Red Carpet Task Force named - given homework and a lot of concerns about changes needed at city hall

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

May 24th, 2019



With the closed meetings with the special interests groups completed, Mayor Marianne Meed Ward moves to the next step in her Red Carpet Red Tape initiative that she announced when she spoke to the Chamber of Commerce in January on her State of the City address.


Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and her Red Carpet co-chair, Councillor Kelvin Galbraith

The Mayor and her co-chair, Councillor Kelvin Galbraith have chosen the people they want to work with as the wade through the xx of comments about the trials and troubles of working with city hall. There were some positive comments.

The following individuals make up the Task Force:

Candace Herod, currently Information Technology Business Manager for Craig Careers and former President of Cogent Technology for 17 years. Candace also spent time working for the City of Hamilton as Project Manager for Housing.

Shann McGrail

Shann McGrail,

Shann McGrail, currently Executive Director at Haltech Regional Innovation Centre. Shann previously spent 12 years at Microsoft Canada and has since held positions focused on developing talent and driving innovation and change in the technology industry.

Don Baxter, a local expert and consultant on economic development and planning projects. Don’s focus has been on developing corporations and projects that act as a bridge between the public and private sectors. Don was previously President & CEO of Mohawk College Enterprise Corporation and past Executive Director of the Burlington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC).

Vince Molinaro

Vince Molinaro

Vince Molinaro, President of Molinaro Group, one of Burlington’s longstanding residential and commercial real estate development groups for over 50 years. Vince helps ensure the development voice is at the table as we know many of our obstacles to business growth impact and affect this group.

Maria Thornton, a local small business owner who brings the small business owner perspective to the table along with experience and expertise as a Controller, CPA and CGA. Maria’s philanthropic leadership involves being former chair of Halton Food for Thought and she is now contributing her time and skills to the Gift of Giving Back.

Jamie Tellier works for the City of Burlington as Manager of Urban Design in the Department of City Building. His tenure here at the City along with his ability to ideate in innovative ways make him a great addition to this team.

Anita Cassidy

Anita Cassidy, Acting Executive Director, Burlington Economic Development Corporation,

Anita Cassidy, Acting Executive Director, Burlington Economic Development Corporation, has been part of this journey from the start and brings a wealth of first-hand knowledge of the challenges of our local business owners to the table.
These were good choices. Having one of the better staff members from city hall on the Task Force and a responsible developer at the table will help. The addition of people with deep municipal experience will also help.

The group was presented with a summary of the feedback provided by the hundreds of business owners who attended the town hall, focus groups and 1-on-1 sessions or provided feedback via email if they were unable to attend.

Key themes were highlighted that had surfaced repeatedly, and anecdotal evidence was discussed around specific examples of challenges, obstacles, and red tape that has made it difficult for existing businesses to thrive, or new businesses to locate here in Burlington.
The Task Force identified the low-hanging fruit that could be:

A. Acted upon or influenced by the City of Burlington
B. Effected in a realistic and timely manner (ideally within my first term as Mayor)
C. Have a worthwhile and lasting impact on a meaningful number of businesses

The Task Force discussed possible solutions that were brought up at past sessions. They looked at the issues and the actions that would best solve them.

The Task Force was given the following homework:

Continue to review the list we discussed.
Think on it.
Reflect on feasibility, impact, and timing.
Expand on it.
Modify it.
Add things.
Remove things.
Do some research.
Talk to others.
Get more insights and information.

The Task Force will reconvene in two weeks to finalize the list of recommendations that we want to bring before Burlington City Council for consideration.

Shape Burlington logoWill whatever report gets put before council share the fate that the Shape Burlington Report got? For the sake of the city – we hope not.

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