Dean gives as good as he gets in verbal fisticuffs with Councillor Sharman.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 23rd, 2018



Brian Dean, the Executive Director of the Downtown Business Association, has a pretty good sense of what any buzz going on is about. He is at times shameless when wanting to know “what’s up”?

Dean moved to the point he was before city council to make – consider a delay in the approval of the draft Official Plan.

It is our Board’s contention that the stated timeline to adopt the draft Official Plan by the first week of April 2018 is too ambitious.

Parking MMW + Brian Dean with head of meter

Brian Dean with the ward Councillor celebrating the installation of new parking meters.

More specifically, it will not allow the BDBA to adequately position itself as a commenting agency, with the support of its membership.

Dean explained that his association was doing its outreach to his membership – it was proceeding rather well – until …

Dean explained that

“it was in September, with the first release of the draft Downtown precinct plans when our efforts really ramped up.

“The City’s Mobility Hub Team took the BDBA people on a block-by-block walkabout of the proposed precincts to explain the policies and answer questions.

“Until November 2017 I reported the observations that the Official Plan and Mobility Hub sessions were “reasonably” well attended by the business community.

“My conclusion was that there was no clear consensus amongst the membership about whether the draft downtown precincts were positive, negative or otherwise. NOR did there emerge a collective voice petitioning our Board of Directors to advocate in a particular direction.

“That changed in November.

“The watershed moments were the Committee and Council approval of the application by Carriage Gate Homes for a development at Brant & James Streets.

“The feedback to my Association was immediate.

“It seems that the business community was viewing the potential implications for their businesses and considering issues like: construction, future rents and potential displacement… as if for the first time. AND My Board took notice!

“The BDBA wants to put together a series of precepts or statements that will act as the “official comment” from our business community and Association when we are challenged to insert ourselves in discussions around downtown developments, Official Plans and other documents that can affect the health of our community of business.

“We also believe that there is evidence for City Council to reconsider its position on the “innovation district” designation in the revised Official Plan.

“We contend that there is room for more than one “innovation district” in Burlington and that our Downtown does qualify as possessing similar criteria to the area around the DeGroote School of Business.

“Thank you for your time…we are happy to field any questions you might have of us.”

Dean was civil and direct. He has been delegating for years; does it well and comes fully prepared.

Intense to the point of making delegations uncomfortable ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman does know how to drill down into the data and look for results.

Councillor Paul Sharman had some choice advice for a delegator – Chair Craven had to intervene.

Councillor Paul Sharman didn’t see the request for the additional time as reasonable and got into verbal fisticuffs with Dean requiring Chair Craven to caution the council member and basically told Sharman to move to his own corner of the ring.

What has become pretty clear is that this Council isn’t liking what they are being asked to do – the questions are short, often grumpy and there is no sense that council want to be in a collaborative mode with its citizens. The exception is Meed Ward and at times Lancaster who looks for clarification to make sure she understands the point being made.

There was a point when Lancaster was the Council representative on the BDBA Board – that didn’t work out.

Goldring reverse town hall

Mayor wants to know if a delegator wants the downtown core plan put on hold or if they want the draft Official Plan in its entirety put on hold until after the October election.

The Mayor asks the same question of each delegator – Do you want just the downtown core plans put on hold or the complete draft Official Plan?

They all tell the Mayor – put it all on hold and while no one says it directly the implication is that they want time to decide if they want this council making the decisions.

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