What is being done to address the issue of housing affordability ?

By Staff

September 22, 2021



The evidence is in, and it is overwhelming. The cost of housing has grown much more quickly than household incomes. The past year has seen housing affordability discussed frequently as the impact of COVID-19 on changing work arrangements has created different opportunities for where people are located. This Community Dispatch will look at what is being done to address the issue of housing affordability.

Based on the belief that every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable home, The National Housing Strategy (NHS) is a 10 year, $70-billion plan that the federal government has put in place to create a new generation of housing in Canada that is affordable and inclusive. The NHS is designed as a toolkit to address challenges across the housing continuum and spectrum of housing needs, with its initial focus on vulnerable Canadians including women and children fleeing violence, Indigenous peoples, seniors, and newcomers to Canada. The National Housing Strategy will result in up to 100, 000 new housing units and 300, 000 repaired or renewed housing units creating an entirely new generation of housing in Canada.

Using a mix of funding, grants, and loans, the strategy will create affordable, stable, and livable communities that are mixed-income, accessible (located near amenities and transportation), and sustainable. Rising house prices have made home ownership more difficult. Additionally, Canada’s rental housing supply is aging, many buildings are in poor shape and in need of costly repairs, and the overall supply is not keeping up with the needs in many cities. Therefore, by bringing together the public, private and non-profit sectors, the NHS can create new affordable housing supply by increasing the capacity of the community housing sector, increase funding for building new affordable shelters and supportive housing, encourage construction of sustainable rental apartments using low-cost loans, and utilize surplus lands and buildings to create socially inclusive housing that provides solutions to housing challenges. However, recent analysis of the NHS by the Parliamentary Budget Officer has found that the impact on housing need has been limited over its first three years.

Housing is a federal issue.

While ambitious in its targets, the NHS’s program design is not beyond critique. Its centrepiece financial instrument, the Rental Construction Finance Initiative (RCFI), for example, is ostensibly designed to address rental stock gaps by providing housing developers with quicker access to loans, thereby accelerating housing supply. Critics have argued that the RCFI – which is receiving 85% of the total increase in the NHS budget – may help increase housing supply for “middle income renter demand,” but the inflated income thresholds used in its framework impedes it from providing significant affordable housing solutions (see CURE Brief, Review of RCFI, Jan, 2021).

The government of Ontario is supporting the goals of the National Housing Strategy through the Community Housing Renewal Strategy and the Housing Supply Action Plan. 56% of renter households in Ontario cannot afford the average rent for a 2-bedroom apartment ($1,266). Rising housing costs have a significant impact on low-income households, and many require some form of assistance through the community housing system.

The Community Housing Renewal Strategy outlines how the government of Ontario will work with community partners to stabilize and grow the community housing sector. It is proven that when people have the housing they need, they have better health, education, and employment outcomes.

The province needs to show serious leadership if the number of new affordable housing are to be built.

When housing is affordable and in areas near transit, schools, workplaces and amenities, individuals have the opportunity to manage their lives and raise their families. Community housing provides a home for people working in low-income jobs, for seniors, those living on social assistance, and for individuals with developmental disabilities, mental health and addictions challenges and for people who have experienced homelessness, domestic violence, or human trafficking. Community housing provides homes to over 250,000 families and individuals across Ontario.

In order to increase the supply of market housing, the Ontario government is developing a detailed Housing Supply Action Plan to create more affordable and good quality places to live. During an online consultation, more than half of the submissions from the general public said their top criteria when looking for a home were affordability, followed by transit, schools, and services located nearby. By making the most of infrastructure investments and encouraging more density around major transit stations the plan will make it easier to build the right types of housing in the right places and help Ontarians find a home that meets their needs and budget.

The success of the National Housing Strategy also requires collaboration with municipalities to empower communities to create strategic plans and locally informed approaches to curb and reduce homelessness while creating new housing opportunities for vulnerable residents. The Comprehensive Housing Strategy, initiated in 2014, serves as the Region’s 10 year housing and homelessness plan that strives to encourage and protect affordable housing in Halton. In 2019, Regional Council endorsed the Comprehensive Housing Strategy Update 2014-2024 – Five-year Review, which provides updated actions and targets for the CHS. These include creating a range and mix of new housing across the housing continuum to meet the needs of the Halton community; protecting existing rental housing so that it continues to be available to residents; and, providing coordinated services to Halton residents who need support to obtain or maintain their housing.

The State of Housing Report is prepared annually to provide a review of housing supply and demand and is used to inform the Comprehensive Housing Strategy.

Halton is a community of more than half a million people with some of the most expensive housing in the province – creating affordable and attainable housing is proving to be a challenge.

Halton’s vision includes advancing the supply of an adequate mix and variety of housing to meet differing physical, social, and economic needs. The report also assesses the Region’s success in achieving its Regional Official Plan housing targets that call for at least 50% of new housing units produced annually in Halton to be in the form of townhouses or multi-storey buildings, and at least 30% of new housing units produced to be affordable or assisted housing.

Halton’s Housing Model gathers various information including household income, household spending, housing costs, and average rents in the region from a variety of data sources including Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), Statistics Canada, and Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC).

An analysis is then conducted on this data that generates thresholds based on household income and housing cost and that calculation is undertaken for both the assisted and affordable (non-assisted) segments of the housing continuum. A table showing the income and housing cost thresholds in included below.

Income and Housing Cost Thresholds table from the State of Housing Report 2020, Halton Region

Lasting impact of COVID-19
According to the Oakville Resiliency Report of 2020, the pandemic has also made the task of finding affordable housing more difficult. Cost of housing including rentals have fluctuated and many congregate living situations have become dangerous due to the difficulty of physical distancing. Long-term care facilities were hit the hardest by the pandemic with overwhelming outbreaks among residents and staff.

Emergency shelters were also impacted by the pandemic, having to reduce their capacity to abide by social distancing guidelines. Within Halton, a new shelter for families and single women was acquired, while the Lighthouse Shelter was transformed to a men’s only shelter with targeted mental health supports. As well, hotels were being leveraged as needed to address surge demand.

According to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board Market Watch, as of August 2021 the average sale price for a home in Halton was $1,206,016, an increase of 17% from the previous year.

The pandemic has created extra challenges and exacerbated others. For women in abusive relationships, there was increased risk when stay at home orders were implemented and violence escalated. According to Halton Women’s Place, shelter capacity decreased based on Covid guidelines, leaving many fleeing violence unable to secure space. As a result, women were waiting longer to come. It is anticipated that there will be a surge after the pandemic ends.

Evictions during the pandemic rose – then there was a ban – but the ban ended.

Changes to the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) in the context of the pandemic have also impacted low- income and otherwise marginalized tenants and brought awareness to inequalities and accessibility concerns moving towards online hearings, as documented by Ontario Legal Clinics. Access to technology is highly unequal and the LTB cannot assume that all individuals have equal access to computers, internet connection, phone minutes, or the private space to participate meaningfully in hearings. Additionally, accessing legal assistance or advice during the pandemic when many legal clinic staff are working remotely is challenging especially with short timelines and delays in processing of important documents electronically. With these changes, the LTB has a responsibility to ensure that its response to COVID-19 does not unfairly exacerbate homelessness or the effects of the pandemic on racialized, Black, and Indigenous communities, or renters living in poverty.

This Community Dispatch was produced by Community Development Halton, a not for profit organization that focuses on community development for the Region.

Related news stories that will be published in the near future are on: Inclusionary Zoning; newer forms of housing arrangements and Renovictions – a rather nasty practice some landlords are  using.



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City of Burlington will observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30 as a holiday

By Staff

September 22nd, 2021



The City of Burlington will observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Thursday, Sept. 30 as a holiday. To mark the importance of the day, City of Burlington administration buildings will be closed.

Residential school survivor Lorna Standingready (left) is comforted during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada closing ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, June 3, 2015.

Beginning Sept. 27, and leading up to Sept. 30, City employees will observe the holiday by focusing on educational events and opportunities that reflect on the nation’s past and recommit to understanding the truth of our shared history and advancing reconciliation.

We encourage residents to visit the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation website for educational materials and event opportunities.

City Services open and closed on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021:
City Service Holiday Closure Information

Animal Services The Animal Shelter at 2424 Industrial St. remains closed to the public due to COVID-19. To report an animal control-related emergency, call 905-335-3030 or visit Burlington.ca/animal.

Burlington Transit Burlington Transit will operate a regular weekday schedule on Sept. 30. For real-time bus information and schedules visit myride.burlingtontransit.ca.

