Councillors Sharman and Bentivegna want Community development-Neighbourhood Capacity Building Strategy included in the budget

By Pepper Parr

January 12th, 2023



This is the first Motion that has gone to Council from a Councillor based on their status as a Deputy Mayor with a portfolio.

In this situation it is Councillor Sharman presenting the Motion with support from Councillor Bentivegna

Councillors Sharman and Bentivegna talking through some council business

The two are asking Council to Consider:

Direct the Director of Recreation, Community and Culture to report back by Q3 2023 on the development and advancement of the City’s Community development-Neighbourhood Capacity Building Strategy including the following elements:

Vision, purpose, and goals to increase and build overall community capacity for the long-term-benefit of the city. This element should build on work, resourcing and funding that has been ongoing since 2013.

Clarity of scope including definition of Community Development and Neighbourhood Capacity in relation to events, initiatives and activities.

A proposed organizational design and structure to support the strategy implementation to be integrated into the 2024 and future years Designing and Evolving the Organization (DEOO) process.

Integration of the goals and outcomes of the strategy into various affected service business plans, business processes and budgets, including but not limited to: Recreation, Arts & Culture, Parks Design and Construction; Community Design and Development Review, By-law Enforcement and Licensing, Corporate Communications & Engagement, and Parks and Open Space – Maintenance. Such changes may also require amendments to various City master plans.

Through strategy formulation an implementation plan will also be required including but not limited to such areas as:

Community capacity – meeting with neighbours during a car free Sunday on Appleby Line

Associated city policies/bylaws to facilitate the strategy implementation. For example, policies/bylaws to include associated park rental and other fees, fee waivers and requirements for staff time charge-backs

Review of risk management requirements for neighbourhood events and activities

Integration and alignment of the strategy, with city volunteer management program

Update on existing and proposed future city grants model and other available funding opportunities (e.g. corporate sponsorships) to support neighbourhood events. In developing options for future city grants, consideration to be given for both start up and ongoing annual events.

What does all that mean and just what is the Community Development/Neighbourhood Capacity Building Strategy?

The Motion Directs the Executive Director of Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services to provide a brief update for the budget sessions in February 2023 on the requirement for any incremental 2023 one-time funding to support the preliminary work on strategy development (e.g. external consulting support, workshop speakers etc.)

That sounds like another bump to a budget that starts with a 7% increase.

One of the key strategic pillars identified for the City of Burlington is An Engaging City- Community where members are engaged, empowered, welcomed and well‐served by their city. Culture and community activities thrive, creating a positive sense of place, inclusivity and community. Key outcomes and goals include an engaged community where culture, civic activities, neighbourhood initiatives and recreational activities help to enhance and grow the sense of engagement, community, place and unity.

The Appleby Line Car Free Sunday  – part of what Community Capacity Building is all about.

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman

For many years, the City administered a Facility Fee Waiver Program and the Community Development fund to support local not for profit organizational development. Recognizing a great need for neighbourhood connections, Council and staff have since 2013 focused on the development and implementation of a number of specific neighbourhood programs in support of this priority including but not limited to:

• neighbourhood connectors,
• neighbourhood community matching fund,
• annual Council member funding to assist sponsor community events ($5K towards initial startup).
• love my neighbourhood program,
• community hub program,
• neighbourhood outdoor rinks and
• approval of the Community Investment Policy.

As part of reporting back in Q3 2023, staff have advised of the need for ongoing incremental multi-year budget support related to any enhanced strategy development and implementation. Specifically, the need exists through the 2024 and future years DEOO process for building a staff team with dedicated staff resources within each quadrant of the city responsible for executing the various strategic actions including:

• completing the ongoing community connection work;
• building trust with the community by building and
• strengthening relationships, especially with newcomers and marginalized populations.

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman at his persuasive best,

Councillor Sharman is very direct when he said: As Burlington grows primarily through increased density, it is absolutely critical that all residents are afforded opportunities to feel engaged and connected particularly in the areas that directly impact quality of life and community health and well-being.

Councillor Sharman is moving the motion along with support from Councillor Bentivegna, recognizing that community capacity building falls under his Deputy Mayor portfolio as it relates to recreation and culture. The motion will require 2/3 support as it is time sensitive and has been submitted following the agenda deadline.

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9 comments to Councillors Sharman and Bentivegna want Community development-Neighbourhood Capacity Building Strategy included in the budget

  • Wayne Brown

    This is a well thought out revision of City regulations. Currently these rules can be restrictive and cumbersome. The two Councilors are streamlining the interaction between the public and City Hall.

  • Penny Hersh

    I find it very interesting that this initiative should come from Councillor Sharman. Not surprising, however, because anyone who was watching the council meeting where Parks and Recreation were planning on increasing the fees for some community events were being discussed will remember the following.

    Councillor Sharman was very upset to think that the Appleby Line Street Festival that is held in his ward would be charged more money to use city facilities.

    In the past some neighbourhoods have been given money in the form of a community event to have what they called “Contra Rib Fest Parties”. People on the street were invited to come to a bbq party on the same weekend as RiB Fest. This party was paid for by the city – WHY?

    If people want to host a party – let them pay for it themselves. If it is a neighbourhood party then it should be “pot luck”. Everyone brings something and pays for it themselves. Taxpayer dollars should not be spent to host get togethers.

    If these councillors are looking to engage the public, perhaps more ward meetings to keep residents informed as to what is happening in their ward. As well as the previous suggestion that money be used to host all candidate meetings at election time.

    The councillors have a discretionary fund to use for community events – that should suffice.

  • Kurt Koster

    Great idea. The dismal turnout at the recent municipal election screams for ways to improve this. One way would be to be able to host neighbour all candidate meetings in each ward. Some wards such as wards 3 and 6 ( one rural and one urban) may want to host 2 events. The City would need to advertise this possibility of free facilties prior to the election, so groups could plan/form.
    This concept should apply to provincial and federal elections as well.

  • David

    What was the middle thing again? We’ve just lost Sharman to the woke side. But I’m sure Tom Muir will be happy to feel once again engaged. I enjoy reading Toms forays into the weeds of City Hall and their response was extremely interesting. As for supporting ‘non profits’ the largest recipient will be City Hall.

  • Grahame

    It would help if we could see some possible outcomes 3 years hence.

  • Perryb

    This looks like another aspirational exercise which could easily produce a noble strategy statement and then quietly disappear. Councillor Sharman is noted for attention to detail and quantifiable results. Let’s hope he insists on regular public reporting of what has ACTUALLY BEEN DONE, not just talked about.

    • Jim Thomson

      How does one measure Neighbourhood Capacity?

      If you can’t measure it you can’t have quantifiable results.
      Just a means for councilors to hand out pork and buy votes.

      • Stephen White

        Exactly Jim!

        The focus should be upon evidence based decision-making supported with quantifiable, tangible and significant impacts geared to substantive objectives (e.g. crime reduction; reduction in traffic congestion; road improvement; increasing available park space; etc.). This entire initiative looks like another “make work” project, or as Perry so aptly describes it, an “aspirational exercise”. Capacity Building is a vague and amorphous term that lacks clear definition and substance.

        Council should stop focusing on culture and start concentrating on clear deliverables that yield tangible results. If you want to know why we are facing a 7% tax increase, this is precisely the reason why.