Strong statements from those who want to buy waterfront property and the council member who says this shouldn't happen.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 21, 2014



Councillor Marianne Meed Ward is upset that we didn’t tell her side of the story when we published a short piece on the complaint that Mike Swartz and some of his neighbours took to the Omsbudsman.
We have asked Meed Ward to be patient while we chase down all the angles on what is a very complex story that goes right to the heart of the kind of city Burlingtonians wants.

When people take complaints to governments or when lawyers are explaining an injury they use a word that sounds worse than it is. A cut might be described as a laceration for example.

Mike Swartz in his media release said he has made a formal complaint to the Omsbudsman and to Kaaren Wallace who is a Municipal Advisor within the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

Fence at te foor of xx street preventing public access to public land

According to Mike Swartz the above, is a picture of the legally fenced property at the foot of Market St that Meed Ward consistently refers to as “an existing public walkway” This has driven increased foot traffic to the site and infuriated the public who quickly see there is no such walkway. Meed Ward has hidden the truth about the owner’s right to fence the land and restrict all public access. This has incited further potential for public mischief, antagonism towards the owners and increased potential liability. Meed Ward has no right to direct the public to privately fenced property,  said Swartz

What Swartz has done is heightened the rhetoric to make something sound much worse than it is.

Here is what Swartz is complaining about:

A lack of transparency on the part of Meed Ward –

Although the owners had asked Meed Ward on July 17th 2012 to convey the information to the public, as of the Council meeting on October 15, 2013 (fifteen months later) Meed Ward had still not been forthcoming with our request to inform the public of our concerns (a major breach of transparency). Her comments via social media continue to be misleading and lack transparency in that she refers to the Water St parcel as a “public pathway”.

Meed Ward ignored the owners’ requests and never informed the public that in actual fact, 50% of this parcel of land remains inaccessible to the public by a court order dating back to 1993 and that no such public walkway from Market St to St Paul exists.

That comment that “50% of this parcel of land remains inaccessible to the public by a court order dating back to 1993” is both a stretch and a rather unique interpretation of what the Judge said in the decision. There was no “court order” – there was a decision that had to do with monies that were to be returned.

We did say this was complex and we will do a feature article on what is a rather sad situation. For the moment let’s let each of the parties to this get a few words in.


Mike Swartz telling city council that he might have to sue.

Swartz in his document said: `…we are hereby formally registering a complaint against Ward 2 Councilor Meed Ward for serious contraventions and breach under the Act. It is unclear as to the formal process at the City regarding complaints dealing with Councilor violations under Sec 224 of the Municipalities Act. We are therefore submitting this complaint to the Ontario Municipal Ombudsman as well as Karren Wallace, Ontario Municipal advisor, Mayor Rick Goldring and City Clerk, Angela Morgan.. We further request that we be granted an in person meeting with the review party in order to more clearly define and elaborate on our claims.

Here is what Meed Ward has to say about that:

The residents who have filed the complaint disagree with my vote against selling this publicly-owned waterfront land. They have cited a 1993 court case in this matter, detailed below. One section of the public walkway is fenced at one end, but that fencing was not, contrary to the statements made in the complaint to the Ombudsman, a result of “a court order.” The court decision in fact reinforces that the land is in public hands.

Difference of opinion about a public issue is light years away from dereliction of duty.  Meed Ward went on to say in a prepared statement that: “I will not be intimidated into silence by this action. I will not allow these actions to have a chilling effect on public discourse on a matter of significant public interest.

“I have and will continue to speak openly on this issue and to make my position and my vote clear, transparent and accountable. I will continue to notify the public about this issue, and seek public input.
“I will continue to advocate for the public interest on the waterfront. My commitment is to keep public waterfront lands in public hands. Period. I will not waver from that position.

This is a complex story that needs to be explained carefully – there are culprits all over the place on this one. Stay tuned.

 Background links:

Swartz make formal complaint over council member behaviour

How city council decided to sell waterfront property


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3 comments to Strong statements from those who want to buy waterfront property and the council member who says this shouldn’t happen.

  • Morgan

    I agree wholeheartedly with Nicholas and JQ public. Does cravens hypocrisy and arrogance have any limit? Is craven going to mentor arnott like he did Lancaster? We have seen how well that worked out. The social and financial damage of having 4 years of those 2 would take decades to repair. I hope voters do a little research before voting.

  • JQ Public

    The video mentioned above by Mr. Leblovic should ne mandatory viewing for all Ward 1 and Ward 2 voters. Shows politicking in its most basic instinct. Voters, you can decide.

  • Nicholas Leblovic

    One only has to look at the video in the following YouTube link
    which shows Mike Swartz cuddling up to Kelly Arnott at a recent fundraiser to figure out that the motivation for this action is dirty politics of the worst kind. Having concluded that the election in Ward 2 is over, the only recourse left to the Arnott supporters is to try and embarrass Meed Ward.

    By the way one can only be amazed by the rank hypocrisy of Councillor Craven shown in the video calling for the election of Arnott in order to bring Ward 2 “back into the fold”. In an earlier newspaper article published in the Burlington Post, Craven complained that “we’ve had situations where members of council have been intruding in other councillors’ wards” and called for a Code of Conduct for Burlington Council to address this problem. It seems that he only considers it an intrusion if another councillor intrudes in his ward while he is free to do whatever he wants in a neigbouring ward. You can now understand why so many people have concluded that this Council was dysfunctional.