The downtown terminal at 430 John St. and Specialized Dispatch will be open.
City Hall The Service Burlington counter at City Hall (426 Brant St.), will be closed to all appointments and walk-in service on Sept. 30.

Many service payments are available online at Burlington.ca/onlineservices.

Halton Court Services – Provincial Offences Office All court proceedings will be closed on Sept. 30 and all matters that were scheduled for that day will be rescheduled.

Court administration counter services at 4085 Palladium Way will be open and operating with skeleton staff on Sept. 30, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Telephone and email services will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at: 905-637-1274 and burlingtoncourt@burlington.ca.

With the exception of the skeleton staff operations on Sept. 30, telephone payments are available at 905-637-1274, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. All in-person services are available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday to Friday. Many services are also available by email at burlingtoncourt@burlington.ca or online at Halton Court Services.

Parking Paid parking will be in effect on Sept. 30.

In Downtown Burlington, receive 90 minutes of free parking when you pay for parking at the pay station or using the HonkMobile app.

Parking in Downtown is Burlington is free after 6 p.m. and on weekends.

Recreation Programs and Facilities Drop-in recreation programs and rentals will run as scheduled on Sept. 30. Visit

Burlington.ca/dropinandplay or follow @BurlingtonParksRec on Facebook and @Burl_ParksRec on Twitter for the latest updates.

Registered recreation programs will be closed on Sept. 30. Participants impacted will be contacted with additional details.

Please note: In keeping with the provincial regulations and Ministry of Health guidance, effective Sept. 22, 2021, individuals entering indoor City facilities used for sports, recreational fitness activities, meetings, and events, will be required to be fully vaccinated (as defined in the provincial guidance) and provide proof of vaccination, along with identification (unless otherwise exempt). To learn more, visit Burlington.ca/coronavirus.

Roads, Parks and Forestry The administrative office will be closed on Sept. 30. Essential services will be provided as required.
Burlington is a City where people, nature and businesses thrive. As residents continue to rediscover many of their favourite spaces and activities in the city, City services may look different as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19. The City’s commitment to providing the community with essential services remains a priority. Sign up to learn more about Burlington at Burlington.ca/Enews and follow @CityBurlington on social media.

Quick Facts
• Sept. 30, 2021 will mark Canada’s inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation also known as Orange Shirt Day.

• In June 2021, the federal government passed legislation proclaiming Sept. 30 as a public holiday. The holiday is one of 94 calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and is intended to honour and commemorate Indian Residential School survivors and those children that did not make it home.

• Before it was a public holiday, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was started in 2013 as “Orange Shirt Day” where Canadians would wear the bright colour as a sign of their allyship and support toward Indigenous communities.

Links and Resources
• Learn more about Orange Shirt Day and how you can contribute: www.orangeshirtday.org.
• Hear Survivor stories and read the Calls to Action at National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.


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Former Burlington Elementary School Teacher Charged with Historical Sexual Assault

By Staff

September 22, 2021



The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) has arrested a male in relation to a sexual assault that occurred at a Burlington elementary school in 1982.

It has been ranked as the best elementary school in Burlington.

In July, 2021 a former female student at John T. Tuck Elementary School in Burlington, contacted the HRPS to report that she was sexually assaulted by a teacher when she attended the school in 1982.

Michael O’Grady (72) of Burlington, has been charged with:

  • Indecent Assault to a Female

O’Grady was released on an Undertaking.

O’Grady taught at various schools within the Halton District School Board and police believe there may be additional victims.  Investigators are asking anyone with information to contact Detective Constable Carly Irwin of the Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Unit, at 905-825-4747, ext. 8976, or by email at carly.irwin@haltonpolice.ca.

Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers. “See something? Hear something? Know something? Contact Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca.

Every person has the right to feel safe in our community.

Victims of sexual assault and witnesses are encouraged to contact the Halton Regional Police Service. The following is a list of valuable support services and resources in Halton Region for victims of sexual violence:

  • Halton Regional Police Service Victim Services Unit 905-825-4777
  • Halton Women’s Place 905-878-8555 (north) or 905-332-7892 (24-hour crisis line)
  • Halton Children’s Aid Society 905-333-4441 or 1-866-607-5437
  • Nina’s Place Sexual Assault and Domestic Assault Care Centre 905-336-4116 or 905-681-4880
  • Thrive Counselling 905-637-5256 or 905-845-3811
  • Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention Services (SAVIS) 905-875-1555 (24-hour crisis line)



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How and why was the Rambo Creek diversion chanel built

By Eric Chiasson

September 22, 2021



For those of you who live or work in the downtown Burlington area or who enjoy spending time there, you might be familiar with a quiet little creek running through the downtown neighborhoods bringing plenty of small wildlife like foxes, possums, and countless birds and reptiles to our backyards – it is known as the Rambo Creek.

Its headwaters come from north of the QEW passing through several box culverts under the highway and parallels Brant Street to the east zigzagging its way through town to Lake Ontario.

Map of downtown Burlington – alignment of Rambo Creek and Rambo Creek Diversion Channel

It wasn’t always a quiet little creek.  There was a time a while back when it would overflow and sometimes flood during big rain falls eroding its banks causing damage in the downtown area.  In the 1990’s, however, the Rambo Creek Diversion Channel and its associated flood control structures were built to stabilize the creek and protect downtown from flooding (Hager-Rambo Flood Control Facilities Study Report 2020 – Wood).

Over the past half century Rambo Creek has been getting more crowded with urban development.  Parking lots and buildings have been built up against it, and in some cases, right over it!  A good portion of the creek is buried in box culverts carrying its waters through town mostly unseen.  Following it through town from Highway 403 all the way to its outlet to Lake Ontario near Lakeshore Road and Torrance Street can be challenging because it moves sporadically from forested open creek beds to long underground culverts.  It winds between apartment buildings and hides behind strip malls.  In some locations, it meanders through residential backyards.  If you’re close by and you pay attention, you’ll hear its natural sounds a running water.
Rambo Creek flowing through downtown residential backyards (left), between buildings and parking lots and diving under roads (right)

Over the years, attempts have been made to stabilize the creek bed by means of concrete retaining walls, gravity stone walls, boulders, and culverts, and have all been subject to significant maintenance and repairs especially during rainy seasons.  As much as we try to control water, its damaging affects through erosion are as inevitable as gravity.  So, to mitigate the risk of flooding and damage to downtown infrastructure, a diversion channel would be needed to control the volume of water going through Burlington’s historic neighborhoods, which was eventually built in the 1990’s.  The channel was funded by multiple levels of government and is maintained and operated by Conservation Halton to reduce the risk of local damage due to flooding (www.conservationhalton.ca/dams-and-channels).

The creek would need to be intercepted high enough to go around the more densely developed downtown area but low enough to maximize the flow reduction through town.  And then a less developed route for the channel would have to be chosen.  Its starting point would be near the intersection of Fairview Street and Brant Street, and the water would be carried safely southwest to the Hamilton Harbor thereby significantly reducing the volume of water going through downtown.

Rambo Creek Diversion Channel near its starting point next to Fairview Road
The diversion channel today consists of a long concrete paved channel approximately 2.5 km long with steep slopes diverting flows from the Rambo Creek itself, and runs southwest parallel to Fairview then curves south through residential neighborhoods under several roads until it goes under Maple Avenue.  This location is one of the best places to watch the channel in action after a big rain fall with deep water being diverted from downtown.

Then the channel runs between Maple View Mall and Maple Park then through a large triple-barrel culvert under the QEW connecting to Indian Creek where a large energy dissipation structure was built to avoid damaging Indian Creek during heavy rains, and flows down Indian Creek’s natural creek bed large enough to carry the water safely to the Hamilton Harbor.
Downstream end of the diversion channel with energy dissipation structures (beautifully garnished with local artwork)
At any given time, there is always some water flowing through both Rambo Creek and through its diversion channel.  During rain falls, however, the volume of Rambo Creek itself increases only slightly accommodating more local runoff form the downtown area, but you’ll notice the flow in the channel increases significantly taking on the majority of the upstream flow from the rains saving downtown from severe damage.

Without this amazing, critical, and unassuming piece of infrastructure, the Rambo Creek would constantly be trying to erode the banks of our historic Burlington neighborhoods.  So next time we get a heavy rain fall in the area, thank the Rambo Creek Diversion Channel and the people who built it for keeping the downtown core safe from being washed away.


Eric Chiasson is a civil engineer by training and a construction manager by trade.  Having built many infrastructure projects throughout Canada and the United States over the past 25 years he has become a subject matter expert in infrastructure and construction.  Eric is driven by his curiosity to learn more about how things are built and how they work, encouraging others to join the ranks of those who design and build the infrastructure that makes living in our cities possible.

