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

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 21, 2014



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


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

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

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

Market - water street lots Ziegler-drawing

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay tuned – this is a doozer of a story.

 Background link:

City decides to sell some of the “crown jewels”



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

  • Peter Rusin

    People should really refrain from attacking other private citizens in the public forum, especially when armed with limited knowledge.

    Your chosen government has the duty to be fully transparent in this matter and should be stepping forward to stop the attacks. These people are not selfish, they are responsible and quite intelligent and have a lot of class and have been patient in dealing with this very long outstanding matter.

    They do not intimidate; but they have been intimidated and treated like criminals by Meed Ward.

    The entire council is guilty of allowing unjustified attacks on private citizens, in particular Meed Ward.

    You should ask the mayor about the details first since he is the one that voted for the sale.

    Ask the Mayor, as suggested by, Dick.


  • Bruce Bond

    i think the city should remove the unapproved benches/chairs that are presently on this water front trail before someone gets injured using the present unapproved and unmaintained ones this would also support city ownership. This could result in legal action against the city.
    I also feel a city fence should be erected between the trail and the residents property in case any children wander off the property unsupervised and fall into the lake.
    These selfish residents have used this property and tried to intimidate other residents from using the area by making it look like private property.
    I am glad that the realitor that handled this proposed sale came in a resounding third in his campaign for mayor.

  • Dick

    How about if you ask the Mayor, Rick Goldring for the details. Remember he, along with 6 other council members, voted for the sale.

    Ask the Mayor.

    • Anthony Pullin

      Good idea – I can do that (although there were only 5 other Council members who voted for the sale).
      Mr. Goldring, Mr. Sharman, Ms. Lancaster, Mr. Craven, Mr. Taylor, Mr. Dennison, could you tell us why you voted for the sale of City owned waterfront property without broad consultation and public engagement? Could you provide us with the details?

  • JQ Public

    Yes, I believe Mr. Rusin has just torpedoed his own candidacy.

  • Burlington Senior

    Peter, there’s lots of clutter on this matter, but your (ahem) clients don’t own the land. An orderly process to resolve the past indecision is in order, to address any legitimate grievances of the neighbours and to restore unfettered ownership to the people of Burlington and the people of Ontario. If your people don’t want abuse, they shouldn’t launch pompous “entitlement” outrage the week before an election. I was thinking about voting for you – won’t happen now.

  • Peter Rusin

    I am aware of all the specific details relating to the full story, and the fact is the critical representations being constantly asserted by Councillor Meed Ward have not been accurate, transparent, or, fair.

    This has increasingly become a Tranparency and Accountability issue for the City for over 2 years now, and that is why the homeowners are going public with their grievances and claims, in an effort to share and communicate the real truth to the public. This burden should not be theirs.

    The continued abuse of these private citizens is unacceptable and must be put to a stop immediately.

    • Mike Ettlewood

      Then perhaps your knowledge should be shared, Mr. Rusin, for the benefit of all.

    • Anthony Pullin

      Peter, then please placate our ignorance. The collective “we”,being a wide element of the Burlington electorate, evidently do not know what you know. The collective “we” merely wants to understand why the City chooses to rid itself of City owned waterfront property. Why do you, and the majority of Council support it this one time only, without the “broad consultation and public engagement” which is promised for next time? That’s it!
      “We”, from my perspective, frankly don’t care about ‘critical representations’ or interpretations of ‘fairness’ asserted by a particular Councillor. What is the net benefit to the City?
      This question Peter, could have, and should have been answered by all other existing members of Council previous to now. What irks me is that Council gives the implied notion that the general public is not capable of comprehending or understanding this matter.

  • Mike Ettlewood

    Ms. Meed Ward is a model of ethical behaviour and a champion of open communications and transparent government. This complaint is a complete farce and timed so that it hits Ms. Meed Ward at a very sensitive and inconvenient time. I trust that residents of Ward 2 will treat these home owners with the contempt that they deserve and return Marianne with a resounding majority. Ward 1 residents would also be wise to vote for a change.

  • Burlington Senior

    So a retired bank employee and a glorified cosmetics saleslady feel that their petty interests trump those of the citizens of Burlington and hire some tinker-toy lawyer to establish their entitlement? I certainly expect that the Ombudsman, and the Ontario press, will hold them up to the public ridicule they deserve. This appears to be a “craven” motion….

  • Susan Lewis

    If there was a rumour that one member of council was accused of unethical conduct, Ms. Meed Ward’s name would not come to my mind. If you told me it was her, I wouldn’t believe it. And now, here it is in writing. I still don’t believe it.

    Did the majority of Councillors vote to sell this property under the threat of being sued. I sincerely hope not but, now I wonder. If they did vote to sell to the homeowners on the threat of being sued just before an election, is there a message here for the litigious among us.

    • Tony Pullin

      It begs the question, does this particular Council have what it takes to hold ground against the OMB, if and when push comes to shove?

  • JQ Public

    Sounds like private homeowners have had use of public waterfront land for a long time and feel they are entitled to their entitlements. And no comments from the riffraff please. Not your typical poor squatter’s right claim.

  • Bonnie Purkis

    One can only hope that as of Oct. 28th there will be some new councilors in Burlington with the goals and determination of Councilor Meed Ward. She has continued to fight to preserve the green spaces of our growing city and once again has come up against residents who want their share and more of our ever shrinking park space. Hopefully, the complaint will fall on deaf ears and is recognized for what it is……I feel confident that Meed Ward will continue to fight against the sale of this waterfront strip and she has my continued support.

  • Maggie

    Sounds to me like a few rich NIMBY property owners trying to use legal bullying tactics to get their selfish, spoiled way. An adult version of a childish temper tantrum. Total waste of taxpayers money.

  • I am disappointed in this one-sided article that does not include my response and supporting documents, even though the Gazette had these in advance. Residents deserve the full story that is already available – and having read all sides will draw their own conclusions.

    To that end, residents interested to read my Statement in response, and the original complaint and supporting documents can find it here:

    I am confident that the allegations will be shown to be baseless and without merit, bordering on the libellous. I welcome an investigation that will clear up the incorrect information that is being circulated and hopefully generate a full, open and reasonable discussion on the sale. Much remains confidential, including court cases that some members of council relied on to sell the land, cases that are on the public record but very difficult for private citizens to find on their own.

    I have and will continue to speak openly on this issue and to make my position and my vote clear, transparent and accountable. I will continue to notify the public about this issue, and seek public input. I remain hopeful we can return to respectful discussion even if we have differences of perspective.

    I will continue to advocate for the public interest on the waterfront. My commitment is to keep public waterfront lands in public hands. Period. I will not waver from that position.

    Editor’s note:
    We did say there was much more to tell – and we will tell the full story. These things do take time – and we do have other things to do.