We hope to use this page to provide an ongoing perspective on city governance. We acknowledge that we are not unbiased, but we believe our contribution will be valuable. We’re building a list of specific concerns at the bottom of this page.
If you have news, ideas for the page, suggestions, criticisms, or other comments, please contact us through the form at the bottom of this page.
A Surprise for Avon Crest
The federal government announced new retrofitting funding in February. There's a catch, though... The federal government is under pressure: our emissions are quickly climbing to pre-pandemic levels, and government needs to find ways to meet 2030 targets. Retrofitting...
Scrap Bill 23: there’s nothing good about this bill
Mike Sullivan's submission on Bill 23 Bill 23 is an omnibus bill which changes many different acts and regulations. The stated goal of building more homes faster is not met by this bill. It removes or alters many public protections, including protections against bad...
Stratford to get higher property taxes (Thank you, Doug Ford)
by Mike Sullivan -- submitted as an op ed to the Beacon Herald Complex and controversial, Bill C-23 is a gift to developers from the newly-minted Provincial Government. And it comes just as new city councils are being sworn in all over Ontario so none can complain...
Who voted against the Xinyi glass plant?
Actions speak louder than words We get several emails a day asking who voted against the glass plant. Here's our answer: The important thing to remember is that NOBODY on Council voted against the factory. At least not in public, and if it was voted on...
Freedom of Information (FOI) and Closed Meeting Investigations
Get Concerned Stratford is still seeking information from the city related to the Glass Factory shenanigans of 2017-2021. (cue Richie Havens, Woodstock ’69) by Mike Sullivan Get Concerned Stratford filed a request for the text of the agreement between the Province and...
City of Secrets: why you should be worried about the NDA
Imagine you are a municipal councillor, perhaps just starting out, and you are presented with a document to sign as part of a negotiation with a company. You are told that that the language in the contract is “standard boilerplate,” to protect professional secrets, a...
Charlie Brown and the municipal football
It’s the nature of city government to want control. That’s not always a bad thing, but how much control is needed in City discussions with residents? The Stratford City website has been a bone of contention for years. Posts are sometimes unclear. Things are hard to...
Time for a new integrity commissioner
Letter to the editorPublished August 11, 2021 in the The Beacon Herald It’s time for a new Stratford integrity commissioner. Yesterday’s farcical report by Stratford’s integrity commissioner is the clearest example yet of the need for new blood to run this city. By...
New Letters Unearthed
by Jamie Gibb and Mike Sullivan Read the letters Our stash of uncovered correspondence between the city, township, and county and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing increased when the Beacon Herald uncovered the Mayor’s letters of Nov 20, 2018, March 11,...
Closed meetings investigation
See Mike Sulivan’s post on the obstruction he has faced in trying to learn more about how Xinyi almost came to Stratford, here:
Wellington Advertiser: What goes on behind closed doors? Are municipalities too secretive?
In February of 2020 the Councils of the City of Stratford, the Township of Perth South , and the County of Perth approved the annexation of lands south of Stratford.
Most of the background for this action appears in the City documents on annexation.
We are researching the annexation and any connections to Xinyi’s acquisition of land after the annexation.
(updates to follow)
Stratford's Official Plan
Council will be reviewing the City’s Official Plan in 2022-23. We will add to this section as the review progresses.
Climate Change Coordinator
September 19, 2022. It has taken City Hall far too long to hire a climate change coordinator, but we finally have one.
Sadaf Ghalib will be joining the City of Stratford as the new Climate Change Program Manager. Sadaf’s educational background is in architecture with a master’s in project management. She will be bringing with her hands on experience from a municipality that is well on their way to achieving their climate action goals. With a passion to seek change, strong project management, advocacy, and policy development skills, Sadaf will support and guide the City to meet its own climate action goals.
June, 2022. Council announces they will fill the climate change coordinator position “We’ve had six meetings with the internal working group and, at about half of those, we’ve started to push hard for this position to be put into place,” said Taylor Crinklaw, the city’s infrastructure director. (Galen Simmons, Beacon Herald)
January, 2022. Stratford adds a climate change coordinator to the draft budget (Galen Simmons, Beacon Herald)
January 2022: The climate change position has been discussed at many earlier meetings of the Energy & Environment Committee, with some complaints that the City has been slow to act. Councillors Burbach and Henderson seemed to be less than optimistic about the new position, citing budget problems. Councillor Henderson was not hopeful: “I don’t know if we’ll wind up getting one this year, or if it will be part time.” See the discusion (48:20)
Amara Kartick was Rebecca Garlic’s replacement (this position was also shared with the county) . She was uncertain of her position until a motion was put forward in early January 2022. She has decided to join the private sector.
Rebecca Garlick was our first climate change coordinator, hired in 2019 (the position was shared with the county). She was unsure of her position during much of her tenure, and finally left.
The Queen/Trow development and Stratford's Official Plan
The proposed 3 1/2 storey apartment complex on Ontario Street between Queen and Trow (the old Chinese restaurant) is an ongoing and very contentious issue. At the heart of the controversy is the role of our Official Plan in Stratford’s development. Council has overridden the recommendations of the Official Plan to permit a structure that is wholy out of keeping with the neighbourhood, and this decision is being appealed at the Ontario Land Tribunal by a local citizens’ group, SOS Statford. Learn more about this group and their action.
Should there be rules for amending our Official Plan? If councillors feel free to disregard it, what is the point of having one? We continue to watch this issue. The appeal should be reviewed in the summer of 2022.
Stratford Declaration of Climate Emergency
In February of 2020 Stratford City Council made a declaration of climate emergency. This was the result of work by the youth of this city, and Stratford should be very proud to have such determined and hard working citizens.
The positive excitement that resulted from the declaration was later muted when the town learned that Council had been working at the same time to impose a giant glass factory on our city. That factory would have doubled our greenhouse gas emissions. (Learn more about the glass plant)
Transportation Master Plan
In the fall of 2021 the City of Stratford sent out a request for proposal (RFP 2021-49) to complete a Transportation Master Plan by early 2023.
The preliminary plan is now on the Engage Stratford website. See the report
City of Hamilton: A citizens guide to the class environmental assessment process
Xinyi Glass Factory
The Xinyi issue is ongoing. GCS has continued to file freedom of information requests to uncover the details of this issue, which may go back as far as 2017. We have also filed complaints regarding the conduct of someindividuals involved in the agreement.
We are learning that these things can take a great deal of time, but we intend to persist.