Strong statements from those who want to buy waterfront property and the council member who says this shouldn't happen.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 21, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

 

Councillor Marianne Meed Ward is upset that we didn’t tell her side of the story when we published a short piece on the complaint that Mike Swartz and some of his neighbours took to the Omsbudsman.
We have asked Meed Ward to be patient while we chase down all the angles on what is a very complex story that goes right to the heart of the kind of city Burlingtonians wants.

When people take complaints to governments or when lawyers are explaining an injury they use a word that sounds worse than it is. A cut might be described as a laceration for example.

Mike Swartz in his media release said he has made a formal complaint to the Omsbudsman and to Kaaren Wallace who is a Municipal Advisor within the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

Fence at te foor of xx street preventing public access to public land

According to Mike Swartz the above, is a picture of the legally fenced property at the foot of Market St that Meed Ward consistently refers to as “an existing public walkway” This has driven increased foot traffic to the site and infuriated the public who quickly see there is no such walkway. Meed Ward has hidden the truth about the owner’s right to fence the land and restrict all public access. This has incited further potential for public mischief, antagonism towards the owners and increased potential liability. Meed Ward has no right to direct the public to privately fenced property,  said Swartz

What Swartz has done is heightened the rhetoric to make something sound much worse than it is.

Here is what Swartz is complaining about:

A lack of transparency on the part of Meed Ward –

Although the owners had asked Meed Ward on July 17th 2012 to convey the information to the public, as of the Council meeting on October 15, 2013 (fifteen months later) Meed Ward had still not been forthcoming with our request to inform the public of our concerns (a major breach of transparency). Her comments via social media continue to be misleading and lack transparency in that she refers to the Water St parcel as a “public pathway”.

Meed Ward ignored the owners’ requests and never informed the public that in actual fact, 50% of this parcel of land remains inaccessible to the public by a court order dating back to 1993 and that no such public walkway from Market St to St Paul exists.

That comment that “50% of this parcel of land remains inaccessible to the public by a court order dating back to 1993” is both a stretch and a rather unique interpretation of what the Judge said in the decision. There was no “court order” – there was a decision that had to do with monies that were to be returned.

We did say this was complex and we will do a feature article on what is a rather sad situation. For the moment let’s let each of the parties to this get a few words in.

Swartz-and-Connell-at-council

Mike Swartz telling city council that he might have to sue.

Swartz in his document said: `…we are hereby formally registering a complaint against Ward 2 Councilor Meed Ward for serious contraventions and breach under the Act. It is unclear as to the formal process at the City regarding complaints dealing with Councilor violations under Sec 224 of the Municipalities Act. We are therefore submitting this complaint to the Ontario Municipal Ombudsman as well as Karren Wallace, Ontario Municipal advisor, Mayor Rick Goldring and City Clerk, Angela Morgan.. We further request that we be granted an in person meeting with the review party in order to more clearly define and elaborate on our claims.

Here is what Meed Ward has to say about that:

The residents who have filed the complaint disagree with my vote against selling this publicly-owned waterfront land. They have cited a 1993 court case in this matter, detailed below. One section of the public walkway is fenced at one end, but that fencing was not, contrary to the statements made in the complaint to the Ombudsman, a result of “a court order.” The court decision in fact reinforces that the land is in public hands.

Difference of opinion about a public issue is light years away from dereliction of duty.  Meed Ward went on to say in a prepared statement that: “I will not be intimidated into silence by this action. I will not allow these actions to have a chilling effect on public discourse on a matter of significant public interest.

“I have and will continue to speak openly on this issue and to make my position and my vote clear, transparent and accountable. I will continue to notify the public about this issue, and seek public input.
“I will continue to advocate for the public interest on the waterfront. My commitment is to keep public waterfront lands in public hands. Period. I will not waver from that position.

This is a complex story that needs to be explained carefully – there are culprits all over the place on this one. Stay tuned.

 Background links:

Swartz make formal complaint over council member behaviour

How city council decided to sell waterfront property

 

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Citizens take formal complaint to provincial government - asking that Councillor Meed Ward be held accountable.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 21, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Mike Swartz and two of his neighbours Ralph Williams who lives on St. Paul Street and Ray Khana who lives on Market Street have filed a formal compliant with a provincial government bureaucrat they call the Omsbudsman, asking that Councilor Meed Ward be held accountable for historical and ongoing unethical conduct.

 

Mike Swartz, delivering a very hard message to city council.  We don't want to sue but we will if we have to.  They have already retained legal counsel.

Mike Swartz, delivering a very hard message to city council. We don’t want to sue but we will if we have to. They have already retained legal counsel.

Quite what that being held accountable actually means is not clear.

Market - water street lots Ziegler-drawing

Keeping the land the city already owns in public hands would result in a pathway like this.

“The complaints herein are primarily (although not exclusively) related to Meed Ward’s actions, behavior and efforts to have the Water St. parcel (a strip of City owned land between St. Paul St and Market St and bordering on a waterfront strip owned by the Ministry of Natural Resources) developed as a public walkway/parkette. This Water St parcel abuts 3 private property owners, namely, the households of Khanna, Swartz/Connell and Williams, herein referred to as “the owners”.

“The owners first met with their Ward 2 Councilor Meed Ward on July17th 2012 to discuss the concerns of the Water St. land and their intent to purchase it. The owners asked Meed Ward for her support. The Councilor made it very clear that she was opposed to the owners purchasing the properties, as she wanted it to become a park. At that time the owners agreed to disagree but they asked her as their Ward 2 Councilor to share the following information with the public. “

As one gets into the details of this complaint things get very muddy and complex which is a large part of the problem; the public has never been given the full story.

Lakeshore-foot-of-St-Paul-looking-west6-1024x682

Selling the land at the lake’s edge to private property owners would create a situation like this – where three homes would have exclusive use of this view.

In the days ahead the Gazette will pull together as much of the detail as we can and set out what the issue really is – does Burlington want to keep waterfront property in the hands of the public?
Quite why Swartz and his neighbours are taking a formal complaint to (they say to the Omsbudsman but the complaint is addressed to Karren Wallace, Ontario Municipal Advisor, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing) is not clear. It is far too late in the election process for this to have any impact on the public’s perception of Meed Ward.

It is an issue that needs an airing but it will be as much as a year before there is any comment from the Municipal Adviser.  Karren Wallace is out of the office until October 22nd – so that complaint isn’t going to go very far.

Much more to be done on this story – which does not appear to have yet become a significant public issue.

Council will be getting an update report at its November meeting but they won’t be able to do anything. They will be a lame duck council without the authority to spend any money for anything that has not been budgeted.

Depending on how the vote goes – there may be a significantly different council in place on December 1st when they are all sown in.

Stay tuned – this is a doozer of a story.

 Background link:

City decides to sell some of the “crown jewels”

 

 

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Advance and internet voting up significantly. Is it because more people are now aware that they can vote on line or is there something more significant going on?

council 100x100By Staff

October 20, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

 

Almost 10 per cent of Burlington’s eligible voters have cast their ballots for the 2014 Municipal Election. Advance polls were on Oct. 8 and 18 and online voting was offered from Oct. 2 until 19.

A total of 11,072 votes were cast, with 7,976 done online. There are about 126,000 eligible voters in Burlington.

A total of 11,072 votes were cast, with 7,976 done online. There are about 126,000 eligible voters in Burlington.These numbers are almost double those of the 2010 election advance voting period. In 2010, a total of 6,045 votes were cast, with 2,500 done online of about 120,000 eligible voters in Burlington. This translated to five per cent of eligible voters using advance or online voting in 2010.

“We are pleased with the turnout so far,” said Angela Morgan, City Clerk. “We hope this trend continues through to Election Day.”

There are some people who are no so pleased. The voted on line for the candidate they knew – not realizing there were other candidates. When they met the other candidates some are reported to have said they had already voted and regretted doing so,

On line voting is a convenience but it also limits the time-frame within which a voter can cast their ballot. Online voting ends more than a week before election day – any last minutes changes – and the early voter is out of luck. Incumbents love the online voters – they get to lock them in early.

Monday, Oct. 27, is Election Day. Polls are open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Check your Voter Identification Notice for your poll location

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Chair of stop Escarpment Highway Coalition joins the debate - says a New Niagara highway corridor is not needed in Burlington.

backgrounder 100Letter to the Editor
By Geoff Brock
October 20, 2014
BURLINGTON, ON.

 

A point of clarification. Peter Rusin never said a highway through Burlington was inevitable. He did say a new highway was inevitable and that if Burlington didn’t get proactive with the province and make sure they were at the table where the decisions are going to be made there could be a highway through Burlington.

I’m want to respond to the discussion I’ve seen in the news over the past weekend about a new Niagara Highway coming to Burlington.

I’m very disappointed to see that Peter Rusin, one of the candidates for Mayor in Burlington, is supporting a new Highway through Burlington because he thinks that will end traffic congestion and drive growth

NGTA full study area Juny 4-2012Mr. Rusin’s position ignores the 10+ year study process that was completed by the Provincial Ministry of Transportation in 2013. This study involved multiple municipalities, dozens of Public consultation meetings, and over $10 million in consulting work and transportation planning. The conclusion was that a New Niagara highway corridor is not needed in Burlington. The Stop the Escarpment Highway Coalition was an active participant in this process, along with the City of Burlington and the Halton Region. The conclusion that was reached is a great example of local community groups working with local governments. I don’t know what facts Mr. Rusin is working with other than his own personal opinion.

MidtownOakville mobility hub study

Metrolinx completed the Midtown Oakville Mobility Hub Study in October 2012. The study developed a long-term vision for the Oakville GO Station and surrounding lands, building on the substantial amount of planning work the Town of Oakville has already completed – the May 2011 Livable Oakville Official Plan and the June 2008 Draft Midtown Business and Development Plan. It focuses on the redevelopment of publicly-owned lands around the Oakville GO station, the majority of which is owned by Metrolinx. The study also looks at expanding the GO station to ensure it can best accommodate significant growth planned for the area and future Trafalgar Bus Rapid Transit.

Mr. Rusin seems unaware of the work Metrolinx is doing in the GTHA to get people out of cars and onto transit. Some things Burlington can do alone, and some need Regional and provincial support. GO train electrification will get us GO train service every 15 minutes all day long, all year. That should get some cars off the road and improve air quality! Expanding the Mobility hub around the Burlington GO station could further help reduce congestion and create an employment centre. You only have to look at the great work done in Oakville to define a vision for the Mobility hub around their GO station. Do look.

Getting people out of cars is tough unless they have a viable alternative. Even the MTO’s long term plans show Burlington only moving from less than 5% of trips on transit, to slightly over 10% in the next 15 years. We need politicians and leaders who will ask “What will it take to get 20% of trips on transit?” The answer is better and more convenient service!

NGTA No-highway-here1-285x300There are lots of great policy ideas that Burlington can do on their own. Local trips on transit are not that convenient. It’s still difficult to get from Burlington to Oakville or Hamilton on transit. Working together with sister municipalities, instead of having standalone transit systems, will support the way citizens are living and working in the community. This idea requires regional thinking and cooperation and the vision a municipal mayor can give to the process.

Study after study shows that $1 spent on transit infrastructure returns many times the benefit of one spent on roads. Cars are going to handle the majority of trips for a long time, but the mix is going to change. We need leaders who understand that long term shift is coming and set the course to keep Burlington one of the most livable cities in Canada.

