Polite, close to timid debate between Councillor Dennison and challenger Shawna Stolte for the ward 4 council seat.

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

September 25th, 2018



He did show up.

Jack Dennison left the city Council meeting that was taking place Monday evening and drove to Nelson  high school to be a late in arriving candidate to take part in a debate with ward 4 candidate for the council seat Dennison holds.

Shawna with Jack at debate

Councillor Jack Dennison ‘debating” ward 4 candidate Shawna Stolte.

Prior to Dennison’s arrival Shawna Stolte sat in a chair and had a conversation with moderator Mark Carr.

It was a very typical polite Burlington conversation. There were no points scored by either candidate. There was actually more agreement between the two than differences with “ditto” being the response more than once.

The two candidates reached over and shook hands several times during the ‘debate’.

You don’t remove a 20 year plus incumbent with that kind of a performance.

There was a respectful audience but the high school auditorium was certainly not full.

The Gazette will comment at length on the “debate’ when the video of the event is available.

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10 comments to Polite, close to timid debate between Councillor Dennison and challenger Shawna Stolte for the ward 4 council seat.

  • Concerned Citizen

    The only other time that Jack left a Council meeting early was on Tuesday May 21, 2013 when he left at 7:45pm to attend a Committee of Adjustment meeting regarding variances to his property. No doubt about his priorities and MO.

  • Joe Gaetan

    During the debate, I believe one of the reasons given by Mr. Dennison for the OMB ruling on the 374 Martha development, was the absence of a revised Official Plan. If anyone cares to fully understand the rationale given by the OMB (PL150274), I would encourage them to read the part of the ruling that dealt with both the Region of Halton and Burlington’s Official Plans. This information can be found on pages 18 to 20 and sections 90 thru 100 of PL150274 and as excerpted below or by following this link:

    “Region of Halton Official Plan

    [90] The question before the Board is not whether the current OP conforms to the
    ROP. The question before the Board is whether the proposed OPA conforms to the
    ROP. The Region withdrew from these proceedings once it had reached a settlement
    with Adi. As such, the Region called no evidence in opposition to the proposed
    development or the specific planning instruments before the Board. As noted in the City
    planning staff reports, the Region‟s planning staff advised the City that the proposed
    development conformed to the Region‟s growth policies.

    [91] Mr. Ferancik reviewed the ROP in some detail and concluded similarly that the
    proposed development conforms to the ROP.

    92] The Board is persuaded by Mr. Ferancik‟s detailed evidence in this regard and
    finds that the proposed OPA conforms to the ROP.

    City of Burlington Official Plan

    [93] Recognizing that the in-force OP has not yet been the subject of a conformity
    exercise with the GGH 2017, it is still important to understand and consider the
    requirements of the OP.
    [94] In addition to being within an MTSA and Anchor Mobility Hub area, for the OP the
    Subject Site is within a Mixed Use Activity Area, is within a Mixed Use Centre and is
    within the downtown UGC. The specific designation in the OP for the Subject Site is
    Downtown Core Precinct (“DC”).
    [95] The DC designation specifies a maximum height of four storeys. This designation
    contemplates the possibility of eight storeys in height, subject to compatibility with
    surrounding land uses, pedestrian scale at lower levels and community benefits. The
    possibility of a building height greater than four storeys is discretionary and not
    [96] The only properties within the DC designation at or near the Subject Site are the
    Subject Site and the Carriage Gate lands. Together these two holdings make up a
    relatively small rectangular island with the DC designation. This DC rectangle is
    separated from all other lands designated DC in the OP.
    [97] The properties surrounding this DC designation that houses the Subject Site and
    the Carriage Gate lands are all in other designated precincts which contemplate greater
    heights than the DC designation or have no height limits at all.
    [98] Part of the analysis of the appropriateness of this proposal to amend the OP is
    an analysis of compatibility.

