Deedee Davies: my perception is that you have lost control of our downtown on us.

opinionandcommentBy Deedee Davies

February 27th, 2018


This is one of a series on delegations that were made at a Statutory public meeting on the draft Official Plan now being prepared by staff and debated at council.

Thank you for this opportunity to stand before you and share my thoughts on the latest version of the Plan.

I was not going to come. After you approved the application for 421-431 Brant St at James I was disillusioned by the Planning staff and most of my elected officials. When the 24 storey application arrived a few weeks ago for the other corner I experienced an ‘I told you so moment”. And then when OMB approved the Adi development at Martha and Lakeshore, in part because the city was not averse to height, I threw up my hands in despair – as my perception is that you have lost control of our downtown on us.

Waterfront hotel Taylor

Deedee Davies at a Waterfront Hotel redevelopment meeting with Linda Davies, (no relative on the right) and Councillor John Taylor.

So why am I here? This is YOUR last chance to get it right. If you screw up this opportunity, there is no going back. Downtown will be ruined FOREVER. I am here because I want to tell you what’s missing from the Plan to protect the downtown Burlington I use and love. I know we have to intensify.

However, I feel this Plan is not going to give us what we need. I will lay out my reasons for this concern. I’m hoping my speaking here can lead to improvements. My views are shared by so many other people who are not speaking here tonight. Please don’t let me and them down.


The Ontario Municipal Board made the 26 storey Nautique the new standard for the developers.

I am not going to go on about the heights in the various precincts. I believe they are all much too generous. It will destroy the feel of our downtown, and they are unnecessary for us to meet any of our targets. I’ve said it all before so I am not going to repeat it tonight.

First off, I want to tell you that I read the entire new draft OP. Yes from cover to cover.

Rahoon Perian Eatery in the Village Square won for the Best Overall Display for 2011.

Someone somewhere said that a high rise would be dripped into the middle of Village Square – that got squashed during the council/staff meeting on Wednesday. However, there was a time when the ADI group tried to buy the Village Square from the XX interest. They weren’t able to put a deal together.

I would like to thank you for removing the tower from the centre of Village Square and also for removing the Cannery designation from the NE corner of Brant and Lakeshore.

Chapter 1 talks about the desire to achieve a complete community. This is what I want to focus on tonight. These would include all the amenities needed for residents in the downtown to live, work, and play here. It includes parks, recreational facilities, offices, medical services, daycare, seniors gathering areas, youth gathering areas, and a mix of housing, etc. After reading the entire document, and in particular Chapter 3 on Complete Communities, and then comparing it to the buildings that are coming into our downtown, I don’t see how the two can be reconciled.

If the future means everyone living in towers, how can we replicate the living experiences of what people currently enjoy in neighbourhoods? We need developers in Burlington to include amenity spaces for basketball courts, tennis courts, road hockey rooms, just like they are doing in Toronto, in the latest towers being built there. They also need to build community garden spaces on the sunny side patios or roofs so residents can grow their own vegetables. We need some creativity about what we are expecting from the developers. We know we are going to get the “smooth jazz” pool, bar, and lounge that every developer includes for their hipster clientele. Challenge them to Grow Bold in their design. I spent 35 years in the Federal Government dealing with contractors. I know the games they play. They bargain hard for what they were going to give you anyway, just so you feel like you won something, when in fact you lost, because you gave away more than what you would have got if you hadn’t blinked first.

In Chapter 2 under Population and Employment Distribution, Table 1 shows a population in 2031 of 193,000 of which we are not far off. It also shows an employment target of 106,000 for which we are further off. Why are we focusing so much on residential instead of putting in place policies that will attract employment to our downtown? For a Complete Community, how can we get the Daycare centres, the hardware stores, grocery stores, entertainment venues, that we will need to satisfy the activities of the residents? How can we tailor our specifications so that developers will include these spaces in the towers they propose building? Currently, we are lucky to get one floor of office. The condos will come without trying as they are cheap to build.

As an example in the Chapter 3 Policies you only state you will examine opportunities for partnerships to increase the supply of affordable housing. Why not include a standard of one unit for each additional floor of height granted above what the current zoning is that must be provided to the Region as part of the Community Benefits – similar to what you included for public parking and office space.

Also in Chapter 3 Parks and Open Spaces are addressed. It even states an objective of ensuring an adequate and equitable supply are available throughout the city. And yet Lions Park is showing a designation of half St Luke’s/Emerald Neighbourhood Precinct and half Downtown Core Precinct. That would mean that the neighbourhood could lose the park and potentially gain 2.5 storey and 17 storey buildings. Why is it not protected under the Downtown Parks and Promenades Precinct?

With all the intensity planned for the Downtown Core Precinct, I am surprised there is still no mention of a new park south of James and north of Lakeshore on the east side of Brant. There will be thousands of people moving into this area. If we are looking for Complete Communities, where is the park for this community? Any family in this area would need to cross a major road to reach an existing park. Are the children to play on the new promenade?

In Chapter 6 on Infrastructure and Transportation, it talked about Active Transport for pedestrians and cyclists with such measures as wide sidewalks and barriers to protect cyclists. These are important in our crowded downtown streets. We can’t make the roads narrower to achieve this so we need greater setbacks for the buildings. I didn’t see this proposed anywhere.

Couriers parking

Couriers are going to need places to park when they are making deliveries, taxis will have to park somewhere while waiting for their passengers to arrive.

Chapter 6 also covered Goods Movement. This is critical in our intensified downtown if we want it to function well as we already have problems with most buildings built to their property lines. There are no places for couriers to deliver packages, moving vans to move residents, delivery vans to deliver goods, pick up and drop off places for visitors coming for residents, trades people to make repairs to units, taxis to wait for their fares to arrive. Are they all to double park on the active roadway lanes?

These issues must be dealt with clearly and effectively in our Plan and not left to developers to provide these necessities, out of the goodness of their hearts.

In Chapter 7 under Design Excellence I read all the “Shalls” and was left with the impression we don’t need to award extra height for much if developers complied with all our design excellence standards. Unless these are only our wish list that we get with Section 37. It should be mandatory for buildings to be built to these standards. This is Burlington, folks. Don’t sell yourself short by thinking no one will develop here if you ask for too much. They will come and they will build. Just be clear and firm on everything you want. Don’t give it away. It is too precious.

In Chapter 8 on the Downtown Urban Centre, one of the objectives is to conserve cultural heritage resources and maintain character defining areas. The most significant aspect of our downtown, other than its waterfront and unique shops is the heritage look and eclectic feel of our downtown streets. Yet I don’t see this anywhere in the document. Our shop fronts are unique. There are many heritage buildings that are not yet designated.

City Clock angle looking north on Brant

Just a “dumpy” little town that doesn’t make the best economic use of the land.

Contrast this with developers who want to create their landmark glass towers. Mr. Carnicelli referred to Brant Street as dumpy when we were speaking out about losing the character of Brant Street with new development so you can see they are not going to protect or recreate this aspect. It is up to city planners and Council to embed this in our OP. We can have new heritage look and feel built with the new construction coming.

In the section on the Downtown Core Precinct is states that one additional storey will be granted for every 150 sq metres of dedicated office floor space and every 8 underground parking spaces dedicated for public use. So if they build 150 metres of office space they get an additional 750 metres of residential. These standards are much too generous for what we get in return. Please make it fairer to the city.

In Chapter 8 you also address downtown parking. It says the city will explore opportunities for public private partnerships to expand the supply of public parking. How about just putting it right in the requirements that X number of parking spaces must be provided for public use in relation to the amount of commercial space they have at ground level. End of discussion.

In the explanation of Community Benefits in Chapter 12 you talk about giving extra height, density, or intensity for providing what should be standard in any development proposed for our downtown. A sustainable building? Come on. It doesn’t cost extra to do this stuff any more. It saves money down the road in operations – but then developers don’t care about that stuff because they don’t operate these Goliath’s after they build them. A floor of office – our standards already state some buildings need three uses while others only need two. Make them all three purpose and get something useful for your Section 37 instead.

I’m about out of time, so I hope my thoughts will encourage you to take a bolder stance on what we need to have in our OP to have a better downtown. Please don’t rush this through approval. The Region won’t be considering it until 2019. Take the time to get it right. Thank you for listening.

Related comment and opinion:

Opinion: Jim Young
Opinion: Gary Scobie
Opinion: Lisa Kearns
Opinion:  Jim Barnes

Deedee Davies chaired a Waterfront Watchdog committee for a number of years.  She kept a close eye on who was doing what and held public meetings to keep people up to date.  Should be seen as one of Burlington’s BEST

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Lisa Kearns: We need a complete strategy and we need it before this is voted into law.

opinionandcommentBy Lisa Kearns

February 28th, 2018



Engaged Citizens of Burlington (ECoB) is a not for profit group working towards a better Burlington for generations to come. Working within the civic process, we are particularly concerned with issues of planning and development. The group is energized to bring voices and action to challenges that will affect the quality of life today and in the future, we are advocates for good planning across the entire City.

ECOB Dec 13 #3

ECoB organized the first public meeting and found that they were providing a form for the public to say what they wanted to day.

