Economic development corporation getting new leadership – Benham shown the door All Hallows Eve.

November 4, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  October 31st – was not a trick, nor was it a treat for the Executive Director of the Burlington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) – he was relieved of his keys and his access to the city`s information systems and informed that he was being relieved of his duties immediately.

Kyle Benham has served as the Executive Director of the BEDC for a number of years.  He came to Burlington in 2008 from Toronto`s economic development corporation and brought some people with him.

Kyle Benham, former Executive Director of Burlington’s Economic Development Corporation

Benham and the city were never a good fit.  The city has not brought in anything significant in terms of new business and has seen a number of major organizations move to what they felt were greener pastures.

There are a number of situations that were being handled by the BEDC, the IKEA file being one that has been badly managed.  A replacement has not been announced.

Changes were also made to the BEDC board of directors which is far too large and has a number of organizations that hold seats to protect their interests rather than advance those of the city.

Economic development has been a major blot of the city`s copy book.  It may take as much as a year to find the person the city needs to get that train moving. Then there will have to be changes to the department and a strategy put in place.

Will the city keep economic development as a standalone arm’s length operation or will that work be brought in-house and if it is brought in-house which General Manager will oversee the work.  These decisions have probably been made – it will just take some time for the city to make an announcement.

The decision to remove Benham was the first necessary step.  The only reasonable comment is that it took them long enough.

Now that board has to pull itself together, work hard as a team and begin to make up for the lost time.

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How does a municipal politician survive emotionally when she loses votes on motions she puts forward 6-1 time after time?

November 4, 2013    

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON. ON.  During the past six months, Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward has called for a recorded vote on a number of important issues and found hers to be the only vote FOR a motion while the other six council members voted against.

Twice during the past 60 days Meed Ward has been cut off by the chair of a meeting for speaking too long.  The first time the Mayor tried to cut her off, a shameful attempt; the second time Councillor Sharman tried to cut her off and on that occasion the Mayor suggested Council learn to accept the different styles members of Council bring to the table.

... which was described as brutal by Meed Ward ...City council recently held a CLOSED governance meeting attended by just the city Clerk and the Council members which was described as brutal by Meed Ward who did not disclose any of the specifics because it was a closed meeting.

This was not the first occasion this Council has reprimanded (and that is not too hard a word) Meed Ward.  When she ran for office it was clear she was going to be different.  She asks questions publicly and has no problem with being told that she isn’t as fully informed as she might be.

She listens to the delegations; she asks questions and she does her homework.  She has served as the Chair of a Standing Committee and acquitted herself well however she needs more experience as a chair.

When asked how she felt she would respond to the drubbing she got during the closed Governance meeting she said she planned to meet one on one with every council member and do her best to work out the differences.  According to Meed Ward, she has never been approached by a member of Council to talk about how she behaves.

Meed Ward with Alan Harrington, president of the Historical Society.

Her peers take exception to her practice of calling for a recorded vote, sometimes on a clause by clause basis, on a lot of the motions.  They also dislike her continued call for recorded votes on every issue so the public can see just how their council member voted.

It will be interesting to see just how much impact Meed Ward has had on the quality of public debate.  This council might find itself surprised at how many people agree with her.

During the 2010 election, then Mayor Cam Jackson was worried about the impact the pier issues were going to have on his being returned to office.  He worried as well on the impact Meed Ward was going to have.  What he didn’t realize at the time was that he, rather than the pier, was the issue and a once loyal constituency turfed him out of office. 

Meed Ward appears to be raising the bar on transparency for the citizens of Burlington.  Expect her to campaign on recorded votes for both Standing Committees and Council meetings.  She might even try to get a line item into this year’s budget to pay for the equipment that would show the vote the moment each Council members pushes a button.

Meed Ward was delegating during 2009 and 2010 – laying the groundwork for her defeat of Peter Thoem in 2010

Are we looking at a whacko politician who comes up with one zany idea after the other?   If one listens to Meed Ward you hear a politician who believes, fervently believes, the approach Burlington takes to civil matters is wrong, doesn`t work and needs a change.

What sustains her is the belief that thousands of Burlingtonians feel the way she does.  Meed Ward will tell you that people are constantly approaching her on the street and telling her they like what she is doing.  She has a ward council that is the most active in the city – so much so that at least one Council member has taken in one of her ward meetings to see how she does it.

Meed Ward admits that some of the things done by Council members “hurt”.  Being ambushed by the Mayor was cruel but Meed Ward finds solace in “knowing who you are.  I am well-grounded and the people I represent are with me.  I hear it from them every day and that sustains me.”

Meed Ward has this profound sense that things could be better and believes that the “adversarial approach pulls the least and the worst from us.” She is not a native to Burlington.  She used to live in the Tyandaga community and once ran against Councillor Craven.  Community life for Meed Ward was not that satisfying in the western part of the city and the family moved into the downtown core.

We are all impacted by our upbringing and the families within which we are raised.  A chilling experience at the age of 16 caused Meed Ward to think hard about the life she was to live and a conversation with her Mother, the strongest of her parents, helped her set a path that got her into communications.

Meed Ward with Mayor Goldring: she is more comfortable with herself as a speaker.

Meed Ward loves the camera; she has one of those moths to a flame relationships with the camera.  While she does write, she is stronger as a panelist; the camera is kind to her.  She is controversial at times and news editors will instruct their camera operators to get a clip from Meed Ward.  Councillor Craven is also visually good in front of a camera but he tends to preach.  Mayor Goldring just isn’t comfortable with media.  The camera lens loves Councillor Lancaster but she seldom has anything to say. Oddly, neither Councillors Taylor or Dennison have strong media skills;Dennison does have a capacity to make news.

Hearing a council member say that all kinds of people approach her and say she is doing a great job is a little self-serving – what else do you expect then to say?  But Meed Ward is beginning to collect hard data.  During the Water Street land debate she turned over 32 pages of email messages she received from people across the city.  Councillor Taylor reported getting 45 messages with just one of them from a person in his ward.  Meed Ward clearly has a constituency that is city-wide.

So who is this lady, why does she do what she does and where might she take the city if she were running it and what are the changes she wants to see made?

Meed Ward has always known where she wants to go and what she needs to do to get there.  It is a bumpy road but this is a well grounded politician.

Meed Ward will tell you that the governance model used by the hospital is the one that inspires her.  She has served on the hospital board since 2007 and finds that the way information gets to the Joseph Brant Hospital Board and how it is handled by the board is much more effective.

The hospital board requires its members to take part in professional development classes.  Meed Ward has worked with trainers on her own dime as well.  I suspect that cannot be said of most of our current council. Three of them have professional and or commercial interests that result in revenue for them which must take up some of their time if only to make up the bank deposit book.

Given the size of the work load – our council members serve as both Regional and municipal Councillors – these are full-time jobs.  They are decently paid.  Unfortunately Burlington does not appear prepared to pay them what they are worth and they don`t appear to be prepared to tell the public they are worth more than they are getting.

Meed Ward believes far too many minds are made up before council members take their seats and that the dialogue needed to arrive at a consensus doesn’t happen in this city.

During the last provincial election all the good Liberals in the city did their bit including Meed Ward and Rick Craven who supported Karmel Sakran who lost to Progressive Conservative Jane McKenna.

She has been the object of more than one unprofessional pointed attack from Councillor Craven who just cannot tolerate the woman and makes no attempt to bridge the differences.

Mayor Goldring will tell anyone who asks him that this council works very well – it doesn’t.  Councillor Lancaster recently laughed publicly at something Councillor Taylor saw as very serious and he lashed out at her in a way we have never seen him do before.  Taylor can get very emotional – but lashing out the way he did with Councillor Lancaster was surprising.

Meed Ward keeps her own counsel.   She doesn’t appear to have close advisors, she tends to want to work on her own and listen to everyone.  She has a more inquiring mind than any other council member.  She does speak too long but she also asks a lot of questions and she pushes staff to deliver.

Her core understanding of economics is limited; business is not something she takes to naturally and there are many who think she is the worst thing that could have happened to the developers in the city.  Meed Ward wants benefits for the advantages the city gives a developer.

While her understanding of what Section 37 of the Planning Act means and the way she interprets it drives the city planner bananas, Meed Ward wants as much as she can get for the city when a height restriction of eight floors grows to 16 floors.

Meed Ward would be well served if she had advisors she could trust.  In this city the people who understand the processes use that understanding to their personal advantage.

On those occasions when she is speaking at an event at which the Mayor is also speaking the difference between the two is marked.We have seen Meed Ward mature as a politician.  She is described, derisively for the most part, as a populist – something she is not uncomfortable with if by populist you mean someone who is prepared to represent the interests of all the people.

In the last six months we have heard a slightly different Mead Ward – she is sounding like a Mayor.  On those occasions when she is speaking at an event at which the Mayor is also speaking the difference between the two is marked.  Meed Ward is a natural communicator.  She is comfortable in front of a camera; she likes being in front of a camera.  She likes talking – that is her element.

Mayor Goldring tends to be a forced speaker – he appears to be trying too hard.  He is more of a loner than Meed Ward.  Put another way, Meed Ward is more comfortable in her skin than Rick Goldring is in his.

What would Meed Ward change if she had the opportunity?  She notes that before there can be any discussion at city Council, there has to be a motion on the floor – and that, she maintains, has members of Council going to their positions and arguing that point of view.  She doesn’t believe that new ideas can come forward when a position is on the table and everyone is focused on the position.

She doesn’t believe that new ideas can come forward when a position is on the table and everyone is focused on the position.City Hall delegations are, for many people, tortuous.  People who are not used to speaking publicly stand before Council for their five or ten minutes and, all too frequently, there is no feedback from council members.  Delegations are not allowed to debate or argue.  Stand, speak your mind and return to your seat if there are no questions.  Far, far too frequently there are no questions. It is diminishing for the delegations.

The delegation has prepared their comments; some are well delivered others could have used more time and there is frequently a lot of nervous energy.  But these are citizens speaking to their leaders and they deserve more in the way of respect.

Meed Ward’s thinking on how this approach might change has not been fully thought out – she does feel that there should be, could be, dialogue and conversation about the problem, opportunity – call it whatever you want – before there is a motion on the floor.  Her view is that a motion gets people into fixed positions when she believes that is the last thing needed.

Some of the more rigid thinkers on Council, and on Staff will explain that the Procedural Bylaw calls for a motion to be on the floor before there can be any debate.  They are correct.  Meed Ward`s response to that type of response is likely to be,  then change the procedural bylaw, which may be too much of a leap for most of this Council.

Meed Ward believes in dialogue, the exchange of views, along with new and credible information from the public are what’s needed at the early stages of a conversation.

Meed Ward appears to be suggesting that there be public dialogue before a detailed Staff Report or a motion is put forward so that people can make their views known, and then a Staff report could be prepared and out of that a motion fashioned.  She seems to be looking for a situation akin to developments where a planner floats an idea to get initial public reaction and then uses that reaction to fine tune the project.

Right now there is a motion that someone has to put forward.  That motion can get amended and an amendment can be made to the amendment, which makes for confusion and at times is rather amusing to watch as Council members get lost in the words they created.

Meed Ward looks for situations where there is a common vision or at least as close to a common vision as a group can get. 

To be watched for from Meed Ward is her thinking on economic development and what the city administration is going to suggest the city is going to get out of in terms of the services they currently deliver.

Progress on the IKEA plans to move their operations from Aldershot to the North Service Road are vital to the city’s tax revenue; this project has seen delay after delay – it might yet put some significant strain on the tax rate going into an election year.

There are some hard truths to be faced by city council on the tax front – we are not pulling what we need from the industrial, commercial sector and if the IKEA deal does not close the way we need it to close – we do have a problem.  Taxes will get risen at some level.

The public goes to the polls next October.  In January current members of Council will begin to announce their intentions; Councillor Taylor has already done so publicly, Meed Ward and the Mayor have made it known they intend to run again. Councillor Craven has muttered that he “might” give running for the office of Mayor a shot. By the end of January they will all, except for Councillor Dennison, be in election mode.  Dennison traditionally announces in June and should not be expected to announce until his OMB appeal scheduled for May, has been heard.

Then look for some imaginative photo ops.  Around March some new names might begin to appear and we will see some new regulars attending council meetings with their loose leaf binders in their laps.

Wards 4, 5 and 6 will be hotly contested and there will be a number of acclamations.

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Body of deceased male found floating in shallow part of Beachway Park is thought to be that of Matthew John MacLeod.

November 3, 2013

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  Regional police have yet to confirm if the body of a deceased male found in the shallows of Beachway Park is that of the person who left a pile of  clothing on the beach at the water`s edge

Early Sunday morning police were alerted to a body in an area of shallow water at Beachway Park in Burlington.

Police are assisting the Coroner`s office who have to do a medical examination before they can confirm the males identity.  No foul play is suspected.

Police have been unable to conclusively determine that the remains are those of Matthew John MacLeod, 38 years, who was reported missing from Beachway Park on October 18th 2013.

Investigators have confirmed that the clothing discovered at Beachway Park in Burlington on October 18th did belong to the missing man.

Police fear that MacLeod may have entered the Lake and are continuing efforts to determine his whereabouts.

Investigators are continuing their investigation into the disappearance of Matthew MacLeod and ask anyone with information about Matthew MacLeod is asked to contact Detective Constable Andrew HULBERT at 905-825-4747 ext 2316 or the on-duty Staff Sergeant at ext 2310.

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Citizens speak – hundreds of them. Not all disagree with Council decision to sell waterfront land- but majority do. Was Council wrong?

November 2, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.   Making a democracy work is not easy.  Politicians have that difficult task of listening and then finding a common ground that meets the needs and aspirations of as many people as possible.  There are very few great politicians – the man that got people to see things the same way more than 150 years ago and crated this Canada we have today was one of the very best.  It can be done.

Last month your city council was given a Staff Report  with three options on what to do with some land that it owned next the edge of Lake Ontario between Market and St. Paul Streets.  The land has all kinds of history and a lot of legal stuff attached to it.  Whenever there is something of value – know that there are people who want that value for themselves.  That is part of human nature – it’s not good, it’s not bad – it just is.

This view is available to anyone who wants to wander down St. Paul Street.  If the land is sold to private interests – it will become private.

One option was to keep the land and develop it into a small parkette, a second was to perhaps lease the land and a third was to sell it.

What the public didn’t know before the Staff Report was released was that there were people very interested in buying the land for their exclusive use and they apparently lobbied city council extensively.

They apparently had the land assessed to give the city some sense as to what the land was worth.  All this was done without any public awareness.

During the city council meeting at which your city council voted to sell the property, city general manager Kim Phillips agreed that the city had not done the job it is paid to do when it failed miserably to fully inform the citizens.  Her self-serving comment that the city failed to live up to its normal high standard surprised many.

The city’s decision to sell is a matter of record now.  During the next six months city staff will do the paper work that has to be done to first buy the land that belongs to the province and assemble that into a package that includes the land the city owns, agree on a price and then close the deal.

It of course is not going to be quite that simple.  Deeds in that part of town are filled will easements given, conditions – almost anything a lawyer can think of.  All those have yet to come to light.

Add to that a group of citizens who are meeting to look at some way to put a stop to the sale.  What was a local issue has taken on a broader meaning for many.

So what did this mean to the average citizen?  It’s never easy to tell.  When it looked like the province was making real plans to ram a highway though the Escarpment close to 400 people filled the Mainway Arena.

How many care about that small bit of land on the waterfront between Market and st. Paul Street.  We are not sure but we do know that more than 100 took the time to send the ward Councillor Marianne Meed Ward an email setting out their views.  Not all were against the sale.  We have published them so that they are part of the public record.

The number of the emails required us to break this into several parts.

October 14, 2013 1:42 AM To: Meed Ward, MarianneCc:

Subject: Re: October 2013: Council poised to sell waterfront land; Region recommends removing homes in Beachway; changes to Fairview project, and more

To:Marianne Meed Ward and Mayor Rick Goldring

In response to the issue of the parcel of land on the waterfront between Market St and St. Paul St., I am in favour of keeping it as public land. As a resident of Burlington for twenty plus years, the more of the lakefront open to the public the more we are seen as a city that cares for it’s people. As to concerns about vandalism and drunkenness, there are trails along the waterfront in some of the nicest areas of Oakville, behind some very nice homes. And the people that stroll along those trails are those that appreciate opportunity of gazing out over the water, enjoying the view. I am sure those of us that live north of Lakeshore Road in Burlington, would appreciate the chance to sit at the water’s edge in this area and enjoy the view, perhaps take a picnic lunch. To be honest, I never realized that this was public land, and so have not ventured down either Market St nor St Paul St. How wonderful to open that parcel of land up as a parkette for others to enjoy.

I agree that it would be hard to get any of the land back if sold to the property owners.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 3:04 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: keep shoreline

your thoughts mirror mine. Conflicts with what is being said about Beachway. Keep the land.

Just because some one comes wanting to buy, doesn´t mean this is a reason to sell.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 7:23 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: [Possible Spam] public lands

Marianne, I don’t think those public lands should be sold.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 8:15 AM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: City….

I think the City should keep the land Market/StPaul

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 9:00 AM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Cc: Goldring, Rick Subject: waterfront land

I think we should retain these lands in public ownership for all the reasons given by others, which I will not repeat.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 9:01 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Parkland acquisition at Market / St.Paul st.