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Lowville residents enjoy sneak previews at Thinkspot


By Max Bowder: Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

September 22, 2021




Some 40 residents gathered in Lowville  at Walt Rickli’s Interactive Sculpture Garden last night; something they do each year to celebrate the fall Equinox.

The treat this year was two sneak previews from Lowville Festival.

The first was from dancer – Trevor Copp’s mime interpretation of Camille Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals. The second was a 10-minute excerpt of the 2021 Lowville Festival video – A love letter… from Lowville to Burlington.

Attendees walked away from both previews pleased – both were seen as heartfelt and beautiful.

“I really enjoyed the motions and expressions, lots of talent, very beautiful,” said Claudia, a local attendant.

Carnival of the Animals

Trevor Copp

Copp provided quality entertainment with his Mime theater of animals such as chickens and elephants. Copp’s physical theater was incorporated with seductive dances and impressive animal mannerisms as well as the aid of classical music and rhyming poetry.

“Trevor is one of those gems in the community that is incredibly talented,” foundation president Deb Pickfield said.

Copp enjoyed the performance saying he had “Such a generous crowd.”

Copp has been put on the long list for the child’s writing award for the Canadian Society of Children’s Authors.

A love letter… from Lowville to Burlington

Walt Rickli in the studio he once had at the Nelson Quarry

The 10 minute excerpt of “A love letter… from Lowville to Burlington” was loved with particular praise for the video’s humour and beautiful photos.

The excerpt contained voice-over audio from Walt Rickli as well as unique videos and photos from its shooting location at the Mt Nemo Quarry.

“It’s my favourite joy, watching people enjoy art,” Walt Rickli said.

Collaborators of the film, including executive director Garner Beckett said it was a pleasure watching the crew work.

ThinkSpot’s Debra Pickfield

Conservation Halton Foundation is still deciding when to release the full film,  Pickfield says the foundation is considering October – December as a window for the projected release date. Pickfield also said she might consider releasing the film in stages throughout the rest of the year.



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Public can now get a look at what the developer wants to do with the Waterfront Hotel site

By Pepper Parr

September 21st, 2021



On the evening of September 8th, there was a virtual pre-application presentation given by Bousfields, planners for Burlington 2020 Lakeshore Inc. , which is the company expected to make the application.

It was the first look at what the property owners had in mind for the re-development of the Waterfront Hotel site.

Two things about the images shown below – we were able to show a bit of what the developers have in mind last week.

I think the design is superb.

But I don’t think that design is what the people of Burlington want. It is some distance from the slightly quaint look of the downtown core, which isn’t all that big. It is my belief that there isn’t all that much vibrancy to it. But that’s my personal view.

The decision that gets made about this development is to be made by the people of Burlington.

Unfortunately the people of Burlington didn’t get to see the presentation.

There were just over 100 people participating in the virtual presentation – of which at least a dozen were city staff.

During the Q&A part of the presentation the Gazette asked how we could get a link to the presentation which was recorded.

No one had an answer so on September 11th, I reached out to the Director of Communications Kwab Ako-adjei with the following:


I think you will have taken in all of the pre-application virtual meeting on Wednesday.

Quite a show.

As you know it was recorded and the developer didn’t raise any objection on it being made public – what wasn’t clear was –

Thomas Walker (I erred and used the wrong last name – it is Douglas) was asked and didn’t seem to know where it would be located nor did he leave me with the sense that it would actually be put on the city web site.

Would you follow this up for us please.

I address this to you because we intend to follow how the request is handled and want to be on record as having reached out to the head of the Communications department.

Stay well

I later got a reply from Carla Marshal, who is one of the Communications Advisers with the city.

Good morning, Pepper.

Please take a look at this information, which should help to clarify the City’s role in the development application process: Understanding the Development Application Process – City of Burlington

The meeting was led by the developer so the developer owns the recording of the event. The City does not own the recording; the developer does. It is at the sole discretion of the developer, in this case, Burlington 2020 Lakeshore Inc. c/o Bousfields Inc., if and where the recording is posted; it is up to the proponent to decide whether they will post the recording online on their own website: https://bousfields.ca/

Shortly after there was a response from Suzanne Vukosavljevic,  who was filling in for Marshall..  She said:

The City posts its own meeting recordings on the City site but in this specific case you are asking about, it was not a City meeting so therefore, the City is not posting the recording.

Your questions have been answered by staff below.

Thanks for your interest.

The city provided the following:

As the communications advisor for Planning, I have worked with staff to provide you with the following information:

From Thomas Douglas, Senior Planner, Community Planning:

Pre-Application Community Meetings are hosted by the proponent of a development, not the City. If/when the proponent proceeds to submit a development application to the City for their proposal, as part of their application they must provide minutes from the Pre-Application Community Meeting, a written summary of public input received at the meeting, and an explanation of how public input has been addressed and reflected in the submitted application.

In cases where a Pre-Application Community Meeting occurs virtually, this may be done using the City’s or the applicant’s teleconferencing program. When the City’s technology is used, staff will record the meeting and provide the recording to the proponent to aid them in documenting meeting minutes and public input received. The City does not post the recording on the City’s website, and it is up to the proponent to decide whether they will post the recording online on their own website.

I will inform the proponent of the 2020 Lakeshore Road development proposal that the Gazette has expressed interest in obtaining a copy of the recording.

I hope this helps!

I didn’t feel my request had been met and responded:

Actually it doesn’t help very much.  I then set out more specifically what I was looking for: Carla’s responses are short – set in red.

Does the city have a copy of the event that was recorded? No
Pre-Application Community Meetings are hosted by the proponent of a development, not the City.

If not – does the city intend to obtain a copy?

and where will the copy be located on the city web site

The meeting recording will not be located on the City website; it is up to the proponent to decide whether they will post the recording online on their own website –

Further: whose technology was used – re: using the City’s or the applicant’s teleconferencing program. When the City’s technology is used, staff will record the meeting and provide the recording to the proponent to aid them in documenting meeting minutes and public input received.
The applicant has the recording.

Further – who would make the decision to not post the recording, should it become available on the city web site.
it is up to the proponent to decide whether they will post the recording online on their own website

I reached out to the planner Bousfields and asked where we could get a link to the presentation. And waited.

This morning there was a response from the Bousefields planner with a link to the presentation.

And later in the day there was a link from Thomas Douglas with the same link.

That’s a lot of back and forth – but we did get what we were asking for. Why the difficulty is beyond me.

There are two images below. They are of what the building will look like from Lakeshore Road and what it will look like from the Lake.

A rendering of what the development might look like from Lakeshore Road. Commercial space will exist at grade.


A rendering of what the site will look like from the Lake. Each tower will sit on a four storey podium and then rise to 30 storeys and 26storeys.

In part 2 – there is more in the way of visuals and comment on how the virtual event went and what was learned.

The developer can now submit an application.

When and if they do – they are expected to show how they responded to some of the issues and concerns that were raised.

Bousfields added: Note that the plans are not final and are subject to modifications as we move forward. No formal applications have been submitted at this time, and the public meeting was simply to gauge public interest and explain the proposed intent for the site prior to submission of formal planning applications.


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Karina Gould keeps the Burlington seat; Emily Brown was never able to attract the Conservative vote

By Ryan O’Dowd: Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

September 21st, 2021



Relieved at having won the seat Gould talks to media. She held the seat without a visit from the Prime Minister – unusual for this constituency.

Karina Gould will be the MP for Burlington. Will she be back in Cabinet, and which portfolio, are unanswered questions.

Her share of the vote was basically what it was in 2019. The election derided as unnecessary materially changed nothing.

Gould said she didn’t see the night as disappointing and framed the results as an endorsement from Canadians of the work the Liberals have been doing. Late last night after victory could be safely declared Gould arrived to greet volunteers at the Poacher.

“It’s a great night. We’re still in government. And you know, and we’re still moving forward, Canadians have said, we want to continue in this direction. We want to continue taking bold climate action, we want to continue making life more affordable. We want to pursue a $10 a day daycare. And even more importantly, that we want to stand up for inclusivity, women’s rights, fight systemic racism stand up for LGBT individuals. I think that what we were looking for in this election was to say, ‘hey, Canadians, is this the path you want us to continue on?’ And Canadians have said ‘yes,’” said Gould.

Gould said this was the nastiest campaign she’s been part of. Gould didn’t mention Conservative candidate, Emily Brown, by name but at a pre-election Chamber of Commerce debate, she said Brown was the first candidate she’s encountered who “brazenly misled people.”

