Final Remarks – Last Council Meeting 2010 – 2014 Term

Tonight is an opportunity to give thanks, and I have much to be thankful for.

To My Family – I want to start by thanking the most important people in my life, my family. When you are in public service, your family is in public service with you. This at times is not easy as they read the headlines, hear and watch the media broadcasts along with you. It takes a strong support system when you are in politics and my family has been my with me the entire way. Thank you. I couldn’t have done this without you.

To Citizens of London – Citizen engagement is an important foundational principal of democracy. A principal I strongly believe in because it has made me a better member of council. The more I engaged, the more informed I was, the better my decision making. My thanks to the citizens of London who guided me through face to face discussions, phone calls, emails, twitter, Facebook, blogs etc. Your perspective is important, not just every 4 years, but every day. Thank you for the valuable service you provide.

To Media, Bloggers, commentators…: Good governance is about being accountable, transparent and open in your decision making. You ensure the public is informed. You shine a light on important issues and as a result – a better informed local public and improved open government. Thanks for the valuable service you provide.

To Staff:

  • The Councillor’s office staff is extraordinary. They Work diligently to provide councillors with support in order to make our job easier.
  •  The Clerks Department and my Office staff – Cathy, Linda, Barb, Leah, Cheryl, Lina have been incredible in ensuring my office runs smoothly and efficiently.
  • To the Boards and Commissions – I want to recognize the leadership within and their appointed members for their important contributions to this city.
  • To our City staff. There is tremendous talent and depth in our work force. At times we get things wrong, but 95+ % of the time we get it right. We are a multi-faceted service provider with layers of provincial and federal legislation and regulations that must be followed. Local government is complex and you operate in an ever changing, highly political environment and at times I am sure it seems a thankless enterprise. My thanks to you for always maintaining a professional approach, for assisting council, and offering your best advice. Thank you for the valuable service you provide under challenging circumstance.

To my Colleagues – I have not regretted serving with any one of you. Over my time on council I have served with many interesting and engaging personalities. At times it was difficult and gruelling; other times, pleasant and fulfilling. What I know is at the deepest point of my frustration or anger, I always learned something about myself. For that I am grateful.

We all bring our personal perspectives to the table and at times it is hard to agree to disagree. We know that public service is hard work. There are numerous perspectives on a variety of vastly diverging issues and it is not easy, but it is extraordinarily rewarding. Thank you for your service in striving to make London a better place.

To the newly elected council: Councillor Brown I know you will do a tremendous job as our new Mayor. I have observed you over four years, your dedication, intelligence, perseverance and your ability to collaborate are going to serve council well.

I know the councillors elected will serve their representative wards well. When I am about the city at events, many Londoners express their excitement about the newly elected council. There is hope and promise in this community.

Be visionary. Following World War II, London, England was debating the next steps for a city heavily bombed. Many simply wanted to rebuild quickly to kick start the economy. Winston Churchill urged his government to take a different approach. He gave one of his motivational speeches and poignantly said, and I paraphrase, “First you shape your city, thereafter it shapes you.” He was urging his colleagues to commit to rebuilding London with world class structures, and a beautiful public realm that would reflect the character and aspirations of the city. It was a vision for the creation of a city that was a beacon for commerce, beautiful for all to admire, and functional for moving people and goods. The result of Churchill’s legacy is the extraordinary world class city that London, England is today.

Decisions you make today will have far reaching implications. You have to think about how you are shaping our city; for your generation, your children and grandchildren’s generation. We want a vibrant, dynamic, beautiful city. We don’t want a city that demonstrates the geography of know where. We want a city that is the calling card to the world. So please remember, “First you shape your city, thereafter it shapes you.”

When you make decisions, make sure you are informed – read the report. If you don’t understand ask. The number of services the city is engaged in is astounding. You can’t possibly know all the answers. Ask for assistance; you have dedicated staff ready and willing to help.

I have no hesitation in predicting the new council will bring pride to our community, working in a professional manner to move London forward.

Thank you for running for office and stepping forward to offer your service.

In closing, I’ll quote Tony Blair: It has been an honour to serve. I give my thanks to you, London citizens, for the times I have succeeded, and my apologies to you for the times I have fallen short.

Thank you.

