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ECoB - a group of people who want to create an umbrella organization that will support the numerous community groups in the city that don't feel they are being heard at city hall.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 13th, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It is an important meeting, being held on Wednesday at the Baptist Church on New Street. Starts at 7:00 PM

It will be the second ECoB meeting, first was a founding meeting at which they decided to incorporate and create a board and raised $5000.

ECOB logoECoB stands for Engaged Citizens of Burlington; they argue that the citizens are not really engaged with the council they elected and that staff really doesn’t engage – they aren’t for the most part, especially at the senior level, even citizens of the city.

Director of Transportation – Hamilton
City Clerk – Hamilton
Director of Finance – Milton
City Solicitor – outside of Burlington.
Director of Parks and Recreation – Oakville.
We are not sure any of the Director’s actually live in Burlington.
The city manager does live in Burlington – Aldershot actually.

The city seldom loses a chance to tout just how engaged they are and point to engagement as one of the four pillars that support the Strategic Plan.

Sprinkled throughout the city are groups that are differing with their city over the kind of development that is taking place in their communities. Several examples:

Plains Road group protesting the height and set back of a building beside the Solid Gold adult entertainment establishment.

Roseland Community Association

Shoreacres community group

Bluewater community group

Plan B

Bfast

Alton Village group protesting an ADI development in that community as well as serious traffic control problems.

Jim Young

Jim Young will MC the Wednesday evening meeting at the Baptist Church on New Street.

ECob would like every group in the city to show up and show support and then involve themselves in ways to make the city council they elected more accountable. “It isn’t enough to tell us that we get the opportunity to vote every four years and leave it at that” said Jim Young at a delegation he made some time ago.

The rush to push through a new Official Plan bothered many.  That rush has been slowed down with a much longer timeline announced earlier this week.  Anyone who doesn’t realize that public push-back brought this about doesn’t understand what politics is all about.

The matter of the Mobility Hubs is another issue for many.  During the Mayor’s First Live Facebook event he had difficulty explaining to a caller just what a mobility hub is.

ECoB wants to be a city wide umbrella organization that would become a place where community organizations could gather and work together on common issues.  Their objective is not to fight city hall but instead to work with the city collaboratively and be at the table where their money is being spent.

The common issue was a dissatisfaction with the way city council meets with and responds to the public.

The ECoB group that met in November also created sub-committee that was going to file an appeal against the city decision to permit the construction of a 23 storey tower on Brant Street across from city hall.

With what was seen as a very healthy start ECoB slipped into some organizational struggles trying to work with the founder who was in Fort Myers, Florida on winter vacation – a snow bird, and was going to be there at least until January. It wasn’t working and resignations were being tendered.

To their credit the people doing all the grunt work in the trenches managed to keep it together and have put set out a solid agenda for the Wednesday meeting.

Jim Young, who was one of the original co-chairs, will serve as MC for the Wednesday meeting.

Kearns + Josie

Lisa Kearns, standing, impressed many at the founding ECoB meeting. Seated are two people who were heavily involved in the drive to keep Central high school open.

Fleshing out the ECoB board is Lisa Kearns who impressed a number of people when she delegated at a city council meeting.

Kearns was born in Hamilton, attended university in London, Ontario then lived in Mississauga  and has been a Burlington resident for the past six years. Her career experience includes two decades of corporate management, government relations and strategic procurement experience across the manufacturing, advertising and health care sectors.

Her undergraduate degree was an Honours in Political Science from University of Western Ontario with a focus on Electoral Reform and Public Policy.

She has been a key principal in successful Provincial and Municipal campaigns.

She was the first Patron Sponsor for the Good Shepherd Charity advocating for advances in mental health support. She can be found volunteering at the local farmers market.

Dania Thurman H&S Vg

Dania Thurman, the woman that will direct the social media for ECoB.

Working with Kearns is Dania Thurman, one of the team that did the social media work that helped keep Central high school open despite a recommendation from Board Staff that the school be closed. Thurman is very active at Tom Thomson elementary school where she is one of a group that organized the pre-school breakfast program.

Penny Hersh, another Director, brings years of experience at the Seniors’ Centre and is very involved with the Burlington Seniors Community that was created when city hall basically booted the seniors that were running a large part of the program at the city owned Centre.

Burlington has a couple of dozen small community organizations that have formed when they had issues with city hall. Most tended to be local and didn’t draw much attention.

The decision to permit the construction of the first high rise on Brant Street seems to have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

421 Brant

The development that struck a chord with people who didn’t like the way height was going to be located in their city.

The 421 Brant development is a very short walk from the Bridgewater project that is going to have a condominium soaring 22 storeys into the sky and sits on the edge of the lake. It didn’t seem to create the anger that 421 Brant has – a number of people reacted to the suggestion that a city wide group be formed – and ECoB was born

Far too early to tell if it will develop any traction – there are several accomplished people working on this one.

Worth keeping an eye on.

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3 comments to ECoB – a group of people who want to create an umbrella organization that will support the numerous community groups in the city that don’t feel they are being heard at city hall.

  • craig

    do any of the ECOB folks live north of qew or even east of walkers line or east of maple avenue similar to wanting all senior city staff to live in Burlington I do not want ECOB represnting areas they do not live in I wanted central hi closed and Pearson and Bateman kept open for example

    • joe gaetan

      Craig Problem:Don’t want ECOB representing areas they don’t live in. Solution: Join the group.

    • Stephen White

      Hi Craig:

      I attended tonight’s ECoB meeting. I live in Ward 5, and there were several other Ward 5 residents besides myself in attendance. I also noted a number of residents from Wards 1, 3 and 4.

      The issues ECoB is tackling aren’t germane just to Ward 2 or downtown. That point was made repeatedly by various speakers during tonight’s meeting. The primary problem comes down to elected officials and City Hall bureaucrats not listening to voters’ preferences. This Council ignored a petition with 1,400 names on it opposing the zoning changes at 421 Brant Street, just as they ignored over 170 residents who told them two years ago not to proceed with the New Street Road Diet. We all know how that disaster ended…and not soon enough!