Is it just about getting your name in the paper? This latest is pathetic.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

August 12th, 2020



It was pathetic.

The media release was from the Office of the Mayor. She was exited about the change in the name of a committee that is part of AMO – Association of Municipalities in Ontario,

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward was acclaimed recently as a member of LUMCO – Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario

They recently changed their named to Ontario’s Big City Mayors and that was important enough to put out a media release.


“LUMCO is excited to announce its new name: Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM).  While the name has changed, our mission remains the same: to represent the interests of Ontario’s 29 biggest cities, and almost 70% of Ontarians, through public policy development, advocacy and discussion.

OBCM - LUMCO Mayor“Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM) is comprised of mayors of Ontario cities with populations of 100,000 or more.

“OBCM provides a voice for big city mayors in policy debates that impact Ontario cities. Through policy development, advocacy, discussion and partnerships, Ontario’s Big City Mayors support strong and effective cities.”

The Mayor and two of her Council members did themselves proud earlier this week last week when they “took a knee” at the Black Lives Matter graphic painted on the sidewalk outside city hall.

BLM 3 JAmes and Brant

Thousands of young people marched on city hall to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

MMW The Knee

The Mayor and two Councillors did the “taking a knee” gesture beside the Black Lives Matter outside city hall.

The graphic had relevance – especially after the march of several thousand people who demonstrated outside city hall a number of months ago.

But “taking a knee”? That is a gesture we see at sports events in the United States where people of colour in the sports sector have been poorly treated for decades.

“Taking a knee” in that venue makes sense and has an impact.

In Burlington a passer-by might well ask: ‘What are they doing’?

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21 comments to Is it just about getting your name in the paper? This latest is pathetic.

  • Earl Chapman

    David Barker – do you really believe the city would permit ‘volunteers’ to be out weeding in the middle of a busy street? And to send out city crews (or police) to provide adequate protection to these volunteers. Was your last sentence necessary?

    • david barker

      No, I don’t believe the City would. Liability issues provably get in the way. Though having said that the City hires students and other youngsters to water flowerbeds in medians and along the roadside. So maybe.

      Yes, that I believe the sentence was necessary. I think the saying goes – Don’t just bring be a problem. Bring me a solution too.

  • Alfred

    Bronwyn L. and Mitch.

    Please don’t let us old guys take up all the air in the room. You are the future we are the past. Please explain and defend your ideas if you so choose. Be warned this is a tough crowd.

  • Alfred


    You are a gentleman as always. David we agree on many things you and I. We just drive down different roads to achieve them.

    1. The fraudulent tree by-law passed will do nothing to grow the tree canopy. In fact where trees were an asset to have on your property they are now an expensive liability. People unless they are fools are less likely to plant trees on their property that could cost them $10,000 each to cut down in 20 years. The Foresters report only suggested that a couple of hundred trees were being cut that weren’t dying or dead. per year in a City with 4 million trees. People were planting thousands of trees before the by-law on their property. People less likely to plant trees vs couple of hundred being cut = Shrinking tree canopy. The money sucked out of the property owners pockets could have gone to planting thousands of trees. In one year we will have a full report of this huge failure. This by-law was not supposed to work. It was to make our do Nothing Mayor look good to the eyes of those that can’t think for themselves.

    2. Development standards in the Dowtown will be established by Provincial Guidelines not by City Standards, unless those both line up. Certainly not by the wishes of the people including the nimbies. The Mayor has done nothing but spend millions of taxpayer dollars. Soon as the OMB. opens up again, the City will lose case after case. The Mayor has just delayed the process and added 10s of millions of dollars to the cost of housing and the loss of high paying jobs and business in the community. Wait till we get the tax bill.

    David how does anything you mentioned benefit any other part of this City the downtown core is only 1% of the City. She appears to have done nothing for the other 99% of Burlingtons residence. Maybe they should get their own Mayor. Burlington Best sized City in Canada 2020????

    • david barker

      Hey, Alfred I know you are as passionate as I am on this topic. But your $10,000 number is an exaggeration.

      The bylaw requires cash in lieu of replanting. The amount of cash in lieu is $800 per 10cm of tree diameter removed. Only trees over 20cm diameter fall within the bylaw. On my lot there are 11 trees that need to be removed to build a 4,000 sq ft home. There is no place to replant. So cash in lieu is required. Of those 11 trees 2 are dead, 1 is an ash, 4 are less than 20cm. So only 4 fall within the bylaw. Those 4, which are each in excess of 20 years old, account for a total diameterage of 120cm. So that is 12 x $800, which is $9,600 total cash in lieu for 4 trees. Not one tree. So your $10,000 is a huge overstatement.