In view of the money the City has already squandered on the pier, I think the cost of acquiring this valuable parkland pales by comparison. As a resident of this area I have always enjoyed spending time looking out over the lake. Judging from the activity I see at other similar parkettes along the lakeshore I am not alone. I have lived in Burlington since 1954 and in that time I have seen a steady increase in high rise development along the lakeshore mostly due to private landowners being bought out by developers. It is necessary for the city to acquire this property if only to have control over future development. Thank you

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 9:10 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Waterfront

Hi Marianne,

Excellent newsletter as always. Thank you for the extensive work that goes into producing this.

With regards to the St. Paul/Market Street waterfront properties, I support retaining the municipally owned parcel. Waterfront property is scarce enough as it is and the city should keep what it has. Moreover, I am extremely doubtful that the city would get anywhere near the market value of the land.

If it were to be sold, the city should get the difference between what each of the properties is

worth with and without waterfront. This is unlikely because an appraiser will give you a number based on a landlocked piece of property which is absurd in this case.

I would be interested in buying the property at the ‘landlocked’ price.

Perhaps it should be auctioned off so that community groups or someone other than the homeowners would have the opportunity to buy it. Selling at at the landlocked price will be a tremendous windfall for the residents at the expense of the city and municipal taxpayers.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 9:19 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Waterfront Property


I completely understand why the three property owners would want the land – to increase the capital value whenever sold and to put their control over the land. These are the two natural and classic drivers of people – greed and fear ( I do not use these two words with their negative connotations ).

I strongly believe that the property needs to remain as a public entity – the value accrues to all in Burlington if you look at this in a more holistic view as opposed to a locally optimized view. The concerns you have listed can be rectified and should be rectified. If the three owners decide to go to court then fight the legal action fully & vigourously. If they win the case, then there will be others in Burlington and all across Ontario that will use this as a precedent for their own acquisitions.

As a principle, in the Big Island of Hawaii, all waterfront properties are “owned” by all people. Individuals and the resort hotel developers had access to and maintained the beachfront property but they were open to all. It was refreshing and enjoyable. Once in private hands, our waterfront lands would never come back, and the residents of Burlington would be denied access to a unique piece of Lake Ontario.

Burlington has been a great example of keeping waterfront open with significant benefits accruing to the city and to the people – most of whom cannot afford waterfront property ( in my mind , this is what a portion of my property taxes are for ). It needs to continue that way.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 9:44 AM To: Sharman, Paul; Goldring, Rick Subject: Sale of waterfront land


I do not support the sale of waterfront land at Market St & St. Paul. I my opinion the city should be doing everything it can to preserve waterfront access for its community not rewarding the few wealthy who resort to legal threats to get what they want.

If you look at Oakville’s most recent waterfront endeavour, South Shell Park, it is a perfect example of how public park trails can co-exist with residential properties. Sheldon Creek Trail in Oakville is another good example of a public pathway along the waterfront behind houses. They have managed to provide waterfront access without incidents of violence and vandalism, why do you think Burlington couldn’t achieve the same?

The sale of this land is simply moving backwards towards goals which the residents of Burlington would like to achieve. I doubt anyone you ask would say they want to reduce waterfront access, except of course those who live on the waterfront who have a definite conflict of interest.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 9:59 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Waterfront Park Land Purchase

Hello Marianne,

We have lived downtown Burlington and previously Oakville for the past 20 years.

One of the things we have so enjoyed about Burlington vs. Oakville is the waterfront park access for walking, biking, kayaking on the lake etc. It is one of the major draws for us to Burlington.

I believe that this type of short sited thinking will not auger well for future home investment for the area and future stakeholders. It is not upholding the original intent for the waterfront.

I believe the statistics for dead end parkette’s for vandalism is higher than a continuous waterfront. This does not seem like a valid concern. Perhaps all of the money to develop these dead ends could better be used for current park development and maintenance.

This would be the thin edge of the wedge. What next……..squatter’s rights’. So in summary we do not support this land transaction.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 10:09 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Bulletin

Dear Ms. Ward:

Thank you for sending out the News Bulletin. It is really appreciated being kept up to date at what is happening at City Hall.

I agree with you totally on keeping the waterfront every last inch of it that now belong to the City or even if some of it belongs to the Province. Once sold and built on you have lost control of it and eventually they would most probably become highrises. People need to have places to walk and enjoy nature, be it sea, lake woods ot mountains. Cities are becoming overcrowded, which is really laughable in a country that is so large as Canada. We fail badly when we overcrowd the southern part of our country and neglect the northern. Also we use our best farmland for buildings. Never thinking of the future. It seems that most of our politicians of every party and all level of Government lack foresight, and their eyes seem to be blinkered like horses that they only see dollar bills or grandiose surroundings.

 Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 10:19 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: RE: October 2013: Council poised to sell waterfront land; Region recommends removing homes in Beachway; changes to Fairview project, and more


Thank you for the update.

No to the sale of the Parkette Land. I expect the owners knew the land belonged to the city when they bought their property. It was their choice & money to fix the shoreline (aka future planning?). Shoreline property always has & always will be a prized ownership right & more power to someone who can own it outright but when you have an issue like this the city must retain ownership.

 Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 10:29 AM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Park land

I do not use this property and I don’t know who does but is it going to be bid on? What if someone else wants this property? Legally can this just be sold to the homeowners without others having a right to buy? I for one do not think any parkland should be sold.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 10:31 AM

To: Goldring, Rick; Dennison, Jack Cc: Meed Ward, Marianne Subject: Water Front Property

Rick and Jack

Re The city’s Community Services Committee (which includes all members of City Council) voted 6-1 to sell the property to the three homeowners, and only retain the street ends at Market St. and St. Paul St. as “Windows to the Lake” for public use. This recommendation heads to council for final approval.

We should not be selling our public waterfront property to private interests, ever. I am quite surprised by this as we have limited public access and parks on Lake Ontario

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 10:55 AM

To: Dennison, Jack

Cc: Goldring, Rick

Subject: sale of public land on the lake


Please do NOT go ahead with this plan. To sell off public land instead of maintaining it as park is truly shameful behaviour. Surely the home owners were aware that this was public land when they purchased their lots. Sadly, this latest in a series of questionable decisions has just ensured that neither of you will receive my endorsement next time we go to the polls.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 10:57 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Feed Back on Market/St Paul Land


I really appreciate the newsletter updates you send out. You have to be the most organized and informed Councillor.

I normally agree with you but your take on the retaining these lands I think is flawed. Why ?

My take:

• That area is relatively unknown for the majority of Burlington.

Agree – the area is known to the locals, and would be of the scale of a “local” parkette.

• There are other waterfront “windows” that are already available.

Agree – the goal here though is to facilitate a path. When land along the shoreline is subdivided, severed or otherwise redeveloped, the city can take 5% along the shore for a path (in both Planning Act and Official Plan). It may take a long time, but worth the effort.

• Why get into a protracted legal dispute with people who have already sunk money into protecting those lands, and who likely have the financial means to extend the battle?

I am very disappointed about talk of suing the city, however the legal case clearly stated that the homeowners built the seawall on public land, at their own risk. Further, there is some doubt whether any action could be taken 20 years after the fact. Sometimes this is what it takes to protect public lands.

• It’s unrealistic to anticipate a connected string of parks running along the lakeshore, behind the most desirable properties in Burlington.

See my note above, re “windows”

• I think the resources can be better spent improving the Beachway Park.

I see it as a both/and not an either/or – we have $9.8million in a dedicated fund for park development – more than enough for the $102,000 it would cost for the parkette. This is what the fund is there for! And lots left over for other parks, too.

Which btw I do agree … we should leave the few private dwelling alone there. I’d rather the city spent $10 M improving infrastructure in Burlington.

There are a lot of roads in Burlington in terrible shape.

Agree. We are working on improving the infrastructure funding.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 10:57 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Re: October 2013: Council poised to sell waterfront land

Dear Marianne,

I agree with you; the land should NOT be sold. If the City has no immediate plans for it, at the most it could be leased for some reasonable period, say 10 or 15 years. Much can change in that time.

It appears that the adjacent land owners would benefit through a sale by increasing their property values, but that is not the City’s concern.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 11:08 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Waterfront land

I for one do not think the city should be selling any property that is on the water. There will never be more waterfront made and the cost to keep it is very little.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 11:20 AM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Waterfront land sale Hi Marianne,

I agree with your view that the waterfront land between Market St. And St. Paul St. should be retained by the city, and NOT sold to private homeowners. I think your vision of securing a continuous waterfront with/for public access is the best use for this prime property. I strongly believe that the waterfront is one of Burlington’s greatest treasures, and should be safeguarded, not only for our generation, but for future ones as well.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 11:24 AM

To: Goldring, Rick

Cc: Lancaster, Blair; Sharman, Paul; Dennison, Jack; Taylor, John; Meed Ward, Marianne; Craven, Rick

Subject: Consider Oakville

Please reconsider the issue of selling public waterfront land between Market St. and St. Paul St., running behind three private homes.

As public land it will be available to local residence to visit the waterfront in a very different type of park than the beach, the pier and promenade and the existing windows on the lake. As a park, this will make a quiet area suitable for private reflection and quiet conversations, something well needed in our hectic world.

My husband and I moved to Burlington in 2002 and we love it. Prior to our move we lived in a freehold townhouse that was situated on the lake with the Waterfront Trail (unpaved) between our home and the water. The trail cuts to the lake just west of 3rd Line, and follows the waterfront to Bronte. The residence often cut the crass in front of their homes and planted flower gardens outside their fences to make a very pleasant environment for those using that section of the trail. There are also benches positioned along that section. In the 7 years I lived there there were only two problems with people using the trail. One was dealing with people who let their dogs off leash to run free. The other was when it was proposed that memorial trees would be planted on the trail that would block residents views. Memorial benches were allowed instead of the trees. You can easily see this section of the trail on Google Maps.

If you look on Google Maps at the waterfront from the most easterly street in Oakville, (Arkendo) you can see a park that runs between the lakeside homes and the lake. I have visited this park on an beautiful summer morning and enjoyed the serenity. I know many local residents who do not front on the lake walk to this park. Having known people who live on this street and speaking about it, I believe parking has not been a problem as few people know it is there. I also understand that the residents who back on the park take pride and ownership to keep the area safe, as it is their best interest to report any rowdy behavior to the police.

If you follow the shoreline a short distance west you will see Carrington Promenade. The street view easily shows the access. You can also see swimming pools and gardens on the private properties.

Chancery Promenade is next west, then a short promenade off Bel Air Drive, then Esplanade Park, Raymar Park, First Street Park, (from Allen Street west) Dingle Park, then George Street Park. This gets you to Lakeside Park at the harbour. These parks have homes backing onto them.

Why are you looking at selling the land on the lake east of downtown and trying to buy land on the beach strip? In my opinion you should not sell the land under consideration and follow Oakville’s example of creating as much public access to the lake as possible.

We live on the lake. I know the joy we have, (as well as our neighbours, visitors and people we chat with on bike rides along the lakefront), watching people enjoying personal watercraft, from simple kayak’s to power boats. Sitting watching a sunrise, swans gliding by and the ship traffic that visits Hamilton are all pleasures that small parkets offer Burlington residents.

Please vote to keep and develop for public use, the publicly owned property between Market St. and St. Paul St., running behind three private homes as Oakville has done successfully.

Thank you for your attention and consideration

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 11:45 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: RE: October 2013: Council poised to sell waterfront land; Region recommends removing homes in Beachway; changes to Fairview project, and more

Thanks for the map of the parcel of public waterfront land between Market St. and St. Paul St.; I never knew it even existed. Sell it, take the money and run.

Please cancel all the neighbour studies; if the beach community (and it is more of a true community than many of the other so-called communities in Burlington) does not have its own “character” than I don’t what does.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 12:04 PM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: City shoud keep and develop the Waterfront Land Marianne,

I support keeping and developing the waterfront land and turning it into a park. Private residents have enough of the land already. Selling it means that very few will enjoy it. Keeping it means many can explore it for a very long time.

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 12:15 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: lake front property


We live on Green St Burlington, would like to inform you that we do not want the city to sell  the water front property. It is public land and belongs the people of Burlington. We all deserve to view the beauty of the lake, we should be adding walk ways not taking them away.

Thanking you for your time.

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 12:34 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne; Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Proposed sale of public waterfront land

Hi Marianne,

I am a new resident having just purchased and moved to Burlington from Oakville. I reside in your ward on First Street.

The reason I am sending this note is to pledge my full support for your stand against selling waterfront property. I am horrified that the mayor and other councillors have indicated support for this, which as your note suggests, it simply does not make sense to let go of waterfront lands.

One of the very reasons I moved to lovely Burlington was the better waterfront access than Oakville and I am horrified that a sale is even being considered in this instance. I wish you the best in your quest and look forward to meeting you sometime soon.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 4:08 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne; Dennison, Jack;; Taylor, John; Lancaster, Blair; Goldring, Rick


Importance: High


I live at on Lakeshore Road, across from the lakeside property being discussed. I urge you all to vote to maintain the shoreline property under city ownership. The city has no business even contemplating selling any lakefront property. The public should have maximum access to the waterfront. The city through its council should be looking to increase this access, not reduce or further limit it.

The property owners purchased their properties in the knowledge that there existed a ribbon of publicly owned land between theirs and the lake.

I agree with the view of Councilor Marianne Meed-Ward, who in my view is very much in touch with the views of Burlington residents.

The cost of maintaining the property is small and there appear to be funds set aside for such maintenance. So why sell? What is the benefit to the City? And by the City I mean the population of Burlington. If the land was to be sold, which it shouldn’t, what would be done with the funds realized? Probably they  would be lost in the general mix, i.e. no meaningful gain.

Please do not sell this parcel of valuable lakeside land at any price

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 12:26 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne


Re proposed sale of City Land between Market and St. Paul. Yes, sell it to the homeowners at fair market value for “prime” waterfront properties. The “window” on St. Paul has been used by our family for the past 46 years without any need for benches, parking, etc. Use any surplus funds available to enhance Pt. Nelson park (eg: a bench by the play structure would be nice, maybe some improvement in the landscaping).

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 1:39 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: RE: October 2013: Council poised to sell waterfront land; Region recommends removing homes in Beachway; changes to Fairview project, and more

As always, thanks for giving us the updates and for identifying issues. Having read your summary, here are my thoughts.

Sale of Waterfront land

I really struggle with the value of retaining this relatively small parcel of land. It is not connected in any way to any other parkland and I don’t see the location catering to desirable use relative to the cost associated with developing it. I don’t reside close to it so I don’t have an emotional or vested interest, so can’t take a stand on not selling it. That said, fair market value needs to be secured on any sale.

Beachway property

I continue to support leaving the property in the hands of the current owners on Beachway.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 1:47 PM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Comment on your newsletter Marianne,

As always your newsletter is very informative. This one in particular touches on several issues on which I would like to offer my feedback

First of all the sale of a parcel of public waterfront land between Market St. and St. Paul St. Having reviewed the material from the waterfront committee I can see no advantage to the city to divest itself perminently from any waterfront land. Even if the parkette is not created immediately it seems prudent to keep the option open, possibly with a short to mid term lease to the effected property owners. There is no more waterfront land being created and my crystal ball is unclear on the future possibilities.

The second concern is the removal of the community on the Beachway. The cost of removing there residents seem excessive to add public park space that isn’t directly on the waterfront. I am not aware of any proposals for new beach facilities for this relatively small area that would enhance the public waterfront experience. We use the beachway regularly and find the residents in no way detract from the experience. We do however feel that the fact there are always people there provides a deterent to bad behavour especially at night or off peak times.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 2:21 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: RE: October 2013: Council poised to sell waterfront land; Region recommends removing homes in Beachway; changes to Fairview project, and more

Happy Thanksgiving Marianne, hope you have a great day.

I am with you as far as not selling this small but important piece of land

First of all, when someone threatens legal action if they don’t get their way, my back goes up immediately as that means they feel they can bully the city into doing what they desire.

When these homes were built and sold and resold, the owner knew where the property lines lay. I can see why they would love to purchase this waterfront area as the value of their homes would rise immensely, certainly a lot more than they are probably willing to pay.

You can never have enough waterfront parkland. As the saying goes, They aren’t making any more of it. The population of Burlington is growing and we need every square foot we can keep. The notion that this area will be a haven for vandals and drug users and so on is a problem that our police can handle and if those homeowners are vigilant than they should call the police if they notice any wrong doing.

I am tired of the city giving in to a small number of should I say, well to do citizens. This issue is not of a resident wishing to purchase an empty lot next door as was the case I believe in Toronto with Mayor Ford, but we a looking at public property on the Lakefront which is how it should stay.

If there is a concern as to damage from the lake, then this concern should have arisen when these people either built or purchased their property as the lake has been there a lot longer than their homes.

I don’t feel that the demands of three residence should outweigh the rights of the public to continue to enjoy this park and the maintenance cost is minimal to what the city is spending on other projects.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 2:33 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Cc: Office of Mayor Rick Goldring; Dennison, Jack

Subject: Burlington Council poised to sell prime waterfront land

Hi Marianne

I  support retaining the land under public ownership and making it a parkette.

