OPINION: Not a hope of replacing this city council unless people step up and run for office.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

January 31st, 2018


Being heard or getting a new council

A Gazette reader commented:

“In a democracy the number of votes really count. If people want the Official Plan then the councilors who feel it is a good thing will be voted in again.

“If people don’t want the Official Plan and are dead set against changing Burlington into another Mississauga, Toronto, etc., then they will not be voted in again and we’ll see what a new group of councillors come up with.

“It will all be in the hands of the voters.”

True – but not completely true.

council 100x100The number of votes does count – providing there is a choice of candidates.

Nominations don’t open until May 1st but Mayor Goldring and Mike Wallace have made it known that they are both going after the same job.

Incumbents have such an advantage especially those who have been sitting on council for more than 15 years.

Anyone expecting to be elected has to begin to develop a profile – and that isn’t hard to do – you aren’t allowed to spend any money but meeting people is not hard to do.

Votes count – when there is a clear choice.

If good candidates don’t come forward and make a choice possible the current council will get returned – the people of Burlington let that happen in 2014. The writing was on the wall in a close reading of the Strategic Plan.

Salt with Pepper are the opinions of the Publisher of the Burlington Gazette.

Strategic Plan

How many votes did the current council get

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Gaetan gives his take on that 'as expected' city council vote.

opinionandcommentBy Joe Gaetan

January 31st, 2018



Goldring - Christmas picture

Mayor Rick Goldring as he appeared on a Christmas card.

“The Vote is as expected”, said Mayor Goldring affirming that the Official Plan will not be delayed until after the fall election. The Mayor’s words underscored the vote of six members of council not to defer the adoption of a new plan.

The lone vote to defer the plan was cast by Councillor Marianne Meed Ward. But before that, all council members had an opportunity to say why they voted “as expected”; here is my take on what was said.

As a Standing Committee chair, Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven is as good as it gets. Handling delegations and accepting the ideas of other people - not as good. But he wins elections.

Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven

Councillor Rick Craven was adamant in his belief that 34 out of 35 delegators, or in his words the “200 angry people” who were opposed to the Official Plan were not going to sway him because he cares and does listen, and that the Burlington downtown has to take its share of intensification. During the 2014 election 4,772 voters gave Mr. Craven the right to vote as he did.

Councillor Lancaster listens carefully and tends to be cautious; still in a 'learning mode'.

Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster.

Councillor Blair Lancaster also made the point that she cares and listens and took the time to ponder her decision, but that council sets the policy which is what they were elected to do. During the 2014 election 2,087 voters gave her the right to vote as she did.

Intense to the point of making delegations uncomfortable ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman does know how to drill down into the data and look for results.

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman

Councillor Paul Sharman said the vote was not about today but about our city 50-70 years from now, he also stated we are kidding ourselves about affordable housing and that he was looking forward to running on this issue in the fall election. During the 2014 election 3,935 votes gave Mr. Sharman the right to vote as he did.

Dennison announcing

Jack Dennison Councillor Ward 4

Council Jack Dennison stated we need the “assessment growth” (aka taxation revenue), there was “no news in this Official Plan”, that they had to vote as they did and not because “of the 200-people” standing in front of us. During the 2014 election 5,401 voters gave Mr. Dennison the right to vote the way he did.

The Dean of Burlington Council members, Ward 3 Councillor John Taylor fights for what he beleives in. One of the things he wants is more openess and more transparency. He didn't get it this time out.

The Dean of Burlington Council, Ward 3 Councillor John Taylor

Councillor John Taylor opined on the fact Burlington has run out of greenspace, that we need to grow as a city and that we need to start intensifying south of the QEW. During the 2014 election 2,977 voters gave him the right to vote a she did.

Meed Ward H&S

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward, cast the lone vote to defer the adoption of a new Official Plan April 4th.

Councillor Meed Ward made several attempts to sway the vote, asking council to put the Official Plan “to a test of democracy”, that citizens had been given little time to review parts of the plan, that citizens only learned about some aspects of the plan in November, that the changes were not minor. During the 2014 election 4,654 voters gave Ms. Meed Ward the right to vote as she did.

Mayor Goldring stated he did not believe there is any benefit to deferring the OP, that there had been tremendous dialogue and good discussion on the  Official Plan  and that OP’s were never perfect, that there was no benefit to deferring, as it would not represent leadership and that council had to finish what it started.

During the 2014, 36,237 voters gave Mr. Goldring the right to vote as he did.

According to Deputy City Manager, Mary Lou Tanner, the citizens have four more opportunities to weigh in on the Official Plan, not that it will make much difference where our downtown is concerned. Why? The fate and future of the downtown was sealed on Monday January 25 by the “Expected vote”.

It appears that the majority of council believe, the voices of 35 delegators have no weight in this matter, are not representative of the majority of Burlington voters, and that they were fairly elected to vote as they did on this and other matters that come before council.

Joseph GaetanJoe Gaetan attended and delegated at the meeting of January 23,2018, and attended the Council meeting of January 29,2018. While a resident of Ward 2 in a Tall Building, he does not live downtown.

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Meed Ward puts locations to her argument for deferral - names 11 sites that will qualify for 17 storeys.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

January 31st, 2018



The problem people are having with the changes the city is making with its Official Plan is that they don’t fully understand much of the detail and there is a lot of information that needs time to be fully processed.

What will the city look like in five, ten and fifteen or 25 years they ask.


Citizens clutching their notes as they go up against the people they elected to lead them. 30+ delegations later – city council didn’t budge.

During the Reverse Town Hall Mayor Goldring held mention was made of a 3D visual that would let people see what a street would look like. The Mayor seemed to like the idea – it wasn’t possible to get a sense that the Planning department was actually going to do anything. These things are expensive and the Planning department is overwhelmed with new applications.

The housing development sector is keen keen on the opportunity to build in a city where the demand seems to know no end.

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Mewed Ward has pushed for a deferral of the plan – her colleagues are holding fast to the schedule, which in itself was a moving target.

The original goal was to have the Official Plan approved by the end of January, which would be today.
Meed Ward asked her colleagues, and the public that she was really speaking to, to imagine 17 storeys at

John - No frills - laneway

Draft Official Plan allows 17 stories on this site.

Accura on Brant
No Frills
James and John
The Poacher
The Lion’s Club
Middle of Village Square
Maria and John
Ukrainian church
John and the Lakeshore
Martha and the Lakeshore
Pearl and the Lakeshore

Those locations are currently zoned for four storeys; 17 storeys is intensification.

Brant lakeshore - Molinaro rendering a

Planning department rendering for the north eat corner of Brant and Lakeshore.

She added to that – “the disconnect between what we are told and what we get” and points to the 421 Brant project (approved for 23 storeys)

Meed Ward H&S profile

Meed Ward sticks to her push for deferral of adopting the Official Plan until after the election

Meed Ward is clearly not done with getting the approval of this plan deferred until after the election.
She told her colleagues that “this is not our plan, this is the citizen’s plan.”

There were fewer than 15 members of the public at the city council meeting on the 29th when the modifications were put forward at the two day Planning and Building meeting. The public seems warn out.

There are still a number of dates when the public can speak and there is going to be a whopper of a document available to the public on February 7th on the city web site; printed copies will be available at city hall.

This document is being call the February 28th revision and will show all the changes that have been made since November 30th.

In February 6th, there will be a Planning and Building meeting to “continue the conversation” and focus on the “growth plan”

On February 12th there will be a drop in – meeting with the planners at the Haber Centre; 6:30 pm

On February 15th there will be s similar meeting at city hall in room 247

On February 27th and 28th there will be a second Statutory meeting – one does not have to register for this event.

Meed Ward wanted to know what the last possible date there is going to be for the public to have their say. Deputy city manager Mary Lou Tanner said somewhere around March 1st, 2nd or 3rd.

