Meed Ward kicks off her campaign - tells residents they come first and reminds them they paid $5 million too much for the pier.

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

September 17, 2014



I want your trust – your votes would be nice too – but it is your trust that is most important to me. And with that Marianne Meed Ward ended her election kick-off event at the Art Gallery of Burlington to a more than respectable audience.

MMW + Leah Reynolds

Councillor Marianne Meed Ward and school board candidate Leah Reynolds at the Ward 2 kick off.

Meed Ward shared her event with ward one and two Halton District School Board candidate Leah Reynolds who she heavily endorsed. Not something Burlington would have seen in the past.

Selfies, the rage for the social media set, was made part of the event – the photographer covering the room for Meed Ward climbed a ladder to get a group photo which Meed Ward said would be put on her office wall to remind her every day who she was working for – Residents First was the mantra.

Mead Ward took the trust theme further when she said: “Public officials need to trust you.” She added: “I’ve heard and seen the disrespect towards people who come to city council to delegate – we should be working with you, we should be listening to the really good advice people bring to us.”

“Good discussion isn’t possible when a delegate has five minutes before council” she added and for Meed Ward discussion is what it is all about. The current Council, particularly the Mayor, is not a huge fan of prolonged discussion. The council meetings are short and abrupt – they argue that all the “heavy lifting” gets done at the standing Committee level.

Meed Ward would move away from Standing Committees and create workshops where issues could be thrashed out in a less regulated process.

We talk about infrastructure and we misuse that word, said Meed Ward. “Infrastructure equals “lifelines” those roads and sewers and utility lines are the life lines that keep the community going. We need to talk in language that people understand.”

She made little mention of the Region – but she did talk about the mistrust the people in the Beachway have of their elected representative who went to the Region and failed to represent some of the people that elected him.


Meed Ward believes taxpayers paid $5 million more than they had to for the pier.

“The pier” she said to an audience that laughed. “We failed to trust the contractor we had and instead of working with him to resolve a design problem we took the wrong path and went to court. We didn’t win – but we did pay more than $5 million than we should have – and that was your money.”

The Air Park was next: “We let that problem fester for more than five years until residents told us that it was an intolerable situation. This city reacted when the residents pushed back and refused to accept the argument that the land was all regulated by the federal government.” Two court cases later the city is about to pass a new site plan by law that will have them doing something about the landfill – all because residents pushed back.

The Drury Lane bridge that crosses the railway tracks – “it is a lifeline for an isolated community. All of a sudden it needed repairs and the city shut it down because it was unsafe. Residents were close to locked in.” Meed Ward worked with those residents to get the bridge fixed and made sure that the item got through Council.

Meed Ward however didn’t do nearly enough with the Queensway development that jammed some 50 plus housing units into properties that previously held six homes. It was part of the intensification process the city had to undertake – but it has created a situation where the residents have little in the way of public amenities.

Meed Ward at kick off

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward at her election kick off.

Meed Ward takes credit for getting free parking downtown on Saturday and all of December and is a leading talker about our “vibrant” downtown but makes no mention of the number of retail operations that have taken down their signs or how dismal Brant Street is during the holiday season. Some of those stores that gave up have been on Brant Street for many years. New stores open – but they don’t last all that long.

The evening was a remarkable performance during which she made it very clear what she stood for – even though she said she was not going to talk about her platform – that was on her web site for those who wanted to know.

Trust was the issue she wants to ride on – and the audience, made up of supporters, for the most part, there were at least five that we counted that would not normally be Meed Ward supporters.

Meed Ward wants a walkable community – she made an issue of the free parking spot she gets as a council member and regularly pays the city the value of the parking spot which she doesn’t feel she should be given.

Her ward 2 community association is the most effective in the city. No one comes near to what she has done with her residents. She publishes the most effective newsletter and she has asked for more recorded votes than any other member of Council. She also has more 6-1 votes than anyone else. Meed Ward stands up and insists that the votes be counted. There was a memorable council meeting where she called for five recorded votes and was the only person to vote no. Her colleague John Taylor kept rolling his eyes at the temerity of it all – but what was evident was the matter of principle.
Meed Ward believes every vote should be a recorded vote – she hasn’t won that battle.

The room Meed Ward rented at the AGB had small tables set out at the edge – places where she could sit and talk to people. On each table there was what could have been taken for the wine list – no such luck – this is Burlington after all.

Meed Ward brings a level of energy to a job she just loves and takes an “I can do something about that” approach. “I first ran for council” she writes “because my neighbours said they wanted better information, sooner in the process, before decisions were made at City Hall. As a professional print and broadcast journalist for 25 years, I thought “I can do something about that!” I started a website and newsletter, which now reaches more than 4,000 residents across the city.”

We do that when city hall works with residents, putting the needs of residents first. She ran for city council because she believes “Residents come first: We live in a great city and must take care to keep what is great as we grow and change. We must protect what you value and what makes you want to live here in the first place. We do that when city hall works with residents, putting the needs of residents first. When we build a city that put residents first, we create places where business want to come, where people want to visit, and where people want to live. When we put residents first, we attract jobs, tourism and new residents – everyone wins.”

There are many, particularly in the commercial and development sector who believe Meed Ward has done significant damage to the city and that she lacks an understanding of the fundamentals that drive business and development.

MMW grouip selfie

Election kick off crowd posing for the group photo that will hang on the Meed Ward office wall to remind her who she is working for.

Meed Ward came back to the trust issue again and again. If given the trust she asks for in the next four years she will work to have a Council Code of Conduct: Currently, she maintains, council members can raise money for their own activities with no limits on who can give, or how much. That allows spending beyond allotted budgets, and has led to seeking funds from developers with current planning applications – a conflict of interest. “I support a Code of Conduct to set restrictions and higher ethical standards, reducing risk to residents” she said.