To: “” <>

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 8:46:54 AM

Subject: Lake front properties


I think on balance that I agree with your view that any lake front property that is currently available or becomes available should be retained by the city although I can see the potential problems of the particular property at St. Pauls being used by vandals etc. Would it not be possible to reach a compromise with the home owners that would allow a footpath wide strip along the area in question

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 2:56 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Selling of waterfront land

Hello Marianne.

Once again thank you for taking the time to send out your Ward 2 newsletter. After reading about the city wanting to sell the waterfront property I must say I am in agreement with you. Do not sell the land, develop it into a parkette for all to enjoy.

Thank you,

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 4:25 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Lakefront

I am totally opposed to the sale of any waterfront land, especially to private interests which will bar citizens from enjoying access to the lake. The part now being considered between Market and St. Paul Sts. is one of very few waterfront areas available to citizens

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 10:42 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne; Goldring, Rick; Dennison, Jack; Sharman, Paul; Craven, Rick; Lancaster, Blair; Taylor, John

Subject: Parkette Decision

As the population of Burlington increases, due to intensification, more citizens will be seeking the use and enjoyment of public waterfront areas, once sold we will ”never“ get them back. As I understand the situation, Burlington council recently voted 6 to 1 to sell off a piece of waterfront parkland known as the “parkette”. As a taxpayer I expect council to do many things, but especially taking a strategic view of valuable public resources and assets. As Councillors you are our elected stewards, are responsible for the planning and management of such properties and your transient legacy should not be to dispose of rare assets. Yes, there are costs to keeping and maintaining the “parkette”, but not all parklands have the same intrinsic value, and the cost in this case may be well justified,given the nature of the property in question. The “parkette” has ethical and philosophical value and selling it off may be short sighted.

If vandalism and drunken behaviour is the only justification for selling the land, we should dismantle the pier. During my first visit to the pier, shortly after it was opened, the number of discarded liquor, beer bottles and vomit present on the walkway took me aback.

As to the costs of developing the waterfront areas known as the “windows/parkette”, and not knowing the details of the financial deliberations, my questions is, is full funding of the area, a nice to have or a must have?

Dear Mayor and Councilors

I have received a color brochure produced by Marianne Ward regarding her desire to connect the two underdeveloped road accesses between St. Paul and Market St. I lived at Lakeshore and Guelph Line and suggest that it would be more beneficial to spend tax money upgrading the existing Park which has parking available, street sightlines and is much larger than a walkway between the two streets. This park could be improved with proper grading and improved equipment and seating etc without incurring expensive legal issues.

Agree Port Nelson needs upgrading. We can do both. The city has $9.8m in park development fund – money set aside specifically to preserve parkland. It is more than enough to cover the additional $102000 cost of the parkette.

It is my understanding that the proposed walkway would divide the existing seawall constructed by the 3 homeowners at their expense and contain the property that was back filled by them. It would appear to me that any effort to construct a pathway on this property would result in expensive legal case. The city probably doesn’t need the distraction and cost of another legal problem/action such as the one with the construction of the pier. The 3 property owner will no doubt want significant compensations for their seawall and property devaluation as well as ongoing property tax reduction.

It would be very disappointing if there was a law suit because the city chose to retain in public hands land that is and has always been public, and homeowners were aware of that when purchasing their homes. A court case dating back some 20 years determined that the seawall was built at the homeowners risk on public property, and no compensation is owed by the previous seller of the home involved in the case, or the city. If compensation is owed, the judge ruled, it would be from the Ministry of Natural Resources, which owns the shoreline. It is also unclear whether any action could be taken against the city 20 years after the seawall was built, given there are statues of limitations on certain filings.

Neither St Paul St. or Market St. have suitable parking or turn around room at the lake potentially resulting in extra traffic and driveway access problems for the nearby residents. Additionally the police supervision of the area and maintenance will be expensive and potentially ineffective. The immediate area would have 3 parks including the 2 parketts within 2 blocks which should be ample to service existing residents natural desire to have a view of the lake. The downtown waterfront park should remain the focus of development

Not all parks in Burlington require or provide parking – small neighbourhood parks are intended for residents within walking distance. The windows and parkette here are of that type, and will encourage walk up visitors.

Regarding policing: There is occasional vandalism/parties in other parks in the city (Central/Beachway/Kerncliffe etc), but we don’t eliminate parks to solve this issue but rather take a variety of measures to combat the bevahiour and encourage respect for the parks.

I urge you to stand your ethical position of selling the property to the home owners and vote against the misleading attempt of Ms..Ward’s to make a fish bowl of the lakefront residences.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 5:35 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne; Goldring, Rick; Craven, Rick; Taylor, John; Dennison, Jack; Sharman, Paul; Lancaster, Blair

Subject: Burlington Council poised to sell prime waterfront land


We live on Lakeshore Rd. and have been following the debate on the new parkette planned for the waterfront east of Market street. We support the new Windows To The Lake as this will provide amazing access to the beautiful views of Lake Ontario.

However, we have some significant concerns regarding the new parkette.

1. This parkette is hidden from the main roads, offering a secluded place for parties, vandalism and noise. Can you imagine having this park directly behind your home, being subject to the noise and disruption? On the north side of Lakeshore we get our fair share of empty beer bottles on our lawn, so I can’t imagine what a mess this park will become.

There is occasional vandalism/parties in other parks in the city (Central/Beachway/Kerncliffe etc), but we don’t eliminate parks to solve this issue but rather take a variety of measures to combat the behavior and encourage respect for the parks.

2. Based on the state of Port Nelson park, at the end of Guelph Line, it appears that the city has insufficient resources to maintain a new park. Port Nelson is in serious need of repair, including better seating, regular clean-up, and the removal and pruning of existing trees and bushes.

Why don’t we clean this park up before we build a new one? After all it is only two blocks away and has parking.

Agree Port Nelson needs upgrading. We can do both. The city has $9.8m in park development fund – money set aside specifically to preserve parkland. It is more than enough to cover the additional $102000 cost of the parkette.

3. This summer we have gone through water main construction. Many times we had to park on side streets over night, causing inconvenience to local residences. Have vehicle traffic and parking limitations been considered for the new parkette?

Not all parks in Burlington require or provide parking – small neighbourhood parks are intended for residents within walking distance. The windows and parkette here are of that type, and will encourage walk up visitors.

4. The seawall at the proposed parkette poses both a danger and a liability. The probability of an accident seems very high.

Staff have recommended a fence along the seawall. That said, there are other areas of public waterfront that are not fenced (eg. Burloak), and other parks with high drops (eg Kerncliffe). There is no extra liability in this case from what we have at our other parks.

Thank you for your consideration on this matter.

The full collection of the email sent Councillor Meed Ward was too long for just one article.  The balance of those email is HERE.

Previous articles published:

Council votes 6-1 to sell waterfront property.

Selling price fr waterfront property not announced.

Committee decision to sell waterfront property now goes to Council. 

Staff report advises city to keep waterfront property; leasing is an option


Return to the Front page

Part 2: Citizens speak out on sale of waterfront property.

November 2, 2013

By Staff.

BURLINGTON, ON.  Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward asked citizens to email her with their views on a motion the city was about to approve that would result in the sale of a strip of waterfront land on the edge of the lake between St. Paul and Market Streets.  Council voted to authorize staff to begin negotiations with those who wished to buy the property.


A view that may become private – owned by a few.

It was not a popular decision and it appeared to go against the grain of several city policies. Meed Ward gave the city Clerk copies of the 32 pages of email she received.  We re-printing those emails and leave them here for the record.

The names of the senders were removed by the City Clerk – something to do with privacy.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 5:49 PM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: waterfront land

I suspect most Burlington residents think as you do. Cities around the world have learned not to sell waterfront land. Why are we selling what we have – and cheap?

To: Meed Ward, Marianne Subject: Sale of city property

As usual, this situation gives good reason for concern. Pressure will always be applied by avaricious people to exclude everyone but themselves from access to desirable amenities like the lake. Oakville is a typical example of the application of this type of shady policy, where lake access almost completely private. Please stand your ground in opposing the sale. It cannot be said that your policy is inconsistent. What applies on the beach strip must also be applicable in this case.

For once in my life I feel I can read the opinions you express on local policy without wondering what personal motive is behind the stance you take. What a refreshing change. A politician apparently motivated by logic and concern for the populous, not personal gain.

More strength to your arm.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 6:11 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Cc: Goldring, Rick; Craven, Rick; Taylor, John; Dennison, Jack; Sharman, Paul;

Subject: Waterfront land

Dear Marianne

Thank you so much for making us aware that the city of Burlington is considering selling the waterfront land between Market St. And St. Paul St. That would truly be a loss for Burlington. There is little enough waterfront land still available for public use and once it is sold it is gone for good.

We agree with you that the city should develop the area as part of a waterfront trail. Lake Ontario is one of the most important reasons why our city is special and to keep the vast majority of citizens away from the water is wrong. We deserve to have more than a few “Windows to the Lake” in the residential areas.

Any family or any business looking to settle in Burlington will appreciate the access to the lake for the residents.

The citizens own the land now …treasure it and keep it safe for the present and future generations of Burlington residents!

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 6:33 PM

To: Goldring, Rick

Cc: Craven, Rick; Taylor, John; Dennison, Jack;; Lancaster, Blair; Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Sale of Public Waterfront

Dear Sir,

As a resident of Burlington I am absolutely disappointed to learn that council is considering selling the the parcel of public waterfront between Market Street & St. Paul Street.

I moved to Burlington several years ago as I fell in love with the waterfront here. The great cycling & walking trails won me over,

I feel this land should stay in public hands for everyone to enjoy & not just a select few. This land clearly interrupts the possibility of having a continuous waterfront trail something that could be enjoyed by all.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 6:43 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: [Possible Spam] Retain

Thank you for the newsletter,we agree with you.Retain the land in Public hand’s.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 6:56 PM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: land market to st paul

Please keep all public lakefront lands in the hands of the city for generations to come. Views of the lake are being increasingly lost to the average citizen of Burlington. This is a million dollar view which once sold will never be come back to us.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 6:58 PM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: waterfront land, Dear Marianne,

We support your efforts to keep the small piece of land between St Paul and Market Streets city property.

We agree with all of the reasons that you have laid out. Also, symbolically, everyone has access to the lake.

We sure hope that a waterfront trail becomes a reality someday!

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 8:59 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: waterfront land

I agree that waterfront lands are part of the official plan, vandalism can be dealt with, 182,000 dollars is affordable, and the homeowners improved the shoreline at their own risk. The councilors in Oakville are acquiring lots of waterfront property for their public use.

Selling property to the shoreline is too loose. The shoreline changes. There is an act that has been read called the Great Lakes Right of Shoreline Passage Act in Ontario (re Rob Milligan, MPP). It will grant the public access along the Great Lakes as far as the high watermark. Where is the high watermark in this case? Several years ago the supreme court in Michigan ruled that the public has access to the high watermark. This has resolved skirmishes.

I’m not sure where the high water mark is in this case. The shoreline is somewhat elevated from water by a high bank.

How much frontage (in feet) do the homeowners want to buy? What is the city wanting to sell it for? What is the equivalent frontage price that the city wants to pay for the frontage on the beachway area? (This may not compare because the beachway is not on the waterfront.)

The land was appraised by an independent land appraiser. Those details are confidential.

Is there an error (typo) when you say “If any compensation is owed, the judge said it would be from the MNR.” I don’t understand this statement.

The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) owns the land along the shoreline, the city owns the land between the MNR properties and the back yards of the private homes. The seawall was built on MNR land, thus if any compensation is owed for building the seawall MNR would owe it.

I hope more thought will be put into this process. Ward 1,2,4 and 5 all border the lakefront. I would hope they are interested in expanding public waterfront trails in their wards.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 9:37 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: public waterfront land between Market St. and St. Paul St.






Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 9:51 PM To: Goldring, Rick

Cc: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Selling waterfront lands

Your Worship, I am writing to express my opposition to the City’s plan to sell the land between Market and St Paul’s Street to the adjacent home owners.

I feel this would be in error and in haste. My understanding is that the city is attempting to open up the waterfront and make it accessible to the public. I’m not sure how a sale would aid in moving forward on this objective.

By having this parkette, it would provide a U shaped park available for walkers, cyclist, and those just enjoying the natural environment. It becomes destination with access and egress, rather than a dead end. Anyone following the Waterfront Trail would turn down to this U rather than continue along Lakeshore Road. It would bring more use of the two Windows to the Lake.

It is located nearby to the parkette at the end of Guelph Line that has some playground facilities. Therefore, all that is needed in the new one is a pathway and some benches.

While at the moment it is landlocked, it sends the message that Burlington is serious about its waterfront commitment. Who knows how or when other waterfront lands may also become available. But to eliminate our ownership now, would be foolhardy.

It is better to enter into a lease with adjacent landowners while we see what opportunities may be encouraged than to end opportunities with its sale.

I implore you to reconsider your decision to sell this land and act on behalf of all Burlington residents and retain our ownership of this land.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 9:53 PM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Market St/ St Paul

Hello Marianne,

Thought I would remind council of the wonderful park in Bayfield which came about because a few determined and visionary folk decided to purchase lake front land so that generations of people who live in,or visit Bayfield ,regardless of wealth,could continue to enjoy the sunsets.

Please remind council that preserving access to the lake and its views for all the citizens of Burlington will benefit the entire city and not just a select few.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 09:12 PM To: Taylor, John

Subject: public waterfront land between Market and St Paul Streets

I would like to express my views regarding the upcoming council vote on the sale of the public waterfront land between Market and St Paul Streets which run behind three private properties. I would like to see Burlington honour the spirit of its ‘Waterfront Vision’ and vote in the best interests of the citizens by retaining this valuable land for our use. It has brought many hours of pleasure to me and my family as part of our natural waterfront, which is increasingly encroached and obstructed by development (for example the planned replacement of the old 3 storey Riviera hotel with a multi storied condo). One of the key attractions of this city is the waterfront, and we can only continue to benefit by maintaining this resource which can be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.

Vandalism etc is no more of an issue along this beachfront area than in other public places (it is more so, in fact, on the treed beach area which is hidden from street view opposite the hospital, in Central Park and now, at the far end of the pier in the late evening/early morning). The City can certainly afford to keep this area using some of the funds from the 9.8m park development fund. And I understand that the legal challenges regarding the seawall are not founded on any legal grounds. I look forward to an enlightened vote which will guard against the slow erosion of our public places by individual and corporate interests.

Sent: Sunday, October 13, 2013 11:48 PM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Waterfront Market str./St.-Paul str.

In reference to the waterfront land between Market and St.-Paul street I urge council to reflect on their decision taken at the council meeting and preserve the Waterfront strip between the two windows to the lake for future generations and our children. Once sold, it cannot be reversed and will only benefit three home owners rather than the 175.000 Burlington residents and their descendants. My request and that of my neighbours DO NOT SELL THE WATERFRONT!! and make it accessible to the public!!

I trust you will do the right thing.

Sent: Sunday, October 13, 2013 6:18 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: St. Paul and Market Streets Parkette

Dear Marianne,


I’ve lived in the Port Nelson area for over 6 years now. I often walk and wish I had a better view of the lake on my walks.

Although I’m close to Lakeshore Rd. I cannot see the lake at all at the bottom of Beaver Street. I use to be able to see blue water from the street, until the home owner along the lake shore built a garden shed in the only spot that you could see through. Oh well – it’s their property to do with what they like – they bought the right to do that and paid for it.

The lake view from the Port Nelson Park is not the best as it is recessed in, but there are usually people enjoying the benches and the view. I often take my grandson there. I go to the end of Green St. and fight through rocks, bushes and lawn debris. It appears the property owners at the end of Green just use this as their disposal site. I often wish it was cleaned up so I could take a book down to the lake and sit on some rocks and enjoy some lake breeze.

When I walk to the end of St. Paul and Market Street I feel like I’m trespassing on private property. At the end of Market Street on the east side a fence goes right to the edge. I had no idea that there was a ‘parkette’ between these two streets. I had no idea the end of these streets were considered ‘Windows to the Lake’! Why has there never been any signage? It should have been marked as a public path. It seems this has been a well kept secret. The land concerned does not even show up on the maps that the city distributes to home owners when road work is being done. I see from the overhead picture of the area, that there appears to be a circular drive partially on the city ‘street land’ near the end of St Paul. At the end of Market St. there is a fence right to the edge totally blocking access. Whose chairs are sitting on the PUBLIC LAND? Who should have their

If the homeowners in question want property with lake frontage then they should sell their properties and go buy some. They knew when they purchased their properties that they did not own lake frontage nor did the price they had to pay reflect that of lake frontage costs. Does council realize what the addition of lake frontage would do to the value of these 3 properties? Everyone would love to have some lake frontage in Burlington. But those who have it are those who buy it – not those that demand and threaten to take over city land to get some! What about tax assessment? Since they have been treating this land as if they own it maybe they should have their property taxes reassessed to reflect that.

As you say in your Ward 2 Alert – why would city hall want to demolish private homes that aren’t even on the waterfront and then turn around and sell land that can only be sold to 3 homeowners – not even to a  highest bidder. If they did sell it – bidding should be open and fair and the city should get the best deal for tax payers as it can – however this land should never be allowed to slip from city ownership! Port Nelson is one of the original settlements that ended up becoming the City of Burlington. This ‘city owned property’ should have historical significance! Someday down the road Nelson Park could possibly be amalgamated with this parkette – who knows – some civic minded person could decide to leave some or all of their land to the city – there are only 2 properties separating the two areas now!

