A very acceptable first year in office - can they keep up the brutal pace?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

December 3rd, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It was a year ago this evening – the new city council was sworn in.

Ridge 4

City Manager James Ridge is shown the exit door.

The next day the Mayor called a Special Meeting of Council and got their approval to fire the city manager.

There were other changes in the wind. The Council’s first budget increase was modest – but the Mayor had to convince her Council to shake $4million out of the hydro Reserve Fund.

That this was going to be a different council was made evident the night the Goldring Council held its last meeting. Meed Ward had some comments she wanted to make – Mayor Goldring politely advised her that comments were not permitted at that point. Marianne Meed Ward stunned the Mayor and the City Clerk that she wanted to speak on a point of personal privilege. While the Clerk was shuffling through the Procedural bylaw Meed Ward gave her a copy with the appropriate section marked.

And then she let blast. The full report of that meeting is linked below.

Paul Sharman was the only holdover from the 2006 through to 2018 terms; the others either resigned or were defeated. ( In 2010 every council member was re-elected.)

The other five were new to municipal politics. They had basically zero political experience and several had to struggle but they learned the ropes and little by little we began to see where there was some talent and where some help was going to be needed.

There was a new city manager who had served the city in the past; he was known, well-liked by most and was able to bring some stability to an administration that had gone through a very difficult period of time and knew that there were many rough months ahead.

Mary Lou Tanner

Mary Lou Tanner’s job disappears – she finds the exit door.

The Deputy City Manager was shown the door; there was a new Chief Planner with a team that needed help and support.

The learning curve for the five new council members was steep; some are not doing all that well.  Some have surprised us while others have been a disappointment.

What is evident is that this Council is pulling together and doing so rather well.

Collectively they are taking on huge issues – Climate Change was a challenge they did not shirk.

The opportunities to do things that were badly needed were embraced and while there is a lot that is not yet known – the outcome, whatever it is, will not be because this council didn’t try.

The members of council are learning the strengths and weaknesses of their colleagues; they are as well learning which Staff members are straight shooters and which are not to be relied upon all that much.

None of the five had any idea that the experience they are having is what they imagined the day they submitted their nomination papers.

The city’s downtown core is under an Interim Control Bylaw which means nothing moves forward until the research and the deep thinking is done.

Official-Plan-Binder_Image

Official Plan gets re-write.

Football - east end cropped

Might work in Mississauga – not wanted in Burlington.

The re-write of portion of the Official Plan is taking place – with the Planning staff trying every idea out there to involve the citizens.

Some stunning developments have been brought forward; all of which would be embraced quickly by Mississauga – but Burlington is not Mississauga.

Council has to come to terms with wanting to do everything and what fiscal reality will permit.  There are only so many Reserve funds that can be raided.

At this point council deserves to be told publicly that we appreciate what they are trying to do and wish them well as they enter their second year of their four year term.

A closer review however is merited.

The day Meed Ward let the outgoing council have it right between the eyes.

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

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What would happen if the Loose Leaf Collection program was killed?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

November 25th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Recall those occasions when you put two and two together and realize that the total is five?

This crew will probably not be clearing the leaves from your property. They were working along New Street when this picture was taken.

This crew will probably not be clearing the leaves from your property. They were working along New Street when this picture was taken.

Keep that in mind as you look through what we have written about the Loose Leaf Collection Program and read the comments carefully.

Could it be that City Council is giving serious thought to the idea of killing the program as part of a tax saving measure?

The program is expensive and no matter that the city does – something goes wrong.

Leaf collection 2017 truckWhy not just get rid of it early in their term of office; give the native’s time to get used to the idea and boast about how you have managed to keep the budget at just a pinch above the 4% increase last year.

If that doesn’t fly – how about a Loose Leaf Collection levy?

This is a story that still has some legs – let’s see where the tail that wags the dog takes us?

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

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Does the Mayor have a strategy for saving the 'football'; there is one.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

November 7th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Much of the public rationale for Marianne Meed Ward running in ward 2 in 2010 was that she would do everything possible to save the waterfront.

SaveOurWaterfront- Meed ward

Long time believers in saving the waterfront. Are there enough of them left to make a difference today?

An organization was created – SOW – Save our Waterfront that Meed Ward rode all the way to city hall.

She was relentless with her use of social media. There were two film clips of her walking backwards along the lakeshore talking into a camera explain what she was trying to do with the waterfront and why. It was classic grass roots politics.

There are hundreds of people who still have their $10 SOW membership cards in their pockets. The organization morphed into the Meed Ward election campaign team.

In 2006 Meed Ward had run against Rick Craven in ward 1; the result of that election were not pretty. The Ward family moved from the Tyendaga community into the city core; ward 2 was a much easier win.

OldLk-Southside-view

Everything on the right hand side of what is Old LAkeshore Road has to be left the way it is – no development on that land. The Motel is now in the hands of the people who own the Waterfront Hotel, Emmas is on land owned by Mayrose Tyco. This is where Mayor Meed Ward is going to have to find the leverage she needs. Does she have an ace up her sleeve?

Marianne has made the waterfront her issue. She fought tooth and nail to save the waterfront land between Market and St. Paul Streets – to no avail. It was sold to a property owner who saw an opportunity to acquire lakefront property for a song. The full story behind how that came about is a little clearer now that Council got a chance to hear what leading real estate agent Michael O’Sullivan told the city when delegating on another matter.

She has watched the public presentations from the CORE people and Burlington Old Lakeshore Inc., part of the Carriage Gate interests. and realized she was up against some pretty big guns.

She should be able to hold her council with her on this fight, Bentevegna might be problematic. She is going to have to work very hard to ensure that the Planning department fully understands the “will of council.

SOW images for fottball

The four eight to 15 story structures is a lousy deal for everyone.

But more than that – she is going to have to come up with a strategy. At this point it looks as if she is going to hang her hat on the zoning of 8 storeys as of right with up to 15 storeys if the right benefits are made available to the community.

She is going to have to deal with the tight grip the Conservation authority has on what can and what cannot be done south of the Old Lakeshore Road.

