With the city manager clearing out his office and the official plan on its way back from the Region Mayor Meed Ward can now get on with the Burlington re-build she has always wanted to do.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

December 5th, 2018



The approved Official Plan is on its way back to Burlington. The Region found that it didn’t comply with it’s Official Plan – so Burlington has to fix what was really a small problem.

The City Manager has quit – our view is that he wasn’t pushed – he jumped.

There are a couple of other senior people who will be retiring.

Mayor Meed Ward is probably going to have to give Tim Dobbie a call and ask him to come back and serve as thee interim City Manager.

The Deputy City Manager will probably see the writing on the wall and decide to take a break from the municipal world. Mary Lou Tanner and Meed Ward did not see the world from the same angle and it wasn’t because she didn’t try.

Meed ward election night 1

The election celebration …

The voters wanted a change – and they got one.

All but one member of Council was returned. That’s as close to a clean sweep as you are going to get.

Rebuilding is going to be a massive task.

We can expect to see who the Mayor appoints as her Chief of Staff – she might rename the job.  she is going to need a top team to get the job done – and it isn’t going to get done in a single term,

The upside to this is Meed Ward has huge energy.

She is going to have to rely on that energy to bring about the changes she wants.

MMW arms out - thank you

Meed Ward thanking the audience at her inauguration

She is going to have to work Queen’s Park for some of the changes she wants at city hall.

She has all kinds of reaching out to do and at the same time nurture a very new, young and inexperienced city council.

Exciting times – the caution: Don’t blow it.


Salt with Pepper reflects the opinions, observations and musings of the publisher of the Gazette, an on-line newspaper that is in its 8th year of as a news source in Burlington and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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5 comments to With the city manager clearing out his office and the official plan on its way back from the Region Mayor Meed Ward can now get on with the Burlington re-build she has always wanted to do.

  • Tom Muir


    The OP official “start point” as you put it, was at the public meeting at the Performing Arts Centre on April 28, 2015, when Mayor Goldring gave a kick-off lecture telling everyone there that we had to do this intensification thing, and he told us why we had no choice.

    The Mayor has power. The Office leads, hires the City Manager who also has power.

    It directs and hires the Senior staff to deliver the agenda, and lobbies Council members to the cause.

    Craven was already on board that night and got an outspoken mention for his being ahead of the curve. We in Aldershot already knew this.

    The rest of the majority of Council, save MMW, were easily led to commit to the Grow Bold Plan. Remember all those 6 to 1 votes that followed in the years later as the Plan emerged?

    But remember again, the Mayor and Council decide and direct, and staff delivers.

    That’s the way the organization works. Staff do as they are told. Or else.

    Planning and development is very easily manipulated politically. That’s where the real power and money creation is, so that is a natural tendency.

    So really, Goldring, Craven, and the rest of the old Council, save MMW, are the real owners that we can hang the Plan on – the chain of “command” only existed from the City Manager Ridge to Mary Lou Tanner as first Director of Planning and then Deputy City Manager.

    These folks set the policies to be followed to achieve the stated goals, and processes to get there.

    The rest of the key staff just did what they were told and looked the other way when need be. They were the ones that the “commands” were given to.

    So now we have a new Mayor and new Council and corrective action lies in doing just what the previous command structure did.

    Develop your own command structure to carry out the orders that you issue and want followed, to meet your own goals.

    Then develop the organizing form and manner that you want the implementing staff to follow and deliver what the Mayor and majority of Council have decided that they want.

    Again, this is how the organization works, and knowing this and commanding this, Prest-o, Change-o, we get a new Plan, based on what we want from a process we want.

    No real need for scapegoating – the election did that. Others may follow City Manager Ridge.

    The real need is organizational – get the right people to command with commitment the process to get where we want to go and how we want to get there.

    Fear not – we have the power to do what we want, and a new Mayor who has promised to get us there.

    Integrity, perseverance, and determination have to be our motto.

    But most of all resident involvement and initiative must be presented.

    As they say in the start of Grand Prix races – “Drivers, start your engines.”

  • Joan Gallagher-Bell

    Hello Mayor Marianne:
    I am looking forward to a Civil Transparent Council with you at the helm. While I will say it was needed NOW is a good day. Living in Now will get you what you deserve and want. The organizational period is a change. Once that all is in order (which I know you will organize) life will be easier. You have the best sounding board in town your hubby. Marianne God Bless you and I am thinking in 2020 life will look better. Might I ask a huge ask……….remember the demographics of seniors plus the challenges they face……..transit, housing, debt ratio, health. Sorry they are all number one importance.

    God Bless You and Yours 2019 and beyond……………….Joan

  • Lucy

    In the Lakeshore Road east area of Ward 5, we are also hoping that the changes made in the April 2018 Official Plan will be modified so that we don’t end up with the over-intensification of Lakeshore Village Plaza. The Developer’s proposal had the majority who attended the open house in July and August extremely distressed with the ‘monstrosity’ presented to us that would bring major problems to our neighbourhood.

    The redevelopment of this plaza, if not done wisely, could set a dangerous precedent for many other city plaza redevelopment projects in the future and impact other neighbourhoods quite negatively. This is the reason why all residents should keep an eye on what happens with the Lakeshore Village Plaza redevelopment.

  • joe gaetan

    I don’t think we can hang the OP approval or the process on one or two people. There was a chain of command in place and that is where we should start to look for corrective action. Determining the start point is critical, did it start at council or did it start elsewhere? Scapegoating at this point is not helpful and may be harmful.

  • Don Fletcher

    The fact that the Planning Department drove the pre-mature approval & submission of a non-compliant OP to Halton Region has to be shouldered also by Mary Lou Tanner, the then Director of Planning. She appeared to be as dictatorial & intransigent as James Ridge. A new City Manager may have to deal with her.

    The return of the adopted Official Plan is monumental, if and only if the process allows for a major re-write of the downtown plan (along the lines that MMW proposed when she was Ward 2 councillor) in addition to fixing specific non-compliance matters noted by the Region. By the way, a missing Transit Plan seems like a major shortfall to me. I think that this was MMW’s big news alluded to at Monday’s Inauguration meeting, because the approval date/ timeframe to modify the OP now has to be reset.

    None of this is new for MMW. She has been training for this opportunity for at least her last term, maybe more, so I’m confident that she will “do good work” as she promised.