What will the Mayor Elect have on her desk when she assumes office on December 3rd?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

November 5th, 2018



The bigger picture.

Mayor Elect Marianne Meed Ward has been meeting with the newly elected Council members to hear what they would like to achieve in the next four years and at the same time organizing her own agenda and figuring out what has to be done and when.

She will have to decide who is going to work with her when she becomes Mayor, she has that figured out; then she has to get the council ready to tackle the budget and help her colleagues make city council work.

Those are the local issues.

She has to then think through what she wants to have in the way of a relationship with the provincial government that she doesn’t share a political philosophy with nor does she have the same political temperament.

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Getting some changes in the Places to Grow program and a strong relationship with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and reaching out to other municipal Mayors are just the beginning.

A much bigger issue is: Will there be a Burlington come 2022 when this council will return to the electors for a second mandate? Burlington was incorporated as a village in 1872, and erected into a town in 1915 and became a city in 1974.

When current Mayor Rick Goldring met with the Ministry during the municipal election, along with several other Mayors wanting to begin a discussion about Places to Grow, Goldring went rogue and mentioned to the Minister that he had his eye on Waterdown and wanted to talk about an annexation.

Goldring didn’t inform Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger what he had in mind.

Eisenberger, who did get himself re-elected, was pretty direct when he said he thought the idea was a flyer crafted on the back of a napkin.

doug-ford-1The province has changed the make-up of several Regional governments. In that announcement Doug Ford said:

“For too long (Toronto) city council has failed to act on the key issues facing Toronto. Less Councillors will mean a more efficient government, and more action on key issues like transit, housing and infrastructure,” Ford said in his statement released earlier.

“I promised to reduce the size and cost of government, and end the culture of waste and mismanagement. More politicians are not the answer. These changes will dramatically improve the decision making process, and help restore accountability and trust in local governments.”

“The Better Local Government Act introduces a number of changes, such as:

“Changes to the Municipal Elections Act to have elections for regional chairs in York, Peek, Niagara, and Muskoka Regions are reversed back to the system they were prior to 2016: when they were appointed by sitting councillors. Regional elections in Halton, Durham and Waterloo remain.”

It had become clear to those who followed these things that there is more in the way of change coming for municipal governments – look what Ford did to Toronto.

Map Region HaltonLooking at municipal government from a Halton perspective one could wonder what might be in the works for Halton; will the province use a shotgun approach that could blow apart local government as we know it today?

The Region of Halton was created in January of 1974, prior to that it was Halton County, one of the oldest in the province was created in 1816.

Creating the Region of Halton was controversial at the time. Local politicians at the time had to fight to keep Burlington out of Hamilton.

Dis-membering Halton and adding Oakville and Burlington to Hamilton and adding Milton and Halton Hills to Peel would fit in with the kind of thinking we are seeing coming out of Queen’s Park these days.

Dundas foreverWhen Dundas was rolled into Hamilton the locals came up with a defence strategy that didn’t work but there are still these small signs placed in some local windows with T- shorts bearing the words on sale in stores on Kings Street.

What would Burlington do?

Burlington has always been a bedroom community for Hamilton; Oakville has been the place for the moneyed set who didn’t want to live in Forest Hill or Rosedale.

City Hall - high frontal viewWhat would any of these changes mean to the average Burlingtonian – we would still be called Burlington but the shots would no longer be called from a city hall on Brant Street. Would there even be a city hall on Brant Street?

Something to think about. The Mayor elect has a lot more than local issues on the desk she will sit behind on the 8th floor of city hall.

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