Geoff Brock is the Co- Chair, Stop the Escarpment Highway Coalition

 

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Ward 3 – what has it got going for it? Vast majority of the voters are south of Dundas but the issues the Council member focuses on are north of Dundas. Does one win an election that way?

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

October 20, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

 

The ward runs from the QEW all the way up to Dundas – the municipal boundary. The votes are all clustered south of Dundas where there are constituents who need service.

BOUNDARY MAP WARD 3 The problems and the long range challenges for the ward are north of Dundas and in the term of council we are completing John Taylor has been a fierce advocate for protecting the Escarpment, ensuring we never see another quarry and doing everything he can to prevent a highway cutting into Burlington.
While Taylor fights hard to keep a new highway from cutting through his ward – he doesn’t offer an alternative or a fully researched argument on how we manage the traffic and get less of it.

The biggest commercial operation close to the ward is the city owned Burlington Hydro. There is some commercial concentration along the North Service Road between Guelph Line and Brant and some commercial development potential at the Upper Middle Road and Brant intersection plus the property at Havendale and Brant owned by the Catholic Church that backs onto the Tyandaga Golf course. While technically not in his ward – any development of that property would certainly impact ward 3.

Ward 3 Mountainside Pool update July 30

Mountasinside Recreational Cdentre upgrade – it is projects like this that keep the voters hjappy – and Councillor TAylor delivered on this one.

In the four years we have observed John Taylor, his strongest position on the economic development file is to keep the Employment lands just as they are and not allow all that much in the way of conversion.
What does Taylor do to make his ward better? We’ve not heard all that much as to what he wants to do in the southern part of the ward other than get a major upgrade to the Mountainside Recreation Centre. It took a long time but Taylor did bring home the bacon on that one. .

Ward 3 Mountainside Arena Road Construction

The facilities at the Mountainside Recreational Centre and the grounds were totally revamped. Art work will be erected neatr the entrance.

His focus has been on the rural part of the ward where he wants to ensure that it is kept the way it is. Taylor has worked hard on the Mt. Nemo study that he hopes will result in a bylaw that prevents anything urban creeping into that rural preserve.

The Preliminary Study of the Heritage Character of the Mount Nemo Plateau had an upset limit of $200,000 – which was more than many in rural Burlington thought should be spent. For Taylor and the people in the planning department the objective was to determine if the plateau could be made a Heritage Conservation District.

The Preliminary Study of the Heritage Character of the Mount Nemo Plateau was completed by Heritage Consultant, Andre Scheinman and was presented to the Development and Infrastructure Committee on January 13, 2014.

Taylor wasn’t particularly enamored with Scheinman as a consultant but he wanted the study to go forward – which is did.

Kilbride house with Taylor sign

Councillor Taylor broke almost every rule there was related to Heritage properties – he wasn’t going to let this one get away. It was saved and the grateful owners are paying the piper with his sign.

The work of the consultant has identified that the Mount Nemo Plateau possesses heritage character worthy of recognition as a cultural heritage landscape through further study and possible designation as a Heritage Conservation District (HCD). Taylor was all for this – besides saving the historic Panton house in Kilbride – this was going to be the Taylor legacy. The Panton house was constructed circa 1855-1860 for William Panton, the founder of the village of Kilbride.

While the Air Park problems are not ward 3 matters – whatever happens on that 200 acres will impact all of rural Burlington. Taylor hasn’t been silent on the Air Park problems but he hasn’t been all that vocal about it either.

Ward 3 - heart of

The votes are between Dundas and the QEW and Brant and Guelph line – is that where the Councillor’s heart is?

He took part in the Open House tour the Rural Burlington Greenbelt Coalition held recently and it didn’t take much to fully understand where Taylor stood on the “illegal” landfill. Many in rural Burlington had hoped that Taylor’s voice would be louder and stronger.

Ward 3 does not have a ward council. Taylor tends to prefer meeting with groups of people, particularly in the rural part of the ward. He meets with people in church halls and makes sure nothing happens in Lowville or Kilbride that doesn’t have his fingerprints all over it.

Link:

Profile of ward 3 Councillor

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Twenty four year council veteran doesn't buy into term limits - let the voters decide he says.

council 100x100By Walter Byj and Pepper Parr

October 20, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON

The Gazette is doing profiles of each member of Council. They are based on four years of observations and interviews with most Council members.   An overview of the ward they serve is linked to the profile.

After more than 25 years as a Burlington Councillor, John Taylor is not ready to step down. He is seeking another 4 year term. Initially acclaimed in 1988, Councillor Taylor feels there is much to accomplish before stepping down from “the best job” he has had. While reflecting on his years in council, Taylor outlined his priorities not only of his ward, but also for the City of Burlington.

 

wer

Eliminating the current $150 million infrastructure deficit is a key priority – it should be – Taylor was on Council for more than 20 years when that deficit was created.

The lack of new industrial development in Burlington is one of his major concerns as vast tracts of land sit idle awaiting development.

His hope is that the revised Burlington Economic Development Corporation will kick start more economic activity that will increase our tax base as residential growth will be limited to approximately 10,000 people over the next 20 years and the accompanying tax base will be very limited.

Eliminating the current $150 million infrastructure deficit is also a key priority and the current plan of increasing taxes annually for the next 15 years will eliminate this deficit in 20 to 25 years, an event many of us will not be able to celebrate.

As for ward 3, Taylor said “the most urgent issue is that the rural area of Burlington is under threat”. The fear of a new provincial highway and expansion of quarry activity in northern Burlington are at the top of his list. Burlington has two major natural features, rural lands with the escarpment in the north and the lake to the south and they should both be protected. Preserving the quality of life in ward 3 by developing our parks to another level over time is also a key concern for Taylor. This would include the finishing touches at Mountainside Park along with Lowville and Kilbride sometime in the future.

Term limits - the electorate should decide this. Change for the sake of change is not the answer.Asked if there should be a term limitation for councillors, he responded that the electorate should decide this. Change for the sake of change is not the answer. Let the people decide who is best to serve them. Anyone wanting to take his seat should not run on the slogan “time for a change”, but rather run on policy.

Did he feel that age was catching up and perhaps not have the energy level that politics required? “I’ve learned to work smarter” responded Taylor. After 20 years of being on council, I have learned to pace myself and to pick my battles. His dedication and work ethic will remain the same, even though he plans to enjoy life outside of politics a bit more.

 

dfrt

Taylor grouses about the thickness of some of the reports but he reads everything – stays at home on Fridays to do the reading.  Always has solid questions.

Everyone thinks Taylor cannot be beaten; every candidate can be beaten with the right campaign. The ward’s failure to come up with a credible candidate is their loss. While Jeff Brooks is interesting, his very late entry does not give him the time needed to become known and doesn’t give the community the time it needs to get to know him.

Lisa Cooper appears to be running until John retires and hopes the seat will fall into her lap.

Burlington has had more than a handful of first time candidates who announced their intention to run less than 90 days before the election – difficult to take them seriously.

John Taylor is not only the Dean of Burlington’s city council; he is in many ways the conscience of this Council. He also has the best sense of humour on this Council. He laughs easily even if he is the object of the laughter.

At one point he threatened to walk out to the atrium and talk about a matter that was being discussed in camera. Taylor just saw that as wrong – especially when the subject had been talked about openly at the Region.

On another occasion Taylor broke every planning rule there was when he finagled and got his colleagues to go along with changes that made it possible for a house that had significant historical merit to be sold.

 

Councillor Taylor meeting with staff to check up on some of the numbers in the budget binder.  Taylor suspects the hospital has another big financial ask of the city up their sleeve.

Councillor Taylor meeting with staff to check up on some of the numbers in the budget binder.

On yet another occasion he ventured into another Council members ward to help out with a water pipe problem when the Councillor for the ward had no time for the constituent.

Once city council got used to the idea early in this term of office that it had to come up with $60 million as its share of the Joseph Brant hospital re-build the city had to figure out how it was going to get that money to the hospital.

The hospital wanted the money given to them so they could build the parking garage that was necessary – the parking lot in place was where the hospital expansion was going to be built so it had to go.  Taylor balked at that – he couldn’t see Burlington giving the hospital $60 million to build a garage and then have then keep all the parking fees. Taylor’s obstinacy on that issue served the city well.

Taylor knows more than anyone else about what the city has done in the past and how the place works – that knowledge doesn’t come to his fingertips as easily as it once did.

Taylor is huge supporter of Community Development Halton (CDH) and works hard to get the people in his ward involved in CDH events. More often than not – he will reach into his pocket and slip a folded piece of paper into the hands of Joey Edwardh’s, Executive Director of CDH.

Rural Burlington was not always the focus it currently is for John Taylor. He established his base in the southern part of the ward and that vote has stayed with him.

 

The ladies love him.  He charms them and he listens to them; never patronizes them.  That's why he gets smiles like this one from Georgina Black, the consultant who led the then new new city council through its Strategic Plan back in 2011.

The ladies love him. He charms them and he listens to them; never patronizes them. That’s why he gets smiles like this one from Georgina Black, the consultant who led the then new new city council through its Strategic Plan back in 2011.

Generous, a true liberal minded citizen, Taylor gave very serious thought to making this term his last. He changed his mind when his health improved. Every candidate can be beaten but it is going to take a candidate who is well organized and who has developed a profile at least a year before an election is called to win the seat.

However, politics is known for its upsets. The voters usually get it right.

Link:

Background on ward 3

 

 

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Final week and final push for a first time candidate running against a 20 year veteran.

council 100x100By Carol Gottlob
Candidate Municipal and Regional Council – ward 4
October 20, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

Each week, until the ballots are cast on October 27th, we are going to follow the tales and travails of a single candidate.  We have chosen Carol Gottlob, running in ward 4 against a well entrenched incumbent.  Gottlob has no experience in civic government, has never campaigned before.   Following this candidate is not an endorsement; Gottlob will win on her own merit.

As we head into the final week of the election campaign, I’m taking this opportunity to reflect on the experience thus far and the impact of the last 7 weeks. My journey begins much sooner, (I think maybe grade 6, when I won the citizenship award in my school for being on the student council and leading a fund-raising campaign), but I’ll focus on the chapter that is the fall campaign of 2014.

Gottlob ward 4 map

Those pink lines show the streets that ward 4 candidate Carol Gottlob walked and knocked on every door.

I understood, going into this process, that there would be long days ahead, tough days, calling on constituents and trying to make myself known in a ward that has grown accustomed to the incumbent of almost 20 years. Gottlob wasn’t a household name yet, and I’ve had to coach a few on pronunciation (rhymes with globe), but it’s been a pleasure doing so. Having been a long distance runner and now an avid hiker, I was eager to test my stamina. Despite a slight cold at the time of writing, I can say I’ve been enjoying each day, regardless of the weather. I am discovering people and the stories about my community I otherwise never would have. Many of those stories begin on August 4th, the day of the flood.

People talk about the kindness of neighbours, the shock of losing precious belongings, the frustration of waiting for answers and the anxiety of reliving the experience if nothing is done. And if they’re not telling it, someone else who was “spared” will tell it for them. There are also nostalgic stories of past councils and mayors, back in the day…. when times were perhaps simpler? These stories only further inspired me to service public office for the residents in my ward. They’re incredible people and I want to give them more, give them better, and help better protect them in the future from these types of disasters.

