Just who will be on the stage when the ward 5 debate takes place Wednesday evening at Bateman high school?

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

September 17th, 2018


The following are the opinions, reflections, observations and musings of Pepper Parr, publisher of the Burlington Gazette.

There are five candidates in ward five running for the city council seat.

The incumbent, Paul Sharman, who has served two terms as a city Councillor finds that he is unable to attend a public meeting at which he would debate with the other four candidates.

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman is usually very direct, tends to want to see data that is verifiable and expects to get his way.

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman is usually very direct, tends to want to see data that is verifiable and expects to get his way.

Councillor Sharman just doesn’t like community organizations he does not control; never has never will. A community organization has mobilized itself to organize the debates but the Councillor does not think they are legitimate enough for his liking.

During his decision to run for office in 2010 Sharman first filed nomination papers for the role of Mayor. He had not lived in Burlington all that long, had not done all that much as a person active in his community. Sharman was a member of the committee that produced the Shape Burlington report, he was also a member of the city council that endorsed the report which he then forgot about.

During his first term of office Sharman was a fire cracker. One more than one occasion he has put a senior staff member in their place.

He was the driving force behind the 0% tax increase for 2011.

He was the driving force behind getting something done with the Lakeshore Village Plaza that was close to a dump; shabby and to a considerable degree unoccupied.

Sharman worked hard to get something done. He managed to help craft a Staff Direction that got the Economic Development Corporation involved. That resulted in hugely successful community engagement event where all kids of ideas were brought to the surface and city hall got a better idea as to what the residents were looking for.

The owner of the proper was persuaded to attend the public meeting. His firm had hired planners, architects and specialists to do the studies city hall needs before they accept a development application.

That’s when the proverbial hit the fan. What the property owner’s planner put before a public meeting was close to outrageous.

Lakeside village plaza proposal

The proposed Lakeshore Village Plaza development. The city planners have yet to issue their report on the proposal.

It was never very clear just how in sync Sharman was with his constituents. At the two public meetings we watched him he seemed more defensive about the project and said it was now in the hands of the planning department staff who would prepare a report for city council.

The Gazette did learn that the city planners want much more in the way of park space and they want to see the skating pad and the park to the north of the site included in the development.

Sharman is on record as saying the development is too expansive. Many residents wanted to hear Sharman say that it was far far too large and that he would not be supporting what he had seen.

Sharman gets no brownie points for his early position on the work a community group did to save the Freeman Station. His comments to the late Jane Irwin when she was pleading for the time they needed to find a location for the structure were dismissive, embarrassing and shameful.

He argued against a pilot program that would have made transit free for seniors one day of each week. Oakville did a pilot that proved to be very successful and resulted in increased transit use overall. Sharman argued that the data wasn’t conclusive.

Sharman is an account by profession – what matters most to him is ensuring the right data is at hand to make a sound decision. It took the Gazette a couple of years to realize that the longer Sharman kept asking for data the longer it meant he didn’t have to make a decision.

Sharman puzzled LVP

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman

The one tool missing in the Sharman toolkit is an executive capacity to make a decision.

His relationships with people are awkward. His treatment of a former Director of Transit deserved to be investigated; his relationship with a member of the planning department was well outside the limits of a member of council and a city employee. There are rules that set out what is acceptable.

There are two women running for the ward 5 council seat: Mary Alice St. James and Wendy Moraghan.

St. James is a retired elementary school principal who is known, liked and respected within the community.
She has been a tireless community activist on the Blue Water development; that was turned down by staff.

The developer appealed the staff decision to the LPAT. The appeal was lost.

St James talking to seniors

A slid campaigner – appreciated by the seniors.

St. James knows the issues. She is tireless when it comes to connecting with residents; the senior’s love her. She offers to play card games with the seniors, go for walks with those who want to lose some weight.

She can talk – she can talk – to the point that on occasion she loses her listener.