Obfuscation Conceals Facts – Fanshawe-Kingsmill Downtown

London Free Press

Joni Baechler, Special to QMI Agency

An artist’s rendering shows the transformation Fanshawe College wants to make to the Kingsmill’s building on Dundas St. in downtown London, including the addition of two storeys to the former department store. Fanshawe’s request for $10 million from the city toward its $66 million plan to expand its downtown campus ­— adding another 1,600 students to the 400 already at the College’s Centre for Digital and Performance Arts in Market Tower — was rebuffed by council. The issue comes before council again Tuesday, just before end-of-term restrictions limit council’s spending power, after the Downtown Business Association offered to contribute $1 million to the project.

Artist rendering of Fanshawe College – Kingsmill project

There has been a high degree of discussion on the Fanshawe College downtown proposal. Obfuscation of the facts and political interference on this project is at a level I haven’t seen in all my years on council.

So here are the facts:

  • Fanshawe College has a student-growth target of 15% over the next five years. They are aggressively expanding to accommodate new students.
  • Council urged the college to expand in the downtown as an urban renewal project, freeing up space on their main campus for new programs. It was clear; the expansion in downtown would require partnership with the city of $20 million. The college would pay their portion for the new space, and the city would assist with the urban renewal costs of re-purposing downtown heritage buildings. This financially successful model and partnership is seen in cities across the country. Fanshawe opened their Phase I downtown building in January.
  • The Phase II business plan presented to council proposed a reconstruction and expansion of the Kingsmill’s building to accommodate an additional 1,600 students. The total number of students downtown — 2,000, double the original agreement. These students would be net new students.
  • To make this a reality, the college asked to amend the original agreement for an additional $10 million, (recently revised to $9 million over 10 years, $1 million a year).
  • The college and their professional facilities experts, along with engineers and architects, explored more than 20 properties in downtown. Kingsmill’s was the only building that met their specific needs. The college undertook an extensive due diligence process on the Market Tower building and determined the cost would be well in excess of the cost to reconstruct the Kingsmill’s building.
  • The total “all in, turnkey” cost estimate for the Kingsmill’s project is $66.2 million. These costs were validated by an independent cost consultant and include land acquisition, demolition, reconstruction and all interior equipment and furnishings. The actual estimated construction cost is $37.9 million or $375 per square foot, not the $660 per square foot some have erroneously asserted. This cost is in keeping with other college construction costs across the province.
  • The project will include funding from a variety of sources, including private funds raised by the college and provincial funding, part of their core funding.
  • City staff reviewed the funding request and cost estimates. They were satisfied with the return on investment and recommended using funds in our economic development reserve fund. There is no tax increase as the funds already in the account are to be used for this type of project.
  • The loss of taxes on the Kingsmill’s property is $60,000. In return, the college will pay the city $150,000 yearly ($75/student) at the close of the development agreement.
  • Fanshawe estimates its students contribute $422.3 million to the local economy every year. The downtown Fanshawe project’s annual economic impact is anticipated to be similar to what other cities have experienced, more than $6,000 per student spending, which equals $12-million every year. It’s anticipated new businesses will open to serve the influx of population and all will pay taxes. The assessment rate in the downtown will grow. Plus, the take-up in vacant residential units, the potential for new apartments above stores and the synergies of having market-ready labour in the technological and hospitality hub of London will boost our economy.
  • Those supporting the project include city treasurer Martin Hayward, city manager Art Zuidema, chief planner John Fleming, London Economic Development Corp., the Downtown Business Association, Downtown London, MainStreet London, and Fanshawe College board of directors. All appreciate the important economic impact this project will have on the city, the jobs it will create, and the urban renewal of downtown.

Opening Remarks to Council – July 29, 2014

A traditional and routine aspect of our procedure is that each new Mayor has an opportunity to give an address at the first full Council meeting. There was of course, nothing routine about my appointment to Mayor and I am not interested in giving an address, but rather I have indicated to the Clerk I would like to make a few comments.

The agenda for this meeting has important matters that will impact the future of this City. All deserve our careful attention. The people of London have bestowed faith in us to make important decisions during this term, and that work will continue tonight.

As I indicated briefly at our last SPPC meeting, since my appointment I have spent many hours meeting with city leaders from the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce and numerous business leaders to non-profit sector leaders, community organizations, political leaders from all parties and a multitude of engaged citizens at festivals, malls, meetings and social media.

The message from our public is clear and delivered in a consistent, persistent and very frank manner. I would not be raising these comments this evening if it was a random or infrequent event. Enough people have brought this to my attention that I am compelled to share with you.

