Engaged Citizens of Burlington (ECoB) is an incorporated non-profit working to empower citizens to help build a better Burlington.
ECoB is an independent, non-partisan organisation. It is not connected to any incumbent politician in Burlington, nor does it endorse or oppose candidates for public office.
It exists to promote the following objectives:
- To encourage Burlington Council and City Hall to adopt new methods of engagement with residents, building on the recommendations of the 2010 Shape Burlington Report which have remained largely unimplemented as of 2018. This failure to implement meaningful engagement has caused a regrettable and avoidable atmosphere of hostility and resentment between citizens and City Hall over the last decade. We believe early and meaningful citizen consultation should be an integral part of every council decision. We also believe successful citizen engagement is beneficial to all parties, and ensures residents’ vision is of paramount importance as the city plans for the future. A healthy local democracy is based on citizens and City Hall working in partnership to implement a shared vision.
- To empower citizens to bring their concerns to City Hall and to be heard by Council, whatever the issues may be. To do this ECoB is currently in the process of creating ward-level committees across Burlington to seek out resident input on issues of importance and to bring them to council as matters arise with ECoB’s assistance and guidance. Ward committees will aim to keep council constantly informed of resident opinion, so that residents are properly consulted and heard as decisions are made.
- To discuss, research, educate and inform the public and City Hall on plausible methods by which citizen engagement can be implemented more successfully, through a program of meetings, workshops and advocacy.
ECoB’s intention is to be a positive and creative force for a better relationship between residents, councillors and City Hall in the interests of all concerned.
Founded in 2017 in reaction to a widespread perception that Burlington City Hall and Council were unresponsive and unwilling to listen to citizen opinion with regard to a planned development at 421 Brant St in Burlington, ECoB quickly established itself as a strong advocate for making citizen voices heard. ECoB met with the Downtown BIA, the Chamber of Commerce, City Planners, Director of Transit, and some of the councillors. ECoB delegated at City Hall asking that approval of 421 Brant Street and the adoption of a new Official Plan be allowed to be decided at an election. ECoB with the help of the Imber family constructed a to-scale 3D model made of Lego to show how the proposed two (2) buildings on the corner of Brant/James Street would impact the area. We held a forum for potential candidates and volunteers who would work on their campaigns. The object of doing all this was to educate the residents, to make them aware of what was happening in their City.
In 2018, ECoB organized city-wide debates in every ward, and for the mayoralty. during the municipal election campaign. This was the first time debates had been organised systematically in every ward in Burlington’s history. Despite some incumbent councillors choosing not to attend, all debates were highly successful and several ward debates were standing room only, with as many as 400 attendees cramming into the venues to see candidates answer a range of questions. We believe these debates provided an invaluable opportunity for residents to learn about and choose their candidates in a way which had never been possible before.
With the election of a new council in 2018, ECoB is now refocusing itself on supporting and encouraging City Hall to build better procedures for engaging with residents, and putting structures in place to ensure residents are able to bring their opinions forward.