If you feed them - will they come? Some did.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

September 16th, 2019



It was a bold venture.

It was something different and based on what we saw it appeared to work.

The city is trying very hard to hear what residents think about what city hall is doing. The came up with an idea – why don’t we feed people and listen to what they have to say?

Food trucks

With a ticket in your hand you got to eat – but you had to talk first.

The called the event Food for Feedback – and added a small twist: you don’t get the food until the city has your thoughts.

Food ticket

The rules were simple enough – tell us what you think and we will feed you.

Take action siign

City hall is reaching out – asking – close to begging people to say what they think. People were so used to not being listened to that they stopped talking. This city council wants to change that and has directed staff to do things differently.

What they did was give each of the tables set out a small box of cards – about the size of a business card. Once you had your chit chat with the people at either the Integrated Mobility table or the Cycling table or the budget table they gave you a card that could be redeemed at one of the four food trucks that were lined up at the curb of Central Park beside the band shell.

There was a table with fire department people, a table for those who wanted to talk about Leash free areas in the city and a table for those interested in where cannabis retail operations were to be located.

Michelle Dwyer

Staff did all the heavy lifting.


Ward 4 residents George and Norah talking to ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns – and doing a little bit of business while they were downtown.

Tables were set out for some of the members of council – not all took part. The Mayor was expected to do a walk about.   There weren’t great “crowds” but there was a healthy turnout and some of the discussions at some of the tables was “animated”. It will be interesting to hear what staff report on the event.

Councillor tables

Tables were set out for three of the six council members.

The bureaucrats are trying everything they can think of to get people out and listen to what they have to say.

Burlington has some very significant decisions to make in the year ahead.

While city council is approaching their first anniversary – they have needed some time to get used to the idea of being public figures and begin to understand the complexities of municipal government.

Five of the seven members of council had never held public office. Some are doing very well; others may find that they were not cut out for the job they now have.

Moment she became Mayor

Marianne Meed Ward taking the Oath of Office.

Too early to be definitive. What is very evident is that there is a Mayor with an agenda and a mandate and she is going to do whatever it takes to deliver. She has taken an approach to leading that Burlington has not seen in more than 12 years; she is proactive and doesn’t have any problems stepping over jurisdictional lines.

Burlington crest - with city reference

City crest.

Nothing shy about this woman. Mayor Marianne Meed Ward has wanted to be mayor for more than a decade – her route to getting the Chain of Office placed around her neck never wavered. Now the people that elected her get to see just what a committed, driven, passionate politician can do.

There are two words on the city crest: Stand By. Mark them well.

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3 comments to If you feed them – will they come? Some did.

  • Fred Crockett


    For quite some time, I have enjoyed your disciplined critiques of the shenanigans of past Burlington Councils. Unfortunately, this post does not meet your previous standards.

    Sadly, and with regret,
    you come across as a confused old lady standing in her nightie in her lawn, in the middle of a rainstorm, yelling at the clouds.

    Penny, you’re better than this…..

  • Penny Hersh

    This is not the first time I have felt that some decisions on engaging the public have been ” out in left field”. Who thinks up these things? “Food for Feedback – Really” Resident Engagement is a serious thing, and not to be taken lightly.

    With food banks being in need of food at this time a better option might have been to donate the money for this event to the food banks and have residents come and provide their feedback. From the pictures I saw not that many people attended…It will be interesting to see the numbers quoted by council members and staff.

    What has this council accomplished so far – Declare a state of Climate Emergency – and then provide useless yellow plastic “slow down” signs, that don’t seem to work ( ask the people on Smith Avenue who watch the cars zip by) and are not totally recyclable. Seems to be some extra ones hanging around it you really want one. Band-aid, less expensive solution than photo-radar with a fine that might actually slow down speeders.

    No electric buses, too expensive, but free bus passes for students and hopefully everyone . Nice to suggest things that are not accomplishable. More buses and better schedules are the answer. Make it convenient and people will use public transit. Burlington is an aging population looking for alternatives to travelling by car.

    Spend over $76,000.00 of tax payer dollars on Burlassic Park. In effect taking away revenue from local businesses. Many of those attending would have frequented the establishments to watch the games.

    Now painting Rainbow intersections. Why!!!! It has been suggested that this will only act as a distraction to already distracted drivers that other motorists and pedestrians have to deal with. Showing respect for one another is not accomplished by Rainbow Intersections.

    All symbolic gestures that do nothing to improve the quality of life for residents. Perhaps it is staff and councils way to distract the residents from the true issues facing this city. Think about it.

    We asked for change at the last election and we will be living with our decision for the next 3 years.

    • Phillip Wooster

      Increasingly this council and Mayor are showing their Liberal-socialist roots—they like to spend, spend, spend on trendy ideas that are little more than frivolous virtue-signalling. Meanwhile, they will have to tax, tax, tax. Given some of the poor decisions made so far, I’m looking at 4 and out for this group!