Resident asks: 'Why do our spendthrift Mayors always think they need to build a monument to themselves?'

By Pepper Parr

July 31st, 2023



Phil lives close to Nelson High School. He and his wife are retired and they don’t understand why the Mayor is raising taxes the way she is, nor does he understand why all this money is being spent on the Bateman High School re-purposing, or why so much on the refurbishing of Civic Square.

He sent a note to the Mayor and the members of council and then, at his wife’s urging, sent a copy along to us.

Hi Marianne, I saw in The Burlington Post that you are putting forward a plan to renew Burlington’s Civic Square.

East end resident doesn’t see the need for a new Civic Square.

How much will this cost Burlington taxpayers?

I would have thought after dinging Burlington’s residents with a 7%+ tax increase this year and possibly like increases in the years going forward, you would be a little more responsible with our tax dollars, especially in these times of high inflation and interest rates.

The $100 million price tag was too much for Phil and his wife Kim.

With the Brock University/Bateman plan, that you have been less than honest about the costs, do we really need to be wasting tax dollars on Civic Square right now?

The original $29,000,000 cost to convert Bateman are now rumoured to be in the neighbourhood of $100,000,000.

Can you please give us an honest accounting of the conversion please?

Why do our spendthrift Mayors always think they need to build a monument to themselves?

Reader thinks building the Pier was a dumb idea – does he know that it ended up costing twice the original amount?

I remember Rob McIssac’s famous Burlington Pier monument to stupidity. Are you trying to follow his example?

Perhaps the Civic Square renewal should wait until residents weather the economic upheavals being experienced from the Covid-19 strains, the poor economy, high inflation/interest rates, this year’s tax increases and the Carbon Tax imposed on residents by the Federal Government. Also, wasn’t City Hall’s interior just renovated?

Burlington residents are looking for elected leaders to tackle problems, including affordability and keeping taxes low, not expensive make-work vanity projects that result in higher taxes for residents.

Burlington needs an austerity council not a bunch of spendthrifts. Please feel free to share with your fellow City Councillors.

Phil Steinberg, Kim Berry
Burlington, Ontario.

We gave Phil a call – he had more to say.

“This city hall is out of touch”.  He wants to know what city hall has done to cut costs.  He wants the pain that people are experiencing to be felt at city hall as well and he wants to see an austerity budget.  He feels there is a lot of mismanagement as well.

Asked what his neighbours felt, Phil was quick to say “He is blown away by it all.”

Phil understands that population growth is going to have to take place but “this council seems to just spend and spend.”  There is a new Civic Square, a new Bateman, a new Skyway arena that will need borrowed funds to complete.

Phil explained that he and his wife don’t go downtown all that often – “we are east enders” he said.

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4 comments to Resident asks: ‘Why do our spendthrift Mayors always think they need to build a monument to themselves?’

  • Phil Steinberg

    To Rob n, I would bet that senior citizens make up a good proportion of Burlington taxpayers, many of which are on fixed incomes. How do they absorb 7%+ tax increases in multiple years going forward? I would bet I am not the only drum in the band, contrary to your flippant dismissal. Frankly, why should struggling taxpayers pay for infrastructure, right now, for the next 7 generations as stated by our Mayor? How will life benefit residents with the Bateman conversion? Phase 1 will cost at least $75,000,000. What will future phases cost us? I smell an over priced boondoggle. It seems our leaders are totally out of touch.
    Who cares about Europe, Rob, or China? Life is great in Burlington has been great in the 32 years we have lived here. I am just concerned we may be over burdening taxpayers with those overly ambitious leaders who are trying too hard, and quickly, to re-imagine Burlington in their image.
    Burlington’s needs should come first; wants should come second and weighed carefully by it’s residents’ ability to pay for it. That is smart measured progress.

  • Joe Gaetan

    “He wants to know what city hall has done to cut costs.” Given a 7+ increase in taxes, my guess would be, not much if any, or they would be broadcasting the news.

  • Rob n

    Phil is entitled to his opinion. However, one drum does not make a band.

    The City needs infrastructure in order to progress, prosper and attract new businesses and people.

    The attitude of keeping the status quo may be fine for the senior citizens. But what about the future?

    North America is so far behind the European Union standard of living, behind China and probably a few other continents and countries I’m unfamiliar with.

    We need to invest to grow. Building a new community centre is a place to start.

  • Agree wholeheartedly with Phil we don’t need a new Civic Square. We must, however, have a safe and accessible one.. We would have had both beginning 2019 if this Council and in particular Meed Ward and Nisan had not poo pooed the staff plans to give us such.

    Phil hit the nail on the head in terms of the Mayor building a very expensive memorial. Exactly our thoughts when we listened to well over an hour discussion in 2019 on how underwhelmed the majority of the seven were. with the efforts to make the Square safe and accessible to the community with mobility issues. Something they are legally required to do. There was even a plan to give us healthy trees ro provide shade when needed. Phil we believe would have had no objections to that plan or reasonable cost to comply with legislation that would have kept residents safe and provided access to all who desire it.