Has the beginning of a shift in the way Council will work going forward begun - and are there new faces building a profile?

By Pepper Parr

July 19th, 2023



Let’s take a look at three women who are part of the Burlington political world.

Mayor Meed Ward once said she has 17 points of contact with her constituents – and she uses every one of them regularly.

Marianne Meed Ward has served the city as a Councillor and as Mayor now in her second term. In 2026 she will have served the city for 16 years which will result in a very decent pension. Will she run again? Will she be opposed by a member of Council; two that we are aware of harbour hopes of wearing the chain of office.

Shawna Stolte has been the Councillor for ward 4 since 2018. Her Integrity Commissioner problems made her first term very difficult and many were not certain she would run again. But she did and was the Deputy Mayor for the Council meeting July 11th. Watching how she handled the meeting one got the sense that she liked the role; perhaps chairing Council meetings on a regular basis was even more appealing than when we had a conversation with her about wearing the Chain of Office.

Daintry Klein, the woman who advocates for green space and has been a tireless advocate for the Millcroft community and doing everything she can to prevent any future development on the golf course properties.

A recent community meeting was to urge resident of Millcroft to donate the funds needed to hire the experts that will get the organizations leads through the Ontario Land Tribunal hearing that is working its way through the bureaucracy.

The shaded areas show where the 98 additional houses will be built.

Klein did a good job of explaining why the funds were needed and how much was needed.

Angelo Bentivegna – has no problem in ignoring groups in his ward. Was absent at the most recent meeting of Millcroft Green Alliance

The ward Councillor Angelo Bentivegna was absent – he appears to have decided to keep his distance from the Millcroft Greenspace Alliance.

What made the meeting awkward for Klein was that Mayor Meed Ward attended and told the audience that she didn’t want to see the case now at the OLT take place. She told the audience that she was going to work the telephones and get a decision from the Ministry of Housing and Municipal Affairs to put an end to the development application.

Given that the Mayor now has Strong Mayor powers she could put a stop to it in minutes. Is that in the offing?

Last week, Klein delegated to a Statutory meeting on a development in the ward that she felt created some risk from an environmental perspective.

She learned to her surprise that the planner speaking for the people who owned the property told council that they did not yet have a client because the people they wanted to offer the property to needed more in the way of certainty on just what they could and could not do.

Despite the surprise Klein continued until Councillor Sharman, who was chairing the Statutory meeting, asked her to speak to the specific issue. Taken aback Kline did a quick pivot and talked about the need to keep environmental issues a close to the top issue when it came time to make a decision.

There was no strong reason for Klein to be doing a delegation other than to maintain the profile she has in the community.

A working relationship with ward Councillor Angelo Bentivegna hardly exists and Klein would not be taking all that much of a risk should decide she could do a better job as the Councillor for ward 6.

Shawna Stolte has weathered everything the Mayor has thrown at her and has managed to hold her own.

The dynamic between the three women is interesting. Stolte took a very unfair drubbing from Meed Ward when she attempted to revise a Council meeting agenda and force Stolte to issue a public apology who was once her administrative assistant. Stole did a fine job of turning the tables and calling out the Mayor for what really was atrocious behaviour. We once again share that behaviour – here is the link.

Mayor Meed Ward did herself no favours when she told the audience of a meeting Klein had called that there was no reason to raise funds because she, the Mayor, was going to do everything in her power to prevent the matter of developing some of the golf course lands – where the developer wants to build 98 high end houses on a very desirable location – even if they are shoe horning them in at some of the locations Those homes will sell just is as soon is as the developer knows his appeal to the OLT come out with a decision in their favour.
The Mayor does not have a strong working relationship with the Millcroft Greenspace Alliance and she certainly doesn’t have a quality working relationship with Stolte.

The interesting scenario is we have a Mayor who doesn’t have a strong, positive working relationship with at least one member of her council, has another member who isn’t interested in serving parts of his constituency and appears to be blunting the efforts of a community that needs all the help it can get to prevent a radical change.

Daintry Klein has worked tirelessly to keep the interest of her community in the public eye. Is she ready to sit at the table where the decisions are made. She would be at positive addition.

Daintry Kline has a strong background in the finance sector and has been more than diligent in working for her community. Does that translate into running for public office – Klein  has said she has no interest – they all do that until they announce that they want to serve their community and would be honoured to do just that.

Stolte and Klein would get along well – the have that “community first” in their DNA.

Keep an eye on both of them.

As for the Mayor – she will let you know what she is up to.

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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