This is going to be a long march – and it is far from over.

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ECoB claims Council made a mistake; Mayor explains why the decision not to defer approving an Official Plan until after an election was the right decision.

News 100 redBy Staff

January 27th, 2018



In a statement released on Friday ECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington said that: “Once again Burlington City Council has chosen to ignore the voices of the very citizens it is elected to represent.

Public at councileet Jan 23 - 24

Packed Council chamber during a Planning and Building meeting.

Jim Young, an Aldershot resident and one of the ECoB founders said “For a city that boasts its level of engagement with its citizens the irony of this seems to escape them. In rejecting Councillor Meed Ward’s motion to delay a decision on the New Official Plan until after the election, council not only overruled the one Councillor who truly understands engagement, they flagrantly silenced the majority of citizens who since November have sent more delegations, more letters and raised their voices more often than any other time I recall in 36 years in Burlington.

“It is difficult to decide which is worse; the ongoing disrespect by council of Councillor Meed Ward and her advocacy for her constituents, or the growing disrespect for the voices of citizens when raised to suggest improvements to the long term plans which can alter their lives.”

ECoB is developing plans to host an All-Candidate Workshop for potential candidates who want to run for office in the October municipal election.

Jim Young

ECoB member Jim Young

Young points out that “… it is this very refusal to give electors a voice in October that will do most to ensure the New Official Plan becomes an election issue for those Councillors who hoped it might not.

“Citizens may not be aware that a new council will be able to revisit the issue in a new three year session. It is our responsibility to elect a new slate of Councillors who will not only revisit the issue but will do so in an atmosphere of real citizen engagement and respect that has been missing in some of council’s interactions with citizen groups.

“Not only have council ensured that this will be an issue in the October election, they have brought an element of negativity to their positions which may not serve their electoral ambitions well.”

Engaged Citizens of Burlington will work to oppose those who have chosen not to hear our voices in the next election and support potential candidates who, regardless of political affiliation, will help guide our city to a real level of public engagement in the years ahead, and re open to revisiting the Official Plan in the next Council Session (2018 – 2021).

The ECoB position is clear. Mayor Goldring put out a statement on his blog where he explained why he voted against deferring the approval of an Official Plan until after the election.

“There are significant benefits to having a Council approval decision sooner rather than later. This will actually better address the significant public concern and interest for establishing greater certainty in the planning process.


Mayor Rick Goldring

“A new Official Plan means we can move away from a site by site negotiation and instead bring more certainty to the application process. This is what residents have been very clear about.

“Staff confirmed that the City will be in a better position to plan within a clearly defined framework with an updated Official Plan that can be defendable by today’s standards.

“Staff will be able to use the new Official Plan when working with developers even though the Official Plan won’t officially be approved by the Halton Region until sometime likely in 2019.

“Staff will continue to develop a detailed Downtown Area Specific Plan which includes matters such as transportation, parking and servicing.

“I believe that it is not only important for the reasons I have outlined, but a responsibility of this Council to bring as much certainty as possible to our downtown planning. Our current council has the necessary understanding of the development of the Official Plan. It’s important that this Council complete the process.”

Wallace at council meeting

Mike Wallace -sitting in on a Council meeting.

No word yet on where candidate Mike Wallace stands on the question of deferral of the approving of an Official Plan.  Wallace did sit in on council sessions.

Deferring a vote on an Official Plan has to be seen on light of the number of people who will run for office in October.

Nominations cannot be filed until May 1; at this point there are just two people who plan to run for a council seat – both are eyeing the same ward.

Burlington could end up with a Council close to identical to the one in place now.

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All kinds of shenanigans at city hall - where is all this coming from?

News 100 redBy Staff

January 25th, 2017



It was an interesting start to a significant meeting on the direction growth in the city of Burlington is going to take.

Ward 2 Councillor set out in her Facebook page what took place.

At the beginning of the meeting I discussed the lack of respect in the proceedings and called on all of us to set a higher standard. We may disagree, but need to be respectful. There’s no place for name calling, false allegations and the like.

My full opening statement on a Point of Privilege is here:

I would like to raise a point of privilege before we begin.

My goal in raising this is to ask all of us to commit to respectful dialogue.

Meed Ward H&S

Councillor Meed Ward raises a Point of Privilege at council meeting.

Point of privilege is used “when a member wants to draw attention to a matter that affects the integrity, character or reputation of an individual/group”

· Last night a delegate say planning staff should be fired; it’s not the first time our staff have been unjustly criticized publicly; I hope it will be the last.

· Another delegate said residents are NIMBYs, motivated only by self interest

· The same delegate said my motions were “political interference” a serious allegation – he chose to criticize the woman who is bringing motions, but had no similar criticism for my male colleague who is also bringing motions – some of which are similar to mine.

· Finally, a 14-page memo has been submitted to the public record from Mr. Mark Bales from Carriage Gate Homes, we all got a copy Monday. Mr. Bales has never spoken to me about my views about the OP or the downtown, and yet in his memo he presumes to know my motives, calls into question my integrity and character, and makes allegations with no evidence.

* and the Burlington Post being told they are “not a real newspaper.”

All of this has to stop. None of this is helpful to our discussions.

Like many women who have been subjected to personal attacks for having an opinion, and saying it out loud, I have mostly ignored these things in the past, assuming they’re simply part of being in public service. I can take it – I have a tough skin – 22 years as a journalist and 7 in elected office does that.

But I’ve realized this isn’t about me; it’s about all of us and the culture and example we’re setting. So it’s time to speak up.

When people see others exposed to personal attacks, it discourages them from participating in the community conversation. And we lose that input. I know people who will not stand at that podium because of the way they have been treated.

When personal attacks go unaddressed, it sends the message that these are okay. They are not. We can’t have one standard for people we agree with – letting their comments go unchecked – and another for those we don’t.

It’s time for this to stop.

So, I am asking that we all – everyone around this horseshoe and all members of the community – commit ourselves to a higher standard of respectful dialogue and mutual respect.

This is in keeping with our Engagement Charter, and referred to in the draft OP Chapter 11: “Mutual respect for citizens, staff and members of City Council is the basis for the development of constructive relationships and successful citizen engagement.”

We may disagree about many things today and going forward; I expect we will. But let’s commit ourselves to this: let’s assume that each one of us around this table and in the community wants the best for the future of our city, even as we have different perspectives about how to get there. Let’s allow for that difference, and maintain mutual respect.

News anal BLACKThe delegate who made the comment about residents being NIMBYs who are motivated only by self interest deserves a closer look.

Glenn WellingsGlenn Wellings is a planner by profession who works for clients in the municipal sector.  He was the last delegator to speak and was one of the three that was supportive of the plans and ideas that had been put forward by the planning department.

Who chooses the order at which delegators speak?  That decision would be made by people in the Clerk’s Office.  Are speaking slots determined by the date at which the request to delegate are received by the Clerk’s office?

Can people ask to be allowed to speak at a particular point?  People who cannot get to a day time meeting will ask to be heard in the evening.

Wellings didn’t add much to the information Council was given.  The Gazette learned that Wellings, representing a client in Halton Hills, had urged the public to participate in the public dialogue – but he did something quite different in Burlington.

Wellings Planning Consultants Inc. lists the following as clients:

  • Township of Amaranth
  • Township of East Garafraxa
  • Town of Grimsby
  • Regional Municipality of  Halton
  • City of Hamilton
  • Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board
  • County of Hastings
  • Town of Milton
  • Regional Municipality of Niagara
  • Town of Oakville

He was doing what his client wanted in Halton Hills.  Did Wellings have a client he was representing in Burlington? He didn’t say he was representing anyone; neither did he say that he has a relative working at city hall.  Nothing wrong with that.  The relative worked in Human Resources.

