Adding 18 people to the Planning staff to handle the development applications in the pipeline: there are 47 of them

By Pepper Parr

October 11th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Jeremy Tellier is one of the more entertaining members of the Planning Department in Burlington.  That isn’t to suggest there is no depth to the man – he has his facts down solid and understands the short, intermediate and long term impact of decisions that are being made.   His client relationship skills are second to none.  It is his delivery that makes him special.

Thus it was one day last week that Jeremy was taking Council through an ask to hire more than a dozen new staff members for the planning department.

The budget impact? None basically.

Tellier set the scene when he put up a graphic that set out what the city is heading into.

Jamie Tellier started his Staff report to Council last week with a stunner of a document.

“The technical issues and complexities are beyond anything that we’ve seen before, and that leads to increased time and effort to process those applications” said Tellier.

“I apologize for repeating myself because I know you’ve heard it before, but I’m gonna say it again, greenfield development is effectively over, our growth is going to occur from within, through intensification.”

The delivery of development services, depends on people power; … “the report before you lists the services that are needed to increase our capacity in critical areas, and enable staff to meet the legislative timelines that we have to deal with, as well as deliver on Council’s Land Use objectives and customer experience expectations.

We were already taking into account phasing and timelines of major projects, we really tried to just focus on those projects that we’re likely to obtain building permits in the short term. “What we’re going to do is take a more granular look at the extent of development that is in the planning pipeline, regardless of phasing and timelines. We think this is everything that we’ve got,

“This is a slide that’s gives you the snapshot of all the development activity in the planning pipeline for active major applications for residential development. Site plan applications that have not yet been received, meaning they are in pre-consultation or about to come in for pre- consultation. You can see site plans that are currently in the review process.

All in all we have 47 active applications in the planning pipeline that amount to approximately 19,100 residential units.

Now the table on the bottom we broke up that total units into building typology just to help understand some of the distribution.

We don’t expect 19,100 units to be built in the next couple of years, this, is everything we know of that is in our planning pipeline at various, various stages of planning approvals, we expect to spend the next decade on this working from a true planning and building to occupancy perspective.

This is easily a decade of construction activity in the city.

This slide is a snapshot of the planning pipeline for active major applications for employment development. the point of this slide is to show that more jobs are coming to Burlington.

None of this work has even made its way into building permits yet.

This slide shows building permit activity and construction costs over the past few years.  The number of permits issued is still less than what we’ve seen in previous years.  While we may have less applications coming in than we’ve seen in previous years. They are increasingly large and complex, hence these high construction values that you’re seeing on a chart, and this is a great reflection of the capacity issues that we’re experiencing across all of development services.

The previous slides were just the planning pipeline, none of that has made its way into building permits and none of that is even reflected in these charts because this is just what what is happening right now on the building permit side of things.

Staff anticipate this sustained development activity is going to require the following needed staff positions:

  • Community Planning:
    • (1) Coordinator of Business Services and Committee of Adjustment
    • (1) Coordinator of Urban Design and Special Projects
    • (1) Zoning Reviewer
    • (3) Planner II
    • (2) Senior Planners
  • Engineering Services:
    • (2) Senior Technician (Site Engineering)
  • Transportation Services:
    • (1) Supervisor of Planning (Transportation Planning)
  • Building Permit Services:
    • (2) Policy & Regulatory Services Clerks
    • (1) Policy & Regulatory Services Supervisor
    • (1) Building Permit Technologist
    • (1) Coordinator of Building Permits (reallocated)
    • (2) Senior Building Inspectors (reallocated)

Should Council approve the recommendation of this report, it is expected that all positions will be immediately posted for recruitment with a priority for Engineering Services to resolve urgent capacity issues on the Site Engineering team. It is noted that the Engineering Services Department intends to use consulting services in the interim to address the capacity issues in Site Engineering until the recruitment is complete.

To ensure cost recovery for development services, a planning application fee review is currently underway; we’re targeting completion by the end of this year. The last time we did this type of deep dive into our planning fees, was in 2012.

This was one of the last greenfield developments in the city. There isn’t any more space in the Urban Boundary which is basically at Dundas Street

Burlington has effectively built out to its edges, we now have to grow from within, and development is almost entirely in an infill context and development applications and an infill context are increasingly complex and require more staff effort, which then affects our cost to deliver our services. So full cost recovery for development services is critical for long term fiscal sustainability. In other words, we need to minimize our dependence on the tax base for the operating costs of development services.

Tellier used a couple of case studies to help understand the order of magnitude of revenues and fees that get collected through development services.

“On the Molinaro property, the phase one development, consisted of two 20 storey towers and one 24 storey tower with 559 residential units. When you look at the table on the slide, what’s interesting is this development only required site plan approval.

“And you can see if we were processing the site plan under our current fee schedule like as of today, the fees would would come out to a little over $81,000 Just for the site plan application, and then the three building permits for the three towers – those permits worked out to over a million dollars in building permit revenues. Development Charges worked out to over $11 million, and in development charges Park dedication – over $3 million. And then lastly, the condominium application, a little over $3,000.

“Here’s another example of a Carriage Gate Berkeley Medical One development this project consists of a 17 storey tower with 120 residential units, an eight storey office building, with a little over 10,000 square meters of retail and office area, a six story parking garage with 226 parking spaces. There are some section 37 benefits as a result of the rezoning. This development did require an official plan amendment and Zoning Bylaw Amendment – if we were processing this today, you would see the fees would be over $109,000 in revenues, just for the Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw Amendment. And then you can see for site plan that if we were receiving that application and processing that today it would be a little over $43,000.  What’s interesting here is the only part of this development, the apartment building, has been constructed. The parking garage, and the office building have not yet come in for building permits, and so that’s reflected in the building permit fees of $314,000, which have been collected,

“Same thing with development charges, a little over $2 million, and park dedication that’s $660,000, and the condominium application – a little over $3,000. The Official Plan Amendment and the site plan approval approved the entire development so the developer doesn’t need to come back to planning, if they wish to build what was previously approved on that site.

“In order to handle this flood of development application and stay within the time frames the planners have to work with everything is dependent on improving staff capacity across development services.”

That concluded the Staff presentation; it was on to questions from Council members.

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman

Councillor Sharman was the first out the gate saying “You know, I’ve been trying to figure out how many applications we have in the pipeline, for a few years. We used to have a monthly development activity report by ward that was extremely insightful, we stopped doing that now my assumption was we stopped doing that because we had similar information on the Planning and Development website under development, or applications by ward… can we please get back to having a report?

Sharman added that “we also need the operations review meeting every month. What can we do to get that information, please?

Mark Simione responded: “Yes, we’re absolutely in agreement someone will provide that information. It’s simply a matter of acquiring the data that’s repeatable, verifiable and accurate. There’s no disagreement from staff we completely agree that this is a worthwhile project.

Councillor Bentivegna had a question around the “new staff that we need for the next phase of our growth. I think the numbers when you add them up come to $1,000,007 per year needed  to carry on. And from your case study, numbers, just using the Molinaro project on Fairview we’re looking at $15 million in terms of revenues from that one project.

“Are those dollars we’re receiving as part of the permit fees, will they be distributed to some of those departments or how are we going to deal with those extra expenses. If they’re not included into this, and maybe the city managers are willing to answer that or someone in financing. That’s my first question.

