Does the Mayor have a strategy for saving the 'football'; there is one.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

November 7th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Much of the public rationale for Marianne Meed Ward running in ward 2 in 2010 was that she would do everything possible to save the waterfront.

SaveOurWaterfront- Meed ward

Long time believers in saving the waterfront. Are there enough of them left to make a difference today?

An organization was created – SOW – Save our Waterfront that Meed Ward rode all the way to city hall.

She was relentless with her use of social media. There were two film clips of her walking backwards along the lakeshore talking into a camera explain what she was trying to do with the waterfront and why. It was classic grass roots politics.

There are hundreds of people who still have their $10 SOW membership cards in their pockets. The organization morphed into the Meed Ward election campaign team.

In 2006 Meed Ward had run against Rick Craven in ward 1; the result of that election were not pretty. The Ward family moved from the Tyendaga community into the city core; ward 2 was a much easier win.

OldLk-Southside-view

Everything on the right hand side of what is Old LAkeshore Road has to be left the way it is – no development on that land. The Motel is now in the hands of the people who own the Waterfront Hotel, Emmas is on land owned by Mayrose Tyco. This is where Mayor Meed Ward is going to have to find the leverage she needs. Does she have an ace up her sleeve?

Marianne has made the waterfront her issue. She fought tooth and nail to save the waterfront land between Market and St. Paul Streets – to no avail. It was sold to a property owner who saw an opportunity to acquire lakefront property for a song. The full story behind how that came about is a little clearer now that Council got a chance to hear what leading real estate agent Michael O’Sullivan told the city when delegating on another matter.

She has watched the public presentations from the CORE people and Burlington Old Lakeshore Inc., part of the Carriage Gate interests. and realized she was up against some pretty big guns.

She should be able to hold her council with her on this fight, Bentevegna might be problematic. She is going to have to work very hard to ensure that the Planning department fully understands the “will of council.

SOW images for fottball

The four eight to 15 story structures is a lousy deal for everyone.

But more than that – she is going to have to come up with a strategy. At this point it looks as if she is going to hang her hat on the zoning of 8 storeys as of right with up to 15 storeys if the right benefits are made available to the community.

She is going to have to deal with the tight grip the Conservation authority has on what can and what cannot be done south of the Old Lakeshore Road.

Cons HAlton line

Conservation Halton has ruled that nothing can be built south of that dotted blue line. The buildings there now can stay, It is those buildings on the south side of Old LAkeshore that Meed Ward is going to have to find a way to leverage.

What we didn’t see or even get a hint of from Meed Ward was that big, bold audacious idea that former Toronto Mayor David Crombie once told the Waterfront Advisory Committee was needed to save that piece of land.

Marianne understands the theatrics of politics. She use social media well, the ‘moth to a flame” part of her makeup will not serve her well. But these are small matters.

There is an opportunity to do something magnificent with the “football”. It will take imagination and a willingness to go for that “Hail Mary” pass, but if she can get her hands on the ball she will have created a legend for herself that can propel her some distance in the world of politics.

The 22 story Bridgewater development was done on Mayor Walter Mulkewich’s watch. It was originally going to be a 30 storey structure and be known as a legacy building.

Meed Ward can move the needle on legacy – but only if she surrounds herself with people that are imaginative, innovative and politically connected.

Meed ward election night 1

Victory is sweet – living up to the promise is the hard part.

Settling for 15 storeys on that patch of land will be nothing to boast about.

There is time for a better brilliant idea to come forward – just not that much.

The Meed Ward position at this point is that there is policy in place that limits what can be done with the land. The developer’s consultant said these were guidelines with little in the way of force.

Meed Ward is going to have to galvanize the people in the Planning department to put the minds of some of the young and very bright people in the building to give the city their very best.

Meed Ward’s long term political career and the soul of the city that many people want depends on it.

Return to the Front page
Print Friendly

2 comments to Does the Mayor have a strategy for saving the ‘football’; there is one.

  • Maggie Steiss

    Interesting Idea

  • Perryb

    Instead of fighting the OMB — oops, LPAT — at every turn, maybe it it would be more cost effective to take this unelected body itself to court. Claim its powers and actions are unconstitutional and damaging to society. Trot out all the studies that have been made, ask where all the promised improvements have gone, review all the devastating impacts created over the years. Show that the body has routinely violated its own rules (like renewing members’ terms beyond the maximum allowed). Cut off the poisoned tree at the roots,

Leave a Reply