Ward 3 gets a two for one: Bentivegna joins Councillor Rory Nisan.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

February 9th, 2019



Now that they are elected and are well on their way to getting comfortable with the jobs they have the members of Council are getting out into the community to meet with their constituents.

Each member of council has their own style and approach. Residents of ward 5 have learned how to respond to Councillor Sharman and those in ward 2 know how Meed Ward handled issues – now that she is Mayor we are seeing a tendency to use photo ops much more than she did as a Councillor.

We will return to the change in Meed Ward.

Thursday evening ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan met with his constituents at the Conservation offices on Britannia Road. He had people in from the Finance department give a solid background piece on the budget that is before council. The tax levy put forward by the Finance department recommended an increase over the 2018 budget of 3.99%.

Mayor Meed Ward has said she would like to see that reduced to 2.99% – which might be a stretch given the new asks that are coming forward; but she does appear to have the support of her colleagues on a lower tax levy for 2019.

Nisan Lowville Feb 7 BEST

Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan listening to a budget presentation.

Councillor Nisan didn’t make any direct comment on where he stood on what the eventual tax levy should be during his constituency meeting. His meeting in Lowville was to deal with rural issues and he did something surprising – he had ward 6 councillor Angelo Bentivegna join him so that the two men could hear what was pressing and on the minds of the rural community. Life north of Dundas is a lot different than life south of the QEW,

The speed with which people drive their vehicles through the rural roads is a consistent concern. There was at one point a school crossing guard at the public school in Kilbride – he retired and the city has not found a replacement.

Lowville meet Feb 7

Cold night, roads all but fogged in – but 30 residents showed up to meet their ward Councillor.

Public safety was a prime issue – and the lack of a school crossing guard produced a lot of discussion.

“If there was a school in Burlington without a crossing guard” said one resident “there would be someone sent in to cover for a crossing guard that is not able to get to their job.”

The residents of Kilbride want the same level of service. They see themselves as the forgotten residents of the city. Someone suggested that the northern parts of wards 3 and ward 6 be merged and turned into a single ward with its own Councillor.

Bentivegna explained why he thought that was not a good idea. With the current system he explained you have three of the seven councillors who have rural constituents speaking for you. You will get a better response with the current ward set up.

Lowville Regulars - Rickli +

Lowville regulars – Walt Rickli on the left and John Timmins on the right.

Councillor Nisan appear to like the idea of a single rural ward.
Bentivegna proved to be much more outgoing and robust in this rural setting than we have seen him in the past; he was all over every issue and said on a number of occasions that he was in office to make changes. He has come up with a tag line: rethink, reinvent and retool that he touts every chance he gets.

He has kept the election signage on his vehicle as well. With a win of less than 50 votes over Blair Lancaster in the October election he might well be wise to stay in election mode.

While the meeting was not in his ward Bentivegna was taking down names and phone numbers and promising to follow up “first thing tomorrow”.

Part of the budget Q&A was on the addition of a sixth bylaw enforcement officer. People in ward 3 say they never see a bylaw enforcement officer unless it is a matter that relates to Conservation Halton.

The city currently has five bylaw control officers – a sixth will allow one for each ward and Bentivegna wants to see a ward bylaw officer handle every kind of complaint. Right now the animal control people don’t take on parking problems and the parking people don’t respond the bylaw infractions relating to property. He wants the silos between the departments taken down – every bylaw office would respond to anything and everything; there would be no more specialization.

Bentivegna wasn’t able to say just how many bylaw enforcement officers there are in the city; his comment was those that are in place are “run pretty ragged”

Bentevegna starinwith Nisan Feb 7 Lowville

Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna joined forces with Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan to brief the residents on what the two of them were going to do for rural Burlington. Meeting took place in Lowville.

Road conditions are an ongoing concern. Finance department staffer Anne Marie explained that the city has an inventory of every road in the municipality that details when the road was last repaired or upgraded – that data drives a large part of the infrastructure budget.

The condition of the roads and the speed at which people drive their cars is regularly brought up at rural Councillor meetings.

Residents want speed bumps; however the installation of a speed bump requires research which the residents see as waste of time. A new sidewalk was put in in Kilbride – but it isn’t snow plowed forcing people to walk on the road on which vehicles move too quickly. One resident talked of having to jump into a ditch to avoid being hit by a pickup truck. “It’s a big issue up here” he said.

Public safety was the prime concern – that and a school bus driver who is said to be driving at 80 clicks in a 40 click zone.

“Kids don’t walk to school anymore – they get driven by their parents who then speed away to get to their jobs” explained one parent.

Taylor at LowvilleFeb 7

Former ward 3 Councilor John Taylor keeping an eye on what the new ward Councillor is doing.

The Kilbride fire station is run by 30 volunteers that most people are content with. Their beef is that there isn’t any water service – it has to be transported in when there is a fire. There is a tanker at the fire station but it apparently doesn’t have any water in it.

On a cold winter night with thick fog covering the roads some 30 people gathered to voice their concerns. Sitting in the audience listening quietly was John Taylor, the former, now retired Councillor for the ward.

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5 comments to Ward 3 gets a two for one: Bentivegna joins Councillor Rory Nisan.

  • Richelle Papin

    It is my understanding that election signage was to come down 48 hours after the election, Wednesday, October 24, 2018, even signage on your vehicle. It would not be wise to stay in election mode since we are no longer in the campaign period. If he has changed the sign to Councillor Bentivegna, that’s a different story. Has anyone checked the by-laws on this?

  • Richelle Papin

    If there is a school in Burlington without a crossing guard, there would be someone from the Burlington area school community sent in to replace or cover for a crossing guard. If the school in Kilbride is without a crossing guard, someone in the Kilbride area needs to come forward to replace or cover for a crossing guard.

  • Susan L.

    I completely agree with idea of splitting Ward 3 into separate Wards.

    I live in the residential part of Ward 3 and I haven’t felt like I was part of the City of Burlington for years. A lot of services stop at Fairview. Even the bus that goes up here is now called the “Brant North” and it starts at Fairview. If you want to go into the City from here, you take the “Guelph Downtown” bus to get there.

    The City spends a lot of money trying to get people to shop downtown, including offering free parking. (Lots of free parking up here.) I believe that’s the reason many stores I used to shop at have left Ward 3 and relocated downtown.

    I no longer live in the City Burlington, I live in the suburbs.

  • ROger

    In Ward 5 – we have learned to communicate with our councilor – we raise a concern – he tells us what he thinks and then if we agree with him all is good

  • Kevin

    Nice recap Pepper, thank you