City Manager Tim Commisso spoke: I’ll be real brief.  It’s of significant concern in terms of making sure that all the departments have the capacity so the reality is, that we are limited in terms of what we can collect fees for – I just want to acknowledge that that is on our radar.

Tellier added: “First and foremost is to recover the direct costs for development services, but understanding that there’s so much support from other departments, those indirect supports and development services from the departments I had mentioned in my presentation and I think they’re also identified in the staff report.

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns

Councillor Kearns asked if: “This readjustment of the organizational design is based on what’s coming down the pipe, in terms of the mega projects for all intents and purposes. What about the smaller projects. The, you know, the trending areas in our city where it’s a knock down and build one home. The permits and so on. We’re doing this to speed up this service to improve the quality of the service all of all of the right things. When will we see the effects of increased or reduced times to get things approved, both for large operations, and for the little person who’s redoing their home, because right now it’s stressful. These are the sort of emails we’re getting at this point where it’s taken quite a long time, so can we comment on that please?

Heather MacDonald explained: “We’re not just looking at the big projects, we are definitely looking at infill projects as well, which are very complicated, often what I find more complicated than in dealing with Greenfield applications, because they are in established areas, and we are, you know, concerned about impact on the surrounding area. And also, sometimes dealing with applicants that are not the big developers are experienced developers so they that requires a lot more time and effort to work through the process.

“We have been through a couple of the pain points in the process for smaller applications, those being forestry and zoning, and in those two areas we’ve seen great improvement in how quickly we can process a couple of other pain points in the process that we need to, to address more fully, one being site engineering and that is definitely in this recommendation before you today for assistance in that area.”

You may recall, explained Tellier “that the first couple milestones was just trying to establish the structure and some stability in our department, we had a lot of staff that we had contracts upon contracts; it was a structure that didn’t quite align with the type of established work that occurs in established neighborhoods.

“We’ve reorganized the department into teams. We’ve re-arranged our structure and created stability. Now we’re at that third milestone of improving our capacity.

“That’s where we’re gonna start seeing the difference across all of development services exactly as Heather mentioned, when we think about forestry and site engineering and zoning and all the work to date that they do. In addition to that as we start thinking about the ability for us to work with our IT department so we can start improving our technology and our customer portals to empower customers, we’ll find some efficiencies there to help our customers succeed beyond what we can do right now.

“This is self financed within the system.”

Councillor Kearns had a final question: ” I just want to understand how we are working in two parallel tracks between designing and evolving the organization and then working within the actual budget process that does allocate FTP, some of which are revenue supported from tax and some of which are supported through the tax base.

“I’m just looking for that differentiation because what I’m not quite seeing now, and I’ll ask staff this separately is there an additional service level that’s being met, or is this to satisfy baseline so first? Why, designing and evolving the organization and not budget, and second baseline versus enhanced service.

Treasurer Joan Ford responded: “It’s all one. For purposes of this report there was a sense of urgency to try to get this in place. You are responsible for approving staff complement. So the HR positions, the complement falls with you. You can do it either at budget time or you can do it at any time .

“As has been indicated these  positions are fee funded. And so, what we would do is we would include the HR costs in the budget, and we would increase the revenues to support those staff that have been approved. Once you approve this report.

“With anything there is risk. And one of the risks, is that the revenues may not be there in a given year to support the staff. We do have a reserve fund for both development application processing and building permit fees. As long as the revenues are there to sustain it. There shouldn’t need to be a huge draw from the reserve funds, but it is there, should we need it.”

Asked to move the report Councillor Kearns had one more question. “… back to planning staff and does this simply support baseline operations to meet all of the Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) that are in place, or is this providing an elevated level of service?

The answer was: “This will assist us in meeting legislated timelines that we are required to meet, and also to better meet customer expectations. This will also position us to be able to handle the increased activity that we expect. So it’s both. Really, we need the assistance and the increased capacity right now.”

Kearns again: “I do have a third question. I’m just wondering if it’s possible to put together a bit of a media release or a news release. I can say that my office has been inundated with requests around permit processing times, things of that nature and I’d like to have something available to respond to our community members that have reached out, letting them know that we’ve made this really insightful analysis and carried through with the request of staff to increase a compliment from, you know, what should be a revenue neutral perspective, and if not, we do have a backup plan through those reserves. Just wondering if it’s possible to have a bit of a communication put together for internal and external use.”

City Manager Commisso assured Kearns that they will work with communications and get something out – following Council.

Mayor Meed Ward closed adding: “Let’s get on with processing the applications, everyone wants to be in Burlington and why not, it’s the best city in the country, in the world, and you have a lot of work ahead of you, so we obviously need to help resource you to do that well and happy to do that.

“I’d say this is really critical to everybody. Like everybody on council we’ve all been getting emails and phone calls and, you know anxiety over timelines that have extended for sometimes many many many months. This is really important. Any comments I’d leave with you were similar to the ones I left at the budget meetings the last two weeks. That is with respect to new software, and improving processes, and recognizing the new software by definition requires us to redesign our processes. And the question is how quickly can we get into all that? My last comment is remember the Customer.

Councillor Galbraith ward 1

Councillor Galbraith: “I’ll be quick. This is great. Anytime that we have revenue funded positions, I want to see it as soon as possible. I didn’t mention this, going back last year that if there’s a streamlined process for this, to bring it through us faster even, you know, skip some of the typical reporting cycles. I’m in for that, In principle, so perhaps that’s something that Sheila might be able to think about if that would be feasible or the planning team. And the other thing that I see from this report is how we are certainly open for business in Burlington construction value forecasted is going back up to new heights, and I’m good with that – it’s going to help the city. Overall, obviously we are shaping that growth as a council. So, thank you very much for the report very well prepared and looking forward to having the positions.”

 

Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan

Councillor Nisan added: “I just have a couple of comments as well. I’m very happy to see this report and obviously funded positions are much easier decision for council to to make, I know my office has certainly been inundated. There is a lot of construction activity at the moment, and projects that are in the engineering department and all departments within the city and I would like to receive less calls if I can, so happy to see that there will be more positions.  I don’t think the construction activity is going to be less than any in the future. I think this is the right decision and the fact that it doesn’t require budget decisions is, a fairly easy one for me to make.

Counselor Kearns then commented: “Just a quick one and I just want to highlight that what we’re doing here is also improving safety within our community. The building department is responsible for all of those inspections to make sure that the Building Code inspections are carried out to the highest regard.  I really look forward to getting this compliment up to full whack because we don’t want to miss those timelines and we want to make sure that we give that very very high level customer service.”

And that was it – no more questions; no more comments.  The Chair called the vote – it carried and goes to Council on the 19th where it will be approved.

 

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New Democrats get donations from more individuals than the other two parties combined.

By Staff

October 10th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We can’t seem to get out of election mode.

The Ontario New Democrats announced earlier today that more individual donations were made to the NDP than all other parties combined

Their fundraising topped $2 million with an average donation of just $29

Internal numbers show the Ontario NDP’s fundraising for 2021 hit $2,001,338.60 at the end of September. Incredibly, the average donation to the NDP was just $29.18. With months left to go in the year, the party has received a whopping 68,591 individual donations — more than all other donations to all other parties in Ontario combined.

