Something very very wrong with the way information is being disseminated by city hall on the coyote problem

By Pepper Parr

August 29th, 2022



In a statement put out by Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte she said:

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte

This Report was not circulated or communicated to all of Council.

I only learned about this Report and Recommendations within the last 3 days while participating in meetings aimed to address the community crisis of the recent aggressive coyote attacks.

I look forward to hearing in more detail of the recommendations provided by this community group who has taken the time to research and provide valuable input.

The report Stolte is referring to is one researched and written by Stephen White and Julie Martin on the coyote problem Burlington is experiencing.

The Gazette reported on three coyote interacting with people and either scratching them or biting them but apparently not drawing blood.

The city hired an expert to track the animal and kill it.  The word used by Stolte when she reported on this was “eliminate”.

In the report Stolte is referring to there is a clearly laid out time line setting out each step the Burlington Oakville Coyote Management group took.

Councillor Sharman was by this date fully aware of the report that the Burlington Oakville Coyote Management had researched and written.

There is something very very wrong here.

The Mayor has said she is deeply concerned.  The City Manager has had the report for some time.

City Manager Tim Commisso

Yet at least two city Councillors say they had not seen the report.  Councillor Kearns last week asked the Gazette where she could get a copy of the report.

The report is out there, the city administration and the Mayor and at least one city Councillor had been fully briefed.

Which leads to the questions Stephen White and July Martin put to the City administration:


1) Why does BOCM have to wait over six months for City of Burlington officials to read BOCM’s Report and provide comments and feedback on our recommendations?

2)            Why did Nick Anastasopoulos say that our Report had not been sent to Coyote Watch, but Rosemary Fitzpatrick advised us in mid-May that is what had occurred?

City Manager Tim Commisso

3)            Why did Tim Commisso say in a June 2nd meeting that he would get back to us with a response shortly, but we are still waiting?  How long are we expected to wait?

4)            Why did Nick Anastasopoulos feel it was all right to forward a Report created by an outside advocacy group to another third party advocacy group without our prior knowledge or approval?

5)            Why does City Hall not have a formal, established process for reviewing Reports and recommendations from outside entities and organizations?

Good questions.

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9 comments to Something very very wrong with the way information is being disseminated by city hall on the coyote problem

  • Lynn Crosby

    Think my reply went into the ether. Apologies if this ends up appearing twice. Will shorten it this time. In my opinion the head of council should have informed all council members and the mayor would have expected no less when she was a councillor and Goldring was mayor, especially as coyotes are a particular issue in ward 2 (and 4). I would hope she’d want to tell them about this ASAP. They are a team, she keeps telling us. Expect more, not less. In any event I’m entitled to my opinion.

    • Mary Hill

      Yea, it was posted.

      So to again respond to you:-

      Maybe Councilor Sharman or Manager Commiso had the responsibility to inform other members of council. Did that maybe cross your mind or do you have evidence that the Mayor took on that responsibility? Thought not.!

      Maybe Mr. White could have been a bit smarter and himself sent the report directly to each councilor. Just saying !

  • perryb

    The continued commentaries from Anne Marsden are becoming tiresome. Her enumerations of fine points of procedure and policy suggest a possible future as a lawyer, but suggest that as a mayor she will instinctively default to process instead of progress.

  • Lynn Crosby

    So the mayor didn’t think that Councillors Stolte and Kearns should have been given a report on coyote management when their wards are particular hot spots for coyotes? She didn’t tell them about it? Are people yet seeing that there is something really wrong with this emerging picture? This is leadership? This is teamwork? Cohesion?

    Maybe an apology by the mayor, perhaps at the beginning of the next council meeting so everyone can hear it, is in order.

    • Mary Hill

      Are you sure it was the Mayor who did or did not distribut it ? Maybe it was Councilor Sharman or Manager Commiso who had the distribute the report.

      Who cares about facts. Let’s blame the Mayor anyway.

  • Penny Hersh

    Why would a councillor have to ask the Gazette where they can get a copy of the report that was submitted by Stephen White and Julie Martin?

    Is communication so poor between the mayor’s office and the city manager that the councillor could not go directly to them to get this report?

    We will now see what happens to this report. Perhaps Council will meet with the City Manager and perhaps the 2 people that put together this report. Will it end up that the city will do a report on the report, without taking any immediate action?

    The onus should not be on residents to read signs and blow whistles to protect themselves while walking, or sitting in their fenced yard, or lying in the grass. It is the responsibility of the city to do whatever it can to encourage the coyotes to move on, untended lots that are overgrown need to be cleared, more active inspection of areas known where coyotes have their dens would also help.

    Perhaps residents need to get better garbage cans with lids so that coyotes don’t have a food source. Many residents put their garbage cans out the night before pickup, many without lids.

    Guess in this case the buck stops with the City Manager, the Mayor and the 1 councillor who as indicated in the article were aware of the report.

    • Mary Hill

      “The onus should not be on residents to read signs and blow whistles to protect themselves while walking, or sitting in their fenced yard, or lying in the grass.”

      Oh please. We all have a duty to take responsibility for our own safety and the safety of our loved ones. That duty, that personal responsibility should never be delegated.

      Sure the City can try to mitigate the risk of attacks, and then act to eliminate an animal should become a danger to residents.

      Easy to criticize residents who put their garbage out overnight because the City requires it be by the curb before 8am, when you live in a condo tower and your garbage is taken care of for you.

  • WE REPEAT: Yet another example of the mayor, a councillor and our most senior member of staff not appreciating that such a report should be placed in the hands of the public and council through a Standing Committee. The December 4, 2018 letter regarding BNOP requiring modifications from “The Region“ went the same way and has yet to make it to Council although the December, 2018 Planning and Development meeting chaired by Councillor Paul Sharman were notified the letter existed (but failed to minute such) and the letter, publicly commented on at one point by Tom Muir, was referenced by the Mayor in “A Better Burlington“. These are facts the public must know and properly consider before casting their votes on or before October 24, 2022. These are things that will see strong mayors rather than strong councils be put into place and if we do not do our part on and before October 24, 2022 we have no-one to blame but ourselves.