“It was a bit nastier of a campaign. I’ve never had a candidate put up signs directly attacking me before. We’ve always run a very positive and respectful campaign. I think it’s upsetting because that’s not how this community is portrayed. I’m really grateful for the people that know we’re not going to go down that negative route, we’re going to be positive and hopeful,” said Gould.

Gould sent a letter to Burlington constituents telling them it would be a tight race but she ended up winning fairly comfortably. Gould received 45% of the vote down 3% from 2019, Brown scored 38%, bettering her 2019 counterpart, Jane Michael, by 5%. NDP candidate, Nick Page, held the NDP to steady results between 2019 and 2021. The Green Party’s Chris Cullis had a forgettable night scoring 2% of votes down from 6%. Michael Bator of the People’s Party won 4%.

(Note: result numbers are accurate as of 10:30 am with 243/244 polls reported)

The Burlington race did tighten but it was far from Gould’s nail-biting victory over Mike Wallace to first win her seat in 2015.

Karina Gould addressing her supporters in the parking lot outside the Poacher.

Gould and campaign staff did their jobs in this campaign, and still despite a solid performance the mood around the election night party was bittersweet. The election was called with visions of a majority Liberal government and a rapturous election night celebration, instead, results came in and were met with sighs of relief.

When Gould arrived following the election results she did manage to rally the troops and make it feel like a celebration.

“It’s such a privilege. I can’t thank the people of Burlington enough. I know this is a progressive community. I know more people want to move forwards not backward. But of course, I serve everybody. And so I’m looking forward to continuing to do that. But I just have to say a huge amount of gratitude to the people of Burlington for placing their trust in me once again, for a third term and I’m committed to continuing to deliver for them,” said Gould.

Gould said her top priorities going forward were daycare, affordable housing which she said she heard about at the door constantly and acting boldly on climate change which was the reason she got into politics in 2015. When asked what we could expect her federal portfolio would look like Gould said she had no idea.

Gould will begin her third term following her second re-election, first claiming the seat in 2015 then defending it in 2019. Gould was the former Minister of International Development and Minister of Democratic Institutions.

Gould’s decisive win suggests she’s endeared herself to the people of Burlington. Gould was highly visible running her campaign and said she and her staff knocked on over 60,000 doors and made over 30,000 phone calls.

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Rivers: An Unnecessary Election?


By Ray Rivers

September 21st, 2021



By law there has to be an election four years following the last one, except when there is a minority government. Mr. Trudeau had a choice. He could call an election when the polls favoured him, as Jean Chretien once did. Or he could wait until the opposition ganged up and forced an election, as happened when Jack Layton pulled the rug out from under Paul Martin.

That is what politics is all about – trying to get and keep the most seats in Parliament. Indeed Mr. Harper did exactly that in 2008, even after introducing Canada’s fixed election law. Does anyone remember the media calling that an unnecessary election?

The lineups were long – in Toronto Fort York people waited for an hour and a half. Fewer polling stations and an upset public wanting to express their dissent.

That we are in the midst of a pandemic can be a problem. Longer lines and fewer polling places can be frustrating for the voter. But mail-in ballots and advance voting had been available. And the good news is that there have been no reports of transmission or COVID outbreaks during the campaign. Indeed being in a polling station is likely as safe as a vaccination clinic, except for the long lines in some locations.

Elections cost money, this one came in at about $600 million. All that cash goes to pay for poll clerks, polling supplies, room rentals, travel by electoral officials, and communications services. Some of it will be returned to the treasury in the taxes collected from these activities.

Like CERB and the wage subsidy this is an infusion of money into the community. But unlike the wage subsidy the money flows into the community and not into the corporate director’s pockets. Of course there is always a better use for $600 million, including paying down debt.

At this point in the election Justin Trudeau realized he was in the fight of his political life. It came very very close – even thought the Liberals are now saying it was a win.

Holding an election at this time wasn’t in the Liberal’s election platform but from all the noise one would think that was all the Liberals stood for. The real issues, like climate change, mandating vaccines and passports and national child care somehow got lost in the noise.

This was a nasty campaign by comparison to all others, including violent protesters throwing stones at a sitting PM. And it was cursed with a dysfunctional English language debate. Almost from the start Mr.Trudeau became the target of just about everyone.

Despite propping up Mr. Trudeau since the last election, Mr. Singh complained that the Liberals did nothing over all that time. Ms. Paul claimed Trudeau couldn’t possibly be a feminist or respect indigenous rights since he removed his former justice minister from the Liberal caucus. And Mr. O’Toole appeared to blame Trudeau for the COVID crisis in Alberta.

The election bill came in at $600 million – was there a value proposition in there somewhere.

But the voters weren’t convinced. And election night they have returned the PM and his party pretty much where they had started out – back into a minority situation. Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party is still seatless, though he surpassed the Green Party in popular support. The Greens have actually gained a new seat and lost an old one, but are still without a leader to represent them in Parliament.

Either the Bloc or NDP will be needed to prop up the new minority government once again. But barring a successful non-confidence vote Mr. Trudeau will have another four years of government before him. And nobody should think the Liberals will go back to the people again before those four years are up – unless they can show Canadians that it is really necessary.



Ray Rivers, a Gazette Contributing Editor,  writes regularly applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was once a candidate for provincial office in Burlington.  He was the founder of the Burlington citizen committee on sustainability at a time when climate warming was a hotly debated subject.   Ray has a post graduate degree in economics that he earned at the University of Ottawa.  Tweet @rayzrivers


Background links:

Harper’s Unnecessary Election – https://toronto.citynews.ca/2008/09/07/why-did-harper-force-an-election

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It was Casey's evening - friends gathered at Cosgrove field to celebrate # 19

By Max Bowder: Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

September 20th, 2021



It is said that having empathy for others is a very common trait in most people, but very often the virtue of true selflessness is something that most of us lose as we get older. There are very few who throughout adulthood can maintain the purity of heart until the very end. Two people come to mind:  Terry Fox and Casey Cosgrove.

Dozens of people went to Nelson Park baseball diamond in order to play rounds of soft ball, enjoy burgers, hotdogs and drinks and remember Casey.

Bryna Cosgrove

“Genuine, he was known for being genuine, he was known for a special gift for people and making anybody he was talking to feel special and the only person in the room,” said widow Bryna Cosgrove.

Family, friends, students, and many more came out to the diamond wearing commemorative team Casey T-shirts with the saying: “This disease will not take away my disability and wish to inspire,” Casey, 2017.

When I asked about who Casey was, everyone said almost the exact same thing: that he was a man who wanted to be involved, that he could connect with ANYONE in a way that no one else could and was unapologetically funny and would be the first person to make fun of himself.

The undisputed biggest trait being said about Casey was he was a man who wanted to be involved. Being involved can mean so many things but in Casey’s view there wasn’t any kind of involvement that was in bad taste. It means doing the girly things with his young daughter such as trying on nail polish or taking her to a Justin Bieber concert, both wearing pink sweaters.

The name says it all.

He way so caring, he just wanted to be involved,” said friend, Amy.

The Terry Fox Run was a mission for Casey Cosgrove.  The Fox Foundation pumped millions into cancer research that paid for the many drug trials Casey took part in.  When he was first given the diagnosis, his doctors thought he had 18 months: he had a full seven years and accomplished a lot.

Casey was a person who only wanted positive energy around him – he would always manage to turn any negative situation into a positive outcome. A man who was so self-deprecating that during a treatment he would post a blog while playing “Knockin’ on heaven’s door.”

Casey was a driving force behind getting this Marker Monument to Terry Fox in place.

One of the main events that made Casey who he was occurred when at thirteen he ran down the street with his hero Terry Fox.

Years after Terry had passed, he was instrumental in getting Terry’s Marker Monument put up in Spencer Smith Park.  Casey raised more money than anyone else.

It’s hard to imagine one man being able to accomplish so much from being a husband and father while coaching several baseball teams at once, with the ability to plunk down on the couch or the Lazy Boy and watch endless Seinfeld episodes in order to create more self-deprecating jokes and drinking everlasting amounts of coffee that always seemed to end up on his shirt.

A man who went to Starbucks so many many times – when he passed away Starbucks sent a floral bouquet. It’s hard to imagine one person having that much of an effect on you, let alone a business.

More people at the BBQ stand than at the T-shirt stand.

Among Casey’s many interests was politics. He ran as an independent for several Burlington positions: both as a Councillor and gave a lot of thought about running for Mayor.

