Is ward 1 shaping up to be a hot race before nominations are even opened? Could Councillor Craven be in trouble?

December 8, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  “Talk about a one issue candidate” was the first comment I got when I asked a colleague what she thought of the announcement Katherine Henshell made of her plans to run for the ward 1 council seat in the October 2014 municipal election.

Many see Henshell as a Beachway community advocate who owns property in that part of the city and didn’t like the plans the Region made to eventually buy up all the property and turn every square foot of the space into a park.

Henshell published an idea to turn another part of the city into a park and set out a decent social and economic argument for turning a piece of property into a place where people could observe the birds that call Royal Botanical Gardens home.  What some didn’t realize was that the piece was a very tongue in cheek poke at the current ward Councillor – the land Henshell was suggesting being turned into a park was the home of Councillor Craven.

Katherine Henshell  trudging along to a practice on a Saturday morning.

The idea managed to get some traction in other media – the Toronto Star carried the story and a friend suggested to Henshell that she should run for Council. That planted the seed that has a woman who is a mother with a 15 month daughter, a lawyer with an active practice, a regular hockey player as well as a Seminary student gearing up to run for public office.

Henshell once played as goalie – she now plays defense. Now wants to run interference on city council

A native of Sault St. Marie Henshell has been active in sports all her life.  Highland dancing, volleyball, basketball – anything physical had her out of the house.  When she graduated from high school it was straight into university and then on to graduate work. Henshell wasn’t sure if she wanted to do religious studies or law.  The legal profession won out.  It was while she was studying law at Osgoode – York University – that she decided to live with her sister who lives in Burlington that she got to know this city.

It would be reasonable to describe Henshell as competitive and probably a type A personality.  During her high school sports years she played at the all Ontario level in several sports.

She appears to be a joiner as well.  Active in both the Burlington and Hamilton bar associations Henshell served on the Regional Crime Prevention committee where “we talked quite a bit about appropriate behaviour for young people today”.  For Henshell it is about being responsible for your own behaviour.  Her view that “We each have responsibilities we need to meet, budgets that we need to live within” comes through very clearly.  Politically Henshell describes herself as conservative but she has not been active politically.

What she does appear to have is an incredible energy level and a capacity to soak up ideas quickly.  It doesn’t take Henshell long to drill right into an idea and ask questions.

If she doesn’t understand something – she asks questions.  Actually she doesn’t ask questions – she peppers a person with questions.

Henshell doesn’t come from a family of means.  As a kid she didn’t get to enjoy the trips to Disneyland – when she and her husband were first married they took a trip to Disney in Florida. “No kids” she said “we didn’t have any yet.”

There are no pretensions to this woman.  What you see is what you get.

Henshell seems to be able to connect with people easily.  Why politics – why now – and is she a one issue politician?

Weekends and some evenings on an ice rink keep the mother of a 15 month old with an active law practice in shape.

Henshell wasn’t comfortable with her delegation to city council.  “I had the sense that they weren’t listening and their understanding of the “willing buyer/willing seller” line the Region was using made absolutely no sense.  The people in the Beachway are being robbed of the opportunity to earn the 5%  to 7% annual appreciation of their property that most people in Burlington realize.  They are being held hostage by a set of rules their municipal government put in place – Henshell wonders how many other situations where people are not being treated fairly by city hall.

This woman will be a formidable candidate.  The race in ward 1 will not be a cake walk this time around for Councillor Craven.  He might want to take a close look at the provincial seat should there be a provincial election before there is a municipal election.


Henshell proposes new park for east end of the city.

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33 comments to Is ward 1 shaping up to be a hot race before nominations are even opened? Could Councillor Craven be in trouble?

  • G. Stevenson

    … thinking about this further. Beachway folks you are playing right into the hands of those who wish to see your homes gone. Truth is, there are some bleak run down cottage-like houses on some of the side streets that need to go. Many of them should have Enforcement Officers righting up property standards orders – one right after the other to get the owners to clean them up. But there are some beautiful, well-kept, stunning homes that make the Beachway community a treasure to behold. It will be everyone’s loss to see the community torn down. Taking away the Beachway community is not for the greater good, and this should be part of the political agenda for any candidate running for Ward 1 in the 2014 election.

