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Some very pointed questions from well informed people on the Bateman High School property. Why is city hall making this so difficult?

By Pepper Parr

June 21st, 2022
BURLINGTON, ON
The Procedural Bylaw determines what you can say and how you must say it when you are delegating before city council.
They like it that way.  I will come back to that Bylaw later.
It’s a little different when citizens can put what they are thinking and feeling about the plans to purchase Bateman emails/questions posed
The following are questions that were sent to the city by residents.

Why is the business of purchasing this property proving to be so difficult – it is really about one pocket of public money being put into a different pocket of public money.

1. Hi there,
I would like to give feedback on the project. Hope this is the correct forum.

I have lived in Burlington my entire life, I have been a volunteer in various areas from
sports to mental health.

My family [Greg/Andrea] Howard has been recognized for work in the community.
Today I am 45 years old – the last two ice arenas that have opened were Mainway in
the 1980’s / then Appleby in the 2000’s.

Our population continues to grow, our recreational infrastructure for ice sports / indoor
events does not.

Youth hockey is growing, girls and women’s hockey continues to grow, adult programs
are growing.

Arena’s are destinations, and I would bet besides the sound of music festival and
soccer fields – more visitors come to these arena’s / rec. centers than other place in
Burlington.

The “Skyway” rec center project is now used to hold city arborists equipment. We have
now reduced arenas, not grown them

The city of Burlington needs to look at this project with the inclusion of an arena. The
youth deserve it.

Hope someone can acknowledge this.
I’m happy to discuss more.

Thanks, Justin Howard

2. Turn the available land into a much needed full ice and training facility for our
youth. Ice availability in our City is not sufficient for the demand. Our youth are
shortchanged when it comes to ice sports!

Do something to make our residents proud without turning it into another pier
disaster! Dave Guluche

3. Why did the city not have a public engagement plan in place from when it decided
to pursue the acquisition of the property? Jim Thompson

4. When will the traffic studies be complete?
5. What is the plan for removing the asbestos on the site?
6. What is the plan for removing the asbestos on the site? (see above, in the
FAQs)

7. When will the traffic studies be complete?
CM-17-22

8. “What regulation prevents the release of the cost information? The city offer was
accepted by the school board so why the need for secrecy?”

9. Good Morning, I’m glad to see and very much support the proposed adaptive
reuse of Robert Bateman High School by the City of Burlington for a combination
of community and educational uses. I am particularly happy to see the relocation
of the New Appleby public library branch to a more appropriate long term home.
Thank you to city staff and council for your leadership in making this happen.

10. Why is the city rushing engagement – how much is this going to cost the city
taxpayer?

11. Why is the city not answering any questions regarding this project – who wrote
the FAQ.

12. How can a survey that was only up for one day and an information that only
lasted 90 minutes be considered as adequate public engagement?

13. There are outstanding questions that needs to be answered.
who provided the money to purchase the property in question?

who provided the money to build the school sitting on the property?

In both cases it was the TAXPAYER. Therefore the TAXPAYER should receive
the money back, NOT have to “PAY AGAIN” for the City to obtain the property &
building.

We TAXPAYERS would like these questions answered!!!

Some additional questions from the Gazette.

Why is this engagement business being handled so badly?

Is anyone in the Communications department even listening?

And that Procedural Bylaw – it gets written for Council based on what they want the bylaw to be – why isn’t this an election issue?

Why isn’t there a group people (10 or so is all it would take)  to go over the document, re-write and then lobby the members of Council and put together a petition and press council until they make changes to the document.

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5 comments to Some very pointed questions from well informed people on the Bateman High School property. Why is city hall making this so difficult?

  • Jim Thomson

    Why is this engagement business being handled so badly?

    At the public information meeting one of the staff said they didn’t need to engage the public because the council voted 7-0 to acquire the property.
    The engagement was an after thought as someone finally realized that to swap the land in the city centre they actually needed to have public engagement.
    So we get a rushed process.
    The staff obviously haven’t done their due dilignece as they can’t even answer basic questions such as what is the plan to remove the asbestos.