I cannot believe this property has always been available for public use!

I am totally against losing this parkette! This land should be accessible to all the tax payers of Burlington. It should not in any way become private property to the extremely high benefit of only 3 property owners! They did not buy lake front properties and have no right to them.

If the city is worried about vandalism and drunkenness then I guess they should close all parks and bike & walking trails. What a weak argument!

Thanks for looking out for the people of Ward 2 and the people of Burlington! I plan to send a similar letter to the mayor and all other councillors.

I can’t wait to be able to stroll along the lake in my neighbourhood.

Sent: Sunday, October 13, 2013 2:11 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne; Goldring, Rick

Cc: Taylor, John; Craven, Rick;; Sharman, Paul; Lancaster, Blair

Subject: Objection to Proposed Sale of Waterfront Land

The purpose of this email is to voice our strong objections to the proposed sale of the waterfront land between Market and St Paul Streets.

If the City ever wishes to have a waterfront trail, now is the time to keep this property for our future enjoyment and not have to attempt to repurchase it when the price will be enormous.

Right now, this land is worth hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. The neighbours are unlikely to compensate the City for anything near its true value. Surely, City Council has observed the asking price of lots even near Lake Ontario?

How can the City agree to sell property that is at least partially owned by the Ministry of Natural Resources?

The one advantage (to lawyers) to not selling is that countless lawyers could be employed dragging the case through the courts for years.

What happened to the street that ran along the north shore of Lake Ontario many years ago and was destroyed in a storm? Doesn’t that property still belong to Port Nelson or the City?

Do your duty to the residents now and in the future and vote against the sale. Waterfront land is priceless and should not be sold!

Sent: Sunday, October 13, 2013 12:17 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Cc: Goldring, Rick

Subject: public waterfront land


Our grandchildren live in the Lakeshore area of Burlington.

We like to walk the beach areas and explore the waterfront with them. Please do not let a few people restrict public access to this wonderful waterfront area.

Sent: Sunday, October 13, 2013 10:00 AM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Ward2 Alert

Hi Marianne:

Thanks you so much for the information in the Ward 2Alert flyer. I would agree to retain the land in public hands if it facilitates a continuous waterfront trail for the future.


Subject: RE: Selling a rough cut diamond rather that adding it to Burlington’s crown jewels – unimaginatively myopic

Date: Fri, 11 Oct 2013 10:16:57 -0400

Thanks Rick for your quick response to my missive.

In your note, item 2. I’d suggest the following. As their is no present connectivity between Port Nelson Park that in its-self, should not be an argument for disposing of this space.

As more and more people are being encouraged to to use the bike path and experience the extraordinary pleasure of walking that stretch of Lakeshore is an overwhelming reason to add more “Windows to the Lake” as the serenity that such a spaces provide are immeasurable for the well being of all.

For some to argue or propose that such space could be considered and lumped in the phase as stated “no potential anywhere else is not practical and feasible” Is unimaginative and myopic to restate my opinion. If the city own all the end parcel’s of land pointing at the lake – then they should signed and all be groomed for access.

All Burlington residents deserve and demand more access to the lake – not everybody is fortunate to live atop of such a magnificent vista – yet the move to close off such access is something nobody desires!

Once its gone – its gone forever. Developing the Parkette to be of more value to the residents is the raison d’être of those proclamations in the official plan.

Sent: Saturday, October 12, 2013 10:57 PM To: Goldring, Rick

Cc: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Retain the waterfront land in public hand we have been in Burlington for the last 10 years, owning a home close to the lake.

The lake and its public access to the lake is one of the most important features of Burlington. Hence I would encourage council to regain the lakefront parcel at every sale of a home located at the waterfront.

Therefore it is absolutely mandatory to keep already gained waterfront parcels and not to let them fall back into private ownership. We have watched the tireless but ultimately successful effort of communities in Germany to regain lakefront access for the public. It took them some decades but finally they succeeded.

Therefore we would like to encourage you not to let go and to keep the parcels in public hands.

Sent: Saturday, October 12, 2013 10:14 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Sale of public waterfront land in the city of Burlington


As a follow-up to your recent Ward 2 Alert flyer.

I am opposed to the sale of public waterfront land in the city of Burlington.

As a resident of Burlington (forget the fact that I live in Ward 2), I implore you not to sell this public access to the waterfront.

For as many years as my husband & I have lived here, I have lamented the fact that the city did not have the foresight to preserve the waterfront for everyone to see, access and just generally appreciate. The fact that we continue to develop property south of Lakeshore – thereby obliterating it from the view of everyone driving, walking or riding by – will always leave me feeling depressed. If development had always been restricted to the north side of Lakeshore Rd., not only would those people still have their ‘waterfront’ property, they would not have limited the spectacular view of our magnificent Lake Ontario to only themselves. Hindsight is often painful but surely it can teach us to do better in the future?

The fact that you have the opportunity to keep this access to public property suggests to me that you owe all of us citizens of Burlington to do precisely that – keep it.

The fact that it is already ours should make this decision a ‘no-brainer’.

The fact that your decision to not sell would both honour our City and Regional Official Plans underscores to me that you ought to be shamed into doing just that. Indeed, shame on you if you disregard both plans, begging the question “why bother having plans if they are constantly being over- ruled, ignored, or worse yet ‘bought’ by those who can well afford to get what they want”.

May I suggest you all give your heads a shake and wake up to the reality that having direct access to nature keeps us healthy in mind, body and soul. Since when did we ever come up with the idea that any one person owns the land we live on, the water we drink, the air we breathe? Wouldn’t we all be better served by focusing on being good stewards of all we’ve been given – to care for, to share, to enjoy and respect – and each other

Please make this time of thanksgiving a time I can celebrate my city’s leadership.

Sent: Friday, October 11, 2013 9:02 PM

To: Craven, Rick; Meed Ward, Marianne; Sharman, Paul; Goldring, Rick; Taylor, John; Dennison, Jack; Lancaster, Blair

Subject: Waterfront Properties


We regularly walk our dog in the neighbourhood, as do many of the people we meet on our walks.

We find Lakeshore Rd. quite busy, and would greatly appreciate a waterfront access to the park at the foot of Guelph Line.

It would be a crime if this publicly owned land falls into private hands, you could never get it back!

I am very sorry to be out of town this weekend, as we will be unable to attend the meeting on Tuesday.

Please save this small piece of lakefront for us!

Sent: Friday, October 11, 2013 7:25 PM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Ward 2Alert:sale of public waterfront land Hello Marianne,

Thank you for your update on the progress of the waterfront parcel at Market/St Paul streets.

I walked the property today and observed the following:

There is no safe, functional public pathway along the waterfront.

RESPONSE: There is a wide strip of grass for walking. The area is no less safe than Kerncliffe park (path along a cliff edge, no fencing) or Burloak Park (waterfront park, no fencing).

There is access to the property from the St Paul side.

There is no access on the Market side, as access is fully blocked by a fence running the whole length of the public land to the edge of the seawall, presumably installed by the homeowner there.

RESPONSE: that has been blocked by a resident. The city can reclaim access and require its removal at any time.

There is no evidence of lot lines separating public and private properties (fences, markers). Lawns and sitting areas are neatly maintained right up to the seawall over public land, presumably by the property owners for their personal enjoyment of the public property.

RESPONSE: This would have to be delineated. Some of the homes have fences along their back, some don’t.

There is no signage indicating the existence of public pathway or park anywhere. RESPONSE: This is part of the challenge. Many of our public parks aren’t well signed. We can improve this.

It would appear it has been this way for a very long time, at least back to 1990 when the homeowners built the seawall, or possibly before that. There is no evidence of public development of the waterfront in front of the private homes here.

Marianne, has there ever been a plan to develop this waterfront property for public use?

RESPONSE: The public have used it – the locals who know about it, a small group granted. This is the time to discuss a plan to ensure the proper signage – that the public knows this is their land and they are invited to use it.

Sent: Friday, October 11, 2013 6:36 PM

To: Office of Mayor Rick Goldring; Craven, Rick; Sharman, Paul; Dennison, Jack; Lancaster, Blair; Taylor, John; Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Responding to the Gazette

To our Mayor and Counselors,

I have great respect for our Mayor and City Counselors, and do not envy their position. Having attended the meeting, and listened to all of the thoughtful commentary (other than the legal closed-door information) we have to put our trust in the people that we elect. The vote was 6 to 1 because the majority of the counsellors and our Mayor believed, given all the facts presented to them, that this was in the best interests of the City. There was short script given to my presentation, but for clarity, we live near Nelson park. Our property has been vandalized twice, one reported to police, we are constantly picking up alcohol bottles off our property, including broken glass on the break wall, and we catch people trespassing almost every week during the summer. We have cameras now because a lady was badly assaulted near our property a couple of years ago by a gang 14 teens who apparently congregated at Nelson Park. Our police are busy, we can’t possibly expect them to walk down the hillside every Friday and Saturday night and round-up the teenagers, but we don’t need to add to the problem. If you count the Windows to the Lake, there are 3 parks within 6 homes. The comment about expanding the pathway east is a nonstarter and disingenuous to suggest otherwise. Owners have riparian rights which were paid for. Thank you for this opportunity to share my comments.

Sent: Friday, October 11, 2013 2:00 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Public Waterfront Land

We live on Lakeshore Road and have greatly enjoyed the Window on the lake.

We are now retired, and often walk down St. Paul to enjoy the view, but are hesitant to continue along the lake towards Market Street, as the present lake front owners are somewhat possessive. This summer, accompanied with some out-of-town guests, we did venture along towards Market Street.

Upon reaching the middle home, we were met by the owner, first wanting to know who we were, and then explaining that they built /owned the Sea wall. (having lived here before they moved in, I knew they hadn`t build it )

I understand their position, but don`t believe other taxpayers in the area should be denied the pleasure of enjoying this beautiful view, and a lakefront walk that would benefit everyone in the area.

We have not experienced any vandalism, drunkenness, or excess noise along the sea wall since we have lived here. If your numbers are correct,( $182,000 plus $7500 annually), the only reasonable decision, would be to proceed with the park development. ( Small price for such a large benefit)

Denying the public access to one of life`s rightful pleasures just seems wrong and un Canadian

Please accept this as our vote for Council to keep this land and continue to beautify Burlington for all its residents

Sent: Friday, October 11, 2013 12:41 AM

To: Craven, Rick

Cc:; Meed Ward, Marianne; Taylor, John; Dennison, Jack; Sharman, Paul; Lancaster, Blair

Subject: Waterfront Parkette Nonsense

Dear Mr.Craven.

Thank you for your sensible vote re not wasting 9.8 million dollars on an illogical parkette. If the recent voting was 6 to 1 in favour of no parkette, why is counsel wasting more time on this?

The rational thought flows from the following points:

– Within blocks there are two public green spaces visible from the street, (Sioux Lookout,Port Nelson) which utilize land in a more logical design than a hidden six-foot strip behind 3 lots.

– The two above have accessible and suitable parking spaces without risk of street parking blocking other residential driveways. How would people turn around on Market & St .Paul streets without using private driveways, if cars are lining the roads?

– As a prior Roseland resident I never saw over crowding in either of the before mentioned locations.

– News reports indicate the following problems; difficulties in providing a clean environment for the enjoyment for those who choose to use these sites now and the neighborhood disruption caused by teenage late night partying.

– It is obvious from the photo(on Marianne Ward Meed’s website) that the height of the break wall would create a serious safety issue to anyone who took the time to hunt down the new parkette behind the 3 lots. This implies the lion’s share of the 9 million dollars would be spent on elaborate structure to provide a valid measure of safety. How would this provide enjoyment of the waterfront?

The potential problems resulting from the creation of an off street hidden location which will be virtually impossible to police could have a serious impact on the city’s liability insurance. One lawsuit from a late night assault or drowning will be enough to eliminate any reserves and increase future premiums dramatically. In this case the city would be spending money to create a liability.

Are the current adjacent green spaces so crammed that we need to spend 9.8 million dollars to add this many potential problems? The money should be spent on issues where problems are eliminated by the expenditure.

Sent: Thursday, October 10, 2013 9:14 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: [Possible Spam] council should keep the water front land

Dear Marianne

Thank you for your stand on the water front land between Market st. and St Paul street. I agree whole heartedly with you

Sent: Thursday, October 10, 2013 8:59 PM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Shoreline Property

Ironically my husband & I stood at the end of the pier tonight contemplating our beautiful shoreline. We believe, as do you, this shoreline should be for the enjoyment of all residents. Please encourage council to not sell out. Once gone, we will never get it back. Our green space is precious. We are thankful for your long term awareness and commitment to our community & our families.

Sent: Wednesday, October 09, 2013 4:16 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Sale of Public Waterfront Land

Thank you for the informative information. I was not aware of this issue. I am a resident on East Side Crescent and take my granddaughter to the parkette at the end of Guelph Line often. I walk and she rides her bike. We love looking out over the lake and watching the boats, ducks and geese.

I would appreciate your vote as “NO”. So much of our public lands are being destroyed by new development. Once sold it would be impossible to ever get this parcel back. Let’s be realistic. A Public waterfront trail would be an excellent idea. This would, promote family night or weekend outings (both walking and biking) and encourage more valuable family time and healthy living.

Sent: Thursday, October 10, 2013 3:34 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: RE Proposed land sale ..Market & St Paul Sts.

We disagree with the proposed sale.

Sent: Thursday, October 10, 2013 12:52 PM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Park land

Marianne, I vote to keep the Market/ St Paul St. Park in the hands of the city because once lost, it can never be regained and with the growth of the cities population in the coming years and the increasing number of seniors the city needs all the park it can afford to maintain. It’s too valuable to sell!

Sent: Thursday, October 10, 2013 11:50 AM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Market/St Paul lakefront public land Hi Marianne,

I highly support retaining the lakefront public land between Market and St Paul. I am shocked that

City council would even consider selling it. Burlington is the city that exemplifies preserving and developing waterfront land for the use and visual enjoyment of the residents. It has been a model for other communities. Council has lost sight of their own vision! This space is needed for the continuous waterfront trail. What are they thinking!!!! It does look like one of the residents at the bottom of Market on the east side is already using the land. They are landscaped to the lake and their fence goes right to the lake with no access. How wide is the strip of land in question? I do know the access at the bottom of St Paul (in the picture on your newsletter) however I did not know that strip was owned by the city. Does the city own the strip of lakefront from St Paul to the park at the bottom of Guelph Line? Just thought I’d pass along my thoughts … I certainly hope enough people speak up and support keeping the land.

Sent: Wednesday, October 09, 2013 11:56 PM

To: Craven, Rick; Taylor, John; Jack.Dennison@burlington.caE-mail; Sharman, Paul; Lancaster, Blair; Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Meeting of October 15, 2013

I live in Burlington. I am very proud of the wonderful job the city has done when creating the beautiful waterfront park, Spencer Smith Park. However, it is too small. The greatest cities have wide open spaces along the water’s edge. “I Imagine Burlington” is an initiative. We need to imagine Burlington with as many pubic open spaces as possible. It is worth keeping them and spending money on them.

A parkette on the Waterfront between Market St. and St. Paul St. Burlington should not be lost. Private landowners want to sue the city or obtain ownership. It is reported that council seems to be voting to give up the property.

I do not want this property to go to private hands. It should be kept for the people of Burlington. It could be used as an open space, a quiet place for the public. We shouldn’t lose any public property on the lake. It will be harder to open up public areas on the lake in the future. Many of us can imagine our children wanting public spaces in the future.

If you have ever seen beautiful cities like Sydney, Australia you would understand what cities can be.

Please do not vote to sell the property.

This is an aside, that no one in Canada can produce a deed that says they own land up to the water. There is a bill called Great Lakes Shoreline Right of Passage Act. I hope it will be presented soon by MPP Kim Craitor. I hope it passes.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sent: Wednesday, October 09, 2013 6:04 PM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Cc: Goldring, Rick

Subject: Market St., St. Paul St waterfront

It would be a very poor action to sell any city owned water front. The current windows are used as a yard waste dumping ground and people are discouraged from using them. If the city did develop the land it would become an important part of the waterfront and be used by my family and may others who use all of the waterfront trails. A diversity of trails are needed and this would be unique in the area.

I am sure the current land owners want the land for themselves. But it is public land on the waterfront and should remain as such. Oakville has done a very good job of getting ownership of the waterfront. While it will take decades to accomplish taking a step back like this would be a huge disservice to the current and future residence of Burlington.

Date: October 9, 2013 4:08:59 PM EDT


Subject: To sell or not to sell

It is fundamentally wrong to let individuals own land that extends to the water. No matter how wealthy one might be, shorelines should be public property, not private property.

My wife and I once lived in a house in downtown Oakville (rented a flat in it). The property was beautiful and was owned by very wealthy people. In fact, we had our wedding reception in the backyard. We also enjoyed taking our canoe through the back gate, crossing the public pathway and putting it in the water to paddle along the shoreline and around the pier and up the 16. There is no way in the world the end of that gorgeous property should ever belong to anyone other than the Town of Oakville or the provincial government. The same holds true in Burlington where we have lived on Seneca since 1984.

Shorelines should not be allowed to fall into the hands of the wealthy because they already have plenty, and those of us who haven’t a snowball’s chance in Hell of ever owning lakefront property, count on people like you to keep that land in the public domain. I don’t expect to ever set foot on it, but I should be able to do so if I want. The owners could easily build a fence or plant a hedge. They really don’t need to have it all. They should have learned how to share when they were kids.