It will take more than a thumbs up – but the fund raising results are looking very good for the NDP

“Day after day, Doug Ford charges his buddies $1,500 a pop to golf or have lunch with him,” said Ontario NDP Provincial Director Lucy Watson. “In total contrast, 70,000 times so far this year, Ontarians have sent us small, incredibly meaningful donations. These folks share Andrea Horwath’s vision for a government that’s finally in it for everyday families, and we’re so excited to be building this movement with them.”

The NDP’s internal numbers include donations under $200 — which are not included in Elections Ontario reporting, thanks to changes by the Doug Ford government.

Elections Ontario’s public reporting shows that the Ontario Liberal Party has raised just $600,000 from 3,300 donations in 2021 so far. Ford’s PC Party raised $5 million from only 8,482 individual donations.

The Ontario NDP paused its fundraising efforts during the federal election campaign.

New Democrats will be in a very Thankful mood this weekend.

Do those numbers auger a change in the mood of the electorate? Could be.

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Results of 2021 Commercial Motor Vehicle Blitz

By Staff

October 10th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) has compiled the results of this year’s two-day commercial motor vehicle (CMV) enforcement blitz held at Woodbine Mohawk Park in Milton. This year’s installment of the annual event was held on October 5-6.

The purpose of the CMV blitz is to conduct proactive enforcement and ensure compliance with legislation pertaining to mechanical fitness, weights, load security, safety and licencing.

Police Officers inspecting a truck pulled over for a safety check.

With the help of neighbouring police services and agencies, officers were able to inspect 402 commercial motor vehicles with the following results:

2021 Results

• 126 Vehicles taken out of service (31% failure rate)
• Total charges laid (Provincial Offence Notices): 253
• Sets of licence plates seized by police: 8
• Mandatory Alcohol Screenings conducted: 135

2020 Results:

• Total commercial motor vehicles inspected: 340
• Total commercial motor vehicles taken out of service: 96 (28% failure rate)
• Total charges laid: 250
• Sets of licence plates seized by police: 7

Mandatory Alcohol Screenings at the blitz also led to licence suspensions for four drivers (this number was 3 in 2020).

“This was the 20th year the Halton Regional Police Service has hosted the Commercial Motor Vehicle Blitz, and with the help of our partner agencies it has become the largest of its kind in Ontario,” said Traffic Services Unit Sergeant, Will Clayton.

“Mechanical fitness, load security and weight compliance continue to be an issue we are seeing on our roadways. These trucks are complex machines that require a commitment to maintenance and due diligence in daily inspections by the operators.

Credit to those in the industry that are making it a priority. Safe trucks, safe drivers and safe loads benefit everyone. Operators who choose to neglect their duties will be held accountable. The Halton Regional Police Service is committed to elevating safety for everyone on our roadways.”

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Follow up on the proposed Waterfront Hotel redevelopment

By Pepper Parr

October 9th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The pre-application presentation, that the city planning department requires of a developer before they submit an application, was put on by the owners of the Waterfront Hotel on September 8th.  It was a virtual event.

There were something in the order of 125 people, many of them members of Council and staff as well as other developers and members of the public.

The purpose of a pre-application presentation is to give the public a look at what the developer has in mind and an opportunity for the public to comment.

The two towers will be mere yards away from the south side of Lakeshore Road steps west of Brant if the pre-application presentation reflects what actually gets built.

The comments made by the public were to be captured by the developer and made available to the city planners. The developer is also required to tell how they reacted to the public comments.

With those taking part it is logical to assume that there isn’t going to be flood of comments.

Besides being ‘mind blowing’ at several levels whatever gets done with the Waterfront Hotel site is going to change for decades how the downtown works.

The design put forward was impressive – the two towers will change the skyline and change the relationship the public has with the lake and Spencer Smith Park. Few will see it as a positive change – but that is something the public will have to determine going forward.

Our concern is the difficulty media has had in getting information. Set out below is a graphic that was used to explain what will go where. It had a lot of information – the best we could capture from the presentation was on the small side making it difficult to fully understand how the first four levels of the site will work.

Due to the significant slope from Brant Street to what will be the southern level of the development foot print, understanding how those four levels, which will be a podium, on which the two towers will rise are going to be accessed is a serious problem.

The rendering is a Preferred concept the city put out several years ago – it used John Street as the entry point to the development. The rendering also describes the east lawn as event space. Is that space part of the Hotel property or is it land reclaimed with land fill and under the control of Conservation Halton?

We wrote to the planners working for the developer asking if they would send us a high resolution graphic that we could publish and explain to our readers.

We did not get a response – which seems to now be a pattern.

Recall that earlier we had been told that the pre-application was being recorded and would be available.

In a separate story – there is a link to that below – we explain how we had to badger both the developer and the city planning.

We took the poor quality graphic and had one of our people enlarge it – the quality isn’t all that good – it was the best we could do with what we had.

The people working for the developer clearly do not want the public to be aware of what their early stage thinking is.

There are two issues at work here. We have always lived by the maxim: an informed public can make an informed decision.

With that in mind we will explain what we know about the site.

The planners working for the developer are required to accept your comments and to make them available to the city planners.

The man who wants to hear from you is Evan Sugden  – his contact information is

Evan Sugden

esugden@bousfields.ca

Bousfields Inc

1 Main Street East, Suite 200,

Hamilton ON, L8N 1E7

(905) 549-3005 ext. 259

In order to comment you need to know something about the development – with less than 125 people taking part in the virtual pre-application presentation, there isn’t going to be much depth or breadth to what they developer hears.

Spencer Smith Park and the waterfront part of the city is YOUR property – you have the right to have input – Mayor Meed Ward made sure that you had that right when she pushed for the use of pre-application presentation sessions and she made sure that the Mayor and the ward council member had the right to be part of the presentation.  Odd that the Mayor didn’t say very much when she had the chance.  She did say that the city had not received an application.

Now on to the graphic…

The pink color are the residential units; blue is the hotel which is limited to the podium, the amenity spaces are in green. That upper level serves as a kind of bridge that connects at the podium level. The office functions are shown in purple. There are currently two levels of office functions. Commercial uses are shown in orange. There is a substantial grade stepping from Lakeshore down to the Waterfront Trail. In terms of unit break down, we have 23 units or Studios, 212 units as one bedrooms, 165 plus one bedrooms plus den and 139 as two bedrooms and some units of three bedroom for a total of 557 units between the two towers.

Related news stories:

The pre-application meeting September 8th

An alternate idea that has gained some traction.

Getting the video of the pre-application meeting was easier said than done – both city and the developers planner had to be badgered.

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Oakville Community Foundation setting out to hear what the Mississaugas of the Credit have to say about Treaty Rights

By Staff

October 8th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Mississaguas of the Credit First Nation and the Oakville Community Foundation have launched “Debwewin”– the Oakville Truth Project, to further a shared understanding of Oakville’s Indigenous past and support local Truth & Reconciliation.

‘Debwewin’ refers to one of the Anishinabek seven grandfathers teaching for “truth.” This project will raise questions about Oakville’s Truth such as:

“What happened to the local Treaty holders, the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation?” and

“Why did Treaty 22 which includes coverage of Oakville main waterways, Sixteen Mile and Bronte Creek leave the Mississaugas  homeless?”

This project brings together leadership of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation (MCFN) to share their knowledge and perspective. ”The Mississauga people have long historical roots in Oakville,” said Mississauga Gimma (Chief) Stacey Laforme.