Cons HAlton line

Conservation Halton has ruled that nothing can be built south of that dotted blue line. The buildings there now can stay, It is those buildings on the south side of Old LAkeshore that Meed Ward is going to have to find a way to leverage.

What we didn’t see or even get a hint of from Meed Ward was that big, bold audacious idea that former Toronto Mayor David Crombie once told the Waterfront Advisory Committee was needed to save that piece of land.

Marianne understands the theatrics of politics. She use social media well, the ‘moth to a flame” part of her makeup will not serve her well. But these are small matters.

There is an opportunity to do something magnificent with the “football”. It will take imagination and a willingness to go for that “Hail Mary” pass, but if she can get her hands on the ball she will have created a legend for herself that can propel her some distance in the world of politics.

The 22 story Bridgewater development was done on Mayor Walter Mulkewich’s watch. It was originally going to be a 30 storey structure and be known as a legacy building.

Meed Ward can move the needle on legacy – but only if she surrounds herself with people that are imaginative, innovative and politically connected.

Meed ward election night 1

Victory is sweet – living up to the promise is the hard part.

Settling for 15 storeys on that patch of land will be nothing to boast about.

There is time for a better brilliant idea to come forward – just not that much.

The Meed Ward position at this point is that there is policy in place that limits what can be done with the land. The developer’s consultant said these were guidelines with little in the way of force.

Meed Ward is going to have to galvanize the people in the Planning department to put the minds of some of the young and very bright people in the building to give the city their very best.

Meed Ward’s long term political career and the soul of the city that many people want depends on it.

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Coles notes version of Monday's Committee of the Whole meeting

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

November 5th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Some thoughts and observations on the Committee of the Whole meeting that took place on Monday.

The number of city hall employees who quit increased by more than 80% during January to October 31st, 2019 when measured against the 2018 numbers for the same period.

Sharman at transit

Councillor Sharman explaining his Father.

Councillor Sharman told the world that his 98 year old father still drives a car, has a new girlfriend and is moving into a condo.

The difference in salary for people holding senior jobs who have decided to work somewhere else was reported to be as high as $15k to $20k

Retirements are up 67% over last year.

Council went into a closed session to discuss an Appendix to a report from Human Resources Director Laura Boyd who has told the city that there are some serious problems with the city’s pay rate.

Commisso stare

City manager Tim Commisso spoke about the The Evolution of the Customer Experience.

They also went into Closed Session to discuss The Evolution of the Customer Experience. The report came from the hands of the City Manager who delivered it to Council late in the evening.  That customer being you.

Mayor Meed Ward made it clear that she wanted to see more action and less waiting for reports from outside consultants.
Centurions are going to get a lot more attention in the months and years ahead. There are plans in the works to pay much more attention to those who have lived for 100 years. The city has literally dozens of them.

Lining up for a Brown Bag lunch - annual Seniors' Centre event held at Central Park this year. Last year the LaSalle Park event got rained out.

Lining up for a Brown Bag lunch – annual Seniors’ Centre event held at Central Park this year.

The Seniors’ Centre is said to be busting at the seams – but there are no plans to build another one elsewhere in the city. Councillor Stolte didn’t see it that way and let the meeting know that she thought it was time to look for a location north of the QEW.

Councillor Sharman let it be known that he thinks Freeman Station should be operated by the Museums group.

There is a longish list of projects the city has been asked to take on – but they aren’t funded. Shortfall is $720,000 in 2020 alone.

Meed Ward with chain Sept 23-19

Mayor wants the city to be “nimble, agile and to move quickly

Mayor Meed Ward told her colleagues that she is a little jaded on “plans”. She said she thinks she has seen four or five on transit alone.

She added that “we know we are going to plant thousands of trees – why do we need to wait until a plan is written?”

She wants city staff to be “nimble, agile and to move quickly”

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

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It is a nasty, sneaky, dishonest way of explaining to tax payers how much of a tax increase they are going to be hit with.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

October 31st, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It is a nasty, sneaky, dishonest way of explaining to tax payers how much of a tax increase they are going to be hit with.

The tax bill people get includes taxes levied by the school boards, taxes levied by the Regional government and taxes levied by the city of Burlington.

It was found to be more efficient to put all the taxes on the one bill – it also made it easier to collect.

HDSB trustees

The Board of Education determines how much money they need in the way of taxes; all the city does is collect it for them.

The city has zip influence on what the school board levy in the way of taxes to pay for the operation of our school system. All the city does is collect the money and pass it along to the school board.

Full region

Burlington has seven votes on the 24 member Regional Council – input on the tax levy – nothing more than that.

The city has some (not very much) influence on what the Region decides they need in the way of tax money to operate the services they provide: police, the water system, waste management along with health and social services.

The only tax level the city controls is what they spend on delivering the services they provide.

In the 2020-2021 budget that is to go before Council in November reference is made to “unfunded service enhancements which if added to the budget brings the city tax increase to 4.73% (2.76% when combined with the Region and Education taxes).

The public is looking at a tax increase of more than 4% – probably close to 5% once they decide just how much they want to spend on climate control matters.

What Council does when they play around with the numbers is akin to the 17 year old, single daughter who says to her Father: Daddy I am just a little bit pregnant.

Taxes are inevitable. Treat the public with the respect they deserve and tell them the truth. Stop the pussyfooting around.

City council on innauguration Dec 3rd - 2018

This city council has an opportunity to teach the bureaucrats to be more open and honest with the tax payers.

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Is it a 'football' or a peanut? It iis certainly the most important piece of land left for development in the downtown core. Probably the last chance to do something magnificent in this city.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

October 29th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Football

The land between Lakeshore Road and Old Lakeshore Road has been referred to as the football every since we started publishing. Why would the city want to name is the peanut?

Is it a football or a peanut?

What most people know as the “football” was referred to as the peanut by Director of Planning Heather MacDonald at one of the Action Plan sessions last week.

football

Is it a football ….

peanut

…or a peanut?