    99] In considering compatibility, the Board was asked to consider the existing uses
    and built form that surrounds the site, particularly to the north and east. By emphasizing
    the existing built form, as distinct from an analysis that relies on the possible future built
    form in the event of redevelopment, the Board was asked to consider that once a
    property is developed the reasonable expectation is that it will not redevelop in the
    subsequent near future.
    [100] In the circumstances of this case, the Board accepts this approach as a relevant
    consideration, particularly since the Subject Site is within the UGC, an MTSA and close
    to the centre of the Anchor Mobility Hub. In light of the Subject Site‟s location, the Board
    extends this approach to the consideration of the likely life-span of the proposed development. In implementing GGH 2017 policy that is set out above, the
    Board must consider whether a four-storey development as of right with only a
    possibility of growing to eight storeys, as set out in the current City OP designation for
    the Subject Site, would „adversely affect the achievement of transit-supportive

  • Fed up in Ward 4

    Master Manipulator. Self-serving and arrogant. Developer, funded by developers. Disrespectful of his own community. Spoke publicly against a tree by-law when first introduced. Jammed a cookie-cutter house onto his severed lot on Lakeshore, in defiance of City Hall and his neighbours,and at a tremendous cost to each.

    The event did not have full audience potential given that he did not confirm his attendance. His appearance likely unsettled Ms. Stolte. All intentional. This robbed Ward 4 of an open debate. Goal accomplished. Sly as a fox.

    The sheep will keep voting him in unless people open their eyes and vote for a better candidate.

  • Penny


    As you know ECoB never was told by Jack Dennison that he would be participating in the debate. We explained this to Shawna who graciously understood the predicament we were both in. We prepared 2 different introductions that was presented to the residents by the emcee Maureen Weinberger. Mark Carr also had a Plan B if Jack appeared. We found out by accident that Mr. Dennison was leaving the council meeting early to participate in the evening.

    Under the circumstances I think that Shawna, ECob, the emcee, and the students who were helping out that evening did an exemplary job.

  • Tom Muir

    Dennison knew what he was doing. Creating distraction and doubt on his appearance, then maneuvering and manipulating his entry to the last minute to facilitate the derailment of the meeting purpose to his purpose.

    Sounds like it was too much a nothing, never mind a debate.

    Make no mistake, he’s a wily coyote.

    Chances are he may get away with it.

    Shawna seems to have been caught up in Dennison’s ruse. He needs to be exposed.

    Spread the word.

  • Jim Young

    Surprised to hear Clr Dennison propose new speed limits for New St. An idea he ignored for his 20 years. Also his new found love of a Transit System he ignored and :underfunded for all that time.
    Then his laughable defence of the New OP as protection from developers. All zones in the New OP permit higher buildings than the Existing OP .
    The format did nof allow Ms Stolte to attack his record. A record that he might have had trouble defending.

  • CMG

    I am disappointed Jack Dennison was allowed to participate in the event at all, given he was most ambiguous about his attendance right up until the 11th hour, then waltzed in like some kind of dignitary with special privileges! Mark Carr should have asked him to take a seat in the audience. Dennison could have listened and made himself available for comment after it was over.
    Shawna was more than gracious in accepting him on the stage. She was thoughtful, articulate and consistent in her messaging. Imagine the comments that would have been made had she played the kind of games Jack is playing!
    Shawna Stolte deserves recognition and respect for her integrity, which is more than can be said of Jack Dennison.

  • Bonnie

    Marshall, thank you for putting into words what so many of the residents were feeling last night.
    Shawna was put into a unique situation unlike any of the candidates in the other five wards.
    Having spoken with Shawna the day of the event, she still had not been given a clear message as to how the evening would proceed…would it be an interview or a debate?

    As you stated above, questions left little room to challenge the incumbent.

  • I was at Nelson last night and I agree with your assessment that it was polite without any points being scored. Unfortunately, the questions presented were assuming that Jack wouldn’t show and were directed more to outline Shawna’s platform. No questions were asked that could show distinct differences between the two. Jack came across as the elder statesman not the 20 year incumbent that should be on the hot seat and there was no opportunity for Shawna to challenge his record. I’m sure that several in the audience were disappointed that they could not question Jack and get the discussion beyond pleasantries.