In the three months from inception, ECoB has held an open meeting, a rally, a municipal elections workshop, hand delivered thousands of flyers, displayed hundreds of lawn signs, received press in no less than four publications, appeared on community television and radio, grown our social media base, delegated, met with provincial and municipal elected officials, city planning, business owners, developers and most importantly residents. The message is clear each time – we can build a better Burlington.

The delegation for PB-14-18 will focus on four matters: ECoB Requests, Public Engagement, Planning & Smart Growth and the vision for Downtown.

As we have listened to and learned from our members, we are using the Engaged Citizens voice to ask Committee to direct Staff to include the following points in the final draft to Council. These can be read, but I wish to highlight a few:

Kearns direct smile

Lisa Kearns

Official Plan is an Election Issue. ECoB questioned the rush for intensification and the tools available to keep it in control. The mayor responded with: “the need for an Official Plan to bring clear expectations to Burlington’s planning – this is what residents have been telling us”. The Mayor states that delaying the Official Plan approval would only create more instances where unexpected outcomes can occur, similar to the reaction which led to the decision at 421 Brant Street.

They mayor further states that the current council has the critical knowledge and understanding of the draft Official Plan and Strategic Plan and that it’s important that they complete this critical work. The question begs to be asked – is this in fact the best council to implement the draft Official Plan? Our trust in this council has been broken the moment 23 storeys was approved at Brant and James – this is why the official plan is an election issue.

A record number of delegations and written submissions indicate the need for a further analysis, peer review, a 3D model, character studies, and audits on the Draft Official Plan. There is little consensus by various stakeholder groups on the adoption of the plan as drafted. It is time to look to an independent third party to provide advice to council on the review and update of the Official Plan – deliverables would include the scope of work outlined in the 2009 Whitby OP peer review.



Public Engagement.
We are told the official plan project captures a significant amount of public engagement since 2012. If so, then how can we be in a place where there is a strong citizen backlash to the draft official plan? If we look to the Engagement Charter, would committee support a rating of “empower”? I refer to the last ECoB delegation: This is too little time for residents to review, analyze and understand this new material – and in response – this is too limited a time for staff and committee to review comments and respond appropriately. Would this be considered an indicator of good planning?

The main source of frustration is the Downtown Precinct Plan – already voted on and brought forward in September, was this the vision for downtown all along and residents were only let in at the last minute.

You have embarrassed and silenced residents presenting a 1400 signature petition, the continued decisions to force excessive height and drive a perfunctory timeline despite citizen opposition tells your constituents that they will simply be informed.

The surveys completed are clear on the allocations for height. Have new surveys been conducted on the draft plan and the locations where height has been identified? We would believe that is a logical follow up once conceptual videos have moved closer into reality.

Is the information presented transparent and accurate? We would have to disagree. It is highly challenging to understand the lines between mobility hubs and the official plan. Renderings are available under one and not the other. This example shows the height of the Brant & James intersection far lower than supported. Are we being misled? With less than a handful of visuals for the future of our downtown, shouldn’t these at least be accurate?

Kearns at podiumThis is not an isolated example, two months before the ADI OMB decision the Bay Observer, published “The Best of Burlington” with content from Burlington and showcased the 26 storey building as a fixture of the waterfront. This is not our waterfront.

And again, the lack of transparency at the Official Plan Open Houses this month. The precinct Plan highlights on the screen had to be asked for at each of the three sessions, these are an outcome from a meeting with ECOB and Planning Staff. Most importantly, why were these never available in the fall?

Land Use Designation:
The numbers before you have been held steadfast by committee – in November we asked for an assessment or audit of how much of the proposed employment and growth uses would be met by the three mobility hubs, not the anchor hub. We were told that there are 1-3 new tall buildings every 10 years. If this is what Planning truly believes, then we are in trouble. There has been a significant uptick in applications, if these cannot be processed within the required time, we will see many more developments than projected. Most of the lands for build out are already unencumbered and Burlington is being sold off before permits are in hand.

We need to look at this growth and be certain that the current designations are not closing the door to smart and optimal growth – and more importantly, that the parts of the city that are working aren’t destroyed. We have a vibrant downtown and growth can also be absorbed through re-designation, deferral or special planning areas in supporting parts of the City. To showcase this, and further to the Burlington Green deputation this afternoon, here is an opportunity to create a complete community near amenities, 1200 m from a mobility hub and close to highway infrastructure – the current lands are employment and as we also heard with Penta this morning these lands need collaboration with the province to ensure that maximum community benefit can be derived from underutilized lands.

Downtown Burlington Brant north from CH

This is a view of Burlington that will not exist in five years.

Vision for Downtown.
Downtown visitors and residents can feel the character of Brant Street, there is a true sense of community, an ethos, a culture and a high quality of life. The people who have worked to build a downtown, a strong downtown community and put Burlington on the map deserve a commitment from the City and Planning that the draft before us will replace this gem with concrete jungle. These corridors do not reflect the character of Brant Street.

ECoB has been asked, what would you like to see? While we have this answer we still strongly believe that the supporting plans should come forward with the official plan.

We have worked across the country with planning departments and compiled some of the best streets in Canada – especially those with a waterfront. The following slides showcase a balance in height and maintaining a more appropriate low density human scale.

Here is a report by Director of Planning Services for the city of Barrie dated June 2013 talking about the height review & tall building principles. They had decided to stick with the principles of the original 1989 height review study “based on the need to balance population growth pressures with the desire to appropriately manage built-form, while protecting the public interests of the city”. A tall building is anything over 3 storeys – any more than that is for maximized profit.

What can we do before it is too late? Recognize vibrancy and the human scale, support evolution through natural redevelopment that is compatible with the neighbourhood, and to champion the mix of older, smaller buildings to support greater levels of positive economic and social activity rather than areas dominated by newer, larger buildings.ECoB req #1

ECoB 2How can we do it? We need a character study for Brant Street and the established neighbour-hoods. We need a peer review on the downtown urban growth area to prevent the risk of excessive build out and intensification – we need to protect the view corridor to the lake and take a balanced and objective approach support a mix of population diversity and the mix of uses that continue to grow the culture of live, work and play in downtown Burlington.

We can do this together when the citizens are empowered within the civic process and Committee and Council listen and engage. We need a complete strategy and we need it before this is voted into law.

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Jim Barnett: This should not be an election issue. It should be a get it right issue. There is still time if you have the will.

opinionandcommentBy Jim Barnett

February 28th, 2018



In past delegations I have pointed out the many shortfalls of the current draft proposal, in particular to the lack of measurable specifics. I have shown that the proposal is an essay on urban planning and it is not a plan on which Burlington can move forward.

The good news is that at a recent council meeting they finally put a number on maximum building height. Seventeen stories. And this can only be achieved with the provision of commercial space, open parking and heritage preservation. Otherwise the maximum is 12 stories!! My question to the mayor” is 17 the max or can staff find “other community benefits” through negation with the developers to increase the height again?” Does 17 stories mean 17 stories max?

This is what happened with the old operating plan. Every development was massaged to give the developers what they wanted. These changes were then used to justify additional changes on other properties and building heights on Maple and Lakeshore rocked skyward, each time setting a new precedent. Soon these ad hoc changes allowed the OMB to rule in favour of the developers and we lost control. Now the planers want to rush us into the new plan saying the current operating plan is not serving us well. They are right, but they are right because they have strayed from the current plan so often that it as emasculated it. Question to the Mayor. What guarantees are you going to write into the plan to make sure that provisions in the new plan cannot be negotiated away by the planning department?


Nautique: The ADI Group development that the city didn’t want – the OMB saw it differently and approved 26 storeys.

In a recent press release ADI has receive approval for 26 stories on Lakeshore. The mayor expressed his regrets and at the same time praised the planning department for all their hard work on the file. How can a department be praised when the results of their efforts are so detrimental to the future of the city?

The downtown is not a mobility hub. The planning there should be quite different from the Mobility Hubs on the Go Train Line. When will this happen?

Question to Councillor Lancaster. You have spoken extensively for the need of affordable housing in the downtown area. What is your definition of affordable housing and how will you deliver the units needed in the down town?

For the mobility hubs and the downtown to be walk able there needs to be grocery stores. Through you Mr. chair, what have the planners done to make sure people can walk to get their groceries in these areas?

Recently a number of council members have said that the proposed plan is not just for now but for 50 maybe 70 years out. This is a classic miss direction to keep us from the important decisions that will effect the next 10 years. We should not let them get away with it. Fifty years from now we may not have enough low cost energy to air condition or heat the 25 story buildings or run the elevators. Lets use our ingenuity to get the near term right.

In my opinion the people of Burlington do not want our downtown to look like Mississauga!!! From what I can read over 90 percent of the citizens do not what our down town to look like Mississaugas. To the Mayor, What steps are you prepared to take to make sure the new operating plan reflects the desires of the people you represent?

The time line is confusing. The city has to do its work then the Region has to incorporate it into their plans which could get changed by provincial edits and directional changes. This could take two or three years and be out of date before the ink is dry. Under these uncertain condition I suggest we just proceed with what is best for us allowing for modest growth.

Underway - too muchFor a city to grow it needs a transportation plan, integral to this in a modern city is a transit plan. So far the current draft has little on how the peoples need to move around will be satisfied and to say this will be worked out after the buildings are built is classic putting the cart before the horse and for a city the ultimate in poor planning. We do not need more Appleby Lines.