The relative did at one point work in Planning where the responsibility was related to the development of the downtown core.  The relative did some very good early work on the background related to future changes of the Waterfront Hotel.

What the Gazette was surprised to learn was that in January the relative was transferred from Human Resources to the Office of the City Manager where all the strategizing is being done on getting the draft version of the Official Plan approved by city council.

Wellings could have given full disclosure and told Council about the relative that worked for the city.

Related news story.

Wellings urges citizens in Halton Hills to get out and support a development; in Burlington citizens are NIMBY’s – concerned only about their self interest.

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City council changes height limits for properties along Lakeshore Road.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 25th, 2018



It was a tough and probably expensive meeting for the developer that owns the north side of Lakeshore Road between Brant and John Street.

The property was put in a new precinct called the Cannery where the height limit was set at 22 storeys.

Cannery precinctDuring the two-day debate on what the limits were going to be for the 13 precincts the downtown is now divided into the property got moved out of the Cannery precinct and into the Downtown Core precinct where the height limit is 17 stories.

Brant lakeshore - Molinaro b

This rendering of what a building at the north east corner of Brant and Lakeshore could look like – the rendering was not provided by the owner of the property.

The motion to have this happen was put forward by Councillor Taylor who said that he did this because it was what he promised to do when he agreed to the staff recommendation that allowed the 23 story 421 Brant project.

The rules in the draft Official Plan call for all tall buildings to be built on a three story base.

The planners wanted to ensure there are good sight lines to the lake and that the $14 million Pier (original price was $7.5 million) could be seen by everyone.

A little later Councillor Marian Meed Ward tried to get the 17 storeys reduced to 15 but that didn’t pass.

The property opposite city hall on north east corner of James and Brant was approved at 23 storeys.  The land to the south, where Elizabeth Interiors was once located, has a height limit now of 17 storeys that the Mayor said he felt should be the same as the 421 Brant building which is 23 storeys.

There is an attempt to keep some of the historical look of Brant street by retaining the building on the corner of Brant and James.

The public shouldn’t expect to see shovels in the grounds any time soon – but this is what they want the Lakeshore Road and Brant part of the city too look like.

A citizen group has some thoughts for what a re-developed Waterfront Hotel could look like.  Known as Plan B it moves a hotel development to the east opening up public space and creating a grander look to the Pier.


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Meed Ward motion to defer approval of Official plan to after municipal election defeated.

News 100 blackBy Pepper Parr

January 24th, 2018


The clarification I did not have when this was first written is now in hand. The Planning department expects to be able to take the final draft of the Official Plan to council on April 4th.

The die has been cast.


Council Meed Ward led the fight to defer the approval of the Official Plan until after the municipal election – the motion was defeated.

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward put her motion on the floor to defer the approving of the Official Plan to after the October 28th election – it was defeated on a vote of 5-1; Councillor Dennison was absent.

The approval of the draft plan is scheduled to come before Council is either April, May or June – there is some confusion as to which month applies.

There were 35 delegations; two were in favour of not deferring – the remaining 33 were crystal clear on what they wanted: defer until after the municipal election in October.

During the afternoon session today staff did admit that there had been a problem in explaining all the changes to the public and there is agreement that staff will work on a communications program that will be visual in nature. No commitment to a date when the visuals will be ready.

The planners and a number of the council members made the point that the city has been working on this for seven years – Meed Ward pointed out the public has only seen the document and graphic material since last September.

There is a tonne of information to convey in news reports. In due course we will get the details to you.

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Planner who seemed to support the sentiment of most of the Council members gives them a way to get the Meed Ward motions off the table.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 23rd, 2018



Why is it that a person supporting the view that council has usually get to speak last?

News anal BLUEGlen Wellings, a planner in private practice, told council that the public comments about the planners was “reprehensible”. He added that he thought the expected Meed Ward motions should be sent to the planners for consideration.

Wellings objected to the “special interests” trying to control the agenda yet when he spoke in Georgetown in 2016, encouraging spectators to voice their opinions in front of Halton Hills council during the public meeting on March 1.

“Go to the meeting on March 1 and let [council] know how you feel,” he said.

Glenn Wellings

Glenn Wellings – planner.

He assured council that the sky was not going to fall and that they should get on with the job they were elected to do.

The objective is to get the damn things off the table so that they don’t have to be voted on.

Council appears determined to rush the draft Official Plan through – to what end is not at all clear. Perhaps because they can.

The citizens have done their best – and there were some exceptionally good delegations. Debby Morrison and Gary Scobie plus Catherine Crozier deserve to be nominated as Burlington’s Best. If you’re reading Catherine – please send us that delegation – it deserves a wider audience.

A rough calculation would be that 250 people attended the public meeting.

The prospect of the Meed Ward motions making it are dim but there was a point when keep Central high school open looked dim – remember how that worked out.


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Delegations at Planning meeting are consistent - put off a decision until after the election.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

January 23rd, 2018



The Planning and Building committee that met this afternoon and this evening, and possibly into another day if everyone is not heard today does have an agenda which is to:

Receive Department of City Building report PB-11-18 regarding supplementary information with respect to the proposed Downtown Mobility Hub Precinct Plan and associated Official Plan policies; and

Direct the Director of City Building to proceed with the proposed Downtown Precinct Plan, as described in report PB-81-17, and incorporate into the proposed New Official Plan; and

Direct the Director of City Building to incorporate Additional Supporting Policies for the Downtown, as described in report PB-11-18, into the proposed New Official Plan.

The report staff took them through before delegations began was impressive – quite why this wasn’t delivered to the public several months ago is difficult to understand.

What became evident from the get go was that people wanted more time and they wanted more detail before decisions are made.

Brian Dean delegating on behalf of the Burlington Downtown Business Association (BDBA) asked that any decision on both the Downtown Mobility Hub and the Official Plan be put off until June.

Ask Grow Bold

Citizens are telling city council that they don’t want to be quite as bold as the Planners are suggesting.

June is the furthest forward date so far – what was going to get made final at the end of January got pushed to February, then April – and now the business people want June.

The larger public wants the whole caboodle put off until after the election in October when they say the city council will actually have a mandate to do that they are doing.

The back and forth during the 11 delegations in the afternoon got a bit testy at times. With some 80 people in the Council Chamber – that dropped off to under 40 after a short mid-way break.

The Gazette will report in more detail once the evening session adjourns – they have 20 delegations to listen to – and there is going to be a request that delegations be taken from the floor – that is people who did not register be allowed to speak.

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Chair of the Planning and Building committee is in for a rough evening - 31 delegations have registered.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

January 23rd, 2018



Getting in front of members of city council to speak is proving a little awkward.

ECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington are determined to bring this city council to heel and insist ob being heard.

A Planning and Building Committee meeting scheduled for this afternoon and this evening has 12 registered delegations this afternoon and 19 registered delegations for this evening.

ECoB sent a notice to Chair, Committee of Planning and Development Councillor Paul Sharman

Intense to the point of making delegations uncomfortable ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman does know how to drill down into the data and look for results.

Intense to the point of making delegations uncomfortable ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman will be asked to deal with some procedural issues at a Planning and Building meeting this evening.

Please be advised that members of Engaged Citizens of Burlington have notified the Clerk’s office that there were system interruptions with the Delegation Registration link last week. Confusion has ensued it is unclear if delegates will be turned away or refused the opportunity to address Committee at the November 23, 2018 Planning and Development Committee. We wish to provide clarity to our members.

Per Section 37.7 of the Procedural Bylaw 64-2016, Delegations will be permitted without prior registration during any public meeting as required by section 14.1 of the Planning Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13. Delegations are strongly encouraged to register before the standard delegation registration deadline and will be asked to fill in an attendance form to fulfill legislative notice requirements.

