Council member appeals Committee of Adjustment decision on property with a complex financial history.



By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 29, 2013.  Why is he doing it?  Does he need the money?  He certainly doesn’t need the aggravation but none of that seems to be getting in the way of Ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison from seeking a severance of his property on Lakeshore Road.

There are few of his neighbours on his side on this one.  Many feel that Dennison can’t fairly represent the people in the community and at the same time seek a change in the size of his property that most feel will change the way Lakeshore Road grows.

Bought by Ward 6 Councillor Jack Dennison under a Power of Sale in 2009 Dennison now wants to sever a portion of the property on the east side and construct a second house which he has said would be sold.

Lakeshore is a premium location in the city.  Large homes grace the road and properties are well maintained.  Many feel that the attempt to severe a part of the property into a new lot will be the beginning of a process that will see others attempt to create smaller lots that will have smaller homes and that is not the way Rosedale sees Lakeshore Road.

Chair of the Committee of Adjustment, Michael Ramsay put in a full day the evening his committee heard the Dennison application for a minor severance, which was denied. Chair Ramsay, on the left along with The vote went 3-2 against Dennison with Chair Malcolm Ramsay, members Grant Newbury and Robert Bailey voting against and members Dave Kumar and Sam Sarraf voting for.

The Committee of Adjustment (CoA) didn’t see it that way and they turned down the application for what Dennison was calling a Minor Adjustment.  Any Committee of Adjustment decision can be appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board which Dennison has done.  That appeal will be heard at the end of August.

Residents of Roseland formed the Roseland Community Association to oppose a severance on Hart Avenue and won that case.  “The request for a minor variances at 216 Hart Avenue was dismissed and the variances are not authorized.”

They feel confident that their argument against Dennison’s severance is even stronger and while the community doesn’t like taking their case to a tribunal they are quite prepared to do so on this occasion.

But the question lingers: why is Dennison doing it?  Does he need the money?  Jack Dennison has had financial problems in the past.  The 2008 recession hit his business at the Cedar Springs  Health and  Racquet Club hard and for a period of time Dennison chose not to pay his municipal taxes.  His was not the only business in Burlington that suffered financially.   It was a tough decision to make – sitting as a member of council and not paying taxes, but one can do that.  It was a business decision made during a time when business was terrible.

Dennison must have come close to having to shut the club down.  He didn’t and today the business is understood to be healthy.

Still – why raise the ire of all your neighbours?  Why put up with being black balled by the community association?  No one wants to talk to Dennison at community events; city hall staff feel awkward dealing with him and are never sure if they are dealing with a citizen who wants to exercise a right that every citizen has or if they are dealing with a member of Council who expects favoured treatment.

Are there financial problems?

Sept 4, 2009  Dennison personally buys 3083 Lakeshore Road  from FenFam Holdings Inc under power of sale for $757,000

On the same day he puts a $306,079 mortgage on the property from CIBC.  The CIBC mortgage is Prime – 0.25%, and expires Sept 30, 2014

On May 17th, 2010 Dennison puts a second mortgage on the 3083 Lakeshore property for $460,235. This second mortgage is provided by TD Bank. The rate on this second mortgage is Prime + 5%, payable on demand.

On the same date Dennison puts a third mortgage on the 3083 Lakeshore property in the amount of  $65,488 provided by Lillian and Loui Vukanovich.  The Vukanovich loan had a rate of 9% and was due Feb 29, 2012; the charge is still on title.

All this information is part of the public record.

Total debt on the property is now $831,802, nearly $75,000 more than Dennison paid for the property.  Neighbours report that virtually no work was done on the property.

In 2013 some work is done on the property.  It is also the time frame within which Dennison seeks the severance from the Committee of Adjustment.

The real estate community estimates the property that Dennison wants severed would be worth about $700,000.

Many in the Roseland community want to understand what it is that is motivating their Council member to make financial decisions that raise the ire of the community and threaten to result in significant change to the make-up of the properties along Lakeshore Road.

They reflect on the difficulties Dennison had with his fitness enterprises and note that in June of 2007 Cedar Springs Tennis Limited borrowed $5,050,000 from the Hamilton Teacher’s Credit Union. The prime rate at the time was 6% but the rate shown on public documents for this loan was a demand loan at prime plus 10% guaranteed by Dennison and Castle rent-a-Car, Dennison’s private holding company.

On October 27, 2010 Dennison loans Cedar Springs $2,000,000 as a demand loan with a 5% interest rate. This loan is secured against the property.

Dennison decides to personally sell a red convertible. No offering price was shown.

Sometime in July Dennison parks his red convertible in his driveway with a For Sale sign inside the wind shield.

The community is concerned.


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3 comments to Council member appeals Committee of Adjustment decision on property with a complex financial history.

  • Harry Mc Mahon

    You are correct to publish financial facts that are in the public domain.
    Council Dennison has no more right to privacy in these matters than any other citizen.
    I Live in ward two and attend many council meetings or watch them on cable TV.Mr. Dennison has not impressed me at all and I hope ward 4 finds a new representative in 2014.

  • Dave

    Dr. Emil, you are missing the theme of the article. To say this is not a public matter would be correct if the applicant isnt a politician who is potentially in a conflict position. I trust you are aware that conflicts of this potential type are governed by the law, and not your opinion.
    Therefore I am pleased that this is being written about to ensure the public are aware of the facts.

  • Dr. Emil Zmenak

    Without question Councillor Dennison’s application for a land severance on his Lakeshore Road property is both controversial and his case marginal. He is however fully within his rights. What I question is what does Councillor Dennison’s financial circumstances have to do with the merits or lack thereof of his application. Being indigent is not one of the criteria affecting the merits of the case. I would suggest Pepper Parr is simply playing the politics of envy and her approach is in very poor taste. Surely she has stronger points to make in opposition to Council Dennison’s approach.

    Editors note: Pepper Parr is male.