Craven’s behavior gives a whole new definition to politicians being in bed with developers.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper

June 26, 2015


Some people in each community listen carefully, ask probing questions and trust their member of Council to keep them up to date on what is happening in their community and to protect the best the community has.

Every member of a city council has their own unique style; something that defines who they are and the way they see their job.

In Burlington there are a number of different political styles. Councillor Marianne Meed Ward was once out on Christmas Day picking up garbage when a resident called her t complain.

During the flood last August Ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison walked into hundreds of basements to personally see the damage done.

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman put his heart on his sleeve when her spoke to a group of Rotarians during the Rubfest launch and pleaded for help for the people in his community.

Ward 3 Councillor John Taylor doesn’t hold meetings for his constituents – they are more like family get togethers – he has been in office that long.

Blair Lancaster - almost holding court with her constituents at a corn roast.

Blair Lancaster – almost holding court with her constituents at a corn roast.

Blair Lancaster in ward 6 tends to have two different public styles; one that gets used for those south of Dundas and another that gets used when she is politicking north of Dundas; there is nothing duplicitous ion this approach – she is dealing with two different mind sets and adjust her message to meet her understanding of each community.

Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven, who gave up talking to the Gazette when we wrote something about him he didn’t like, held a community meeting.

Last Wednesday evening Councillor Craven held a community meeting to talk about the 324 townhouse project on Masonry Court being developed by the ADI Group. It wasn’t a particularly unpopular project – the meeting didn’t cheer when the presentation was over – they just thought the developer could do something that was more “livable” and “imaginative”. “Not very creative” was the most stinging comment.  He was speaking to an audience of about 40 people who were for the most part involved in their community and wanted to know more.

Councillor told them that the population of Aldershot had grown by just 4000 people in the last 15 years and that without more in the way of growth the chances of there ever seeing a grocery store in the west end of the community were very slim.

Rick Craven: Best committee chair the city has; not big on the warm fuzzy stuff through.  Needs a hug badly.

Rick Craven: Best committee chair the city has; not big on the warm fuzzy stuff through. Needs a hug badly.

Rick Craven

Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven – seems to have forgotten everything he knew about the ADI project on Martha at Lakeshore Road.

The meeting was just like most community meetings in Aldershot; people listened and asked questions and for the most part got fair answers.

Until ..

Until one woman asked the speaker from the ADI Group to tell her a little about the company – she’d never heard of them before.

The company representative told their story – sort of. He skirted totally the situation with the 28 storey application that ADI had made to the city for an application at the corner of Martha and Lakeshore Road which the city and planning department was completely against – including Councillor Craven.

ADI rendering second view from SW

The ADI Group’s 28 storey development proposal on the downtown core was not mentioned at a meeting about their Masonry Court development.

The rules that govern development applications are such that if the planning department doesn’t do something with an application the developer can take their case to the Ontario Municipal Board. Burlington city council didn’t get to vote formally on the project within that 180 day window.

On the 181st day ADI had taken their case to the OMB.

The project is one that the city feels is a mistake from a development point of view and has been consistently vocal about.

But not a word about this issue from Councillor Craven when a constituent asked to know more about the company.

Councillor Craven had an obligation to tell his constituents that there was a problem with a major ADI development application and they were playing a very sharp game – albeit within the rules of the game.

Craven’s behavior gives a whole new definition to politicians being in bed with developers.

Background links:

Aldershot community meeting Wednesday June 23rd, 2015

Full profile on ward 1 Councillor.

Councillor chooses not to represent his constituents; property expropriated.

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15 comments to Craven’s behavior gives a whole new definition to politicians being in bed with developers.

  • Helene Skinner

    Tom, looks like others are in bed with Craven and the developers…lol (original intent of the article)

  • Tom Muir

    On the question of selling prices, here’s a copy of part of a comment I made to a previous story, dated June 25, in the Gazette on the ADI Masonry Court project public meeting. This part considers evidence from other nearby condo builds on possible prices.

    “And if it`s priced like the other new condo builds, it will be expensive garbage, and ADI should have provided this info. From my sampling of several projects, look at about $500 a square foot, or about $250K for 500 square feet, and then scale it up pretty close by unit size. And you might have to buy a parking spot for 25 to 30K, as you do in some other projects.”

    I also see that Mr. Craven has a few supporters defending his right to keep his mouth shut even when he is the Ward Councillor and the very most appropriate person to inform his constituents about the failure of ADI to fully tell the meeting about all its projects, as the Gazette editor notes in the main story, and in his note to the Gillies comment above.

    I don’t know how Ms. Gillies can vent like she did when she doesn’t even seem to know about the ADI OMB appeal. Far from being “irrelevant”, it is the point and it is not yet unsuccessful.

    It was highly relevant and should have been mentioned by ADI when they talked about 2 other projects. And it is reasonable to expect that Mr. Craven would have filled the gap in the information, but he did not.

    I suspect that these supporters of his might dampen down their enthusiasm if they had more tough experience with trying to get representation or response from Mr. Craven.

    Walter Mulkewich says Mr. Craven “had no obligation as you put it to comment about the developer but he has an obligation to represent his constituents which he is doing.”

    This sounds like Walter arguing that just going to the meeting shows Mr. Craven is representing his constituents, but he doesn’t have to say anything, or disclose anything, even when transparency and accountability of ADI, and the impartiality of Mr. Craven, are on the question and discussion floor of the meeting.

