.

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Natalie Pierre made a Parliamentary Assistant

By Staff

June 29th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Natalie Pierre, has been named as the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Colleges and Universities.

That was no mean feat. Somebody in the Premier’s Office saw something in Ms Pierre that er have not been able to see.

Natalie Pierre went from a person most people had never heard of to a Parliamentary Assistant in the second Doug Ford government.

Good on her for getting the appointment.

It took her predecessor years to be made a Parliamentary assistant.

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Road closure - Martha Street, June 28 to July 5, 2022

By Staff

June 28th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Martha Street will be closed between Pine Street and Lakeshore Road between Tuesday, June 28 – Sunday, July 5, 2022 for sanitary and water services installation.

The public information meetings were years ago – now the construction for sanitary and water services installation. is underway.

Traffic will be detoured around the block. Local traffic and access to adjacent properties will be maintained from Pine Street and the road will be restored for traffic during the non-working hours over the weekend .

 

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What will Doug do first? Didn't take long to find out. Took care of his people

By Pepper Parr

June 27th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

A few days after the re-election of Doug Ford as Premier of the province we suggested that we would know within 60 to 90 days what kind of a Premier he was going to be this second time around.

It didn’t take anywhere near that long.

On the day he was sworn in by the Lt Governor he then had his Cabinet sworn in – that included his nephew (his sisters son) Michael Ford as Minister of Culture and Tourism.

Doug Ford was a proud man as he shook the hand of Michael Ford, his nephew, the day he was sworn in as a Cabinet Minister

Doug Ford was a very proud man when he shook Michael’s had effusively.

What the public was seeing was a naked act of nepotism.

Family matters and the Ford family has had its share of grief.  Some good news would be welcome and adding to the list of political achievers would be a welcome change.

Rob Ford wasn’t able to handle the job of being Mayor of Toronto – his early death was a blow to the way the family saw itself.

Michael Ford got himself a seat on the Toronto District School Board – we didn’t see much, if anything, in the way of achievement or change in the way schools were administered.

Ok – it takes time to get the hang of public service. The opportunity to take the council seat for the community opened itself up and because the Ford family owned the fealty of that community he was a shoe in.

Nor much in the way of achievement on city council – no one every described the young man as a comer – someone to be watched.

Did anyone ever suggest spending some time in a gym to the young mam?

Michael Ford dismissed any suggestion that nepotism played a role in his appointment, saying he has served on the school board and council in one of the city’s most diverse areas.

His decision to run for the provincial seat was no surprise.  It was an opportunity and the young man took it.

For his uncle to make the decision to put his nephew in Cabinet was a stunner.  Give him a year to find his way and then make him a parliamentary secretary and see how he handles the job would have been acceptable.

But to drop him into Cabinet where the best he can expect is a divisiveness from those Cabinet members who have both the smarts and the cahoneys to perform well in very hard jobs.  That along with the protection of his uncle

Ford has made it clear – he is going to take care of his people – all they have to do is call – and they will be calling.

Learning to defend a government is something Natalie Pierre is going to have to get used to.

What is this going to mean to Burlington?  Think the Escarpment – especially the space between the urban boundary – the Dundas – Hwy 407 line and Side Road 1.

Will the newly elected MPP Natalie Pierre be able to convince the Premier that permitting any development north of the urban boundary is a mistake?

She will be alongside Michael Ford learning the ropes.  What little the public has seen of the woman is just not enough to have an understanding of what she might be capable of.

The days ahead for the city could be dark days indeed.

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

 

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Mayor supports her Councillors: Galbraith gets a boost

By Pepper Parr

June 27th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It is really nice to see the Mayor supporting her fellow council members as they seek re-election to office.

A day or so ago the Mayor sent out a tweet telling the people of ward 1 of an opportunity to meet their Councillor at the LaSalle Park Marina on Tuesday in the afternoon.

The event was described as a Pop-Up, a phrase that is being applied to almost everything that is spontaneous..

If the weather is fine and there is transportation from the parking lot at the top of the hill to the bottom all the seniors will be able to get to the event..

 

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And now we would like your opinion - new polling feature in the Gazette

By Pepper Parr

June 24th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Another way for the public to express their views of what happens in Burlington.

The Gazette has created a poll that will run frequently – asking readers for their views on matters of public interest and concern.

The first was published yesterday asking people if they felt the Mayor owed Councillor Stolte an apology for the way she attempted to force the Councillor to read out an apology.

The polling questions will be inserted into stories that are relevant and related.

This is a bit of an experiment on our part – let’s see how it goes.

Related news:

The kafuffle at city Council on Tuesday

Mayor presses councillor to apologize.

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Why is the webcast of the Tuesday Council meeting not available to the public? Because the Mayor doesn't want you to hear what she said?