“Understanding the local history of the Indigenous people in Oakville from an Anishinaabe perspective is an important first step on the path towards Truth and Reconciliation.”

Elder Peter Schuler is advising the Oakville Community Foundation

The Oakville Community Foundation’s Indigenous Cultural Advisor, Mississauga Elder Peter Schuler has graciously agreed to lead the multi-year “Debwewin” project.

 “I believe this project is an important step in educating our community and recognizing Indigenous peoples in Oakville and beyond,” said Elder Peter Schuler. “This community collaboration allows us to create necessary changes and continued learning opportunities.”

“We are honoured to work on this initiative with the Mississaugas and support this important work that will benefit both of our communities, Oakville and the Mississaugas,” stated Bindu Cudjoe, The Foundation’s Board Chair.

This project will bring together Indigenous knowledge keepers, claims experts, historians and researchers to act as an Advisory Council to guide the project. Full details of the Advisory Council will be shared in the coming months.

Mississaugas of the Credit are an Ojibwe (Anishinaabe) First Nation with 2,600 Members, approximately 850 of whom live on the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation Reserve near Hagersville, Ontario.

The Oakville Community Foundation is a registered charity focused on Building Community Through Philanthropy. The Foundation acts as a vehicle for community members to fulfill their charitable passions and has granted $52.4 million to charitable organizations since its inception. The Foundation also supports investments of more than $110 million in assets. We welcome families, businesses and residents into our community and give everyone the opportunity to be a philanthropist. The Foundation is one of the largest members of a national network of more than 190 Canadian community foundations.

This is an interesting collaboration. A First Nation wanting a fairer interpenetration of a Treaty getting into a dialogue with an organization that manages philanthropic gifts from those that have title to the land that once belonged to the First Nations people.

Treaty 22 might reveal more than most residents of Oakville will want to hear or know about.  The Mississaugas of the Credit traditional territory covers much of Burlington.

Background on Treaty # 22 – there were others

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Damoff reflects on her return to office and the nastiest campaign she has ever experienced

By Rory O’Dowd: Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

October 8th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Recently re-elected Liberal Member of Parliament, Pam Damoff, reflected on her journey from replacement candidate in 2015 to three-time riding winner today. Damoff laid out where she has her sights set for her third term. Inducing long-standing passion projects such as cancer research funding and infrastructure, working with Ontario to implement affordable childcare, and Indigenous issues. Damoff also discusses the nastiest campaign of her career and the need for government intervention in social media disinformation.

Pam Damoff returned for the third time as the Member of Parliament for Oakville North Burlington.

Pam Damoff won her third federal election in the Oakville/North Burlington riding on September 20th. Damoff first ran for a federal position with the creation of the Oakville/North Burlington riding in 2015. Damoff’s nomination was unique in that she stepped up to represent the Liberal party when the original candidate Max Khan passed away unexpectedly. Damoff, representing Oakville Town Council at the time, made the most of the opportunity and now enters a third term, having won her two re-election bids comfortably(securing 47% in 2021 and 48.26% in 2019).

“It’s an honor, I never had a better job in my life. I love what I do and I’m excited to start a new parliament, especially as we’re coming out of the pandemic. It’s been terrific and I’m proud of the work that I’ve been able to do. I always say to people ‘don’t ever believe that MPs can’t make a difference,’ because prior to being a parliamentary secretary, I was able to get $160 million for the Terry Fox Research Institute, by working hard and lobbying.

“There’s a lot that you can do in committee, and in Parliament, whether you’re in cabinet as a parliamentary secretary or an MP. You know, there’s only 338 of us across the country and it’s a privilege to be able to do what I do,” said Damoff.

Damoff has long been a champion of cancer research funding. She lost her mother to leukemia in 1989, her father survived cancer, passing away due to unrelated causes as a 25-year cancer survivor. Damoff lost several other family members to the disease. Damoff is the current chair of the Terry Fox Run, where she has engaged with others impacted by cancer. The aforementioned would-be Liberal candidate Khan also survived three bouts of leukemia before passing away in the hospital after arriving with flu-like symptoms.

Damoff with football great Tony Gabriel at the 3582 memorial marker. Both are working to get Terry Fox on the next $5 bill issued.

“Everyone has been touched by cancer in one way or another,” said Damoff.

Damoff said the government has started putting the focus on helping cancer researchers who couldn’t procure funding. She wants to assist underfunded areas, referencing research at McMaster University into deadly forms of breast cancer disproportionately impacting black women as an example.

Before the election Damoff told the Gazette she wanted to leave her mark on the office by assisting implementation of the Liberal government’s affordable child care program. Damoff says she is hopeful the federal government will get something done with Ontario and believes the childcare program will be implemented before the provincial election.

As for Damoff’s local goals she mentioned long-held advocacy for cycling and walking infrastructure. Damoff co-founded cycling infrastructure advocacy organization Cycle Oakville in 2013 before holding a federal position so this remains a long-term passion project for her. Damoff also hopes to work with Halton Region to bring in housing funding and climate change action.

As former parliamentary secretary to the minister of Indigenous Affairs, Marc Miller, Damoff found the Truth and Reconciliation Day gatherings encouraging. Damoff attended an event in Ottawa on September 30th, adding she was impressed by the Burlington ceremony. She encouraged Canadians to continue to participate in such events, to read Indigenous authors, and to visit cultural centers such as the Woodland Culture Centre in Brampton.

Damoff celebrating her third victory as the Member for Oakville North Burlington

Damoff doesn’t know if she will retain a role in the Indigenous Affairs department in this parliament. Stressing that all calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation committee are important, Damoff acknowledged some are easier to get to than others, saying she’d like to see a monument built in Ottawa, which would commemorate residential school survivors and victims as well as educate Canadians.

As for shortcomings in the Liberal administration’s dealings with Indigenous affairs Damoff suggested it’s more important to look forward than at what they could do differently. The Liberal government’s lagging deadlines on lifting boil-water advisories are one of the most common criticisms with their handling of Indigenous affairs. In Damoff’s previous interview with the Gazette, she pointed out it is not up to the federal government to lift boil water advisories but up to the communities themselves.

She would not say if the Prime Minister made a mistake in the 2015 campaign pledge to lift all boil water advisories if it was not possible for his administration to carry out this promise.

“It was an ambitious timeline and we put a plan in place to get rid of the rest of them so I think the focus needs to be on ensuring that the remaining long-term drinking water advisories get lifted. I think that’s where we need to focus on, whether the timeline was the right one or not,” said Damoff.

Damoff called her 2021 bid for re-election the nastiest campaign she’s been involved in. Damoff was saddened as Liberal volunteers were accosted by conspiracy theorists at the door.

“It’s really unfortunate that people who choose to volunteer their time for political parties, regardless of political party, would feel unsafe when they’re volunteering their time. We had a lot of young people working on the campaign. The vast majority of people who disagree with us on policy do so respectfully in a way that’s part of a healthy democracy. Sadly, there’s a small portion of society so aggressive and angry,” said Damoff.

Beyond the campaign, Damoff pointed to young people in the workforce being screamed at by anti-maskers. When asked if she believed she could speak to conspiracy theorists and work on the divide Damoff was skeptical. Damoff said she hoped civilized discourse could exist but it needs to start from a basis of accepting science and public health measures. Realities COVID conspiracy theorists seem incapable of accepting.