      HOWEVER, as per the terms of the bylaw if the removal of trees is agreed to by the planning department in order to satisfy an agreed upon site plan NO CASH IN LIEU payment is required. That is the status here.

      Bylaw exemptions:-

      (j) where the removal of the Tree is for the purpose of satisfying conditions to
      the approval of a site plan, a plan of subdivision, or consent under sections
      41, 51 or 53 of the Planning Act, or as a requirement of a site plan,
      subdivision or consent agreement entered into under those sections of the

      (k) where the Injury or removal of the Tree is for the purpose of satisfying a
      condition to a development permit authorized by regulation made under
      section 70.2 of the Planning Act, as a requirement of an agreement entered
      into under the regulation;

      One really needs to study the bylaw closely !

      The LPAT does not “open up” again as respects applications within the ICBL area until the ICBL expires or is repealed. Hopefully by that time the City will have in place planning standards that have been approved by Council and meet both the Region’s and Province’s requirements, which is what Council and staff believe is achievable and which will safeguard our downtown. But that is yet to be seen.

      It seems you would rather we all throw in the towel and let developers walk all over us for their profit whilst destroying our city. Not me! The fight is most worthwhile. I believe the majority believe that too. If I am wrong we deserve what we get!

      Yes, the downtown is only a small geographic area as a part of the whole of Burlington, but like Toronto is to the 905 and Ontario as a whole it is the heartbeat of the city and economically vitally important in a measure far greater than its sheer geographic footprint.

      I hope we are still friends

  • Earl Chapman

    Further to David Barker’s comments regarding weeds. I have another bone of contention regarding weeds. Last year the city spent a small fortune to rehabilitate Maple Avenue (new water mains, storm sewers, etc.), the work including the building of a few new cement “gardens” in the centre of the street (a few so-called “gardens” pre-existed the reconstruction). The city then spent additional funds to manually clear these gardens of the tall weeds which had grown in them through years of neglect. A year later, lo and behold, the tall weeds are back! A horrible sight. Why install these “gardens” if you have no intention of keeping them nice?

    • david barker

      In these difficult fiscal times (not the creation of MMW or Council) I suggest the City ask for volunteers (I would) to go out under City staff supervision, to spray all these areas with weed killer. Maybe some or all of the perpetual complainers on this platform might actually help with a solution.

  • david barker

    Alfred & Phillip Wooster

    I am not responding on behalf of either Mitch or Bronwyn L (BTW Bronwyn is a wonderful name)

    In my view, which I am sure differs from yours, the Mayor and all of Council have achieved a great deal in just about the halfway stage of their term. I list as positive achievements:-

    1. The enactment of the Private Tree Bylaw. This will help protect the City’s tree canopy. Yes, it will cost me (and others like me) to remove trees on my land. But in the overall scheme of things that is a small price to pay to preserve our nature for future generations. BTW I have had a number of builders visit my lot beside my house with a view to buying it and building a home. A number of them said they would clear cut the 40 trees in order to make the construction process simple. That ended our conversation. Among the 40 or so mature trees there are three 200 year old pine trees in perfect health that must be protected.

    2. The huge progress made in retaking of control over the planning approval process for the downtown, including:-
    a) Imposition of the ICBL
    b) Removal of hub designation on the John Street bus terminal
    c) Rewriting of the zoning and other planing requirements for the downtown area

    Hopefully when the process is complete the City will be in a secure position where it can defend our planning codes & thwart those developers that wish to ignore not only the City’s planning standards but also the wishes of it’s residents.

    3. With the assistance of the Emergency Committee successfully todate steering the City through the pandemic crisis. Being proactive in implementing protocols to keep us all safe, including pushing the region to implement a face mask bylaw; expanding the use of pop-up patios to assist restaurants in getting back to business and allow the public to get out and socialize in a safe manner.

    I am sure others may be able to point towards other achievements.

    And I am the first to admit the City has failings too. Failings that are not directly attributable to the Mayor or Council. For example I note that the central medians at many of our major road intersections (e.g. Fairview/Brant, Fairview/Guelph Line, Fairview/Walkers Line, New St/Guelph Line, New Street/Walkers Line, New St/Appleby Line, Brant St/Plains Rd, Brant St, 403 ramps etc) are overgrown with weeds, some 2 feet high. I have reported this to the City and have received the following in an email:- “Our Roads, Parks & Forestry team have been working on possible solutions”. Hmmmm, possible solution – weedwack them back and spray weed killer.