It is probably the most significant piece of developable land left in the downtown core.

In time it might equal Spencer Smith Park in importance to the look, feel and public open space in the city.

Right now there are developers crawling all over the land with proposal for developments that will rise more than 25 storeys.

The Carriage Gate Group subsidiary Lakeshore Old Burlington gave a presentation to a very small group at a public meeting recently. No one has yet to explain why that meeting was so poorly promoted.

model 3 d 0f the site

Not much of that quaint, walk-able community in this 3d model of what the CORE Development group want to dump into the ‘football’.

The CORE Development group gave the public a good look at what they have in mind for the properties to the west of the Burlington Old LAkeshore proposal.

They will be making the required Statutory presentation to city council on November 5th at city hall

Lakeshore Mixed use precinct

Lakeshore Mixed use precinct – on the north and south side of Lakeshore from Locust to Martha. Each property will have its own rules put in place.

During the two Action Plan workshops the city held for residents some people wanted to know why the “football” and the Lakeshore Precinct were not included in the public think sessions.

They were told by the Director of Planning, Heather MacDonald that those precincts were to be the subject of separate studies once the revisions to the adopted but not yet approved Official Plan are in place.

One can sympathize with the workload the Planning department faces but the “football” and what has been defined as the Lakeshore precinct are just as important as the look and feel of Brant Street if not more so.

What makes Burlington the city it is – is the lake.

In-from-the-east

At the eastern edge of the football – the tower will become the gateway to the downtown core.

CORE rendering

This structure is to the immediate west of the latest Carriage Gate Development.

 

The millions spent on the Pier; the millions spent on getting public access to the lake at the foot of the Bridgewater development and public access to the lake through that development will be for naught if there are no rules that apply to the football and the Lakeshore precinct.

At this point there are two mammoth development applications for the “football” on the table

Let us not repeat the terrible mistake with that Anchor Hub – the label that got stuck on a tiny bus terminal.

Related news stories:

The stunning development planned for the “football”

Can high rise development be brought to an end?

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Can Burlington have better elections? Can the candidates improve their game?

federal election 2019By Pepper Parr

October 21st, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The electioneering is over.

Now the citizens of the country get to choose who should lead at the federal government level.

May and Justin debating

This is what a debate is about. Why can’t we have stuff like this in Burlington during our elections?

I suspect that we are in for a bumpy ride and some big surprises – which should come as no surprise.
What do we know now about the candidates that wanted to represent Burlington in Ottawa? Not much more than they wanted to tell us unfortunately because for the most part we really didn’t grill these men and women.

There were no debates – we did the usual Burlington polite thing.

Burlington doesn’t appear to be very comfortable with holding people accountable for what they do.

Debates, when they are moderated properly, give audiences a chance to see the candidates in action; see how they respond to the thrust and parry of a debate.

Candidates and potential candidates need to know that there is a bar of expectations they have to reach. You have to be good, really good, if you want to represent Burlington in Ottawa.

Debates bring out the best in candidates and they put a spotlight on the flaws. The public is entitled to that level of transparency. If someone believes they have what it takes to represent the public – show us.

Unfortunately, Burlington has never had an organization that will take on that role. Cogeco doesn’t want to offend anyone – all they want to do is ensure that their cable TV license is never put at risk.

The Chamber of Commerce isn’t much better – they seem proud of their Q&A approach to candidates: Never rock the Boat, and for heaven’s sake don’t disrupt – bad for business.

ECoB debate at Baptist on New

Church halls were filled – the public wants to hear what candidates have to say.

ECoB has done some very good work. They televised the municipal events that took place and drew crowds that filled church halls. It was evident that the public wanted more.

The ECoB events made it clear that it was time to look for stronger moderators; people with more depth and the capacity to push the candidates.

What isn’t immediately evident is that you get better representation when you push. A look at what Burlington has at the provincial level and what it has been offered at the federal level on the Conservative side of the political spectrum xxx

One can only wonder what John Robarts, probably the best Premier the province has ever had, would think of what we have done to the Conservative reputation.

A long time Gazette reader told us of a time when there were “ratepayer” groups throughout the city that communicated with the school board and city council. Those parents aged and their children grew up and the world changed.

The pressure on households is much different these days; parents don’t have as much time. In most households both parents work, and there are a lot more single parent families. Also, government is much more complex and the needs of the community are greater.

Students face an environment that is a lot different than the one their parents experienced. We also have a community that was nowhere as large as it is today – the baby boomers are moving into retirement and the millennials have made it clear that at least some of them expect to be at the table.

The bureaucracy is different as well – it doesn’t respond the way it used to; the pace is different, development is much more aggressive and the relationship between the electors and the elected isn’t what it could be.

These are changing times – and we are going to have to adapt. How well we adapt will determine whether Burlington really is the “best place to raise a family. It is a city where people, nature and businesses thrive.”

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The Gazette's prediction for the three Burlington seats: Gould, Raitt and Weir

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

October 20th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

So who is it going to be?

There are three constituencies representing the people of Burlington.

Milton, which covers parts of wards 3 and 6 – the northern part of the city

Oakville North Burlington which cover part of eastern Burlington and part of Oakville.

Burlington is where the bulk of the people in the city will vote

Maps of all three are set out below.

Where is the vote going to go? Some of the best political minds in the country don’t know; what seems to be pretty certain is that we will have a minority government. The Conservatives believe they will form that government – the Liberals are just as certain.

The NDP and the Greens aren’t going to form a government – but one of them will probably hold the balance of power.

Our take on the candidates:

Sean Weir

Sean Weir for the Conservatives in Oakville North Burlington

Gould as a bandit

Karina Gould for Burlington

Lisa Raitt - blonde

Lisa Raitt for Milton.

Burlington where the candidates are: Karina Gould, the incumbent; Gareth Williams – Green Party; Lenaee Dupuis – NDP; Peoples Party – Peter Smetana and Jane Michael – Conservative.

