Councillors forgot how to play nice – behave like a couple of alley cats.


There were errors in some of the data and facts in the original version which had to be confirmed.  That took longer than expected.  with the facts confirmed we can now re-publish this piece originally published September 25th,

October 3, 2103

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  Burlington has held City Council meetings that were done in less than half an hour.  In and out, which is the way Mayor Goldring likes to see things happen.

In Burlington, Council members like to say that all the heavy lifting gets done at the committee level but the decisions is made at a Council meeting.

Monday night they held a Council meeting and they certainly made decisions that will impact this city for some time.

The first development this city has seen for some time will get the approval it needs – once some of the paper work is cleaned up.   The Mayor got the unanimous vote he felt he needed with the Beachway Park as it now heads to the Region for a decision.

The environmentalists got left on hold with their ask for something in the way of a private tree bylaw.

There were far more delegations than usual at a Council meeting and yes, the Marsden’s made their regular delegation on the matter of accessibility.

The tension between Councillors Meed Ward and Craven is close to measurable, Neither has ever been a fan of the other and on Monday evening the feelings got spilled onto the horseshoe of the Council chamber

And we saw some pretty nasty back and forth between the Council members for Wards 1 and 2.  Rick Craven and Marianne Meed Ward had at it for a minute or two and the public saw the acrimony that exists between those two.  Synonyms for acrimony are bitterness, animosity, spitefulness, asperity and spite which Councillor Craven has had for Meed Ward almost since the day she became a member of Council.

The two have significantly different operating styles and Craven seems to be unable to control his dislike for Meed Ward.  Last night he opened up and Meed Ward gave back as good as she got.  The two sit beside each other which makes for some awkwardness.

The harsh words came out during the debate on the Beachway Park which happens to be in Ward 1 where Councillor Craven is not exactly supporting the wishes of the people who own property in the area.  Craven appears to want city hall to stick to a plan that is decades old and is no longer a reflection on how parks are developed. 

He gets apoplectic over what he believes are encroachments and changes to property that have been made without the required permits.  Craven just does not want those people in that park and has done as much as he can to ensure the houses get purchased and torn down.

Councillor Meed Ward on the other hand is a very strong advocate of a community within the park and she makes no pretence about how she feels.  For Craven this is messing around in his ward – Meed Ward feels she is the Councillor for the Ward 2 but responsible for the sane development of the city which is more than Craven can stomach – Monday evening he did the equivalent of an upchuck and let it all come out.

Craven caught the attention of the Mayor who was chairing the meeting and said he had two comments he wanted to make about the presentation Councillor Meed Ward had made about section 37 agreements. ‘We heard yet again said Craven for the 3rd , 4th and maybe 5th time how section 37 agreements work.  That is not what we heard from Meed Ward this evening and I don’t understand why Meed Ward doesn’t get it.

The Mayor then spoke about the problem the city had with this file and the need to get a better grip on just how social housing needs were going to be met.  Mayor Goldring seldom speaks extemporaneously but rather reads from notes which results explanations that are a bit stilted.  The information is in there – the passion and commitment don’t seem to come through – it’s just not something this man does all that well.

Councillor Meed Ward sits looking a little glum before she responds to Councillor Craven’s personal attached and asks that he stick to the issue and stop belittling residents, delegations and her as a council member.

Meed Ward puts up her hand to speak and she lets fly.  Councillor Craven she said “I am going to ask you to stick to the issues – stick to the point.  You have a habit of making it personal.  You’ve done that to residents, you’ve done that to delegations and you’ve done it to me.”

“Stick to the issue.  Tell me we don’t need affordable  housing when I think we do.”

Mayor Goldring, looking for a way to take some of the tension out of the air asked that council members keep the tone civil.

Councillor Craven asked for the floor again and commented that it “was the member for Ward 2 who raised the issue of the Official Plan and that in Ward 1 there were two affordable housing projects.”

The public is now seeing some of the nastiness that has been behind the scenes with this council.  It is close to impossible for most of the members of this council to say anything positive or nice about Marianne Meed Ward – but she has a following and they expect her to be Mayor of this city some day.

Hopefully she learns how Section 37 of the Planning Act works or the province gets rid of it before Meed Ward places the chain of office around her neck.

That will be a very, very hard day for Rick Craven.

Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

2 comments to Councillors forgot how to play nice – behave like a couple of alley cats.

  • kenny BOY colombo

    Well I’m not at all surprised by Councillor Craven’s approach to public discussions [ either at a resident’s group meeting, or Council Meetings. Councillor Craven reminds me of several members of the current PC caucus at Queen’s Park. I can recall MPP O’Toole, offering a “free” prostate exam for all Members of the Assembly when Opposition verbal challenges arose.

    Responding “charitably” of course, I accused him of attempting to practice medicine without a license … as well as the thought that the physiology of female members would make his offering gratuitously superfluous.

    I’m hopeful I can entertain Council one day soon, to discuss trees. Anecdotally, of course, I will offer something from the post-election convention period [ George Dubya Bush ] whereby an EPA item offered “Trees: The REAL cause of forest fires.”

    As an aside, I’m rather confused by the treatment of the Beachway residents … due to the fact the Crombie visit made NO MENTION of the fact that the Beachfront Initiative does NOT offer a CONTIGUOUS residential participation level across all waterfront properties.


    ( Distinguishing between Elites, Plebes and the UNWASHED PROLETARIAT, of course. )

  • Tim

    I am glad Meed Ward makes it personal – to often the council speaks in the 3rd person or the royal we. Councillor Meed Ward is a resident and a councilor and the others on council could take a lesson from her. Make it personal – you were elected to represent your wards – not act as leads and deal makers for the developers – when it stops becoming personal – maybe – you should step aside for someone who does take it personally