‘Strong mayor’ powers on agenda at next Oakville council meeting

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Published July 10, 2023 at 12:20 pm

The Town Solicitor will provide a presentation for Council’s information that summarizes the provisions setting out the strong mayor powers and duties that have been implemented by the Province of Ontario. TOWN OF OAKVILLE PHOTO

Town Council is set to discuss the recent move by the province to grant Oakville Mayor Rob Burton “strong mayor” powers.

The matter will be discussed at a meeting Tuesday night (July 11) and comes after Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark announced June 15 that Burton and the mayors of 25 other cities and towns would be given new the powers as of July 1.

The legislation gives the mayor veto powers over bylaws that conflict with provincial priorities such as building housing.

Oakville council can still override a decision by the mayor with a two-thirds vote.

The province said the move was made to the 26 municipalities, including Oakville, who have committed to a housing pledge as part of its work to build 1.5 million homes by 2031.

The Town Solicitor will make a presentation to council that summarizes the provisions set out in the strong mayor powers and duties that have been implemented by the Province of Ontario.

Burton has yet to publicly comment on the new powers given him to him since the provincial announcement, but he had previously stated that he supported council’s opposition to the move, with one councillor even calling it “anti-democratic.”

Burton said council was strong in the system called the weak mayor, weak council system, saying “There is no I in team.”

““I will continue to serve as a mayor that wants to be known for collaboration and team work,” said Burton on Jan. 30. “There is simply no other way to accomplish anything for our residents. I am guided by an old proverb, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together.’ I have striven that we go together.”

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