Please confirm if a Procedural Motion is necessary or will be presented to allow anyone eligible in attendance to speak to the matters relating to Proposed New Official Plan (PB-50-17) & Proposed Downtown Mobility Hub Precinct Plan and proposed official plan policies (PB-81-17).

EcoB has developed the ability to be heard – they also know how to ambush the Mayor at his own meetings.

The group had planned a meeting for volunteers then learned that the Mayor called a meeting of his own to listen to people.

ECob held their meeting, prepared a list of things they wanted the Mayor to do and zipped over to the Mayor’s meeting to put their demands in front of him.

The Mayor promised to respond – nothing so far.

ecob signIn preparing for the meeting this evening ECoB is arguing that the Planning department has basically ‘run amuck’; citizens were urged to delegate and appear to have found that the system that handles delegate registration wasn’t working properly.

This council has never had to face a well-organized and angry group of citizens like this in their seven years of service.  Should be an interesting meeting.

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The fight to make the approving of an Official Plan an election issue.

background 100By Staff

January 23, 2018



There is probably a large part of the city that either doesn’t even know what is going on at city hall or are totally confused over what is taking place.

The Planning department has presented a number of very significant changes to city council – and city council has gone along with them.

Municipalities are required to review their Official Plan every five years. Burlington is in the midst of that process and there are a lot of people who don’t like what they see in the plan so far and are aghast at the speed with which the document is being approved.

It was originally to be completed by the end of January. That date got pushed forward to April.

The changes are so significant that some people, an admittedly small group, want the Official Plan made an election issue. That election is to take place late in October of this year.

Goldring reverse town hall

Mayor did a Reverse Town Hall.

The Mayor got concerned enough to hold a Reverse Town Hall where he listen to 100 + people who made it very clear to him that they were not happy campers. He was hearing seniors tell him that he has betrayed their trust. Not words any Mayor wants to hear heading into an election.

Wallace and Gould

When Karina Gould took the Burlington House of Commons seat Wallace decided he could serve as Mayor of the city.

Mike Wallace a five term former city Councillor who went on to become the Member of Parliament, got beaten by Karina Gould which sent Wallace back to square one, said in his campaign announcement on Monday that the QEW divide in Burlington has to be overcome.

It is almost as if there were two cities.

Every viable city needs a core; Burlington has one but the recommendations coming out of city hall and being approved by city council are seen as extreme by some. A 23 storey tower opposite city hall is too much for some people who don’t think this city council has a mandate to foist that level of development on the citizens.

That first tower is just the beginning – the city is reported to have 22 new applications for high rise buildings that are working their way through the Planning department.
City council is literally under attack and reeling from the assaults coming from a small organization known as ECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington. The group claims they knew they were making headway when the city manager threatened them with legal action over some of the wording on their web site.

SaveOurWaterfront- Meed ward

Marianne Meed Ward rode the Save Our Waterfront movement all the way to city hall – can the Official Plan put her in the Mayor’s seat?

The Mayor is reported to have announced that the decisions being made about how development will be done on the downtown core have been moved forward to sometime in June. ECoB is pushing to have all this stuff made dependent on the election outcome.
Downtown ward 2 councillor Marianne Med Ward is very vocal about what she thinks is all wrong about what is taking place and she plans to present a number of motions at city council – one which is to put the approval of the city Official Plan on hold until the municipal election has taken place.

The developers have convinced themselves that what Meed Ward wants will be the end of Burlington.

Meed Ward has not announced that she is running for the Office of Mayor

In her Newsletter, which is widely read in every city ward she recently said:

421 Brant“Ever since council approved (5-2) the 23 storey building at the North East corner of Brant & James, people have become more aware of the proposed changes in the new Official Plan to the downtown, and elsewhere in the city including the neighbourhoods surrounding the Aldershot, Burlington and Appleby GO stations.

“I have heard from residents across the city, and the majority have said they aren’t happy with the proposed changes, especially for the downtown, and the entire Official Plan process seems rushed. They are asking for more time to review the most recent draft Official Plan and revised downtown policies (released in November), the track changes, comments and supporting documents, as well as additional analysis and mapping for the downtown released in mid-January 2018 – all of which is more than 2000 pages.

“Though the Official Plan began in 2011, it started as an update, and the downtown was not included in the scope. On Oct. 31, 2016, the project changed from an update to a rewrite of the Official Plan. The first draft of the Official Plan was released in April 2017. The downtown policies were not ready. The new downtown policies were first released in September 2017, with a revised draft in November. The revised draft Official Plan was also released in November. The mobility hubs were discussed at committee for the first time in December.

“So, we’ve had less than three months to digest and make the best decisions for the downtown, the mobility hubs and the city.
“We need to give ourselves and the community more time to make the right decision for our city. Residents also want to put the Official Plan to the test of democracy by postponing approval till after the October municipal election and asking candidates to campaign on the OP.

“There is no need to rush. Municipalities are required to review our Official Plan every five years, but there is no deadline for completion. We’ve been at our OP for six years without penalty, so what’s a few more months? City business has continued throughout the review, receiving and processing development applications. Nothing stops while we work to get it right.”

You can see where this is going and for parents who are busy getting the kids out to hockey games or wondering just what the teenagers are doing – an Official Plan is not top of mind.

Tell them that it is important and they will agree and add that that is what they have a city council for – to do the right thing.

Most of the people involved in the protesting say – that’s the problem – they aren’t doing the right thing.

The council meeting Tuesday night is going run late.

What is astonishingly remarkable – the public is hearing nothing from the other five members of Council.  The Mayor is vocal – he is running hard to keep his job.

Note a word so far from the other five members of council.

Taylor John slight side view

John Taylor – Dean of the city council with 25+ years of service.

Dennison announcing

Jack Dennison has served for more than 20 years.

Councillors Sharman and Lancaster - both first term members. Will they both be returned?

Councillors Sharman and Lancaster were both elected in 2010 and returned in 2014.

Councillor Craven could make ammends and spearhead a drive to get the Freeman Station located in Spencer Smith Park where it belongs. That would mean getting along with Councillor Meed Ward. Can Craven get beyond his problems with Meed Ward and see the greater good for the city?

Councillor Craven has served for more than a dozen years.

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Pivotal council meeting on Tuesday; chamber is expected to be packed.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

January 21st, 2018



It will be a pivotal meeting and it will run for a long time, it might even need an additional day for everyone to be heard.

The delegations will be repetitive which doesn’t work for this city council. They would rather hear something said just the once; they don’t appreciate just how deep the feelings are about what is being done to their city.

Some will make up their minds on how they will vote in the October election based on how they see the current council reacting.  Sitting and listening to people in stone cold silence is not going to cut it this time.  Should someone offer the results of a survey many will be watching how the Councillor from ward 4 will respond.

ECoB rally posterWill the chair of the meeting once again tell the people who pay the taxes that they cannot applaud when they hear something they support and yet have to accept the applause that is given when the Mayor hands out a proclamation  or certificate of appreciation.

A citizen has said that: “In my view the City’s communication on the whole OP has been woeful. They are in part the masters of their own misfortune on this issue. They have been completely outplayed by the ECOB group and the no tall buildings crowd. I think part of the issue is that a lot of this is pretty complex stuff with a lot of moving parts. It’s not as simple as do you want tall buildings in the downtown or not. That’s no excuse however for not being able to explain complex concepts to the citizens of Burlington over the last year or so.”

Indeed ECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington have kept the focus on the downtown core; others have picked it up and the message has swelled.