What I did not fully appreciate until living it was the mental stamina required standing at the door, absorbing people’s reaction to a new face, a fresh idea, and selling myself, my values, my vision for a better future. I felt the occasional cold shoulder, which I accepted as part of this democratic process and debated some controversial issues on many a doorstep. Overall, I would have to say I felt welcomed and respected, and often times appreciated for the simple fact that I was presenting a choice for constituents, a reminder that their voice and vote matter. Burlington does have some of the nicest people.

Interestingly an unexpected challenge came out of the on-line voting, specifically the timing of it. I was at the GO station the week on-line voting began, encouraging people to use it. Apparently this election, a significant number of voters have been using the Internet to vote, and a surprising number of seniors are amongst them! This is wonderful as it provides many residents the opportunity to be more engaged in the municipal government process. It could be argued that the campaign started as early as January 2nd,  when nominations opened.

Current rules are such that the voter list was only available after Labour Day, and signs were permitted only after September 12th. Online voting began October 2nd until the 19th. As a result, for new candidates time is significantly diminished to less than 40 days to make the rounds, or put up signs. I believe the current framework with a staggered early online voting option gives incumbents with name recognition a large potential for an advantage here. In the absence of signs, literature or personal appearances, the voter is likely to defer to the familiar name on the ballot. My suggestion would be for Internet voting to take place between the advanced polling dates, which still gives voters lots of time to become informed about the candidates; something I recommend we should consider for 2018.

Gottlob signs - front lawn Carol laughing

Ward 4 candidate Caril Gottlob installing her first election sign.

So now, of course, with Election Day so close at hand, my thoughts turn to the immediacy of what it means to me to be a Councillor and the role I will play. Words such as “advocate”, “advisor”, “steward” and of course “politician” come to mind. But what do those words really mean, and what roles do they suggest? I find myself feeling keenly aware of the tremendous expectations placed upon the Councillor; expectations I intend to confront with integrity, fairness, accountability, responsibility and responsiveness. When asking for someone’s vote, I’m promising to return these values, and more.

Today our culture is fluid and rampant with various means of communication on various platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Email, and online web presence, so as large as our city has grown and continues to grow, so has our ability to invite people into the city hall policy making processes. With this access to information also comes the responsibility of processing and exchanging that which is pertinent to the community versus that which is irrelevant and at times confusing. I believe the role of a Councillor requires great skill in listening, absorbing and understanding.

It also requires a close hand on the community’s pulse of what they want and need in areas of budgeting and expenditures. Costly errors are not easily forgiven, nor should they be. As a Councillor I believe one must act in a conscientious manner and be a transparent advisor to constituents. The best Councillors are those who do more than come out at election time to speak to residents, but instead are constant touch points of communication throughout their term in public office.

Looking back, would I have done things differently to this point? There are always areas for improvement, but overall I can say that I have given Ward 4 my best efforts in introducing myself and declaring what I want the opportunity to do for them. Would it help to have more background experience in municipal affairs? Knowing a job always provides for a faster pick up on the day to day activities, but all successful leaders know what they know and know in the absence of knowledge to ask educated and informed individuals so as to inform themselves before making a decision.

I am confident in my efforts as a candidate in this election, and I can say running for election has been and continues to be an enjoyable and rewarding experience regardless of the outcome.

 

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To the best of our knowledge at this time - the Burlington Air Park did not hack the Gazette web site.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

October 19, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

 

Our lawyers received the following letter from lawyer Peter E. J. Wells, who represents the Burlington Air Park.

“I am writing to you concerning an article dated October 17, 2014 that was brought to my attention last evening, the 16th. I enclose a copy for you reference. The passage in the article that is of concern is:
“It used to be that people would sue us for libel hoping that would shut us down. Now they are resorting to really sneaking dirty tricks -we must be doing something right.” Unless some other party has recently commenced a libel action against your client, the first sentence plainly refers to our client.

I assume that your client did not mean to imply that our client had anything to do with the hacking, if only because that would be further evidence of the malice that we have piiiaded (word un-decipherable) in the statement of claim. This sort of unfortunate word order leading to an unintended meaning happens from time to time in publications.

At page 45 of his book “For Whom The Bell Tolls’.’ Guardian production editor David Marsh gives the following example from an article in The Times about the late actor Peter Ustinov, who was said to have referred to “his encounters with Nelson Mandela, a demigod and a dildo collector.” Marsh suggests that the writer intended to say “encounters with a demigod, a dildo collector and Nelson Mandela.”

First, we were certainly not suggesting that the Burlington Air Park did the hack on our system. There field of expertise is the dumping of landfill without the required approvals.

We were impressed with just how well read the Air Park lawyer is – The Times, the Guardian and Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls.  Impressive.

Nelson Mandela a dildo collector? Who knew!

Wells, in his letter, goes on to ask that:

“In the circumstances I expect a prompt, clear retraction to be published by your client making it clear that your client did not intend to suggest that our client had anything to do with the hacking referred to.

We didn’t say the Air Park hacked us. Were we suggesting they might have? We didn’t think so and are comfortable saying that we did not intend to suggest the Air Park had anything to do with the hack that was done to our system.

We do appreciate learning more about the late Nelson Mandela.

Full disclosure.  Burlington lawyer Katherine Henshell represents the Burlington Gazette in this matter.  She is a candidate for the ward one council seat.

 

 

 

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Grade six student raises $3000 + for flood victims; supermarkets join in the flood relief fund raising drive.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

October 19, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

 

All the big players and the heavy hitters have stepped up and done what they could for those people in the community who find themselves struggling as a result of the damage done to their homes during the August 4th flood. It is an impressive list and more names will be added in the weeks ahead as we reach that 100 day target chief fund raiser Ron Foxcroft set when the Burlington Community Foundation took on the task of running the public side of the fund raising effort that was needed to quality for provincial support.

In alphabetical order they are:

Bank of Montreal, Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd, Branthaven Homes, Bruce Etherington & Associates, Burlington Community Foundation, Burlington Hydro Inc., Burlington Insurance Brokers Association, Burlington Lions Club, Cogeco, CUPE Local 44, Fengate, Fortinos, Insurance Bureau of Canada, L3 – Wescam, Linkins Medicine Professional Corporation, Longo’s, New Horizon, Newalta, Ontario Secondary School Teachers District 20, Pioneer Energy, RBC Royal Bank, Reliance Home Comfort, Smith’s Funeral Home, Union Gas, Walker Industries.

Catherine Brady organized a group that has coin donation boxes in more than sixty locations across the city. Some donours have put fifty dollar bills in those boxes. Shiel + Borovitch

Then there is Sheil Patel, an ace tennis player and a student at the Fairview Glen Montessori school, who was talking to his physiotherapist Dorothy Borovich and asking what he could do to help the people who had their homes flooded. Out of that conversation came $ 3048, which was added to the more than $800,000that has been raised to date by the community.

Sheil, an 11 year old who works out as a tennis player at Cedar Springs, talked to his mother Pooja and together they came up with the idea of soliciting donations from area retailers and putting the prize in large glass jars that were on display at Cedar Springs and at the Fairview Glen school.

Shiel + mayor - Jack - Ron + Dad

From the right: Ward four council member Jack Dennison, Mayor Goldring, Ron Foxcroft, Sheil Patel and his dad, Vip Patel.

People could then bid on each prize – they varied from a pair of Raptor tickets to a jar of gum balls; several merchants provided gift cards. The jars were the best way we could think of to display the prizes people would bid on. “The Domino’s pizza didn’t fit in the jar of course – we put in a label for that one” explained Shiel. “The school was very good to us” said Sheil.  

“They let me sell tickets to the students and their families and the Fairview Glen Board of directors added $500 as well.” Pooja Patel and her husband wanted their children to attend an open minded school, where students had the freedom to move around and use their imaginations. Both their boys attend the Montessori school – have done so since the very beginning of their education.

Shiel audience

Students from most of the grades at Fairview Glen Montessori school were out to support student Sheil Patel on his raising $3048 for flood relief.

The Fairview Glen school however just goes to grade six – so next fall Sheil will attend a private school. “We’ve been visiting some of the schools and deciding where Sheil will attend next year. While middle school and high school are ahead of Sheil, his eye is on Harvard where he would like to study medicine, hopefully on a tennis sports scholarship.

The Patel family live in a cul de sac south of Fairview, off Walker’s Line, where there have been just two families move elsewhere. “It’s a very stable community – a place, where we can live out our culture and be active Canadians citizens” said Pooja.  She added that Canada is a country that accepts everyone – that can’t be said of many countries. She and her husband met as students at McMaster University – both were commerce students – and were married in a traditional Indian wedding ceremony.

“Yes, my husband rode a horse” she added. The family maintains both their culture and religion “but we also celebrate what we call  “commercial Christmas” as well as many other Canadian celebrations. The large corporate donations to the flood relief program are vital – the individual efforts by young people in the community are what really reveal the spirit of the city.

Shiel prize table

Sheil Patel’s prize table included a pair of Raptors tickets, a pair of Asics tennis shoes (Tred Well), candy, gift cards from Marilu’s Market, Bombay Grill, Dominos Pizza, Holland Park Nursery, Kelly’s Bake Shoppe and many others.

This weekend both Longo’s and Fortinos will be asking their customers if they wish to make a small donation as they come to terms with the cashier. Take advantage of the opportunity – funds are still needed – and we may learn that the provincial government is not going to give the citizens anything in the way of Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance (ODRAP) despite the efforts of MPP Eleanor McMahon.

The application has been sitting on the desk of Minister Ted McMeekin for some time. Longos will be accepting donation until the 24th; Fortino’s will be accepting donations until the 30th.  

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Why is there a difference between what a candidate says and what they have done? Mayor shifts his campaign tone.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

October 17, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

 

He’s calling the first four years of his time as Mayor the “cleanup/set up” phase for what one might assume is going to be the new beginning for Burlington.  The phrase was used in an interview the Mayor gave recently.

The “set up” here is our Mayor failing to really fight for what he thinks is best for the city he is supposed to be leading.What was there to “clean up? The city certainly has its problems but is there a load of stuff that had to be cleaned up?

Infrastructure needs money, transit needs attention, the advances made with the arts and cultural file have been good.

We still don’t have an Economic Development Corporation that is going to do great things for us. Yes, they do need time to put the new story together but we said the same thing about the Executive Director that it took more than a year to get rid of.

On the surface all the public is seeing is an organization that holds networking events. The next biggie that will speak to the commercial elite is our own hometown girl Lisa Lisson, president of FedEx Canada.

We hear precious little from this Mayor on what could be done with the Air Park. Staff have carried this one – what the public is going to gulp at it how much money has been spent on legal fees. Is that clean up or has the public been set up?

Mayor Goldring has taken the position that he put the pier problem to bed – and except for a few minor details that file is closed: what the Mayor will not live up to or taken responsibility for are the several mistakes that added a couple of million to the cost of the thing.

This city managed to go through two city managers while Rick Goldring was Mayor. They pretty well fired the one that was in place when Goldring took office – the second one took a hike to a greener pasture – and if anyone thinks the council Jeff Fielding had to work with was not a part of his decision to change addresses – then they have the same limited vision our Mayor has.

When Goldring was elected there were some questions asked about his work as a financial planner/wealth manager. At the time we were told that Goldring had given up the various licenses he was required to have and that he would be a full time Mayor. We now learn that he “owns” a local branch of Assante Wealth Management from which he has taken a leave of absence – not quite the same thing as getting out of the business.

