There is room for some decency in the way the city administration and the elected officials treat the taxpayers.

News 100 blackBy Pepper Parr

April 9th, 2018



This is getting just a little ridiculous.

City council approved a height of 23 storeys for a condominium opposite city hall.

421 BrantFinal, final approval was subject to a Section 37 agreement being put in place.

ECOB logoECoB – Engaged citizens of Burlington, were waiting for that Section 37 agreement to be put in place so they could appeal the decision to the OMB.

The city releases the Section 37 agreement – astounding is the best way to summarize what the citizens get for giving the developer an additional 11 storeys of height.

A citizen writes a stiff rebuke on just what the Planning department has apparently agreed to.

No date is given as to when this Section 37 agreement for the development known as 421 Brant is going to be put in front of city council.

On Tuesday evening there are two Statutory meetings scheduled for the Planning and Development Standing committee. Statutory public meetings are held to present planning applications in a public forum as required by the Planning Act.

There is no mention of anything else on the agenda for the Tuesday evening meeting.

421 James street rendering

Is the 421 Brant Street development too close to city hall? We are not talking distance here. –

The ECoB people learned that the Section 37 agreement for the 421 Brant development will be on the agenda.

They advised the Gazette that:

City P & D have sneaked the section 37 community benefit proposals for 421 Brant St on to tomorrow night’s agenda without announcing it on the agenda made public on the city website. We found it by digging around elsewhere after Tom Muir made us aware of it.

Penny Hersh, part of the ECoB leadership sent the following to media: it was addressed to ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward

“It has come to our attention that Section 37-Public Benefits for 421 Brant Street will be discussed at the Planning and Development Committee tomorrow evening.

“It is only by searching the City’s website does this appear. No change to the Official Agenda.

Added agenda item graphic

The item added to the Planning and Development meeting Tuesday evening doesn’t appear in the agenda – but it did appear elsewhere on the city web site. Citizens should not have to search for information.

When was this “additional item” placed on the website and why was the Agenda that most residents would check not updated?

“What is staff afraid of? What is the thought process, definitely not transparency? It certainly gives one the impression that they are trying to get this done under the radar. The hope that no one shows up to question this travesty of NON Community Benefits for increased height and density. This is yet another reason why residents have no trust in staff and Council.

“Staff seems to forget that they work for the residents and Council elected to protect the interests of the residents.

“I am asking that Council direct staff to defer discussion of the Section 37 Benefits for 421 Brant Street to the April 24th meeting.”

This situation is intolerable. Last week the city discussed the adoption of a Good Governance model for the members of council. They are going to need more than a model on how to govern to get past this mess.  The optics on this just stink.  It is going to take quite an explanation to convince anyone that this was not deliberate.

Both the city administration and the members of council are duty bound to ensure that the public is fully informed.  The city did put out a notice saying maintenance work was being done on the city web site:

While we are making changes, please note that some online services will not be available on Monday, April 9 from 9 to 10 p.m.:

• Online business license renewal
• Online Property information requests

There is room for some decency in the way the city administration and the elected officials treat the taxpayers.

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