Blair Smith said: Quite simply, the Official Plan is too important to Burlington’s future to be rushed to approval. There are still too many pieces that are incomplete or in conceptual form for “The Plan” to be finalized. Regardless of where one stands on the many issues that the new OP raises, I think that it is fair for the people to speak at the polls in October. Although legally it is within the mandate of the current Council to approve a new Official Plan, it would be ethically and morally wrong to do so.

“In 2014 the people of Burlington did not give the current Council a clear mandate to determine the City’s landscape for the next 50 to 100 years. In fact, given a 34% voter turnout in 2014, the people barely gave Council a mandate to exist. I hope that Council will do the “right thing” and defer approval of the Official Plan and establish a clear and unambiguous referendum around the OP as part of the election in October 2018. Then the people can truly speak and be heard.”

Democracy in action is certainly vibrant.

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No shovels in the ground yet for the 421 Brant Street project.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

January 19th, 2018



There was one piece of information given out by the Mayor that didn’t elicit much in the way of a response.

He said near the very end of his two hour Reverse Town Hall meeting that the 421 Brant project had been approved by city council and that he didn’t see anything that would change that decision.

421 BrantThe Mayor was one of two council members that voted against the 23 storey project – he had said he could live with 17 storeys.

ecob signECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington is said to have an appeal to the OMB they are ready to file at city hall but have yet to do so – they apparently need to wait until some certain conditions have been met.

We asked Councillor Mead Ward what the different options are including if the city council procedural bylaw permits the city to change their minds. Her answer was yes and no; it was illuminating.

“Technically, the final decision on 421 Brant has not been made; that won’t happen until the amending bylaws come forward for a council vote. Usually, the bylaws are presented at the same time as the vote on the application, except when community benefits are negotiated. Those are negotiated after council votes on an application, and the benefits come back for final vote alongside the amending bylaw.

“As community benefits are being negotiated for this development, because of the increased height/density, the bylaws and community benefits will come back at a future date (likely in the spring) for council vote. That vote will be the final decision on the matter.

“Council could choose at that time NOT to approve the amending bylaws, which would stop the project. That is unlikely but technically possible.

“The fact that the final decision on this matter hasn’t yet been made is why in December the Engaged Citizens of Burlington could not file an Ontario Municipal Board appeal of the council “decision” on 421 Brant; a decision hasn’t been made until there is a vote on the bylaws, which hasn’t happened yet. The bylaw vote triggers the appeal period to file an appeal with the OMB (or the new Land Planning Appeals Tribunal).

Meed Ward H&S

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward chair a Standing Committee meeting.

Reconsideration Motions:
“In general terms, council can choose at any time to “reconsider” a vote – (but that doesn’t apply in this case because as explained the final vote hasn’t occurred). A motion to reconsider an item requires a 5-2 vote; You can’t even reconsider a decision unless the 5-2 motion passes.

“If the reconsideration motion passes, council can then discuss/debate the item and make a different decision; a simple 4-3 majority is required.

“Only someone who voted in the affirmative on the original motion can present a motion to reconsider the decision.”

That means either Councillor Taylor, Sharman, Craven or Lancaster could put this matter back on the table. Given that none of the four attended to Mayor’s Reverse Town Hall and didn’t get to hear how angry people are there is little likelihood of anything like that happening.

Councillor Dennison was at the meeting and he did vote for the project. No one made any comment on Dennison.

Of this project is going to be stopped the citizens are going to have to hope that ECoB has a strong argument and can find the funds to fight the case at the OMB.

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Mayor Goldring gets an earful at his Reverse Town Hall; four of the seven member council fail to show up for what was really a face the music meeting.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

January 19th, 2018



They gave him a lot to think about.

Their concern was that they weren’t at all certain he knows how to listen.

News anal REDThe Mayor held a Reverse Town Hall at the Art Gallery – an audience of about 150 came to voice their concerns. The Mayor stressed that he was not there to explain very much – even though he did –he said “this is your meeting, I am here to listen.

He got more than an ear full.

Of the 20 plus people who rose to speak – one was positive about a structure that has citizens close to up in arms – he owns a bar that will benefit from more traffic.

Three of the developers were in the room, the Molinaro Group, New Horizons and Carriage Gate sat quietly together.

Two of the seven members of Council were in the room: Marianne Meed Ward and Jack Dennison and the Mayor. Councillors John Taylor, Paul Sharman, Blair Lancaster and Rick Craven did not make an appearance – all four voted for the 421 Brant development that will see a 23 storey condominium rise opposite city hall.


Voted for the 23 storey condo – didn’t attend a “face the music” meeting

Councillors Sharman and Lancaster: both part of the Shape Burlington committee who seem to have forgotten what the report was all about - civic engagement

Councillors Sharman and Lancaster voted for the condo – didn’t attend the Mayor’s meeting.

Rick Craven

Councillor Craven voted for the condominium

The theme that was consistent was the building was just too much, it was not what the vast majority of those in attendance wanted for their city. Development was not their issue, it was the height that had gotten to people – and they didn’t think high rise buildings were appropriate for the Brant – Lakeshore Road part of the city.

Transit was a concern and parking was another and the rate at which the Official Plan was being “rammed down our throats” was mentioned by several.

The meeting started with the Mayor trying to put some rules in place – he wanted people to be respectful of each other and then suggested that clapping might not be appropriate. He lost that one – people clapped loudly when a good point was made. Larry Griffiths, a 70 year old ward 4 resident said the intensification being done was going to drastically change the city and we are in jeopardy of losing what we have”. Griffith referred to Port Credit that has the feel Burlington residents want to keep.

This is a city wide issue said Griffith’s who wants the Official Plan put to a referendum which the Mayor said was going to be discussed at a council meeting next week – January 23rd.

“What do you want” asked the Mayor. Griffiths had no problem answering that question – “the Official Plan permits 12 storeys, stick to that.”


Rick Burgess, a past candidate for the Office of Mayor asks the current Mayor to stick with the height limits set out in the current Official Plan

Rick Burgess who once ran for Mayor and has served as an advisor for Goldring said he wanted the city to respect the heights set out in the existing Official Plan.

A woman who operates a hair salon on Brant said “we are feeling the pinch and the parking is hurting us”.
The operator of Martini House told the Mayor “we are in trouble” and told the audience that “some people are buying up the visitor spots in the condominiums at $30,000 a spot”.

Commercial rents were a concern. The audience were told that $45 a square foot is what business people should expect.

A New Street resident wanted to know how the Planning department got from putting out Tall Building Guide Lines in March of 2017 and then recommending a 23 storey building in November.

At a number of points during the two hour meeting the Mayor interjected and explained what the city has been doing. He said that 30 years ago the city began investing in the Downtown core with the Discovery Centre and Spencer Smith Park.

He explained that the Greenbelt plan prevents development north of the Hwy 407 – Dundas and that the provinces Places to Grow Plan made it clear that suburban sprawl had come to an end and the communities were going to have to accept some part of the growing population. Burlington is reacting to those two provincial plans.

For reasons that many just don’t understand or accept is the amount of intensification that is taking place on the lower part of Brant Street.

The developers are just reacting to the demand – the condominium units are selling. The Mayor has been known to talk about people he meets who bought a unit and can’t wait to move in.

What disturbs most people is that they feel this just crept up on them – that they weren’t aware and that the city hasn’t communicated with them.

It would be fair to say that residents haven’t been paying close attention. The Gazette has been reporting on the planning department and the Mobility Hubs for more than a year.


Development was approved at four storeys – developer goes back to Planning department for an additional two storeys.

Residents have difficulty with a project, the Saxony, that was approved for four storeys, construction begins and the developer decides to go back to city hall and ask for two additional storeys. The irony with the Saxony development is that they could have gotten five floors but said at a public meeting that they were happy with four storeys.

