Ward level debates are the best source of information on the people running for office. These are the people who want to set the tax rates and determine what kind of service you get for those taxes.

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

September 28th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It has been a very full week politically.

The world laughed at the President of the United States when he was addressing the United Nations; a nominee for the Supreme Court of the United States faced accusations from what appeared to me to be a credible witness who claimed he had been sexually assaulted when they were both teenagers.

New Brunswickers are now trying to determine who will lead the government with the Liberals desperately trying to hang on to power.

And in Burlington we have debates taking place in every ward, something Burlington has never experienced before, while all three incumbents at the ward level refuse to take part – a desperate attempt to hold power.

Candidates att table on stage

Ward 5 candidates: From the left: Xin Yi Zhang, Daniel Roukema, Wendy Moraghan and Mary Alice St. James

Sharman seat at ward 5

Ward 5 incumbent Councillor Paul Sharman chose not to take part in the ward debate.

Last week the ward debates in wards 5 and 6 took place: ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman said he did not trust the group that organized the debate.

The next day the ward 6 debate took place. Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster refused to take part because she believed the group that organized the event was biased and unfair to her. She also blamed the Gazette for a story it had published about her reasons for not taking part.

This week we watched the candidate in ward 4 sit on a stage by herself because the incumbent had not shown up on time – there was never any certainty that Councillor Jack Dennison was going to arrive. He did and used his 20+ years of experience to bob and weave his way through the questions put to him.

All candidates at table

The five candidates running in ward 3: From the left Peter Rusin, Gareth Williams, Lisa Cooper, Darcy xxx and Rory Nisan

Taylor

Retiring ward 3 Councillor John Taylor

In ward 3 we listened to five candidates who consistently thanked the incumbent John Taylor for his more than thirty years of public service – he got close to a standing ovation while the candidates for the ward seat agreed, for the most part, that term limits should be in place.

In ward 6, the four candidates took part in a debate arranged by a local church. The ward Councillor Blair Lancaster was comfortable participating in this debate.

It also included a debate between the Mayoralty candidates.

Citizens have the kind of opportunity they have never had before – they can sit at home and watch the debates and decide for themselves who they want to be members of city council.

This election is pivotal for Burlington. There are some major issues on the table.

Be informed and vote.

It is your city, your home, the place you chose to live and raise your children. The government you elect is the government that will determine the kind of services available to you and the taxes you will pay,

high profile 421

This 24 story tower that will rise across the street from city hall has been approved by city Council. A second tower south of this one has been approved at 17 storeys – the developer has appealed asking for 24 stories.

There is a lot at stake.

The ward 5 debate link is here.

The ward 6 ECoB debate is here.

The ward 6 debate at St. Georges Anglican Church is here.

The ward 4 debate is here.

The ward 3 debate will be available later today.

Next week there will be debates in wards 1 and 2 – the video of those debates will be made available.

There is also a debate on October 9th for all the Mayoralty candidates that will take place at Central high school.

Locations dates and times are set in the advertisements, which are on the right side of every page of this on line newspaper.

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1 comment to Ward level debates are the best source of information on the people running for office. These are the people who want to set the tax rates and determine what kind of service you get for those taxes.

  • James

    Interesting to note from these debates the common threads of 1) Anti-intensification, 2) Need to improve transit, 3) Need to improve traffic, 4) Need to improve infrastructure, and 5) Need to put an end to 4%+ tax increases year after year. All good stuff indeed.

    However…

    The anti-intensification cloud currently hanging over Burlington will significantly reduce the amount of money our city brings in. Developers go where things are happening, and right now it is no secret that Burlington is a challenge. No businesses are knocking down our door trying to relocate here. Commercial units struggle to pay the rent. Our “Prosperity Corridor” is filled with vacancy signs. Residential seems to be the only market that remains in high demand. Everyone has an opinion on residential development, but one thing that is indisputable is that it represents millions of dollars of revenue that our city desperately needs that the candidates are suggesting we wave goodbye to. The city makes far more money on a 26 storey tower than it ever could on a 4 storey building. But we as a city have clearly made our choice, we don’t want 26 storey towers popping up everywhere. We want to fix what we already have before worsening our existing problems. That’s all fine and dandy, to a point.

    Transit improvements, traffic/road/signal improvements, and infrastructure improvements are all desperately needed but all cost money, a LOT of money. Tax increases of over 4% each year have unfortunately become a given as our city struggles to keep up, yet most candidates suggest they can reduce the annual increases to a maximum of the rate of inflation, which of course we’d all gladly support.

    The question that nobody is answering though, after doing away with one of the largest revenue streams this city has, is HOW exactly they propose to pay for all these great promises. Certainly there are opportunities to streamline things at City Hall and find some cost savings, perhaps cut a few jobs here, slash a few programs there, but that barely scratches the surface.

    Where are these millions of dollars going to come from do to all this great stuff? My concern is that we are destined for a new Mayor and new Councillors with an abrupt rude awakening when the reality of the job and the challenges this city face set in. If these candidates don’t have any ideas on where this city can generate significant sources of income, we may find ourselves dreaming of the day when we only paid 4%+ annual tax increases. How much more can we afford to be taxed? If Burlington is generally considered unaffordable now, how much worse is it going to get?

    Lots of great campaign promises, and believe me I’d love to see a scenario where we can prosper without outrageous intensification, but where exactly is the money going to come from to implement them? Anyone?… Anyone?…

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