The community wants council to carry out the business of the city in a professional, responsible and productive manner. Business, community, organization leaders and everyday Londoners want to feel proud of their council and confident in our decision making. Remember, our actions and comments are live streamed with a very long shelf life.

To achieve our community aspiration there are a couple of things I can do as Mayor. I have asked the city Clerk to bring the report with respect to engaging an Integrity Commissioner to the next committee agenda cycle at the end of August. Secondly, I will chair meetings with the goal to ensure our council procedural by-law and the respective code of conduct is adhered to. Finally, I will certainly commit myself and do all I can to help guide Council in doing its business effectively, and swiftly.

To be clear, I am not suggesting we all “sing from the same song sheet”. We can have good, respectful debates, but I will call you out of order if a debate disrespects a colleague, staff or our community.

We are the leaders of this corporation. We all signed an oath of office, knowing full well the expected conduct articulated in our code of conduct. Our actions must be in the best interest of the corporation with professional, respectful conduct at the core.

My time as Mayor will be brief as I am retiring from council. I have nothing to lose or gain. There are many of you seeking re-election and the manner in which we conduct business from now until the election will send a message either positively or negatively to your constituents, our business leaders and potential investors in this community.

We can certainly move ahead in the spirit of democracy, and work hard to represent our different views and the interests of our respective constituents.  With your commitment we can do it. Let’s do it well.

Thank you.

Why I Am Leaving Politics

One of my favourite bands is the Eagles. When the group broke up in 1980, Don Henley famously described it as a “horrible relief”. These words came to me time and again as I contemplated my decision to not seek municipal re-election in 2014.

Many of you have personally encouraged me to run for Mayor or councillor, whether directly, or through the petition. I am grateful for your support and appreciate your kind comments.  Saying thank you doesn’t adequately convey the extent of my appreciation. Your support has sustained me for some time.

This has not been an easy decision. There is no single compelling reason for leaving, but rather a collective that leads to an inevitable conclusion.

When I ran in 2010 I indicated it would likely be my last election as I don’t support the notion of municipal career politicians. When municipal politicians view their work as employment, the focus becomes self-serving rather than civic service. Of course there are many successful long-term politicians who have done great work with civic service top of mind. They are usually the minority. Unseating an incumbent is an enormous challenge.  Municipal term limits allow for a changing dynamic on council with new ideas and new opportunities. I have had my turn and it is time for someone else.

The 8-7 teeter-totter of council decision making this past term has strained relationships and made working together challenging. With a council as divisive as ours, and if incumbency carries the power it does, it will take a unique set of skills and a gifted individual to move the majority in a unified direction. That person is not me. Given my level of frustration with some of my colleagues, diplomacy is not my strong suit.

I am tired and worn down. Politics is not enjoyable anymore, not that enjoyable aptly describes the political environment. In the past, it seemed easy to disagree with a colleague and still respect their right to a divergent opinion and work together. Times have changed.  

I have many interests and for years my personal life has often taken a back seat to civic life. I was ok with this; it was part of the job. That’s not the case anymore and I long for a sense of normalcy. In short, I want my life back.

As the new year unfolds, I will continue to do what I can to work with my colleagues in the long-term interest of the community.  There is ample work to be done and I am committed to fulfilling my obligation to the citizens of Ward 5 and the broader London community.

In closing, I hope 2014 will shine brightly on London.


PenEquity- My Council Speaking Notes

The following is the motion I moved at council with my speaking notes (added document links) with respect to the PenEquity debate. The motion lost.

Motion: to refer back to staff the PenEquity Planning and Environment Committee recommendation as it is premature given the outstanding policy concerns involving the Ministry of Natural Resources surrounding the designation of the wetland, the policies of the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority policy prohibiting development in a wetland, the lack of an environmental impact study determining how the provincially significant woodland can be protected as a result of a proposed development on adjacent lands. It being further noted that the municipality will hire an ecologist to evaluate the wetland using the OWES and carry out the EIS.

Speaking Notes: Process
How we grow and develop in the city is outlined in our Official Plan (OP The Official Plan sets out the “rules” – objectives, policies and processes that guide the physical development of land. This document is critically important because our OP policies must be consistent with the provincial directives as outlined in the Provincial Policy Statements (PPS and other provincial legislation.

Not only is the OP our link between provincial and municipal policies, It is also our promise, contract, agreement with the community. The introduction advises the reader that the Official Plan will “Govern and serve as a guide to the decisions of Council” and further it states the OP “Informs the public of Councils intentions”. This clarity is important so that everyone plays by the same rules.