She will work at creating a vibrant downtown and job attraction by revamping the Burlington Economic Development Corp., exploring “incubators” for start-ups. She believes that “with incentives we can attract jobs here. I support new office and institutional uses downtown, to bring weekday foot traffic to our businesses. Commercial development that helps the city’s bottom line; residential does not – requiring tax increases to cover the shortfall.”

In 2018 expect Marianne Meed Ward to run for Mayor – then watch the fur fly.Neighbourhood character and green space: “We need to move beyond development that just considers maximizing profits and cramming the most units in the smallest space. I will continue to stand with residents, and I will work with the developers who bring projects that respect neighbourhood character, consider public input early on, follow our own Official Plan, and preserve green space.”

Transit, trees, culture and more: “I’ll also champion: adding 13,000 more transit service hours and three community buses serving the Seniors Centre; a tree bylaw preventing clear cutting properties before development; a facility fee waiver to help artists use our cultural buildings; partnering with Halton Region to buy affordable housing units in new builds downtown.”

Quite an agenda for the next four years. In 2018 expect Marianne Meed Ward to run for Mayor – then watch the fur fly. There are those that will choose to trust her and there are those that will do everything possible to stop her.



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7 comments to Meed Ward kicks off her campaign – tells residents they come first and reminds them they paid $5 million too much for the

  • Peter Rusin

    Susan brings up good ideas to improve the discussion process at city hall.

  • Ricki Anne Andersen

    Marianne and Leah! You GO!!!

    Marianne, you are without a doubt the best representative I have ever had at ANY level of government – from Halifax, Ottawa, Vancouver, Regina, Burlington, Edmonton, Vancouver, Penticton, Thunder Bay, Edmonton, Toronto and back home again – Burlington, since 1990.

    So to the nay sayers … o pish – you’ve got tiny axes to grind.

    Cheers! and YOU GO!!!

  • Susan Lewis

    I’m one of the people who go to City Hall to delegate (speak to the Councillors), usually on matters pertaining to transit, both regular transit service and handi-van services. I do attend the Standing Committee meetings but there is no discussion at these meetings, you have 10 minutes to state your case. After you speak, a member of council may ask you questions. (All six council members sit on each of the four standing committees.) After you sit down, you are shut out of any further discussion.

    Recommendations are made to Council before the Standing Committee meetings. Therefore when you delegate, the decision has pretty much been made and all you can do is try to change Councillors minds by arguing against the decision.

    Workshops would be a great way for people to have their say. At least then we could have a discussion before a matter went before Council.

    A City Bus is a car drivers best friend. A bus can carry about 40 people. Can you imagine what it would be like to drive along Plains Road in rush hour if you had 40 more cars in front of you instead of 1 bus?

  • Amy Richardson

    Is this an article or an ad? Hard to tell. Marianne Mead Ward is the most Machiavellian, attention-seeking politician this city has ever seen. It’s amazing how many people are drinking the Kool Aid. She wants 13,000 more transit hours? Well that’s nice, but that’ll be tricky considering she voted for changing the gas tax revenue split from 70/30 to 80/20. Where’s the rest of the transit money going to come from? And the pier? It’s great! My kids and I love it! We’re proud to show it off to visitors. Yes, it was an expensive lesson, but the city did what it had to do to GET IT DONE. If we stuck with the original contractor we’d probably still be looking at a pile of cement and busted steel in the lake. Who knows?

    By constantly appealing to the complainers in this town she is scaring away business by the minute and not just developers. She put Tim Hortons through the wringer and they weren’t even asking for zoning changes! She’s caused restaurants like Melodia and Honey West so much grief they probably want to split town. I’ve never seen anything like the way she uses events like the flooding (which didn’t even affect her ward!) to grandstand and look like some kind of hero. Showing up at fundraising events doesn’t mean you organized them. Showing up and taking photos and calling the press to come down and take more pics of you doesn’t make you a leader. It makes you an opportunist. Shameful, really. Here’s a tip: I don’t need a populist, praise-seeking hero. I need a councillor who makes balanced decisions for the the city and is smart with my money.

    • Tom Muir

      To which I might add – is what you write a comment or an attack ad? Attacking Councilor Meed Ward personally, unfairly imputing motives, and calling her names, is the dirtiest kind of politics and is trash talk.

      Instead of such ad hominem attack fallacy talk, tell us precisely what the Councilor did that you find so offensive – not just what you said, but what did she do exactly.

      Tell us precisely what the Councilor should champion as city policy for the things that seem stuck in your craw.

      Without such thoughtful commentary, no one will ever find out what you stand for or what we should do. Instead, you seem to have no case of your own to present, so like the hack lawyer, you attack the opposition.

    • Henri de Beaujolais

      You nailed it on the head @ Amy Richardson. The city needs counselors who can look at the entire city as a whole. Not somebody who’s focused solely on their ward. I realize this gets votes and get you elected. But it holds back the entire city’s growth and prosperity.

      Meed-ward and goldring will swing their votes based on the squeaky wheel and not based on what’s best for the city.
      That is not the definition of leadership. Sounds more to me like people wanting to hold onto a job.

  • Joe and Cathy Lamb

    Best of luck Marianne!You have our full support and vote ! Your refreshing , candid , honest approach that puts the taxpayer first is very much needed and appreciated. We could not agree more about your comment on delegations before Council. Craven and Dennison are not interested in delegations that disagree with their point of view. Often times it is embarrassing to watch as they both try to right fight with the citizens that pay their salaries. Arrogance is the word that comes to mind! Joe and Cathy Lamb.