Reverse town hall 1

Jim Barnett, on the right, at the Mayor’s Reverse Town Hall meeting.

We do not need more Lakeshore Roads between Martha and Maple.

This should not be an election issue. It should be a get it right issue. There is still time if you have the will.

Related comment and opinion:

Opinion: Jim Young
Opinion: Gary Scobie
Opinion: Lisa Kearns
Opinion Deedee Davies


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Lowville plans to go green on St. Patrickès Day - you get to sing your heart out.

eventsgreen 100x100By Staff

February 28th, 2018



Lowville sign - orange aThe entire hamlet of Lowville in north Burlington will be “wearing of the green” on St. Patrick’s Day this year.

The Lowville Festival will be joining forces with Lowville United Church to present WHEN IRISH EYES ARE SMILING, a rollicking and shamelessly sentimental tribute to St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, on the evening of Saturday March 17th. The concert, which is a fundraising event for both the Festival and the church, will be held in the sanctuary of Lowville United at 7:30 pm.

The event will feature songs and stories of the Emerald Isle as interpreted by a number of Burlington’s finest performers. These include Stuart Laughton, one of the founding members of the legendary Canadian Brass; Major 7th Band, a popular Celtic-inflected folk group; Festival Co-Artistic Directors Lorretta Bailey and Robert Missen; Michael Mulrooney, Music Director at Tansley United Church and one of the country’s finest keyboard artists; and Lowville storyteller George McNaught. All of the artists are donating their services for the night.

This is not the first time that the two organizations have collaborated. The Lowville Festival has appeared at Lowville United every year since its inauguration in 2015. Two years ago they presented a sold out fundraising tribute to Scotland called The Heather in the Hills. Last year’s Irish celebration was so successful that it was decided to present another one.

Standing & clapping

Expect to see the church packed on the 17th – lots of clapping and foot stomping.

You will hear all of your favourite Irish and Celtic tunes including Danny Boy, Come Back to Erin, Molly Malone and Irish Rover. As is always the custom, the audience will be encouraged to sing along on a number of songs.

Tickets for the concert are $20 in advance, $25 at the door, and are available through both the Church Office (905-335-0911) and at Different Drummer Books. Order your tickets soon as we anticipate another sold out event.

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Gary Scobie: Council got us into this. Now Council has to get us out.

opinionandcommentBy Gary Scobie

February 28th,2018




City council didn’t want the development but failed to respond to the application within the required time frame so the developer took his application to the Ontario Municipal Board where it was approved.

I live in Ward 3 and I am here to speak against the approval of the proposed Official Plan. Two weeks ago, I received the OMB Vice-Chair’s report that approved the appeal by Adi Corporation to build a 26 storey condo at 374 Martha Street at the corner of Lakeshore Road. If ever there was a proper time to use the phrase “this changes everything”, it was that day.

It was a stunning reminder of the Province’s power to force us to shape up and face up to the massive intensification of our downtown that comes with the territory of being designated as an Anchor Mobility Hub and Urban Growth Centre.

Our current Official Plan, passed in October 2006 by our Council of seven, with three of our current Councillors there at the time, was supposed to be in compliance with the Growth Plan of the province. But alas, we learned that it has not been kept compliant over the years since. It is so far out of compliance that it was disregarded in the appeal. Our City team of Council and planning and legal experts did not even submit as evidence our proposed Official Plan wordings for the site that might have resulted in some compromise in height. Instead, OMB Vice-Chair Schiller pointed out that the City had no legal right to stop the 26 storey condo.

Gary Scobie

Gary Scobie, a frequent delegator at city hall.

I have to ask, what was Council expecting in 2006 when it embraced, on behalf of all citizens, the Urban Growth Centre designation for our downtown? Did they imagine the coming massive re-build of lower Brant Street and its adjacent streets?

Did they imagine 20 plus storey buildings at most intersections and the eventual almost complete destruction of the two storey nature of our historic downtown? I simply can’t believe that they did.
Yet three Councillors from that long ago Council sit here today and I’d invite them to explain to citizens if this indeed was their plan for our downtown.

It is now quite obvious to me that the Town of Oakville was very prescient in 2005 in their assessment of the loss of control that would come if they accepted a Downtown Urban Growth Centre designation. Their Council rejected it and convinced the Province that the intensification demanded would come elsewhere in their town. If only our Council had done the same.

We the citizens are now being asked to trust this Council and the Planning Department, the ones that couldn’t keep our Official Plan compliant, to endorse a new Official Plan that has heights above what we want and that has already been pierced by an approved 23 storey condo across from City Hall and now an approved 26 storey condo right at the lake and in the most southern and eastern point of our Downtown Core Precinct. It was presented by the developer as a Gateway to the Downtown.

Yes indeed, it certainly will be that and much more. It will be a lasting reminder of our hubris. It will be the precedent at the lake, the building to surpass in height by many future buildings. It will represent the low height that Council and the planners promised us by the lake, rising ever higher up Brant Street to the other Mobility Hub that is the Burlington GO Station.

Citizens can only imagine and envision heights of 30 plus storeys going up Brant Street, culminating in not 30 but likely 40 plus storey heights near the GO Station.

Underway - too muchWe are asked to trust Council and the Planning Department that in approving an Official Plan for all of Burlington, without the three other Mobility Hubs, without a transportation plan and without a transit plan, that they will just get it right on all of these important missing pieces when the time comes to add them. And that the OP rules will be enforceable.

I’m afraid we just can’t trust you to do that. Now that the one entity that is really in charge of intensification throughout Burlington, the Province, has spoken and told us that they have control of our Growth Centres, not just in the downtown, but also at our GO Stations, we have no alternative but to try to at least save our downtown from becoming a forest of 20 to 30 storey highrises.

The only way that this can happen is for one of you to introduce a motion to Council to request that the Province consider the 69,000 people and jobs that are planned to be added at the GO Station Mobility Hubs as our ample contribution to the intensification of Burlington as a whole and free our downtown from this crippling intensification that will come from the Urban Growth Centre and Anchor Mobility Hub designations.

You have, in good conscience, no other choice than to take this route. Council got us into this. Now I request Council to get us out.

You simply agree to contact the Province to try to save our downtown by recovering the control of downtown re-development that was surrendered in 2006.

Do not move forward with the Official Plan approval until you add plans for the critical missing parts and have exhausted every possible avenue of request with the Province to remove the downtown from this planned over-development. I think that you can succeed, but at a minimum, you surely must try.


Gary Scobie was a member of the Waterfront Advisory Committee. He is seen here, second from the left.

If you fail us in this, downtown citizens must prepare to endure ten to twenty years of construction noise, congestion, dust and dirt as tall buildings rise from foundations deep underground seemingly from every corner on Brant and adjacent streets. And the end result of this over-build will not make us the envy of other cities, will not make our downtown more livable and will not preserve our title as the best mid-size city in Canada.

Remember, from out in the lake a skyline of tall buildings jutting into the air may look good on a postcard, but for the people who actually have to live there, who have to live without rapid transit to the GO Station, with traffic congestion of intensification, without any feel of historic two storey Brant Street and its unique, independent shops, without enough parking for residents, let alone visitors to the downtown, with tall buildings everywhere they look, with wind and shadows everywhere they walk, there will be little pleasure other than looking at the lake from their window if they paid enough money for that view and wondering, was it really worth the view after all and perhaps pondering, what were they thinking when they approved this metropolis of Burlington.

Gary Scobie is a long time Burlington resident who frequently comments on how city hall works.

Related comment and opinion:

Jim Young tells Council it has failed to failed to inform, consult, involve, collaborate or empower the citizens.

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Jim Young tells council they have failed to inform, consult, involve, collaborate or empower and reminds council that they are debating the citizens Official Plan.

opinionandcommentBy Jim Young

February 28th, 2018


Jim Young, one of the most effective speakers in the city delegated before city council last night.  You had to hear him to fully appreciate what he had to say.  Not one member of city council had a follow up question.

The people of Burlington are entitled to hope and expect that their city’s official plan will be about them.

That it will reflect their hopes and their aspirations. That it will provide the basic framework of a city that will be planned and built for them; their families; their futures.

And the people of Burlington trusted Council to do that.

ECoB Dec 13 #2

Jim Young chairing a meeting.

From the public outcry over the seemingly endless ability of Developers to circumvent Official Plans it is obvious that our City’s Planning has failed and will continue to to meet those hopes and aspirations.

They will not be met because you failed to engage with the very people you were elected or appointed to represent. You failed to understand exactly what your citizens wanted in a plan and worse than that you failed right up until the last two months to even ask them what they wanted you failed to engage your own citizens.

This failure began at the very outset of The New Official Plan which, according to City Staff, was undertaken some time in 2012.

Ministry of Municipal Affairs Guidelines on Official Plans calls for “Pre-consultation, public meetings and community input”, yet while you worked on this for the better part of six years your citizens were only involved in the closing months of that six year process.

Had it not been for a massive public outcry late last year, this city would have met its own December 2017/January 2018 deadline and the public input would have been negligible.

Nothing that has happened since November has improved that engagement

Given the number of Citizens Advisory Committees Burlington boasts I find it informative that in all of the supposed engagement in The Official Plan, these Committees were never formally consulted or engaged.