If a parcel of land has an unevaluated vegetation patch noted on OP Schedule B1, you will be asked to complete a Subject Land Status Report (OP 15.5.2). The SLSR requires assessment of the site to determine the status of the natural heritage features (staff has tried to evaluate this vegetation patch 10102, but the owner would not allow anyone on the land to carry out the necessary studies).

The conclusions of the SLSR determined a “Significant Woodland” and a unevaluated wetland, embedded within the woodland, as natural heritage features on the land (the woodland scored high in 5 of 8 criteria, well beyond the threshold for significance: 1 of 8. Guidelines for assessing Woodland Significance:

With respect to “Significant Woodlands” and “Significant Wetlands”, the Provincial Policy Statements are clear: development and site alteration shall NOT be permitted in significant woodlands and significant wetlands unless it can be demonstrated that there will be NO NEGATIVE IMPACTS on the natural features or their ecological functions. It goes on to say development and site alteration shall not be permitted on ADJACENT LANDS to the natural heritage feature and area unless the ecological function of the adjacent lands has been evaluated and it has been demonstrated that there will be NO NEGATIVE IMPACTS on the natural features or on their ecological functions (emphasis mine).

Given our Official Plan must reflect provincial policies our OP says 15.5.2. B) If the Subject Lands Status Report identifies any lands that, in the estimation of the City, may meet the criteria for determining significance, the City shall require the preparation of an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) for these lands.

15.5.1. ii) Environmental Impact Studies (EIS) are required where development or site alteration is proposed within or adjacent to components of the Natural Heritage System. The City will require that an Environmental Impact Study be completed to its satisfaction, in consultation with the relevant public agencies prior to the approval of an Official Plan amendment, Zoning By-Law amendment, subdivision application, consent application or site plan application.

An EIS requires the woodland/wetland to be evaluated over three seasons. This is to ensure the evaluation captures a comprehensive assessment of the features, functions, flora and fauna which often change with the season.

Aerial photography of this site from 1951 through to today depict the woods and small pond, prior to the 401 being built and prior to aggregate extraction on either side of the site. Surprisingly the massive extraction did not impact the woodland over decades. Contrary to misinformation, aerial photography shows the woodland/wetland was not formed as a result of the building of the 401 and it was not a former gravel pit as evidenced by the historical air photos. Some have made the erroneous assumption that the small lake where gravel was extracted is the wetland. The wetland is located within the woodland.

In closing, the Official Plan serves to guide the decisions of council and inform the public of our intention. It represents a contract, a commitment to be consistent with Provincial directives and public interest. This is about integrity in the planning process; it is about playing by the rules and following due process. If you are not going to stand for the Official Plan policies that represent our contract to the community then what are you standing for?

Response to London Chamber CEO Gerry Macartney’s Blog

I must admit my first response when I read Mr. Macartney’s blog was “Who wrote this”? The style, political commentary, factual errors, had me shaking my head. Nevertheless, it was posted and warrants a response.