I hope this helps.

Thanks for the update Marianne,

Sent: Tuesday, October 08, 2013 6:21 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: waterfront property

In the future, what do we wish for our city of Burlington with respect to walk able areas, parks and green space? I was very disappointed to read last week that our council voted against keeping a piece of city owned property that fronts onto Lake Ontario. If the city sells this land, it will become exclusive to three households. If the city is forward thinking and keeps this property, it can be a beginning of safeguarding water front that can be enjoyed by all residents of Burlington.

Have any of our councillors ever travelled to cities (to name only a few) such as Edmonton, Calgary, Hamilton, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Vancouver? And then walked along the waterfronts that these cities have created for all of their citizens?

For example, in the upscale neighbourhood of West Vancouver, the Centennial seawall stretches for 1.7km with a width of about 4 metres that borders the bay and on the other side, is separated from the residential area by a fence and hedges. It even includes a separate dog run for some of the way.

It is very simple. Where would you prefer to walk? Along a busy, car dominant street or beside a beautiful body of water and green space

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 6:53 AM

To: Dennison, Jack; Lancaster, Blair; Sharman, Paul; Craven, Rick; Taylor, John; Meed Ward, Marianne; Office of Mayor Rick Goldring

Subject: Water St Parcel

Dear Councillor Lancaster,

I am aware of the recent committee motion to dispose of the Water St Parcel to the abutting property owners.

Thank you for voting in favour of the motion!!!

I am in total support of this motion as it would generate money for the City to use in other wards and for the benefit of all taxpayers rather than a few local residents. We do not need a 4th park within 6 houses that only a few residents can use.

Burlington has many waterfront parks and we need to look after the ones we have!

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 7:24 AM

To: Goldring, Rick; Craven, Rick; Meed Ward, Marianne; Taylor, John; Dennison, Jack; Sharman, Paul; Lancaster, Blair

Subject: Please do not sell waterfront land between Market and St. Paul

Dear Mayor and Councilors

Please do not sell the parcel of waterfront land between Market and St. Paul streets. I am a resident of this area at 345 Delaware and had no idea that this was public land. The neighbouring residents have encroached on this parcel with landscaping, furniture and a fence that blocks access. Please do not reward this encroachment and assumed privilege by these residents.

This parcel would make a welcome addition to this neighbourhood as it affords a lovely unobstructed view of the lake. I am certain that many residents would love to walk this loop between the 2 streets were it not for the fence. I support the development of this parcel for public use. Once a sale of waterfront is made, it is difficult if not impossible to get it back.

I am thankful to Ms. Meed Ward for bringing it to the attention of residents.

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 7:43 AM

To: Goldring, Rick; Craven, Rick; Meed Ward, Marianne; Taylor, John; Dennison, Jack; Sharman, Paul; Lancaster, Blair

Subject: I am opposed to the sale of waterfront between Market & St. Paul

I am opposed to the sale of waterfront between Market & St. Paul.

The benefits of the sale for the property owners are obvious and significant.

The benefits of the sale to the city are minimal. And the cost – loss of waterfront – is incalculable. Voting to sell this land is selling our public legacy

Stop doing this.

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 8:03 AM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Re: Ward 2Alert:sale of public waterfront land Marianne,


This is a very valuable, rare piece of real estate. I believe it should not be sold , and should be developed for the enjoyment of all residents and visitors and with a clear plan of action to achieve that.

If it is to be sold, the Council needs to ensure that the taxpayers gets full value for this world-class recreational public property. It is a Gem!

I appreciate your standing up for this opportunity.

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 8:14 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: RE Sale of lake front

Hello Marianne. I do not want the waterfront property sold to the three house owners OR ANYONE. Retain the land and expand the water front park(s). Thanks for the opportunity of this input

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 8:56 AM

To: Dennison, Jack

Cc: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Selling Land on the lake

Hi Jack, have just read Marianne Meeds newletter and the piece about selling waterfront land I

STRONGLY believe that once the city owns the land it should NEVER be let go of….a continuous lakefront pathway along the lake always makes a city more attractive. In fact I feel that as homeowners do not own the land directly on the lakeshore (as far as I have always heard and believed) that a continuous path should be made on the lake without “buying” land. As for the owner that built the seawall. He broke the law by doing so and is now trying to hold the city hostage….great plan if he can get away with it. Allowing him to do this will only encourage others to look for ways around our laws….this would be a definite NO vote from me.

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 9:45 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: [Possible Spam]

Marianne, Thanks for your efforts. Of course we need to save our waterfront

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Cc: Goldring, Rick; Craven, Rick; Taylor, John; Dennison, Jack; Sharman, Paul; Lancaster, Blair

Subject: Waterfront/Parkette

Developing a Parkette behind these 3 waterfront properties is just as crazy as when a few months ago Council wanted to take away the turning lane on Lakeshore Road to make way for bike lanes.

Why not improve Port Nelson Park, remove the trees from the end of Market Street and Green Street. This will provide access to the waterfront for many . I’ve lived on St. Paul Street for

18 years and nothing like this has ever happened. The waterfront property has been looked after by all three residents including the gentleman who lives at 221 St. Paul and ourselves. If the city

takes over this Parkette – it will look terrible – will not be maintained as it is now. Please do not make any changes to this area – leave it as is – and don’t sell the land.

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 9:13 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Market and St Paul waterfront property

Good morning Marianne

I am glad to hear the windows will be retained, but feel the parkette between them should not be sold. It’s a shame the owners have landscaped their properties in such a way as to mask the public path…in fact, you feel as though you’re trespassing on private property. I’d leave it as is…don’t sell it. This will set a precedent for other owners of “lake front” property.

Many thanks for the informative brochure.

To: Dennison, Jack

Cc: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Selling Land on the lake

Hi Jack, have just read Marianne Meeds newsletter and the piece about selling waterfront land I

STRONGLY believe that once the city owns the land it should NEVER be let go of….a continuous lakefront pathway along the lake always makes a city more attractive. In fact I feel that as homeowners do not own the land directly on the lakeshore (as far as I have always heard and believed) that a continuous path should be made on the lake without “buying” land. As for the owner that built the seawall. He broke the law by doing so and is now trying to hold the city hostage….great plan if he can get away with it. Allowing him to do this will only encourage others to look for ways around our laws….this would be a definite NO vote from me.

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 8:03 AM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Re: Ward 2Alert:sale of public waterfront land Marianne,


This is a very valuable, rare piece of real estate. I believe it should not be sold , and should be developed for the enjoyment of all residents and visitors and with a clear plan of action to achieve that.

If it is to be sold, the Council needs to ensure that the taxpayers gets full value for this world-class recreational public property. It is a Gem!

I appreciate your standing up for this opportunity. Let me know if I can provide any further support.

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 7:24 AM

To: Goldring, Rick; Craven, Rick; Meed Ward, Marianne; Taylor, John; Dennison, Jack; Sharman, Paul; Lancaster, Blair

Subject: Please do not sell waterfront land between Market and St. Paul

Dear Mayor and Councilors,

Please do not sell the parcel of waterfront land between Market and St. Paul streets. I am a resident of this area on Delaware and had no idea that this was public land. The neighbouring residents have encroached on this parcel with landscaping, furniture and a fence that blocks access. Please do not reward this encroachment and assumed privilege by these residents

This parcel would make a welcome addition to this neighbourhood as it affords a lovely unobstructed view of the lake. I am certain that many residents would love to walk this loop between the 2 streets were it not for the fence. I support the development of this parcel for public use. Once a sale of waterfront is made, it is difficult if not impossible to get it back.

I am thankful to Ms. Meed Ward for bringing it to the attention of residents.

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 12:56 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne


Subject: Newsletter feedback

Hi Marianne:

Here is some feedback on your newsletter. Waterfront land – don’t sell – keep it for public use

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 12:25 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Waterfront Lands

Hello Ms. MeedWard – I am definitely in favour of having all waterfront lands kept in public hands. We are most fortunate to have our beautiful waterfront and it should be preserved for all citizens of Burlington to enjoy and not just a privileged few.

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 12:14 PM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Council poised to sell public waterfront land Hello Marianne

Hopefully this is not to let, I but feel the Waterford should be for the public to enjoy now and for future generations.

I think Burlington council should vote to not sell the land.

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 1:41 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Public Waterfront Land

I would like it noted that I do NOT wish to sell the public waterfront land to three private homeowners. I feel that this is Burlington Land for the use of almost 200,000 persons, not the private domain of 3 person who happen to live beside it. I have no idea why you would think it is important to sell – you cannot get the land back. Keep it, maintain it with access from the two street ends – and have another reason to live in Burlington. You are taking away our waterfront, piece by piece. PLEASE maintain this as a small Burlington gem. This is my vote to keep the property in the hands of the ‘people’ not a few persons.

To:; Craven, Rick; Meed Ward, Marianne; Taylor, John; Dennison, Jack; Sharman, Paul; Lancaster, Blair

Subject: In support of selling parcel of land between Market Street & St. Paul

Dear Councillors,

I am in favour of selling the parcel of land between Market Street & St. Paul Street. It is secluded and would only benefit a small percentage of Burlington residence.

I am strongly in favour of investing in Port Nelson Park to make it more attractive and improve the usability of the parkette. This space has great potential and the base infrastructure already exists.

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 11:55 AM

To: Goldring, Rick; Craven, Rick; Meed Ward, Marianne; Taylor, John; Dennison, Jack; Sharman, Paul; Lancaster, Blair

Cc: gordon fraser

Subject: Please do NOT sell waterfront property

Good Morning Mayor and Councillors;

Please do not sell the waterfront lot. It should remain public property.

Have you been to the waterfront properties lately? Have you seen how incredibly popular they are, 7 days a week? What a shame to throw away this opportunity to further add to our open space along the lake.

However,  If you do go ahead and vote to sell it, as a taxpayer I would expect you would have 3 independent real estate agents appraise this prime waterfront property for current maximum market value and would have it sold at NO discount, to maximize city profit. I would expect this process would be fully public and should not be an ‘in camera’ decision.

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 11:51 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne; Office of Mayor Rick Goldring; Dennison, Jack; Lancaster, Blair; Sharman, Paul; Sharman, Paul

Subject: Water Street Parcel

City of Burlington – Office of the Mayor <> Jack Dennison <>

Blair Lancaster <> Paul Sharman <> Rick Craven <> John Taylor <>

Marianne Meed Ward <>

Dear Councillor Meed Ward,

I have been a Burlington resident for over 50 years (and until just recently) always within walking distance of the Water St Parcel and Port Nelson Park.

My parents have also lived in the same area for 85 years.

I am very familiar with this area and am very disappointed with your recent vote at Committee.

Why would you ever consider spending taxpayer money to develop yet another waterfront park in that area when within a 3 km area we have Sioux Lookout Park ,Port Nelson Park and Spencers Park?

With the 2 new Windows on the Lake parks there will be 3 waterfront parks within a couple hundred feet. Since there is no parking in the Market St and St Paul St area, this can only be used by residents who live very close by. I think 3 parks is more than enough for local residents. Also, in my daily walk/drive by, Port Nelson Park appears hardly used by locals or folks who can park there. However I do see plenty of empty alcohol and beer bottles. The issue of safety and vandalism in your proposed hidden park would be a nightmare for the whole neighbourhood.

The money you talk about in Burlington’s “park fund” should be used to upgrade existing parks that can benefit all of Burlington residents, ie more handicapped parking, shelter for seniors etc.

We seldom see this level of response to an issue and it is rare indeed for one Council member to be the focal point for an issue, which is admittedly in her ward, but is a city-wide matter.  Burlington continually talks of its Escarpment and waterfront as being what makes it hugely different from any other city in the province.  Meed Ward appears to be the only member of this Council who has chosen to be firm on a matter of principle.

There are those who do not feel this matter is over yet.  The price that is to be paid for the land is not yet known and the matter of easements and other issues on title do not appear to be fully resolved.  Will the public find that Staff have not done their homework and that there are issues that might prevent this sale?  And – is it an election issue?

Previously published stories:

Council votes 6-1 to sell waterfront property.

Selling price fr waterfront property not announced.

Committee decision to sell waterfront property now goes to Council. 

Staff report advises city to keep waterfront property; leasing is an option




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Burlington MPP rolls up her sleeve to lead by example: flu season is approaching, McKenna prepares.

November 1, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. Doctors will tell you that children under five are at the highest risk for serious illness from influenza. With the weather cooling off and a new flu season fast approaching, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Arlene King is asking parents to make sure their children get the flu shot.

The highest numbers of flu cases are in the one to four-year old age group. Dr. King stresses that the sooner kids get the flu shot the better since it takes about two weeks to become fully effective.

Burlington MPP Jane McKenna gets her annual flu shot from Anita Sahu at the Rexall Pharmacy on Guelph Line.

Children between the ages of six months and four years old can get their flu shot at doctors’ offices and at public health or community flu immunization clinics.

Burlington MPP Jane McKenna gets her annual flu shot from Anita Sahu at the Rexall Pharmacy on Guelph Line.

For parents, caregivers and children aged five and up, thousands of Ontario pharmacists will also be offering free flu shots as part of the Ontario government’s Universal Influenza Immunization Program, designed to make it more convenient for people to protect themselves and others from the spread of influenza.

This year, pharmacists at almost 2,000 drug stores across Ontario will be fully trained and ready to deliver free flu shots – roughly triple the number of pharmacy locations as last year.

Jane McKenna, MPP for Burlington, and one of the healthiest people we know, got herself over to the Rexall pharmacy on Guelph Line where pharmacists Anita Sahu did the deed and ensured that the MPP will be able to continue standing in the provincial Legislature barking away at what the government isn’t doing to make the province economically healthy.

McKenna, a first term parliamentarian, quickly became an ideologue and bought into every word the provincial Tories wrote in the Change Book. .

How Blue is Jane McKenna? As she was filling in the forms to get her flue shot she asked aloud – “What’s the date today? November 1st replied her daughter Taylor who was with her. “Oh – today is Tim Hudak’s birthday”replied McKenna.

McKenna is now the Progressive Conservative critic for Economic Development, Trade & Employment; one of the weightier portfolios that usually has an experienced parliamentarian with some depth in business. McKenna plans on holding a Round Table on the Economy sometime in the New Year.

The flu shot is now available in Ontario and Rexall is one of the pharmacies that has made it easy and convenient for Ontarians to receive the vaccine by offering it at any store, at any time, any day – no appointment necessary.

Last year was the first year pharmacists were able to administer immunizations in Ontario and, and according to Rexall, 80% of flu shots given by pharmacists were at a Rexall.

According to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the flu and its complications result in up to 1,000 hospitalizations and 1,600 deaths in Ontario each year.















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Early morning forced entry of DeQuincy Cr., home terrifies resident: two firearms stolen.

October 31, 2013

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  A 4:00 am break-in at a Dequincy Crescent home woke the residents who found themselves staring at a male intruder who said he was armed.  The resident later told police they did not actually see a weapon.

The intruder proceeded to search the house and took a quantity of cash, alcohol, jewellery and two  firearms: a 12 gauge shotgun and a .22 calibre rifle.  The male was last seen leaving the residence on foot.

Investigation revealed that the male suspect had forced entry to the house through the front door. The homeowners were uninjured and called Halton Regional Police. 

The suspect is described as male, white, 20-30 years of age, 5’7″-6’0″ tall, thin build with light brown hair.

The suspect is described as male, white, 20-30 years of age, 5’7″-6’0″ tall, thin build with light brown hair.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Three District Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4747 ext 2315, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477),, or text “Tip201” with your message to 274637 (crimes). 

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Murray and Diana Hogarth talk about how they built Pioneer into the biggest independent gas station operation in the country.

October 31, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  It doesn’t take long to get the gist of Murray Hogarth.  If you listen and watch his eyes you realize that Murray did it his way – he beat the big guys, he beat big oil.

He did it through hard work and being very fast on his feet.  With a very successful company running smoothly Murray Hogarth was able to turn the whole operation over to two of his sons and use his time keeping a sharp eye on them.

Born in Napanee, raised there – after high school he got himself along the 401 to Kingston where he enrolled as an engineering student at Queen’s University and realized very quickly that wasn’t the road he wanted to travel and switched to Arts & Science but found that all the lab work wasn’t all that inspiring either.  Murray realized he was a doer – he needed to be out in the field, talking to people, thinking through his ideas and planning.  Murray was probably born a planner.

During his high school years he had an orchestra – 10 piece set up that he used to earn his keep.  Blew a trumpet and played events that included his high school and the Ontario Ladies College in Brockville.

Murray and Diana Hogarth in the sun room of their Lakeshore Road home.

Murray`s parents ran a retail operation in Napanee that specialized in gift items and fine china.  He worked the shop with his brother when he wasn`t renting the golf club for dances.  Murray was probably making money before he was out of short pants.

In `53 he was hired by what was then British American Oil company (they became Gulf oil) and given a territory in Scarborough where he made sure 40 gas stations were meeting their sales targets.  Murray soaked it all up and within a year the company moved him to Windsor where it was a much bigger business.  He watched over the gas stations as well as farm and industrial accounts.

The first Pioneer gas station – it didn’t look like this the day it opened but it has been open every day since November 1956.