The public has heard nothing about what Rick Goldring’s vision is for the city. We do know that he is “not on” for the 28 storey tower the Adi Development people want to put up at the corner of Lakeshore and Martha but we know nothing about what he thinks that part of the city should look like.

There are parking lots in a large part of that area. Private and corporate property owners don’t operate parking lots – they hold land until they are ready to develop. Burlington needs to decide what it wants to see in an area that is going to have a 22 story condominium tower and an eight storey hotel just a block away from the proposed 28 storey tower.

Saying that Burlington already has the legacy tower it wanted (that was back in 1985) it a pretty weak argument for not permitting a 28 story tower.

The “set up” here is our Mayor failing to really fight for what he thinks is best for the city he is supposed to be leading.

At the recent Chamber of Commerce debate Rick Goldring, in an aside to candidate Peter Rusin, the Mayor is reported to have said he agreed with Rusin’s views on any NGTA highway but couldn’t say anything for political reasons.

How’s that for leadership?

 

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Loose leaf collection begins November 3rd; start bagging them now - make room for the snow that is coming.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

October 19, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

 

Looseleaf collection 2014A loose leaf collection service is provided to Burlington residents in the fall, typically beginning the first week in November of each year. This program is in addition to the Yard Waste Collection Service provided by Halton Region Waste Services.

Please follow the guidelines below to help ensure a timely and cost-effective leaf collection program:

Please have your loose leaves raked and ready for pickup just prior to the start date for your collection area.

Be mindful of collection dates and avoid raking leaves to the road too early.

Place leaves up to the edge of the curb or roadway (but not on the road) in a loose pile so city equipment can reach them.

Ensure loose leaves are not over catch basins or in the ditches in front of your home .

Please make sure leaves do not contain branches or other debris. Leaves mixed with other waste cannot be collected.

Avoid placing leaves on sidewalks and walkways.

Remove basketball nets, parked vehicles and other obstructions from the road to allow city crews clear access to leaf piles.

Do not place garbage bags, garbage bins, Blue Boxes or GreenCarts on top of loose-leaf piles.

Bagged Leaf and Yard Waste Collection
Halton Region continues to provide collection of bagged leaves and yard waste on the same day as your garbage pick-up. This program is a separate program from Burlington’s Loose Leaf Collection.
Leaf Disposal Alternatives.

• Mulch leaves to use in gardens, flowerbeds, or leave them on your yard.
• Compost leaves in your backyard composter.
• Deliver leaves to the to the Halton Waste Management Site in paper bags or in bulk for composting

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Gazette to put election results on-line - available seconds after count is completed. We will be as current as the CBC - and local, local, local.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr, Publisher, Burlington Gazette

October 19th, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

 

Early next week all of the homes south of Dundas in Burlington will see a small flyer in their mail boxes. It will be the first piece of direct promotion the Gazette has done since its inception four years ago.

The flyer announces the posting of real time election results on the front page of the Gazette on October 27th just as soon as the polls close.

Election flyer side 1 Results

Gazette’s first piece of promotional material.

Burlingtonians will be able to go to the Gazette web site and see what the most recent results are for the office of Mayor and the six council members.

We will not be posting the results for the Regional chair – while there are other people running for that office – it is evident that Gary Carr will be returned.

We will not be posting the results of the trustees for either the Halton District School Board or the Halton Catholic District School Board.

The Gazette is a not for profit organization – w do not have a revenue stream. The expenses to date have come out of our pockets and there is only so much time and financial resources available to us.
We will be doing on going news coverage and the results will be available once the school board trustee winners are known.

Our flyer – which measures 6 x 9 inches has, like every other piece of paper, two sides. We didn’t need both sides of the flyer – so we sold side two. Because our part of the flyer is about election results we had no problem with an individual running for office using side two.

Election flyer sid2 2 Rusin

Sharing the space on a piece of promotional material should not be seen as an endorsement of the candidate.

Our accepting an advertisement from a candidate for the office of Mayor is certainly not an endorsement. If Peter Rusin should win the mayors chair it will be because he did it on merit.

Rusin needed name exposure – the flyer is going to get to every home south of Dundas – that’s exposure.

Why not north of Dundas? There wasn’t enough time to get the flyers into production and into the hands of the distribution company in time for the scheduled delivery.

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Differing views on the inevitability of an Escarpment highway; Mayor has decided an opinion is too risky politically.

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

October 18, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

 

The matter of economic development for Burlington came up during the Chamber of Commerce debate at the Gold and Country Club. Peter Rusin a candidate for the office of Mayor wanted to see the city get more of a wiggle on and work with the province to make something happen.

Best Green arrow map

That faint yellow arrow is where provincial road planners thought an Escarpment highway could go.

Rusin maintains an NGTA highway is inevitable and the Mayor, in an offside remark to Rusin, said he agrees with Rusin but politically can’t say anything.

Rusin in a statement said: The Niagara GTA Corridor Study is a well advanced, significant provincial integrated transportation infrastructure initiative which will have a significant impact on this city. It is imperative that we engage the province in a proactive and collaborative spirit to ensure that we do not compromise the preservation of the escarpment and greenland areas.

“At the same time, however, the need for easing of traffic congestion and enhancement of economic development potential must be recognized and the city’s elected representatives must be honest about this.

“This council has misled people by leading everybody to falsely believe that the Niagara highway issue has been put to rest, and that the city can actually neutralize provincial plans that are designed for the benefit of regional economic well-being.

Escarpment from Walkers Line Oct - 12

Is there a road in there somewhere? Is the Escarpment an inevitable location for a new highway?

“Nothing is further from the truth. The truth is, if we fail to take an active participatory role, we may very well see an alignment of a highway extension which will not be favourable to the overall vision of the city and the rural areas north of the 407 highway.

“It is my intention to preserve our rural areas, including villages and settlement areas such as Kilbride, Lowville, and Mount Nemo, and also not have the Urban Boundary reinstated to Number 1 Side Road as in the past.

“The provincial environmental assessment process has identified several proposed routes that would have significant adverse impacts on the escarpment; that is why this city needs to take blinders off, deal with the issue in a responsible manner, ensure a route that does not affect the escarpment and rural areas is successful, and not continue misleading the people of Burlington.”

Mayoral Goldring was asked for a statement but did not respond.

It is unfortunate that outdated ideology prevails in some minds on sustainable transportation planning. Sue McMaster, co-chair of the Citizens Opposed to Paving the Escarpment (COPE) said: “With climate change impacts (very costly)and gridlock in the GTA, why this highway would be linked to critical economic development is interesting.

McMaster went on to say: “Studies on transportation planning clearly link economic development to transit lines which is why it is so important that the provincial government invest in Metrolinx’ Big Move. It targets congestion where it is. The location of the Mid Pen Hwy is out in left field – it’s the wrong solution in the wrong location.” She added “… the much bigger issue is climate change. We are only just starting to feel the impact. Not only is it important not to contribute to the problem by building more highways, it important to preserve our rural land for food production from the predictable development.

McMaster pointed to the Lincoln Alexander highway and pointed out that: “It is unfortunate that outdated ideology prevails in some minds on sustainable transportation planning. Jobs and economic develop aren’t contingent on building a highway. The Link in Hamilton is a wonderful example of the fallacy of highways as economic drivers. The thousands of jobs promised with the Link never materialized.”

There is a lot of fuzzy thinking going on about just what it is going to take to make the right kind of economic development happen.

Rusin Hamilton in background softer look

Peter Rusin, candidate for the office of Mayor said a new highway in or real close to Burlington is inevitable.

Rusin has some significant on the ground experience with land use planning and has been involved in resolving land use problems related to a number of major highway developments. Rusin and McMaster, a leader in the Citizens Opposed to Paving the Escarpment (COPE) might want to get together and exchange some thoughts. Add Geoff Brock, COPE spokesperson  to that get together, he has some very sound views on what is needed.

The Mayor of Burlington probably hasn’t had a long talk with the COPE people recently either.

One wishes Peter Rusin had decided to run for the office of Mayor at least three months ago – Burlington is missing out on a level of political energy and ideas about how Burlington can be grown and at the same time keep what it has that makes it the really nice place it is. If we don’t do something with what we have the province might just decide to merge us with Oakville – they’ve done things like that before.

 

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Painter meets poets - more like a gathering of friends sharing their artwork. Monthly at the Black Bull

theartsBy Lana Kameric

October 17, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

 

I didn’t know what to expect when I walked into Black Bull Tavern last night. My publisher told me that Burlington had a slam poetry group that hosts an event every month.

As someone who has been writing poems for many years – not that I have ever dared to recite them in front of a live audience – naturally I was inclined to attend the Burlington Slam to see what it was all about. What I found was an open minded, supportive audience and a talented, confident group of artists gathering in the Fireside Lounge of Black Bull Tavern and sharing their words with all those willing to listen.

Dia Davina

Dia Davina at the Black Bull poetry slam

Most of the guests, including myself, were attending the slam for the first time. However, you would never have guessed it from the group dynamic. The engagement between the host, the audience and the performers felt familiar, comfortable, more like a gathering of friends sharing their artwork than a group of strangers. Hosted by Bassam, former satanic rapper now a performance poet and member of the Burlington Slam Project Team, the slam encourages audience participation – hissing at the poems they dislike and cheering for the poems they do like. The conversation created between the performer and the audience, while remaining respectful, leaves more room for an honest response. After all, an artist needs more than polite applause to grow in their craft.

The slam usually begins with open mic performances, which anyone may sign up for. However, since no one signed up for the open mic portion of the evening the slam was focused on the poets alone, and they did not disappoint.

Five poets competed in two rounds for a cash prize donated by the Black Bull Tavern. Dia Davina, the featured artist of the night, performed a few of her original pieces between the competitive rounds. Judges were selected from the audience to score each performance, which would determine the first, second and third place winners of the evening. Don Murray, not only a poet but also the archivist and webmaster for the Burlington Slam Project, won first place after receiving the highest score on his two original pieces.

We were warned in the beginning that is not a family friendly show, there is swearing, controversy and uncomfortable topics – my kind of art. The poems performed last night were personal, moving and at times shocking leaving the audience speechless and paralyzed before bursting into applause and cheers.

Burlington Poetry Slam group

The Slammers – Tommy Bewick second from the right got this show on the road in Burlington.

As an artist who prefers to paint my feelings I was blown away with the courage of these artists, sharing their deepest thoughts and experiences, telling us the stories that have shaped them into the brave poets that they are today. Davina’s poems in particular reminded me of painting. The way she flows from word to word, creating imagery that triggers a memory and feeling from each person in the room, resembles the way that a painter moves colour on a canvas to form symbolism that the viewer can relate to. Listening to each poem was like taking a walk through the artist’s thoughts guided by familiar ideas that exist inside my own mind. Each time I heard that pleased sigh coming from the audience I knew that I was not the only one able to relate to the poets’ words. The Burlington Slam Project was a truly inspiring experience.

The Burlington Slam Project hosts poetry slam nights every month on the third Thursday in the Fireside Lounge of the Black Bull Tavern unless noted otherwise.

Kamaric top half shoulder clear GOOD

Lana Kamarić is a contemporary surrealist artist and a self-taught painter. Born in Sarajevo, Bosnia Lana arrived in Canada at the age of five. After moving to Burlington she attended Robert Bateman High school and graduated from York University with a degree in Art History. Lana has worked with the Museums of Burlington, the Art Gallery of Burlington and is currently working as a full-time artist. Lana was a participant in Cirque, the 2014 No Vacancy installation event in the Village Square. Her last show was Art in the Workplace at McMaster Innovation Park.