  • The Sun Life Application. Council did not refuse Sun Life’s application. We unanimously approved to trade a city-owned property on airport road within the Urban Growth Boundary for the land optioned by Sun Life outside UGB. Following the market crash in October 2008 the Manager of Planning received an email from Sun Life which stated that, “under these much changed economic circumstances, it would not be prudent to continue with this project.” (staff report: agenda item #20).
  • Sysco to Woodstock. Sysco needed a level site. Our only suitable site required a few million dollars to complete this work. Had the city done so it would have been a violation of the Municipal Act which does not allow “bonusing” for private interests.
  • Investment along the 401. Council has agreed to new investments along the 401 corridor for future wealth and job creation for industrial but not for residential, institutional or commercial. We have a massive amount of vacant commercial space where services and infrastructure are already in place. You cannot equate a comprehensive Industrial Land Strategy with this application.
  • The Woodland. The actual number of trees is not 1600. A number slightly larger than that is for a specific size of tree (15 cm diameter) and does not represent all the trees in the woodland. With respect to possible ash and elm dieback, every woodland has species that die as a result of disease or infestation. As dynamic ecosystems the understory within a forest quickly replaces the dieback. Let’s not marginalize a woodland declared “significant” which is suppose to be protected under the Provincial Policy Statements.
  • The Wetland. To suggest there is no wetland as defined by the Ministry of Natural Resources is incorrect. MNR provided mapping and correspondence indicating it will not accept the wetland evaluation completed by the developer’s ecologist.
  • Transportation. Public Transit runs to Wellington and Roxbourgh only during rush hour (early morning and late afternoon). There is no evening and weekend service.
  • Jobs. As staff quite rightly advised Planning Committee, to trumpet job numbers is a “red herring”. To suggest this development will not “poach” existing retail denies the actual experience in London, the history of the downtown being the most glaring example.  If you have been in Westmount Mall, Pond Mills Centre, Crossing Centre the stagnation is obvious, not to mention the thousands of square feet of vacant commercial space with services at the doorstep.
  • Politics. What is extraordinarily disconcerting is the “political” push to incite councillors. I agree completely that this decision is one in which the public must remember how each councillor voted. If there is to be any trust in planning policies and ultimately planning decisions, we must ensure there is integrity in the process. To by-pass Official Plan policies, significant woodland guidelines, Environmental Impact Studies, and Provincial Policy Statements, sends a message that processes can be manipulated and sidestepped by those in positions of power.
  • London’s future. A retail centre does not define London. There are many exciting economic initiatives in London from Fraunhoefer Composite Research Facility, the new Fanshawe School for Performing Arts and Digital Media, Medical Innovation strategy, Western University’s game-changing cognitive neuroscience imaging research, Western’s Job Shadowing program, the making of the movie Luminality, tremendous opportunities for brownfield redevelopment …and much more.

Sun Life, PenEquity, Taxpayers

At the June 25th, 2013 Council meeting when discussing the PenEquity rezoning, the Mayor took the opportunity to raise the issue of a proposal that occurred a number of years ago – Sun Life (SL – wanted to expand the Urban Growth Boundary for a warehouse and Council didn’t). He implied that if he were on council then, things would have turned out different. He claims council of the day had, “In fact, told Sun Life (SL) that their investment was not important enough…” (livestream:  3:05:50).

My ire was up with this reference as I heard the same nonsense a few years ago. I can even imagine who was whispering in his ear. Given I had only 5 min. to speak I opted to focus on the application and didn’t comment on the SL reference. Since then, the comments have niggled me like a black fly for a number of reasons.  The assertion was wrong (see SL blog written 2009 below), but more importantly, there is a disconnect with respect to the implications of planning decisions, by many, if not a majority on council. London is undergoing an Official Plan review called ReThink and in short order, council will be debating and discussing the UGB just as we did when SL issue was raised. It is critically important that members of council understand not only the provincial “rules” around expanding an UGB, but the costs of growth at the periphery.  The ReThink financial analysis has modeled three types of growth in London over 50 years: COMPACT, HYBRID and SPREAD (read sprawl) full report: The results indicate the SPREAD model capital cost equal $4.2 billion. That’s180% or $2.7 billion more than the compact model! Operating costs under the SPREAD model cost $88.5 million per year, $70 million more than the compact model and $52 million more than the hybrid model. Imagine the prosperity we would have with $52 million – $70 million in savings each year if we make prudent planning decisions… or we can continue to struggle to keep taxes low, struggle to fund prosperity plans, and continue to support SPREAD planning that increases costs and adds to our infrastructure deficit.

If we are to set this city on a course of prosperity and sound fiscal management we must understand the foundational planning principles that guide our direction. If we fail, the impacts will be felt long after we have vacated our respective council seats.

I am reprinting my Sun Life Blog written in 2009. I hope you will take the time to read it as we are undergoing the same Official Plan – ReThink process and I feel a strong sense of deja vu.

It is interesting how a story can be spun so that fact becomes fiction and perception becomes reality. So here are the facts about the Sun Life story. It is not a simple story to tell, so bear with me.

Every five years municipalities must evaluate their Official Plan (OP). This document guides city planning. It sets out policies that articulate how the city will grow and reviews the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB), a line, around the urban area of the city that allows for development within the line and agricultural protection outside the line. The OP MUST be consistent with the Provincial Policies Statement (PPS – In short, if the city has ample land for future growth within the UGB you can’t expand it).

To determine whether there is enough land within the UGB for the city to grow, planning staff completed a full examination and advised council that “Based on the empirical analysis.., and having regard for the Provincial Policy Statement, there is no need to consider the addition of new lands into the City’s UGB through the 2006 Official Plan Review process. As demonstrated, the City of London has a more than adequate supply of both residential and non-residential land to meet development needs in the 15 to 20-year time horizon set out in the Official Plan and the 2005 PPS. In fact, based upon current trends and assumptions, the City currently has enough residential land to last 29 years.”