An interest in politics was passed on to his son Jack who believes it is time to see changes in politics as well as not keeping it a quiet conversation; he sees the election taking place to day as a good place to start but had no comment on what the outcome might be – just hoping change will come soon.

When Casey passed away in 2017 the whole community came together to help his family. According to his son Jack they did it by “being involved” just like Casey used to be and to communicate with one another.

Hanging around the bullpen with a pickup game in progress.

Everyone at the park on Sunday, whether you were close to him or not, can say that when you walked away from him you felt like he had made a real connection.

“His parents always had an open door policy (for anyone who wanted help),” said childhood friend, Lisa Rodwin.

The family continues to be honored by Casey’s memory not only with last night’s event but with the baseball diamond being named after him as well as the Casey Cosgrove Memorial golf tournament held at Hidden Lake in 2018.


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41st annual Terry Fox Run kicked off on Sunday - dozens of teams running and walking to meet targets

By Max Bowder: Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

September 19th, 2021



Terry Fox passing through Burlington 41 years ago on his Marathon of Hope

It all began that April day in 1980 – when Terry Fox was on his Marathon Of Hope.

That event continues to inspire the people of Canada as hundreds of organizers participants and humble observers came to the 41st Terry Fox Run at Spencer Smith Park.

Thanks to Terry’s efforts and sacrifices the Terry Fox Run has raised over $851 million making it the worlds largest one day fundraiser for cancer research.

The Run has always had teams of people out for the Run Day. The pandemic has limited what can be done – but the event takes place nevertheless. Last year – the 40th anniversary was one of the Best Burlington had in terms of raising funds.

The Cedar Springs, Kick some ASSphalt and many more came out to participate in the run by setting high goals with some as high as 3K – 5K runs.

There is a lot of history in this picture: The Terry Fox monument in the middle; the plaque commemorating the Brant in that was once on the edge of the lake where people danced under the stars and the Brant house in the background.

During the day those out for the Kick Off gathered around the Terry Fox monument in Spencer Smith Park to cheers and applause with mineral water drinks being served in exchange for requests to donate to the Terry Fox foundation.

“I’m so impressed with our community, I think it has led to a tremendous impact,” said organizer Shannon Calsey.

“It’s great – our group goal is to raise $1500: we’ve already raised $1300,” Calsey continued.

The Terry Fox marker monument – none like it anywhere in the country – it was paid for by citizen donations.

Several participants felt connected in the run with many telling similar stories of having a loved one diagnosed with cancer or having lost someone to cancer and are willing to come out and support the cause to make sure the funds needed to pay for the research are there.

Although the crowd of onlookers was not as big as organizers hoped, they feel it has been more than made up in donations received with a goal set of raising $150,000 and getting $110,000 raised before the event even started.

Among the volunteers at Spencer Park was retired Canadian football great Tony Gabriel telling great stories to anyone who would listen.

Gabriel has had many run-ins with cancer. His father dying from lung cancer at the age of 57 and his brother being diagnosed with cancer and passing away within weeks.

Gabriel also shared how his son, Shane Gabriel was diagnosed with Leukemia and credits the Terry Fox Foundation for helping save his son’s life because of the advancements made in cancer research.

Coincidentally, Gabriel’s son today is exactly the same age as the Terry Run at 41 years old.

Gabriel told stories about him meeting Terry Fox and finding out after several years that Gabriel, the football player was an early role model for Terry along with Bobby Orr and Darryl Sittler.

“I was very fortunate to meet Terry Fox… 40 years later I found out I was one of Terry’s heroes!” said Gabriel.

Every year a large Dedication board is set up – people who are running or walking to commemorate someone special write a note. Tony Gabriel is explaining how much the Board means to so many people.

Gabriel has also pushed hard in petitions to put Terry Fox on the $5 bill feeling it would be appropriate not only as a national hero but also with the issues of Indigenous people being brought to light because Terry Fox does have indigenous ancestry through his Maternal Grandmother.

The chair of the Burlington Terry Fox committee, Craig Gardener, spoke of how unique the Terry Fox run is compared to other causes and how this was all started by just one man leading to people surviving much longer than expected given their diagnosis.

“It’s had great impact, I mean I know several people who have survived,” said Gardener

In Burlington Terry Fox usually gets the last word.

“I know one fellow who was given 18 months, survived 7 years on Terry Fox research money,” Gardener added.
Gardener’s father died of colon cancer in 2007.

Craig Gardner has been a volunteer for 15 years; when his father passed he found that he wanted to do more and eventually become the chair of the committee. In four of the last six years as Chair of the Terry Fox Run in Burlington they have raised over $100,000.

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Region Community Investment Fund: Applications due November 1st.

By Staff

September 19th, 2021



Community organizations can now submit applications to the Halton Region Community Investment Fund (HRCIF) for non-profit human service programs and initiatives that enhance the health, safety and well-being of Halton residents.

It’s a Region wide program.

Applicants must describe how they will incorporate the latest COVID-19 public health guidance and how their program or initiative aligns with Halton’s overall approach to community safety and well-being.

“We are pleased to support the important work of local non-profits through the Halton Region Community Investment Fund,” said Regional Chair Gary Carr. “I would like to thank these organizations for delivering vital services to some of our most vulnerable residents and working alongside us to keep Halton a safe and healthy community.”

Funding is available in single year and multi-year grants through two categories:

  • Category One: Provides up to one year of funding, to a maximum of $30,000. Non-profit, charitable or unincorporated community organizations can apply to fund short-term, small capital and/or innovative projects.
  • Category Two: Provides up to three years of funding to registered charities for programs and initiatives.

Organizations that meet eligibility criteria may submit one application in each funding category. The initial application deadline for both categories is Monday, November 1, 2021 at 2 p.m.

Additional opportunities to apply for HRCIF funding will be available in 2022 for programs and initiatives that help respond to emerging community needs.

The Region will host three virtual information sessions to help community organizations learn about the HRCIF and the application process:

  • Friday, September 24 from 10 a.m. to noon
  • Wednesday, September 29 from 2 to 4 p.m.
  • Tuesday, October 5 from 6 to 8 p.m.

For more information about HRCIF guidelines, upcoming virtual information sessions and the application process, please visit the HRCIF webpage on halton.ca or call 311.


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Give the Liberals a minority - and hope the Liberal Party will find the leadership needed when Justin resigns.

By Pepper Parr

September 18th, 2021



Many of us have already voted – hopefully a really significant number of Canadians will turn out to cast a ballot in this very important election.

There was no reason for this election to even take place and it is our belief that we will end up with basically the same thing when all the ballots are counted: A minority Liberal government.

Justin Trudeau does not deserve to be given the majority he wants.

There is hard work to be done: Covid19, the economy, housing – do we need a list longer than that?

The current problems aside – there is still the SNC Lavalin issue and the loss of a two female members of the Liberal caucus.

The embarrassing trip to India

The embarrassing trip to India

The WE matter

Two pronouncements from the Ethics Commissioner.

The hopes were high

The hopes were high when Justin Trudeau first ran for the leadership– another Trudeau was going to lead the country – but it hasn’t worked out that way.

That happens in politics. Let Justin Trudeau work with whatever the public gives him on Monday.

Politics being the blood sport it is – the knives will be coming out and the Liberals will begin to look for a new leader – expect to see that in 18 to 24 months.

There is a shift taking place in the way different segments of society expect their political leadership to perform.  The People’s Party of Canada is growing at a disturbing rate; the Greens are failing to grow at a disturbing rate and both the Liberal and Conservative party leaders are learning that they aren’t really as in touch with the members as they should be.

The Liberal Party polls higher than the leader of the Party and the Conservative leader is not able to impress upon his own membership that getting everyone vaccinated is critical if we are ever going to get ourselves from a pandemic to an endemic state with Covid19.

We will be watching closely Monday evening – we might be up very late or we might know as soon as the pools open in the Prairies.

The mess in Alberta – it’s actually a tragedy, that could have been avoided.  Hundreds will die unnecessary death because of decisions Jason Kenny made.

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The Holiday Market looks like a done deal - with nothing in the way of public input

By Ryan O’Dowd: Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Pepper Parr, Publisher
September 17, 2021


Local business owners are divided over the potential benefits of an expanded Burlington Holiday Market patterned after the very successful Christmas Market held in Germany.

The Grey Cup takes place in Hamilton on the 12th

Members of the Burlington Downtown Business Association generally seemed on board with the expansion but felt very much out of the loop – they just didn’t know all that much about an event that could significantly change the holiday season that brings in 20% of their annual revenue. The result has been some notable push-back.

