I heard a very distraught man who was deeply hurt

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

April 14th, 2020



I didn’t know John Calvert. I knew of him. He was Director of Planning in Mississauga at a time when Hazel McCallion was Mayor – and he survived – Hazel was one tough cookie.

I was sent a copy of the letter Calvert wrote to Mayor Marianne Meed Ward expressing his profound disappointment on how the National Homes development on Brant was proceeding.

John Calvert has lived in Burlington for more than 30 years.  Watching the shape, look, and feel of the city disintegrate has bothered him for some time.

John Calvert with model

John Calvert: Deeply hurt and disappointed

I had to ask a friend for contact information and see if Calvert would take a call from me.

He said he would and we had a ten minute talk.

I heard a very distraught man who was deeply hurt talk about the Due Process that he did not feel had taken place and the need for public input on planning decisions.

He agreed with me that people were excited when Marianne was elected Mayor – many believed that the development proposals on the table were going to ruin the city.

Calvert said he “likes Marianne” he just didn’t seem to like what she was doing.

“It took me some time to write the letter” said Calvert. “I showed it to my neighbour Ed Doer who was heavily involved in the opposition to the National Homes development; he said I had written what needed to be said.”

When Mayor Meed Ward went to France to take part in the 75th WWII anniversary she went with Calvert’s wife who was one of the Burlington residents who made the Juno Beach reception centre possible. Calvert told me that the two women travelled together and got along very well.

Calvert said he was asked to speak at one of Meed Ward’s campaign funding events. “I did so willingly” said Calvert
Calvert knows the ins and out of the planning profession. He told me that the communities we build today will determine the kind of society we will have a couple of decades later.

He talked about the lack of amenities in a community that was to have 233 homes – which may have been chiselled down to 215.

“The traffic problems will be horrendous.”

Calvert hopes that this Council decides to take a sober second look at what is being proposed.

The issue for Calvert is trust and quality in developments. By quality he doesn’t mean quartz counter tops and shiny high end stoves. He means space for people to live, back yards where there is room for one of those large Italian families and parks where children can play and enough room for a child to learn to ride a bicycle.

Calvert said he was excited when Meed Ward came along – mistakes that had been made were going to be corrected. Now it doesn’t look that way.

“Someone has to stop this” he said

Related news item:

The Calvert letter

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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1 comment to I heard a very distraught man who was deeply hurt

  • David

    (The communities we build today will determine the kind of society we will have a couple of decades later.)
    My best thoughts usually arrive on waking up in the morning, People living in tiny boxes was one of them, I remembered the headline of this story but didn’t open it at the time….A gem, that sentence from a professional, who captured the essence of my thoughts.
    My thoughts were on the tiny war time homes so coveted by young families today.
    I should know I owned one, 700 sq ft bungalow with basement, detached single car garage 3-car single driveway back yard on a laneway.
    Our own entertainment area, kids, family, friends. BBQ’s lots of laughter. Hard times also 19.75 % mortgage rate locked in by me for 5-years then a $2k buyout for a cheaper rate later in the year. Fixing your own car and everything else, if I didn’t know how someone always did. Property taxes around $400 per year.

    My point is, we were young and resilient, which is the best time to endure hardship with some kind of humour. We were a family. It was our decision that Wife would stay home and I would pick up the financial slack. An investment in our Son was more important than material things or expensive getaways.
    I wish to report that our investment paid off in spades, our Son who now has a larger family is actually using the same strategy.

    The problem is land availability. Burlington is boxed in on all sides. We are full. No Vacancies.
    If something becomes available we’ll let you know.

    Why do we need growth in Burlingtons population? Its not like we live in a small country is it.