    If he is not obliged to tattle on ADI under the circumstances, to tell the truth about the project they chose not to mention, then by any credible definition, he cannot be said to be meeting his obligations to represent his constituents. Walter, you are engaging in double speak.

    • Shannon Gillies

      Of course I know about the OMB appeal. ADI is going through a process which it has every right to go through. This does not mean a project is in currently in the works. The question posed to the developer at this meeting, as I understand it, was “What’s the background of your company?” Sounds like they answered the question appropriately.

      • Tom Muir

        A proposal at the OMB is, in fact, and in provincial Planning Act law, a project in the works, as something will come out of the process one way or another. ADI has just chosen to work the project at the OMB rather than negotiate with the city and the citizens.

        Also, you said they were asked about the company background, and to me the OMB appeal project is part of their background without doubt. I can’t imagine any reputable and credible “background check” on a development company not including this fact as a part of it.

        It gives citizens a notion of what to expect from this company based on their track record, which is essential to their background.

        It’s shameful that they were not provided this complete information.

  • Steve

    Wasn’t one of the questions put to the developers about the selling price of the units, and they couldn’t, or wouldn’t give an answer? It’s ridiculous to think a developer has no idea what the selling price will be. I’m sure they know what the project is going to cost and how much the units will sell for.

  • Helene Skinner

    The Burlington Gazette is the most refreshing reporting there is!! It allows for free reporting and free speech!! It tells it the way it sees it which sparks fair debate. That is the only thing that is fair. Craven not only sleeps with developers – he also sleeps with local papers!! Craven is the most despicable polition I know…always skirting the issues or a damn lawyer!!! Kudos to the Burlington Gazette for recognizing that Marianne Meed Ward is REAL and is for the people – not her own personal selfish legacy. Craven – if you’re reading…there’s even a road named after you…saw it on my way to the vet…lol

  • Steve

    Don’t you, just love it when, overcrowding, is passed off as a “rich urban” environment.

  • Shannon Gillies

    This is a most unfair article which makes an unfair accusation. The fact that neither the representative from ADI nor Councillor Craven brought up the Martha/Lakeshore application when asked about the company’s background does not reflect poorly on either one of them. It was just an application. To suggest that one councillor is a hero of the people for picking up garbage on Christmas day (how the Gazette LOVES that story), but one is “in bed with developers” and acting nefariously because he didn’t interrupt the developer when answering a question to bring up an irrelevant unsuccessful application, is ridiculous.

    Editor’s note:
    Two concerns here – first the Martha Lakeshore Road development is not an unsuccessful appliction – it was turned down but staff but before city council could vote on it the developer took his case to the OMB – He was well within the rules to do just that – the city caught got out on that one. The application is very alive and the developer will argue his case at the OMB.
    Second: A lady who lives in the community asked the ADI people to tell her about the company. It was a very polite request. ADI told of two of their developments – one of which we have been very positive about. They chose not to mention the one they took to the OMB – which is going to cost the city a pretty penny to argue against. The residents had a right to that information and we believe the Councillor had a responsibility to inform his constituents.

  • Marco

    “Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman put his heart on his sleeve when her spoke to a group of Rotarians during the Rubfest launch and pleaded for help for the people in his community.”?????

  • James

    This article is ridiculous. Did Craven beat you to the last muffin or something, is that why you’re so mad at him? His actions clearly do not represent or even suggest for a moment that he’s “in bed with developers”. Your personal bias for some Councillors over others seems to be getting in the way of respectable reporting. You’re better than this.

  • Peter Rusin

    The reason ADI is at the OMB is because the city failed to manage the situation.

    At least Craven can manage a development file without all the resistance drama that takes place in the downtown core. The anti-development sentiment is damaging to this city’s future.

    As for the Masonry Court site, higher density is the answer. The city should also have been way ahead of any planned development schemes for the site, but, as always the leadership continues to be asleep at the wheel.

    The King of Cravenville cant do everything by himself; give the guy some credit.

    • “higher density is the answer” I don’t see this Peter.

      I can find countless examples of places that have higher density that have lots of worse problems than we have.

      Higher density combined with an amenity rich urban environment combined with all modes of transportation is a winning formula. I don’t mind the increased density so long as the density propels a greater standard of living for all. That’s not what is going on. Developers are just buying everything they can running off whatever business were functioning on a site – cutting down any trees – jamming in as many units a possible – glueing on a useless commercial facade – next.

      • Peter Rusin

        There are many examples of the types of communities you describe all across the GTA, that have the rich urban environment and winning formula. Here in Burlington, the municipal planning is not as sophisticated as it should be. I totally agree with you.

  • Rob

    I’m not surprised that Councillor Craven has “given up talking to the Gazette”. This article could easily be labelled as slander! You lose credibility when you blatantly promote Marianne Meed Ward and are disparaging to Councillor Craven. Use your paper to impart facts not as a personal vendetta.

  • Walter Mulkewich

    I was at this public meeting and I strongly disagree with your opinion regarding Councillor Craven’s participation in a City of Burlington sponsored neighbourhood meeting. I thought Councillor Craven was fair throughout. Your characterization of Councillor Craven is unfair. He had no obligation as you put it to comment about the developer but he has an obligation to represent his constituents which he is doing. ADI Developments have other projects in the City which are being dealt with as is the Aldershot project.