By Pepper Parr

June 23rd, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On Tuesday of this week there were two public meetings that involved city council.

One was a meeting of the Audit Committee – which is a Standing Committee of Council which took place at 10:30 am. There were some problems with the sound and the meeting was cut short with everything deferred until the July meeting.

The other was a meeting of Council which took place at 1:00 pm and was over shortly before 5:00 pm.

Both were public meetings delivered to the public as a web cast.

For people who were not able to watch the web cast as it was being broadcast there is an opportunity to go to the city web site and watch the meeting later.

Note the word live. You can click on that and watch the meeting.

Here is what you will see for the Audit Committee on the City Calendar.  Notice that there is a link that you can click on – the word LIVE in green lettering.

Now look at what is on the city calendar for the meeting of Council.

You can’t watch a rebroadcast.

Why not – the Audit Committee met at 10:30 and their meeting is available.

Note that the word lice does not appear. That is because the city technical people have not yet loaded the webcast. The big questions is – why has it not been loaded?

We may get told that there were technical difficulties and the broadcast is not available and may never be available.

The Gazette has a transcript of who said what when.

At one point the Mayor said she wanted remarks that were made by Councillor Stolte, as the two bickered back and forth, be “stricken from the record”.

Our transcript can be converted to an MP3 file which means you can hears the words for yourself.

It just might come to that.

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Finally - the apology - and a comment about a head of counsel who continually seeks out opportunities to cause quarrels and distress'

By Pepper Parr

June 21st, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Finally, with the Mayor away – her daughter graduates from Western University and Momma wants to be there for that event, Councillor Shawna Stolte, serving as the Deputy Mayor and Chair of the city council meeting got to read out her apology to staff member Georgie Gartside.

Stolte began:

“ I’m going to start with a comment to say that it really saddens and distresses me that we have a head of counsel who continually seeks out opportunities to cause quarrels and distress at the expense of honest and genuine work of councillors. The statement I’d prepared for today is an apology to a staff member named Georgie Gartside for comments made by myself that she was concerned had impugned her professionalism.

“I’m not sure how the mayor came to know the details of the issue  which were a private matter.

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte

“I had come to a genuine and heartfelt resolution that had resulted in the Integrity Commissioner determining that a public report and discussion was not necessary, as Ms Gartside and myself had reached a satisfactory resolution to her concerns. I’m concerned that the mayor’s behaviour has only served to taint and cheapen what was meant to be a positive and collaborative closure for Ms Gartside and myself.  Having said that, I’d like to take the time now to read the statement that I’d prepared and I hope that she’s listening and that I hope that her experience has not been too tainted by the display earlier today.

“The statement I’d like to make is that creating and maintaining positive and productive relationships with staff at the City of Burlington is very important in our role as counsellors.  It came to my attention, that a direct quote of mine in an article in the Burlington Gazette resulted in a city staff member feeling as though their character or reputation had been affected and this is not something I take lightly.

“I’d like to express my sincere regret that my involvement in an article in the Burlington Gazette on April 11 of 2020  caused distress to a staff member,  Ms Georgie  Gartside, as this was certainly not my intention. The nature of my interview for that article was very casual regarding the first year of being a new counsellor. And my answer to the general open ended question of what was the first few months like was described in a casual storytelling manner, which was intended to be only background material for what I assumed would be an edited article.

“Had I understood that my general and casual comments were be going to be printed verbatim in a series of articles, I certainly would have taken greater care to ensure that the explanation of my own experiences did not have any potential to negatively impact others. While I did not mention Ms Gartside specifically by name, I can certainly appreciate that she felt as though she’d be too easily identified by the comments in the article. It came to my attention that Ms  Gartside felt that the comments made it sound like she had spoken to myself in a rude manner and that she did not want to be a counsellor assistant or that she planned to leave the counsellor’s office as soon as she could or that we did not work well together.

“I absolutely acknowledge Ms  Gartside is concerned that my comments could have been misinterpreted in this manner. I want to state without hesitation that was certainly not in any way what I intended to communicate, and I regret any misunderstanding that caused Ms  Gartside distress. Ms  Gartside was very professional, upfront and honest and advising me during the first week of this term of counsel that her preference would have been to have stayed in the clerk’s department to further her career objectives. And I appreciated that honesty and I supported her desire to continue her career path.

This is the paragraph in the April 11th, 2020 interview that led Georgie Gartside to think that she was the staff member. The Gazette was not told who the person was.

“Ms Gartside remained my ward for assistant for a period of seven months in 2018 and 2019, before being requested to fill a temporary vacancy in the mayor’s office. And during those seven months, Ms Gartside was always highly professional, collaborative, polite and helping to navigate the steep learning curve at City Hall.