Inform, Consult, Involve, Collaborate and Empower.

Even by your own standard, outlined in your policy on “Public Participation and Engagement” in which you claim “The city has identified the critical importance of public involvement”. The policy then lays out Five Levels of Engagement on an IAP2 spectrum of public engagement that range from Inform, Consult, Involve, Collaborate and Empower.

In any final summation of your Open Houses, Grow Bold, Downtown Mobility Hub and Official Plan public meetings they may have been informative but as a city you failed to Involve, failed to Collaborate and most certainly failed to Empower your citizens in this process. Even the limited information sessions were restricted to the format of: “Here are our ideas how do you like them?” rather than: “What are your ideas?

You failed not only in the execution of citizen engagement but your “Inform only model of engagement” came so late in the process that it forced any citizen engagement to become oppositional rather than collaborative or empowering. Citizens denied the opportunity to be proactive in the early stages of the process were forced into criticism off the Official Plan and bitterness that the majority of citizens feel by their exclusion from that process.

The evidence of that exclusion is presented in an analysis of your own document

The document lists 48 oppositional comments from named citizen and concerned group delegations and refers in three areas of opposition to unspecified numbers of “Other Members of The Public”. The absence of detail n these oppositional presentations is extremely disturbing and might be construed by the public as misleading to minimise the extent of public opposition to the Plan and complaint about the methods and level of Public Engagement.

The document further lists fifteen objections, clarifications or other issues from businesses and consultants involved in the Urban Planning and Development Fields. This suggests that public opposition is not just NIMBYISM but is indicative of a bad plan, badly executed and very poorly communicated to those, citizens, businesses and property Developers who had every right to expect better from our city and from our council.

Because this is not council’s Official Plan, it is our Official Plan. It belongs to the citizens of our city.

Given the opportunity and more than six years to do something wonderful for our city, the opportunity to engage your citizens in the re-planning that will affect their lives for decades to come, you chose instead to engage yourselves and in doing so failed the very citizens you are supposed to represent.

Jim Young

Jim Young at the lectern.

Even given the opportunity to defer a decision for further consultation, real involvement and participatory engagement; Our city chose not to allow the electorate to opine on this but once again rushed the decision process to further ignore their wishes and alienate them further. It was reported in the Hamilton Spectator that one Burlington Political Commentator has not seen such a clamour by the public in 45 years of reporting yet still only peripheral tinkering in response to this outcry.

Once again, along with the majority who have spoken, written and delegated I urge city council to postpone this decision on a plan that appears to serve no-one. I ask for not only more time but to utilize that time to Involve, Collaborate and Empower our citizens to create An Official Plan that will satisfy all stakeholders, then to put that plan before them in the upcoming election so all of their voices may be properly heard.

In our democracy the ultimate engagement comes with the election. I urge you to seize this opportunity to engage your citizens fully. Otherwise an engaged citizenship will engage the electorate where you, our council, failed to engage your citizens.

Jim Young is the Chair of ECoB – Engaged Citizens of Ontario and probably the most effective speaker to appear before city council. He has the capacity to get to the core of an issue and drives home the point in a way that not a single member of council can counter.


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MetroToronto po;oce work withthe Regional police to arrest males who robbed Scotia bank branches at gunpoint.

Crime 100By Staff

February 27, 2018



Early in the month branches of Scotia bank were being robbed; one in Burlington, another in Milton.

Police believed the robberies were linked and began doing what police do: investigate

Police have identified four suspects and laid multiple charges following several bank robberies across the Greater Toronto Region (GTA).

On February 1, 2018, at approximately 7:50 p.m., the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) was called to a Scotiabank located at 4519 Dundas Street, Burlington, following a report of an armed robbery. Three male suspects, one of whom was armed, obtained a quantity of cash and exited the bank, travelling southbound on foot. Two bank employees were assaulted and sustained minor injuries during the robbery.

On February 9, 2018, at approximately 8:00 p.m., HRPS was called to a Scotiabank located at 880 Main Street East, Milton, following a report of an armed robbery. Two masked male suspects, one of whom was armed, entered the bank shortly before closing and obtained a quantity of cash. A bank employee, who attempted to intervene, was assaulted by one of the suspects and sustained minor injuries.

On February 14, 2018 HRPS investigators began surveillance of persons of interest, who were suspected of being involved in the Milton and Burlington robberies. During this time, investigators observed a group of individuals in the area of a Scotiabank at the intersection of Rathburn Road and Renforth Drive, Toronto.

Police continued to monitor these individuals, who were observed to be engaging in activity consistent with a potential robbery of the financial institution. In the interest of public safety, police contacted the bank and ensured bank staff and clients were moved to a safe location and the doors of the bank were secured.

As two of the persons prepared to commit the bank robbery, plainclothes HRPS investigators were able to arrest them prior to entering the bank.

Based on the events that took place in the City of Toronto on February 14, 2018 the following individuals were charged by the Toronto Police Service:

Gareth BAUGH (19) of the City of Toronto

• Robbery
• Disguise with Intent to commit an indictable offence
Jazmyn ELIAS-WEIBL (18) of the City of Mississauga
• Robbery
• Disguise with Intent to commit an indictable offence

Young Offender (identity protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act)

Disguise with Intent to commit and indictable offence

Duraiappah HRPS Deputy chief

Deputy Chief Nishan Duraiappah

Deputy Chief Nishan Duraiappah: “Robberies such as these have a deep impact on the involved bank employees, innocent bystanders and even their families. The blatant disregard for victims that these arrested persons demonstrated represent some of the greatest risk to community safety. Our investigators have worked tirelessly with partnering police agencies to identify and arrest them. We’re pleased to have put an end to these violent robberies.”

On February 15, 2018 HRPS investigators and K-9 services continued their investigation by executing a Criminal Code Search Warrant at the residence of Gareth BAUGH. Investigators seized a quantity of cash, a replica firearm and several pieces of clothing linked to the armed robberies throughout the GTA.

On February 22, 2018 HRPS investigators and Tactical Rescue Unit prepared to execute a Criminal Code Search Warrant at the Milton residence of the accused from a previous bank robbery in Milton. When arriving, police observed the suspect departing his home with several associates. A traffic stop was conducted and the male suspect was taken into custody without incident. A search of the vehicle led to the seizure of several thousand dollars in Canadian currency.

On February 23, 2018, in the early morning, HRPS investigators and Tactical Rescue Unit executed a Criminal Code Search Warrant at the residence of the accused. During this search, a quantity of illegal drugs was seized along with various items of clothing believed to be linked to the robbery in Milton and other robberies throughout the GTA. A loaded .22 caliber handgun was also seized by police.
Based on the results of the search warrant from February 23, 2018 the following individual was charged by the Halton Regional Police Service:

Tyriq BROOKS (19) of the Town of Milton

• Robbery with a Firearm
• Point Firearm
• Wear Disguise with Intent
• Possession of a restricted firearm
• Possession of a weapon for the dangerous purpose
• Careless use of a firearm
• Possession of a controlled substance
• Fail to comply with recognizance (3 counts)

There are also outstanding arrest warrants for the accused from several police services in the province for Human Trafficking related charges.

The HRPS Criminal Investigations Bureau is in the process of linking the above individual(s) to the robberies in Milton and Burlington. It is anticipated that several criminal charges are pending.

Anonymous tips can be forwarded to Crime Stoppers; “See Something, Hear Something, Know Something — Contact Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), through the web at or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637 (crimes).

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Heather Lareau is ticked - Meridian made her personal email address public. Ouch!

News 100 greenBy Staff

February 27th, 2018



Fernand Coderre and Heather Lareau

Fernand Coderre and Heather Lareau half a football field away from where Meridian wants to mine shale.

Heather Lareau is ticked – and Heather is not a woman one wants trifle with. She is a West Haven Drive resident whose home is one of those “too close for comfort” residences that is half a football field away from where Meridian Brick wants to begin mining for the shale that goes into the manufacturing of brick.

Meridian recently sent out a Newsletter that had her personal email as part of the content. Ouch!

We will let Ms Lareau vent on this one.

“It is unfortunate that my personal email has been shared with the community at large. However, since you have made this a public forum, as a “private” citizen and resident of Tyandaga, I would like to make some brief personal comments regarding your Newsletter where you make everything appear just peachy, for a lack of a better term. (Not to make matters worse, I have blind copied all the recipients from your email in order to protect their privacy)

“I would like to start with you statement regarding our health concerns.

TEC Excavation equipment

Imagine this thing digging away half a football field from your house – early in the morning?

“The airborne emissions assessed from the facility were crystalline silica and particulate matter; specifically respirable, inhalable and total particulate matter and covered three time periods, a one year scenario, with the Centre Quarry only, a six–to-15-year scenario involving the Centre and East Quarries, and a 16–to-25 -year scenario affecting the East Quarry only. They are predicted to be less than accepted health-based benchmarks, even under worst-case conditions.

“A predication is a forecast of what should happen, not what could happen. Each Phase of the quarry brings the dust and noise closer to the residential area. Should there be an easterly wind, then WE predict there will be more dust and more noise and more health concerns.


There are three quarries – the one on the left and the one in the center are close to being depleted. The quarry on the right is the one that concerns the West Haven residents.