Pam Damoff has been very effective with members of the different ethnic communities.

Damoff credits social media with a large role in the degradation of discourse and says the government must be involved in holding social media companies, who she says lack the employees to monitor their standards(which have often been inadequate to begin with) to account.

“We need to do something because disinformation shared on Facebook and social media sites fuels the types of things that we’re seeing in our society now,” said Damoff.

As for what her schedule looks like right now Damoff looks forward to connecting with the municipal government officials in Burlington and Oakville and establishing priorities for the current administration.

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What happened to civility? - When did words start losing their unifying potency and meaning?

By Staff

October 7th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Margaret Lindsay Holton, rely on her to do something different.

She has put together WHAT and calls it GROUP THINK; it has been in the works since the release of her second album, CANADADA: TAKE TWO, in 2017.

MLH explains:  GROUP THINK explores several issues that have been brewing since we’ve settled into this ‘new normal’. – How are we really doing?

And, are we really ready for time travel? Will we leave Nature behind, again? The primary focus though is on language. Across the media spectrum, our words have become increasingly volatile, vulgar, and violent. – Why? What happened to civility? – When did words start losing their unifying potency and meaning?

Have a listen to these musical ‘sound thoughts’ and read my notes on the album.

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Flags at city hall - when do they get lowered?

By Staff

October 7th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A reader wrote asking why the flags at city hall were always lowered – it seemed that way to him.

City has a policy for lowering flags.

It goes like this:

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City sets out vaccination rules for its employees

By Pepper Parr

October 7th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

While the vast majority are choosing to be vaccinated – there are holdouts.

City Hall is getting to the point where they want to take a stronger position and insist that people be vaccinated in order to be able to go to work.

City manager Tim Commisso talked to a Standing Committee yesterday on what has been learned to date on the status of staff vaccinations: Who has and who hasn’t?

The surveying work being done is not yet complete and Commisso was a little hesitant in putting out numbers that were not as complete as he wanted them to be – so he offered no data. He did say there was a metric – comes out as kind of the percentage that is vaccinated.

The city deadline for responses from Staff of what their vaccination status is was last Friday. Data was collected in a very private, kind of confidential way.

Commisso wants to be able to provide the percentage of staff that fall into the three options.

“One of the things that we’re finding is the level of non declaration or however it’s positioned because obviously it’s the first thing that we asked.

“A real number for us is, what is the percentage of our total staff that are vaccinated? That’s where we’re focusing on right now.

“The survey work is being done by a security company under contract.  Boyd reported that they are spending eight hours a day, inputting all of our staffs status in a spreadsheet for us.  We should expect to have kind of a good realistic solid number by mid next week which would make it October 13th or so.”

The reporting options are: vaccination; Testing and exemptions

Commisso wants to know : What are the percentages for each category?

Executive Director Human Resources Laura Boyd

The federal government has taken the approach that you get vaccinated by a certain day – if you’re not, you’re on unpaid leave. And then if you’re still not by the end of the unpaid leave you’re terminated.

There are consequences for those who choose not to be vaccinated.

“At the city what we’ve said to our employees is, if you’re not going to be vaccinated then you have to be tested regularly.  And if the tests are negative they can continue to come to work, we won’t have to terminate we won’t have to put them on unpaid leave.”

Boyd was then asked to clarify: ” Am I recalling correctly from the last time we had this conversation that we are supporting staff who are unable or choose not to get vaccinated by allowing the repetition and testing, which is great.

“And my understanding was is that the city was going to cover the cost of that for a certain period of time and then the cost would be transferred to the employee. Am I understanding that correctly?”

Boyd replied.  “Yes, Absolutely we are covering the cost of the rapid testing up until November 26;  after November 26 If they continue to choose not to be vaccinated they will have to arrange to pay for the testing themselves and submit the data to us.”

 

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Operation Impact 2021: Be a Hero. Aim for Zero.

By Staff

October 7th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Tomorrow marks the beginning of Operation Impact 2021, a national public awareness campaign aimed at making Canada’s roads the safest in the world. By promoting safe driving behaviours, we hope to help prevent collisions, save lives, and reduce injuries on our roads.

From Friday, October 8th to Monday, October 11th, 2021, police across the country will be focused on behaviours that put drivers, passengers and other road users at risk:

  • impaired driving due to alcohol, drugs or fatigue;
  • aggressive driving;
  • distracted driving; and
  • driving without a seat belt.

Most collisions are not ‘accidents’, they are generally the direct result of a conscious decision an individual driver has made. If there were zero problematic driving behaviours at the wheel, we could expect zero collisions, zero injuries and zero deaths on our roads. So this year, we are inviting residents in our community to Be a hero. Aim for zero.

Motor vehicle collisions kill about 2,000 Canadians, seriously injure another 10,000 people and injure about 165,000 citizens in this country each year.

It is not a coincidence that the timing of this campaign to achieve safer streets and highways takes place during this long weekend. More people are travelling, and collisions are therefore more frequent.

If you see driving behavior that puts others at risk, please call 911 at the earliest and safest opportunity.

Operation Impact is organized by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, under the leadership of the CACP Traffic Safety Committee, in support of Canada’s Road Safety Strategy 2025.

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What does cipher and encryption mean? A fascinating exhibit that will appeal to students with a bit of a science bent

By Staff

October 7th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There is a fascinating exhibit coming to the Joseph Brant Museum – this is one for both parents and the older children.

What ciphers are and the role they play in encryption is explained very well.

Cipher | Decipher, a new exhibition developed by Ingenium – Canada’s Museums of Science and Innovation, in partnership with the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) will open on October 15th providing visitors with a rare and exciting opportunity to view an authentic Second World War Enigma cipher machine.

Cipher | Decipher breaks down communications encryption: what it is, how it works, and how it affects our lives. The 500-square-foot exhibition showcases a wide range of historic communications encryption artifacts on loan from the CSE, and contains both hands-on and digital experiences, as well as custom illustrations that visually demonstrate key processes in cybersecurity, and making and breaking ciphers.

You will be able to encrypt a message with the wheel.

Visitors will be able to scramble their own messages using a cipher wheel, see how an Enigma cipher machine works, and tackle puzzles to learn if they have what it takes to work in the field of cryptology.

The exhibition runs from October 15, 2021 to January 8, 2022. Museum hours of operation are Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 3:30pm. In accordance with COVID-19 protocols, the Museums of Burlington has procedures in place to allow the public to safely enjoy the galleries and exhibitions currently on view.

Visitors to the Museum are asked to pre-pay admission online for a designated entry time. Entry times are available on the 1/2 hour.

Walk-in visitors will be accommodated space permitting.

This is the kind of exhibit that will fascinate – especially those students who are taking the iStem program at the Aldershot High school.

 

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Condo boards can continue to meet virtually until September 2022

By Staff

October 6th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Government of Ontario has made regulatory amendments under the Condominium Act, 1998 (Condo Act) and four other statutes that extend the effective period of temporary legislative provisions permitting corporations governed under these statutes to call and hold meetings virtually, as applicable, notwithstanding certain restrictions or requirements. The effective period of these temporary legislative provisions has now been extended to end on September 30, 2022.

In their media release the province said:

“The people of Ontario continue to be required to adhere to the measures that have been put in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Providing corporations governed under these statutes with the flexibility to host annual meetings and other meetings of significance virtually despite certain requirements or restrictions is intended to help these corporations safely meet their obligations during the ongoing pandemic.”

