Citizens advising the city - you could be out almost every night of the week.

eventsred 100x100By Pepper

January 28th, 2020



How do people in Burlington, who want to be involved in the way the city is run, get to take part?

The city has a number of Citizen Advisory Committees that have in the past played an important role in bringing a detailed viewpoint to city council.

Is this house a Heritage property? The owners don't think so and they made a very compelling case to have it removed from the list. Not as simple as it seems

Is this house a Heritage property? The owners didn’t think so and took a very compelling argument to the Heritage Committee.

There was a time when the Heritage Advisory Committee basically took over a large part of the Heritage issue in the city and has continued to serve the city well.

There are others that don’t do a very good job – usually because of the committee leadership or committee members who were poor choices because they didn’t know how to behave and respect the views of other people.

Each committee has a Council member attached to it.  In the past there have been council members who tended to direct and at times bully the committee.  There is at least one from the current council who has yet to learn what his role on an Advisory Committee is.

Each committee has a Clerk.  Burlington is fortunate in having Clerks who are very good at their jobs.  A smart committee chair will stay close to the Clerk – they always bail the chair out when things get confusing.

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 and former Toronto Mayor David Crombie at the Waterfront Advisory Committee. The committee was sunset – it suffered from poor leadership.

The committees have a small budget to cover some of the costs.

Members of Advisory committees are not paid.

With every term of Council, the Clerk’s Department undertakes an Advisory Committee Review.  This process began last year with Citizen Action Labs being held in the Spring and then a request for interest was sent out to those who attended the Action Labs to be a part of a “working group” to review the data received from the engagement process and prepare a report with recommendations regarding the Advisory Committees.

The criteria for how people are selected for advisory committees is based on each committee’s Terms of Reference under the heading “Committee Composition”.  The Clerk’s office is holding off on recruiting new members to advisory committees until the review is complete.

Home oweners at a Heritage Workshop had plenty to say - now the planners have to answer the questions. Within two weeks?

Home owners at a Heritage Workshop had plenty to say – the planners were given two weeks to come up with answers.  An example of an Advisory Committee at work.

The one thing the city has not done is publicly recognize the committees as a group.  Several of those committees provide very valuable advice.  The Mayor is currently re-thinking what the Burlington BEST awards could be in the future.  Formal recognition of the Advisory Committee members has merit.

A significant number of people who serve on Advisory Committees go on to run for political office.  Being able to say the you served on an Advisory Committee and then also being able to refer to a report you were part of is an important first step to developing a public profile; much needed if you want to serve the public.


Marianne Meed Ward and the Save our Waterfront committee; a foundation piece for a political career.

THE case study on how to do that is the current Mayor; she made saving the water front her issue and took control of a committee (not a city hall committee) and turned it into a campaign organization.

Set out below are the current Advisory committees and when they plan to meet in February.  The meetings are public – walk in, introduce yourself to the Clerk who will introduce you to the chair and the rest of the committee.

Adv sched Feb 2020 1FEB Adv sched 2Feb adv sched 3


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