She was an active participant in the Shoreacres character study. She has attended Ontario Municipal Board hearings.

Mary Alice - pointing

Mary Alice St. James attending the anniversary of a school she served as principal.

Ms St. James does not live in the ward she wants to represent. She is about two football field length west if the ward boundary. This is not material. While it is preferable that a candidate live in a riding, what matters is the quality of the candidate. Insisting that your candidate of choice live in the ward is pretty provincial. The current Mayor did not live in ward 5 when he was the council member for that ward.

St. James maintains a web site, an email address and she tweets.

Web site: https://www.stjamesward5.com/
Email: stjamesward5@gmail.com
Facebook: Mary-Alice St. James – Ward 5 councillor
Twitter: @14marocks

Wendy Moraghan is a former police officer with 30+ years’ experience. Her career was focused for the most part on community relations tasks.

Moraghan with seniors

Detective Constable Wendy Moraghan with some of her friends at a meeting of seniors who were learning how to detect counterfeit money.

Our first interaction with Detective Constable was on an occasion when she was running a meeting for seniors that had several Bank of Canada staffers explaining how to detect counterfeit currency.

Events like this are a way for people that need to use walkers to get out of the house.

The men taking part in the event were quite taken with the attractive blonde police officer who was kind and attentive. One commented that if he was looking for girlfriend she would be his choice. We wrote up the meeting to reflect the mood of the room. The Detective Constable took exception and proclaimed that she was a married woman.

It was suggested to us by senior levels of the police service that it was important to maintain good relationships and would we consider removing the article. There was no threat – a decent woman didn’t appreciate the article – it wasn’t important enough to insist that it remain.

When we learned that Ms Moraghan was running for public office – she called us – and asked if there was going to be a problem with the past. None whatsoever. Ms Moraghan will have to get used to a different level of involvement with her constituent should she win.

Wendy M on Paul in group setting

Councillor Sharman defending a point of view while being peppered with questions from candidate Wendy Moraghan.

So far she has been very much ‘in your face’ with Mr. Sharman. She is strongly opposed to the proposed Lakeshore Village Plaza. She presses him for answers and doesn’t tolerate his practice of skirting around an issue (No pun intended.)

While police officers are in place to serve the public they don’t often actually engage with the public outside of police duties. That’s the nature of police work.

Wendy Moraghan H&S

Wendy Moraghan is a candidate for the ward 5 seat on city council.

Unfortunately that leaves people like Moraghan out of the loop on local matters. That is not so suggest the Ms Moraghan doesn’t know all that much about what is going on in the city.

She is an avid environmentalist. To the best of our knowledge we have never seen or heard of Moraghan making a delegation at city hall.

Moraghan is the Chair of the Willow Foundation. Established in 2002, The Willow Foundation is a non-profit registered charitable organization governed by a volunteer board of directors. The Foundation enhances the lives of seniors and adults with disabilities living in Halton Region’s three long-term care homes through a variety of programs and activities. From weekly ‘Artist Corner’ to Zumba classes, from our annual Strawberry Social to Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony we bring our residents a variety of social, arts and physical fitness programs.

Moraghan is about as local as a girl can get. Attended Pineland public school, Nelson high school, worked at Canadian Tire in the summers, was a member of the Burlington Teen tour band.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wendymoraghanward5/
Web site: https://www.wendymoraghan.ca/

Daniel Roukema and Xin Yi Zhang are fringe candidates. Mr. Roukema has said elsewhere that he is not certain he will take part in the debate.

Daniel Roukema

Daniel Roukema works in the Immigration sector and is a candidate for the ward 5 seat on city council.

Mr. Roukema was in touch with the Gazette yesterday demanding to know why we had published his home address. We explained that we took our information from the city’s web site. We find it difficult to understand why a candidate running for public office would not want the public to know that they lived in the ward.

Roukema maintains a web site that sets out his campaign. It can be found at:


email: electdaniel@roukema.ca

xyz 2

Xin Yi Zhang is an Information Technology specialist and a candidate for the ward 5 city council seat.