The Agora Marketplace owner shared his enthusiasm with the Gazette, saying he has been asked to take part and while the details are yet to be finalized he isn’t under the impression any additional fees will be required for his wares to feature in the market.

“It’s great and I want to be a part of it, it should last even longer, all through December,” he said.

The Odd Spot manager and business partner replied similarly but noted no one has been in touch with them about the market expansion.

“No one has reached out to us personally but it’ll be great, it’s always a good time,” he said.

Garden area of Centro market on Brant Street

A number of owners were hearing about the market expansion for the first time and didn’t have anything to say positively or negatively, including Centro Market, Bush’s Men’s Wear, Book Nook, and Mirella’s Lady Boutique (which will close permanently before the holiday season due to COVID-19). Unfortunately the Gazette was unable to reach Joelle Cooling, one of the city’s smartest marketers, for comment prior to going to print.

Jason Pepetone, owner of Centro Market, is usually plugged-in to the city happenings but was blindsided by the holiday market when the Gazette reached out to him for comment.

“No ,the [Burlington Downtown Business Association] haven’t contacted me, I know nothing about it,” said Pepetone.

Other business owners had negative views of the proposed expansion.

Bocana Boutique owner, Carol, said she heard about the Christmas market but had to send an email to find out more. Carol didn’t see the appeal for local businesses and raised COVID-19 concerns.

“I don’t think we need to bring lots of people down here in the middle of the pandemic. We don’t need to open this up to other cities, we should be supporting our own right now. We didn’t have Sound of Music, we didn’t have the Rib Fest, because of the pandemic so why are we doing this? It also takes up parking a week before Christmas,” said Carol.

The proposed Burlington Holiday Market would take place between December 9th-12th. The downtown Burlington business association (DBBA) had little to say during a standing committee earlier this week other than to say they would play a supportive role to ensure that BDBA member interests were protected.. A potentially hands-off approach by the DBBA was reflected by the lack of awareness amongst local business owners.

While some mentioned the DBBA and touching base with Brian Dean, Executive Director, there was no awareness of the Zoom meeting where the DBBA had some fifteen local businesses take part.

The folks at the Poacher love the idea – takes place close to their doorstep.

Management at the Poacher is fully on board, they are in constant communication with Dean. This is little surprise as they will be participating in the Holiday Market in some capacity, restaurants out of the loop will surely view plans less favourably.

Council earlier in the week approved a motion to:

  • Moved by Councillor Kearns

    Approve an event called the Burlington Holiday Market as outlined in Recreation, Community, and Culture Department report RCC-12-21 for 2021 and 2022, and report back in Q2 2022 on the economic impact of local businesses, cultural impact, and parking/active transportation impact of the new event; and

    Authorize the Director to Recreation, Community and Culture to implement the specific details required to support the various components of the event that are to be hosted on city property.

    Moved byCouncillor Stolte

    Refer recreation, community and culture department report to the Council meeting on September 21, 2021.



    Moved by Councillor Nisan

    Amend the motion as amended to remove the words ‘two year pilot’, replace the words ‘for 2021 and report back in Q2 2022’ with the word ‘annually’ and add the words ‘to be reviewed in 2024’ at the end.



    Moved by Councillor Nisan

    Amend the amendment to remove the words ‘two year pilot’.


That recommendation will be heard by Council on Tuesday September 21st and passed unless one of the four people who voted for the recommendation chooses to put forward an amendment that would require a two thirds majority to pass which is unlikely.

Councillors Lisa Kearns, Angelo Bentivegna, Shawna Stolte voted against the recommendation. Mayor Meed Ward, Councillors Galbraith, Nisan and Sharman voted for.  One of these four would have to move for a reconsideration.

In order to reverse this two (Sharman and Galbraith) would have to change their vote.

Nisan is too tightly tied to the Mayor to change and Galbraith is very much onside with the Mayor.  He wondered why the matter was even pulled from the Consent agenda.

Councillor Sharman is said to have taken the position that he will support the merchants but he has to hear from them before he can do anything.

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Councillor assures her constituents that her September ward meeting will be very safe - and a happy place as well

By Pepper Parr

September 17th, 2021



Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns is showing some leadership, along with a lot of caution on meeting with her constituents.

She has decided that she will hold a live ward meeting at the Art Gallery September 22nd.

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns wants to be able to see real people and talk to them, listen to them and address their concerns, Virtual meetings are something she appears to want to get away from – providing people are safe.

The time 7:30 pm, does conflict with the Town Hall Call-In on Covid19 matters – Kearns points out that the Town Hall is recorded – so people can listen to it later.

She does have one concern – while she wants people to show up she does have to limit the number of people in the room.

And be certain that Kearns is going to insist on a strict interpretation of the rules – six feet and a mask – and ensure her that you have done the self-screening that is necessary.

Other than that – show up – Kearns doesn’t do the traditional dry as old bones meeting – she has in the past let a couple of real zingers fly.

Kearns asked that: “Before people start freaking out that I am hosting a super spreader event, can you please advise people that registration is limited and pre-registration is required at Ward2@burlington.ca”?

Kearns is breaking ranks with the Mayor on a number of issues.  The position she appears to be taking on the Holiday Market that is being promoted as something that could take place this year in her ward is something about which she has a lot of questions that have yet to be answered.

She also doesn’t appear to agree with the approach the Mayor is taking to opening up council meeting for real public participation and getting away from the virtual approach that has limited how people can gather.

The Mayor appears to like going virtual – claims that citizens get more work out of her when things are virtual.

Related news stories:


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Gun rights organization will be electioneering on the streets of Burlington

By Ryan O’Dowd: Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

September 17th, 2021



In the dying days of a tight election you bring in every boot you can find and get them on the ground.

Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights (CCFR) has organized an election tour: they will be in the streets of Burlington starting at 2:00 in the afternoon today.

Pamphlet the gun rights organization will be handing out in Burlington on Friday.

In a note to their members they say: “Here we are!!! Once again the CCFR and our members and supporters are hitting the road, boots to the ground to do our part in influencing this election.

“We must do everything possible to ensure the Liberals are finally defeated. We’ve got 260,000 election brochures to get out into the hands of voters so they can learn the truth about the Liberal party.

“The mainstream media will never give voters an honest overview of a future under more Liberal government.

“2:00pm EST – Canvassing in Burlington, Karina Gould’s riding. Meet Tracey at Maple Park, 750 Maple Ave, Burlington. Let’s help her constituents make the right decision on election day.

“Dress casual, comfy shoes.”

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Someone will call out Play Ball and those that knew Casey well will be gulping and trying to hold back the tears

By Pepper Parr

September 16th, 2021



This was not an easy story to write.

It’s about a guy I knew quite well; watched him struggle with his cancer but never heard a word from him about any fear.

I once went door to door with Casey, Bryana, and the three kids putting flyers in mail boxes announcing the Terry Fox Run at which Team Casey people were going to be there for the first time.

And be there they were – a remarkable sense of community that supported Casey when he was with us and support his family when he isn’t.

He comes to mind frequently and I wonder how he is doing and how the kids are.  How is Bryana doing – where is life taking her?

Then I saw the notice on the Caring Bridge web site – there was going to be a baseball game for the Team Casey people – if you wanted to play all you had to do was sign up.

It is billed as the Team Casey’s Terry Fox Event – 2021

Here is how Bryana tells us about the event:

The Cosgrove family

It’s rapidly approaching that time of year again…Terry Fox Run time!  Team Casey has been participating in the Terry Fox Run event since 2011, so this will be our 10th year anniversary!  In that time, Team Casey has raised almost $65,000 for the Terry Fox Foundation in support of cancer research….and I wanted to thank EVERYONE who has participated, donated, and supported us these last several years!  Together, we have made such a difference in both raising needed funds and raising awareness (with our awesome presence we have brought to the event!) about the need for finding a cure.

This year’s event, given our continued unusual circumstances, will be a separate event from the usual run we have done in the past.  This year’s event with be a baseball game and a BBQ at Casey Cosgrove Field!  Here are the details:

Date/Time:  Sunday, September 19th at 6:00pm

Location:  Casey Cosgrove Baseball Field (the ball diamond right behind Nelson High School)

BBQ:  There will be a BBQ with hamburgers and hot dogs, drinks, and chips with all proceeds going towards the team donations

What to Do/Bring:

  • They filled each other’s lives

    If you would like to play baseball, please send me an email at teamcasey19@gmail.com by September 16th to guarantee your spot…otherwise, you may still be able to play but there will be no guarantees (but it will be very likely)

  • Bring any baseball equipment you may have if you want to play
  • One remarkable human being.