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Chamber of Commerce fails to provide adequate access to disabled Anne Marsden; mayor gives a peek at his economic development thinking - privately.

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

October 17, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

 

It was a “sold out” event.

It was also an embarrassing occasion when the Chamber of Commerce was not able to provide a way for mayoralty candidate Anne Marsden to join Mayor Goldring and Peter Rusin on the stage. She had to sit at the side of the raised platform because of a disability that makes it very difficult for her to mount steps.

One would have expected the Chamber of Commerce to realize that Marsden needed access to the platform – they invited her to the event.  This lack of understanding, appreciation and concern for those who have a disability and need different access than the rest of us has been Anne Marsden point for years.  Shameful that the Chamber of Commerce would fail at this level.

NGTA All the arrows

Possible routes for an NGTA highway – the blue one put a shiver into the bones of Burlington and the Region.

Rusin repeated his concern with the Mayor’s approach to economic development and said a new highway was an inevitability which moved Councillor Taylor to send out an email saying: “ Mayoral Candidate Peter Rusin today, at the Chamber of Commerce debate, called for the divisive Niagara to GTA Highway process to begin again with the support of City Council.

Best Green arrow map

That faint yellow arrow heads straight for the heart of Burlington’s Escarpment country.

“Please spread the word to all Rural residents. We need strong continued leadership on this issue and the Mayor and I need your continued support to send a strong message to Council.

Mayor Goldring is reported to have said to Rusin after the debate that he shared Rusin’s view but that there was no way he could say that politically.Goldring is reported to have said he shared Rusin’s view on the inevitability of an NGTA highway but that there was no way he could say that politically.

Rusin’s position appears to be that the city needs to work with the province and work out a solution that resolves the provinces problem of moving traffic and gives the city the economic development resources it needs.

Rusin point out that there was a time when the #1 side road was the rural boundary but that that changed when highway 407 was built. Rusin appears to want to see commercial development on the north side of that highway.

Rusin said after the debate that he could not see a highway ever coming through Kilbride and Lowville and while the province has put any development work on hold – that road is the major one on the table.

This is the first time anyone has heard that the Mayor has an opinion on what Burlington needs in terms of roads and the economic development needs.

 

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Sale of waterfront land hasn't become a major issue - but at least one candidate wants to keep it alive.

backgrounder 100By Pepper Parr

October 17, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

 

Why didn’t council stop the sale of public waterfront land?
Council votes 6-1 to sell waterfront land.

Market - water street lots Ziegler-drawing

Many people want a public path along the edge of the lake between Market and St. Paul streets; the property owners want nothing of that idea.

Jennifer Hlusko, a candidate for the ward six seat on city council uses social media to communicate. A day isn’t complete without at least one, usually several links that she passes along. We never get to hear what Hlusko’s view is on the issue she is covering – she is just passing along good information.

Hlusko is a very intelligent woman; a little on the brittle side at times but this woman is on top of the facts.

She recently did a piece on the decision city council made to sell a small strip of land on the waterfront which, if completed, will put an end for a long, long time to any hope for a waterfront trail that this city could have.

We wondered just what kind of coverage this story had been given by the print media and are grateful to Hlusko for pulling all the local coverage together.

Market-Lakeshore-foot-of-St-Paul-looking-west3-1024x682

Will the average Tom, Dick or Harry keep the right to walk this piece of land. City owns part of it – but have decided to sell it.

Other print media

• Oct 16, 2013: Burlington Post: Burlington council decides to sell waterfront property
• Oct 3, 2013: Burlington Post: Burlington considering selling public waterfront land to private hands
• Oct 24, 2013: Hamilton Spectator: Little: Waterfront public land up for sale

Burlington Gazette

• Jul 28, 2014: Waterfront Property for Public Use – it can happen if the public makes enough noise
• May 26, 2014: The sale of that waterfront land isn’t a done deal yet – a citizens group will be delegating against any extension at council this week
• Nov 2, 2013: Citizens speak – hundreds of them. Not all disagree with Council – but majority do. Was Council wrong?
• Oct 16, 2013: City Council votes 6:1 to sell waterfront. Public may never know what the selling price will be
• Oct 8, 2013: How city council managed to vote to sell waterfront lands and what some people want to do about that
• Oct 7, 2013: Part II Why does your City Council want to sell waterfront property rather than create a stunning lake front parkette?
• Oct 5, 2013: Part I Is your city council about to sell your birthright? Waterfront land just east of the downtown core may be sold
• Jan 1, 2013: Waterfront Advisory Committee sinks slowly into the setting sun
• Jun 6, 2011: Access to the Waterfront? Not everything you might think it is

The deal to actually sell the land has not closed. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources is involved in this as is one of the candidates for the office of Mayor.

 

Janice Connell spoke for herself and her neighbours at the council committee meeting last week.  The neighbours are seated behind Ms Connell

Janice Connell spoke for herself and her neighbours at the council committee meeting where the sale of the land was discusses. The neighbours are seated behind Ms Connell

Peter Rusin served as an adviser to one of the property owners – there are three of them with Janice Connell serving as the public face at city council meetings. It was her husband, Mike Swartz who issued a veiled threat to council about a law suit. Statements like that always send a chill up the spines of council members who see a large legal bill that they have to explain to voters.

Rusin has said he served as an advisor to Swartz and that the file is closed.  If Rusin is to serve as Mayor – he will have to be much more transparent than that.

The Mayor`s decision to sell the property doesn`t square with the concept of a waterfront that is accessible to the public or as a resource to be shared by the public.  Burlington is still of the view that wealthy private interests can get what they want from this Council.

It is a very complicated matter but the people of Burlington aren’t stupid – tell them the whole story and they will let you know what they want you to do on their behalf.

 

 

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Shiny new buses will be on the streets in 2015; being paid for out of the gas tax refund the province gives Burlington.

News 100 blueBy Staff

October 18, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Earlier in the life of the current council an agreement was signed with Metrolinx and 12 other Ontario municipalities to put together a buying group for transit related equipment.

Burlington residents will benefit from enhanced transit when nine new buses will be delivered to Burlington; they are part of a purchase of 203 buses.

Bus station John Street lined up 1 side

New buses will be on the streets in 2015 – replacing vehicles that are 12 years old.

Each 12-meter bus will carry up to 70 passengers and be fully accessible, helping people better access jobs, family, friends and community services. The buses will also meet the latest emission standards and be equipped with electrical accessories, such as electrically powered oil radiators, to improve fuel efficiency and help reduce costs.

In a statement put out by the province they said: “Building smarter, more integrated transit is part of the government’s economic plan for Ontario. The four part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people’s talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives, and building a secure savings plan so everyone can afford to retire.”

Nice political rhetoric there – now for the reality check.

Doug Brown, chair of Bfast, a local transit advocacy group that pushes the city to improve transit said: “No real news here, as the 10 year capital plan included 9 replacement buses in 2015.

Bfast Transit group logo“Since these are replacement vehicles, there will be no increase in the overall Burlington Transit capacity and the city will continue to be underserved in terms of bus capacity and transit service hours.

The retirement of older (12 years) buses will reduce maintenance costs, and increase reliability.
Funding for these replacement buses comes not from the City, but from the Provincial Gas Tax. Burlington reduced transit’s share of these Gas Tax funds from 30% to 20% in 2013.

Burlington has been part of the group buying process with Metrolinx and other municipalities for a number of years. The large orders resulting from group buying allows the participating agencies to leverage better prices.

Burlington’s MPP, Eleanor McMahon said: “This is great news for transit riders in Burlington. With this partnership, Burlington will save money and provide better service, making transit better for the environment and for the entire community.”

The next time you see our MPP on a bus – let us know – that will be news.

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You wanted the Gazette but you got directed to a porn site. Nasty bit of business on the part of someone who wants to do us harm. When we figure out who is doing this - we will tell you.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

October 17, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

 

If you are a loyal Burlington Gazette reader and you are using an Android based tablet – you may not get through to us. Someone has hacked into our site and installed a bug of some sort that re-directs people who use an Android device to reach us.

PORN XXX IMAGE

This is not what we are about. Someone wants us off the air. Libel suits didn’t work.

We have people working on the problem. One reader was kind enough to suggest a particular piece of clean-up software that will fix this particular problem and do continual sweeps to catch future attempts to interrupt the flow of news.

We are clearly ticking off someone somewhere. It used to be that people would sue us for libel hoping that would shut us down. Now they are resorting to really sneaky dirty tricks – we must be doing something right.

Legal counsel for the Burlington Air Park has asked us to clarify our comment on who might have hacked into our site.  We don’t think the Air Park did this – we have no evidence that they did so.

One reader said: “Since yesterday when I try to open www.burlingtongazette.ca on my Android powered tablet, I’m re-directed to any number of porn sites not your newspaper.

Porn - sending you somewher else

Someone is using malicious software to re-direct people who use Android driven devices to filthy web sites.

“I uninstalled and re-installed Chrome (my browser on the tablet) and still got the same result. I installed a completely different browser (Mozilla Foxfire) and got the same unfortunate redirect result.
This is not happening on my PC computer version of Chrome. When I enter your URL on my computer I get to the Gazette.

We are grateful for the comments and the alerts. We note that no one has commented on the porn sites they were re-directed to.

We are on top of it – it just takes longer than we expected to source the appropriate software; install it and then give the people who operate the software the permissions they need to get into our server and do their clean up.

 

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City clerk has the final word when it comes to local election rules and their interpretation - but she has to comply with the Municipal election Act.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 17, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

 

The only thing I am worried about” said city Clerk Angela Morgan “is possible line ups at the polling stations on election day”.

 

City Clerk Angela Morgan

City Clerk Angela Morgan signing the 2010 election returns.

Morgan is the staff member who oversees the running of the election. She has an experienced staff but when push comes to shove it is Morgan who calls the shots. She has had a couple of awkward calls to make but because her role is close to judicial – her word is the last word.

In 2010 there were five or six places where the line ups were far too long and people had to wait’ said Morgan. We found that a poll should not have more than 3500 people in it – 4000 tops.

In 2010 the voter turn out was 35.6% of those eligible to vote – one of the highest Burlington has had for a municipal election. If that turnout were to reach the 50% + level there would be line-ups

“So we revised many of the polling boundaries and added polling clerks at several of the polling stations – so I am pretty sure we are OK” said Morgan.

Advance polls opened yesterday and will close on Saturday.

Internet voting has been open for a few days – that too closes on Saturday.

Two interesting piece of information. Internet voting is up substantially over last year. Advance polls are up as well.

Internet voting is up substantially over last year. Why, many people have asked, does internet voting and advance polls end on the 18th? Because the city then has to prepare the voters list for the election on the 27th. All those people who voted at the Advance poll and on-line have their names taken out of the list that the polling clerks work from.

Could the amount of time be shorter so that more people get to vote on line; perhaps and there are a number of work arounds that can be put in place but on-line voting is new to Burlington and the one thing about what the Clerk’s office does is this – they are cautious because when they rush things and things go wrong – they go really wrong.

Angela Morgan is a cautious woman who gets a lot of complaints about what candidates are doing. “The election starts far too early: said Morgan “but there is nothing we can do about that – the Municipal Act sets out when a person can file papers to be a candidate” and for those who want to create a profile and name recognition – they have close to a year to do that

 

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Will these seven become lame ducks on October 27th? If just one of them loses their seat – we have a lame duck council.