The ministry will continue to monitor pandemic-related developments and will communicate any additional updates in the future, as appropriate.

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Will newly identified flood hazards cripple some of the developments now in front of the planning department.

By Pepper Parr

October 6th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Planner Alison Enns, Manager of Policy and Community, delivered a report on Floodplain and Spills Approach: Lower Hager and Lower Rambo Creeks. It was treated as a Receive and File document.

Alison Enns, Manager of Policy and Community,

It turned out to be a lot more than that – the information in the report has the potential to threaten some of the planned development along the path of Rambo Creek.

Enns purpose was to share how changes over time, new tools and approaches and the results of Phase 1 of the Flood Study, undertaken as part of the scoped re-examination of the Official Plan, have informed a change to how development in the Downtown is reviewed related to hazards south of the Hager/Rambo Diversion Channel.

Since the early 1980s the City has addressed development with respect to potential flood hazards in coordination with Conservation Halton. The Phase 1 Flood Study, finalized as part of the scoped re-examination of the Downtown, used new technology and information to identify hazards. That new information has informed a shift in responsibility from the City to regulation by Conservation Halton (CH) as of June 16, 2021.

Enns put up a slide showing the location of Hager, Rambo diversion channel.

Blue line indicates the path of the Rambo Creek diversion channel.

The diversion channel was constructed in 1976 to divert water from residential areas around the downtown to prevent flooding. The main diversion channel captures water flow from upper Hager and the upper Rambo systems. It is approximately 2.7 kilometers long and outlets to Indian Creek, which in turn empties into Hamilton harbour and Burlington Bay.

In the early 1980s, the Halton Region Conservation Authority, in a memo dated September 7,1982, stated that the Conservation Authority doesn’t exercise jurisdiction over the Hager and Rambo Creek or the diversion channel. From that point forward drainage areas south of the diversion channel were considered to be under municipal jurisdiction and constituting part of the municipal storm drainage system.

The city addressed development with respect to the potential for flood hazards in coordination with the Conservation Authority, The regulatory policy was updated in 1999 and again in 2006, and in both of these documents that approach was confirmed.

The storm water ponds that feed into the Rambo Creek diversion channel.

The various ponds, and their connection to the diversion channel are shown. Some context to help make the point about how we got here at the outset of the mobility hubs study…

There was an identified need for a scope of storm sub watershed assessment. Through that work and then subsequently through the work related to the downtown the scope re-examination, a final scope of that work was determined. In 2019 and carrying into 2020 the city retained Wood Consulting, in partnership with the Conservation Authority, to do a set of studies, which were called the flood hazard in storm water management assessment – commonly referred to as Phase One flood study. The purpose of that study was to define existing flood hazards for the areas where new development was anticipated, and also to develop a set of preliminary storm water management strategies. It also included reviewing drainage infrastructure capacity.

The map shows both the current but expected-to-be revised Urban Growth Centre and the boundary of the Burlington MTSA.  It was while thinking through policy options that a concern about flooding became an issue.  That concern led to two reports that highlighted a serious problem – the challenge now is how to deal with the flooding issue.  The climate has changed – now what?

This is the extent of the phase one study area – note that it includes the downtown, and the Burlington GO.

The findings of the phase one study inform the development of policies and mapping that were endorsed by council in late 2020, and were incorporated in the approval of the new official plan by the Region. The Phase One study also identified that further technical work would be required. The recommendations of Phase One included identifying flooding hazards, providing recommendations for area infrastructure improvements, and included discussion of storm water management criteria but, really, the key elements of the Phase One work was to say that further technical work would be required to refine and confirm the flood vulnerable areas. That would be done through a phase two study which is currently underway using more detailed topographic survey data.

After the completion of the Phase One study, Conservation Halton, in accordance with the Conservation Authorities Act, determined they would exercise regulatory authority over lands in the vicinity of the lower Rambo Creek in downtown Burlington.
The city has incorporated this information in the Official Plan through the new official plan and Conservation Haltom has incorporated these new areas subject to flood risk in their mapping, which is available online.

The scale of this map makes it very difficult to show the detail. We will try and get a map with better resolution and then present the map in sections. What is evident is that there are a lot of developments that are in what is thought to be a flood plain. Think of the damage done when the Tuck Creek broke its walls and flooded hundreds of homes. The city wants to take action now to put policies in place that will determine what can be built in possible flood prone areas.

June 16 2021 is the date after which Conservation applies the regulatory regulations to these areas.

Council saw the draft terms of reference in June. Staff is moving forward, refining the modeling from the Phase One study. That will determine if any further policy changes are required or any mapping changes. While Phase Two is not complete the Phase One study is considered best information; city and Conservation Authority staff will use that information to support the review of development applications.

With the Enns presentation completed – It was then on to Questions from Council. Mayor Meed Ward asked: when you look at the development proposals we have for the downtown many are identified as being in flood hazard areas. This may be, she continued, too early to answer this question but what does that mean, what do we know about what that means right now – does it mean no development there – does it mean, different kinds of development? What, what do you think it means – if you can answer that right now? With all the applications we have there appear to be a lot that are in a flood hazard area.

Enns had indicated that applicants will be required to interact with Conservation as part of the normal development approval process.

Councillor Nisan and the Mayor sit on the CH board and are aware that typically permits are not issued for developments that are within a hazard, that’s one of the protection areas. And in cases where the hazard can be mitigated, a permit with conditions might be issued.

What the Mayor was trying to get at is the potential that given the risk to health and given what we now know about flood hazards that permits will not be issued in some of these areas at all.

Through the permitting process, we would anticipate that depending on the issues that are present from a regular flood regulatory standpoint, this will influence design, and certain design outcomes as it relates to those projects, which is tied into the land use permissions. So we would not be proceeding from a planning standpoint to recommend approval of designs and final outcomes that conflict in any way, with the proper maintenance of the flood risk.

Any idea of when the phase two study might be complete and when we’ll be getting that information?

If there were basements in these buildings where records and archived documents were stored – they were a soggy pile of useless pieces of paper.

The target for completing phase two to line up with the MTSA work is, Q1 March of 2022. That work is happening very quickly and will help us answer some of these questions.

At that point Councillor Nisan was asked to move the item and it carried unanimously.

And with that – the fox was in the hen house.  All those developments before the Planning department now face another hurdle that could determine if the application can proceed or if it should be modified to reflect the flood potential.

The developers would appeal to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT)  – it would be very hard for an OLT Commissioner to find for a developer when looking at public safety issues.

This one should be really interesting going forward.

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Regional MoH has yet to determine if RAT will be used in schools.

By Pepper Parr

October 6th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The provincial Medical Officer of Health announced earlier this week that Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) would be used at the school level but only in areas where the level of new infections was high.

It is a painless process – takes just seconds and the results are available in just minutes.

Halton Region Public Health is reviewing the information received today from the Chief Medical Officer of Health  and will work with school boards should the need arise for RAT distribution at a local school.

In its announcement the Halton Region MoH said: “We will continue to work closely with our school board partners to prevent COVID-19 transmission in schools through multiple strategies.

Rapid COVID-19 antigen tests can detect COVID-19 in a preliminary fashion, providing results faster than a traditional PCR test. The trade-off is rapid tests do not provide a definitive result or diagnosis.