  • G. Stevenson

    “When the snow falls and the white wind blows, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives.”
    George R.R. Martin

    I believe his meaning to be – ‘People working together make the world a better place, those who stand alone and cry wolf lose in the end’.

    Or simply put….

    If you’re not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

    Let the political foes battle it out. Leave it to them to speak to the masses once they register as candidates, But, for now it seems there is a larger issue. A family without water, a necessity of life, this doesn’t make sense. This is the City of Burlington in the year 2013?? The Region is responsible for water. The Region needs to step up and look after the situation. Period!

  • Dave Morningside

    Hey, didn’t all this start with the idea of Henshell potentially taking on Craven in Ward 1? Since Henshell is apparently some sort of lawyer, this would be a great opportunity for her to step forward and provide assistance with the utility theft matter and get the affected property owner properly hooked up to the municipal water supply. It would show a more serious side of Henshell versus the funny bird park prank side.

    • Ley Spence

      Hello Dave, I am the owner of 117 Omaha…..I am waiting for my response to Morgans comments to be edited and then posted. Utility theft is right….They were thieving from me…My water, I was heating their pipes under my house and I was heating their water also….so YES!!! UTILITY THEFT

      • Ley Spence

        Hi Dave, Yes, Sounds like you are a thumbs up for Katherine who IS a lawyer. Guess that would be her call but I already have legal assistance. Why is a third party getting involved in other peoples’ business? Hence my comment earlier – why can’t the owners speak for themselves?

    • Morgan warren

      Lets talk straight facts here so we can get back to the original thread of this post. Firstly my neighbours would not have had a choice in refusing to have a direct hook up from the region. The regional representative acknowledged that the hook up was missed in 2006. Secondly, as for the claim of utility theft, they have paid for their water for decades and have continued to pay through regular means like all beachway residents, through their hydro utility bills.
      Third point, as for the pipe not being wrapped properly, if a pipe wasn’t wrapped where it comes into a house and only wrapped where it exits a house, both houses will lose water if the common pipe freezes.
      Fourth point, how could someone re-plumb a water heater without the owner knowing what is being done?
      Fifth point, the owner of the home on Omaha was offered to have the plumbing issue repaired free of charge and it would be accomplished by a certied, legal plumber. A neighbourly gesture ignored.
      Lastly, the water issue IS my business. I have and will continue to supply water to my neighbour. It is after all the right thing to do.

      Mr. Morningside, as for Katherine Henshell helping our neighbour, I believe she would if she was asked.

      Now it would be in the interest of all to speak to the original intent of this thread. My intent is to support Ms. Henshell in her campaign if she chooses to run in the upcoming municipal election.

      • Dave Morningside

        I bet that Craven may have changed the odd plumbing fixture in his day. He therefore may have an edge over the lawyer in trying to solve the water supply and theft issues.

        Rick Craven for president of Canada!

      • Ley Spence

        Morgan, It would be nice if read the facts! So, geez when were you under my house to see how and where pipes were wrapped and I guess you are a plumber because you seem to know how my pipes should of been wrapped (sight un-seen……oh your good) And as for the water heater issue and water hook up …if you had read the facts you would know that it was done before I purchased the house. But I guess I am not as good as you ….I can’t see into the past like you can see under my house. I know the facts as told to me from the owner of the Parkins Lane property herself. Yes, you be the good neighbour as I also stated in my last post if you had read it….and supply their water. I’ve supplied, heated it and had it wrapped and pugged in it long enough. Now THAT is YOUR BUSINESS on 1011 Lakeshore Rd…..What happens on 117 Omaha is MY BUSINESS!!! These 2 addresses don’t even have ajoining yards….NOT YOUR BUSINESS!!!!
        As for the original intent of this thread..well your the one that brought again “MY BUSINESS” into it in your opening comment….HELLO!!!!

  • Laura durrant

    Councillor craven has proved on many occasions that he is not in politics to help HIS constituents! He is rude, arrogant and has trouble with the truth. Watch the webcasts and see it for yourself! As a member of council he should listen, show empathy and support his constituents! We PAY his salary and lately he has done nothing to earn it!!! Show me some evidence that he has! Until then, we know him for destroying quaint and beautiful Aldershot, tearing apart lives on the beach strip, displaying a lack of respect for seniors and watching a family of seven( seniors and children included) live without a proper water connection!!!
    It is about time he steps a side and lets someone new take over!!!