In those days there were very few individual gas station operators to speak of; everything was run by the national brands – the Americans had private operators but the idea hadn`t taken hold in Canada – yet.  One of the corporate accounts Murray serviced was a single station – Beaver, that grew and was eventually sold to Shell Oil.  But before that sale took place Murray became a chum of the owner and the two of them tried some of the American ideas – Murray was in the process of becoming the man who would create the most successful private brand oil and gas operation in the country.  The only thing they don`t do is refine or run a pipeline operation – yet.

Windsor was a great proving ground for Murray.  If you saw an opportunity you were able to go ahead and develop it.  The relationship with the Beaver operator flourished.  They liked the ideas they saw being developed across the river in Detroit and tried many of them in Windsor. After two and a half years in Windsor Murray began to wonder why he was working for big oil – he made his move.

Every weekend Murray would drive to Hamilton and scout that market.  He knew the blue-collar market and he believed he knew how to market to it better than anyone else.  He didn’t know a soul in town when he first got there but he knew he needed a market just like Windsor and focused on Hamilton.  He found what he was looking for at the corner of Upper James and Mohawk.  Murray leased the land, which he later bought and began to build the empire that today has 200 stations in Ontario and a clutch of them in Manitoba where he took over a bunch of Esso Stations.

There was a bit of swamp on the land that Murray was going to build his station on and he knew that at some point he would need to fill that in.  Then he noticed a contractor doing some grade work and hauling away the fill.  Murray invited the contractor to dump that fill in the swampy land he had leased.

Murray Hogarth: Reflective and able to focus on pet project with the operation of the gas companies now in the hands of his sons.

That Upper James station is still operating – it has never closed since he first opened in November of 1956. It began as a 24/7 operation and has stayed that way.  When Murray chose that first Hamilton station the world of gas stations first saw the wily mind of a mater marketer.  In those days Upper James and Mohawk were just across the County line – and Hamilton had an early closing bylaw.  That first Pioneer station was 150 feet beyond the County line.

Murray saw Hamilton as a market that was small enough for a private operator to be recognized yet big enough for him to grow in. And grow he did.  Buying property meant a need for capital or earnings that could pay for the second and third stations.

Murray put his money into property and marketing.  In the early days he will tell you gas stations didn’t have canopies over the pumps; Murray put in canopies.  Most of the stations were a single island with maybe two pumps.  Murray wanted volume so he put in three islands with two pumps at each so that four, six or eight cars could swallow that gas.

Gas stations were pretty bland looking places.  Murray brightened them up and because he stays open long hours he put in as much fluorescent lighting as he could afford.  He gas station business was never going to be the same.

He put up bunting, flags and offered deals and lower prices.  In those days stations carried several brands of oil at different price points.  Murray carried several and made sure that the brand with his name on it was the lowest price.

He was the first to put booths with cash registers out where the pumps were so that people could pay quickly and move on – making room for another customer.

He was one of the very first, if not the first, to create a loyalty program that gave customers another reason to return.  Car washes were added to the mix.

Created marketing tools that led the way. The Pioneer loyalty program rewards its customer with cash rebates that are printed on the receipt. Air Miles doesn’t give you that.

Growing the business was no slam dunk – there was more than one very close call – three of them in fact , but what kept the chain alive was Murray’s ability to make quick decisions.  “I didn’t have a board that I had to meet with”; one gets the impression that Murray Hogarth isn’t all that big on corporate committees either.

Listening to Murray explain the corporate structure and the way he moved two of his sons into the company and gave them increasing levels of responsibility, one assumes the man has an MBA.  No, Murray worked from the pit of his stomach and a developed understanding of his customer base.  He learned by doing and from his mistakes.  He looked for opportunities to give staff all the responsibility they could handle.  He was a task master – with a heart.

While retired, it doesn’t take long to see a pair of eyes that don’t miss much and at the same time have that twinkle that tells you – Murray Hogarth did it his way – and he beat the big guys.  He did it with a strong, supportive wife who may not have actually pumped gas but she was in every one of those stations in the early days and when Murray leaves out a fact – she is quick to remind him that they acquired a string of stations in Manitoba from Esso.

Diana Hogarth – five boys and a husband build a business doth a career make. She is also a noted designer.

Murray first laid eyes on Diana when she was ten.  She was the sister of one of Murray’s best friends.  Years later that friend asked Murray to go to a dance with him – Murray couldn’t hustle up a date and the friend suggested he ask his sister Diana.  “Ask her just for laughs” the friend suggested and the Murray and Di story began. The two of them, almost in unison say: “and we’ve ben laughing ever since”.

We interviewed Murray and Diana Hogarth in the sun room of their Lakeshore Road home, nicely decorated with good art and sculpture tastefully sprinkled throughout the house.  Murray soaks up the sun as he recovers from surgery.  With the interview nearing its end Diana gets up to see her guest out and touches Murray on the shoulder asking: “Are you ready for some lunch”.

Today, son Tim is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the company while another son heads up the marketing side.

Arching over the different t corporations is the “family” firm – Pioneer Energy where Murray, Di and the five boys sit as Directors with two outside directors to create strategy and guide everything.

Murray took in part of the Community Foundation celebration last weekend.  Recovering (very nicely by the way) from serious surgery, he chose not to give a speech and had his son Tim fill in for him.

Tim was not there to laud his parents.  He spoke about giving back to the community and the lessons his Dad had taught him and his brothers.

“Typical of my father’s entrepreneurialism” said Tim, “Murray recognized that while we can’t always predict what lies ahead, we can always make sure we are prepared to seize the opportunity or meet the need when it arises. And that is what this is all about. It’s never too late… philanthropy, as Murray and Diana have proven time and again, has no retirement age.”

Tim had taken up the philosophical torch from his Dad.

Murray was big on giving back to a community that has given to him.  His early involvement in growing community was with the Hamilton Community Foundation where he served as president. He reminds people that Hamilton and Burlington didn’t always work that well together.  Burlington wasn’t contributing the way some felt it should and Murray got behind a movement to create a Burlington Community Foundation, and was its first president.  “I wrote them their first cheque” he adds with a modest measure of pride.

Diana – they call her Di, runs the household and still puts in time at her design business.  Do not call Diana Hogarth a decorator – “decorators”, she will tell you, almost dismissively, “paint walls or hang wall paper”.  Diana is a designer and if the sun room we met in is an example of her work – there are a number of homes in this  community that have been very, very nicely done.

She and Murray raised five boys, two of whom are in the family business. Between them they have 13 children. Gregory, twins Tim and Geoffrey, Christopher and Peter.  Tim and Geoffrey are at Pioneer. Peter, Tim and Greg are heavily involved in the franchise business with Wendy’s and Tim Hortons being their biggest operations. Peter is also in the home building business.

Murray and Diana Hogarth were recognized last weekend by the Burlington Community Foundation as the Philanthropists of the Year.  The evening they were recognized, the family announced a gift of $1 million to the Joseph Brant Hospital which they gave through the Burlington Community Foundation.

A small room that serves as a bit of an office just inside the front door of their home, that has every inch of its walls covered in either book shelves or pictures that Diana refers to as the “rogue’s gallery”.  The pictures capture the boys and their families – there are 13 grandchildren, at the various stages of their lives.

Tim said to the audience at the Masquerade Ball where Murray and Diana were honoured: “We experienced and watched the struggles of Dad and Mom establishing a business and trying to make it work and grow. Our father invested his life savings along with a small loan from his father and brother to get the business started.

Murray Hogarth with sons Geoff and a representative from the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

“We boys had absolutely no clue of the hardships and challenges our parents faced in trying to make their dreams a reality. Being oblivious can sometimes be a wonderful thing! Somehow it all magically seemed to work out-  the business took flight and grew bigger.. but as my brothers and I soon would learn from Dad.. you create your own magic with hard work, passion and a commitment to succeed and the rest will take care of itself.”

“As their sons, we couldn’t ask for better role models on how to live and lead a successful life. Back in the 60’s.. Burlington was a relatively small community and somehow while having to support five boys, a new fledgling business, and pay the mortgage my parents still found time to give to the community and support local causes.

“I remember my mother being very involved in the Junior League as well as launching and chairing the first campaign in Burlington for the Heart & Stroke Foundation and actively canvassing many evenings and weekends.”

“Regardless, of the challenges they faced as the years went by they always supported their community and that philosophy infected us.  Murray explains that the Masquerade Ball was the occasion he used to pass the torch to his sons.  I showed them how it’s done – now I expect them to lead in their own fashion.”

 Today, the Burlington Community Foundation manages $7.5 million, with 67 endowed funds from individuals, families, corporations and agencies. It has granted over $1.6 million, and touched over 41 charities and non-profit organizations in the past twelve months. That is success by any measure! And that is how a gift of $100,000 can multiply.

Former Burlington Mayor Rob MacIsaac put it very well when he said that first $100,000 “really sparked a coming of age for philanthropy for our city… and demonstrated a level of leadership that paved the way for many donations since.”

For the Hogarth’s the question they ask about philanthropy is: “Isn’t that why we’re here? The welfare of our community, of others, IS our concern. It is not a burden, but an opportunity.”

 ‘Why not share is a question worth asking yourself. Business is not just all about making money. Although, critically important, it is not how you create value. Money is the offshoot of value – not the cause of it. That is something both my parents have always believed in.

Murray Hogarth: Can you see the twinkle in his eye? He did do it his way.

They gave through the Hamilton Community Foundation, which Murray eventually chaired. And went on to help establish the Burlington Community Foundation and then the Napanee Community Foundation in Murray’s original home town with his brother Don.

And they set up the Pioneer Energy Foundation and Pioneer Energy Fund in 1999 as projects to mark Canada’s Millennium.

As Murray puts it: “This public / private foundation model is an efficient way for businesses and families to give back in perpetuity to the areas and projects of their community where there is the most need, both now and in the future.”

And that’s the key: “in perpetuity”. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, keeps on benefitting the community. It ensures “sustainability”.

That’s when Murray Hogarth’s quiet smile builds up.  He did it his way and it worked.  His boys will now carry the torch – expect it to burn as brightly in their hands.

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The Senate mess: what can we expect next?

October 31, 2013

By Ray Rivers

BURLINGTON, ON.  This has been a crazy week in Canadian politics.  it wouldn’t surprise me if Joe Oliver, Canada’s Natural Resources Minister, who returned from a trade mission to China last week, pulled another free-trade deal out of his hip pocket.  This one, to be signed in time for the ‘Year of the Horse‘ (Jan 31, 2014), would allow China unlimited access to the oil sands, including permission to build whatever pipelines they need to move the bitumen.  In exchange, China will have to assume responsibility for the management of the Canadian Senate and its senators.

The Senate, an appointed body that can revise any government bill except a money bill. It was intended to be a chamber that took a longer second look at government legislation. In the past few years it has become a place where appointed men and women abuse rules designed to manage their spending.

And who doesn’t sympathize with the PM?  How frustrating it must be when you stuff the Senate with handpicked disciples only to find they have turned on you; just like what happened to Julius Caesar on the Ides of March.  I know these senators are just having sober second-thoughts about being party to their own expulsions from the Senate but still – what a lack of gratitude.  Anyway, it makes for great drama and the PM and his crowd have given the Canadian TV networks a flood of new viewers feeding on the daily revelations of Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau and the ever-creative denials and contradictions by the PM.

“Oh what a tangled web we weave…”  Did Harper dismiss Nigel Wright or had he resigned as was the first story?  Were Wallin’s expenses in order as the PM originally said or were they false claims as he now maintains?  How many people in the PMO knew about the $90,000 cheque to Duffy?  My rule of thumb is that if you have to keep changing your story, you weren’t being fully truthful in the first place. 

Stephen Harper is a meddler – not the kind to leave well enough alone, which makes him his own worst enemy.  And when a meddler is consumed with trying to get things perfect – they rarely turn out that way.  Think back to the G-8 meetings in 2010 where despite the government’s infatuation with making Canada look good, spending a tonne of money in the process, the nasty riots and disturbing violations of human rights are the only things we remember. 

Harper is well-known to be a micro-manager, which is why nobody believes that he wasn’t involved in the $90,000 cheque to Duffy.  More than that he is a control freak going so far as to treat the Senate as an extension of his Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).      But try as his loyal subjects, in the Senate, are trying, they will not likely be able to suspend the senators in question until Monday, which means that his appearance at the Conservative convention this weekend will be overshadowed by this issue.

And that means that the PM will come back next week with the Senate debacle still ongoing, and him having to find more answers to questions he wishes would just go away – questions like did you orchestrate that big cheque for Duffy, and why?  Or why would the PM compensate Duffy for repayment of wrongfully claimed expenses?  The answer may well have to wait until the RCMP complete their investigation, or until Nigel Wright finally has had enough and comes out of the closet, singing like a canary.

Stephen Harper in Calgary earlier in his career.

What a mess, and one that could most likely have been avoided.  Some have compared this affair to Watergate, though that is way over-the-top. This little tempest is unlikely to break the tea pot where our PM has been living – he’ll survive.  The latest polls show almost no effect among the Tory faithful.

Still this kind of political drama isn’t good for the PM or his party as they pass the midway point in their term in office, and it has given Mulcair an opportunity to finally show his stuff.  As for China taking over the Senate, rest assured that is not one of the options the PM put to the Supreme Court.  Besides, the Chinese would not be that foolish, even though it is called the Red Chamber.

 Ray Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was a candidate for provincial office in Burlington where he ran against Cam Jackson in 1995, the year Mike Harris and the Common Sense Revolution swept the province. He developed the current policy process for the Ontario Liberal Party.

 ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND:  Joe Oliver in China  Polls



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City’s premier art event – Studio Tour this weekend. 29 artists, 8 locations.

October 28th, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  It’s that time of year again – Halloween yes – but much more interesting is the Annual Art in Action Studio tour which this year will include 29 artistes in eight locations.

This Studio Tour event is now in its 11th year. There are some of the old standards and at couple of places that might better be given a rest but this is still very much a superb opportunity to get out and see what the city’s arts community has to offer.

Premier Arts event for November in the city. Not to be missed.

If this event is one that you’ve done in the past there is an opportunity to see the growth in artists you’ve watched and see how they have perhaps grown and changed.

There are two we have been watching and appreciating the changes, the growth and the new directions they are going in.  Last year there were a few that weren’t on the tour and we missed them.

The tour lasts two days.  You will find yourself bumping into the same people at different locations and striking up friendships and talking about what you saw that you liked.

November 2 and 3. 

A Helen Griffiths piece. This artist continues to both surprise and delight.

Art in Action runs the Studio Tour which gives artists exposure which never hurts.  The organization also has a scholarship is gives each year.  Last year  $1,500  went to Michelle Nguyen, a Robert Bateman High School graduate studying landscape architecture at the University of Guelph.

Fratesi has pieces at the Burlington Art Centre where her work can be rented from the Art Bank

Cheryl Goldring and Don Graves handle fundraising for the group which pay for studio tour advertising and scholarships.

New to the Studio Tour this year are: Tamara Kwapich (Studio 5), Lois Shaw (Studio 6) and Donna Fratesi (Studio 1) and  Rachel Quinteros (Studio 4)




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BAC event is no ordinary soup kitchen: the bowl is a piece of art and the soups are divine. So good they usually sell out. Book now.

October 30,  2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  It sold out last year and has sold out frequently before that – so if you want to be at the table this year – make your reservation.

The Burlington Art Centre (BAC) fundraiser will celebrate both culinary and ceramic art this year, as restaurants donate soups and salads and potters donate handcrafted soup bowls. There will be celebrity servers and a full-course dinner sitting as well.

Individually hand crafted bowls done by artisans across the province. Enjoy a special gourmet soup and then take the bowl home.

Running from November 14 to 17, this popular BAC tradition will feature all of the favourite Soup Bowl elements – beautiful handcrafted bowls donated by potters from across Ontario ready to be filled with gourmet soups from some of Burlington’s finest restaurants – and some surprises.

“We’ve added to the Soup Bowl fun this year by recruiting celebrities to serve guests,” says Ian Ross, Executive Director at the Burlington Art Centre (BAC). Another new feature is a full-course dinner on November 15 at 6 pm, which will include special entrée selections and a glass of wine, as well as the soup bowl selection, gourmet soups, salads, bread, desserts and coffee/tea which are served up at lunch sittings. A cash bar also is available throughout the event.

Tickets are on sale now: $50 ($40 for BAC members) for lunch sittings; Friday dinner tickets are $75 ($65 for BAC members). The full-course dinner on November 15 at 6 pm, will include special entrée selections and a glass of wine, as well as the soup bowl selection, gourmet soups, salads, bread, desserts and coffee/tea which are served up at lunch sittings. A cash bar also is available throughout the event.

Tables of eight can be reserved. Order tickets online at, by phone (905-632-7796, ext. 326) or at the BAC, 1333 Lakeshore Road, Burlington.

The Arts Burlington Christmas Sale will take place at the same time. The Sale features a wide variety of handcrafted items produced by the Guilds of Arts Burlington with Christmas in mind. It is open to everyone on November 14 from 11 am to 3 pm; November 15 from 11 am to 9 pm; and November 16 and 17 from 11 am to 4 pm.

The Burlington Art Centre is located at 1333 Lakeshore Road, Burlington, and is an accessible facility with lots of free parking over the course of the event. The 2013 Soup Bowl is sponsored by Utter Morris Insurance Brokers Limited and Wendy and Don Smith, Smith’s Funeral Homes.