Mr. Xin Yi Zhang is also a fringe candidate. We were unable to find the time to talk to him – our fault not his. This candidate has a web site: www.electxyz.com. He can bee reached by email at: electxyz@gmail.com

While the subject of what is going to happen to the high school the debate is taking place in will not be part of the ward level debate – it will be the 800 lb. elephant in the room. Given the plans that are in place now, Bateman will be closed by the time the election after this one takes places.

Bateman parents are desperate for a solution – moving the programs and the students from Bateman to Nelson high school is not seen as a solution; they see it as disruption and expense that isn’t necessary. They are not necessarily wrong – but that train left the station without them when the debate was really intense and the Bateman parents assumed Central was going to be closed and they were safe.

The ward 5 debate that is taking place is your opportunity to ask questions and decide for yourself which of the five you want to represent you at city hall.

ECOB logoECoB – the Engaged Citizens of Burlington has gone to considerable length to make this debate happen despite the efforts of the current city Councillor to shut it down.

Councillor Sharman has said he will not attend the ECoB debate but will take part in the candidate Meet and Greet Burlington Green is sponsoring. That event is at a location that doesn’t have any public transit. The debate that will take place is between the candidates for Mayor.

Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

9 comments to Just who will be on the stage when the ward 5 debate takes place Wednesday evening at Bateman high school?

  • Nick L.

    After going to the debate, I am even more convinced that Wendy Moraghan is the best candidate for Ward 5. with no ties or affiliation, just wanting what is best for my family and neighbours (who are made up of families, seniors, local biz owners, commuters) – for today, tomorrow and in the years to come. Her approach, tenacity and overall work, life and resident experience will serve us very well. I believe in her ability to stand up for us at City Hall as well to bring Ward 5 up to the Level of importance that it needs to be. When a candidate doesn’t live in our Ward 5 and hosts info sessions and meet ups in Places that are in Ward 4- such Cedar Springs, McDonalds and Sunset Grill- All Ward 4- then it is clear the ties are to Ward 4.This is insulting and very much a concern. I’m sure the businesses in Ward 5 would be more than grateful to host space for such Meet Ups. This is just another layer that leaves a bad feeling overall. And, ultimately, squeaky wheels, firecrackers and “dog-gone-it-all’s” aren’t necessarily assets to bring to the table- in fact, it may be seen as annoying and distracting.

  • Stephen White

    I don’t think the issue of living in the ward is as substantive as some have suggested. Wards 4 and 5 share many similar characteristics. Twice previously Councillors have represented Ward 5 who lived just outside the perimeter. Living a kilometre outside the limit isn’t a deal-breaker, and shouldn’t discredit a credible candidate.

    What should be a determining factor in this election is who will best articulate the needs, concerns and interests of Ward 5 residents. Much has been made over the past year about how the Official Plan will preserve the character of established neighbourhoods. The shocking truth is that the redevelopment proposal that was hatched and rolled out earlier in the year for Lakeside Village renders that assurance utterly worthless, bogus and complete nonsense. Quite clearly, this Ward needs someone who is a fighter and who will stand up, speak up, and not be shut up…by developers, the Mayor, or City Hall mandarins fixated on pushing their agenda.

    I’m sure Mr. Roukema, Mr. Yi Zhang and Ms. Moraghan are credible and decent candidates, and in an election not as polarized as this one would probably do a good job. However, this election isn’t like any other. In the 43 years I have lived in this ward I have never seen residents as angry as they are now. In fairness, Paul Sharman didn’t create many of the problems that are frustrating area residents, and I honestly believe the man has tried. By the same token, he also hasn’t been as passionate about defending the interests of residents either. Lakeside Village is a classic case in point. Anyway you slice it, the redevelopment plans for this site are a bloody mess!

    The best person to represent Ward 5 residents is clearly Mary Alice St. James…a candidate who understands the issues, actually listens to people, and has direct involvement with the most salient issues.