    • Dave Morningside

      The best way to evaluate the success of Craven is to make a list of all the projects he has been involved with; compare that list with the list of Taylor, Sharman, Lancaster.

      Craven may sometimes be cranky, probably because he is tired and overworked. He takes on a disproportionate share of the workload in this city.

      Water connections should be addressed with the city and regional engineering departments.

      Do you want Craven to cut everybody’s lawns as well? I also pay his salary, so that is a bit of an offensive comment. He does listen; some people just don’t want to hear what he has to say; usually he provides the best answers and does his job better than most other council members.

      Craven should be awarded a medal, and double his salary; the guy deserves it.

      • Barbara Fisher

        A medal? Surely you jest! OMG someone please call Mike Wallace and demand and answer as to why Craven was not given a medal last year!

        • marie

          Can you explain what you mean about watching 7 people living without water – seems off the wall and nothing to do with politics?

          • Morgan warren

            Marie, it actually has everything to do with politics. The neighbours behind me have been without water through no fault of their own since Easter . When the region installed a new watermain and main shut offs on lakeshore in 2006 , they didn’t install the proper water line and shut off to my neighbour. Their water came from a line off of Omaha and through 117 Omaha. She had some plumbing work done and purposely shut off the water to my neighbour. I’m going to shorten things up a bit here. They have been getting and still are getting water from my house through a garden hose. craven has only sat in on one meeting at city hall and has not help my neighbour navigate the bureaucratic mess that is still going on. It has taken people like councillor Taylor to get Conservation Halton to even move forward to give them an easement to run a new water line. craven is nowhere to be seen or heard. Because of all the events that have transpired , I couldn’t possibly cover them in an e- mail. I hope this answers your question.

          • Ley Spence

            Marie, I am the owner of 117 Omaha St. Let me give you the facts that Morgan obviously does not know and therefore should not be slandering me on the internet.
            The people on 118 Parkins Lane that live behind me, apparently didn’t want to pay to have their water hooked up in the past so had an agreement with the previous owners of my house to dig under my house and hook up their water. (This information comes from the owner of the residents of Parkins Lane)
            The owner of the Parkins Lane residents (Bill Perry) was oh so nice when he offered to go into my crawl space install the electric pipe wrap I bought to prevent my pipes from freezing. I thought, oh how nice of him. Well he wrapped his pipes that were running under my house to my water main. Well I also discovered that his pipes were running through my water heater. So, I not only plugged in the pipe wrap for years to warm their pipes but the pipes were also going through my water heater. What a good neighbour I am. Heating their pipes and heating their water.
            I also live here alone and would run out of hot water before my tub was filled and I could not figure out why I had no water pressure. I had also paid to have these issues rectified over the years by having someone come in to check my water heater for problems and it was not until I hired a plumber (that would go in the crawl space) that we discovered what was going on.
            In my opinion, I have done my neighbourly duty by heating their pipes and water for years. So, maybe Morgan should let them dig under their house illegally and he can be the good neighbour and heat their water and pipes for them.
            There Are 4 incomes in the house on Parkins Lane, 2 in Morgans’s house and 1 in mine. So, they should do like every other tax paying resident and pay for their utilities and not steal them. I am still paying for the plumber that had to fix all the leaks in my pipes from them freezing!! Why is Morgan sticking his nose in to my business? He obviously does not know all the facts so should be careful what posts on the internet. Can’t the owners of Parkins Lane speak for themselves?
            Yes, I said theft, and I should be addressing the issue legally.
            I suggest that people beware of utility theft. And that people stay out of people’s business when it is NONE of their business.


  • Yvonne

    Councillor Craven appears arrogant and belittles fellow councillors at Council Meetings . Ward 1 needs a shake up Good luck Katherine

    • Dave Morningside

      How can anyone vote for somebody that nobody knows anything about, except for her humourous request for a bird park. She is right about the beach property acquisition process being flawed as currently pitched by the Region, but, if she was smart, she would know how to tackle that issue with effect and not with nonsense. If she is serious about taking on the councillor assignment, then she needs to act serious about issues.

