He is getting better. And he is developing a vision and wants wide public input on. Will we give it to him?

BURLINGTON, ON March 24, 2011 – He sat there wearing an orange shirt that must have been a Father’s day gift, sitting in a large, leather covered, wing back chair and answered the more than 30 questions put to him by a room filled with the city’s economic leaders at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast held at the Burlington Golf and Country Club. And he did just fine. Better, said some, than he did at the State of the City address he gave a number of months ago.

So – what do we know about this Mayor and the city he leads? Well first – he addresses issues head on and when he doesn’t know the answer to a question he just says he doesn’t know. When asked about THE Pier, and he is always asked about the Pier, says that the city is in the process of hiring a new contractor and that he is hopeful to have the Pier opened in 2013. He was asked if the design could change – nope, he replied, the design was seen as build-able by the experts – so at this point in time, no design change.

No one asked about the delays in getting an RFP out to the construction community. Had that question been asked there would have been an awkward answer. And no one asked what the city would do if no one responded to the RFP. There is one council member who is afraid that no one will want to even look at the job. We may have attracted a bit of a reputation on this one. No fault of the Mayor’s but he is the goat carrying the can on this one. What many don’t realize that most of the people who got the city into this mess are no longer on staff, city hall doesn’t announce the departures – just the arrivals.

Mayor Goldring wants everyone to get a copy of this workbook and do their homework.

One of Mayor Goldring’s favourite topics is the Strategic Plan process and he touts the Workbook the city ha prepared and actually asks people to get together in small groups and go through the document and feed their ideas back to the city.

Burlington has prepared Strategic Plans for seven terms of office. Goldring wants to put together a 20 to 25 year vision for the city and as part of this process he has created a Workbook that can be down loaded, as well as a well thought out questionnaire that you can complete online. The questionnaire will tell you a lot about your Burlington.

The Mayor has never been through an Official Plan revision. Given that the next revision we do in 2012 will be critical to how we handle sensitive parts of the city – the downtown core and the West Beachway, our Mayor has some homework to do. Does he want to rely on what old timers Craven, Taylor and Dennison will tell him ? These are the guys that approved a 22 story “landmark” building right on the waters edge

He is going to travel. He has a trip planned to Portland Oregon where they have instituted some innovation transit ideas and our Mayor, who understands better than most on city council how tough a job we have to, as he put it, retool suburbia to meet the times we now live in. Goldring uses the phrase “…we build this city fifty years ago when land and gas were cheap…” and we now have to deal with urban sprawl that requires a car to get around.

Mayor is going the intellectual route; bringing in deep thinkers to inspire the locals.

The Mayor also touted the Inspire Burlington series he has planned for the year with the first event taking place April 12th, 7 pm at the McMaster University deGroote School of Business, South Service Road campus. Featured speaker will be Christopher Hume, the Architecture critic for the Toronto Star. Registration forms are at: https://cms.burlington.ca/Page6907.aspx

Is Burlington a tourism destination one man asked? We are in between Niagara Falls and Toronto explained the Mayor and it is difficult to stand out with lights that bright on either side of you, but we do have something to offer people. Lunch on the waterfront and walk up Mt Nemo; take in a performance at the Performing Arts Centre and if the elite sports cycling event manages to overcome its problems it has the potential to make Burlington a destination for those who cycle – and there are apparently loads of them, although some of the numbers tossed out were nothing more than exaggerations.

It was a pleasure to learn that Goldring has not yet become a slick politician with answers to or evasions for every question tossed at him. When asked about traffic light synchronization he said he had a complete “non-answer:. The best he could do he said was “dodge that bullet”. For that he got a laugh.

Asked if he liked his job, the response was immediate – “this is an awesome job. If it was easy it wouldn’t be fun, if there were no challenges it wouldn’t be fun. This is a really, really fun job.” This mayor just may have a speech writer working for him when he delivers lines like that.

There were some tough questions. What asked Keith Hoey, President of the Chamber of Commerce, was the 2010 surplus ? $9.3 million was the answer and the follow up question was – what are you going to do with it ? The Chamber wants the city to commit half of any surplus to the hospital re-development fund so that hospital funding doesn’t have to appear on the tax bill, which Chamber members pay a large part of.

Others in the room wanted the city to be administered in such a way that the surpluses are lower with better financial administration.

We have a Mayor who thinks he could serve for at least two terms. If there were an election today he would run un-opposed. Ooops, forgot about the Greek hair stylist. OK, so he’d win in a landslide.


Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments are closed.