The Gazette sees Karina Gould as the best choice – although Gareth Williams has done a superb job for the Greens even if he didn’t put in as much time as he should have campaigning. How and why Jane Michael ever got the Conservative nomination has astounded most of the Conservatives we talked to.

The candidates in Milton are: Lisa Raitt – Conservative; Adam van Koeverden – Liberal; Eleanor Hayward – New Democrat; Farina Hassan – Green Party and Percy Dastur – People Party

In Milton, new comer Adam van Koeverden has a chance – we think Lisa Raitt will hold her seat.

The candidates in Oakville North Burlington are: Sean Weir – Conservative; Gilbert J. Jubinville – Peoples Party; Pam Damoff – Liberal; Nicolas Dion – New Democrat and Michael Houghton – Green Party

In Oakville North Burlington Sean Weir could beat Pam Damoff. She hasn’t been that strong a Parliamentarian.

We will learn just how serious people in the Halton Region are about Climate Change when we see what the vote count for the Green Party is – the surge in the New Democrat vote is yet another sign that in

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

Milton federal boundaries

The portion of Burlington that is in the Milton constituency

Oakville North Burlington

Oakville North Burlington

Boundaries for voters in Burlington. Provincial Liberals in Burlington gear up for an election they think they can win – after 40+ in the wilderness.

Boundaries for voters in Burlington.

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We get to make the decision as to who leads us - let's try and get it right.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

October 18th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Meed ward election night 1

Did we get it right?

A year ago today we all woke up and headed for the polling station during the day and elected ourselves a new city council.

Did we get it right?

Most people appear to think that we did. There are certainly some who think mistakes were made but on balance we have seven people who have a clear vision as to where they want to go.

Next Monday we get to go to the polls again.

Let us try and get it right.

There is a lot of small minded bickering and pettiness being voiced.

Is the dual citizenship that Andrew Scheer has really that big a deal?

Is it what the creation of a government is decided on?

Parliament hill crowds

The people, you and I get to decide who runs that |House of Commons. Think really hard about who you send there to do the job.

The Black face was and is a big deal – but it was 20 years ago. Has Justin Trudeau grown up? Has he learned a lesson?

Do we trust him?

That applies to all of them – do you trust them?

There are some very big, fundamental issues before us. If we don’t get them right – we are in serious trouble.

iceberg

When this falls apart – we all fall apart. It will not be a pretty picture.

There is a tipping point, a point at which we cannot go back.

Are we there yet?

How close to that tipping point are we and do we really want to test it.

If we are wrong – there really isn’t a future.

There is some hard hard thinking to be done.

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

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Better debate behaviour and more responsible spending - please!

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

October 15th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Things to keep in mind as you think about where you want your ballot to go on Monday.

Worth noting is that the number of people who voted in the advance polls increased by 25% over the last election. Some clearly wanted to register their vote.

Will the numbers for 2019 exceed the vote count in 2015?

The issues are pretty clear.

Justin scheer debate

Prime Minister Trudeau debating Leader of the Opposition Andrew Scheer – it got nasty at times.

What I find myself thinking about is the debate behaviour and the spending promises.

These are all educated people who can read without moving their lips. Their parents surely taught them some manners.

The public wants to hear what they say; we want to hear sound, solid, supportable, cogent arguments. We didn’t get much of that.

Could the moderators not have threatened to cut off the microphones of those who talked over another speaker? There were a few occasions when one of the female moderators clamped down on a speaker. It needed to happen more often.

Jagmeet and BLOC debating

Yves-François Blanchet leader of the BLOC debates Jagmeet Singh, leader of the New Democrats.

The people who moderate have a responsibility to first set out the rules, warn what will happen when a rule is broken and then enforce the rules.

Can you imagine the behaviour change if a moderator turned off the microphone of a speaker who kept butting in on another speaker’s time?

May and Justin debating

Green Party leader Elizabeth May goes after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during an English language debate.

The public deserves better, the process deserves better. Demand better.

Now – the spending. These people are asking to be THE leader of the country while they throw your money around like confetti at a wedding and give the public quickie accountings as to just how they are going to pay for those promises.

This is irresponsibility at a dangerous social level. The politicians give us what they think we want to hear – we applaud them, elect them and then complain bitterly when they fail to deliver on those ‘promises’.

There are lessons here for both the elected and the electorate.

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Staff reports missing from the Monday Committee of the Whole Agenda - no one seems to know why.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

October 7th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Marsdens (Dave and Anne) were never in the business of making life easy for their elected officials.

It has cost them dearly. They have been treated with contempt, not permitted to talk to city staff and then barred from city hall as well as barred from Regional Council.

They are prickly.

Marsdens

Anne and David Marsden – delegating at city council.

They are now permitted to delegate at city hall; they appeared during the Provincial Review earlier this year at the Region.

This morning they were at the podium in Council Chambers pointing out an embarrassing situation.

The Agenda for the meeting this week had several problematic entries.

Several of the important items did not have a report attached which meant that anyone who wanted to know what the Agenda item was about was basically out of luck. All they had was a headline.

The Marsdens don’t take to that kind of behaviour and they stood at the podium and asked, first; why there were no reports attached to the Agenda item, and because one was of particular interest to them they wanted any discussion to be deferred to the November round of Standing Committee.

At one point it got rather testy when Ms Marsden made a statement that the chair wanted her to strike from the comments she had made.

That didn’t go down all that well with the Marsdens.

The issues for the Marsdens was that in order to delegate on a matter you had to register with the Clerk’s Office not later than the Friday before the scheduled meeting.

The following agenda items had no report attached to them.

Infrastructure Funding CM 22-18

Note: This item will be distributed under separate cover.

City Wide Private Tree bylaw Implementation RPF 15-19

Note: This item will be distributed under separate cover.

2020 Calendar of meetings for Council and Standing Committees. CL 16-19

Note: This item will be distributed under separate cover.

The private tree bylaw issue was extremely divisive; there were a lot of harsh words said at several of the meetings.  How city hall thought they could actually get away with something like this is astounding.

Not sure which is worse – that it was deliberate or a stupid administrative error.

