Residents pull together a street festival in a couple of days and surprise many by raising $20,000 during a four hour event. Give those people jobs at city hall.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

September 3, 2014



Part 2 of 3

The residents of Elwood Street, a short number of yards from Tuck Creek that spilled out onto New Street, held a Street festival that had the Burlington Teen Tour Band playing for the audience. It was a good crowd but no one spoke to the 750 or so people milling around buying hot dogs, hamburgers and T-shirts.

No one said anything. The Mayor was there, the ward Councillor was on hand; pleasantries were exchanged – but not even an update from the Mayor.

Moyle -smile- at media briefing - pierInterim city manager Pat Moyle knows something about managing local disasters and while his job was to be on board to help staff complete the work they have in front of them and keep the ship of state upright until he goes before council, sometime in 1Q of 2015, with three recommendations for a new city manager.

Pat Moyle got his new business cards early in May and was in full harness before the end of the first week on the job. He handled, rather deftly, the settlement details on the pier. The city did the smart thing and got right out in front of the story when the results of the settlement were made public. The city had sued everyone involved in the project and didn’t get the satisfaction they had hoped for but they did get a total of $1.5 million that was in a pool of funds that were to be distributed. The pool of funds came from all the other parties except the original contractor. The city didn’t have to put any money into the pool either and they got an additional amount of $500,000 they didn’t have to return to the contractor.

The city stood up and said they had won – and that was that. Nice move – for once the city got in front of an issue instead of having it steam roll over them

That was followed by a truck driver who was drinking more than coffee or smoking more than a cigarette crash into the Skyway Bridge because the cargo box part of his truck was in the raised position. That stunt tied traffic up for a long most of a weekend.

So when the call came to get back to Burlington right away Pat Moyle was ready to move into Emergency Measures mode. There was a Disaster management plan that had been put together by planners that had all kinds of appendices attached to it – few of which met the Burlington situation according to Moyle

“Contacts”, said the city manager “are the most important thing in a disaster. You have to know who to call and the people you are calling have to know you.” We had an infrastructure that could not handle the sudden demands that were made of it – and while Moyle didn’t come right out and say so – it was clear that he didn’t think the city was as ready as it should have been.

You have to know who to call and the people you are calling have to know you.“Climate change is undeniable and what we saw August 4th is the new reality”, said Moyle. James Smith, candidate for the ward 5 council seat said as much in his 10 point plan in which he referred to a 2007 report that set out the infrastructure challenge but didn’t get acted upon.

There are no immediate short term solutions explained Moyle; something that James Smith would disagree with. He thinks there are immediate short term solutions that won’t solve the problems wrought on the community by the August 4th flood but they will, if Smith is correct, prevent anything as disastrous happening again.

Moyle attended the Association of Municipalities (AMO) conference with the Mayor and said “Goldring was everywhere. There wasn’t a button hole he didn’t latch on to as he told the city’s story. According the Moyle Goldring was able to tap into a number of senior municipal affairs people and explain what had happened to the city and the kind of help needed.

Working through the ODRAP process has convinced Moyle, who believes Flamborough MPP and Minister of Municipal Affairs Minister Ted McMeekin shares his view, that the process is far too bureaucratic. Burlington’s contribution to the evolution of provincial policy just might be an overhaul of the ODRAP program. The city would prefer a cheque.

Many senior people at city hall kept referring to the Region as “missing in action”. Those water pipes that couldn’t meet the challenge and those sewage pipes that sent their cargo in the wrong direction are Regional responsibilities.
It would have been a little re-assuring to see the Regional Medical Officer of Health out on the streets of Burlington saying she didn’t see any situations where the public health was at risk/

The Commissioner of Public Works Jim Harnum has been scrambling to keep up with the demands for answers to questions that are not all that clear; most don’t have a simple answer.

The developers are loath to provide land that they cannot build something onThe Regional web site tells us that Public Works is in place to provide safe, clean drinking water, treating sewage in state-of-the-art facilities, constructing and maintaining regional roads for the safe travel of people and goods, waste and recycling collection, or protecting the environment.
Moyle, who was at one time the CAO for the Region and certainly understands how the place works explains that there has to be a place for water to go. “We need better storm sewer capacity – and that means land and the developers are loath to provide land that they cannot build something on” said Moyle. Many properties once had small swales that got covered over or were perhaps replaced by a swimming pool and we are paying the price today for forgetting some of the fundamentals about the managing of storm water.

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