    Bring a chair to sit in while you watch if you don’t want to sit in the bleachers

  • Bring your appetite…all proceeds from the BBQ will be going towards the team donations
  • Consider donating to Team Casey at www.terryfox.ca/teamcasey
  • Most importantly….Bring your smile!

Even if you don’t want to play, please come out and watch some ball and have some dinner….we would love to see you!

Play ball!

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Terry Fox Run Day is a gathering this year with teams on hand to talk about their plans - and a time to think about when the Run can take place again.

By Staff

September 16th, 2021



This is what the city always turned out for – in droves.

The Terry Fox  Run Day is Sunday September 19th from 8 am till noon

It will take place in Spencer Smith Park because we are limited to 199 people at a time.

They will not be running – instead, they’re having an open house/drop in from 8 am to noon. It will be primarily on the east lawn by the waterfront hotel; with three live bands playing at various points along the promenade from 9 to 12. We will be selling shirts and masks, have some free food approved by Halton Public Health.

The Remembering Board tells a large part of what the Terry Fox Run is all about.

The Dedication board for signing, team pics and safe kids activities will be up .More than thirty teams have registered and over $60K raised. Team activities planned go from runs, rides, hikes, raffles, baseball game.

There is another event taking place in the evening behind Nelson High School.  A ball game – but that’s a separate story.

Play Ball – Team Casey takes to the field

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Is there a parking train wreck coming our way?

By Pepper Parr

September 16th, 2021



Expect to hear a lot about the planned Holiday Christmas Market that is scheduled for December 9th to December 12th.

It looks a bit like a mad dash to make something happen – a final decision will be made at council on September 21st.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward once said the only thing that gets more attention than parking is fireworks.
Parking is an issue for some people concerned about how people will move around in the downtown core during one of the busiest times of the year – the Christmas holidays.

For the merchants along Brant and John and Lakeshore it is said that 20% of their business comes through the doors during that season.

For a sector of the economy that has been slapped around by the pandemic every opportunity to get a customer on the streets and through their doors is treasured. Don’t mess with the parking.

During the Standing Committee debate there were a lot of parking related questions. Staff provided some data that Councillor Lisa Kearns didn’t like the look of and she asked for a closer look at the numbers.

Executive Director Heather MacDonald said to the Councillor “a response to your request made at ECIS Committee on Monday for validation of parking utilization data for downtown parking lots during the month of December.

Executive Director and City Planner Heather MacDonald

To provide some context, Transportation staff had been asked by Brian Dean to provide parking utilization data for Lots #1 and #4. Staff provided a response on September 9th which included utilization data for Lot #1. In this response, it was indicated that we did not have access to reliable data for Lot #4 due to technology issues that were being worked on.

A closer look has now been taken and it has been found that BI Dashboard we rely on for this data is reporting “inaccurate data/unable to pull data”. Transportation staff is working with IT and the BI vendor to get this reporting issue resolved as soon as possible; however, in the meantime Transportation staff was able to look into the back-end of the dashboard to the source data and performed a more detailed analysis on parking utilization in lots that would be impacted by the proposed Holiday Market.

We have determined that the metrics conveyed to Brian Dean on September 9th were an underestimate of actual parking lot utilization. Our analysis of the raw data for the month of December (weekday and weekend combined) is summarized below:

Parking Lot                                          2018      2019      2020
Lot 1 – Elizabeth Street                      99%      72%        75%
Lot 5 North – 391 Brant Street         89%       85%        57%
Lot 5 South – 391 Brant Street         80%       86%        65%

**2020 data has not been factored into our commentary below due to pandemic impacts on parking operations

For the purposes of determining effective parking capacity, industry standard is 85% utilization. Once a lot reaches 85% utilization we deem it at capacity. Based on our combined knowledge of parking operations and our “boots on the ground” experience within the lots, our observations would confirm that Lots #1 and #5 are at effective capacity during the month of December. There is no reserve capacity at either of these lots.

The Elizabeth Street Parking Lot

Unfortunately, we cannot report on parking utilization of Lot #4 as the sensors in the lot do not provide reliable data. We are currently working on a deployment strategy to equip each off-street stall with a sensor to rectify this issue. Anecdotally, we know that Lot #4 is at capacity as it is our most heavily utilized surface lot in the Downtown. If parking supply were to be reduced in order to accommodate a Holiday Market, we would need to have those discussions with the Downtown Parking Committee and consider impacts to the businesses Lot #4 serves, as well as the overall parking system.
Councillor Kearns did the necessaries and got back to MacDonald saying: “The response is appreciated and deeply valued in the way in which we use data to inform decisions of Council.

“The purpose of the question was to recognize that the approval of one stakeholder priority would impact another. In this case we know it is a trade-off between parking and an event during what has been proven as a critical economic time for local retailers.

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns

“I believe that accurate data and transparency are critical in decision making and likely much of my pressing of this was to reconcile what ‘boots on the ground’ know to be true with a transparent discussion of the request. Even more granular, I had requested weekend capacity and see that the capacity number offered is smoothed with the inclusion of weekdays.

“As you can now infer from the updated data, my strong request for a pilot/termed event was anchored in this critical balance and its implications on local business. In the absence of a complete understanding of withdrawing use of a full capacity lot how might we continue to communicate this updated information?

“Please expect that I will be asking this question in Council and will exercise the response as further confidence in a termed/phased program. This also guides the importance of completing the Parking Needs Assessment study given that I expect Lot 4 would have 100% capacity and the pressure will continue to mount on the east side municipal parking needs.

Can you see the train wreck coming our way?

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City council will decide on the 21st if there is to be a Holiday market in the downtown core in December

By Pepper Parr

September 16th, 2021



It looks as if there will be a Christmas market in the downtown core from December 9th to December 12th.

It was a hotly debated issue at a Standing Committee meeting earlier this week.

Planned schedule for the first Burlington Holiday Market.

What was rather stunning was the item being placed on the Consent Agenda – this is where items that are not very significant and don’t call for that much debate get placed.

Any member of Council can ask for an item on the Consent Agenda to be pulled and set down for debate – which then takes place at the end of the meeting.

That something as vital as what takes place downtown in terms of commercial interests at a time when a number of commercial operations have had to give the keys back to the landlord startled this reporter.

We were advised by a person who asked not to be identified that the decision to have the item on the consent agenda came from the Mayor.

Brian Dean, top toff at the Downtown Business Association was out drumming up business for his members.

The Burlington Downtown Business Association –lobbyist for the interest of the business sector, had surprising little to say.  It began to sound as if the BDBA had lost control of their agenda – and that Sound of Music had eaten it.

One would expect any event that was all about merchants and their interest would have BDBA fingerprints all over it.

A call the Gazette made to the BDBA offices when the event first came to our attention got a “we don’t know who is behind the event” which turned out to be somewhat disingenuous.

Turns out that the people behind the event are folks from the Sound of Music – they – not the BDBA, will be running the show.  SoM will be involved – the event planner will handle the actual organizing.

The event

During the debate all kinds of information floated to the surface.

Getting permission to hold an event on public property is handled by the city’s Festivals and Events department.

One makes an application and that department has the delegated authority to approve or not approve the event.

Once approved the event can run forever or until the Events people decide that it has served its purpose.

There was a time when every event came to council – they delegated that authority to the Festivals and Events people who do a debriefing every time an event takes place.  If everything is in order and all the commitments have been met the event usually gets approved for the next year.

Described in the report to council as:

This first of an annual Burlington Holiday Market will bring a blend of different foods, music, experiences and shopping moments to the city core. Inspired by the Christmas markets of Germany, the first annual holiday event will delight all five senses and inspire the community to come together, in a way that will create lasting memories for all that attend.

The Staff report went on to say:

Using parking lot # 1 which abuts this easterly section of the Promenade as ground 0 – the event will sprawl over a street they hope to close (parts of Martha) and a parking lot.

The event is anchored at Parking Lot 1 (431 Elizabeth Street) which includes temporary vendor stalls and entertainers and envisions a sprawling market across multiple locations and footprints (public and private). Working closely with the Burlington Downtown Business Association (BDBA) to engage business owners and showcase to them how they can be a part of this inaugural event. The Burlington Holiday Market will be made available for all ages, with certain aspects of the event targeting specific age groups, with targeted attractions for different customer segments.

Pending sponsorship, event components may include a full-size stage highlighting high profile entertainment if revenues are secured in 2021, if not, plans would be to grow the event to include these event elements in 2022.

In 2022, the event may wish to include alcohol sales and would secure a Special Occasions Permit from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, and follow all necessary rules and regulations surrounding the permit and the City’s Municipal Alcohol Policy.