Without knowing much about the report that was going to be debated – the Marsdens didn’t feel they could delegate. They did manage to scoot down to city hall late on the Friday and get a copy of the report – which when they saw the details they were very certain that they would be delegating.

How do things like this happen? Who lets an Agenda like this get sent out? The city Clerk is responsible for the Agenda – but the city manager signs off on everything.

CITY HALL Cobalt

Is there something about his building that prevents the left hands of those who work there from knowing what the right hand is doing?

There wasn’t much in the way of an explanation – other than a media release sent out by the city later in the day saying they were “Making it easier for residents to find information about development applications, construction and road restrictions.”

On a separate matter Heather MacDonald, Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility said: “We understand that at any given time, there can be a lot of activity happening in the city and it’s not always easy to know where to go to learn more information.”

Something isn’t right here.

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Can the development proposals planned for the 'football' be stopped?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 30th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In from the east

The view of the as yet unnamed tower as you drive into Burlington from the east.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward left the meeting before it ended. A presentation was being made by Old Lakeshore Burlington Inc. who were explaining what their development proposal idea was for the property at the east end of where Old Lakeshore Road and Lakeshore Road was going to look like; she had heard all she needed.

A part of the city that she used as the rallying cry for her election to city council in 2010 was about to be turned into something similar to what Toronto did to the land south of the Gardner Expressway and Lake Ontario. It was not what she had in mind for her city.

SOW images for fottball

This was the limit Marianne Meed Ward was calling for in the 2010 election.

The provincial government approach to development changed when Doug Ford came into office, the massive change in what LPAT (Local Planning Authority Tribunal) was going to do for the municipal sector wasn’t helping.

Was there a way out of or around what was heading our way?

There might be.

At this risk of using a phrase that didn’t actually resonate in Burlington – it is time to be bold. Let’s try – “Daring to be a Daniel” instead.

There is in the municipal world a number of tools that can be put to very good use – but it does require some creativity.

Russian nesting dolls

A doll within a doll – a planning tool within a planning tool.

I spoke to a number of people about what the city is up against and got some solid feedback. One resident, long in the tooth and the holder of much wisdom and experience in matters related to planning, suggested the approach the city could take is a little like those Russian nesting dolls.

All these planning and land management tools can be made to fit into each.  It takes very tight strategic thinking and you’re going to need a lot of that high priced legal talent to make it all happen – but they experts we spoke to told us it could perhaps be done.

Is it worth the risk to take a shot at it?

Site overview - aerial

The developer sees the 26 storey tower as the eastern gateway to the city – it’s impressive. Is it the best thing for the city?

There is currently an Interim Control Bylaw in place for the Urban Growth Centre. It has about eight months left in the first year it is going to be in place. The city could extend that bylaw for a second year.

The Chief Planner Heather MacDonald has a team of consultants working with her on what the city might do in terms of the kinds of development that will be permissible.

What is permitted

The A and B properties are in what is called the “football”

The “football” is within that Urban Growth boundary – so nothing is going very far until that interim bylaw is lifted.

What I learned in my talks with a number of people is this:

The review of the adopted – but not yet passed by city council Official Plan, could designate certain lands as having a special interest for the city in terms of the long range development.

They could put what is known as an H designation – a HOLD on what gets done with a piece of property.

With that hold in place the city has time to re-think where it wants to go.

Burlington has had relatively large community protest groups in the past. The Save our Waterfront group had more than 1000 members - did it achieve anything other than getting its founder elected to city hall? Here one of the masters of public involvement, former Toronto Mayor David Crombie talks with current SOW presisdent.

Former Toronto Mayor David Crombie talking to Mike xxx, who at the time was President of the Save our Waterfront group that had 1000 members,

With that time available Burlington can then form a group that studies the potential for the “football”; former Mayor David Crombie suggested to the Waterfront Advisory Committee that was in place at the time that they do just that. He added that putting a couple of “oddballs” on such a committee is always a good idea.

I learned that there is also a Community Improvement section in the Municipal Act – it is sometimes referred to as a Community Development Plan.

That part of the Act could be used to put together a plan that had wide wide stakeholder involvement.  These plans, I was told, give a municipality a tremendous amount of power and scope – they are in effect putting the needs and interests of the citizens first.

Right now the Planning department is dealing with a development application, which they have to accept and issue a report on.  They don’t have anything to compare it to – something that might be better for the city.

If the buy in from the public was high enough the city could move to expropriate all the land within the “football” and float a bond to pay for it.

If the Mayor wanted to get really creative she could look for a way to create a bond that the average citizen could units of.

Meed ward looking askance

Does the Mayor think there is a way out of what the developers have told us they want to do with the football? Will the Mayor manage to toss it back to them and expropriate the land.

Meed Ward is staring at a couple of developments that will put 26 storey condominiums on land she believes should not be any higher than 12 storeys.

LPAT will not let that happen – the developers know they will win at that level.

There just might be a way to do something truly stunning for the city.

Market-Lakeshore-foot-of-St-Paul-looking-west3-1024x6821

All of this was close to given away to the owners of properties that abutted the waterfront.

That terrible loss the city suffered when lake front land between Market and St. Paul was sold for a pittance can’t be reversed – but amends could be made for that loss.

Emma’s Back Porch and the Water Street Cookery could be part of something truly unique.

All it takes is takes innovation, creativity and courage.

We are far from experts in this field. But we do believe that citizens will stand up for themselves when the leadership they want leads.

The 2006, 2010 and the 2014 city council’s didn’t lead.  Mayor Meed Ward has made it clear things will be done differently – how much differently.

Let’s see where the Gazette’s active comment people have to say.

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

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Does the public have any idea what is being proposed for the south east core and is city council just going to let it happen?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 26th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There is a meeting taking place this evening at the Central Arena, on Drury Lane road, across the street from the YMCA.

Lakeshore Inc

The public will get a look at what the developer wants to do with the southern end of the “football” the land between Lakeshore Road and Old Lakeshore Road.