As a reminder, it is important to continue with the current strategies that have been working effectively in our community including masking, cohorting, daily screening and vaccination for all those eligible in the school environment.

Covid19 data for Burlington as of October 5th.

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Police Seek Assistance in Identifying Suspicious Male at Burlington Elementary School

By Staff

October 6th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a suspicious male observed interacting with young children at an elementary school in Burlington on two occasions.

On Thursday, September 23, 2021 at approximately 10:30 am, a male was seen on the property of Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Elementary School located at 2222 Country Club Drive in Burlington. He was observed to be interacting and possibly taking photographs of a group of children with his cell phone. The male was confronted by school staff and left the area on a bike.

On Thursday, September 30, 2021 at approximately 12:40 pm, the same male was observed on the property of Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Elementary School and was again interacting and possibly photographing children with his phone. The male left the area on foot when confronted by school staff.

The male is described by witnesses as:
• Male, Asian
• Approximately 60 years old
• 5’8” with a slim build
• Dark, graying hair, no facial hair

On September 23, he was wearing a light grey jacket with bulging pockets and was riding a blue bike.

On September 30, he was wearing a grey pullover sweatshirt, black baseball cap with a white emblem on the back, light coloured framed glasses and white earbuds. He had a large black cellphone.

Police are looking to identify this male and are asking that anyone with information, security or dash-cam footage from the area of the school on the above dates, contact Detective Constable Dave Griffiths of the 3 District Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4777 ext. 2350.

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.

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Province to educate businesses and employees about proof of vaccination requirements

By Staff

October 5th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

As part of Ontario’s education campaign for businesses, between Tuesday, October 5 and Thursday, October 7, Provincial offences officers will be visiting Halton businesses that are impacted by Ontario’s proof of vaccination requirements.
The primary focus of these visits is to educate employers and staff on vaccination proof requirements and ensure businesses are following COVID-19 safety requirements.

Regional Chair Gary Carr

“I would like to thank the Halton business community for supporting Ontario’s proof of vaccination requirements and all that they have done over the past 18 months to keep employees and customers safe,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “In addition to these Provincial educational activities, our Economic Development and Public Health teams at Halton Region continue to offer supports and resources to ensure business owners and operators have all of the information they need to operate safely and stay open.”

Over the coming weeks, in consultation with local public health units, Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development inspectors and other provincial offences officers will conduct inspection and education campaigns to ensure businesses across Ontario are following COVID-19 safety requirements.

Halton’s team of public health inspectors, municipal by-law officers and Halton Regional Police Service officers will also continue to educate and support business owners and operators on proof of vaccination requirements and current COVID-19 public health measures. Provincial offences officers and inspectors may issue tickets to businesses and patrons who are not in compliance with measures set out in the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act and the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

Regional Medical Officer of Health

“I continue to encourage all patrons, business owners and employees to be patient and kind as we all take precautions available to protect each other and stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Halton Region Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Hamidah Meghani. “As we approach colder weather and with the continued spread of the Delta variant, please get both doses of COVID-19 vaccine to prevent severe illness and hospitalization and prevent infecting those who are immunocompromised or not yet eligible for vaccination. We all must continue to do our part to bring an end to the pandemic.”

 

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They don't know who built it or when?

By Staff

October 5th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Recommendation was to Authorize the Director of Engineering Services to negotiate and execute a cost sharing
agreement with the owners of property municipally known as 431 Martha Street, City of Burlington, for the design and replacement of a jointly owned retaining wall that is in need of replacement.

“Approve the project geotechnical investigation and detail design costs funding” as noted in engineering services department report.

A retaining wall exists, along the bank of Rambo Creek, at 431 Martha Street, City of Burlington. The lower portion of the retaining wall and foundation is reinforced concrete, and the upper portion of the wall is masonry block. The construction year is unknown, and no information exists respecting who constructed the wall.

That is troubling – city administrations keep everything but for some reason the information doesn’t exist.

How this level of damage to a retaining wall was missed is disturbing.

In early 2021, the City conducted its legislated biennial detailed visual inspections in accordance with the requirements of the Ontario Structure Inspection Manual. During the inspection on April 9, 2021, the City’s consultant assessed this retaining wall as being in poor condition, recommending immediate replacement. The consultant also recommended fencing off the area behind the retaining wall, within a 4m radius of the wall to prevent pedestrian and vehicular access to the area for safety reasons until the retaining wall is replaced. The City proceeded to fence off this area and closed the affected sidewalk and driveway at 431 Martha Street. The City obtained a legal survey and confirmed the majority of the retaining wall (approximately 80%) is located within 431 Martha Street private property limits.

The bit of grate seen at the left is where the creek runs beneath Martha Street. The level of damage is severe.

The remaining 20% of the wall is within the City’s Martha Street right-of-way. Failure of the retaining wall could cause significant damage to private property and Rambo Creek, potentially causing debris to block or disrupt the flow of the creek. If the retaining wall collapses there is also a risk of damaging the surrounding sidewalk as well as compromising the adjacent culvert structure and the Martha Street roadway. The City is working with the property owners to secure a cost sharing agreement which would result in a 50/50 cost split for the geotechnical investigation work and a cost split of 80% ownership of 431 Martha Street and 20% City of Burlington for the design and construction. The City is currently negotiating the terms of a cost sharing agreement relating to the geotechnical investigation as well as the design and construction of the retaining wall. At this time, the property owners agreed to the City managing the retaining wall replacement project, pursuant to the terms of the City’s Procurement Bylaw.

Given the experience the city had during the 2014 flood replacing that retaining wall is critical.

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Burlington NDP candidate Andrew Drummond says the objective is an NDP majority government

By Ryan O’Dowd

October 5th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Andrew Drummond is back as the New Democratic Party provincial candidate and he’s in the upcoming (June 2nd) election to win it.

After a successful 2018 campaign where Drummond captured over 28% of the vote, more than doubling his predecessor, Drummond says this is the first election he’s entering where the expectation is victory.

Andrew Drummond with a supporter

Bolstered by a substantially higher campaign budget after consistent gains made in the region and provincial trends Drummond has no doubt this will be a winnable election.

“Yes we can win this election, unequivocally yes,” Drummond said. “We showed in the last campaign the city treats the NDP as the second choice here and going into this election, we know that we’re going to be the choice of progressive people. Over and above the ambitious platform that we will be releasing, the policy papers we’ve already put out, when you get to the doors and talk to people, those ideas really resonate.”

Drummond has been working on the upcoming campaign since the 2018 election ended, breaking to manage two federal campaigns to keep the momentum going. In addition to Drummond’s impressive personal results, he managed both federal NDP candidates to incremental gains, including most recently Nick Page on a budget of $12,000, down from roughly $30,000 the previous election.

Drummond operated on a $35,000 budget in his last provincial outing, which was the largest Burlington  constituency budget ever.

Drummond will face off once again with incumbent Jane McKenna.

This time around Drummond is operating on a baseline budget of $80,000, one he suspects will grow. He estimates the budget he has to work with will allow the campaign to fully cover the riding with literature twice over and afford him the opportunity to personally interact with every voter at the door.

‘We have been targeting this election. This is our moment here. We are very prepared to fight this next election,” said Drummond.

Drummond’s confidence is riding high following a vote of support from provincial party leader Andrea Horwath who plans on campaigning in the area; she will be present or providing a recorded message when he is acclaimed as the NDP candidate later this month.

