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Newly formed citizens group draws 150 + people to a public meeting - they have a message for city council - We won't be voting for you next time.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

December 14th, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

They weren’t sure how many people were going to show up. One of the four people that kept ECoB alive said there has been 30 people who said they were going to attend – and at that point there were about 40 people in a large church sanctuary.

But, by the time the evening was about to begin there were more than 150 people gathered in the Burlington Baptist Church on New Street, perhaps more than the church gets on a Sunday.

ECoB Dec 13 # 1

It was a polite audience and a determined one. They wanted a change and they were there to see it happen.

And people kept coming through the doors. So – they has an audience – now to take the crowd and turn them into evangelists for a different form of community organization.

A loyal Gazette reader commented that there was a time when there was an East Burlington Ratepayers group that was very active “But they got busy raising their families and the interest in what they were setting out to do petered away”.

This evening the audience was in the room because they were no longer happy campers. There were some younger people in the room but at least 100 of the 150 were seniors who had been around for a long time.

ECoB Dec 13 #2

By the time the meeting got underway – there were just eight empty seats in a packed church Sanctuary. Jim Young served as the meeting MC.

They didn’t like what they were seeing happen to the city.

Representatives from four community groups spoke for a short period of time talking about what there issue was and how they were dealing with the problems and concerns they were having with city hall.

While the issues that brought them to the meeting was the city council decision to approve the building of a 23 story tower opposite city hall – they weren’t going after the developer – their focus was city hall and in particular city council.

Dave Conrath, a member of the Burlington Economic Development Corporation, set it out pretty clearly for everyone when he stood up and said: “Every one of us has to be on the phone or email the members of city council and tell them that you are not going to vote for them and that you are going to work to elect someone else.” That statement got the most robust round of applause during the two hour meeting.

Jim Young, MC for the evening, explained where the ECoB people were with their plans to file an appeal to the OMB on the decision city council made to approve the development opposite city hall.
Lisa Kearns, another member of the ECoB leadership team explained the complexity of what the citizens were up against.

Lisa Kierns ECOB Dec 13

Lisa Kearns

She pointed out that the ECoB already had a win. “It was a big win” said Kearns,” a really big win. When the city revised the time line for the approval of the new Official Plan from the end of January to the end of April – we had won.” She added that it is important to recognize the wins and the celebrate them.

ECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington has existed for less than a month – and at this their first public meeting they drew more than 150 people.

A change has begun – how deep and how long lasting only time will tell. This first meeting was another win and it too deserves to be recognized and celebrated.

The Gazette will report in more detail on what took place during the meeting.

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3 comments to Newly formed citizens group draws 150 + people to a public meeting – they have a message for city council – We won’t be voting for you next time.

  • FJ

    My wife and I fully support ECoB. We attended the meeting last night where close to 175 concerned Citizens attended.
    The City Manager and his staff should be reminded that he reports to and takes directions from City Council and Members of Council are accountable to the electorate. Staff have done presentations on the OP and there was little questioning by Members of Council. Plans for the Brandt Street high rise were approved by Council ignoring the need for infrastructure planning and Citizen input.
    We look forward to a new slate of candidates who will listen to their constituents.
    Time for a major change has come.

  • Susie

    For the record, I am a supporter of the Engaged Citizens of Burlington and unfortunately could not attend last nights meeting due to a commitment that could not be cancelled. Keep up the good work ECoB and Burlington Gazette – success is in persistence and numbers!

  • Lucia Harmston

    I was sorry not have been able to get to last nights meeting.

    My wish is to support the group who did gather.

    Lucia