It is a pre-consultation meeting, a non-statutory meeting to obtain community input on all of these elements prior to the submission of an application. Planning staff will be in attendance to provide information on the development application review process and next steps. The owner and consultant team representatives will also be in attendance to listen and collect ideas and input from the community.

Old Lakeshore Burlington Inc. is the owner of lands located at 2107-2119 Old Lakeshore Road. The City’s current policies provide for the potential development of a tall building of up to 12 storeys on these lands. The owner is currently considering the redevelopment of the lands with a mixed-use tall building of up to 26 storeys.

This is the way development takes place in Burlington.

CORE

The properties the CORE development group want to put 26 storeys on.

A number of months ago there was another such pre-consultation public meeting. This one was at the Art Gallery. It went through the same process; there weren’t a lot of people in that room with much in the way of appetite for the development. The developer in that case was the CORE group.

When the Gazette asked for a copy of the presentation made by the developer – they promised to send it along the next day, we are still waiting for that one.

model 3 d 0f the site

A 3D model of what the south eastern core of the city would look like if the CORE development on the table is approved and built. Another developer wants to build a high rise at the eastern end of the Lakeshore and Old Lakeshore intersection.

Both developments, the CORE development and the Old Lakeshore Burlington development, are in the same part of town – what is sometimes referred to as the “football” – referring to the shape of the property that exists between Old Lakeshore Road and Lakeshore Road.

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 Mayor Rick Goldring sits beside former Toronto Mayor David Crombie to listen to members of the Waterfront Advisory Committee.

A number of years ago, when there was a Waterfront Advisory Committee chaired then by Nick Leblovic they invited former Toronto Mayor David Crombie to talk to them about how development can be managed so that the wishes and the will of the public are at least heard. Crombie at the time said: You need to put together a committee and ensure that you have a couple of oddballs at the table – they are the people that pop out the interesting ideas.

Then Mayor Goldring sat in on that meeting; nothing ever came of the idea. Sometime later the Waterfront Advisory was put to rest.

Any development ideas were going to come from the development community. And that is what we are looking at today.

The very significant sized developments that abut each other on what is now the most valuable developed land near the lake, across from Emma’s Back Porch and a football field length away from the Bridgewater development which appears stalled.

There is no public protesting; there is no group formed to suggest that this is not the way this part of the city should be developed.

Other than saying the city doesn’t want this type of growth in this part of the city Mayor Meed Ward hasn’t said very much.

Market-water-street-lots-Ziegler-drawing

All the land within the red outline was public. The city went along with the sale of the pieces in the middle that abutted houses – they kept the piece of land at each end and turned them into Windows on the Lake. A Crown Jewel had been sold.

Burlington lost the opportunity to keep a large part of the waterfront in public hands when it went along with the sale of that land between Market and St. Paul.

Meed Ward, as a Councillor fought a valiant battle to maintain ownership of that property – despite her efforts then, Crown Jewels were sold for a pittance and the province got most of the money.
George Santayana, a noted philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist who once appeared on the cover of Time magazine wrote that: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

It is going to take a lot more than people who attend the meeting this evening saying this is not what the city wants – it is going to take real leadership – not from just the Mayor but from every member of council.

Full council

This is the crowd that is going to have to step up, get creative, be bold and find a better way to develop the land in the “football”.

Time for the newbies to step up to the plate – let’s see what you are made of.

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

 

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Local newspaper gets attention it didn't want; parent company sends out a survey asking people where they get their news.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 25th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Well, local newspapers are making the news.

An avid Gazette reader popped us a note about a survey she was sent by the Toronto Star asking about how and where she got her local news.

The Burlington Post is owned by MetroMedia a subsidiary of the Toronto Star.

The Post got its name in the paper earlier in the week when the Mayor hammered them for getting a story totally wrong. The reporter who wrote the piece was sitting in council chambers at the time. Ouch!

Here is what the survey looked like.

star survey

The reader who sent the survey to us had this to say about the Post: Unfortunately the Burlington Post no longer has any purpose other than holding advertising flyers. Long ago they abandoned any sort of credible reporting and won’t ever say anything remotely controversial, seem to be a place for our elected officials to get free advertising, and they don’t allow or print contrary opinions, or even anything newsworthy. When they covered the 2018 municipal election debate and failed to mention that our current mayor at the time was roundly booed by the audience, we knew they were not a credible news source. I’m glad we have the Burlington Gazette online.

The Post at one time was published three times a week- then cut back to twice a week and now it is on the streets just once a week.  When it was published twice a week the price was $1. When the dropped to twice a week – the price went up to $2.

Everyone has their favourite newspaper. The Globe and Mail plus the Sunday New York Times work for me.

Cities the size of Burlington rely on local newspapers to tell the local story. The Gazette has been doing this for nine years – and despite a myriad of legal problems with the city we expect to be here for some time to come.

We don’t always get it right and we have been brought before the association we belong to and told to do a better job. The results of those decisions are public.

The saving grace was that the Mayor didn’t whack us in public.

There was a point where former Mayor Rick Goldring thought we were the best thing since sliced bread and had nice things to say about us. Check the video.

Foot 4

Those are porcupine quills in his snout – wasn’t a happy puppy for the day.

There was a time when there was a full sized broadsheet newspaper in Burlington.  It was folded and made part of the Spectator.

One of my bigger jobs is to think in terms of monetizing the paper and then looking for people who can do some of the day to day work.

I’d like to spend more time at home taking care of the lady in my life and trying to teach the dog to keep away from the porcupines. He’s cute but not very bright – this is the second time he got his snout full of porcupine quills.

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

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If you want to engage in public dialogue have the courage of your convictions.

federal election 2019By Pepper Parr

September 25, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Here is where I wonder what some people think they are doing.

We get literally hundreds of comments each day. More than a third are just plain foul, filled with nasty comments about other people. We don’t publish these – straight to trash.

About one quarter are good and of that half are superb. I am proud to publish those comments. On occasion we take a well written, soundly argued point of view and turn it into an opinion piece.

There is another bunch that come in. The name of the sender doesn’t match what we have in our data base so we send out a test email to see if the address is valid. All too often the email is illegitimate and we get a message like this.

