Wow!  That is egregious.  That is mean spirited and we suspect illegal.

By Pepper Parr

August 11th, 2023



More on that food chain and naturalized garden that the City weed-whacked recently

The belief on the part of staff at City hall that a bylaw was not being complied with are issues that “crop up” frequently.

What was astounding with the Karen Barnes situation was the decision on the part of the City to inform the holders of the mortgage she had on her property that she had not complied with a City bylaw.

Wow!  That is egregious.  That is mean spirited and we suspect illegal.

People who lend money want two things – they want their investment back with interest and they want to minimize their risk.

Interest rates are determined by the level of risk involved and the City of Burlington just told the money lenders that Karen Barnes was a bigger risk than they expected.

That is damnable.

We don’t know who made the decision to advise Barnes that they had sent a notice to her mortgage holder but we do believe that the work was done by the City’s legal department.  They would have to search the title to determine who held the mortgage and then craft and send the letter.

Brynn Nheiley, Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility was a part of the approving of the harsh decisions that were made.

Why the City Solicitor didn’t advise Brynn Nheiley, Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility  that it wasn’t a very good idea to send a letter like that is beyond me.

The timing of all this suggests that the work was done while Nancy Shea Nicol, now retired, was the City Solicitor at the time.

People like to feel that Staff at City hall are working for them – not against them. I wonder how Staff feel when they realize that someone has been treated in such a shabby manner.

The vegetation growing on Barnes’ front lawn and back yard wasn’t going to kill anyone.

The Statement found a way to avoid the facts.

The meanness that surrounds this is really very disturbing.

This is not what civilized, caring people do.

We wondered what the members of City Council would have to say when this became public – now we know where three of them stand.  The Joint Statement made by the Mayor and Councillors Nisan and Bentivegna was a disappointment. The statement itself has all the earmarks of a Meed Ward communiqué. It is overly long and does not directly address the main issue at hand – the manner in which the City executed its perceived mandate.

Related news stories

The beginning – what had happened before the weed whackers arrived

How did this happen

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

3 comments to Wow!  That is egregious.  That is mean spirited and we suspect illegal.

  • cynthia Anne zahoruk

    Burlington appears to have an authoritarian council that wants to control people, and they REACT in a heavy handed way…shame on Burlington for cutting down naturalization! I am embarrassed and apologize to Karen Barnes from all reasonable Burlingtonians.

  • Thanks for this Blair. We have no opportunity to do this in Burlington as we live in a condo. We do, however, have a summer place, a trailer, near Peterboro. We have always planted a garden that attracts bees, butterflies and even Humming Birds. When we started in 2015 we had dozens of bees at any time and multiple monarchs. Sadly, however, the number has dwindled leaving us to get excited to see a couple of bees and four Monarchs that we saw before lunch.thats why it is important for us all to insist on getting the truth on the Barnes story and to encourage Council to rethink their egregious, mean spirited practices.

  • Blair Smith

    I have frequently been accused, with some degree of reason, of being too critical in pointing to flaws and gaffs with a light hand on constructive solutions. So, here I will try to redeem myself somewhat. I believe that the City took an appalling position on Karen Barnes’ naturalized garden, and overstepped the boundaries of both its mandate and appropriate behaviour. That said, there is a positive and exceedingly useful action that we can all take to protest the City’s action and benefit us all – grow a naturalized garden for the pollinators and contribute to the restoration of a healthier environment. I have attached two links that provide some direction. I will take photos of my garden as it progresses and post on social media regularly.