ECoB and city hall meet - will citizens support this new group that wants a much more collaborative relationship with the city. Shades of Shape Burlington perhaps?

By Pepper ParrNews 100 yellow

December 2, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The first meeting was a low key event. The idea for getting people together to meet and talk about the way city council was letting growth take place first appeared on a Facebook page with an entry by Susan Goyer, a retired banking executive who was relatively new to Burlington with a love of puppies.

That Facebook page attracted attention and then some traction.

People decided to meet – they needed a place to gather – thought city hall could be used on a Saturday – that didn’t work out so they gathered in the Party Room of the Buntin’s Wharf condo.

ECOB founding Nov 25 back of heads

It wasn’t a large group – but it was a very effective group. Can it be grown to be one that teaches city hall what collaboration really means?

There was a lot of work done via email before the meeting took place – selecting the name, setting out just what they wanted to achieve –which meant melding together a lot of individual agendas.

The common thread was getting some citizen control over city council and not being reliant on the ballot box every four years.

ECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington – well worth watching.

The city council approval of the 421 Brant development that was to rise opposite city hall was the spark. That was more than this group of people wanted to see and they called a meeting to see who would turn up. It wasn’t a large group – 25 – maybe 30.

At the initial two hour meeting they agreed to incorporate, created a Board of Directors, raised $5000 on the spot and agreed that they would appeal the city decision on the 23 storey tower on Brant Street to the Ontario Municipal Board.

In a delegation to city Council on November 30thm in the evening, ECoB set out part of their objective.

Kearns + Josie

Several of the people that showed up for the first public ECoB meeting – Lisa Kearns, standing, is one to watch – impressive skill set.

Engaged Citizens of Burlington (‘ECOB’) is a non-profit group representing residents and business owners working towards building a better Burlington for generations to come.  ECOB is a diverse group which has received substantial interest from individual residents and other groups who have a desire to provide a collective voice concerning matters of planning, growth and development as they affect this city in which we live.

ECOB wish to make you aware of a number of concerns and objections that we have with regard to the proposed Official Plan.  We are of the view that the proposed plan will have a serious impact on the residents’ standard of living.

Our comments tonight focus largely on the downtown core as there has been insufficient time to adequately examine the effects of the OP on the rest of the City.

There is a longer term objective. They want to reach out to other groups in the city and become an umbrella that any interest group can get under and access the resources of the organization

The OMB appeal is on the front burner because there is a time frame they must work within.
Where will this group go? Hard to tell. There are some very impressive people involved – mostly downtown core – with some very good talent coming out of Aldershot.

The group leadership is firm on their desire to attract people from every ward in the city.

They meet next on Wednesday, December 13th from 7-9 pm at the Burlington Baptist Church- 2225 New Street- next to Dodsworth & Brown.

Part of staff response to shape

Part of the 2011 staff response to the Shape Burlington report.

The creation of this group bears some resemblance to Shape Burlington, a group that was formed in 2010 to bring about better access to city hall.

Councillors Sharman and Lancaster: both part of the Shape Burlington committee who seem to have forgotten what the report was all about - civic engagement

Councillors Sharman and Lancaster: both part of the Shape Burlington committee who seem to have forgotten what the report was all about – civic engagement

Two of the people who were on that group (Councillors Sharman and Lancaster) went on to become members of city council and seemed to forget what Shape Burlington was all about.

James Ridge

City manager James Ridge.

Tanner Mary Lou

Director of Planning – Mary Lou Tanner

One could do well if they wagered that neither James Ridge, the city manager nor the Mary Lou Tanner, Director of Planning have read the report.

Is ECoB just another Shape Burlington? Time will tell.

Related news stories:
Mistrust of city hall

Shape Burlington report

City hall reaction to the Shape Report – nothing has changed.

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4 comments to ECoB and city hall meet – will citizens support this new group that wants a much more collaborative relationship with the city. Shades of Shape Burlington perhaps?

  • craig gardner

    ECoB should be enraged citizens of Burlington from all the ranting i have read.

  • Stephen White

    I would submit that one of the reasons this Council and Mayor have run amuck over the past seven years is because there are no strong countervailing organizations in place to challenge or question their decisions. There are a lot of intelligent, thoughtful and resourceful people who delegate regularly, or write to their Councillor, or express feedback, but because they are acting as individuals and not as part of a concerted, united organization they get “blown off”. A case in point is the November 13th Council meeting on the 421 Brant Street development.

    By contrast, Oakville has 17 Ratepayers’ Associations. They offer a strong, sustained and ongoing mechanism through which local residents can make their voices known and their opinions heard. When they delegate their Council and they Mayor listen. When they push the agenda and demand action they are able to quickly galvanize public support and things happen. Their efforts around saving Glen Abbey Golf Course is a case in point.

    https://www.oakville.ca/residents/residents-associations.html

    ECoB is a great start, but if it turns into Shape Burlington it will just be gabfest and a waste of time. The time for pleasantries and persuasion is past. I hope part of ECoB’s mandate entails identifying and formally supporting municipal election candidates. Without a strategy in place we’ll have a repeat of 2014 with multiple candidates running in each ward, vote splitting, and incumbents slipping through again.

  • Joe Gaetan

    Shape Burlington was tainted from the outset, i.e.”Shape Burlington will complete its work on a $15,000 budget supplied by the mayor’s office.” Source:The Spec Feb 5,2010.
    When citizens are enraged they become engaged, that’s how democracy works.

  • MIDGE & AL FENTON

    DONT DO FACEBOOK SO BETTER CONTACT INFORMATION IS REQUIRED! WE WILL HAPPILY SUPPORT THE ECoB EFFORTS.
    RECENTLY THERE WAS A VERY STRONG PROTEST WITH REGARDS THE POSSIBLE CLOSURE OF CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL. MORE LAWN SIGNS THAN GRASS!
    A FEW YEARS AGO THEIR WAS AN ATTEMPT TO FORCE 750 DOWNTOWN HOME OWNERS TO REGISTER IN WHAT WOULD BECOME THE LARGEST HERITAGE DISTRICT IN ALL OF ONTARIO! COLLECTIVELY WE FORMED AN ADVOCACY GROUP WITH MEETINGS AND PREVENTED THIS FROM HAPPENING,
    AT THE TIME IT WAS NOTED THAT DOWNTOWN BRANT STREET WAS EXCLUDED FROM THIS ATTEMPT DUE TO THE FACT THAT THERE ARE VERY FEW BUILDINGS LEFT THAT WOULD BE CONSIDERED HERITAGE.COULD THIS POSSIBLY BE WHY OUR COUNCIL IS THROWING THE DOWNTOWN TO THE WLOVES ( EXCUSE US WE MEAN THE DEVELOPERS )?
    THE ECoB SHOULD ATTEMPT TO GET THE LISTS OF ALL EXISTING PARTIES WHO PARTICIPATED IN THE TWO ABOVE ENDEVOURS SUCESSFULLY. YOU WOULD THEN HAVE THE DOWNTOWN COVERED!