<mariememe1965@gmail.com>: host gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com[74.125.142.27] said:
The email account that you tried to reach does not exist. Please
try 550-5.1.1 double-checking the recipient’s email address for typos or
550-5.1.1 unnecessary spaces.

Our testing the email address was because we saw something suspicious in this one that said the following:

I’ve met her and I liked her! I felt a genuine concern and nothing scripted. Hoping that this paper writes articles on ALL candidates – fairly.

The comment was related to the article we wrote about Conservative candidate Elizabeth Jane Michael in which we reported on her deciding not to take part in the planned election debates.

We will write fairly about a candidate – we would like to speak to them.

Stunts like this hurt a candidate – it is clear that someone wrote a comment that was designed to leave the impression that the candidate was worth voting for – but they weren’t prepared to say who they were.

You can’t do that – at least not in this newspaper.

 

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Foxcroft the subject of a TiCat video - Oskee Wee Wee

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 12th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

They all love him – and with much reason.

Foxcroft chasing ball

Ron Foxcroft on his private basketball court.

Ron Foxcroft has done much for Burlington and Hamilton.

He was made a Member of the Order of Canada last week and everyone wants him to know that they are pleased as punch.

Foxcroft is wearing a smile a mile wide – and asking the Tiger Cats who put together the video below not to blow the Grey Cup game that should bring the cup to the city.

The video: Quite funny in places.

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Mayor unable to find a restaurant in Burlington to treat her brother to oysters on the half shell.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 6th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It takes a certain kind of person to run for public office. And should they get elected it takes a certain kind of person to succeed at the job.

That job isn’t about them – it is about the people they serve.

In clerical circles – priests and minister, pastors and rabbis use the phrase: a calling; they feel called to do the work they do.

We seldom see that kind of language in political circles. Politics is about power.

That power belongs to the voters who give it to the people they elect who they trust to serve the public’s interests.

The public looks for wisdom and good judgement.

It was surprising then to see a photograph of Her Worship Mayor Meed Ward sharing oysters on the half shell with her brother, who happened to be in town, at what looked like a very swishy restaurant near the water – sailboats in the background.
Family is said to be everything – unless of course it is totally dysfunctional – but I digress.

MMW with brother - Oakville

Oysters on the half shell – a favourite Meed Ward delicacy shared with her brother at an Oakville restaurant.

Some might ask – especially those in the hospitality business – why the Mayor didn’t take her brother to a Burlington restaurant. Spencers is the equivalent to anything Oakville has. Others have the same ranking.

Many of the people who run restaurants supported the Mayor in her bid to become Mayor. This must be just a little galling.

We are not arguing that the Mayor should only ever be seen in a restaurant in Burlington. What we do want to suggest is that when she publishes pictures of herself on her Facebook page – it would be politically smart to make sure that the background is a Burlington skyline. They don’t call these things photo ops for nothing.

Council will be in full bloom next week; thick agendas will sit in front of them and some serious recommendations will get passed on to city council later in the month. No word yet on who the Mayor is bringing into her office to replace the staff member who decided she liked greener, more digestible grass.

The Mayor pinched the assistant to the ward 4 Councillor who now has to rely on the other assistants for the support she needs.

Word is that it could be as much as a month before the staff problem is resolved. Is Mayor Meed Ward running into the same problem Mayor Goldring had – not being able to find good people she can work with to carry out one of the toughest jobs in the city.

The staff member she pinched is as good as they get – Meed Ward should have kept her when she was he assistant as a Council member.

The job calls for wisdom and judgement – which seems to be missing at the moment.

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

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Update to Burlington Motorcycle Collision from September 2nd

News 100 blackBy Staff

September 4th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

On September 2nd 2019, the Halton Regional Police Service Collision Reconstruction Unit took carriage of the investigation into a motor vehicle collision in the City of Burlington which occurred shortly before 6:22pm at the intersection of Plains Road East and Cedarwood Place.

Plains East + Cedarwood

Fatal accident took place at the intersection of Plains Road East and Cedarwood Place.

The collision between a motorcycle and an SUV resulted in the 60 year old motorcycle rider being transported to Hamilton General Hospital in critical condition.

On the evening of September 3rd he was pronounced dead in hospital as a result of the head injuries he sustained.

The investigation is on-going, any witnesses to the collision who have not yet spoken with police are asked to call 905-825-4747 ext: 5065.

Police have not released the name of the deceased.

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There is a better than even chance that the Ford government will strip citizens of effective political representation next year.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

August 21st, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

They gather every year for an annual conference – an event that lets the municipal sector talk to the provincial ministers about what’s coming down the pipe.

In Ontario the municipalities are creatures of the province; their names and their boundaries can be changed at the whim of the Premier.

The province has made it very clear that they want to reduce the $11 billion debt that the Liberals left when they were basically wiped out electorally by the Progressive Conservatives.

When that last happened we all thought Mike Harris was a disaster – now we get to see Doug Ford up close and in person and we learn what a disaster really is.

Steve Clark Minister of Muni affairs Ontario

Minister Clark.

Steve Clark, the Minister of Municipalities spoke at the AMO conference to talk about what he had in mind. He spoke the day after the Premier who made it clear that there were major cuts coming, what the province was going to pay for and what the municipalities were going to have to come up with.

It looked as if the Premier was going to find the money to pay down the provincial debt by forcing the municipalities to pick up more of the freight for the services they deliver.

Moody’s debt rating service said they thought the damage would amount to a $2 billion hit to the municipal sector.

Clark sugar coated everything his Ministry was going to do – it sounded like sunshine and lollipop pops or a verse from The Big Rock Candy Mountain.

It wasn’t until the very end of his speech that we got to see the sleeper – amalgamation is going to take place despite what Burlington’s MPP said.

Clark said: “At last year’s conference, I announced we would be reviewing the regional government system. It’s been in place for almost 50 years — and we wanted local input on how to improve governance, decision-making and service delivery.