    Overall 8/10 or A- grade so far.

    • Phillip Wooster

      Sorry, David, but the tree by-law hardly qualifies as an achievement, but it does qualify as an exercise in virtue-signalling. Was this bylaw truly needed? No data was presented to justify this extravagant expenditure; the pilot project in Roseland was not completed as promised, it was ended a year early but we heard nothing about it. Had the pilot been an outstanding success, MMW would have trumpeted it from the rooftop, but it quietly disappeared. One could deduce that the pilot showed no material impact and was quietly ended before the pilot did show the lack of need for such a bylaw.

      The jury is still out on the planning approval process. Todate, I have seen nothing to indicate any real progress in slowing the rapid intensification within Burlington.

      Lastly, the mask by-law was an achievement? MMW was a bit late on that one. Guelph showed REAL leadership (a town with a risk profile much like Burlington’s) and implemented one on June 12–more than a month (!) earlier than Burlington. Implementing one after several other jurisdictions is merely playing “follow the leader”, not real leadership.

      I know from previous posts that you are a real MMW fan, so was I during the last municipal election. But since that time, she has been a major disappointment, including her tawdry fiscal record.

  • david barker

    Mitch & Bronwyn L

    I applaud you both for standing up for the Mayor and for calling out those who it seems are intent upon finding fault in everything she does

    Whether she or anyone else takes a knee to support BLM or if they decide to not take a knee or at what venue they do it is solely for them to decide and not for anyone to criticize.

  • Alfred

    Bronwyn L.

    Please educate us ignorant folk as to the cause that BLM. represents and how it touches the lives of citizens in this community. What is it we are trying to achieve here? What are the problems you want to resolve? Seems to me a lot of special interest groups are flying this flag for different reasons. Who”s life is it you want to make better?

  • Alfred


    Please take a second and remind us of what exactly has she done of any value since becoming Mayor. Please be specific if you care or dare to.

  • david barker

    Mitch & Bronwyn L I applaud you both for speaking up and not only supporting the Mayor but also calling out the “haters” who try to disparage her at every turn. Sure she has made mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. Though hers have been, in my opinion, minor; like the car parade thing. But she was big enough to reverse herself. There is definitely absolutely nothing wrong in anyone (private citizen or public figure) admitting you made a mistake and accepting another position, which is what she did.

    That she took a knee or didn’t is not for criticism. That is her personal decision. Those who throw proverbial stones at her have no right to judge how she it anyone else wishes to support or not BLM. Canada, Ontario, Burlington are all supposed to be places of tolerance and accepting of how others wish to peacefully live their lives and express their views.

    More tolerance and less stone throwing please.

  • Mitch

    Marianne has done more for Burlington in two years than Jackson and Goldring did in 12. Why are you so critical of our Mayor?

    • Phillip Wooster

      What is the data base for your exaggerated conclusion? MMW certainly publishes a raft of emails and FB post that create the illusion that she is accomplishing great things but once you sift out the puffery, there is very little in REAL accomplishment.

  • Bronwyn L

    There is nothing hurtful, harmful or disrespectful about the BLM painting or the mayor taking a knee to support a cause that touches the lives of citizens in this city. What is hurtful, harmful AND disrespectful are the ignorant who oppose it.

  • Joseph A Gaetan

    I don’t see the merit in cancelling “Brant”. However not acknowledging “Brants” slave ownership means we miss the opportunity for reconciliation between the African American and Indigenous peoples. Taking a knee in this context without the acknowledgement is troubling. That is exactly what sports team have done before being called out. Tick-Tock Burlington Council

    • Phillip Wooster

      I don’t see any merit in it either, I was just pointing out the inconsistency–hypocrisy might be a better word, between the virtue-signalling of the Mayor and her actions.

  • Earl Chapman

    I totally agree, Pepper. The gesture doesn’t have relevance in that situation.

  • Carol Victor

    Why so much criticism for taking a knee ; this gesture is well known in Canada and has far reaching implications. I 0Psee nothing offensive about being supportive of this movement. Americans are not the only ones guilty of racism.

  • Phillip Wooster

    More virtue-signalling from this Liberal mayor. But if she believes strongly in her position, she should now move to rename Brant Street, rename the hospital, and close the museum, remembering that Joseph Brant was a slave owner.