Ron Parker, a ward 4 resident said he learned about the plans to redevelop the Waterfront Hotel with a friend while playing golf. He said he had no idea that there were plans to redevelop the site. He said “there is no strategy and we don’t know where we are going … we are in damage control stumbling from decision to decision to decision”.

The audience was a mix of people who discovered the city, fell in love with it and moved to Burlington and those who have been here for a long time. One speaker has lived in Burlington for 73 of his 76 years.

One speaker mentioned the five emails he sent the Mayor – didn’t get a response. He wanted to know how people were expected to read and absorb a 2500 page document which another resident said has “No numbers in it”.

Reverse town hall 2

Part of the Reverse Town Hall meeting hosted by the Mayor.

People were in the room waiting for answers expecting someone to explain what had happened and why.

It was at that point that Lisa Kearns arrived. She had been at the Engaged Citizens of Burlington ECoB meeting and had a six questions she put to the Mayor:

What is the rush to push forward the Official Plan? Residents find the precinct plans difficult to find, analyze, and understand the impacts in all wards. This is still not clear.

Is the City doing enough to defend Zoning and Official Plan limits? Why are the rules changing and why is Development forcing special considerations – profitability?

What are we gaining in the rush for intensification and what tools are available to keep it in control? Is this the City we want to live in?

Why did the City begin engagement on the Official Plan when the supporting plans are not complete, this is not a complete strategy or Plan? We need to see the impact of the: Transit Plan, Transportation Plan, and Mobility Hubs. What is the rush?

Why is downtown an Area Specific Plan if a Character Study was not done on the neighbouring St. Luke’s Precinct and Emerald Neighbourhood? Have the concerns with specific residents who border on the growth areas been adequately addressed? What about uptown?

Do you want to live amongst tall buildings in your neighbourhood? The City of Burlington is changing the rules to turn into a big city intensified with big tall buildings? This is not a provincially mandated Mobility Hub.

Reverse town hall 3

A staffer from the Mayors office captured everything that was said – expect to see much of it in the Mayor’s blog.

Kearns was getting enthusiastic rounds of applause before she finished reading out the questions which the Mayor said he would respond to in his blog.

Many of the people in the room felt that at last there was someone who was speaking for them and was doing something to bring about a change which most of the people listening to the Mayor wanted.

Reverse town hall 1

The Mayor and a Reverse Town Hall participant.

One senior resident told the Mayor that he had lost the trust of the people.

A resident wondered if the city could create a model of what their city is going to look like going forward – people wanted to know what was coming their way. The person with this idea said the city might try having a good visual made showing what the streets would look like.

Lisa Kearns asked if what had taken place that evening was part of the record – was it something the city would include in its thinking. No said the Mayor, the evening was his occasion to listen to the people. He did add that members of Council would certainly now be aware of how people feel. How was that possible of four of the seven weren’t even in the room?

The Mayor closed with a remark former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau once made when asked how a meeting had gone. “This has been a good meeting” Trudeau is said to have said “Everyone is pissed off, that’s a good place to start”.

We will let the Mayors closing comment stand on its own.

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ECoB puts six questions in front of the Mayor.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

January 19th, 2018



There were two meetings in town last night.

ECoB pic 2 Jan 18

Registration table for the ECoB meeting held at Wellington Square United Church.

One, a Reverse Town Hall, called by the Mayor took place at the Art Gallery, the other, organized by Engaged Citizens of Burlington, took place at Wellington Square United Church; they drew 70 to 80 people and talked about the “need to change council”.

A new group was formed “from ward 1” who were going to meet again and find a way to replace their ward Councillor Rick Craven.

The ECoB meeting ended at about 8:00 pm. Lisa Kierns, an ECoB founder, left that meeting and zipped along to the Mayor’s meeting and presented him with six questions.

• What is the rush to push forward the Official Plan? Residents find the precinct plans difficult to find, analyze, and understand the impacts in all wards. This is still not clear.

• Is the City doing enough to defend Zoning and Official Plan limits? Why are the rules changing and why is Development forcing special considerations – profitability?

• What are we gaining in the rush for intensification and what tools are available to keep it in control? Is this the City we want to live in?

• Why did the City begin engagement on the Official Plan when the supporting plans are not complete, this is not a complete strategy or Plan? We need to see the impact of the: Transit Plan, Transportation Plan, and Mobility Hubs. What is the rush?

• Why is downtown an Area Specific Plan if a Character Study was not done on the neighbouring St. Luke’s Precinct and Emerald Neighbourhood? Have the concerns with specific residents who border on the growth areas been adequately addressed? What about uptown?

ECoB pic 1 Jan 18

Between 70 and 80 people attended the ECoB meeting; at least one with a cheque in hand. Some of the participants formed a group to replace the ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven.

• Do you want to live amongst tall buildings in your neighbourhood? The City of Burlington is changing the rules to turn into a big city intensified with big tall buildings? This is not a provincially mandated Mobility Hub.

One of the meeting organizers, who asked not to be named said: “It was a great meeting with a lot of questions and answers given.”

The ECoB lawn signs were on sale, expect to see them popping up on snow covered lawns.

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No word yet on who will sit on the Urban Design Advisory Panel.

News 100 redBy Staff

January 18th, 2018



With all the confusion, all the concern and a deep mistrust on the part of a significant portion of the downtown population the city is going to introduce another layer of information and advice.

The city created an Urban Design Advisory Panel and asked for people who were interested to get in touch with the Planning department. They were seeking architects, landscape architects, urban designers and planners as members for its inaugural term (2018 to 2020).

The mandate of the Burlington Urban Design Advisory Panel is to provide independent, objective and professional urban design advice to the Department of City Building – Planning, Building and Culture on all tall and mid-rise buildings (five storeys or greater) and all public development projects, studies and policy initiatives with the objective of achieving design excellence in the city.

The city “is at a unique time in its history. With very little green space left for the development of suburban-type neighbourhoods, the city can no longer grow out. Instead, it must grow from within its existing urban area.”

Burlington aerial

No green space left – so it is build up, build smart and build beautiful.

Applications were due by Dec. 22, 2017

Selected candidates were to be contacted in early January 2018 to arrange an interview with city staff.

Joe Gaetan, a Gazette reader wanted to know “who establishes the guiding principles for this panel?” And wondered if “any thought has been given to any form of citizen engagement on urban design, or do we have to wait until all the decisions are made and then react?”

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Planner lets loose on member of an Aldershot delegation.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

January 17th, 2018



The meeting took place on December the 18th.

It was requested by a group of Aldershot citizens who wanted more information on the developments taking place in their community.  Much of the agenda was put together by the then Director of Planning Mary Lou Tanner.

Planters along Plains Road have given what used to be a provincial highway a much more suburban look. Hasn't slowed traffic down enough for most people - except for those who drive through the community.

Planters along Plains Road have given what used to be a provincial highway a much more suburban look. The level and form of development taking place in their community has many concerned.

Main Agenda Topics –

1. An overview of Mobility Hubs with a focus on employment-commercial areas (City staff)

2. Overview of employment lands in new Official Plan – Mobility Hub/Aldershot and residential/height mixed use focus (City staff, All)
3. Identification of issues-concerns with employment-commercial space (Tom, Greg, Dayna, Stephen, All)
4. De- commercialization and the loss of walkable necessities of life – inherent contradictions with the plan, and related issues.

5. Encroachment


Mary Lou Tanner

The then Director of Planning, Mary Lou Tanner (she became the Deputy city manager on the 22nd of December) provided the first three agenda items which led at least one person in the group to think there would be “would have a discussion all around, but we did not”.

Six mobility hub planners attended but according to people who were in the room not one of them said a word, except on small items of clarity with few words.

When the “meeting ended they took another way out of the room, avoiding us. There was no mention of a response to our issues and questions.”