    Tthe Community Engagement Charter is an inconvenience to staff and it has no means for the public to get accountability other than voting the Council out of office in the hope that the next council will demand more from staff.

  • Stephen White

    I sat in on the teleconference to discuss the Bateman land swap. In principle, residents don’t object to the deal. On the surface, the arrangement sounds good. However, the problem is in the details; or, more specifically, the lack of them. Within two minutes of the meeting starting the chat box lit up with question after question.

    This highlights a fundamental problem with the way in which issues in this City are managed. Public consultation and engagement is an afterthought. City officials treat public forums as a perfunctory “tick the box” exercise. Communication is a “top down” process in which information is dispensed on a “need to know” basis rather than as a fundamental right. The City actually likes virtual meetings because that way they can mute attendees’ microphones and curtail feedback. If questions appear in the chat box they get glossed over. All is done in the interests of time management and maintaining order. When you add up the amount of time taken up by land acknowledgement claims, introductions, the actual presentation, and then every official having their say, and then deduct it from a two hour meeting, the amount of time devoted to residents’ issues is a pittance.

    City officials don’t comprehend, or understand, that many residents are well-educated, knowledgeable and intelligent people who actually have experience dealing with and managing things like contract negotiations, procurement, etc. Sadly, being a subject matter expert, which is what many municipal public servants claim, does not confer an automatic right to ignore or marginalize public opinion.

    After every public forum maybe we should send out a survey questionnaire to attendees and ask them to evaluate the level of responsiveness to residents’ concerns. Employees in companies get evaluated. Businesses get evaluated on sites like Google and HomeStars.. Physicians get evaluated. Lawyers get evaluated. Teachers get evaluated. Maybe when the scores actually get tabulated the reality will finally dawn. Maybe too those scores should actually comprise part of municipal employees’ performance reviews.

  • Today I, Anne, set the date for my campaign for Mayor to begin at 5 pm July 14, 2022, I now begin the work to ensure my campaign team, Dave and I at present, are ready for our nomination filing appointment at 3:30 on July 14, 2022 with Kevin Arjoon.and for the most important campaign of my life and likely my biggest challenge.. Bateman and many other issues that concern the taxpayers in terms of value for money and what they want our city to be like in 2026 and whether I am the Mayor they need to accomplish such, will be the subject of the campaign which will be entitled “Burlington 2026”.

    Pepper, with his not 100% track record in terms of results, but better than ours, states I won’t be Mayor. I sincerely hope that he gets it wrong again just as other naysayers in my life since born with a significant disability were. For example: Anne will never be self-supporting put her in an institution: Anne and her partner will never win tbe school tennis doubles championship: dream on Anne Prince Charming will never marry the town cripple; Anne will never win the Durhan County under 16 champioship table tennis championship, Anne will never get the Swat Team dismissed from Milton Court Room and a teen, taken by the CAS returned to her Muslim family by speaking for the family after an excellent lawyer could not do it; Anne will never walk again, or stand at the city lectern after a serious debilitating illness in 2005; Anne will never get over 40 000 votes running against incumbent Chair Gary Carr who refused to debate with her on a budget of less than $1 000; Anne and Dave will never have children naturally because of Anne’s disability and so much more. I promise I will never, ever accept I cannot lead this city to a future that is what we need and not what a minority beleves we should have. Our best is what you will get and given the right choice by the majority the best city possible in 2026.

    • Dave Turner

      Your background from decades ago is not in my opinion too relevant today. Nice to know but irrelevant. What is important is for residents to have from you clearly articulated positions on the issues facing Burlington. So what are your policies and positions on the major issues facing the City. And how will you achieve your stated aims?

      For example:-

      What is your position on the development of the downtown, the UGC, and the MTSAs; and how will you tackle the issue to achieve your goals?

      What is your position towards the preservation of the City’s heritage (borh publicly and privately owned) and what actions will you implement to achieve your goals?

      As mayor, and as a former compliance auditor, what will be your position towards the adherence of all members of council to the City’s Code of Good Governance?

      I’m sure like me, Burlington’s residents will be keen to hear your position on these and other matters facing the City.