ECoB puts six questions in front of the Mayor.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

January 19th, 2018



There were two meetings in town last night.

ECoB pic 2 Jan 18

Registration table for the ECoB meeting held at Wellington Square United Church.

One, a Reverse Town Hall, called by the Mayor took place at the Art Gallery, the other, organized by Engaged Citizens of Burlington, took place at Wellington Square United Church; they drew 70 to 80 people and talked about the “need to change council”.

A new group was formed “from ward 1” who were going to meet again and find a way to replace their ward Councillor Rick Craven.

The ECoB meeting ended at about 8:00 pm. Lisa Kierns, an ECoB founder, left that meeting and zipped along to the Mayor’s meeting and presented him with six questions.

• What is the rush to push forward the Official Plan? Residents find the precinct plans difficult to find, analyze, and understand the impacts in all wards. This is still not clear.

• Is the City doing enough to defend Zoning and Official Plan limits? Why are the rules changing and why is Development forcing special considerations – profitability?

• What are we gaining in the rush for intensification and what tools are available to keep it in control? Is this the City we want to live in?

• Why did the City begin engagement on the Official Plan when the supporting plans are not complete, this is not a complete strategy or Plan? We need to see the impact of the: Transit Plan, Transportation Plan, and Mobility Hubs. What is the rush?

• Why is downtown an Area Specific Plan if a Character Study was not done on the neighbouring St. Luke’s Precinct and Emerald Neighbourhood? Have the concerns with specific residents who border on the growth areas been adequately addressed? What about uptown?

ECoB pic 1 Jan 18

Between 70 and 80 people attended the ECoB meeting; at least one with a cheque in hand. Some of the participants formed a group to replace the ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven.

• Do you want to live amongst tall buildings in your neighbourhood? The City of Burlington is changing the rules to turn into a big city intensified with big tall buildings? This is not a provincially mandated Mobility Hub.

One of the meeting organizers, who asked not to be named said: “It was a great meeting with a lot of questions and answers given.”

The ECoB lawn signs were on sale, expect to see them popping up on snow covered lawns.

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11 comments to ECoB puts six questions in front of the Mayor.

  • Thank you Micheal for your response,well said.
    I may be one of “the old timers”,not from Aldershot,not from downtown but feel Brant street is our centre. I’m thankful for the ECOB for alerting those of us who too often elect and forget, then wonder what happened.
    Changes are coming but we want to look forward to them with enthusiasm. Yes, intensification will happen. 20+story buildings just seems too big a contrast from the lakeside and park areas.
    This agenda was not on the books last election, with such a drastic change,more consulting with the general population of Burlington is in order.
    Yes, some who have raised their family, payed their taxes and retired can be present for the next council meeting at 1&6:30p.m. On the 23rd.

  • Michael Hribljan

    I think conversation about this topic is extremely important and we are all entitled to our points of view. I have now attended a ECOB meeting, I am middle aged, young at heart, professional with a global environmental company. My wife and I both work, we have a school aged son, support and participate in numerous organizations, fund raise and get involved. This is important, so I am getting involved. I would encourage everyone to read and educate themselves on the details. Write letters, delegate to committee and council, talk to your councilor, learn how government works and learn we can influence change. We need to put the brakes on the approval of our official plan, clearly there has not been enough time for citizens to engage in this conversation and understand the implications this will have on our City for the next 100 years. I’ve yet to encounter someone that is “no growth” or “no change”. Let’s not give away our City, let’s make sure we drive a plan that is vibrant, sustainable with clear and well planned outcomes through an inclusive and collaborative process – what is the rush?

    • Bernstein

      Well said Michael. While we may or may not disagree on what our vibrant sustainable city of the near future should look like, I fully agree that people need to read and educate themselves on the details. I would also suggest they should take a look at what the current academic and professional thoughts and opinions are on planning for mid sized and suburban cities.

  • Carol Thompson

    It was a relief to read the above letter. ECoB represents a particular group of old timer downtown and Aldershot residents who understandably resist change. Like it or not there is a larger, younger population in the north (too busy balancing jobs and families to attend meetings) who would like a vibrant downtown ( with more than run down buildings and over priced nick nack and clothing shops) with meaningful shopping. ECoB is a voice but it’s one of many. We hear a lot about what they and Ms Mead Ward don’t want. But what do they want that would uplift an outdated and irrelevant downtown?
    One good model is Centro, who with their farmers market bring some needed life and heartbeat to downtown. It would be nice to have a usable downtown core that attracted residents from all of Burlington.

    • William

      No one is opposed to change, just bad change:

      – the destruction of character and heritage;
      – the replacement of unique street-level retail and restaurants with bland Shoppers Drug Mart, wealth management outlets, and bank branches (Toronto’s experience is an exemplar);
      – no vision for true mixed use in the downtown that includes commercial attraction;

      No one is opposed to change, we’re just opposed to the planning department engineering a bad deal for residents. They want to give away height while negotiating for nothing in return (parkland, community amenities,affordable housing).

      Centro is under threat and the farmer’s market will disappear. The property is owned by Emshih properties who will want a similar windfall that Carnicelli got.