The group had questions about

Community feedback;
What is an acceptable retail mix and
Why doesn’t the City enforce a minimum?
Transit integration and “walkability”
New OP
How is growth being measured?
How does that dictate plan direction?

The group was concerned over reports that the city is well over track to meet the region’s goals. What are the population targets for the next 10 years and does this tie in with unit construction?, they asked.

“Is it valid/legal for current planning decisions to be swayed by potential OP changes that are not on the books yet?

“How are mobility hub changes being factored into new OP?”

It was what most of citizens taking part thought was going to be a civil meeting with an open and transparent exchange of ideas.

But there was a bump that changed the tone of the meeting.

At one point, one of the Aldershot residents, appeared to have looked at Tanner in a manner that was uncomfortable to her and she let loose saying:

“Don’t you ever look at me like that again.”


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Citizen Advisory group on the waterfront ceases operation.

News 100 blueBy Deedee Davies

January 17th, 2018



I am saddened to be writing to let you know that the citizens-led volunteer group, Burlington Waterfront, has shut down its operations. I had to step down as Chair of this group to focus more personal time and energy on providing elder support. With our executive members already also deeply involved in the complementary advocacy efforts with other groups to protect our waterfront lands and downtown from unnecessary overdevelopment, none of them were able to take on this role.

Waterfront hotel Taylor

Deedee Davies on the left with Councillor John Taylor and Realtor Linda Davies – the two women are not related.

We encourage you to stay involved in protecting public access to our waterfront. Writing to all the Councillors and Mayor with your views on issues is a good start. Mayor@burlington.ca; Ward 1 rick.crave@burlington.ca; Ward 2 marianne.meedward@burlington.ca; Ward 3 john.taylor@burlington.ca; Ward 4 jack.dennison@burlington.ca; Ward 5 paul.sharman@burlington.ca; and Ward 6 blair.lancaster@burlington.ca

As well, there are several advocacy groups operating where you can offer your support, expertise, time, or effort.

Plan B rendering

Plan B, a group of downtown residents, want to ensure that the public has better access and sight lines to the waterfront and the pier. They want to be “at the table? when the redevelopment of the Waterfront Hotel takes place.

Plan B is working with the city planners to develop a better plan than the city’s preferred concept for the redevelopment of the Waterfront Hotel lands at the foot of Brant Street. The draft city plan called for two towers of up to 25 and 18 storeys and a large 4 storey podium all on the waterfront side of Lakeshore Road. You can join Plan B in their efforts by getting involved through their Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/PlanBwaterfrontHotelRedevelopment/

ECoB (Engaged Citizens of Burlington) is “fighting City Hall” to have overturned the recent approval by City Council for a 23 storey condominium on the north-east corner of Brant and James Streets. This is the proverbial “straw that breaks the camel’s back” and would permit a flood of 20 something storey condominiums into our downtown and line Brant Street from the waterfront up. In fact, city planners already envisage (and are trying to put approval for it in the Official Plan) a 22 storey condo being built at the NE corner of Brant and Lakeshore Road, where the old bank building, now a falafel restaurant is located. This would be directly across from the proposed 22 storey replacement for the Waterfront Hotel and the 22 storey Bridgewater Development already under construction.

This not-for-profit group of citizens are also proposing to delay approval of the Burlington New Official Plan that regulates land use for the next decade so that citizens have proper opportunity to learn about and comment on the sweeping changes being proposed for some neighbourhoods. Find out more on how you can get involved at www.engagedburlington.ca, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ecoburlington/ and on Twitter at Twitter.com/EngagedCoB or email them at info@engagedburlington.ca .

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

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

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward who represents the downtown is working tirelessly to try and stop these irreversible events from occurring. She has brought to light new information on the Downtown Mobility Hub and a discrepancy between city and provincial intensification boundaries that could be game changers.

Please read her latest Ward 2 newsletter at www.ward2news.ca or follow on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/ward2burlington/ or on Twitter at @MarianneMeedWard to learn more. If you care, please get involved, particularly if you are not from Ward 2.

Burlington Green Environmental Organization believes the City of Burlington is missing a huge opportunity to preserve and add green spaces to the downtown as they finalize the Official Plan. With all the condominiums planned for the core, there are not any park spaces planned for south of James, east of Brant and north of Lakeshore. Where will the children of families living in this neighbourhood play? You can learn more at www.burlingtongreen.org under the Local Issues /Preserve Greenspace tab, or follow them at www.facebook.com/Burlington.green.environment/

Burlington Core Residents is a forum for residents to stay current on the latest news and developments in the Burlington downtown area. Their email address is coreresidents@gmail.com, or follow them at www.facebook.com/coreresidents/


The developer wants to intensify this property.

First Urban Inc is appealing the city’s refusal of rezoning for 143 Blue Water Place and 105 Avondale Court (between Walkers and Appleby Lines south of Lakeshore Road). It will be going to an OMB Hearing at City Hall beginning May 14, 2018 at 10:00. The City and citizens are trying to prevent a development of 35 three storey townhouses and 4 semi-detached units from being built on the waterfront where currently there exist two homes. This development is inappropriate at this location for so many reasons. An association was formed to help the city fight this proposed development. They are called Burlington Lakeshore Residents Association. Their chair, Ben King will be an official Party with legal standing to the OMB Hearings. To become involved, please write to them at lakeshoreresidents@outlook.com or check out their website at www.lakeshoreresidents.com.

All is not going to stay quiet on this waterfront. A city council member, Marianne Meed Ward has created a citizens advisory committee on the waterfront that is going to take a holistic look at what is best for the city.

When the city sunset the Waterfront Advisory committee that a former member had set up the Council member for the ward, Marianne Meed Ward, created a citizens advisory committee that would “take a holistic look at what is best for the city”.

On behalf of the executive of Burlington Waterfront, I would like to thank you for your interest and efforts in protecting public access to our waterfront and encourage you to continue making Burlington a great city with a great waterfront by staying engaged. And please take time to enjoy our beautiful waterfront, in every season – it is a jewel.

If there was ever an occasion for Mayor Goldring to seek the opinions of others on the Beachway PArk - now is the time to do it and on Wednesday he will have an opportunity to listen to one of the best minds there is on waterfront development. Former Toronto Mayor met with MAyor Gildring at a Waterfronty Advisory meeting a number of years ago. Time for another chat.

Former Toronto Mayor David Crombie was a guest at a Waterfront Advisory Committee where he urged Mayor Goldring to listen to what the citizens of the city.

Editor’s note:  The Waterfront group that has ceased operating had an interesting history.  It was what was left of the Waterfront Advisory Committee that was formed by former Mayor Cam Jackson.  The city sunset that committee.  Both Mayor Golding and Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward said they would form committees to take up the work that both felt needed to be done.

The Mayor did nothing – Meed Ward decided to serve as an advisor to the group she was going to form.  While serving as Chair of the committee Davies worked tirelessly and brought interesting information to the public.  Think Deedee Davies when you think about who should be nominated as one of Burlington’s Best.

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It is getting nasty out there: City manager threatens citizen group with legal action over wording on their web site

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 17th, 2018



It is getting nasty out there.

ECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington make no bones about their dissatisfaction with the way information from the Planning department gets to the taxpayers who cover all the costs.

There is a section on their web site offering pointers to people who want to write the politicians.

Here is part of what is on the web site now:

ECOB logo

Do you need some help putting your thoughts into valid points for your letter to City Hall? Here are some ideas for you!

Questions you should be asking. Points you can be making.

Why is council not following its own current official plan?

How can a new Official Plan be passed when so many master plans have not been completed?
How can proper decisions be made when these other master plans aren’t completed? It is like building a house on a base of sand.

Council is not defending its own official plan at the OMB- why not?