“Considering that you will eventually be excavating within a 1/2 of football field (50 m) from Westhaven Drive, combined with easterly winds which you don’t account for, your company is certainly underplaying the impact from the dust that we will continuously inhale and have to deal with on a daily basis. There are many families with young children in this area as well already compromised seniors who will be exposed to this dust on a daily basis. This said it affects ALL whether we work, live, go to school or play in the area

“You also say you will be monitoring the dust with a monitoring system which will produce reports for various government agencies and residents. Unless you place a monitor within 50 metres (1/2 a football field) of the operating quarry how will you know what level of dust we are dealing with? From what we have discovered, the closest fixed air monitoring system is 4 km away from the quarry. How accurate can this be?
“Will the public receive daily reports of the level of dust? Or will we have to fight for this information on a continuous basis?

“If the levels exceed the regulatory benchmark, does that mean you will immediately stop excavation. What would your next step be? Less excavation? Cover the quarry with a tarp? Increase your set-back?

“If the dust exceeds the acceptable level you say you will mitigate. What is your mitigation plan and what does that mean?

“Your comments regarding Salamanders. You state the area you are about to commence clear-cutting is not conducive to salamander habitat. Considering in the spring and fall, salamanders make their way across the neighbourhood into people’s swimming pools, (from an area not conducive to salamander habitat), this to us indicates the possibility of the endangered type salamanders

He isn't exactly pretty but nevertheless plays an important role in the local environment. Comes in different colours as well.

The Jefferson salamander: He isn’t exactly pretty but nevertheless plays an important role in the local environment. Comes in different colours as well.

existing in all areas of the future east quarry. One photograph taken by a resident in their pool, the salamander clearly appeared to be the dusky salamander; which is also on the endangered species list. Tail clippings from another drowned salamander was confirmed to be the asexual female type Jefferson Salamander

“Progressive Rehabilitation. You say you are taking earth from where you clear-cut and fill in where you have already excavated. How is this progressive? It will take decades, well beyond our life-time to rehabilitate this land to its current state. Bottom line, the Carolinian Forest is gone. If the West and central quarry is any indication of what your rehabilitation looks like, the chance of ever seeing a forest during our life-time is impossible and probably won’t exist for generations to come. Is this what we are bequeathing to our future generations? I promise to tell my great grandchildren how at one time Burlington was called Burlington Green and that the environment of this city was at one time lush and healthy.

“Noise is a great concern to this neighbourhood. Half of a football field, which again is only 50 feet (same as your original described setback). Having an operating quarry within 50 feet of home and schools will have a PREDICTABLE negative impact on the health of every resident on WHD and beyond. Please read the article from The Hamilton Spectator last week that stated constant noise can cause cardiac and mental health issues.
“Last point I would like to make is that all your studies and reports that you are referring to are produced by and paid for by YOU, Meridian. If you stand behind your results, please allow a peer review of all of your studies.
“I challenge the Mayor and Councillors to step up and do something to support and protect the tax paying citizens of Burlington. I have heard many times this is a Provincial Matter. Then represent us at the provincial level. You will have more influence than the many residents of Burlington who are spending their hard earned money and all their spare time trying to preserve the environment in YOUR city. Walk the talk.

TEC Nov 16-17 crowd

The Tyandaga Environmental Coalition (TEC) is not just a bunch of cranky seniors – it is a broadly based group of people who turn out for meetings and support the cost of the legal challenges.

“I also challenge you, Meridian/Aldershot quarry to truly be a good neighbour and stay as far away as possible from the residential area. Half a football field away now or 30 years from now is inconceivable to this community. The destruction of 35 acres of forest and 9,000 trees certainly does not support an environmentally conscious sustainable program. I concur with all the environmentally concerned people of this city that the loss of the greenspace and the wildlife who habitat within, is heartbreaking. However, the protection of the health of the residents in this development MUST BE a priority as well.

“I encourage Meridian to consider other options for the complete Aldershot quarry while retaining the existing greenspace.”

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Place the order the day before online and pick up the groceries at the GO station the following day

News 100 yellowBy Staff

February 27th, 2018



When MetroLinx announced that internet access would be available throughout their network the Gazette didn’t see that as a big deal. They were just catching up to what many other transportation operations were doing.

We didn’t expect the other shoe to fall so quickly.

Loblaws, part of the George Weston operation, battling a price fixing matter, announced today that with internet access available to the tens of thousands of GO train commuters they would soon be able to use their cell phones to log into the Loblaws app and place food orders that they will be able to pick up at the GO station when they get off the train

Busy consumers will soon have one more way to avoid going to the grocery store as Canadian retailers ramp up their e-commerce offerings in an apparent effort to beat tech titan Amazon, which recently entered the country’s grocery market.

A Loblaws store is seen in Montreal on March 9, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz ORG XMIT: CPT603

Loblaws and Fortinos locations will be the pick up point for GO train commuters who decide to use the new service,

Loblaw Companies Ltd. announced Monday it will launch a new service in the spring that allows commuters to order groceries online and pick them up at one of five Go Transit stations in the Greater Toronto Area the next day. None of the Burlington GO stations are part of the pilot operation.

Jeremy Pee, the company’s senior vice-president of e-commerce said “This is a logical extension of our increasingly popular e-commerce services, and the growing customer appeal for ordering groceries online and picking them up when it’s most convenient.”

The company partnered with Metrolinx, an Ontario government agency that co-ordinates and integrates transportation modes in the GTA and Hamilton area.


Somewhere in this GO station people will be able to pick up groceries they ordered on line. Lot of logistics to get worked out – will people be able to drive their car right up to the pick up point?

The partnership will initially start with stations in Bronte, Oakville, Rouge Hill, Whitby and Clarkson, with plans to expand to additional sites in the region.

Groceries will come from nearby Fortinos or Loblaws stores, and will be waiting in a special delivery truck, in lockers or in an enclosed kiosk.

The service is an extension of the company’s click-and-collect offering as it allows customers who travel on Go Transit a pick-up option that doesn’t require them to adjust their daily commute,

Loblaw launched click-and-collect in 2014 and now offers the online order, in-store pick up service at 300 of its stores. The company is rolling out that service at a rapid clip, with about one new store offering click-and-collect every day.

Amazing what competition will do. Why Burlington isn’t included in the first phase of the new service wasn’t explained. Apparently we are not as demographically svelte as Oakville. That hurts!

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City fails to spend $2.8 million plus in taxes they collected.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

February 27th, 2018



City budget are not like corporate budgets. Cities are not permitted to run a loss – they get around that by tucking millions of dollars into reserve funds that can be drawn upon when needed,

The city doesn’t use the words profit or loss, they use the phrase retained savings which is money they budgeted to spend, based the tax rate on and then found that they didn’t spend the money.

For the 2017 fiscal tear the city had $2,889,106 in retained savings. No – they don’t give it back – they put it into various reserve funds. The city has more than 25 reserve funds – several that the provinces requires them to have in place for that rainy day.

Spending and rev categories

The retained savings report shows routine year-end transfers made prior to the calculation of the year-end retained savings for net zero activities.
Business transfersBusiness transfers part 2Note the 2017 transfer from the LaSalle Park Pavilion reserve fund is a result of the mid-year transition of the banquet and conference services provider.

Development Application Reserve Fund
In 2005, the Engineering Fee Stabilization Reserve Fund, the Building Permit Stabilization Reserve Fund and the Planning Fee Stabilization Reserve Fund were created to ease budget pressures should development revenues slow down due to economic and/or market conditions.

That certainly hasn’t happened.  The Planning department is being flooded with development applications that will pump millions into the city coffers.

As of December 31, 2017, the following year-end transfers were made prior to the calculation of the year-end retained savings.

Prior transfers



Engineering Fee Stabilization Reserve Fund
The increase in Subdivision Administration Fees has resulted in a provision to the reserve fund of $598,692. One large subdivision administration fee was received in February; however, long term reliance on this revenue source is unsustainable as Burlington shifts from Greenfield Subdivision development to infill and intensification sites. The 2018 budget for subdivision administration fees has been increased to

Building Permit Stabilization Reserve Fund
The Building Permit revenues for 2017 were $4,232,117. The revenues are offset by expenditures (both direct and indirect as per the Bill 124 model), with the resulting provision to the reserve fund of $346,088. The 2018 budget for building permit revenues has been increased to $4,237,863.

Planning Fee Stabilization
Planning fee revenues experienced a positive variance of $1,463,066 due to increase in site plan applications fees, subdivision fees, official plan amendments and rezoning fees. A significant portion of this favourable variance was realized in December when a number of Planning applications were brought forward in advance of pending changes to legislation regarding OMB reform. This resulted in a provision to the reserve fund of
$1.46 million. The 2018 budget for planning revenues has been increased to $1.8 million.

During 2017, departments and service owners (a service owner is a group of people with a specific responsibility) closely monitored expenses and found ways to reduce operating costs.

Human Resources
Total City human resources costs (excluding Winter Control) have a favourable variance of $1,386,569. The city experienced a number of vacancies throughout the year. Some of those vacancies were people the city let go – there was a salary and benefit savings until a replacement was found. The favourable variance was primarily attributed to the period of time from when the position became vacant to being filled after the competition was complete.

The report does not make mention of additions to the staffing compliment.