      No one is opposed to change. If you talked to the diverse group of people in the downtown or Aldershot with an open mind, you’d realize your understanding of who you are dismissing is wrong.

    • Lynn Crosby

      We already have a vibrant downtown. We’d like to keep it that way. And it already attracts esidents from all over Burlington and outside Burlington.

      The downtown is not full of “old-timers”. We have a large number of young families and a large number of new immigrants. As William said, Centro will be gone if things go the way they are heading now. The Centro owner has been in attendance at several of the meetings on this topic. At the Mayor’s reverse town hall meeting, several young downtown residents spoke against rushing the OP and urged the Mayor to look at this much more carefully, and several downtown business owners spoke up with great concern. The changes to the OP affect all of Burlington.

      As William said, we don’t oppose change. We don’t oppose condos.

  • Bernstein

    I disagree on the comments regarding Craven. While he could be a bit less prickly, he is the one member of council that puts the interests of the City as a whole before those of special interests and those people or small groups of people that want Council to make decisions that protect their own personal interests.

    Watching the webcasts of the City meetings, it is apparent that he doesn’t suffer fools and has little time for the games that people play in trying to influence Council. A council without him or someone like him is one that is more likely to spin in every which direction trying to satisfy the voters that come before them complaining about this development, that program, new ideas etc.

    The ECOB groups concerns and all of the comments on the public consultation of the official plan and recent developments have led to this school of thought that Council is bad because it doesn’t listen to our concerns. Is that really what’s happening? Or is it more accurately that council is not doing what we are telling it to, and that is upsetting some who feel that council should do what they say because they pay taxes, have lived in the city for over 30 yrs etc? I think it’s the latter. The shaking fists in the air feel that council should do what we tell them to do. But is that council’s role and responsibility? To do what we, the members of the electorate that come before them, say to do?

    I think it’s council’s job to make decisions in the best interest of the city as a whole, for this generation and future generations. That involves making the hard decisions that sometimes are not popular. If we don’t like it as citizens, then the majority will elect someone else. Would much rather have a councillor like Craven that has the backbone to stand up to the loud opposition when it is the right thing for the City to do, than a councillor that disregards all of the expert advice and their own judgment in order to satisfy the squeaky wheels within their ward, or to curry favour with your voters.

    This is not to say that I don’t agree with a couple of the points ECOB is raising, particularly the point about not having the transit plan in place before the official plan that relies on transit to justify density. However, from what I have read on this blog, the group has the feel of a political strategy for a councillor or citizen looking to expand political reach throughout the city by sewing seeds of opposition together. Helpful for a run at the mayor’s chair. Nothing brings people together like angry opposition to something, anything. It also feels like it could be used as a platform to get someone into office. Much easier for a non incumbent to get elected when they have a cause to get people to rally around.

    Should be an interesting year of political maneuvering played out through the official plan process! Just remember that the comments here on this blog aren’t always reflective of the citizens of the City as a whole. They are downtown and Aldershot focused and based. I am a North of the qew guy (Brant Hills /Headon Forest) and as I have said before on this blog, the general opposition that is so prevalent here is not found in other areas of the city.

    • William

      I feel bad for Rick Craven, politics has turned him into angry man who despises those he represents. His fixation with the Ward 2 councilor that prompts him to make personal attacks against her in and outside of council chambers reveals the measure of the man.

      “A great man is hard on himself; a small man is hard on others.”

      Time for him to retire.

    • Tom Muir

      Bernstein, I guess you didn’t inform yourself a year or so ago, when Rick Craven thought the best interests of the city as a whole was best served by reducing the amount of time the citizens of the city were allowed to speak to committees from 10 minutes to 5 minutes.

      He was the only Councilor to vote yes. This was his own personal interest that he was pushing from the start.

      I can also guess that this is one way it is apparent, according to your words, “that he doesn’t suffer fools and has little time for the games that people play in trying to influence Council.”

      And you say further to this, “A council without him or someone like him is one that is more likely to spin in every which direction trying to satisfy the voters that come before them complaining about this development, that program, new ideas etc.”

      Well we can disagree I guess, but listening to voters is my preference, despite the very negative portrayal of citizens that you concoct in order to defend Craven. It’s not his problem – it’s the people he is supposed to represent that are the problem.

      And lastly, no one knows the best interests of the city as a whole. I’ve heard that come out of Craven’s mouth many times.

      They only know what their Ward residents are saying, special interests and all. To say they represent everyone is just defending yourself and you doing what you want to do.

  • Sylvia and Patrick Lennon

    I agree…his delivery alone is so dismissive and arrogant and oily! To think he has so much power…All of the FEW councillors do and they ignore the very important concerns of the citizens of Burlington…OUR CITY COUNCIL HAS WAY TOO FEW MEMBERS,,,There should be INTENSIFIACTION RE: # NUMBERS on CITY COUNCIL…

  • Stephen White

    It was a good meeting with a great turnout. Lots of energy and enthusiasm.

    It was particularly pleasing to see the impromptu plans to unseat the Ward 1 incumbent. His dismissive attitude, conduct and policies have riled a number of residents. My hope is that he and others finally see the light and finally “pack it in”. If ever there was a walking advertisement for term limits Craven is it!