As city Clerk everything Council does has to be signed by her before it is legal. Morgan plays a critical role in the administration of the work council does. On the morning of October 28th she will know what kind of a Council she has for the month of November. Six of the seven members of the current council have to be returned to office or the Clerk is faced with a “lame duck” council that cannot spend more than $50,000 that is not already budgeted for nor can Council hire or fire any of the senior staff.

That lame duck status holds for just a month – when the new Council is sworn in. Is it reasonable to assume that the significant seven will not all be returned? There are two council members who are at risk and a third that is in trouble.

Determining what a candidate can do with what are known as city resources is a problem the clerk has to contend with. “Some are more decent than others” Morgan explained. Some see the rules as something that have to be strictly adhered to – others will stretch the rules as far as they can.

During the campaign a Save the Planet event took place with more than 2,500 cities around the world holding demonstrations. New York city had more than 175,000 people out on the streets. Burlington had about 40 people waving their signs and placards.

The organization that held the event invited the Mayor, a known environmentalist to speak. The original intention was to start the event at the Gazebo in Spencer Smith Park but that is city owned property and Mayor Goldring was not going to speak at that location during an election.

Flood Goldring with chain of office

Mayor Goldring has taken to wearing his chain of office outside the Council chamber recently.

That we think was making too literal an interpretation of the rules. Goldring should have put on his chain of office – talked about the environment and what global warming means to all of us and not say a word about the election and the city’s Energy Management Plan.

Ward 2 Councillor Marie Anne Meed Ward rented the Shoreline Room at the Art Gallery of Burlington for her campaign kick-off. The AGB is an arm’s length operation with its own board and while the city owns the building it is run by the AGB board.

BAC aerial

No photo ops for election candidates on this site.

Morgan had a conversation with then AGB president Ian Ross but as Morgan put it “I always struggle with situations like this.” Another candidate running against Meed Ward wanted to film some footage at the entrance to the AGB and was told they could not do that; where does one draw the line?

For Angela Morgan – it is all about both enforcing and interpreting the rules – she seems to get it right most of the time.

Morgan, who lives in Hamilton has voted – online

Return to the Front page

If the arts and culture in Burlington matter to you - then this is for you: candidate positions on the arts.

council 100x100By Staff

October 17, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON

 

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Angela Paparizo and Trevor Copp.  He got the ball rolling in the arts world – she now coordinates arts and cultural events for the city.

 

It was in 2012 I think when Trevor Copp appeared before city council saying as an artist he wanted to be able to ply his trade in the city he lived in.  That was the shot across the bow that resulted in the creation of the Arts and Culture Collective of Burlington (ACCOB) and the hiring of a cultural co-coordinator.

It led to the holding of the critically acclaimed No Vacancy in 2013 and the follow up event at the Village Square that showed the public how vibrant the place could be.

Art and culture got out of the shadows of the newly branded Art Gallery of Burlington and placed artists we had never heard of on the public agenda.  Members of Council took a new interest in the arts and were prepared to push some taxpayer dollars  in that direction. Burlington has come a long way since the last election

It is useful therefore to know what the candidates had to say about how they see the arts and culture in Burlington.  The material comes from the ACCOB.

The mission of the Arts and Culture Collective of Burlington is to advocate for the arts and culture of Burlington, ON and to increase appreciation, support and involvement with arts and culture in the community.

Our organization was founded to bring the voices of the Arts and Culture in our city to be heard in City Hall. We are aiming to help shape the Cultural Action Plan, and receive budgets and execute the ‘Action’ in the Plan. In order to keep moving forward with this plan, we requested responses to these four questions from all registered candidates. They had the opportunity to respond and responses were published to our Collective. Their replies were distributed throughout the contacts and social media membership of the Arts & Culture Collective (over 360 local members).

QUESTIONS:
1. What is your platform on Arts & Culture in Burlington?
2. The Cultural Action Planned passed unanimously in Council in 2013, yet the first new budget item called for by the plan – establishing a City Cultural Manager – was defeated. Please comment on this vote and state your intention moving into the next term on the role of a City Cultural Manager.
3. A funded external body (for example, an Arts Council) is the second item called for in the approved Cultural Action Plan. If such an organization is properly researched and consulted on, would you vote to fund this external body in the next term?
4. Grants is the third major budget item in the Cultural Action Plan. Would y…

MAYORAL CANDIDATES
RICK GOLDRING (INCUMBENT)
Flood Goldring with chain of office1. I want to continue with the arts and culture investments that the city currently makes. The Art Gallery of Burlington, Burlington Performing Arts Centre, the Museums, Student Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre, Theatre Burlington, the Teen Tour Band along with investment in the Sound of Music Festival and our twinning relationships with Appledorn, The Netherlands and Itabashi, Japan all contribute to making Burlington a culturally vibrant city. We need to leverage our investment with the objective of broadening the reach of our various cultural programs and proceed with thoughtful implementation of the Cultural Action Plan.

2. I did not support the Cultural Manager as I want to see how we make out this year now that we have a full time cultural planner. Council will revisit this during the 2015 budget discussion.

3. I am definitely interested in exploring the idea of an Arts Council type of structure. We need to be very clear about the purpose and how the organization will fill its mandate.

4. I know Oakville has a granting program. I need to understand more how a granting program would work. What type of artists would be eligible? What is the objective of the grants program? Would the grants be for new artists or emerging artists?

PETER RUSIN
Rusin walking dog1. Arts and culture are an integral part of any strong and diverse community. Enhanced quality of life for the people of Burlington is the reason I am running for Mayor, and underlies all elements of my platform. With smart growth comes enhanced arts and culture opportunities. When we build upon our already diverse and rich community, when we attract new revenue, when we recognize the importance of arts and culture and fund it accordingly, we further enrich our city and the people who call it home. We can and should capitalize on Section 37 to provide arts and culture funding within a defined radius of any new development, together with council input and desired priorities.

2. I don’t understand the defeat for a cultural manager position after having conducted all that consultation and study work, but,
I would have to review the job description and how that position would fit into the overall organizational structure at the city before committing to
supporting a full time staff position. Also, it may be that more than one position would be required to satisfy the intent of the cultural action
plan. However, if the city was managed in a more fiscally responsible fashion, then perhaps the funding of such a position and/or department would not be such an issue. Overall, I support the continued efforts at raising the relevance of Arts and Culture in this city.

3. My support would depend on the role of an Arts Council relative to the roles and responsibilities of a City Cultural Manager. It depends on what the funding demands would be, who would be made accountable for the management of the arts and culture department. It would be ideal if there was a plan that could make the department self sustainable with the support of the city. It would also be helpful if the Performing Arts Centre which is a big part of the issue, an entity that could generate profit to assist in further funding the arts and culture initiatives in this city. This city needs to stop spending money on further studies and simply get on with letting arts and culture flourish.

4. This city has a lot of urgent need priorities dealing with pressing issues like healthcare, poverty, and housing, that may promote stronger
justification for funding allocations from the community than for arts and culture. I would like to provide grants, but, it may require a stronger
relationship working with private sector funding sources. There are many provincial and federal grants available to artists; the city may be better focused helping to direct local artists to existing grants.

WARD ONE:
RICK CRAVEN (incumbent)

Rick Craven: Best committee chair the city has; not big on the warm fuzzy stuff through.  Needs a hug badly.

Rick Craven: Best committee chair the city has; not big on the warm fuzzy stuff through. Needs a hug badly.

1. I support proper funding and implementation of the Cultural Action Plan.

2. I was the only member of Council to vote in favour of the Cultural Manager as part of the 2014 budget and will do so again when the issues comes forward in 2015.
3. Yes.
4. I accept that we need a lot more discussion about how this will work, but in theory I agree we must move in this direction.

MARGARET STEISS
To the Arts and Culture Collective of Burlington
As an artist myself I have a strong interest in supporting and promoting arts and culture in Burlington. Art and culture enhance our lives on many levels and a strong arts community helps to make Burlington a more enjoyable place to live. We cannot however be blind to reality. This past year has shown us that we have some major challenges ahead, particularly with infrastructure. The way we handle arts and culture needs to be done in the most fiscally responsible way possible. What I would like to see is an easily accessible website that lists all arts, culture, recreation and leisure groups in one place so people can find groups they are interested in quickly and easily.
Before I could agree on a paid General Manager I would need to look carefully at what supports are already in place at city hall and to make sure we are not duplicating services.
While a paid arts council would be nice I think we would be better served right now by a volunteer arts advisory committee such as we have for other interests such as heritage. The money saved on salaries could then be put towards grants which would directly help those in the arts.
I do believe in grants in particular towards helping groups become self-sustaining.

JASON BOELHOUWER
Jason B pointing finger1. I believe that the City has some valuable Artistic and Cultural physical assets (ie: drama centre, Art Centre, Performing Arts Centre) The City is also blessed with some wonderful groups (Teen Tour Band, various Guilds and Performance organizations etc.), I think that these groups are best left to manage themselves without interference or oversight from the City. I would also like to see them be as self sufficient as possible.
2. I assume that there was a reason for this, without knowing the behind the scenes efforts on both sides I have no idea why it was defeated. At first blush it would seem that if the Plan was approved, then funding considerations should have been part and parcel in the decision making process.
3. The previous question sounds like it puts the entire CAP on hold. If the Plan is in place but the funding is being defeated by the current City Council, the question is what is wrong with the overall picture ? Logic suggests that if there is a problem getting funding for the first item then the same problem will exist for subsequent items.
4. See answer to item #3

PATRICK ALLEN
1. Arts & Culture is an essential part of the health & vibrancy of this city. The development and implementation of a viable, sustainable Arts & Culture community is something I fully support and would encourage all council members to support vigorously.

2. A. I couldn’t comment on what motivated people to vote one way or another. I think that sometimes council may make decisions based on their personal choices rather than the evidence in front of them or what their constituents may
want. My intention would be to support the hiring of a person who could deliver on the objectives through a variety of means. All I would ask for is to see several viable options on the table prior to casting a vote.

b. There are several comparisons made throughout the documentation to other cities. Other cities have 4,5 6, 12 employees and X amount of funding. This sounds like a Rick Goldring thing. Lets think outside the box and collaborate on an idea or ideas that will have an impact that is visible. I want to support a proposition that is different than other cities, one where something unique is happening. Wouldn’t it be great to be known as the Arts & Culture centre of Canada?

3. Again, with a variety of options presented that are sound, viable, sustainable, I could get behind the project. Perhaps a graduated pilot project might be the answer to the negative council vote. Show me something different that doesn’t take tax dollars away from essential services. We are a rich community and need the Arts but we also need to be able to generate revenue for the city on a cost recovery basis through these activities.
4.. Government grants are great and I would be looking to the province or the federal government for those grants. Endowments, scholarships, small business initiatives are all great ways to support the Arts. My voting would support some sort of creative initiative in terms of funding; one where the taxpayer does not carry the full load.

WARD TWO
Marianne Meed Ward (incumbent)

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward.  Unbeatable?  Some Tory's seem to think so.

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward. Unbeatable? Some Tory’s seem to think so.

1. Vibrant local arts and culture contributes to our city’s quality of life, economic prosperity, social inclusion and vibrancy. The majority of the city’s cultural investment has been in buildings; we need now to focus on people who provide culture. I support a citizen’s committee on culture to foster collaboration and oversee grants; expanded criteria for facility grants; and single oversight of grants for festivals and events with clear criteria. The downtown has a unique role to play in culture, and as the councillor for downtown I’m committed to exploring a cultural district downtown, as recommended by the Downtown Task Group.