Fenn Michael 2

Michael Fenn

“I’ve been unequivocal from day one and stated throughout the review — we have no preconceived outcomes” and added that “Ken Seiling and Michael Fenn are finalizing their recommendations — over 8,500 submissions and close to 100 in-person presentations were received — an overwhelming response — and I look forward to receiving their report.

“I’ll have more to say this fall. For now, I want to thank everyone who participated.”

Not so fast Minister.

Seiling-Ken-2-768x1006

Ken Seiling

When Seiling and Fenn were at Halton Region listening to delegations they mentioned that the event was their last stop and that they were ready to distill what they had heard into a report they would give the Minister by the end of July.

The concern for many at the Halton event was – would the report be made public. Seiling pointed out that they had been asked to do the work by the Minister and that the report would be given to the Minister – he would decide if and when it was to be made public.

There were delegations on how well the Region of Halton operated.  Ken Seilling challenged an Oakville delegation that suggested the financial impact was going to be severe if there was any kind of amalgamation in Halton.

At the end of July we heard that the report would not be released until after the federal election.

2018 Council

This Regional Council consists of ward representatives plus the Mayor from each municipality. Far too many people for Doug Ford’s liking.

Yesterday we learned that it will not be on the table until next year.

Most people believe the report has been completed; that the Minister has read it and decided what the government  will be doing.

It will have been discussed at Cabinet and there may well be bureaucrats creating new maps.

Halton map cropped

Will these municipalities get down graded to being a ward in a city?

Will Halton and it’s four municipalities be organized into something called the City of Halton? Far too early to know – what we do know is that Premier Ford is not shy when it comes to downsizing local government.

When he was in Oakville speaking to the Chambers of Commerce from the four municipalities, he was recognizing people in the audience. As he was reading out the names of those from Oakville he paused and said: “Boy, you’ve got a lot of people on that council.” The feeling that rippled across the Burlington Convention Centre was palpable.

Doug Ford thinks a Board of 7 to 9 people is what corporations need and he sees municipalities as corporate structures. Having people at the table who can effectively represent a community is not the role Ford sees for a politician.

His approach is to do it all himself. At that same event he read out his cell number and said ‘you can call me anytime’.

Doug Ford does not understand local politics, doesn’t respect the needs of communities at the grass roots level.

Expect the worst and hope that the very real representation problems in the Niagara Region get the attention they need and that Halton is left alone.

The Gazette got some comments from a former Ontario civil servant who served in several ministries who told us that he “would be very surprised if Clark has not been thoroughly briefed on what the report contains and its main recommendations. “

Our source added that he would “not be the least surprised if there was not some attempt to shape the main recommendations and right from the beginning of the process.

Steve Clark H&S

Minister of Municipalities Steve Clark: Already fully briefed?

“Ministers never “receive” anything that they’ve formally commissioned until they’re ready. They are briefed at regular intervals so that there are ‘no surprises and the final report is an anti-climax at best.

“Well in advance of the formal transmission of the Fenn/Seiling report a fulsome communications strategy will have been developed, ready for precise deployment like the Normandy invasion.”

That invasion of citizen rights looks as if it is going to take place sometime early in the New Year.

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

Related new stories:

We Love Burlington delegates

Background on the Provincial Review of Regional governments

Edwardh describes Provincial Review as very limited

 

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What does one do with a City Clerk who treats a totally unacceptable breach of the election rules as a learning experience?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

August 12th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

Earlier today the Gazette published an article on some problems that were brought to the public’s attention by Blair Smith and Lynn Crosby.

The problems they discovered after an exhaustive analysis of the data that was submitted to the City Clerk by each candidate brought some very disturbing matters to the surface.

Small administrative errors and typos happen. But when significant amounts of data just don’t appear a full public understanding of who contributed what to whom is no longer possible.

What makes the democratic system we have the success it is – is that we all abide by the laws in place and everything is transparent.

If the numbers aren’t available transparency isn’t possible. And once those who set out to game the system become aware that they can hide where their campaign election money came from, just imagine what can happen.

In a series that will follow in the Gazette in the weeks ahead we list who got what from whom and do our best to identify known developer interests.

Does receiving campaign funds from a developer mean that a candidate has compromised themselves – no but – know that developers are in business and they use their money to enhance their business interests.

Brant looking north - Kellys

Two of the four buildings are done deals – two are working their way through the approval process. Did election campaign funding make them possible?

high profile 421

Done deal

nautique-elevation-from-city-july-2016

Done deal

Pearl and Lakeshore

Looking for approval.

The public depends upon the bureaucracy to protect their interests, to ensure that the data they get has been fully reviewed and meets the criteria.

How Mike Wallace got away with filing a return that did not have critical dates in his report is not just an oversight. It is sloppy administration done by people who don’t understand or appreciate that accuracy is important.

Are the results of the election in question? No.

The vote count was pretty decisive. The Office of Mayor was not won by money – it was won by a person who heard and responded to the cries of the people who pay attention to civic matters.

The disappointment is that less than 40% of the people who had the right to vote actually cast a ballot.

Mayor Meed Ward was not as unequivocal as she could have been on this matter; she has certainly had her issues with the way this Clerk has handled a number of matters in the past.

The comments made by the Clerk that this was a learning experience cannot be accepted. The position of Clerk in municipalities is significant; for example a bylaw is not in force until both the Mayor and the Clerk sign the document.

Smith and Crosby argue that the Clerk’s behaviour is “a completely unacceptable contravention of information practice and protocol, particularly for one entrusted with maintaining the integrity of the official record.”

It is up to Tim Commisso, City manager to decide what to do next, if anything. What he decides to do will say a lot about the kind of City Manager he is going to be.

There was a situation a number of years ago when the then Director of Planning, Bruce Krushelnicki, sitting at the Council table, advised council that a very senior member of his staff would no longer be in the employment of the city. He walked the individual back to his office; that was the last we saw of him.

Strong managers take strong action when it is necessary, providing they have just reasons for doing so.

Related news story:

Clerk revises public record – considered a no no.

 

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

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