Upon learning of Ms Gartside’s concern I immediately sent her a private apology as I would never intentionally cause a respected colleague distress. Miss Gartside indicated it was important to her that her colleagues and the public hear directly from me that I have nothing but the utmost respect for her work and her commitment to her career. And I was more than willing to clear up this misinterpretation. If it brings comfort and resolution to a colleague for whom I have nothing but respect for.

“I want to conclude by stressing that positive and respectful relationships between staff and council are important to accomplishing the good work of the city. And I truly hope that this apology brings Miss Gartside, some peace of mind.”

The complete story of how this disturbing situation came about will follow.

Related news:

The interview that started it all.

The Mayor sets out to squash a city councillor – it backfires.

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Mayor slammed by Councillor for turning something into yet another political circus for your own selfish gain.

By Pepper Parr

June 21st, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The following are excerpt from a story the Gazette is doing on a vicious, vile debate between a member of Council and the Mayor.

The full story will appear later in the day.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

The Mayor : “A member of staff filed a complaint with the Integrity Commissioner against Councillor  Stolte that she violated several provisions of the council code of good governance. The recommended resolution to that complaint by the Integrity Commissioner was a public apology by the Councillor. The Apology has been agreed to by the staff member and the Councillor. The details of the complaint and resolution are included in a disposition letter from the Integrity Commissioner.

Councillor Shawna Stolte

Stolte then said: “Mayor, I do believe that you understand protocol that a point of order, which has now turned into a point of privilege is to be dealt with before you continue with your remarks. I was really hoping to not have to say this today but I actually have prepared a statement because unfortunately I was expecting this. This is entirely unprofessional and inappropriate for you to be discussing this matter.

While there was a complaint made to the commissioner the Integrity Commissioner deemed that it was not appropriate to come before Council in the form of a report which it sounds as though you have taken it upon yourself to do of your own accord. That’s entirely unprofessional. The only reason why this is being made public is because of a private agreement that I made a promise to a staff member that I wanted to rectify.

It’s a private agreement between a staff member and myself that has been agreed upon. I will be dealing with it during statements by members as you were already informed. As I said it’s entirely inappropriate that you make an attempt to bring that forward now and turn it into yet another political circus for your own selfish gain. And I think you should be ashamed of yourself.

“Thank you, Councillor,” said the Mayor.

The balance of this very sad day for city council will be published later today.

Stolte did not read out her apology – she instead walked out of the Council Chamber.

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Just what is there in the city for seniors who need to get out to meet people where there is air conditioning

By Pepper Parr

June 21st, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In the past few days we have published extreme heat notices from both the Region and the city.

Not exactly a senior’s destination – just what does the city have for the seniors?

Libraries are open for those who want to get out of the house and be in a cool place.

There really aren’t that many places that are cool that people can spend time at.

Not sure what the Seniors’ Centre is offering – the malls are always open and the Food Courts are kept busy.

But sitting in a Food Court is not really “programming”.

Haven’t seen anything from Parks & Recreation on what they have planned.

City Council is meeting this afternoon – will someone on Council ask Parks & Recreation what they have in mind for the senior set.

Excessive heat is a killer for that demographic.

Renamed and now known as the Burlington Centre – still has one of the nicer Food Courts.

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Some very pointed questions from well informed people on the Bateman High School property. Why is city hall making this so difficult?

By Pepper Parr

June 21st, 2022
BURLINGTON, ON
The Procedural Bylaw determines what you can say and how you must say it when you are delegating before city council.
They like it that way.  I will come back to that Bylaw later.
It’s a little different when citizens can put what they are thinking and feeling about the plans to purchase Bateman emails/questions posed
The following are questions that were sent to the city by residents.

Why is the business of purchasing this property proving to be so difficult – it is really about one pocket of public money being put into a different pocket of public money.

1. Hi there,
I would like to give feedback on the project. Hope this is the correct forum.

I have lived in Burlington my entire life, I have been a volunteer in various areas from
sports to mental health.

My family [Greg/Andrea] Howard has been recognized for work in the community.
Today I am 45 years old – the last two ice arenas that have opened were Mainway in
the 1980’s / then Appleby in the 2000’s.

Our population continues to grow, our recreational infrastructure for ice sports / indoor
events does not.

Youth hockey is growing, girls and women’s hockey continues to grow, adult programs
are growing.

Arena’s are destinations, and I would bet besides the sound of music festival and
soccer fields – more visitors come to these arena’s / rec. centers than other place in
Burlington.

The “Skyway” rec center project is now used to hold city arborists equipment. We have
now reduced arenas, not grown them

The city of Burlington needs to look at this project with the inclusion of an arena. The
youth deserve it.

Hope someone can acknowledge this.
I’m happy to discuss more.

Thanks, Justin Howard

2. Turn the available land into a much needed full ice and training facility for our
youth. Ice availability in our City is not sufficient for the demand. Our youth are
shortchanged when it comes to ice sports!