2. The Plan did not call for the manager position in the first year. Staff advised council that through staff realignment they can find the additional cultural manager position within the existing staff complement. I support that approach as council’s goal city-wide has been to find new positions by staff realignment. I did support the increase in cultural staffing from half to full time. My first priority for additional cultural investment is directly to artists to defray performance space cost (See item 4).

3. I am open to exploring options for an external granting body, for example a citizen’s committee on culture, with budget and staffing support. This committee could do for culture what Heritage Burlington has done for heritage – overseeing grants, loans and rebates to heritage owners, fostering heritage appreciation and awards, collaborating with heritage owners on preservation and more. This group is citizen-led with staff support and a budget over $100,000. This model could work for culture, bringing all the city’s grants to groups and events under single oversight with transparent criteria and budget, and fostering cultural collaboration.

4. Yes, subject to further definition of eligibility. The focus should be on venue space for local groups and events. Culture is already happening in Burlington, but artists have told me it’s difficult to find affordable, appropriate space, whether it’s a venue for a play or film festival, space to display art, or a venue for modern art. The Burlington Performing Art Centre is cost-prohibitive for some local groups. The city’s existing facility fee waiver program excludes city buildings operated by an independent board, like the BPAC, Art Gallery of Burlington or libraries/museums. Facility grants must change to include these buildings.

Philip Papadopoulos
1. I am a whole-hearted supporter of the arts and have been my entire life. The arts are a core building block of any community and like all special interest groups in the city, it deserves a fair share of attention.

2. As with any issue faced by council, there are a number of factors that determine whether a plan is moved forward in a timely manner. These factors need to be carefully considered at the proper time. Just because a budget item is defeated does not mean that it will not surface again in the future to be looked at. If the conditions are right, a motion will pass. I cannot comment on specifics as to why each councillor voted the way they did and their reasoning.

3. The prudent thing to do would be to see what the results of the research are before making a decision on this. Proper research and consultation does not equal a positive result. The research may find a positive result but it also may find a negative or indifferent result. What the city needs are leaders who are open minded and willing to listen before making an informed, responsible decision about how taxpayer’s money will be spent. Recklessly agreeing to something without considering the ramifications would be irresponsible.

4. As with the second and third questions, there is more to consider about an issue before lending your support to it. I am willing to listen to what people have to say, I will meet with them to discuss issues and try my best to educate myself on each topic to make an informed decision.

Kelly Arnott

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1. Arts and culture is more than a “nice to have”. A vibrant arts scene contributes to the quality of life of all residents, helps to retain our youth, and bring people and businesses here. Evidence of creative expression throughout a city is one of the indicators of a healthy, thriving community. Fostering an environment that allows arts and culture to thrive is especially important in our downtown. A lot of time, research, and expertise has been put into the Cultural Action Plan, and it’s time to start implementing and funding some of the recommendations, on a gradual basis.

2. Burlington’s investment in human resources specific to culture is lower than other municipalities, so the recommendation that we hire a Cultural Manager is not unreasonable. I will support it. I would however, due to budget constraints, consider the possibility of the position being something less than full-time, especially since a position for an Arts Coordinator has also just been posted with the City. If an external body is formed and funded, I think a Cultural Manager and Planner working together with this arts council would be most effective, in helping our arts community to move forward.

3. Yes. I think this is important. From what I understand the Arts Council in Hamilton is very effective and would be a great example to follow. I’d like to see a variety of funding sources though—not only the City of Burlington. The Province and the Ontario Arts Council should also contribute to funding.

4. Yes, although we’d still need to discuss how this will work and how much the City can afford. If and when an arts council is created, it would seem to make the most sense for that council to include someone who is experienced and qualified in applying for grants from various levels of government. If there are opportunities to work with the business community, those should be explored. (i.e. funding of arts scholarships, sponsorships of special events like Cirque etc).

Andy Porecki
I have been a strong advocate for arts and culture in Burlington as a direct participant as well as a supporter. Volunteering for the Sound of Music Festival for more than 7 years, (currently I am the festival President), has given me a greater appreciation and understanding for the need and value of arts and culture.

 1.I believe that Arts & Culture in Burlington helps to form the bedrock of a vibrant community. It’s through Arts & Culture initiative that Burlington has become known for it’s community feel. With new arts organizations choosing Burlington as a home, I intend to foster and grow these relationships.
2. As I was not a sitting council member during these deliberations I cannot comment in detail on why this motion was defeated. However, moving forward I would support a critically considered arts council or cultural manager. This is not a simple process, and as was mentioned in public articles previously, the decision cannot be made lightly. The right person, and the right volunteers would need to come together in harmony to create a sustainable future for this aspect of our city.
3. A question in broad terms is difficult to answer simply yes or no. Based on a viable fiscal plan, involving the right people, and sensible budgets, I would absolutely support such a committee. However I will not support it without a diligent plan to create something that’s sustainable, and garners a viable return to our city.
4. Again, based on research and a plan, I will always support the artists of our city. Whether that involves granting, or other potential incentives, I’m willing to work with my fellow council members to promote and foster arts in our community.

WARD THREE
John Taylor (incumbent)

 

Ward 3 Councillor John Taylor will want to have his mitts all over who is on the committee that selects the artist chosen to do the public art for the Mountainside recreational centre.

Ward 3 Councillor John Taylor will want to have his mitts all over who is on the committee that selects the artist chosen to do the public art for the Mountainside recreational centre.

While infrastructure repair and renewal and economic development are the two top needs in Burlington, I believe it is important to start to implement the City’s Cultural Plan. Therefore I am committed to establishing the position of Cultural Manager and an Arts Council in the next term. However, a substantive business case would have to be presented before I would consider grants to individual artists. The City has many financial challenges due to declining development plus commitments to a new 20 year infrastructure repair and renewal programme and a renewed emphasis on economic development. Not all needs can be met by our present financial plan, so they must be prioritized and partially funded from corporate restructuring savings and redeployments.

WARD FOUR
Jack Dennison (incumbent)

"I don't want to hear anymore delegations" said Councillor Jack Dennison.

“I don’t want to hear anymore delegations” said Councillor Jack Dennison.

1.I certainly attend arts and culture events in Burlington on a regular basis, including the recently completed Sound of Music Festival, AGB and the BPAC (a favourite is the Burlington Concert Band) and Drury Lane Theatre (where I have been an advertiser for decades).
Burlington is a community with significant infrastructure needs; in particular, road, sidewalk and curb repairs and as long as that is the case, then I will continue to not support arts expenditures like $100,000 for the orchids on Upper Middle Road, the artists benches on the Centennial Bike Path at approximately $10,000 each in comparison to standard benches for $1,000 each, the artists bike racks instead of standard racks that hold more bicycles more securely.
2. The 2014 budget was a challenging budget trying to balance all of our community needs and wants and still maintain a budget increase even close to inflation which is what the majority of our constituents want us to maintain as an upset limit.
The manager of Cultural Services proposed position included an expense of $136,000. I believe that having the current cultural planner in Parks & Recreation is an appropriate start to improving our Arts & Culture program and that we should reevaluate as part of the 2015 budget, the need for the addition of Manager of Cultural Services. I am supportive of such a position as long as it can be funded within the existing staff complement.
3. Assuming in 2015 Budget we are again struggling with a realistic budget increase, I would be looking for budget reductions in other areas in order to have funds available for this incentive. Council’s history shows that new programs get added in but underutilized programs do not get dropped. There are activities that are included in the city budget that are not required. I will continue to look to balance demonstrated needs versus underutilized wants.
4. I think we should be going through a logical, balanced and sustainable progression. First the dedicated staff position approved in 2014 followed by the cultural Manager, followed by a funded Arts Council and finally by a grant program while always coming forward with a responsible budget that balances our community needs and wants with fair, taxation.

Doug Wilcox
1. I have always supported the Arts and Cultural community. When I was on Municipal Council in Orangeville I secured a $750,000 Provincial grant to fully restore the 100 year old upstairs theatre in the Town Hall, we hired Jim Bettes to start up and run what is now known as Theatre Orangeville, I sat on the board for many years.
2.As mentioned above Orangeville Council hired a full time person to run Theatre Orangeville.
3.Yes I would.
4. Yes I would.

Carol Gottlob
Gottlob smile tighter croppingWhen I moved to Burlington in 1995, I wasn’t entirely familiar with the arts and cultural scene, and to be honest, I wasn’t even expecting it. What a pleasant surprise! At the first opportunity I became a volunteer at the Burlington Art Centre. Art and culture are the hallmarks of a living city. Why else would I be visiting New York City right now, if not to take in a Broadway show, visit the museums and galleries, stop in at a jazz club and delight in the street life? I think over the years, Burlington has quietly demonstrated that art lives here. The Burlington Art Centre (now the Art Gallery of Burlington), the Sound of Music Festival, the Teen Tour Band are all hallmarks of this community. Therefore, they deserve to be supported by patrons, business and the C.O.B. alike.
Historically, I believe the community artists and historians took care of the “business” of art and culture, and did so in a very fine way with very little government support. It is now, only after being widely recognized as a creative centre in the province of Ontario that we need to look for ways to sustain the success of Burlington art and culture.
So, in answer to the second part, regarding the position of City Cultural Manager, it is my belief that perhaps the time for that is yet to come. It is apparent that other cities such as Kingston and Mississauga spend considerably more on support of the arts and culture in their communities, but again, this begs the question, if we have been doing so well, why do we need a City Cultural Manager? The answer is in the ever increasing expansion of the art world in the city. Not only that, but the nature of art is changing by virtue of technology. So, a City Cultural Manager? Yes. When? Not sure, but in the not too distant future. In the meantime, we have existing people in place to look after the needs of the city, so we are not abandoning the cause.
Meanwhile, an Arts Council makes a lot of sense to me. I also very much like the idea of a spokesperson for each ward. It is important that the activities across the city be coordinated, and a spokesperson in each ward would guarantee that no party is left out. I would vote in favour of a grants program, as long as it is monitored to evaluate the success/failure, and limited to a period of assessment.
So, in closing, I would say that art/culture is equally important to the life of a community as business is, and that they are not mutually exclusive. If there are programs in place to support business, there should be programs in place to support Art/Culture in whatever way possible because human expression through music, dance, film, theatre and visual art has proven itself unstoppable.
I thrive on change. It is essentially the reason I am running for office. I don’t believe in change simply for the sake of change, but change as a channel for improvement and development. The question I ask myself when considering changes to existing policies, programs or delivery of programs is this: “Is this
progress?” If so, let’s give it our support. If not, let’s reconsider. Which is why I’m hoping the people of Ward 4 will chose to change the existing leadership, and explore other possibilities with me.

WARD FIVE
Paul Sharman (incumbent)

Paul Sharman served on the Shape Burlington Committee along with Lancaster.  He was a bit of  a "bull in a china shop" with that organization and brought the trait along with him when he got electd to Council.

Paul Sharman served on the Shape Burlington Committee along with Lancaster. He was a bit of a “bull in a china shop” with that organization and brought the trait along with him when he got electd to Council.