Earnings on Investments
Investment income exceeded budget by $1,062,950. This positive variance is attributed to $2,253,608 of realized capital gains, of which $1,190,658 was used to meet the budget of $5.3 million. The city has relied heavily on capital gains to meet budget from 2013-2017.

Winter Maintenance
As a result of mild winter conditions at the beginning of 2017, Winter maintenance had a favourable variance of $936,421. The favourable price of salt had a minor role in the positive variance, however the main driver was the large reduction of salt consumption (4,000 tonnes) and improved salt management practices.

2017 Recommended Retained Savings Dispositions
Note: Where reserve fund balances are provided, they reflect the balance prior to recommended disposition.

• $1,000,000 Provision to Allowance to Prior Year Tax Write Offs
In 2017 there were a significant number of prior year appeals and write offs processed which drew down the City’s balance sheet account to zero. The allowance for prior year’s tax write offs requires a balance to cover tax write offs for the next year. To do so, staff propose $1 million of the 2017 retained savings be provided to fund next year’s obligations.

• $500,000 Provision to Strategic Plan Reserve Fund
The City of Burlington approved its 25 year Strategic Plan in 2016. The Financial Plan for the Strategic Plan established a long-term approach to funding strategic objectives including the establishment of a Strategic Plan Reserve Fund. The report recommended that a minimum of $500,000 be provided to this reserve fund in years when the city’s retained savings was in excess of $1 million. The balance in the reserve fund is $236,562.

• $450,000 Severe Weather Reserve Fund
As mentioned above, the winter maintenance budget had a favourable variance of $936,421. This report recommends transferring $450,000 to the Severe Weather reserve fund in order to assist with future weather events that are unpredictable in nature. The uncommitted balance in the Severe Weather Reserve Fund is currently at $3,360,543 which is below the targeted balance equivalent to one year’s budget for Winter Control.

• $939,106 Provision to Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve Fund
It is recommended that $939,106 be set aside to finance one-time expenditures. Over the last few years numerous spending commitments have been placed on the Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve Fund (those that are budgeted as well as those that have been approved in-year). The provision will assist in increasing the balance in this reserve fund while continuing to allow unique one-time needs to be addressed without affecting the tax rate and without being built into future budget years. The uncommitted balance in this reserve fund is $3,203,674.

That’s a lot of cash that will get spent – close attention will have to be paid as to just how they do that.  The bureaucrats are pretty good at slipping something through.

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Free access to credit status if legislation is passed.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

February 27th, 2018



Not sure how getting free personal credit reports and assuring the public they will have improved access to elevators are related – they were both in a recent provincial government media release.

If passed, the legislation would give consumers easier access to their credit profile.

Credit reportConsumers would have online access to their current consumer score at least two times per year, free of charge

That access would include consumer report information about any consumer scores given to third parties in the past 12 months

Implement a credit freeze, at the request of a consumer to help reduce identity theft.

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City council chambers to get a major overhaul with better communications, more fibre optic cable and maybe even a coat of paint for the new council in November.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

February 27th, 2018



We won’t know until the end of October who is going to be sitting in the seven seats around the horseshoe in the Council chamber but we do know that the space they will occupy will look different and have much more in the way of technology that will make it easier for council members to vote and to take part in council meetings should they have to be away from the city and unable to get to a meeting.


16 of the 17 council members Burlington used to have. Nit a computer screen in sight.

There was considerable debate Monday afternoon on whether a Council member should be allowed to vote if they are not in the room and if they can be counted as part of a quorum if they are not in the room.


Halton District School Board has a voting system that is effective and efficient. The city of Burlington inb’t there yet.

The Halton District School Board has state of the art software that records the votes and a system that lets a school board trustee take part in a meeting should they be unable to get to the board offices to attend.

Burlington city council has software to record their votes that looks like something put together by a couple of high school students. It doesn’t always work and several of the members of council still have difficulty know which buttons to press.

web cast view of council

The quality of the web cast is embarrassing – makes the city look like a small town bunch of boobs

All that will change. City staff held a kick off meeting recently to start the process of working towards that day when, as Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward put it , “we can enter the 20th century technically”.

Oakville in COW

Oakville uses cameras that capture and braodcast a clear image and a clock that lets delegations know how much time they have left to speak.

Most of the other Regional municipalities have upgraded their facilities – Oakville is by far the best – and provide a visual link that is superb.

Now if the voters in Burlington can select from some of the excellent young men and women who have expressed a strong interest in running for public office the city just might take on a more modern approach to how it interacts with the its citizens.

Related news content:

How the other Regional municipalities reach their public.

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Different viewpoints on the impact tall buildings will have on the downtown core and if there are going to be tall buildings - just where should they be.

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 27th, 2018



There are two sides to the decision to permit tall buildings in the Downtown core.

Pam Casey, Jim Robinson, Kassia Kocharakkal, Lauren Jenkins, Madison Falco, Brad and Maureen Owen delegated at city council and said Tall buildings appropriate to provide the opportunity for additional forms of housing and retail and commercial space in the downtown, while helping make downtown an active and prosperous place. In an urban environment such as Downtown Burlington, well-designed tall buildings provide the opportunities to add density in a much slender and architecturally pleasing form.

The comments are taken from the notes the Clerk’s office provided.

The Planning department said the development of tall buildings in strategic locations within the Downtown will support and enhance the downtown as a lively, vibrant and people-oriented place and support the Downtown’s role as a major transit station area and mobility hub within the City and Region. New development in the Downtown will be of high quality design to maintain and enhance the Downtown’s image as an enjoyable, safe, bikeable, walkable and transit-supportive place and built to be compatible with buildings and neighbourhoods and complement the pedestrian activity and historical attributes of the area.

Exceptions to the Plan

Steve Keech, Jim MaLaughlin, and Jack O’Brien said in their delegations that they wanted to see hard height limits established in the plan to avoid exceptions being made.

The comments are taken from the detailed minutes provided by the Clerk’s Office

Bates precinct

Bates precinct

The Planners said the proposed policies for the Downtown set out height, density and / or intensity permissions stated within all Downtown Urban Centre precincts, except for the Bates Precinct and St. Luke’s and Emerald Precinct, shall be inclusive of the provision of any and all community benefits which may be required as part of the approval of a development.

St Likes-Emerald precinct

St. Luke’s and Emerald Precinct

As such, the limits included in the proposed precinct plan are intended to be maximum height limits, which would provide the public, City Council, City staff and the development industry with predictability and transparency with respect to maximum building heights within the Downtown. However, it should be noted that Planning Act legislation permits property owners to submit applications to amend Official Plan policies (including heights).

The Planning Act requires Planning departments to accept every application for an exception to the Official Plan.

Right now the city has an Official Plan that is close to impossible to defend – the result is more than ten application in the last 100 days.

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Ministry of Transportation is indicating that the era of more roads is coming to an end. But more cars than ever are being sold.

News 100 greenBy Staff

February 27th, 2018



The province is sending a no more roads message; is the public hearing?

If it happens in Hamilton – it impacts Burlington. The Councillors on the other side of the Bay got a letter from the Ministry of Transportation, Steven Del Duca indicating that the era of more roads is coming to an end.

The correspondence from the Minister was quietly received at the most recent Hamilton city council meeting. It said that future widening of the QEW and 403 requested by Hamilton are “dependent on further review and prioritization of expansion needs across the province”. Without those expansions, city staff say there’s no sense in trying to widen municipal expressways like the Red Hill Parkway.

QEW and 403

No more of this says the Ministry of Transportation. Double decking parts of the 403 leading into Hamilton isn’t in the cards this decade.

“Until the MTO improves the interchanges at the QEW and the number of lanes there and at the 403, it would be somewhat pointless to widen our facilities because the bottlenecks would still be in place,” the city’s manager of traffic operations told councillors in mid-January. “I think we have to sort of plan our facility to match the timing for their widening.”

Given the number of people who work in Burlington and live in Hamilton the traffic on the QEW, the 403 and the LINC are daily issues. Hamilton Mayor Eisenberger pleaded that the province give “high priority” to “the expansion of Highway 403 from two to three lanes between the Lincoln Alexander Parkway and Main Street both down bound and up bound.”

Del Duca noted that such widening had been recommended a few years ago by the larger study that rejected a new mid-peninsula highway (also still demanded by the city) but that the “recommendations are subject to environmental assessments and approvals before implementation timing to initiate this next phase will be dependent on further review and prioritization of expansion needs across the province.”

Hwy 5 and Hwy 6

A full interchange at Clappison’s Corners with a 2006 price tag of $75 million has been a Hamilton priority for years. It is the only thing that is going to prevent a mid-peninsula highway cutting through Kilbride.

Eisenberger’s pushed “the Ministry to re-prioritize upgrades to the Highway 5 and 6 interchange within the next five years.” A full interchange at Clappison’s Corners with a 2006 price tag of $75 million has been a city priority for well over a decade but it’s still not under construction.

Del Duca’s letter says it is “planned for 2022 and beyond” and that “timing to initiate construction will be dependent on the future review and prioritization of important infrastructure needs across the province.”
The provincial focus is clearly on expanding transit like LRT but some Hamilton councillors either haven’t gotten that message or don’t like it. Early in February, Queen’s Park abandoned the proposed Highway 413 from Milton to Vaughan that would have passed through Caledon well north of the 407 and that also dates back more than a decade.