Drummond was born into a political household, to parents he calls “Red Tories” who tried to push the party to the left. As a young child Drummond spent days in playpens in campaign offices. Political campaigns used to excite Drummond as a 25-year-old knocking on doors but over time that excitement has been deflated by the weight of his responsibility.

“I’ve always been excited about it. I’ll be honest it gets a little less exciting the more you do it. It’s a lot harder when I know how important the things that we’re fighting for are. And the pressure to do well increases, especially now with this campaign,” said Drummond.

Although Drummond tempers his excitement with responsibility he leaves nothing wanting for passion. Drummond says time will tell if his work as a campaign manager made him a better candidate but he enjoys the work.

Drummond: loves going door to door

“I love going door to door, I love meeting people face to face. In-person communication is what I think I do best. It’s what I enjoy most about campaigning and I didn’t get to do as much of that as campaign manager,” he said.

Drummond listed several reasons for his optimism about improving from his last outing toward fulfilling the party goal, which Drummond says is an NDP majority.

Drummond was nominated with six weeks left before the last provincial election; this time he has eight months to campaign before ballots are cast June 2nd, 2022.

The NDP enters this provincial election as the official opposition for the first time since 1987, and voters know Drummond from 2018. He jokes that what people wanted in Ontario in the last election was a Progressive Conservative government led by Andrea Horwath, calling her by far the most popular candidate.

Drummond cites his accessibility as a big factor contrasted with both opponent’s historical hesitancy and with his previous limitations.

Drummond took six days off of work for the last provincial election, this time around he will be committed to campaigning for two months.

When asked if he was concerned about the provincial Liberal government bouncing back from their worst-ever showing in 2018 and siphoning progressive votes Drummond laughed.

“How could I possibly say ‘no’ to that question? But if you ask [Liberal candidate] Mariam Manaa she has the same concerns. People here recognize that we will be the alternative,’ said Drummond.

Drummond’s campaign puts quality of life as a top priority. Printed on his face mask are the words: “everyone deserves paid sick days”. He speaks  enthusiastically about worker’s rights, climate change, cost of living, and affordable housing. Drummond hesitated to boil down his campaign to a handful of specific issues saying there are paths to improve every area of life in the NDP platform.

“One of the things that I have learned in politics is that every single issue, every last thing that you ever talk about is more complex than it looks at first glance, there is a layer upon layer to every issue,” said Drummond.

When Drummond accepted the nomination last election he said he wasn’t angry with the status quo he was saddened by it. Drummond pointed to failings, inaction, and what he called deliberate choices to harm the most vulnerable, citing the province clawing back disability benefits for those on CERB as a recent example.

Leader of the Opposition Andrea Horwath

Drummond will be acclaimed for the nomination on October 21st. He believes Burlington has shown itself to be a progressive town and the moment is now for the NDP to capitalize on their momentum.

“It’s a mix between crushing and exciting. I know we’re getting close and I’m trying to figure out in my head how long until I can go door to door and start talking about provincial issues”.

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Blood donors in Burlington provide a reason for patients to be thankful

By Staff

October 4th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

As Canadians prepare to celebrate the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, Canadian Blood Services is encouraging residents of Burlington to keep patients in need of blood products in mind. Hospital patients are grateful for Canadians who take the time to donate blood, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We manage the national supply of blood products for all the provinces and territories (excluding Quebec). Many variables can impact our inventory such as weather, holidays or tragic events. Below is an overview of our inventory levels across all blood types.

Donations often decrease during long weekends. Travel and family activities make it challenging for people to find time to donate but the demand for blood never stops. Blood donations before and during Thanksgiving will help ensure that ongoing patient needs are met.

At 1250 Brant St. in Burlington, there are many open appointments to fill at the donation event on Monday, Oct. 11 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Donors who make an appointment are encouraged to keep it as missed or cancelled appointments are difficult to fill. If you’re unable to make it to your appointment, please cancel it so someone else can take your place and consider re-booking in coming months.

In compliance with the Public Health Agency of Canada’s direction to enable physical distancing, at this time, we can only welcome people with appointments.

If you’re in general good health, please book and honour your appointment to help patients. Download the GiveBlood app and join Canada’s Lifeline. Please call 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283) or book now at blood.ca.

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Thordon adds some heft to the product development side of the 100 year old operation

By Staff

October 4th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Thordon Bearings, a Burlington based global leader in water-lubricated and grease-free polymer bearing technologies, has appointed Anthony Hamilton as its new Technical Director.

Tony Hamilton (left), Thordon’s new Technical Director and Michael Skrzypczak (right) Thordon’s new Global Service & Support Manager

Reporting directly to CEO Anna Galoni, Hamilton will lead the Burlington-headquartered company’s engineering, CAD, and New Product Development teams.

“We are delighted to welcome Tony to the Thordon family as we look to strengthen the company’s product portfolio in existing and new markets,” said Galoni. “Tony is a seasoned solutions-based leader having held senior technical positions in the marine, power, nuclear and manufacturing industries over the past 30 years.”

After graduating from Ireland’s Munster Technological University in 1985 with a degree in marine engineering, Hamilton served on tankers and bulk carriers before taking engineering roles ashore.

Tony moved to Canada and completed a Masters in Design and Manufacturing Engineering at McMaster University, then spent ten years at Siemens AG in Hamilton, Ontario, then worked in the nuclear industry with Atomic Energy of Canada and Kinectrics Inc.

He subsequently established the engineering consultancy Sthenos Consulting, working with clients that included the Royal Canadian Navy and Irving Shipbuilding.

“I am excited to join Thordon Bearings and look forward to working with the senior management team in driving forward the company’s technical innovations agenda across existing and new marine and industrial markets”.

CEO Anna Galoni,

In addition to Hamilton’s appointment, Michael Skrzypczak has been selected to oversee the company’s Global Service & Support (GSS) division, as part of the company-wide restructure.

“For more than 20 years Skrzypczak has been visiting Thordon Bearings as Lloyd’s Register’s Senior Surveyor in the Ontario region so he is very familiar with our manufacturing, designs and quality control processes,” said Galoni.

“Michael’s understanding and experience with marine systems and shaft bearings will be an invaluable asset to the Thordon GSS network, which has expanded in recent years to cover more than 100 key ports, and shipbuilding and repair hubs around the world.

Thordon Bearings, a Burlington based technology company with a strong collection of patents and  and trade secrets. Polymer bearings ready for shipment

The GSS teams operate 24/7 to faciliate all our customers’ bearing installation, commissioning and servicing needs.”

Prior to joining Lloyd’s Register, Skrzypczak worked as a Naval Architect, with management positions at Marine Atlantic, MIL Davie Shipyard and German and Milne, the oldest naval architectural firm in Canada.

Commenting on the organizational reshuffle, Galoni said: “I have been working very closely with my senior management team to develop and implement Thordon’s strategic objectives built around our core strengths and environmental goals. We have made, and will continue to make, considerable investments in people and capital equipment to grow our business.”

An internal reorganisation has seen the promotion of Jeffrey Butt to Business Development Manager – Navy and Coast Guard; Jason Perry to Regional Manager – North America; Yves Silva to Regional Manager – LATAM; as well as the appointment of Danny Caffa to Business Development Manager – Marine (EMEA); and Heiko Pohland to Business Development Manager – Marine (Asia/Pacific).

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