It is not surprising, given the financial benefits, that as of May 2007, 39 landowners requested to have their lands included in the UGB. One of those requests came from a landowner in the south whose agent indicated Sun Life was interested in developing a warehouse on the property but had not submitted any application. The staff report advised us that, “None of the submissions for inclusion represent immediate emergent opportunities that cannot be reasonably accommodated elsewhere on lands already designated for urban use.” As there was no application, no concrete evidence in support of expanding the UGB, the Planning Committee, at the time, voted no change. We also passed a motion that recommended the London Economic and Development Corporation (LEDC) and Senior Staff work with Sun Life to review their needs and all available land options.

Staff met with Sun Life. It wasn’t until June of 2008 that Sun Life submitted an official plan amendment. Shortly thereafter, the bottom fell out of the economy and on Jan. 6, 2009 the General Manager of Planning received an email from Sun Life that indicated, “…under these much changed economic circumstances; it would not be prudent to continue with this project”.

Some members of council who are the political spokespersons for development landowners saw an opportunity to make some noise and were quick to denigrate others with name calling, and elementary school banter. They were really mad they didn’t get their way.  What is even more interesting is the same individuals claim to stand for low taxation, yet this project would have cost taxpayers a minimum of $19 Million in addition to the already $65 Million that has been spend on purchasing, zoning and servicing industrial land, not to mention the $700 Million infrastructure deficit. They didn’t care about taxpayers when Vic Cote the General Manager of Finance for the city stated that, “As a stand alone investment by the city, it doesn’t make sense.” Cote questioned the financial models presented saying it could be used to justify any investment. “The city has limited dollars and must prioritize, he said, and warehouses with few jobs, rank lower in the pecking order to plants that are labour intensive, such as London’s Hanwha factory, which makes quality counters and floors. If this was Hanwha, it would be a good investment. It is not Hanwha.” (LFP Nov. 5 2009)

Joe Belanger of the London Free Press wrote a column about the Sun Life issue called, “This is why development rules exist”. Belanger states, “Don’t listen to the sniping by several council members about an opportunity lost because of opposition from the so-called socialist cabal on council. It is simply not true…Big money, big business or both have a way of attracting the attention of some politicians, who then seem willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that proponent is appeased. At the end of the day council made all the right decisions on this issue….If anything, this experience should serve as a reminder of why there are rules in place for land development and the folly of trying to ignore, circumvent, bend or alter those rules”. Well said.

Reference docs:
Power point presentation to Planning Committee on the Official Plan Review

Provincial Policy Statement:
The province will not allow the expansion of the UGB unless it can be demonstrated that:
A)           sufficient opportunities for growth are not available through intensification, redevelopment and designated growth areas to accommodate the projected needs over the identified planning horizon;
B)            the infrastructure and public service facilities which are planned or available are suitable for the development over the long term and protect public health and safety;
C)             in prime agricultural areas:
1. the lands do not comprise specialty crop areas;
2. there are no reasonable alternatives which avoid prime agricultural areas; and
3. there are no reasonable alternatives on lower priority agricultural lands in prime agricultural areas; and
D)             impacts from new or expanding settlement areas on agricultural operations which  are adjacent or close to the settlement area are mitigated to the extent feasible.

 In addition, the polices of Section 2 of the PPS must be applied: Wise Use and Management of Resources and Section 3: Protecting Public Health and Safety. (ref:

Land Needs Background Study:

2012 Expenses

$7383.00 = part time assistant (~11 hrs. per week)
$328.54 = web hosting
$1174.08 = office supplies
$25.44 = room rental community meeting
$628.26 = Million tree challenge – tree planting community events
$429.31 = event tickets (International Woman’s Day Breakfast, Art Zuidema public addresss, Canadian Urban Forest Conference Reception, Shine the Light Gala)
$32.36 = souvenirs – city of London pins
$3086.16 = FCM Board of Directors Mtgs. (representing London)
$0 = transportation mileage
$0 = advertising


Diamond Jubilee Medal Recipients

When Councillors were advised we could nominate worthy Londoners for the Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal, Nancy Branscombe and I decided to jointly nominate individuals. Our focus was to nominate those who spend their volunteer hours, working tirelessly to serve their neighbourhood association and community, in addition to encouraging and initiating activities that strengthen citizen engagement and civic action. We recognize that sustained grass roots civic activism is a foundational principle in building great cities and good government. To quote Abraham Lincoln, “Government of the people, by the people and for the people” aptly captures the sentiment of collective civic engagement. We recognize that behind each of the noted Diamond Jubilee Medal recipient are numerous citizens’ engaged and working with this individual to collectively create a city that is thriving, vibrant, creative and environmentally sensitive. This medal also honours the supportive work they do.