The advocacy group Environmental Defence enthused that the cancellation “shows that there is growing provincial recognition that building complete communities rather than highway-led planning is better for our health, our shared climate and our wallet.”

The provincial decision came less than a month after Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner advised the province that more road building is counter-productive.

If it impacts Hamilton – Burlington feels the pinch.

What isn’t getting a lot of attention is the record vehicle sales – they have risen every year for the past five years.  Those vehicles are going to need roads to move on.  There is a crunch in there somewhere.

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Who gets what, when and how; that's what municipal politics is all about. Residents are wondering what they are getting out of all this.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

February 21, 2018



The political scientist Harold Laswell once defined politics to be: “Who gets what, when and how.”

That instructive statement, when applied to the ongoing debate around the writing of a new Official Plan for the city of Burlington, is very telling.

News anal REDIn a documents made public by the Planning department as one of the supporting documents there is a section on comments from various stakeholders.

The Clerk’s office set out the issues and then listed who had comments on that issue.

Processing Site Specific Requests in Mobility Hub Area Specific Plan Areas (excluding the downtown)

Fairview looking east from Leggat

The Leggat interests want site specific zoning for several of their automotive locations – automotive use might not be the best use of a limited resource.

Matt Johnston, Urban Solutions, on behalf of 1059295 Ontario Inc (834-850 Brant Street)wanted a site-specific policy for the subject lands to be included in the Official Plan, wherein large-scale motor vehicle and storage uses are permitted.

Johnston, on behalf of Leggat Auto Group (2207 Fairview Street)wanted a site-specific policy for the subject lands be included in the Official Plan, wherein large-scale motor vehicle, financial institutions and storage uses are permitted.

Johnston, again on behalf of Leggat Auto Group (629 Brant Street) wanted a site-specific policy for the subject lands to be included in the Official Plan, wherein automotive commercial and storage uses are permitted and that the subject property be considered for additional height.

The Leggat interests clearly want to continue to be able to do what they are currently doing in their three locations and would like to be able to add some height if they come up with new plans for their property.

A number of years ago, when Bruce Krushelnicki was the Director of Planning for the city he met with all the major automotive dealers and had a discussion about their future plans for the dealerships and the property all those used cars for sale were sitting on

The Planners knew that used cars on prime property was not the best use of a limited resource.

Krushelnicki reported to council that there wasn’t much in the way of interest from the automotive people and nothing came of the meeting.

In their response to Johnston and his request for site specific zoning the planners noted that “the three properties noted above are located within a Mobility Hub study area. Policies were modified to add large-scale motor vehicle dealerships existing on the date this Plan comes into effect, to the list of permitted uses within Urban Corridor and Urban Corridor- Employment designations.

Mobility hubs

Property owners are beginning to take steps to ensure that their interests are protected as the city begins to determine what will be permitted and what will not be permitted.

“However, the land use permissions within mobility hub areas will be assessed through the area-specific planning process. Upon the completion of the are-specific plans, new objectives, policies, and land use designations will be brought into the new Official Plan.”

“There will be an opportunity through the Area Specific Planning Process to provide further input.”

It wasn’t a no – but it certainly wasn’t a yes.

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City is looking for volunteer fire fighters - applications close March 16th

News 100 redBy Staff

February 26th, 2018



The City of Burlington Fire Department will be accepting volunteer applications online from the public from March 1 to 16, 2018.

All applicants must:

• be 18 years of age or older
• be legally entitled to work in Canada
• pass a health and medical evaluation, and fitness assessment
• have a permanent residence within six minutes travel time to Station No. 5 at 2241 Kilbride St. or reside in Burlington within 20 minutes of Station No. 1 at 1255 Fairview St.

The application period opens March 1 and closes at 11:59 p.m. on March 16, 2018.

Burlington Fire fighters quickly extinguished a blaze on Longmeadow Drive, Arson is suspected. .

Burlington Fire fighters taking part in a training exercise.

The Burlington Fire Department consists of both professional and volunteer firefighters. New recruits will be assigned to Fire Headquarters, Station No. 1 or Fire Station No. 5, based on where the applicant lives. The Kilbride station covers the rural areas of Burlington, mostly north of No. 2 Sideroad.

Deputy Fire Chief Karen Roche said: “We are looking for people who can help advance the Burlington Fire Department’s commitment to public safety and are interested in a challenging opportunity to serve Burlington as a volunteer firefighter.

“Being a volunteer firefighter is no ordinary job; the work is varied and challenging but also highly rewarding.”

One of the roads to a permanent position as a firefighter is coming in as a volunteer. If you’ve got the right stuff – they see it in you as a volunteer.

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Questions were pretty clear - the answers leave a lot to be desired.

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 26, 2018



During the numerous delegations that were made before city council residents brought up different concerns.

Underway - too much

Is the city trying to do too much at the same time. The New Street Road Diet didn’t work – perhaps a project diet is needed.

Jim Young, Deby Morrison, Dave Lawson, Susan Goyer, Michael Hriblijan, David Myers, Steve Keech, David Zavitz, Mark Henderson and Nancy Cunningham argued that there was insufficient information on Transportation, Transit and Infrastructure planning for a decision to be made and that Transit and Transportation Plans and parking standards to support the proposed new Downtown Precinct Plan have not been completed.

City staff responded with the following:

One of the objectives of the Downtown Precinct Plan is to mitigate future traffic congestion associated with growth through a variety of measures including development of specific transportation demand management measures and enhanced pedestrian and cycling amenities and networks through strategic connections of height and density within walking distance of major transit stations.

Bustamente H&S

Rosa Bustamante, Manager of Mobility Hubs.

In addition to the existing and proposed city-wide multi-modal transportation policies contained within the Official Plan, the Downtown Mobility Hub Area Specific Plan (ASP) process is currently undertaking additional multi-modal transportation studies to understand potential impacts the proposed precinct plan could have to mobility within the Downtown Mobility Hub.

This assessment will provide staff with recommendations regarding potential enhancements to the transportation network, parking strategies and rates as well as strategies to mitigate any transportation impacts. This work will result in new policies being developed through the ASP to ensure a diverse transportation system with many practical and realistic choices in order to integrate mobility with land use within the Downtown.

ADI - Bustamanta # 2 steps in process

Public gets a lot of time to speak – the answers given are more than confusing. Statutory meeting where a new set of questions can be asked takes place on Tuesday the 27th.

Through the Downtown Mobility Hub Area Specific Plan, the existing capacity of the Region of Halton’s water and wastewater infrastructure is being reviewed and any growth-related infrastructure upgrades will be identified through the completion of a Functional Servicing Study. This study will inform future Regional planning for capital works investments.

Preliminary analysis has not identified any specific issues with the existing water and wastewater infrastructure located in the Downtown.

Those residents who delegated feel that with so many studies to be completed it seems more logical and responsible to wait until the studies are completed before adopting the draft Official Plan.

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Denis Gibbons: From alter boy to world class hockey researcher covering seven Olympic hockey tournaments.

sportsgold 100x100By Pepper Parr

February 26th, 2018



When the 23rd Winter Olympic Games closing ceremonies were over Denis Gibbons was able to get to bed at a decent hour and not be up all night watching events that set a record for the number of medals won by Canada as well as new records in a number of sports.

Gibbons book cover picture of him

Denis Gibbons

That was a big change for Gibbons who has in the past served as a free-lance reporter in seven different Olympic hockey tournaments from 1988 to 2014.

Hockey and Gibbons go back to the days when Father David Bauer was a major force in the development of hockey in this country.

Gibbons, as an altar boy at St. Joseph’s Parish in Acton, followed the St. Michael’s Majors, the team Father Bauer coached, very closely. He was hooked on hockey for life.

During his first trip to the Soviet Union Gibbons found it difficult to get a real sense of what was going on – he didn’t know a word of Russian and the Cyryllic lettering completely baffled him. But hockey was hockey and he didn’t have to know Russian to understand the game.

Gibbons decided to learn Russian and see if he could get a free-lance assignment to cover the 1980 Olympics.
He got himself into a Russian class at McMaster University where it took him several efforts to come away with decent marks – but he eventually learned the language and got a job as researcher for the ABC television network in the 1988 Olympics.

Gibbons decided his experiences covering Olympic hockey were worth a book.

Gibbons Dennis N. Book coverThat book – Hockey My Door to Europe, which details his experiences that included being detained by the Czechoslovakian police and being in Europe when the Berlin Wall fell, is a detailed look at how hockey was covered by the television networks and the role Gibbons played in getting information out to the public.

The book has a Burlington angle – the Burlington Cougars midget reps were paying a visit to Semperk Czechoslovakia in 1983 to take part in a tournament. During some off time Gibbons was walking about with two cameras around his neck taking pictures. He attracted the attention of the STB – the Czech secret police.

For those interested in hockey – the book is a must.

A review will follow.

Gibbons is a former editor of the Burlington Post and currently free lances for the Bay Observer.

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Meed Ward has a heart to heart with the Seniors -

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 26th, 2018



It was a quickie meeting.

Maybe 50 people jammed into a small room with hardly any standing room.