In addition to Lot 1, the event wishes to utilize the Elgin Promenade, the new Promenade expansion area that will connect Lot 1 to the Centennial Trail and a one-day, single block road closure adjacent to Lot 1 along Pearl Street between Pine and James Streets.

Parking lots are not typical event spaces, but the City has previously allowed events to use parking spaces and lots as locations. Due to the time of year and potential for snow, a hard surface lot provides the opportunity for snow and ice clearing without damage and a safe surface for accessibility and pedestrian needs. Parking Services has noted that Lot 4 is highly used by consumers of the downtown area.

Staff recognize that the organizing committee is still in the planning phase of the proposal and many details for the overall event area remain to be solidified. It is anticipated that the event will use a combination of parking spaces/lots and promenade space along with a one block street closure as the core event footprint, with participation sprawling to downtown merchants and restaurants. To move forward with the planning, the organizing committee requests Council’s approval of the event in their desired location. Staff would then work with the organizing committee through the Special Event Process managed by the multi-functional Special Events Team made up of staff from the region and various departments will work together to ensure a safe event for all attendees.

We learned from ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns that should council approve the event at the September 21st meeting it will become an “in perpetuity event”.

We learned from Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan, who is seen by many as a “stalking horse” for the Mayor has been a non voting member of the committee set up by people who are heavily involved in the Sound of Music for the past two years.

Peter VanDyck, an insurance executive and a major player at SoM – has been working on this Holiday Market idea for several years.

Peter VanDyck, a senior member of PV&V, an insurance company and a driving force at SoM did all the talking and answered most of the questions during the delegation.

He, along with Meagan Madill, owner of an Event Planning and Production agency, operating under the name of Curated by M, will be handling the actual running of the event.

Meagan Madill – an event planner with an impressive client list was described by the Mayor as a Rock Star

Madill was called a Rock Star by the Mayor who couldn’t say enough about the woman who handled an event for the Conservation Authority that was described as a huge success.

Councillor Kearns had been approached to sit on the committee but declined explaining that her responsibility to her constituents and that she wanted to be unencumbered by any allegiance to the group that would be at odds with what her constituents would wish.

More on the specifics of that debate in part 2

Related news story.
A new special event market coming to the downtown core.

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Oakville North Burlington Green Party candidate slams the Conservative candidate for not showing up at debates

By Ryan O’Dowd, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

September 16th, 2021



Bruno Sousa wants to serve as a watchdog in federal politics, to force action in place of what he calls “a merry go round of posturing between the Liberals and Conservatives.”

Sousa, the Green party representative for Oakville/North Burlington, spoke with the Gazette to call for immediate climate change action with effective spending. Sousa says the Liberal have been ineffective, that the Conservatives can’t be bothered showing up to climate change talks “is infuriating”(and he has heard from some of their candidates they’ve been told to avoid debates and interviews), and that while Sousa agrees with the NDP on several matters their lack of fiscal accountability makes them an unviable choice.

Sousa didn’t become the Green party representative until after the snap election call on August 15th. He credits the “unbelievable” decision by Justin Trudeau to call the election as his call to politics. His frustration with Canada’s major party leaders was a long time coming, disappointed by scandals and lack of transparency plaguing the Trudeau administration. Sousa suggests the Liberals and Conservatives are both prone to wilting in the face of their moralistic ideals.

“Seeing the platforms throughout the years it’s a lot of empty promises because of the friction that comes out of that desire to just be the populist party. And I think what’s happened along the way is we’ve lost sight of what’s important at the end of the day when it comes to governance, and that is that you know, parties like the Green Party, when they even came into existence after the 60s and 70s. They came into existence already because of values and morals that pose an issue in politics by essentially not being observed.

And what we’re seeing right now with the two major parties is exactly that. No one is being held to their moralistic ideals. The Liberals, and Justin Trudeau specifically, ran on things like transparency of platform, transparency of governance, transparency in all of the doings of government. Yay, you got my vote, but unfortunately what’s happened after six years, is a complete breakdown of that entire process, where anyone that would have respected you for that is now left wanting some answer as to what happened.

And that’s not the only problem I mean we’re talking specifically there on transparency but there have been all sorts of other ethical issues that have come up throughout the last six years. And when you compare that to the previous parties, and the previous governments, what you end up seeing is the same thing happening over and over again.

“And when you look at it closely, you start seeing what the Greens are doing, what have they been able to do and what they’ve been able to do is to continue to follow that early on the idea of the values and morals and say well look, if we don’t ever have large representation, what we can do is hold them accountable. We can get in there and say we’re at the table to ask ‘Why aren’t you deciding on things? Why aren’t you taking action? Why is this happening?’ And at least from my perspective, I feel like we can put a small dent in at the time,” said Sousa.

During a Chamber of Commerce debate, Sousa pointed out his Conservative opponent, Hanan Rizkalla, hadn’t bothered to show up for the climate change debate and questioned the Conservatives’ seriousness on this topic. Rizkalla joined Burlington’s Emily Brown and Milton’s Nadeem Akbar in ensuring every Conservative in the Burlington region no-showed the climate change debate attended by every other major party candidate.

“If you talk to a conservative now, for the most part, tell you climate change is nothing to be concerned about. The truth is they’re just not there. And even today, I was in another debate and again no Conservative candidate. So they’re just not showing up at the table, I don’t know who they’re talking to when they’re talking about coming together and talking to people. I’m not sure why they’re not showing up. We hear from some of their candidates that they’ve been told not to take debates and interviews. If that’s the reason why I don’t want to attack the candidates, I don’t know. But they’re not there and it is kind of infuriating because if we’re all supposed to be at the table to have a conversation and to hear the ideas it’s not really conducive to that when you don’t show up and then make statements as if you were there,” said Sousa.

Sousa’s vision isn’t much at odds with the NDP however he doesn’t consider them credible due to a lack of fiscal accountability.

“Where the NDP lack any vision is on how they deal with fiscal accountability. And we’re seeing that now again they have the highest rating climate change plan in terms of the platform. I don’t disagree with them. I think that we are parallel at this point, but we’re past the expiry date and asking for a warranty, you know, we have to pay for it now. I don’t think there’s going to be much of a choice in that question. I think any party that decides to ignore that fact at this point I don’t think that they’re reckoning with the knowledge that’s available,” said Sousa.

The NDPs failure to provide costing for much of their platform has been an area of ridicule for the party. For Sousa’s part, he has a costing pitch, and he doesn’t shy away from the components he knows will be unpopular like an increased carbon tax. The candidate noted fighting climate change would have been a lot cheaper if acted on when the alarm bells first sounded.

“We have a lot of ways that we plan to create funding for this model, so a lot of these methods involve, for example, reallocation of funds that are currently being used for other industries so that’s one easy way to do it. Other ways include our taxation model for example on small businesses because we still want to incentivize growth, we’d be holding it at 9% but for large companies that are already doing quite well in Canada, we’d be looking to increase their corporate tax code to 21%. And I think that’s pretty aggressive when you look at the other platforms, but that will provide additional funding. And the other thing we’re looking to do is to tax the E-commerce companies that make so much money outside of Canada. Because Canada tends to forget that it is not a state. Most of its funding for these companies across the border from us, shouldn’t just go out the door without taxation in my opinion. And right now they do, and that’s just a lost opportunity for Canada.

So, as in the European Union, they’re trying to downsize to a model where, depending on which country you’re in, the system can automatically charge you the correct tax, and then an entity is set up to collect those taxes from the different countries and redistribute it. So it’s a very simple model that we can institute here in Canada as well, to work with these eCommerce companies, but I think that they almost see the writing on the wall it’s coming, they’re in some cases already adopting it, even joining the committees that are organizing on these things.

“We also do try to increase the carbon tax, I know that’s not a popular idea right now. We plan to increase it to I think 25 compared to the levels of $15. But when we look at where we currently are we’ve got to ask ourselves how much more do we want to pay for it down the line because that’s really what’s happening here is we’re just delaying the pay, but that’s going to come with interest later, and that’s going to be a lot higher. And if we take a look at our plan right now, it could have been implemented as I think early as 1996 where we were already talking about these kinds of measures, but it would have been a much lower price at the, at the time, and we would have probably been outside of this scenario, at this point as well. We just didn’t embrace it soon enough and now we’re having to pay essentially a surcharge on what would have already been taxed,” said Sousa.

Bruno Sousa is a business leader and advisor with over 15 years of experience in business development, community building, and marketing. He is an entrepreneur, investor, advisor, and consultant.

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