Making decisions: Soon maybe on some key issues

By Pepper Parr

October 20th, 2021



To get some sense as to where your ship is going – you want to know something about the person at the wheel and the decisions they make.

Same rule applies to the Mayor of Burlington.

There have been some very good decisions. The decision to have the Urban Growth Centre moved north was a good decision.

A smart lawyer and a planning department that didn’t understand just what the concept of Mobility Hubs (now called MTSA’s) was all about.

The Mayor was dead on about the bus station that was declared a Major Transit Service Area – as soon as she had all the information she saw the obvious.

The disturbing part of that was that the council that served from 2010 to 2018 neither knew or weren’t told by the planning department that the designation given that bus station was an error. Instead they left it in place and the result is the 26 storey Nautique that is now under construction.

Someone in Planning should be wearing that one.

Meed Ward understood the mood of the electorate and chose limiting development and making sure that the development that was coming was the right kind in the right place.

She basically chased the developers out of the downtown core.

Admittedly there are a number (about four with several pieces of land within the football that have not been dealt with) of development along Lakeshore Road and within the football that are a problem.

Mayor Meed Ward does not appear to be ready to take a position on the re-development of the Waterfront Hotel site. Is this one of those “right things in the right place”?

And of course there is the Waterfront Hotel development that could take the growth of the city as we know it today in a much different direction.

Perhaps it is time to think in terms of how Burlington could adapt to the change and make it work for them. We don’t see the city planning department getting in front of issues and being proactive.

The decisions in front of the Mayor now that are a concern are:

The Holiday market, which is now  a done deal that got through Council under the shadiest of circumstances;

The park within the Molinaro development at Brant & Ghent;

The Waterfront Hotel site and the redevelopment of that property; and

her enthusiasm for the Holiday market scheduled for December 9th to 12. The Mayor buys into the claim that 1000 people will take part. What that market will do to the merchants in the downtown core who are struggling to stay above water is something they Mayor doesn’t seem prepared to take into account.

Very recently the Molinaro Group took part in a Statutory meeting in which they revealed their plans for a half acre park that would be created at the east end of the development at Brant and Ghent.

Traffic for the towers on either side of Brant would exit and enter via Ghent. The half acre park is shown on the far right. Title to the land would be registered with the Condominium Corporation .

The plan was to create the park, then turn it over to the condominium corporation that would eventually be set up to represent the interests of the condominium unit owners.

The idea that the unit owners will go along with their owning and maintaining a park that would be open to the public is a real stretch.

Anyone who has served on a condominium board would tell you that this is one of the craziest things they have ever heard of.

This is described as a half acre part which was described as bringing some of Spencer Smith Park north

The Mayor seems to think that the city would get another park at no cost and residents of a condominium will cover the costs of keeping it operational.

Renderings on what a park could look like.

Will the information about the park for which unit buyers will have to be clearly set out in the sales literature? Will it be clearly set out in the condominium agreement – those things run to several hundred pages which only the lawyers read.

The Mayor does not appear to have taken a position on the proposed redevelopment of the Waterfront Hotel site. One has to ask: Where is the claim that this Mayor wants the right development in the right place ?

There was a time when Meed Ward was all about Truth to Power – now that she has the power Truth seems to have been mislaid.

Growing from a really ballsy ward councillor who brought about some significant changes to the way the city operates, we appear to have a Mayor who has lost the wind she used to have in her sails.

She has pulled together a large part of her re-election team and she is in campaign mode.

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman – considering his options?

And at this point there doesn’t appear to be anyone willing to run against her – except for Councillor Sharman who is probably considering his option.

Go for it Paul!

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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6 comments to Making decisions: Soon maybe on some key issues

  • Mozelle Cole

    Penny has hit the nail on the head. If the City has it’s citizens’ interests in mind, it would eliminate “POPS”. This is nothing but an accident waiting to happen. I’m shocked that any lawyer (condo lawyer) would ever entertain this proposal. Mixed use comes with its own issues, a list of which I have provided to MMW more than once. To bury POPS into a unsuspecting buyer’s 300 page documents, is just wrong on all levels.

  • James

    In this increasingly Liberal swayed reality we find ourselves in, where style and virtue signaling seem to be more important to voters than actual leadership (see recent Federal election results as proof), it’s going to be difficult to unseat the current Mayor.