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne was meeting with the Seniors to update them on what was happening to the Seniors’ Centre – the natives didn’t like what they were seeing in the way of changes.

There is nothing fancy about the place. It's simple, serves the purpose with a bus stop almost outside the door and plenty of parking. And the kitchen will rustle you up a sandwich if you're hungry. The Seniors like it the way it is.

There is nothing fancy about the place. It’s simple, serves the purpose with a bus stop almost outside the door and plenty of parking. Seniors have exclusive use of the space during the day – Monday to Friday.

The operation of programs was undergoing changes and the Seniors wanted some clarification – they also wanted to know just what was going on with the downtown core.

Meed Ward was in her element – these were her people. They like her, they trust her and they look to her for answers.

A ruling from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) made it necessary to have staff at the Centre become employees rather than people on contracts. Meed Ward assured her audience that this wasn’t going to make a difference in the program – all but five of the program instructors became employees of the city.

There are not going to be any changes to the relationship between the city and the members of the Seniors’ Centre – except as one senior pointed out “we aren’t members here – we are customers. She wanted to see more in the way of program for the well over 80 set.

Mayor Rick Goldring has his membership application processed at the Seniors' Centre - filling another of his campaign promises.

Mayor Rick Goldring became a membership of the Seniors’ Centre the week he turned 55. Joining was a first term election promise.

The meeting took place at noon hour and the place was packed. There wasn’t an empty chair in the dining room. One woman said the place is “bursting at the seams”.

Burlington senior population is not going to get smaller, membership at the Centre is up by 10%Centre and “there is not a lot of capacity here.

The Seniors Centre is run by a Board of Management. They are always on the lookout for young at heart board members.

There was a time when the Seniors Centre was run by a Board of Management that had representation from the seniors. The city took over the operation of the centre last year.

While a survey done by the city had a 92% satisfaction level – Joe Veitch pointed out that seniors don’t like to complain – he added that there isn’t nearly as much in the way of social programs that the Seniors Association puts on. The city took over the running of the Centre more than a year ago – the citizens don’t have much in the way of input.

The number of seniors who volunteer has apparently dropped. There were a number of staff in the room which several seniors said later “sort of cuts down on what people are prepared to say in a meeting. Meed Ward told the audience “this is your sentence” and there was a time when the seniors had a significant say in what was offered. Many don’t feel that is the case with the new management style . They are hoping that Meed Ward will ensure that changes are made.

The third item on the agenda was transit – it quickly became a vigorous discussion on the development that is taking place downtown.

She explained the current height levels in the Official Plan and that the new Official Plan will allow 17 storeys – “what goes where” is the important question said Meed Ward.

Meed Ward said that she didn’t think the approved development at 421 Brant should be built and she expressed some hope that a new council might look at things differently.

Mobility hub downtown grnd zero

Transit was an issue for Seniors who would benefit from an upgraded bus terminal on John Street. Having the upgrade become an anchor in a system of mobility hubs is something they are not as certain about. What most people know as the Brant Street parking lot has undergone significant changes – with fewer parking spots.

Her view on changing the direction as to “what goes where” hinges on the Urban growth Centre (UGC) which impacts the location of the Mobility Hubs – there are four – those at the GO stations make sense – the Downtown Mobility hub doesn’t make any sense to many people. Meed Ward believes that changing the boundaries of the UGC and pushing high rise buildings further north on Brant will keep the essence of the downtown core where residents are not opposed to growth – they just think that 20+ storey towers is excessive.

While Meed Ward has yet to declare that she is a candidate for the Office of Mayor she would appear to be making the issue of downtown development her lead campaign plank.


Shown (L-R): Mayrose-Tycon Limited Principal Matt Jaecklein, MADY Development Corporation Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Greg Puklicz, Burlington Ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison, Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman, Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven, Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward, Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring and MADY CEO Charles Mady.

She made an interesting observation about the impact the Martha at Lakeshore ADI development is having on the matter of intensification. Every member of Council was opposed to the development – the developer took it to the Ontario Municipal Board and won – 26 storey’s will get built at Martha and Lakeshore – the development will be a couple of football fields away from the 22 storey Bridgewater project which didn’t raise any howls from the public. Meed Ward was in front of the TV cameras when Mady Development broke ground for the project in 2015.

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Was the future of Burlington in the room?

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

February 25th, 2018



So – who was in the room?

The meeting was intended as a Candidates Workshop sponsored by ECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington.

There were prospective candidates from wards 2, 3, 4, a possible for 5 and 6


Carol Gottlob

News anal REDCarol Gottlob, the ward 4 potential had run before and did exceptionally well for a campaign that was very short on boots on the ground and just as short on the financial support side. To win she would have to work at knocking on doors full time and her job as a teacher limits what she can do until school is out. A credible candidate who sits on the BurlingtonGreen board.

rory closeup

Rory Nisan

Rory Nisan, expected to declare publicly very soon. His campaign manager was handing out business cards.

Gareth Williams, a former chair of the Burlington Sustainability advisory committee and a prospective ward 3 candidate was there. He is said to have a campaign team waiting in the wings; Williams is also said to be close to the Mayor.

Gareth Williams

Gareth Williams

Lisa Copper and Jeff Brooks, 2014 candidate for ward 3 were scooting about.

Greg Woodruff was in the room – a ward 1 resident who wants to leap frog being a city council member and grab the brass ring – which most of us call the Chain of Office. Woodruff ran for Regional Chair in 2014 – his 5812 votes then are, in his mind, high enough to propel him to the Mayor’s seat.

There were no council members in the room but the Manager of the Mayor’s re-election campaign manager David Vandenberg was there. He is close to Mike Quackenbush who is also a ward 3 hopeful.

ECoB Crowd Feb 22

Could three of the people in that center row end up sitting at the horseshoe in the city council chamber? Williams, Fiorito and Gottlob would be a change. Standing in the background on the left is David Vanderberg, the manager of the Mayors re-election team.

Vince Fiorito is thinking about running in ward 5 but has to get his run for the Burlington seat as a Green candidate in the provincial election behind him. Fiorito is a very strong environmentalist who thinks that he will gain enough in the way of profile during the provincial election to give him something in the way of an edge when he files nomination papers for the ward 5 city council seat where he would run against Paul Sharman.

Ken White hasn’t formally announced – he has been working diligently to ensure that the ward doesn’t have 10 candidates running for the council sear. White had a former city planner with him at the ECoB workshop might be a conflict there.

Michael Jones stood up and told the room that he would run for the ward 2 seat just as soon as Meed Ward announces she is running for Mayor. There are two other probable candidates for the ward 2 seat. Leah Reynolds is believed to be Meed Ward’s choice. Given the role she played in ensuring the Central high school remained open she could be a shoo-in but another female candidate with a much stronger pedigree could snatch the prize from Reynolds.  Meed Ward has said she is aware of a candidate that would serve the ward very well.

Thurman - Kearns - Hersh

The ladies that made the meeting happen: From the left Dania Thurman. Lisa Kearns and Penny Hersh. Is there a candidate amongst the three?

The ECoB Candidate Workshop drew a young crowd which is really healthy; they were given a solid grounding of the election rules by Elaine O’Brien that apply to municipal elections which are set out by the provincial Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

A firm understanding of those rules is vital. The audience was told that candidates need a campaign manager, they need someone to handle the financial affairs of the campaign and they need a disciplined approach to winning.

The outline that was handed out to anyone interested in running for office is on the ECoB web site.

Peter Thoem, a single Councillor for ward 2 was pretty direct in his comments. “You will have status” he said. “People will respect you and you will have a mountain of paper work in front of you.” Thoem told the audience that on many occasions he had just a couple of days to read complex material and arrive at an understanding.

Thoem made the most important point of the meeting: It is a people business he said; if you don’t like and genuinely care about people – you shouldn’t be in politics.

One has to wonder if anyone delivered this message to the current council.

Carr - Leblovic - Thoem

Former candidates that have won and and have lost gave the audience some of the best advice they are ever going to get. How much of it did they hear? From the left: Mark Carr, Diane Leblovic and Peter Thoem.

During the Q&A part of the meeting Mark Carr, who was defeated by Blair Lancaster in 2010, told the audience that the staff at city hall “are not your friends – they are accountable to you”.

Did the audience listen and were the speakers heard?

Hard to tell – some of the candidates are very well organized and have the discipline that is needed. Are any of them out knocking on doors? Didn’t look that way.

Has every prospective candidate picked up a copy of the two budget books from city hall and spent the hours needed to make sense of the document? Do they understand how municipal finances work – that cities cannot run deficits and that there are millions tucked away in reserve funds that the city can dip into.

Have any of those candidates mapped out their door knocking schedule – have they figured out where the incumbent is weak and how they can lay claim to those voters?

Gottlob ward 4 map

Identifying the vote and getting it out on Election Day.

Diane Leblovic, a former school board trustee, was pretty direct – “identify your supporters and make sure they vote on Election Day. Offer them a ride if that is what it takes.”

I had breakfast with a man who expects he will run in the election – and asked him if he had a map of the ward and if he had figured out how many doors he could knock on in a day. If he took the number of streets and estimated the number of houses and multiplied the two then divided that by the number of days he could campaign, he would have some idea of what he was up against.

He gulped, then paid for the breakfast.

The 2014 election results.


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