Mary Alice St James, retired school principal, enters the race for the ward 5 council seat.

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

July 7th, 2018



The candidate we expected to run in ward 5 against incumbent Paul Sharman filed papers yesterday at city hall.

Mary Alice St. James, a retired school principal who moved into retirement while principal at Pauline Johnson elementary school.

The Gazette first crossed paths with Ms St James when a recording was being done of the students at Pauline Johnson elementary school singing O’Canada as part of a project that was going to co-ordinate then mix the recording of a national broadcast done at 79 schools.

Pauline Johnson - grouped with St. James

School principal Mary Alice St James, upper left corner, with students at her school doing a recording of O’Canada.

St. James moved to Burlington in 1982 . Her parents and brother came to the city in 1979; she was completing her final year at McGill (Bachelor of Education English/Phys. Ed.)

Her Mother, Kaye, taught at W.E. Breckon, her Dad, Lou St. James was an engineer with Bailey Controls a company that evolved into ABB. He was part of the transition team that had the company moving to Burlington from Montreal.

Mary Alice and her brother co-owned a townhouse in Walker’s Heights and then a home in Headon Forest.

Mary Alice and her husband Ron have owned their Oak Crescent home in Burlington for 24 years. Their sons now in their early twenties went to Pineland and Nelson High School.

This engaged, involved family has done much over the years to support Burlington.

Mary Alice Looking - with smile

Mary Alice St James

Mary Alice is going to use a “Burlington at its Best!” slogan in her campaign that will be managed by her sons.

Her strategy team is “stoked and ready to make a positive difference throughout Burlington.”

The web site is under construction. In this early stage of the election campaign St. James intends to “listen and use skill sets and experiences to hear what people want and then to deliver as a city and regional Councillor.

St. James is a pro “respectful building” advocate – “just not 23 stories tall”.

She was an initiator of the Shoreacres Character Study where she expressed concerns about established neighbourhoods and the challenges residents faced living normal lives during infill massing (7 days per week, 7:00am to 7:00pm)

Mary Alice is pro tree bylaws; she made sure she planted trees at every school she worked at – 30 were planted on the PJ playground.

She spoke at the Blue Water Place/Avondale OMB hearing and raised concerns with a builders’ townhouse plan; she gave a response similar to the many delegations she made before city council where her approach was to be respectful and deliver a well thought out delegation.

Mary Alice said she “feels that in a Councillor’s role she can continue and heighten what she is already doing to support the most vulnerable, including the increasing number of Seniors in Burlington. Mary Alice hopes to assist in creating Bike Lanes that work and transit that makes more sense and enables liveability in a meaningful way.

Mary Alice - pointing

Mary Alice St James, ward 5 candidate

Mary Alice said she is “currently collecting data on varied fronts and will want to hear concerns as well as creative and intelligent ideas for solutions. Mary Alice believes Burlington’s’ citizens are intelligent people who want to be heard. She is a listener who values the “smarts” of every age group and lifestyle.

This is perhaps the first time Paul Sharman, two term Councillor for ward 5, has faced a candidate with deep roots in the community.

Mary Alice does not live in ward 5 – she leaves a couple of football field lengths on the western side of Appleby Line, the ward boundary. “The people who know me” said St James, “are the parents who had children in schools I taught at on both sides of the ward boundary.”

At one point, before becoming Mayor, Rick Goldring represented ward 5, although he didn’t live in that ward.

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4 comments to Mary Alice St James, retired school principal, enters the race for the ward 5 council seat.

  • Allen Jones

    Good luck Marry Alice …. that boorish, obnoxious, know it all needs to see the door …. you have my support … and as JQ said “for it truly is in the public interest”

  • Bonnie Purkis

    Marnie, the city has changed a great deal since the time when you ran for a council seat in 2006. . In many recent surveys taken in Burlington the residents have indicated their concerns to include issues such as transit, traffic, residential over intensification, affordable family housing and preservation of our green space. These are all issues that cross boundaries and strong candidates sitting on city council as well as regional council are needed to work through these challenging times.

    In 2014 one third of the candidates running in Toronto ran in wards where they did not reside and one of the longest serving council members does not reside in the ward he represents.

  • Marnie Mellish

    I wish her well. Having a candidate living in the ward they are running in, is far more important than some people believe. Having a councilor who believes in citizen engagement and treats citizens with respect & supports transit, will be a wonderful change. Ward 5 is complex and unique: the north/south split; the seniors in the south/young people in the north; the closing of schools by both Boards in the south part; the possible closing of the ice rink; a Ward often considered the “poorest and forgotten ward”. The line up of Developers liking lot sizes in the south. Again, I wish Mary Alice well.

  • JQ Public

    This lady has the roots and the experience needed to represent citizens in Ward 5 and the city as a whole as well. Her candidacy is a welcome change for Ward 5 voters. Someone with the capability of winning. We should all do our best to aid her in her quest, for it truly is in the public interest.

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