The Waterfront Advisory committee can be saved but it will take courage, conviction and some very fast action.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  July 11 , 2012  There was a way to save the Waterfront Advisory committee.  The members of the committee just had to be true to themselves and remove their chair from office and then ask the General Manager to give them another year to clean up their act.

Without the leadership needed – this crew could go nowhere – the city lost the energy, knowledge and passion of some fine people.

The city had reached its limit – they knew nothing was going to happen with this committee.  It was sucking up all kinds of resources, holding meetings that achieved nothing and totally disillusioning its members.  The frustration expressed by the members of the committee was painful to listen to – but as a group they weren’t able to summon the personal courage or the courage of their convictions to remove Nicholas Leblovic as chair.

They were not only afraid to remove him as chair – they actually re-elected him as chair at a time when there wasn’t a natural leader available.

But then Bob Wingfield was appointed to the committee and that was the opportunity for the members to take a brave, bold move and give the important committee the life and leadership it needed.

How?  Here’s how.

A member raises his hand at a meeting and declares he has a motion he wishes to put forward.  The chair has to recognize the member.

The motion is: To declare the chair of the Waterfront Access and Protection Advisory Committee vacant.

There will be a look of stunned disbelief on the face of the chair.

Within seconds another member raises his hand and says: “I second the motion”.

Seconds after that a third member asks the chair to call the vote.

And they vote on the motion (the vast majority would vote to remove this chair) and the chair is then vacant and the members can proceed to elect a new chair and get on with the business they were asked to do on behalf of the city.

Messy – sure it is – but not nearly as messy as this really important committee with some intelligent, dedicated Burlingtonians on it who were and are passionate about what we do with our waterfront.

That opportunity is basically lost – unless, at the Advisory committees next meeting, which was scheduled for Friday, the 13th, the committee does something along these  lines and then appears at the city council meeting on the 16th and asks the council to defer the vote to sunset the committee on December 31st, 2012 and allow them to come back with an agenda and a work plan that sets out how they will get some much needed work done.

Will the members of the Advisory committee do this and save an important committee – they can’t – the meeting planned for July 13 was cancelled – they will not meet again until September.

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