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Ho,Ho, Ho – but is isn’t all that funny. Rotarians getting stuck with a bad rap when all they did was write cheques.

October 29, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  The four Burlington Rotary organizations in Burlington got trashed by local media and people involved in the Santa Clause parade when all they did was advise the parade committee that they were changing their priorities.

Burlington’s four Rotary Clubs have put up $1250 each year for the past ten years to support the annual Santa Claus parade that is organized by a citizen’s committee chaired by Gunther Kaschuba.  The parade committee says they were blindsided – the Rotarians didn’t see it that way and will be dealing with the parade people in due course.

Rotary pays full freight for a float of their own in the parade plus putting a cheque for $5000 on the table each year.  In the past they have asked for some corporate recognition as Rotary moves forward with plans to enlarge their membership and re-focus their projects.

The Santa Claus parade has taken place for more than 45 years in Burlington. Organized by a citizens group that works out of the city’s Festivals and Events office it is the premier holiday event in the city. The elves have got a spot of trouble to manage with one of their benefactors this time around.

Like any organization, Rotary continually looks at its program and reviews the effectiveness of what they are doing.  They apparently came to the conclusion that the Santa Claus parade was no longer part of the way they wanted to interact with the community.  Rotary has yet to issue a statement.  Because there are four different groups in Burlington – it is not always easy to come up with a single voice but the message to the Santa people was that the end of their participation had arrived.

One might quibble that perhaps more time could have been given but the parade organization, which has never issued a financial statement that we are aware of, has in the past been somewhat high-handed with the way they manage the event.

Colorful to say the least.

For Rotarians right relationships are paramount and, after listening to a number of people, one gets the impression that there was more wrong than right with the way the Santa parade people managed one of their biggest benefactors.

The parade will take place Sunday, December 1st beginning at 2:00 pm at the intersection of Prospect and Guelph Line.  Somehow the financial problems will get worked out.  Remembering to thank people for their contributions and not to take them for granted is one of the life lessons most of us get at our parents knee.

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Citizen committe takes a whack at city council; not a knock out punch.

October 28, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ONThe Burlington Waterfront Committee released a statement this morning smacking city council for two of its recent decisions.  Committee spokesperson Gary Scobie said:

 “For the second time in just over a week, the majority on Burlington City Council supported conflicting actions and embarrassed themselves on a waterfront issue.  First Council decided to sell public waterfront land to private interests when Council’s stated goal is to acquire such lands for the public good.  Then it confused a 35-year-old vision of a park with the reality of today and allowed a community outside Burlington to determine the fate of destruction for a community inside Burlington.”

From the left: Bob Wingfield, Gary Scobie, Jeff Martin and Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward.  All, except for Martin are members of the waterfront Committee.

“Our volunteer committee of citizens from each ward continues to support Beachway Park and the beach community co-existing as they have since the park’s inception and the acquisition/retention of actual waterfront property to enhance and promote public access.”

That and $5 will get you as decent latte in this city but not much more.  The statement was released exactly one year before voters in Burlington will troop to the polls.

There are now a number of groups that are lining up their resources to take their issues to the public while the city creates an Insight Burlington service to hear what a panel of 5,000 people think.

These groups and the panel should get together somewhere and enjoy one of those $5 lattes – perhaps we won’t need an election.

 The Burlington Waterfront Committee gave birth to itself when the city sunset the Waterfront Access Protection and Advisory Committee.  It claims to have representation from every ward in the city, which we believe, and holds regular, open to the public meetings.  Ward 2 Councilor Marianne Meed Ward was instrumental in getting this committee off the ground and runs it out of her office.

This is however, an independent committee – Meed Ward doesn’t run the show.  There are some very strong-minded people on that committee who believe the waterfront matters and work towards ensuring the public will is not lost at the city council table.

There is also a small group of citizens taking a hard second look at the decision council made to sell waterfront property to private interests.  Expect them to bring a stiff argument to a table somewhere; either in a courtroom or at a tribunal.  They are wondering if there is an Ontario Municipal Board case to be made.


Creation of waterfront committee

Sale of Water Street road allowance

Regional Beachway Park decision.

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Pier court case still chugging away – legal fees getting higher and higher; public kept in the dark.

October 28, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  We don’t hear much about the Court cases related to the construction of the pier other than the Mayor saying he hoped to be able to tell the public just how much has been spent on lawyers so far.

There is much, much more to the legal quagmire the city has itself in.

The lawyers are STILL in their Discovery process; they were going through this phase for large parts of the week before last and some now realize that this case is not likely to get to Court in the near future.

No one is prepared to say just how much longer this process will go on.  Each of the parties involved in the dispute keeps asking questions of the city and every time that happens more information comes to the surface that results in even more questions

Involved in the litigation are the following corporations: Harm Schilthuis and Sons Limited vs. the Corporation of the City of Burlington

The Corporation of the City of Burlington vs. Zurich Insurance Company Ltd.

The Corporation of the City of Burlington vs. Harm Schilthuis and Sons Ltd., Aecom Canada Ltd., Lombard General Insurance Company of Canada, P.V &V Insurance Centre Ltd. et al (Insurance Claim)

The Corporation of the City of Burlington vs. Aecom Canada Ltd.

Harm Schilthuis and Sons Ltd. vs. Lombard General Insurance Company of Canada, P.V. & V Insurance Centre Ltd., the Corporation of the City of Burlington, Craneway Equipment Ltd. (Insurance Claim)

The week that Tom Eichenbaum was named  Engineer of the Year by the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers and the Hamilton/Halton Engineering Week Committee, he also spent much of his time in Discovery being examined on his involvement related to the construction of the pier at the foot of Brant street.

The award recognizes those who “exemplify the character of the engineering profession and have inspired the young, contributed to their communities, excelled as engineers and researchers, fostered achievement in those around them, and mentored the next generation of engineers.”

Gathered out on the pier before construction was completed, from left to right are:  Brad Cassidy, Tom Eichenbaum, Craig Stevens and a Graham Infrastructure employee.

Some at city hall questioned the criteria used by the Engineering Society in the selection of members they wish to publicly acclaim.  Eichenbaum’s credibility had taken a big hit when the city manager had to apologize publicly for errors Eichenbaum had made around the inclusion of a wind turbine on the pier.  The city eventually decided to forget about including a wind turbine.

At some point an exasperated Judge will bring the Discovery process to a halt after which the parties involved have to take part in some form of mediation.  Can all this be done and then a trial take place before the next municipal election takes place on October 28, 2014?  Many are beginning to doubt that – which will make members of this council happy campers.  Were trial testimony to come out during an election all but one member of this Council would be wearing a thick coat of mud on their faces.

Ward two Councillor Marianne Meed Ward has been the only Councillor who has consistently said the city has significant responsibility for errors made and that a settlement has been possible for some time.

It is believed that the office of the city’s solicitor has become concerned about the quality of the city’s case and that there are two members of Council suggesting the city look for a way to settle.  The Gazette is not aware of who the second Councillor might be.

We do know that at the end of each Discovery session transcripts are on the desks of all the lawyers involved the following day and pored over in some detail by city legal staff.  We are advised that the information in those transcripts has not improved the city’s position.

In the event that the case actually goes to trail all this information will become public.

The public loves the pier – they just don’t know yet what the full cost is going to be. The total cost will be a whopper. High enough to make political heads roll? The politicians just might manage to run out the clock.

Meanwhile the public just loves the pier.  Ask people how they feel about the cost and they just shake their heads and wonder what they can do about any of that at this point in time.

Wait until they hear how much the city is going to have to take from taxpayers to settle the judgement that many expect to see Harm Schilthuis and Sons Ltd.  awarded.

At some point the city might decide it is time to settle – they have had at least one opportunity to do so.  If they do look for a gag order to ensure the public never gets the details.

The public does not yet have any detail on the waterfront land the city has decided to sell to private interests.  The law suits surrounding the construction of the pier might get the same “you don’t need to know” treatment.


City’s Court case.

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Masquerade Ball resounding success – we tell the story in pictures.

October 27, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  It was a SOLD OUT event.  No numbers yet on exactly how much was raised but the auctioneer was really  busy for a part of the evening.

Angelo Paletta worked the room of the Burlington Community  Foundation Masquerade ball like a politician running for office.

It was a fun night where Angelo Paletta, this year’s Patron for the Burlington Community Foundation annual fund-raiser,  worked the tables so well one might have thought he was running for office.

There were there to dine, to dance, to raise additional funds and just have a good time. The setting made all that possible.

The Burlington Convention Centre was very nicely decorated with the event where the masquerade theme dominated.  

The evening was part social, part fund-raiser and the occasion when Murray and Diane Hogarth the Philanthropists of the year were celebrated and honoured for what they have given back to the community.

This wasn’t an occasion to take name of identify the “usual suspects” but a time to catch people in an environment they are comfortable in. Deals and conversations are always part of the social mix.

The Burlington Community Foundation is an organization that works on several levels for the city.  Besides holding a boffo ball – it has a structure that serves the people who want to donate some of the wealth and their talent to the community.  The Hogarth’s are the first couple recognized as philanthropists in Burlington and they are the fourth to be so honoured.  Predecessors were: Don Smith, Kevin Brady, Doug Leggat and now Diana and Murray Hogarth.

The Foundation collaborates with individuals and corporations to build endowments, give grants and connect community leadership.  There are currently more than 55 funds overseen by the Foundation with Donour Designated, Donour Advised, specific fields of interest; scholarship based and unrestricted funds.

Philanthropy is not just people giving money – it is service to the community where talent is as relevant as the size of the cheque that might be written.

Each year the Foundation produces a Vital Signs report setting out where the city is on a number of different socio-economic levels and highlighting areas of specific concern to the community.

That is a great smile!

Mental Health was highlighted as a very serious concern and one that will be given more attention through a Roundtable the Foundation will sponsor in the New Year.

There are other organizations that use the Foundation to distribute funds into the community.  The Halton Heros leave the funds they have raised with the Foundation and have the organization deliver the funds when there is a need.  The service allows an organization to focus on fund raising and not get bogged down with the investment and management of the funds raised.

How two women can have a conversation and ignore a Bobby Orr sweater defied understanding – well male understanding anyway.

When it came to bidding for items it was clear this woman knew what she wanted.

Foundation Executive Director Collen Mullholland makes sure the event Patron Angelo Paletta stays on track

Fist full of dollars. One unique auction item was a high end purse stuffed with cask. The winning bidder got the purse and a tax receipt for the cash which went to the Foundation.

He needed just that much more – and the deal might have been done or perhaps it was just that much more for the golf ball to go into the hole. We will never know which.

A ball is a social event – where people spend as much time walking as they dancing and dining. Gives everyone a chance to check out the gowns as well.

You dance with the person who brought you – and dance they did.

Do the masques hid the beauty?

This wouldn’t be a Burlington organization if there wasn’t an invitational golf tournament as well. The Foundation distributes funds to an extensive list of organization including ArtHouse, Bay Area Restoration, Bruce Trail, Burlington Art Centre , Canadian Mental Health Association, Conservation Halton Foundation, Danielle’s Place, Easter Seals, Food for Life, Habitat for Humanity, Halton Food for Thought,  Reach Out Centre for Kids ROCK, , Start2Finish and the YMCA.

Later in the week the Foundation will announce what was raised and move on to the next project which in a few short months will be the Roundtable on Mental Health and the impact that is having on our community.

We asked Ashley to cover the Masquerade Ball, seen as the premier social event in Burlington, where the funds raised go to the Burlington Community Foundation.

One table insisted on posing for the camera – something we don’t do much of.  We prefer to catch people as they are rather than what they want the camera to see.  But this bunch of happy campers had bid on a Bahamas Cruise and invited our photographer to tag along and do an expose on the crowd.  This might be a Burlington Ashley Sloggett could get used to

A night out doesn’t mean the home front doesn’t have to be looked after – this couple work the phones – perhaps to determine just where the kids are.  I’ll call this one – you call that one.

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Electronic polling by the city: a good opportunity for citizen over site and engagement.

October 27, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  City Hall is getting into electronic public opinion polling.  They are going to create a panel of 5,000 citizens who will be asked a series of questions from time to time.  Citizens will be able to respond from their cell phone, tablets, lap tops and desk tops.  The only media you won’t be able to use is Morse code.  This service, expected to roll out before the end of the year is going to be called Insight Burlington.

It’s an approach that is certainly worth looking at – what are the possible downsides to this?

At the public meeting where the plans were passed along to the public 50+ people made it clear they didn’t want this service run by the politicians.

They wanted to know who would decide what the questions should be?  How much of the data would the public actually get to see and who would be accountable for what gets done with both the inputs and the outputs.  Mark Twain often used a phrase thought to have been coined by former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

That pretty well sums up the public perception of survey information which is something city hall is going to have to deal with.

Are surveys an example of a city council governing by polls?  Do surveys become mini-referendums that result in policy?  Where does political leadership come into play?  If one went by the letters to the editor in a local newspaper when the pier was going through a very difficult patch (mostly the result of terrible project management on the part of the city – but that’s another story) the structure would have been torn down.  Go out on the pier at almost any time of day and ask people if they think the project should have been scrapped?

A collection of opinions is a snapshot of where thinking is at a particular moment and depends heavily on a public being fully informed.  Hard to call Burlington a fully informed city – the Shape Burlington report that came out just over three years ago identified a significant “information deficit” that no one would claim has been anywhere near resolved.

Julian Marquis was heavily involved in the development of the Citizen Engagement Charter and registered to be on of the 5,000 people who will be part of the Insight Burlington initiative.

When the public gets told that the city did not live up to its usual high standard of communications during the debate on the sale of the Water Street properties one is tempted to ask – and why was that?  The question was not asked.

The flow of information and the balance that flow is given is critical.  The city spends close to $1 million on communications when you include their advertising, salaries and printing costs.  That allows the city to tell its story in the way it chooses to tell the story.

Will City Hall have the same tight grip on this electronic medium?  Is there room here for some civilian oversight?  Could well be.

About a year ago the city could not handle the flak that was coming out of the very differing opinions on historical homes and the way they were being put on registries with some property owners thinking their homes would be designated as historical and see a diminished value placed on them.  The city failed miserably to educate the public but did have the foresight to re-organize the Heritage Advisory Committee and tasked it with cleaning up the mess.

And clean it up they did.  That Advisory Committee did such a tremendous job that the members of city council actually gave them a standing ovation and a significant budget to complete the job which is going to include creating a web site that will tell Burlington’s stories and how they relate to historical properties.

It is clear that wisely constituted advisory committee can work.

Because there is some well-founded concern over who is going to determine what questions get asked with the electronic polling panel does it not makes solid sense for there to be some citizen oversight right from the beginning?

The city has an Engagement Charter that is marooned somewhere in city hall where it is now just a document gathering dust.  It needs to be brought out and given a little exercise and made live and relevant.

So why not create an Advisory Committee that would be responsible for the intelligent use of the Engagement Charter and for citizen over site of the Insight Burlington operation.  You can bet that the council members will look for ways to ask questions in such a way that they get the answers they want to approve the actions they want to take.  They do it now during citizen delegations where there is just the one citizen standing before Council.  Imagine what they will do when they say there are 5,000 people who see it their way?

We can think of at least one person on Council who would jump at this idea and two of the potential candidates in the municipal election who would see merit in this.  They might even make it part of their platform.

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The New Battle in the Online Payment Sphere: Amazon vs PayPal

October 26, 2013

By James Burchill

BURLINGTON, ON.  Amazon has launched a service called Login and Pay with Amazon which allows partner sites to enable a Pay with Amazon payment button that can process purchases through the Amazon system. This competes directly with PayPal and merchant services and could become a serious competitor for eBay’s payment processing giant. It’s also something that could give Amazon a third income arm to augment the warehousing sales and cloud services it has built its business on.

Amazon moves into yet another sphere of the online commerce world: payment services.

The new Login and Pay with Amazon combines the current Amazon payments services with a new login service similar to Google or Twitter login systems for websites. Together, the combined services offer a one-stop integration for Web payments in a way similar to how PayPal’s payments button works.

This will allow Amazon’s business partners to tap into the 215 million active customer accounts that the company has on tap. According to Tom Taylor, Vice President, Amazon Payments, ‘Login and Pay with Amazon enables companies to make millions of our customers their customers by inviting online shoppers with Amazon credentials to access their account information safely and securely with a single login.’

Until now, Amazon payments services have directed users to Amazon’s website to authorize the purchase – if you’ve invested in Kickstarter projects, you’ve no doubt seen this in action. This new setup works the same way, but doesn’t require the site redirect and can work in a window or directly on the merchant’s site.

On top of the payments option, this new login service also means that websites can accept Amazon credentials as a login, in the same way they use Facebook, Twitter or Google login authentication. This opens up possibilities for a whole cottage industry of services working in and around Amazon’s consumer offerings like streaming video, audio, etc. Since it works through a simple oAuth implementation, developers will have no difficulty adding it to a site. Amazon’s inclusion of their A to Z Guarantee for this authentication service will only bolster consumer confidence.

For those who travel, you’ll see the new Login and Pay with Amazon in action when you use Gogo WiFi in flight on an air flight later this year – the company plans to have it implemented before the big holiday season of flying begins next month.