To the Diamond Jubilee Medal recipients, and the scores of active citizens who work tirelessly with them, we offer our congratulations and thanks for your invaluable contribution to this city.

The brief summary of each recipient noted below is not inclusive of the breadth of their volunteer commitment and civic action.

Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal Recipients:
Carol Agocs
Professor Emerita – Department of Political Science, Western University is an active citizen making substantial contributions to a variety of initiatives, including environmental protection of Stoney Creek subwatershed, research on public administration, citizen engagement, in addition to being appointed to Council’s governance review task force.
Gina Barber– A retired educator, Gina has been active in civic issues for over three decades. She served as a member of city council and was appointed to numerous Board and Commissions. Gina championed the Age Friendly City Initiative from inception to council policy adoption through to her continued involvement as implementation unfolds. She has chaired the Housing Authority been an active in the Byron Justice circle and London Public Library – Historic sites committee. Gina continues to attend city hall meetings and informs the public about council issues through her blog.
Susan Bentley– For over two decades, Susan has served her community in a variety of civic capacities. She led her community association for over a decade, been actively involved with the Urban League of London, and served as a Council appointed member of the Town and Gown association. Susan is a founding member of the Ontario Federation of Urban Neighbourhoods. She serves with Heritage London Foundation and advocates for heritage preservation.
Paul Berton– Former Editor in Chief of the London Free Press, Paul was instrumental in engaging and advancing the public conversation with respect to key community issues. He was involved in the inception of Doors Open London and Celebrate 150 Sesquicentennial. He was Council’s appointee to the Trees and Forest Advisory Committee for a number of years. He was a celebrity reader with London Reads, and a literary judge for the John Kenneth Galbraith Awards. Prior to moving to Hamilton, Paul was actively engaged in the Old South community.
Marie Blosh– Marie’s uses her volunteer time to support a variety of civic issues. She chaired her community association for many years, was Councils appointee to the animal welfare task force and was subsequently Councils appointee to the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee. In addition, she works to protect and enhance the city’s heritage.
Dr. Stan Brown– Has serves as Chair of a large community association. He has initiated a number of local actions employing strengthening neighbourhood strategies. Stan fought diligently for many years to protect Gibbons wetland/woodland to have it declared an Environmentally Sensitive Area.
Maureen Cassidy – A founding member, who also serves as co-chair, of a large community association. Maureen is an outstanding advocate for strengthening neighbourhoods through engagement in civic activities. She routinely coordinated community events, and protects the environment.
Susan Eagle– She is a tireless volunteer for social justice. Advocating for equality, inclusiveness, human rights, and those who are homeless and living in poverty. Susan has been a member of city council, appointed to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities committees, and served on numerous Boards and Commissions.
Jackie Farquhar– She has dedicated 35 years to  leading her community association on a variety of civic issues from community redevelopment, heritage preservation,  to town and gown issues. She represented her community with the Urban League of London for many years.
Hugh Fletcher– For over a two decades, Hugh has been the voice of the agricultural community to council. He is actively involved in civic issues and has participated on many committees. Hugh has served as Council’s appointee to the Agricultural Advisory Committee, often taking on the leadership role as chair.
Greg Fowler – Greg values accountability and transparency in government and he single handedly live streamed council meeting for many years using his own equipment, uploading content for public viewing. He spent many years blogging about civic issues. Greg has also been active in promoting walkable cities awareness for over a decade.
Genet Hodder– For over two decades, Genet has been an active and vocal champion for built heritage. For many years she coordinated and chaired the Doors Open London heritage event. She has served in leadership positions with Heritage London Foundation and heritage associations, in addition to being a successful small business owner.
Margaret Hoff– Margaret has always been an active and involved citizen. She has championed women rights and equality, spearheaded women our votes count initiatives, organized political debates and conferences and has been Councils appointee to numerous committees and task force including the Governance Review Task Force and the Child Care advisory Committee.
Sandy Levin– Sandy has spent over two decades involved in civic issues. Aside from serving on council for 6 years, he has held a leadership position on a variety of Boards and Commissions including London Transit, the Environmental Ecological Planning Advisory Committee, Nature London, Development Charges Monitoring Committee and the Technical Review Committee for Development Charges. Sandy also serves as the Chair of his community association and is active with the Urban League of London.