    Paul Sharman would make an excellent Mayor. Facts, common sense, fiscal realities, and business acumen are his forte. Popularity of decisions is secondary. He’s not afraid of making us take our medicine and dealing with our “ick faces” knowing that long term benefits are what matter, not short term feelings. What’s best for Burlington isn’t always what’s best for the vocal minority who have successfully rented space in the ear of our current Mayor for years.

    But this is the world we live in now. Society is weaker than ever. Common sense isn’t all that common anymore. We’ve grown soft. We’re incapable of dealing with short term discomfort or inconvenience. We don’t want to hear “no”. The COVID pandemic has proven just how dumb society has become. We think we can make everyone happy, while making nobody happy. News has been replaced by Instagram posts and opinion pieces disguised as news. Nobody knows what the truth is anymore. The world has changed, and not in a good way.

    Paul Sharman is the Mayor we need. He doesn’t stand a chance.

    • Dave Turner

      James, let’s exclude Trudeau for purposes of this conversation. Who, James, out of the other party leaders would you consider showed the type of leadership you seek?

      Am I incorrect in thinking Councilor Sharman is fiscally quite conservative and has from year to year fought to keep the property taxes flat or at minimal increase. If that be the case one should expect service level cuts in order to keep the property tax at zero increase. Careful what you wish for!

      You talk about the “vocal minority that has rented space in the ear of the current mayor”. I suggest you are likely in the minority and that the minority you talk about is in fact the majority. But I guess the next municipal election will show whose perspective is correct.0

  • Cathy

    Paul Sharman might need to stand aside.

    The “mayor of money”, Rick Goldring is actively kicking the tires for a re-match with the mayor. Maybe he’s considering running for Regional Chair if it’s an open race.

    He hasn’t successfully parlayed his mayoral experience into much over the last 3 years. I guess he wants back in the limelight

  • Penny Hersh

    I feel one of the most controversial issues presently in front of Council that needs to be addressed is the POPS (Privately Owned Public Space).

    POPS – Privately Owned Public Space. This is the “Flavour of the Day” in development applications.
    WHAT ARE THEY? – Developers are asked to provide parkland by the City as part of their development applications.
    HOW DO THEY WORK – The developer builds parkland into their application that the public can use 24/7 that has to be maintained by the owners of the condominiums.
    WHAT DOES IT MEAN ?- People who buy units in these developments have to maintain these areas, have additional liability, and deal with the public on their property at all times of the day and or night.

    Most condominium buyers would never expect that they would be responsible for this. In many cases they wouldn’t find out about it until they move in. Yes, this is supposed to be disclosed by the sales agent, but will it? Would it be fully explained if disclosed? Yes, it would appear somewhere in the Corporation Documents that new owners are given, but hardly ever read by them or the lawyer who works on their behalf. Only a lawyer whose practices condominium law would know where to find this. The saying BUYER BEWARE comes to mind for some, however, one has to know what to be beware of.

    The proposed condominium development on Ghent/Brant has included a POPS of 1/2 acre of parkland that if approved would end up as a liability for any owner of a condominium in that development.

    A few years ago I questioned these POPS. I explained that as an owner I would not want to have to deal with the noise etc. of having the public on condominium land. The city planner answered my question by indicating that POPS were being treated like public sidewalks. I explained that people on a public sidewalk continue to walk by unlike a group of people who are sitting and talking for as long as they please.

    Someone recently reminded me that the city has to maintain public sidewalks, unlike POPS that have to be privately maintained.

    One would have to question why the City of Burlington would endorse this? It is a win/win for the city who can say they are providing parkland at no cost to maintain or liability, at the expense of the owners of a private condominium corporation.


    • Bruce Leigh

      Both the Mayor and the Ward 2 Councilor have been very clear in statements they have made, both at the pre-application meeting and subsequently, that it would be highly inappropriate for them to offer at this time any opinion on the Waterfront Hotel redevelopment proposal being they will be arbiters acting on behalf of the City to determine whether to approve or deny approval of an application, if one should be submitted. It would be like a judge expressing an opinion on a court case before and outside the trial and then sitting in judgement. In such a circumstance the judge would/should recuse themselves. That option is not available to members of council.