Re-electing Paul Sharman - why wouldn't you - he is the strongest member on this council

By Pepper Parr

October 20th, 2022



For a time it looked as if ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman was going to be acclaimed.

Days before nominations were to close four names popped up on the city’s candidate nominations screen and Paul Sharman had to run for election.

It was not something he was looking forward.

Paul Sharman: Defending his view of development planned for the east end.

When challenged – he is not at his best. He reverts to being defensive and loses the ability to listen.

Is this what a “bit of a snit” looks like

Sharman can be folksy with people but he isn’t really a people person. He can be very abrupt, short and at times quite cranky when he isn’t getting his way.

What he has going for him is a solid grasp of what the issues are and a mind capable of pulling all the small pieces together and making sense of it and passing his knowledge along to others.

He is an educated, cultured individual who understands how both the corporate culture and the minds of the bureaucracies work. He was once a part of a very large corporation that unfortunately lost its way.

If one asked Paul Sharman if he was a “happy camper” pleased with the cards life had dealt him I suspect he would say no.

He tends to use the lack of data as the reason for not making a decision. On that level he can always win – Burlington’s administration does not yet champion the gathering of the kind of data that is needed.

What Paul Sharman brings to the table is the best background on what takes place in the city. He and Mayor Meed Ward have served on Council for the same length of time but he has a command of the workings of the city hall that Meed Ward just never picked up in her career path.

There hasn’t been a lot of development in the east end.

A rendering of a development proposed for ward 5

The shabby, won down at the heals plaza in the eastern side of ward 5 has been in need of a major makeover for a long time.

The property owner was reluctant to do very much despite the efforts Sharman made to get them to actually do something

When the outline of a development was brought to the table it was overwhelming – seven structures that brought out the nimby streak in every community.

At this point that development is on hold.

The arena that is just to the north of the proposed development had reached the end of its life cycle. The ice making system no longer met the building codes and was shut down and turned into space for the Forestry department.

While the city didn’t have the money to rebuild they never the less prepared plans and Council approved a decision to borrow what was needed and shovels went into the ground.

While shaky as a financial decision it would help in rebuilding a more vibrant community and there was no way Sharman was going to vote against it.

Sharman chose not to appear at an ECOB debate

Sharman’s interest in working with community organizations he doesn’t control is lower than 0. In the 2018 election he refused to take part in the ECOB debate but shifted his position and did take part in a debate run by a different group sometime later when he felt his re-election was more certain.

The railway grade separation at WHERE that was badly needed in the eastern part of the city (GET NAME) experienced a massive cost increase. We are not sure just how big a role Sharman played in ensuring that Metrolinx didn’t pass along the increases to Burlington He gets a feather in his cap for that one,

A development planned as part of the large plaza on Appleby and New Street. The infrastructure needed to service the buildings was not in place at the right time.

The restructuring of the Appleby Mall and the application for the development of two high rise units got put on hold when it was realized that the infrastructure needed to handle the increased population was not in place. What did Sharman do?

Sharman was the deputy Mayor during the weekend in August of 2014 when parts of the city were seriously flooded. He managed that crisis very well but was unable to do anything for the residents who had experienced severe damage to their homes.

The compassionate side of Sharman was very evident when he pleaded publicly for the support his constituents needed.

Asking if Sharman should be re-elected is just plain dumb. None of the candidates running against him bring much, if anything, to the table.

There was a point at which Paul Sharman gave some thought to running against Marianne Meed Ward.  He sensed that ether was a lot of dissatisfaction with the direction she had taken things and the way she managed several council members who chose to follow her lead and serve as acolytes.

Meed Ward’s command of the fundamentals of fiance were a concern but in the end Sharman decided he wasn’t up to all the photo ops, glad handing and being in the public eye all tat much wasn’t for him.

Paul Sharman: Was he a possible Mayor? That wasn’t the way Sharman saw his career evolving.

And, truth be told, the Council that will be sworn in at the end of the year needs the likes of Paul Sharman. The city is in for a very rough time financially – he will bring some much needed experience to the table.

And he will be there.