Russ Monteith – In addition to running a law practice, Russ has served this community in a variety of capacities as a member of: city council, London Transit Commission, London Hydro, UWO Board of Governors, University Hospital Board of Directors, President of the Middlesex Law Association, former Citizenship Court Judge, and former Board of Trustee for St. Andrew’s United Church.
Gloria McGinn-McTeer– Gloria has been involved in civic issues for over two decades through serving as Chair of the Urban League of London, President of a community association championing neighbourhood values and protecting the environment.  She is a founding member of the Ontario Federation of Urban Neighbourhoods. Gloria has served on council appointed advisory committees and presently sits on a technical review committee.
Kathryn Munn– For over a decade, Kathryn has been a civic leader in a variety of capacities. A well known lawyer with a focus on dispute resolution Kathryn uses her volunteer time leading her community association in numerous civic activities in addition to championing human rights.
Mari Parks– Mari championed the study for the Bishop-Hellmuth Heritage designation. She was actively involved in the detailed heritage assessment of the community and she continues to lead civic issues on behalf of the community association after more than a decade.
Dennis Pellarin– For a decade, Dennis has dedicated himself to working with the community, the university and college on issues of concern. He was instrumental in championing and coordinating a city wide liaison group with an interest in Town and Gown issues. He was appointed by Council to serve on the Town and Gown Advisory Committee.
Nick Sauter– Nick has been civic minded throughout his life and is dedicated to giving back to the community. He is respected community leader who has spearheaded numerous community initiatives and discussion around recreation, infrastructure, planning etc. He is a founding member of the Argyle Community Association, and regularly blogs about civic issues.
Dean Sheppard– Dean is involved in a variety of civic initiatives. For many years he served as Chair of the Environment and Ecological Planning Advisory Committee. He was appointed by Council to the Trees and Forest Advisory Committee where he served for numerous years. He is coordinating community action for the Million Tree Challenge and ReForest London. Dean is actively involved in the Old South community.
Bob Shiell– A well respected educator, who championed educating about the environment. For over two decades Bob Shiell has been instrument in leading the restoration and environmental protection of Stoney Creek. In addition, he has actively served as Council’s appointee to the Trees and Forest Advisory Committee for many years.
George Sinclair– For over two decades, George has served the community as an active Board member and former President of the Old South Community Association, as Chair and Director with the Urban League of London and with the Trees and Forest Advisory Committee. George has dedicated years of active involvement to preserve and protect the Normal School heritage site.
Ken Sumnall– For well over two decades, Ken has been a civic leader in a number of capacities from active involvement with Community Living London to Chairing and holding leadership positions and capacity building within his community association, to environmental protection. Ken also served for over a decade on the Housing Advisory Committee.
Lani Teal- A founding member, who also serves as co-chair, of a large community association. Lani has dedicated her volunteer time to strengthening neighbourhoods through civic activism, environmental protection and organizing community events.
Greg Thompson– Greg is a founding member of the Old East Village Community Association serving as the President for over a decade. He continues to serve as a board member. Greg also Chairs the Urban League of London and participates in numerous civic issues. He was appointed to the London Advisory Committee on Heritage and served for many years.
Stephen Turner– For over a decade Stephen has served the community in a number of leadership roles that include; Chair and member of the Advisory Committee on the Environment, the Environment and Ecological Advisory Committee, Chair and Director of the Urban League of London and Director of the Old South Community Association.
Dr. Tutis Vilis– A scientist/professor and civic activist. For over two decades, Tutis has been an active Director leading the Masonville Residents Association, in addition to serving on the executive of the Urban League of London for over a decade.  He has coordinated community activities and made a valuable contribution to citizen engagement.
David Winninger – In addition to running a law practice, David has served this community as a Member of Provincial Parliament and a Member of City Council. He has been appointed to numerous Boards and Commissions and continues to serve on the London Transit Commission and Merrymount Board. David’s civic action is focused on social justice issues, mental health, and being the voice of those marginalized by society.

Our thanks to your for your outstanding service to the city.