      • marie

        Mr. Morningside,
        Katherine Henshell is very serious. There is nothing humorous about the bird park proposal nor the Beach property acquisition. The Government should not plan future park land on property that they don’t own. Lawyer Katherine Henshell’s bio is quite extensive and her qualifications both professionally and personally have allowed her to determine through observations of the process at our local government that change is needed. We need more like Marianne. Councillors with questions, dialogue, requesting recorded votes and a fresh up-to-date approach. Katherine is a lawyer with a human approach not a wanna be lawyer with a stiff lip approach.

        • Dave Morningside

          Ms. Hensell’s qualifications as a lawyer do not grant her the credibility to go forward as a candidate, especially if her election issue was based on a bird park prank, and her assessment for the need for change. Nobody knows her. I want somebody who understands that government actually has a right to plan land uses under private ownership; but, also somebody who would know how to manage the beach park file; she clearly does not know what to do. So, human approach or not, I want somebody with ability to manage technical and political issues without on the job training, like Meed Ward.

        • William Jones

          Once upon a time nobody knew who Craven was either

  • Norah Rosen

    I bumped into Rick Craven at City Hall and he didn’ t have a clue who I was – and I live next door to him!!
    He has enough trees including Mulberries on his lot to accommodate all varieties of birds and wildlife for a future park.

    Katherine Henshell has our vote!

    • Sonya Pennington

      Mr. Craven was probably too busy tending to city business to listen to your wanting to vote for an unknown who wants to build bird houses instead of responsible developments like Mr. Craven has successfully worked on in Aldershot. Be careful if you are wishing for change in Ward 1. Mr. Craven is deserving of a lot more respect.

    • Morgan warren

      City business is listening to the residents of the ward you represent. Respect should be earned and not given blindly. There are a large number of Aldershot residents who feel the recent developments have not been positive for their community . craven seems more interested in what’s best for his political future and not what’s best for residents.

      When decisions are made for a political win instead of based on human decency and what is best for a community, one should expect a loss of any respect. A change of representation in ward 1 is desperately needed.

      • Dave Morningside

        The large number of developments have really nothing to do with Craven. They have everything to do with population growth, and governing land use policies. Craven has simply been the face of the area and has done an excellent job in facilitating communications. The benefit of Aldershot is to the larger community of the City, and not just for a select few.

        • William Jones

          Its interesting, but your point almost contradicts what you are saying. The governing land use policies are actually set by Council, not decreed from ON HIGH. Council passes an official plan, and when I last checked, Craven was a member of that Council. Therefore, he is responsible more than just being a face.

          • Dave Morningside

            If we follow your logic, then he must also be responsible for all the population growth as well.

            The Official Plan was in place to guide the direction of growth prior to Craven’s arrival; and as a member of council he has only 1 vote of 7. The Official Plan gets approved by council, not actually “set” by council; this council would not know where to start such a process.

            What this city needs is more intensified development which may also temper the proposed 14% tax increase.

  • C D

    She will definitely have my vote and most of Tyandaga I bet. Rick has totally mishandled our issues and council in general screwed up the whole Pan Am soccer issue. Go Catherine!

  • Penny Hersh

    I have gone to Council a few times and have found Mr. Craven to be dismissive and downright insulting when residents have delegated. Mr. Craven seems to have forgotten that without residents no one would be voting. Least of all for him….It looks good on him. I hope she runs and I hope she beats him.

    I hope this happens in some of the other Wards as well. October 2014 can’t come soon enough. A council that does not listen to its residents does not deserve to serve on Council.

    • Sonya Pennington

      Craven is the hardest working member on council. He needs to be applauded for the work he has accomplished, and maybe the delegations that come in and complain about the most frivolous issues deserve the Craven response. I even doubt very much he is insulting and dismissive; I think he would make an excellent mayor.

      • 57Chevy


        don’t know if and what meetings you have attended if any – but you are in a minority. Councillor Craven most certainly does insult his constituents – REPEATEDLY!! Watch the webcasts.

  • 57Chevy

    Katherine will have my vote!!!!!!

  • Ley

    Katherine has my vote!!!!