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Joint Statement from Burlington Mayor Meed Ward and Councillor Bentivegna Regarding March 23 Millcroft Public Meeting

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*Please see a joint media statement from Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna.

Burlington, Ont. — March 13, 2020 — Thank you to all the residents who have reached out to me and Councillor Bentivegna to share your thoughts and concerns regarding the upcoming March 23 public meeting in light of COVID-19. We take your views very seriously.

In this uncertain and rapidly changing situation, we are guided first and foremost by the health and safety of our residents. We will make our decisions based on the advice and directives of public health officials, consistency and sustainability in our approach, while allowing the business of the city to continue.

Based on the advice of healthcare experts to avoid large gatherings where people cannot maintain a 6- foot (1.8-metre) distance from one another, and the new directive from the Medical Officer of Health to avoid gatherings over 250 people, the March 23 in-person public meeting will not proceed as planned and will instead be replaced by a digital public meeting.

We have heard the request from residents to postpone the meeting until such time as an in-person public event can be held. We will not be postponing the meeting for the following reasons:

  • These are unique times for our city and the world that call for caution as well as innovation in our approach.
  • Our guiding principle is to maintain public safety, while allowing the business of the city to proceed in a consistent manner that is sustainable for the long term, and that will apply to public meetings of all types and sizes, including city committee and council meetings, board meetings or other business meetings.
  • We will be proceeding with small scale public meetings so long as the 6ft distance between attendees can be maintained, and there are no more than 250 people present. Where this is not possible, we will switch to digital meetings and virtual conferencing for the foreseeable future.

Specific to the Millcroft Greens application, we will now host the event as a live webcast from our Council Chambers here at Burlington City Hall from 7-9pm (later if needed). I will personally be in attendance along with Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna, select planning staff and select representatives from Millcroft Greens.

We will be exploring additional ways to virtually engage the public during this meeting to ensure the public voice and input can be heard and collected. More details will come soon.
You will be able to access the live webcast by visiting our website at calendar.burlington.ca and clicking on the meeting date (details to be set up in the coming days).

Residents can submit their questions in advance by emailing info@millcroftgreens.com.

Both the questions and answers will be posted after the meeting for all residents to access and review.

We will provide all additional details as soon as we have them, on my website (mariannemeedward.ca) and social media channels, as well as the City of Burlington’s website (burlington.caburlington.ca), and during the meeting itself.

It is important to note that in-person attendance at a public meeting is only one way to hear the community voice and gather input, and not always the most comprehensive, since in a large gathering it isn’t possible to hear every voice within the limits of time of a public meeting.

Additionally, there will be many more opportunities throughout this process and a variety of different ways for the community voice to be heard, outside of public attendance at a public meeting.

After an application is submitted, there will be a scheduled Statutory Public Meeting at City Hall. We will evaluate public participation at that time, depending on the situation with COVID-19.

There is still a long way to go on this particular proposal, and many more opportunities for the public voice to be heard.

I hope this information provides reassurance to the community we have taken steps to protect the public health during the COVID-19 crisis, and ensure your voice, questions and feedback are heard, while ensuring the business of the city can continue in a consistent and sustainable manner.

Contacts for additional feedback:

Comments and questions for Millcroft Greens can be directed to: Frank Bon – FBDev Consulting Inc., 289-208-7543 or through the project website at: www.millcroftgreens.com
or by emailing info@millcroftgreens.com.

City of Burlington contacts:

Kyle Plas, Department of City Building, City of Burlington: Kyle.Plas@burlington.ca or 905-335-7600 x.7824

Ward 6 Councillor, Angelo Bentivegna: angelo.bentivegna@burlington.ca or 905-335-7600 x.7592

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward: mayor@burlington.ca or 905-335-7607

 

Sincerely,

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward & Councillor Angelo Bentivegna

City of Burlington

 

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*Posted by John Bkila, Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist

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3 thoughts on “Joint Statement from Burlington Mayor Meed Ward and Councillor Bentivegna Regarding March 23 Millcroft Public Meeting”

  1. We have schools closed for an unprecedented period, businesses having people work from home for an extended time or closed all together. Major sports shut down for the unforeseen future with significant losses in dollars and jobs. They are not playing the games in front of no fans. Here in Burlington almost all community events and facilities closed. Other countries restricting the movements of the general public altogether, yet the City of Burlington wants to stand on protocol in a very extraordinary time. Tribunal for non-decision under these circumstances?