For its part, PayPal is not sitting on its laurels waiting to be ousted from the market. The company recently acquired BrainTree, a cross-site payments solution, and has unveiled a physical payment option that can be used in brick-and-mortar retail establishments to pay for goods and services. This would allow small businesses to accept payments via PayPal by having their phone or register bill the client or the client can pay and their phone will produce a QR code that the clerk at the register can scan to complete the transaction. A random four-number code can also be produced which can then be entered into the keypad of the credit card reader at the register to complete the sale.

Still, with Amazon now horning in on their core business, PayPal must be worried. Amazon, meanwhile, is poised to take yet another big chunk of the web’s profit potential and add it to their portfolio.

James Burchill creates communities and helps businesses convert conversations into cash.  He’s also an author, speaker, trainer and creator of the Social Fusion Network™ an evolutionary free b2b networking group with chapters across southern Ontario.  He blogs at and can be found at the or behind the wheel of his recently acquired SMART car.

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The city wants your insights – they are going to go electronic and online to get them and spend $100,000 to make this happen.

October 26, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  Governing is all about information.  Power is also all about information.

How does one get that information?  And just what is the information?

Those were questions and concerns that got raised at a meeting last Thursday at the Performing Arts Centre where Burlingtonians got to listen to one of the greatest public polling practitioners this country has ever had.  Angus Reid was in town to talk about Insight Burlington

Surrey, BC resident responding to an online poll. Burlington will be using the same service to learn what 5,000 Burlingtonians think about issues the city faces.

Mayor Goldring explained Insight Burlington as the city’s new online public consultation and citizen engagement community.  It is an online consultation community where participants will weigh in on important city issues by participating in online surveys and discussions via their smart phones, computers and tablets.  Insight Burlington is powered by Vision Critical’s online community platform, connecting busy people with their city via ongoing consultations and engagement, on their time and on their terms. It is expected to launch early next year.

This “engagement community” will be made up of a panel of 5,000 people – perhaps more.  If you want to be on the panel use the link at the bottom of the page to  add your name to the list – when the panel is being put together you will be advised and given a chance to be part of the process.

Well – just what is that process – how will it work and who controls the process.  While Burlingtonians are decent,  polite people they ask questions and want to be sure their interests are being put first.

The city wants to engage its citizens and they know that there has to be something better than the current council delegation process.  Angus Reid told the audience what they already knew:  “We’re increasingly turning to digital and mobile technology, it’s time for public institutions and local governments to engage people where they are spending time: online.

The Mayor gets emails constantly and told of an occasion when he was in bed, reading a book on his e reader when a “tweet” suddenly showed up on the screen.  He had forgotten to turn that feature off.

If 5,000 Burlingtonians had been asked what they wanted the city to do with the Water Street property they recently agreed to sell to private interests – would we have seen a different decision? Is electronic opinion gathering going to make a difference to the way city council decides?

We live in a society where everything is “on” all the time.  People want information – now.  The city would like to know what people think – now, while a decision is being made.

So Burlington is buying into a service that lets the city create a panel of 5,000 people who will get messages asking them what they think about specific issues.  People will be able to respond instantly through their cell phone, their tablet, their lap top or their computer at home.

The city will tabulate the results instantly and know what the prevailing views of these 5000 people are on the questions being asked.

Who is going to choose those 5000 people several in the audience wanted to know.  They won’t be chosen explained Angus Reid – they will self-select.  If you want to be on the panel then you put yourself on the panel.  What if some organization has all its members rush to be on the panel and thereby dominate the responses?

The technology built into the system will catch things like this the audience was told.  So if there I technology involved then someone does have control?

Gets complex and at some point one has to trust the people running the operation.

OK – who will be running the operation at city hall?  Well it won’t be the council members.  OK – who will be running the operation at city hall?  Well it won’t be the council members.  The Insight Burlington process will be run out of the office of the city manager.  Good – we happen to have a first-rate city manager – but he will retire at some point – if we don’t burn him out before he retires.

The city has an Engagement Charter and some thought this information gathering service could be tied into that.  Good idea – one that needs some additional thinking.

Mayor Goldring explained some of the ways the Insight Burlington service would work.  People just don’t have the time to get out to meetings where they listen to a presentation and then stand in line to get to a microphone to make a comment.  We see this all the time with development applications.

Insight Burlington could be used to put up visuals that show what is proposed as a particular development application.  The facts would be laid out and people would get a chance to answer questions. 

The city holds budget review meetings that draw 50 people sometimes – seldom more. Putting questions about the budget on-line and letting a panel of 5,000 people respond would give city hall a much bigger picture. They may not like the response they get – then what do they do?

Typically a city meeting might get as many as 10 delegations from the immediate area – city hall would like to wider response and going electronic gives them that opportunity.

This kind of technology is not however without its downside.  Who decides what the questions are going to be?  City Manger’s office? What if city council wants a question asked and the city manager doesn’t think it’s appropriate?  City managers serve at the pleasure of a city council; could get a little sticky down the road.

Burlington has a public affairs department that isn’t exactly stellar. It looks as if they will be kept to putting out press releases ad getting City Talk into your hands.

Angus Reid pointed out, as most people who have anything to say about the public thinks already know: Local is what matters most to people.  That might be true but that isn’t reflected in the way people vote at municipal elections.  The voter turnout is low – at times abysmally low.  In some situations Board of Education trustees are acclaimed.  If there is anything that should matter to parents it is how we educate their children.

Burlington is the first city in eastern Canada to climb aboard this service and will be signing a three-year contract that will come in at about $100,000 a year – more if the city takes up some of the analytical service offered.

Data in itself doesn’t provide answers – it is the analyzing of the data and what it really means that is important.  On that level what the city learns from the tea leaves is only as good as the people doing the tea leaf reading.

Part of what this process is about is pulling the public into the public square.  That public, according the Angus Reid falls into one of four segmentations.

16% of us fall into the “angry activist” segment

23% fall into a “young and ambivalent” segment.  This group tends not to like the old way of communicating.

35% of us are defined as retiring skeptics

26% are called happy campers and tend to be families that are busy and happy with the way things are going.

Just over 50 people took in the presentation given by a speaker who did not give short answers.  The city has made the decision to use the service and on the surface it looks like a good idea – it will certainly allow more people to have a say in what gets done.

Julien Marquis  enters his name on the list of people who would like to be part of the city’s panel.

What wasn’t clear was just how transparent the flow of information is going to be.  No one will ever know who responded – all the city will know is that that they live in Burlington and there will be just one response possible from each person.  The city will know what percentage of the panel responded and one has to assume they will know which ward and perhaps first three letters of their postal code.

Close to the end of the evening someone asked who would be accountable for what was being done.  There was a long pregnant pause, the Mayor didn’t say a word, Angus Reid didn’t say a word.  The question sort of hung in the air.

“Citizens”, explained the Mayor, “want the ability to choose how and when they engage and provide feedback to us, More than that, they want to know how their input is being used by the city as we make decisions.”  That is what the Mayor expects Insight Burlington to provide.

 The City of Burlington is the first Ontario community to join Surrey and Vancouver in British Columbia, where residents are using the technology to have their say through the service.    

We will let you know how this works out for Burlington.

Getting you name on the list: CLICK HERE

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Horse racing in Ontario: They’ve been at the post for years – then the starting gates were almost closed.

October 26, 2013

By Ray Rivers

BURLINGTON, ON.  There was time when the only way you could place a bet was to go a horse race.  That was before Trudeau liberalized the criminal code, in 1969, bringing us into the modern age and decriminalizing abortion, homosexuality and lotteries all in one fell swoop.  Prior to that it was strictly illegal to place a bet on anything.  

I recall watching my parents stash away tickets they held for the Irish Hospital Sweepstakes, a complicated lottery based on horse races, illegal pretty well everywhere but Ireland, but which earned its big money overseas.

Slot machine revenue subsidizes race track operations.

Gambling is now very big business. In 2011 Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) turned in $6.7 billion.  Another quarter of a billion came from horse racing.  Horse racing is mostly located in rural areas and so less accessible to the average urbanite.  The forms and betting are complicated, the seasons periodic and the industry heavily regulated.  So, it was inevitable that horse racing would get dwarfed by the dollars rolling in from slot machines and the lotteries, especially when they co-located. 

But horse racing is more than just gambling, it is part of our culture.  If slots and lotteries didn’t exist, it is a safe bet that racing would be far more popular.  When slot machines were introduced at race tracks a portion of the money they brought in was used to help finance the racing business.   However, when former Premier McGuinty set up the Drummond Commission to help him cut the deficit, the subsidies for horse racing were high on the list of things to eliminate.

Despite the need for subsidies, horse racing is an important agricultural industry which generates significant employment underpinning the existence of many of Ontario’s rural communities.  It is estimated that over 30,000 jobs are associated with the horse racing industry which expends over $1.2 billion a year, making this Ontario’s third largest agricultural industry.  Ontario claims to have more race events than any other jurisdiction in North America.  So when the axe fell and the cuts were announced, horse farmers and the agricultural community mounted a public relations campaign to save their industry. 

The horse racing community mounted a strong protest and the government took a second look – out came a compromise which the racing community calls a partnership.

A little over a week ago Ontario Premier Wynne responded to that campaign by bringing forward a plan to restructure Ontario’s horse racing industry to make it more sustainable  and economically viable.  The settlement is not everything the industry wanted, these things never are, and some people had already exited the industry.  Still a subsidy was re-instated and funding was guaranteed for a five-year period, giving stability to the industry. 

Gambling is a big revenue earner, which is why even the Bob Rae New Democrats embraced it back when Ontario was suffering its worst recession since the dirty thirties. Annually about $2 billion of the money that comes in goes back out to help fund our health care system and other government priorities.  Another $2 billion supports local economic development where Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) facilities are located and about $65 million is spent on gambler education, research and treatment.

One could argue that gambling is a natural process.  Every time we get behind the wheel or into an airplane we are gambling with our lives.  And what is the stock market or any investment but a gamble by another name.  Placing a bet is a voluntary action by individuals supposedly responsible enough to manage their affairs.  And if not, there are programs to help the chronic, problem gamblers get their lives straight again. 

There are trotter training operations dotted throughout rural Ontario.

Over two-thirds of Ontario residents gamble at least once a year, although that might involve no more than purchasing a lottery ticket.  And the poor are believed to gamble more than the wealthy thus leading to the label, gambling is a tax on the poor.  Interestingly enough the rise in gambling activity over the years has been associated with the increasing gap between the wealthy and the poor in our North American society.  But it would be a huge overstatement to blame gambling for that sad consequence.  Clearly erosion of the progressive tax system and the introduction of regressive consumer taxes in Canada have weighed-in heavily on that phenomena.

Horse racing is an ancient sport. Its origins date back to about 4500 BC among the nomadic tribesmen of Central Asia, who first domesticated the horse. Since then, horse racing has flourished as the sport of kings. In the USA horse racing is one of the most widely attended spectator sports; over 50 million people attend racing events and wager billions.

That we came close to losing our horse racing industry here in Ontario is frightening.  Hopefully the new plan will allow the industry to focus on attracting more participants to watch the magnificent horses and, if so inclined, to bet on the races. I enjoy doing both, the latter in moderation.

Ray Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was a candidate for provincial office in Burlington where he ran against Cam Jackson in 1995, the year Mike Harris and the Common Sense Revolution swept the province. He developed the current policy process for the Ontario Liberal Party.

Addtional information

Horse racing subsidies

Guaranteed funding for a five-year period.

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Burlington artists now know where the cookie jar is – can they get their hands into the thing?

October 24, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  You know that culture has some traction in Burlington when city council members ask what a Poetry Slam is and when Councillor Jack Dennison suggests the he might even drop by the Black Bull on Guelph Line and hear how Tomy Bewick, a construction worker delivers his message.

Bewick runs the Burlington Poetry Slam, an event most Councillors knew absolutely nothing about; yet it is an organization that has been given a Canada Council grant to bring together Slam poetry artists from across the country.  In Burlington, whoda thunk?

After a close to brutal session at the Regional offices in Oakville where council members took part in a vote that marked the beginning of the end of the Beachway Park community, council met in Burlington to discuss the basics of a Cultural Action Plan and then decide what they wanted to do.

Teresa Seaton, center, organizer of the Art in Action Tour, thinks through a response at one of the Cultural Action Plan sessions. She is one of 250 people organized as an Arts and Culture Collective in Burlington.

They didn’t make any decisions – it was far too late and everyone was far too tired to be able to make sensible decisions, but Burlington did get to see the outline of a community that few really knew existed.  The Arts and Culture Collective, a group of more than 250 people organized on-line,  didn’t really know each other but they have become a voice and they want a seat at the table where the decisions are made.  Nine of their members delegated and laid out their aspirations for a Cultural Action Plan.  They have certainly “informed” the plan the city wants t create but there is still some distance between the bureaucrats and the artists.

The Collective had done their homework – they knew what they wanted – now to actually get it – that’s their challenge.

The delegations were listened to, heard and engaged.  This is not something that happens for many delegations at our city hall.  All too often Council members sit there close to mute as people take their case, their concerns and their hopes the city’s leaders.  That wasn’t the case Wednesday night.

Organized as the Arts and Culture collective in July the thing grew from some 20 people who took part in the first meeting to the 250 people who exchange thoughts and ideas on-line and have learned how to deal with city hall and bring about changes.

The process began a couple of years ago when the city hired Jeremy Freiburg to prepare a report on just what Burlington had and didn’t have going for it in terms of culture.  Everyone knew about the newly minted Performing Arts Centre and everyone knew about the Burlington Art Centre but few of the many ever went to the place to look and see and feel the art over there.

Freiburger’ s  report dug up all kinds of data on where Burlingtonians spent their cultural dollars – far too much of it gets spent outside the city.  He mapped where people go and how much they spend.  He told us what people wanted in terms of culture.

What he revealed was a city that really didn’t have a solid cultural tradition.  We saw a city that chooses to go elsewhere for its culture and entertainment, partly because, they feel, there isn’t anything they like here.

Some thought Freiburger was going to deliver a set of recommendations on what the city should do next – but he chose not to do that.  Instead he gave them the data they needed to begin to figure out what they want to do.

And that is when the Collective began to form.  The people who met, first wanted to be able to do their art here in this city and not have to go to Hamilton or Toronto – but there was no place, no space, nor any expectation, that there was indeed a local arts community.  The city didn’t know they were there and they didn’t know each other.

The group – the Collective – had surfaced and is telling the city that they are here and they want to be involved.

The artists came from every possible discipline. They met to talk through what the city should include in its Cultural Action Plan – then they had to figure out how to actually control that plan once it’s established.

Artists don’t march to the same drummer that the rest of us do – schedules and rules aren’t their strength and it was difficult for the collective to pull together a large number of people.

Because many of the artists were working by themselves they didn’t know many of the people who were doing the same thing.  Trevor Copp, who ended up being the leader/spokesperson for the group came up with the idea of holding a Speed Dating event at a local pub.  The idea was that people would gather and sit with others for a couple of minutes and then move on to another table and meet someone else. Such is the state of relationship building in this world.   It was a good idea, novel and it had the potential to work.  But very few people showed up.  Copp didn’t miss a step – he chose to see the upside, the bright side and pulled together a meeting that saw less than a dozen people talk about what they wanted in the way of an arts community.

That conversation will get reported on at greater length at another time – what we saw was a group that is thinking this through and while the plan is still in the formative stage city hall now has to work with people who are the arts community – we just didn’t know they were there.

Bureaucrats being bureaucrats they decided to have Copp become part of the Steering  Committee that was to fashion a plan out of the data the Freiburger report provided and once a plan is in place,  put together a schedule and time frames to implement it.

One of the major beefs the artists had, was that there were no artists on the steering committee.  The addition of Trevor Copp and Rosanna Dewey to the Steering Committee that had people who administer funds but didn’t “do” art was a significant step.  The challenge now is to ensure that Copp and Dewey don’t get co-opted and turned into bureaucrats.  Power can be very seductive.

Dewy is an artist in her own right and part of the Burlington Fine Arts Association, which has a temperament quite a bit different from that of many of the members of the “collective”.

That there is a change taking place in the cultural temperature of the city is evident.  Freiburger maintains that the change began with the unveiling of the Spiral Stella outside the Performing Arts Centre – debatable. One of the occasions that signaled the change was the “No Vacancy” event that took place at the Waterfront Hotel.

This was “avante garde” for Burlington and while the event lasted less than four hours and experienced a small loss it brought out people who hunger for depth and maturity in their cultural menu – the No Vacancy – which will take place again next year, showed that it can happen in Burlington and is happening in Burlington.

Performing Arts Centre Brian McCurdy makes a point with the Mayor. He is making points all over the city as he brings about a different working relationship with the Centre and the city.

City Hall and the Tourist people see the arts as something that could perhaps attract people to the city.  The Executive Director of the Performing Arts Centre has been in town long enough to have figured out what we have and don’t have and has already shown that his institution is able to be flexible with the performance community.

All good signs – but like a great recipe, there is something to the way you flick the rest to get that meal on the table and make an occasion to be remembered.

Council will meet early in November to get down to the nitty-gritty of spending money – and at the rate this council is spending the artists had better move quickly or there won’t be any left.

With a little luck the artists will be at the table helping people whose experience is in parks and recreation learn how to move beyond swimming schedules and volleyball games to events that stir the soul.  Mind you, watching Maurice “The Rocket” Richard put another one past a Toronto goal tender is certainly something to stir the soul.



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