Do something to make our residents proud without turning it into another pier
disaster! Dave Guluche

3. Why did the city not have a public engagement plan in place from when it decided
to pursue the acquisition of the property? Jim Thompson

4. When will the traffic studies be complete?
5. What is the plan for removing the asbestos on the site?
6. What is the plan for removing the asbestos on the site? (see above, in the
FAQs)

7. When will the traffic studies be complete?
CM-17-22

8. “What regulation prevents the release of the cost information? The city offer was
accepted by the school board so why the need for secrecy?”

9. Good Morning, I’m glad to see and very much support the proposed adaptive
reuse of Robert Bateman High School by the City of Burlington for a combination
of community and educational uses. I am particularly happy to see the relocation
of the New Appleby public library branch to a more appropriate long term home.
Thank you to city staff and council for your leadership in making this happen.

10. Why is the city rushing engagement – how much is this going to cost the city
taxpayer?

11. Why is the city not answering any questions regarding this project – who wrote
the FAQ.

12. How can a survey that was only up for one day and an information that only
lasted 90 minutes be considered as adequate public engagement?

13. There are outstanding questions that needs to be answered.
who provided the money to purchase the property in question?

who provided the money to build the school sitting on the property?

In both cases it was the TAXPAYER. Therefore the TAXPAYER should receive
the money back, NOT have to “PAY AGAIN” for the City to obtain the property &
building.

We TAXPAYERS would like these questions answered!!!

Some additional questions from the Gazette.

Why is this engagement business being handled so badly?

Is anyone in the Communications department even listening?

And that Procedural Bylaw – it gets written for Council based on what they want the bylaw to be – why isn’t this an election issue?

Why isn’t there a group people (10 or so is all it would take)  to go over the document, re-write and then lobby the members of Council and put together a petition and press council until they make changes to the document.

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What do the people of Burlington want the provincial government to do for them.

By Pepper Parr

June 19th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

At this point we don’t have a government in Ontario.

None of those elected earlier this month have been sworn in but 36 of the newly elected were taken on a tour last week to be shown what is where at Queen’s Park.

The Premier is still the Premier and the Cabinet is still the Cabinet – they are the government until the new Cabinet is sown in.

Those who did not run again or were defeated had 10 day to pack up their stuff and move out of the offices they had.

Not sure if Natalie Pierre has moved into the space that Jane McKenna had.

Natalie Pierre – elected to represent the people of Burlington at Queen’s Park

Ted Arnott, who will continue to be the member for Wellington – Halton wrote the Premier setting out what he wanted for his constituency. Natalie Pierre will have some personal ideas as to what she would like to see – she has yet to become fully informed as to what the city needs – although she has had at least one conversation with Mayor Meed Ward.

This might be a good opportunity for the readers of the Gazette to set out what they would like to see the provincial government do in the months ahead.

They have a strong majority and can do pretty much whatever they want to do.

Their first two years during the last government were pretty wild – with all kinds of decisions that no one expected – the decision to cut the number of councillors for Toronto was one memorable example.

This new government is said to be much different than the last.

So – what do you want to see?

Put your thoughts into the comments section and we will go through them all and see what our readers have to say.

And please – have the courage of your convictions and put your real name on the comments.

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The plan to create more urban canopy is underway - contribute to it

By Staff

June 18th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There are three issues that the people of Burlington break out into a sweat when they are discussed:
Parking, fireworks and the urban canopy.

Let me focus on the urban canopy. Does it get much better than the picture below?

This is what most people in Burlington want; a gorgeous urban tree canopy that shades our streets, improves property values and gets some of the pollutants out of the air. But at the same time people want to be able to cut down a tree on their property if they don’t like them. We can’t have it both ways.

You can do this in Burlington.

There are those who understand that a tree is not your property – it is something that exists on your property and you are asked to be the steward of that tree while you are with it.

The tree is probably going to last longer than you will.

There are others who want to be able to cut down a tree on their property because they are tired of raking up the leaves in the fall.

The city is currently working on an Urban Forest Master Plan and like most of the planning decisions the city has a survey – yup another one.

The City of Burlington is seeking community input to help develop an Urban Forest Master Plan (UFMP). The Urban Forest Master Plan will update and replace the Urban Forest Management Plan created in 2010. The new Master Plan will provide the strategic direction to manage the urban forest in response to new challenges related to urban development, climate change and extreme weather, and invasive pests. Specifically, the UFMP will provide:

Take the Burlington Urban Forest Master Plan survey to help shape the urban forest vision and strategic directions for the Urban Forest Master Plan. The survey is approximately 15 minutes in length, and we will be open until June 29, 2022.

You are then asked to slip over to the GET INVOLVED page (provide the link) and tell the city where the places are that you would like to see it improved along with a photo of the location.

Find out what other people think by clicking the points on the map.

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