We’ve “finally become what was promised”. Really?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  February 24, 2011  –  When the lights are turned out and you’re completely in the dark you’re never quite sure where you are going and what you are going to bump into.

We “think” we are doing the right thing – but how do you know.  We got a note from a Ken C who said:  Your ‘newspaper’ is finally becoming what was promised. When will we hear about the long term status of Shaping Burlington?

I want to tell Ken, who is now my very best friend for life and with whom I will become a blood brother when we nick our wrists and swear fealty to each other for the rest of our lives – what is happening with Shape.

Burlington City Hall Staff` will be giving their response to the Shape report at a Council meeting March 8th.  The ”illustrious” Kim Phillips, she being THE General Manager of Corporate Services for the City of Burlington will lay upon us the way staff feel they should respond to the eight recommendations contained in the Shape report. 

If you are not quite sure what illustrious means let me share with you the definition in the dictionary.com – to wit, highly distinguished; renowned; famous: an illustrious leader or, glorious, as deeds or works: many illustrious achievements. Kim’s Mum will like that.

The development of an Engagement Charter, which was one of the Shape recommendations, caught the eye of the United Nations Public Administration Network where the comment was made that –

“The charter would affirm the city’s commitment to reaching out to a diverse population and would explain how to navigate city hall and its services,” said Ken Edwards, a member of Shaping Burlington who also worked on the Shape Burlington report. “The charter would incorporate an early notification system and allow a reasonable amount of time for all participants to understand the steps and develop decisions before decisions are made. Ultimately, the charter would promote active public engagement and meaningful dialogue, which likely will require a culture shift at city hall.”

I’m pretty sure Ken’s family doesn’t know that his remarks are being discussed in the halls of the United Nations.  There must be some kind of a plaque the Mayor can give Ken for putting Burlington on the world map.  We’re not just home of the Burlington Teen Tour Band you know.

While it has taken the city longer to respond to the report than it did for Messrs Boich and Mulkewich did to create the Shape team, research and write the report – that is incidental.  Ms Phillips has consulted widely and after an internal review and some discussion with the Shaping Burlington (that being the group of citizens who wanted to ensure that the Shape report didn’t just gather dust) she will release her findings at the Committee meeting.

It needs to be said that there will not be a reception after the committee meeting, but, depending on the content of the staff report, there will be huzzahs or much wailing and flailing once the contents have been digested.  This is going to be a report that will be worth the paper it is written on.

 So – there you have it Ken.  Stay tuned because you know that Our Burlington will be at the media table in Council chambers covering this event.


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