    This meeting deserves to be face-to-face as it will significantly impact the lives of many of your constituents. The people you pledge to represent. For the sake of true transparency and in noting all the things going on in our world, respectively request for this to be deferred until it is safe for an in-person meeting. What so called reputable developer with any legitimate claim would play this non-decision card at this time?

    Regards.

  2. kristin nodwell

    Dear Mayor,
    I am in complete shock with your decision to move forward with this meeting.
    These are not ‘unique’ times but unprecedented times and in case you haven’t noticed, it is not business as usual. To think that you can push the meeting through using ‘innovative’ solutions like a webcast is insulting. This is meant to be a consultation meeting with residents but you are taking away our voice. We have been waiting patiently for this meeting for some time and to be so dismissive as to the importance of the in-person element is beyond frustrating. I agree it is not the only way for us to provide feedback but it is probably the most transparent form of feedback and to eliminate this option makes is suspect. It is obvious that you have listened to the developer and consulted with your team but what about us, your constituents? This shouldn’t just be another agenda item, this is the future of our neighbourhood, our home and we want to opportunity to be heard face-to-face.
    If this is indeed a ‘long process’ then delaying the meeting by 3 weeks to accommodate the global pandemic will not have a significant impact on the project timelines. Do the right thing and postpone the meeting.
    Sincerely,
    Kristin Nodwell
    Millcroft Resident

    1. Hi Kristin, this is John Bkila, the Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist. I am sharing Mayor Meed Ward’s response below:

      “I understand the concerns and frustration of the community. A face to face public meeting is only one of many ways to receive public input, share information and answer questions. We will be exploring all options to ensure the community voice is heard, and we will all need to be adaptable and work together to find solutions given the times we are in with COVID-19. Residents can help by offering suggestions for alternative ways to share their voice without requiring a large public gathering, as this isn’t an option and won’t be for the foreseeable future.

      The situation with COVID-19 is rapidly changing, almost hourly and we will make decisions accordingly, and change decisions as needed.

      The city’s Crisis Management Team of which I am a part meets daily and I will be raising the issue at today’s meeting of what we do in the next three weeks regarding meetings of any size (this includes public gatherings, committee and council meetings, advisory committee meetings, constituent meetings and more). We also need to think beyond the next three weeks. We don’t know when public gatherings will once again be permitted and the business of the city needs to continue so we need to find alternative solutions that apply to all meetings in a consistent and sustainable manner.

      Many organizations are looking at virtual conferencing, virtual meetings and virtual/digital public gatherings and we will too. Whatever decisions we make will apply to all meetings consistently including the proposed public meeting with Millcroft Greens.

      There are some unique aspects to development-related public meetings, and many opportunities throughout the process to share input. The March 23 meeting is only the first of many more opportunities. And there are multiple ways to receive public input outside of attendance at a public meeting, which isn’t possible for everyone in any event, because of scheduling or other commitments.

      The city requires a pre-application public meeting before a developer submits an application to receive public input and incorporate that into their application. This is not a legal requirement, but a city request. That is where we are at with the Millcroft Greens application. There are a variety of ways that residents can share this input without attending a public meeting, and we will explore those. Legally, Millcroft Greens can make an application without having completed this step, though we are all trying to work together with the community to ensure that the public input is received prior to an application.

      After an application is submitted, the city is legally mandated to hold a Statutory Public Meeting. We will need to explore how we meet that obligation during the COVID-19 outbreak. Virtual public meetings, restrictions on public attendance, or a series of smaller meetings where a 6ft distance can be obtained may be options.

      There are multiple other opportunities for residents to share their views directly with the city planner on the file and members of council who will make the decision, by email or phone, or small group meetings. Most residents communicate their views via digital communications even outside COVID-19 as they find digital communications more convenient for their schedules.

      The city is legally required to process a development application within 120 days or we risk being appealed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal for “non-decision”. This takes the decision out of the hands of the community, staff, and council and limits the ability for the public to participate. As such, we don’t want to delay processing and risk this scenario.

      I hope this helps explain our thinking in relation to this specific public meeting, and how we are approaching all public meetings. Whatever decisions we make regarding public meetings will apply consistently to all meetings, including the March 23 meeting.

      We will share more news as we have it.”

      — Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

      Thank you for commenting and sharing your feedback on the Mayor’s website.

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Phone: 905-335-7607
Email:  mayor@burlington.ca

Media Specialist: John Bkila
john.bkila@burlington.ca
905-335-7600