Last Council meeting for the year – another kick at marathon route and hidden in the agenda is a potentially big tax increase.

December 8, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  It will be the last time this city council meets this year.  Along with the usual reports  from the Standing Committees there is an item that was deferred from the last Council so that a delegation can appear to urge the city to re-review the decision to have the Chilly Half Marathon run along a different route.

Nick and Diane Leblovic delegated at the November 13 meeting of the Community Services Committee.

After considerable discussion on November 13th the Standing Committee decided to stick with the staff recommendation which was to continue to have the race run along Lakeshore Road.  The Leblovic’s provided extensive written material in the form of a petition, emails and letters.  Councillor Meed Ward put forward an amendment to the Staff Direction that would create a committee to “organize discussions between City Staff, VRPro and members of the Lakeshore residents working group to consider changes to the Chilly Half Marathon to, among other things, minimize the negative impact of the race on Lakeshore area residents.”

It is a hugely popular event. It takes place on a Sunday morning every March – and it is in all probability going to take place in March of 2014 along Lakeshore Road.

It was pretty clear at that meeting that city staff saw no need for a meeting with any working group – they had done their homework and advised city council Lakeshore Road was the best route.

The Meed Ward amendment was defeated and at that point the Leblovic’s left the meeting.   Discussion on the issue however continued during which time Mayor Goldring mentioned that he and Councilor Dennison had offered to meet with the Leblovic’s but that they were turned down.  In their request to have the vote on the Chilly Half Marathon deferred the Leblovic’s said the took exception to “the Mayor’s action in making this statement after we had left the meeting.  The Mayor could have raised this issue in questions to me which would have provided me with an opportunity to provide important background and context to his statement.”

The Leblovic’s went on to say “the Mayor failed to disclose significant additional information concerning to an earlier meeting with him and Councillor Dennison and to related discussions and communications which took place during May and June of this year.”

The Leblovic document went on to say that: “ If the Mayor had made his statement when questioning me I would certainly have provided this additional information in my responses  which would have provided  a clearer  and more complete understanding of the positions of the parties and the reasons for the decisions that were taken.”

What one wonders is why this “significant additional information” was not given during their 10 minute delegation.

City staffs were very clear in their recommendation – the Lakeshore Road route was the best location for an event that draws well in excess of 4000 people.

It was evident that more attention needs to be given to handling the individual problems that crop up.  Some people have care givers that need to be able to get into their property – surely such situation can be managed.

The Leblovic’s said the “actions of the Committee in having this debate in our absence is not only un-parliamentary, unfair and inappropriate but provides a limited and one-sided picture of the events and circumstances in question.”  They asked that the final vote be deferred – and it was.  That final vote will take place Monday evening at which time there is no reason at this point to expect anything other than to see the Staff Recommendation approved.

The Chilly Half Marathon dates are known close to a year in advance; it should be possible to organize one’s personal life to accommodate a major sports event.   New Street gets shut down for several hours every year for the Santa Claus parade and some people are locked in – admittedly not as many as during the marathon.

A slight change of subject:

The current council set itself a goal of not more than a 10% tax increase during their four-year term. For 2011, 2012 and 2013 the total tax increase on residential property amounted to 8.65% – this included the hospital levy.
When you add in the 4.66 that is a preliminary projection to that total,  citizens are looking at a 13.31% tax increase over the four-year term. That is going to take some explaining as this Council heads into an election year. The preliminary numbers were in a report on “economic drivers” discussed at a Council Standing Committee last week.

 Council meetings at times appear to be a races to get through the Standing Committee reports.  Within those reports are some critically important documents that need both public attention and discussion.  There are problems on the not so distant horizon that need attention.

The report from the Committee of the Whole that met on Thursday will get all of two minutes – but tucked inside that document was the suggestion from the city manager that Burlington residents could be facing a 4.66% tax increase in 2014 – which would blow the promised 10% increase for the term of this council right out of the water.

The significant seven are heading into an election year and this is not something they want to talk about – not at this time.

More on that later.


Lakeshore Road area residents delegate to council for a different route for Chilly Half Marathon.




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3 comments to Last Council meeting for the year – another kick at marathon route and hidden in the agenda is a potentially big tax increase.

  • Roger

    Shame on the comment comparing a paid event such as the marathon to the Santa Claus parade.

    I benefits the community at no change and the other is a for profit event.

    As for the tax increase.

    Nearly a 14% tax increase – guess we missed the discussion about converting the hospital levy to an infrastructure levy.

    I have lost faith in a council with the exception of Meed Ward – I respect Ms. Leblovic comment and postion – why did not the councillor and the mayor engage during delegation

    • Jenny Williams

      Enough of the Leblovic complaint.

      More time needs to be spent by this council in discussing the 14% tax increase.

      My patience is running thin with the councillors who continue to seemingly spend the majority of their time, like Meed Ward, to cater to the Leblovic sect. Give them their 5 minutes at delegation in front of council and get on with the business of running this city!

  • marie

    this comment is not particular to the marathon route but speaks to the process where delegates are treated as school children (often publically scolded), petitions are tossed out (petitions represent what the tax payers are saying/want), information withheld (as noted above), closed door sessions, non-disclosure of Pier legal costs, a Mayor that sits on the fence. Was the Mayor paid extra to attend 300 events this year?…just asking? When people realize that council is voted in and works for us – we will stop being door mats!!