The fear is that should serious cost cutting be required Sharman will want to go after the transit service

Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

5 comments to Re-electing Paul Sharman – why wouldn’t you – he is the strongest member on this council

  • Helen Donohoe

    “An educated, cultured individual” – Pepper, you are most kind to Paul Sharman, but surely there are others among the candidates who merit such high praise. Please extend your magnanimity to let your readers know of others who, in your opinion, are educated and cultured. These qualities are very important to me.

  • Mr. Parr, you have already identified precisely why someone should vote for someone else.

    “He tends to use the lack of data as the reason for not making a decision. On that level he can always win – Burlington’s administration does not yet champion the gathering of the kind of data that is needed.”

    The lack of data gathering appears to be an intentional method of maintaining status quo, rather than taking a bold approach to planning a future for all Burlingtonians.

    I am surprised that you find this evidence of efficay. It may be effective for the Counsillor, but not for the constituents they represent.

    My highest campaign priority has been increase the voice of residents for this very reason. People do not feel represented. Collecting data informs intelligent decisions. Rather than ignore data…just don’t ask…has been the method for far too long in Ward 5. It is time for a change.

  • The Marsdens appreciate Pepper Parr and what he does in terms of he tries his darndest to promote democracy and when he sees something that is anti-democratic he is like a pit bull that will not let go. BUT we do disagree on many things and surely that is what democracy is about being allowed to put forward why we disagree that Paul Sharman should be returned to Office.

    1. The first reason being Sharman’s approval vote on the change to the By-laws that allows the City Manager and Clerk to stop a delegate appearing before council with no right of appeal. It is simply a done deal if the City Manager or Clerk advise they believe the delegate may behave inappropriately. That means staff not council can keep anyone they don’t want Council to hear from, from the lectern. The latest person this was done to, there have been several uses of this section of the By-law, was Ward 2 Candidate Demoe who was a witness to the Lisa Kearns release of confidential information to the Downtown Business Association. It occurred after the Ward 2 Councillor gave her side of the story to the Clerk and City Manager without any contact with Demoe.

    2. The second of several documented issues is Sharman’s part in an unminuted discussion on correspondence from the Region that concerned the New Official Plan being non-compliant with the Region plan and set aside right to appeal approval taking too long. Sharman knew it was not on the agenda for public comment and failed to ensure the December 4, 2018 Region to Council correspondence went to either Planning and Development or Council and so allow public input as to next step.

    These two things alone that cut out the taxpayer from the decision making process should see him lose his seat. Paul Sharman was elected to represent his constituents and to support their right to be at the lectern. He immediately set this duty to the people who had just elected him aside at his first meeting as Chair of the Planning and Development Committee in December 2018. There is a certified transcript available of the part of the Planning and Development Committee that covers what took place at the Mayor’s request that Sharman as Chair should have never allowed. What he should have done was to put it on the Planning and Development Committee record that the letter referenced by MMW and MacDonald must be on the next Planning and Development Committee Agenda.

    All members of Council approved that particular set of minutes knowing a whole conversation on a December 4, 2018 letter from the Region to McDonald and the Mayor was missing! It is, however, part of MMW’s Better Burlington files and part of the OLAT files. Those folks are huge Paul Sharman promoted issues of lack of transparency the Municipal Act demands of our Council, but we do not get, and Paul Sharman has taken a leadership position in that lack of transparency.

  • North of QEW

    I actually struggled with my vote this year. Councilor Sharman is by far the most experienced on our existing council and although I have had my ups and downs with him but I feel that he is a very qualified candidate. My biggest concerns however are as a “north of the QEW ward 5” resident and whether despite his experience, is the right candidate for all of Ward 5. I have seen a stark difference in how development south and north of the QEW are approached and in how much support they get from council etc. We have 3 major developments on Appelby proposed between Mainway and Upper Middle, a section that can already take 20+ minutes to traverse the roughly 2km stretch. If Councilor Sharman is re-elected it will be very interesting to see if these developments in the north get the same attention as those in the south.

    As it is, it is virtually impossible to live in the North-East section of Burlington and have your kids participate in organized sports within the city due to where most of them are held.

    • NORTH OF QEW we attended many of the Appleby Mall high rise meetings hosted by Sharman as that was where we lived, raised our kids and still have our church membership (although with Covid we do not attend as we did). We were very disappointed in his leadership in this area. It was more like reaction than leadership.