  • Nick L.

    Well, I used to think that this forum was for the Citizens of Burlington …and yet this article manages to insult women, police and seniors! I ABSOLUTELY believe that the person running in our ward should live in our Ward… and the longer the better. Homegrown, even. Some of the Best movements have come from non- politicians, non-business/ planning, accounting specialists. A set of new eyes. For the people, by the people. We are all looking forward to a breath of fresh air…. especially after the years and years of sewage smell!

  • Louise F.

    I do agree with your comments about Paul Sharman. He could definitely work on his people skills and has probably worn out his welcome at City Hall.
    As for Wendy Moraghan, considering the MeToo climate that exists today, your opinion of the mood of the room from a previous meeting as well as your comments about seniors (“events like this are a way for people that need to use walkers to get out of the house”, really, really?) are totally out of line.
    A quick check of the City of Burlington’s website does not show Daniel Roukema’s address so why reference that’s where you got it? As long as he lives in the Ward, that’s what I’d want to know during the campaign. Seems to me like he has a valid reason to be upset.
    I met Xin Yi Zhang at an event, he was friendly but beyond that, there doesn’t seem to be much information about him, on the Gazette or elsewhere, so yes, I’d consider him a fringe candidate as well.
    It’s no secret that Mary Alice St. James does not live in Ward 5. I had to laugh at your “2 football fields length” comment. Those are REALLY long fields! Want me to do the math? It’s beyond me why anyone would run in a Ward in which they don’t reside. I certainly wouldn’t vote for them and it’s the sole reason why I didn’t vote for Rick Goldring when he ran in the Ward back in 2006. But hey, I guess I’m “provincial”. My guess is that she isn’t running in her “home” Ward 4 as she knows she can’t beat Jack Dennison.
    Sidenote – spelling, grammar, capitalized letters on proper names and missed quotes (not “misquote”) should be a priority for a news website.

  • Lucy

    Clear as day to me…Mary Alice St. James is the best candidate to replace Mr. Sharman. She already has been active at City Hall opposing and delegating for a sensible ‘grow bold plan, not the crazy ‘allow whatever the developer wants’ notion. She has done so much already to help us send the Lakeside Village Plaza developer back to the drawing board. Thank you Mary Alice for being there for us from the beginning on this one. Your active support and willingness to assist us to oppose the outrageous plan for the Plaza (that Mr. Sharman clearly supported) has not gone unnoticed. I know you will work to assist all residents in Ward 5 in this manner if elected. And while I am here, let me say that Marianne Mead Ward is the best mayoral candidate who will get Burlington back on track for logical, realistic, responsible growth!


    I am a Ward 4 resident, however my childrens schools are in Ward 5, therefore the selections and discussions matter to me. I too am disappointed that Sharman will not show up, seeing as how this is not about ECoB but about reaching residents and supporting his platform. If he was a first-time running candidate he would be there FOR SURE – so I suppose he’s above it. I have noted this on his FB site.

    Surrounding myself with seniors’ topics through my work, I do take offence to your negative comments about seniors. Unnecessary, and could’ve been more respectfully worded Pep…

    Your article is derogatory to women, and many points are unsubstantiated. Taken, it’s an opinion article, but it would’ve been more proactive to entice and inspire those who ARE interested in voting – as few of us are there are. At this point we need to come together and LEARN, INSPIRE… AND VOTE FOLKS!! See you Wednesday.

  • steven craig gardner

    Good article. Onepoint missed I believe in Paul Sharman’s favour. He was the only member of current council wise enough to see the folly in the new street road diet pilot disaster before it began. Then there was some bandwagon jumping, but i believe Paul was the 1 in a 6 – 1 initial vote. Like his accounting background showed him the numbers were not there to justify losing a lane of traffice each way to a heavily used cross city road.

  • Bob

    Good article Pepper but OMG, get or enable your spell checker!!!