Is council so quick to allow planning staff to determine what our City will look like because they don’t want to spend the money in the event that they could lose? Is that a good reason to allow for poor planning?

There seems to be money to spend on “legacy projects” – like the Joseph Brant Museum but not to defend the current official plan.

The residents elect council to represent their needs not the needs of Staff and the Developers.

This council seems to forget this. What is happening in the downtown core is happening in all of Burlington- this needs to be an election issue. Presently 9 new development applications have been received by the City since Christmas – 5 in Ward 2- If we don’t stop what is happening now it will be too late. We should be questioning the legality of how certain areas were designated.

As someone said “Can you imagine that former Mayor Hazel McCallion would allow staff and the developers to dictate what was happening in Mississauga? “

It is the Mayors job to lead his council to do the right thing for the residents. I think residents have been very clear about not wanting over intensification. We need to stress that residents are not against development- but the right kind of development.

Where is our mayor? Why is staff dictating to Council it’s like the tail wagging the dog?

ECoB got a letter from the City Manager in which he said:

James RidgeTo Whom it May Concern:
On your website, in the area of letter writing campaign, you set out questions to be asked of the letter recipients. Among them is:

How can staff in the planning department be pushing these amendments when they know that they are not following The Professional Code of Practice of the Ontario Planners Institute which requires members to serve the public “to provide full, clear and accurate information on planning matters to decision makers and members of the public”?

This directly alleges that City staff have committed professional misconduct, and is categorically untrue. Staff have met or exceeded all requirements of their professional codes of practice, and have far exceeded the requirements of the planning act and other legislation in terms of consultation and provision of information. The fact you don’t like their recommendations does not mean they have acted unprofessionally.

I would like an immediate removal of these comments from your site, and an apology, or I will take all necessary steps to hold you accountable for these defamatory comments.
James Ridge City Manager

It appears that ECoB wasn’t prepared to meet the threat and removed the wording that offended the City Manager and sent the following letter to the City Manager in which they, ECoB said:

January 16, 2018
Sent by email to: James.Ridge@burlington.ca
To Whom it May Concern:

It has been received that on the www.engagedcitizens.ca website, in the area of letter writing campaign, the questions to be asked of the letter recipients including:

“How can staff in the planning department be pushing these amendments when they know that they are not following The Professional Code of Practice of the Ontario Planners Institute which requires members to serve the public “to provide full, clear and accurate information on planning matters to decision makers and members of the public”?

at the request of the City of Burlington City Manager has been removed,

Members of Engaged Citizens of Burlington (ECoB) however rescind the request to issue apology.

It is further argued that the statement “The fact you don’t like their recommendations does not mean they have acted unprofessionally” infers a personal intent and is itself a defamatory comment which cannot be substantiated.

ECoB Dec 13 #2

ECoB attracted close to 100 people to a community meeting on a cold winter night with fresh snow falling. How will they take to the threat from the city manager?

The defensive tactic to silence this group through legal threat of a defamation case would quickly find evidence in the November 30th Planning and Development ECoB deputation that there is no defamatory intent and that this is a matter of responsible communication on matters of public interest.

It was identified on public record that following the November 30th Planning and Development meeting that the position of ECoB is to Request to Planning and Development to defer submission of the planning and building department report PB-50-17 regarding proposed new official plan (November 2017) regarding proposed downtown mobility hub precinct plan and proposed official plan policies until no sooner than June of 2018.

This will allow invaluable community input to understand the impact of the various planning instruments and initiatives. This will align with the provincially recognized Downtown Mobility Hub Area Specific Plan expected for delivery in June 2018. There are 7 requests in total per the deputation.

ECoB’s review of the Professional Code of Practice requiring members to serve the public interest hinges on planning staff bringing the new OP forward for approval without several significant studies (Transportation Master Plan, Transit Plan, Mobility Hubs study, etc). These have not been completed.

The question is simply: Does this action by the Planning Department, knowing that important information is missing, meet the requirements of the above Code? Do they believe they have provided all the required information?

To ECoB the facts are very clear. Do Council and residents have “full, clear and accurate information?” The answer is No.

This issue must be raised in view of the significance of this matter for all residents and the council of Burlington. How can a decision be made without full information? If we cannot agree, perhaps the Discipline Committee at OPI (Ontario Planners Institute) should decide if the document should have been brought forward at this time. We think this is a fair compromise solution.

Engaged Citizens of Burlington
cc. Mayor and Council Members

Somewhere along the way polite, civil, and transparent communication got lost.

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ECoB - Engaged citizens of Burlington have lawn signs ready - beginning to set out their position on downtown development..

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

January 16th, 2018



The ECoB people are beginning to dialogue with at least one member of city council.

They have always had the ear of ward 2 Councillor Meed Ward but they have had problems getting time and attention from the rest of Council.

While ECoB and Meed Ward are on the same page the ECoB people made a point of telling people that they weren’t a front for Meed Ward – they just happen to support each other in terms of the objective, which was to take a hard realistic look at what is happening to the downtown core of Burlington.

During a meeting with Councillor Taylor two ECoB people met and set out what they feel Councillors are not hearing from the Planning department.

ECoB is a small organization – not more than a handful of people. With the idea developed, after some missteps getting themselves off the ground, there is now a clear direction. The organization is now reaching out for volunteers to take part in getting the message out and further developing the resistance to what is coming out of the Planning department.

The group is holding a Volunteer Recruitment Workshop on Thursday January 18th at Wellington Square Church, 2121 Caroline Avenue from 7-9 PM.

ecob sign

ECoB lawn sign.

Their lawns signs are now ready for those who want to show their support for the group in a more visual way. Signs are $5 – covers the cost – and will be available at the Thursday meeting,

ECoB can be reached electronically at: info@engagedburlington.ca

In summarizing their conversation with Taylor Lisa Kearns and Penny Hersh report that Taylor is now aware ECoB believes the “planned growth for Brant Street is not providing vibrancy, culture or character, but will in fact price out families or those under the top 2% in wage earners.

The women refer to a Toronto Star article that references Toronto real estate prices and what they believe will be the cost of commercial property on Brant Street.

Lisa Kierns ECOB Dec 13

Lisa Kierns ECoB member

They believe there is a housing bubble “that is going to burst at some point and that at some point we will be left with a decimated character for downtown Brant Street, potentially unfinished or vacant condos, and a false promise of vibrancy. This is indeed a grim picture for the gem we have been fortunate enough to enjoy.”

“You must know” said the ECoB team, “as Planning does, that the properties on Brant have been land massed with a bet that the low density will be exchanged for incredible profit – most of which is backed by foreign money – if you don’t know this, it is time to start asking some very serious questions.

ECoB believes the city is “giving away height for nothing in return. Nothing. If the other Precincts can absorb the required growth and Brant Street is off limits, then those areas will be as valuable as Brant – the opposite is true, if Brant is available then the value of the other buildings will be reduced. This means there is a way to offer housing while still protecting Brant Street.”

Tanner and Taylor at June 21-17 workshop

Councillor Taylor on discussion with former Director of Planning Mary Lou Tanner who is now the Deputy city manager.

“The creators of the problem – vacant stores, no leasehold improvements, short term leases and sky high rents have caused the problems we have downtown – these same individuals are proposing the solution as condo level retail and offices. This is not the solution, there is no soul or feel to commerce in those properties, and if the value of the property is assessed more factually – as 2-4 storey’s then the opportunity for true vibrant and exciting retail and services can flourish. Awesome businesses are dying to get downtown but are forced out because the property’s must be unencumbered to develop.

“There is so much more to this conversation that ECoB will continue to bring forward and we need to rely on those that can affect change in a positive way to ensure our heart and core is protected. Please be part of this change.”

Taylor listened, as he usually does.

Downtown development sites App A

Where the development is taking place in the city.

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