Meed Ward has a heart to heart with the Seniors -

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 26th, 2018



It was a quickie meeting.

Maybe 50 people jammed into a small room with hardly any standing room.

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne was meeting with the Seniors to update them on what was happening to the Seniors’ Centre – the natives didn’t like what they were seeing in the way of changes.

There is nothing fancy about the place. It's simple, serves the purpose with a bus stop almost outside the door and plenty of parking. And the kitchen will rustle you up a sandwich if you're hungry. The Seniors like it the way it is.

There is nothing fancy about the place. It’s simple, serves the purpose with a bus stop almost outside the door and plenty of parking. Seniors have exclusive use of the space during the day – Monday to Friday.

The operation of programs was undergoing changes and the Seniors wanted some clarification – they also wanted to know just what was going on with the downtown core.

Meed Ward was in her element – these were her people. They like her, they trust her and they look to her for answers.

A ruling from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) made it necessary to have staff at the Centre become employees rather than people on contracts. Meed Ward assured her audience that this wasn’t going to make a difference in the program – all but five of the program instructors became employees of the city.

There are not going to be any changes to the relationship between the city and the members of the Seniors’ Centre – except as one senior pointed out “we aren’t members here – we are customers. She wanted to see more in the way of program for the well over 80 set.

Mayor Rick Goldring has his membership application processed at the Seniors' Centre - filling another of his campaign promises.

Mayor Rick Goldring became a membership of the Seniors’ Centre the week he turned 55. Joining was a first term election promise.

The meeting took place at noon hour and the place was packed. There wasn’t an empty chair in the dining room. One woman said the place is “bursting at the seams”.

Burlington senior population is not going to get smaller, membership at the Centre is up by 10%Centre and “there is not a lot of capacity here.

The Seniors Centre is run by a Board of Management. They are always on the lookout for young at heart board members.

There was a time when the Seniors Centre was run by a Board of Management that had representation from the seniors. The city took over the operation of the centre last year.

While a survey done by the city had a 92% satisfaction level – Joe Veitch pointed out that seniors don’t like to complain – he added that there isn’t nearly as much in the way of social programs that the Seniors Association puts on. The city took over the running of the Centre more than a year ago – the citizens don’t have much in the way of input.

The number of seniors who volunteer has apparently dropped. There were a number of staff in the room which several seniors said later “sort of cuts down on what people are prepared to say in a meeting. Meed Ward told the audience “this is your sentence” and there was a time when the seniors had a significant say in what was offered. Many don’t feel that is the case with the new management style . They are hoping that Meed Ward will ensure that changes are made.

The third item on the agenda was transit – it quickly became a vigorous discussion on the development that is taking place downtown.

She explained the current height levels in the Official Plan and that the new Official Plan will allow 17 storeys – “what goes where” is the important question said Meed Ward.

Meed Ward said that she didn’t think the approved development at 421 Brant should be built and she expressed some hope that a new council might look at things differently.

Mobility hub downtown grnd zero

Transit was an issue for Seniors who would benefit from an upgraded bus terminal on John Street. Having the upgrade become an anchor in a system of mobility hubs is something they are not as certain about. What most people know as the Brant Street parking lot has undergone significant changes – with fewer parking spots.

Her view on changing the direction as to “what goes where” hinges on the Urban growth Centre (UGC) which impacts the location of the Mobility Hubs – there are four – those at the GO stations make sense – the Downtown Mobility hub doesn’t make any sense to many people. Meed Ward believes that changing the boundaries of the UGC and pushing high rise buildings further north on Brant will keep the essence of the downtown core where residents are not opposed to growth – they just think that 20+ storey towers is excessive.

While Meed Ward has yet to declare that she is a candidate for the Office of Mayor she would appear to be making the issue of downtown development her lead campaign plank.


Shown (L-R): Mayrose-Tycon Limited Principal Matt Jaecklein, MADY Development Corporation Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Greg Puklicz, Burlington Ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison, Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman, Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven, Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward, Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring and MADY CEO Charles Mady.

She made an interesting observation about the impact the Martha at Lakeshore ADI development is having on the matter of intensification. Every member of Council was opposed to the development – the developer took it to the Ontario Municipal Board and won – 26 storey’s will get built at Martha and Lakeshore – the development will be a couple of football fields away from the 22 storey Bridgewater project which didn’t raise any howls from the public. Meed Ward was in front of the TV cameras when Mady Development broke ground for the project in 2015.

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5 comments to Meed Ward has a heart to heart with the Seniors – gives them her views on downtown growth.

  • Penny

    The question to ask is “DID THE CITY THROW EVERYTHING AT THEM”?

  • Aaron

    Correction, NO ONE on council said NO to the Martha development! Ad I put an application in the city and went through the motions as anyone else would. It was a MONTRESS SIZE application. Does anyone reading this believe that the water cooler talk in the planning dept never got to our (in the know) Councilors. They will tell you they didn’t know, they will tell you it’s not my job, they will tell you that WE ALL SAID NO,

    Well they didn’t, the issue is planning missed the 180 day window to respond and Not one councillor realized or cared about the next step. ADI took their ammunition to the OMB to begin the fireworks celebration.

    Once the cat got out of the bag, it was only then that ALL of the councilors began scrambling via our Mayor and began directing any high level city guru,planning director,city manager,solicitors etc. To DEFEND Our CITY and throw everything at them.

    Well we know what happened next, Well they lost,z(We the city and we the residents lost) Now it’s just a me too situation.

    • William

      Nowhere in the OMB ruling does it say that not meeting the 180 days for decision was a factor in the decision.

      What was a factor was the planning staff testified they were prepared to go above the 4 to 8 storey limit, which created a stir at the hearing. Since planning staff and the developer agreed that more height was appropriate – and since the city did not provide a rationale for their figure – the OMB ruled for the developer’s figure of 26 storeys.

      The non-decision is a red herring. The developer wanted more height and was going to the OMB no matter what. If you think this developer cares about a city’s official plan, read this:

    • Tom Muir


      Good observation. Council did not get a chance to vote either way.

      You may not be aware of a recent Gazette story, dated Feb.15/18, on this topic, with a link to something published in 2015. You need to click the link.

      It appears that no one commented on the cover text that contains the link. Here’s the story lead.

      “Why did the city fail to process the original 2015 application for the Nautique development: two views.”

      By Pepper Parr

      February 15th, 2018


      There is more to the story that what is there at the link, but it is a lengthy read for usual Gazette format.

      I suggest a read for anyone interested. This story is not over.

  • Etts

    I agree it was difficult to speak up with Staff standing there, which is I’m sure, why more was not said. Marianne was asked to come to listen to the Seniors’ concerns, which as it turned out could not be elaborated on. Thanks to Joe for at least getting some out. Since tufting out the previous board, seniors have no real say or input. Surveys don’t cut it.