1. I HAVE BEEN AN ACTIVE SUPPORTER OF ARTS AND CULTURE SINCE I STARTED ON COUNCIL. I ORGANIZED A NUMBER OF MEETINGS WITH TREVOR COPP, AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS OF THE BAC, BPAC, BPL, TOURISM, MUSEUM AND RBG TO ACHIEVE A LEVEL OF COLLABORATION BETWEEN STAFF. THE RESULT WAS A COMBINATION OF DOORS OPEN WITH CULTURE WEEK AND AN ONGOING DIALOGUE DURING THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CULTURAL ACTION PLAN. I CONTINUE TO SUPPORT ART AND CULTURE IN THE CITY AND I LOOK FORWARD TO MAKING SURE WE HAVE A PROPERLY FUNDED AND STAFFED PROGRAM.
2. I AGREE THAT WE SHOULD HAVE A CULTURAL MANAGER; IN FACT, WE ALREADY HAVE SOMEONE ACTING IN THAT ROLE WHO IS DOING GREAT WORK. DURING BUDGET DISCUSSIONS I WAS NOT IN FAVOUR OF BRINGING SOMEONE IN IMMEDIATELY FROM OUTSIDE CITY STAFF THAT WOULD HAVE INCREASED THE OVERALL NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES. THE CITY MANAGER INDICATED THAT THE ROLE OF CULTURAL MANAGER CAN BE FILLED AS WORK FROM OTHER PROGRAMS IS REDISTRIBUTED. I STILL EXPECT THE ROLE TO BE FILLED IN SOME WAY.
3. I AGREE THAT THERE SHOULD BE SOME KIND OF EXTERNAL GUIDING BODY. MY PREREFENCE IS THAT IT SHOULD BE CAREFULLY CONSTRUCTED WITH A COMBINATION OF SUCCESSFUL, EXPERIENCED MEMBERS OF A VARIETY OF DIFFERENT ARTS AND CULTURE CATEGORIES. BURLINGTON DESERVES SUCCESSFUL AND PROFESSIONAL PROGRAMMING ACROSS ALL VENUES. FURTHER, I DO NOT BELEIVE IT SHOULD BE AN “OFFICIAL” CITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE BECAUSE THEY TEND TO GET TIED UP IN BUROCRATIC RED TAPE AND HEAVILY INFLUENCED BY CITY STAFF AND MEMBERS OF COUNCIL.
4. I DO SUPPORT FUNDING BECAUSE I BELIEVE ARTS AND CULTURE ARE INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT TO THE STRATEGIC DIRECTION OF BURLINGTON AND OUR VISION “WHERE PEOPLE, NATURE AND BUSINESS THRIVE”. TO THAT END, THE CITY HAS TO MANAGE ITS FUNDING PRIORITIES IN THE CONTEXT OF THE CITY’S OVERALL STRATEGIC GOALS AND FISCAL SUSTAINABILITY. LIKE STAFFING, THE CITY HAS TO BALANCE FUNDING DECISIONS.

James Smith
jamessmith1. – “Challenging” is a tired and cliche expression too often used in contemporary art & culture. I want the Arts & Culture in Burlington to “Challenge” us with BBFD projects
(Bold, Beautiful, Fun, Delightful) so more members of the community actively support Arts and Culture
– As a Design Consultant, I want Burlington to mean something to the wider world or Art, Design and Culture – when I tell clients this where I’m based I want this to
mean something so I want to see the more accessible, BBFD Arts and Cultural events and we need to tell the region, the province and the world Burlington is a place practice, show
and learn about the arts and culture
– The cultural Action Plan (I participated in one of the sessions at the Art Gallery) is a baby step in the right direction; my one criticism is it’s too general and the call to action needs to be bigger – ie More Action, less Plan
– Arts Community needs to get out and connect more and directly with everyone in Burlington
– Arts & Culture Pitch night in February – think TED Talk meets Dragon’s den – 3 minutes to pitch one’s Arts and Culture ideas; here are my five pitches:
– A kid’s chalk art festival
– Self playing Musical devices (Singing Roads, Whistling Break Wall, Pedestrian Carillon Steps)
– Art Installations on the Bike Paths
– A prize to make the Hydro Towers on the beach COOL
– Tens of Thousands of people will be coming to the GTHA for PAN AM. We are on the main route from the USA to Toronto,
we are also on the main route to one of the largest tourist attractions in the world, Niagara Falls, the Arts & Cultural community
in Burlington should promote temporary Art & Cultural installations in time for PAN AM this will take some quick action by the city of Burlington For Burlington to attract the best and brightest citizens and businesses we have to have cultural activities throughout the city and not just centred in the downtown. My Vision East idea would encourage those involved in the cultural community to spread the wealth in our East End neighbourhoods.
2. – While I support the creation of a CEO or Cultural Pooh-bah position I don’t think this should be a city staff position but be head of an arms length organization with a board and funded (in part) by the city
– Rejecting the position is a far too typical technique at Burlington City Hall; agree on a direction, then don’t act when the resources are asked for. If I support a direction, like the Cultural Action Plan, then I’ll support the recommendations, and in this case the creation of a Cultural Manager
– If elected, I’ll work with the Arts & Cultural community to put to city council a more focused plan with more clear goals and objectives to prove to council the benefits for the city of a Cultural Pooh-bah.
-This position should be willing and able to work with, and help co-ordinate efforts with the CEO’s of the Museums, Art Gallery, Festivals, and Performing Arts Centre
3. – This should be the first priority for Arts & Culture – set up the council – it should be a citizens committee or not for profit, run under a Joint Venture Agreement with the city (City Staff can assist in setting this organization up & should help fund it)
– In principal, I support this, however; I see an Arts Council having a marketing, management and evangelizing function for Arts and Culture
– Not just a cheque writers we need cool kids shaking you and me & my neighbours up and out of our work-a-day malaise
4. – Again, in principal yes, perhaps a hybrid model is called for say a cross between the Toronto Arts Council The Burlington Community Foundation and ARTSCAPE so it is partially self funding

WARD SIX

Blair Lancaster (incumbent)

A delightful work of art - but you may never see it - sitting as it does in the middle of Upper Middle Road yards away from a railway underpass.

A delightful work of art – but you may never see it – sitting as it does in the middle of Upper Middle Road yards away from a railway underpass.

1. During my term on Council I have been excited to participate in the successful projects that have been approved so far. I am actively involved in engaging Ward 6 in the creation of the Mural at Haber and was very proud to find a home at Haber for the Art that I located at Hansen Brick. Arts and Culture is extremely important to me as I feel it contributes greatly to the vibrancy of our community. I would like to develop a program that not only celebrates arts but promotes the Artist.
2. A solution to advancing arts and culture in our community is not as simple as hiring someone. We have been down this road before with little to show for it. I would prefer to spend the money on projects that would provide visual results and net community benefits. The proposal to hire for this position left a lot to be desired as there was no money allotted for projects. We need a more comprehensive solution to advancing the Arts.
3. In our discussions regarding the Cultural Manager Position, I clearly articulated that a committee could easily manage a plan to promote Arts and Culture in our community. I would prefer to see funding going to actual projects rather than to a salary. Allowing Artists to participate in this funding would offer an opportunity for them to perform, showcase their Art and help them build their portfolios and therefore promote their artist talent.
4. In my view we must find a way to overcome prohibitive legislation that currently prevents us from limiting fund participation to local groups. Currently when a request for proposal is issued, it must be extended to anyone in the World and cannot be exclusive to Burlington. I would like to enter into discussions with staff, legal and the Arts community to find funding solutions that will promote local artists.

Angelo Bentivegna

werv

werv

Thanks for the opportunity to have my voice heard on the Cultural Action Plan and my vision on the future planning and management of this very important program that will give our City distinct character and attitude.
1-As a 30 year resident of Burlington and a local business owner here in our city for over 25 years, I believe it is time to move forward to create and implement a unique and dynamic Cultural plan in our City. I have raised four children, all of whom have had many positive experiences with the arts, theater, at local events, and sports. We now have grandchildren…and the time has come to step it up.
2-I completely support a position of a City Cultural Manager. Our neighbourhoods are all maturing and we need to take a leadership role in molding the approved Cultural Action Plan. Our goal is to keep our residents connected in our City, wanting more and having fun in our City.
3-I support the need to hire a qualified consultant to explore and guide us with the knowledge and help us drive this bus. Staff and Council can then take appropriate action and direct energies to bring this plan to fruition.
4- I will collaborate with my council colleagues to solicit all levels of government, including our municipality,as well as local industry and build partnerships to generate granting funds. I would also suggest creating an annual awards program/evening (gala) to highlight accomplishments of Burlington’s most creative achievers and acknowledge excellence. Scholarships can be awarded to young local artists or contributors to the Cultural environment with funds going toward continuing their education in their field.

Jennifer Hlusko
Hlusko H&S1. Cultural development has been a top priority for me, as evidenced by all the years of music lessons, rehearsals, summer camps, and the musical instruments etc we have had has gone towards the cultural development of my children. Chamber music, ballet, opera, symphony, these are the ways my family spent time together, but these events were nearly always found outside of Burlington. I really believe that the future of the arts is dependent on building an audience. I understand first hand that if you don’t build the audience with children, by making it accessible to families, you lose the arts. There are so many opportunities for more arts here, but people have to be exposed to it. It is so disappointing that Burlington institutions have been so negligent in hiring and highlighting local talent. As soon as you involve local residents, you instantly have access to their network of audience. People are less likely to invest in something they have had no exposure to. Additionally, as the owner and restorer of a heritage home, I value the cultural heritage of Burlington architecture. I am also passionate about the horticultural arts. My gardens are a celebration of Ontario’s diversity with a focus on less common native plants and trees. I have invested myself fully in designing and growing my gardens and I view them as my art.
I believe that I am the perfect advocate for Arts & Culture in Burlington, as I have seen the lasting impact the arts have had on my family. The Cultural Action Plan report is very well written and logical. I completely support the strategy.

2. Having thoroughly read the Cultural Action Plan, I do not feel like the roll out needs to include a Manager at this time. Had the City staff made a more compelling business case for the strategic need for the role this year, I would have supported it. The cost benefit needs to ensure that a large salary, such as the one indicated in the budget proposal, has concrete and measurable deliverables in year one. Going forward, I would support a Manager role that is phased in at the recommendation of the Cultural Plan. I think the money would have been better spent on initiating a granting program. Spreading that money amongst 20 arts groups would create more art experiences and develop a greater audience.

3. Yes, there has to be a council. I would look to municipalities that have done it well, to see how they run it. Certainly in music, a performing musician would not have the time or necessarily the strengths required to carry out the critical administrative duties required to access the grant dollars and keep the organization running smoothly. There are lots of great arts lovers and advocates, many of whom have been artists themselves, who would have the skills required to run such a council.

4. Yes. Without a grant, there isn’t any point following a Cultural Action Plan. Grants are how you support the local little guy. There are so many exciting ways to build and develop the arts in Burlington that need grants to execute. Imagine funding a group of world-class local musicians to do unique ensemble music for ten year olds, pairing unusual instruments, like the guitar, the harp, and the piccolo! Grants are essential to creation and experimentation. I would vote to fund a grants program, especially with a strategic focus of offering grants aimed at building an arts appreciative Burlington audience.

Jim Curran
Curran with candidate manualBurlington has a rich and diverse arts and cultural community. All three of my children are involved in the Arts in one way or another. Even my five year old takes classes at AGB throughout the year.
As an elected Councillor for Ward 6 I will Endeavour to assist in sustaining worthy initiatives within a framework of fiscal responsibility.

 

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