BurlingtonGreen holds on to keep third place; Calgary threatened every day of the last week.

September 16, 2013

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  It boiled down to a battle for third place and BurlingtonGreen did everything they could to hold that position.

The Jamieson Vitamins Call for the Wild was a race between five organizations for a share of the $100,000 prize.

Early in the contest the Vancouver team was racing ahead but Burlington and Calgary caught up and battled for third place while Nova Scotia and Quebec went on to take the top two spots.

Burlington Green looked at the competition and at first thought the Vancouver Aquarium was going to be the stiffest group to go up against but as it turned out Nova Scotia’s Hope for Wild Life, and McGill Universities Bird Sanctuary began to show as the clear leaders about a third of the way into the month-long contest.

It was a stiff battle between Burlington and Calgary for the third spot in the $100,000 contest.

The last week was a back and forth between Burlington and Calgary’s Wildlife Rehabilitation for that third spot.

Burlington put their membership out into the Terry Fox Run on Sunday where they were able to collect the name and email addresses of about 100 people who they then entered into the contest Facebook page and that basically did it for Burlington who racked up 11,042 votes to pull in $12, 576.

Calgary had 10,980 votes and took $12,505

Michelle Bennett of Burlington Green called it an amazing last day response from a very supportive community and we are so thankful to them.”

BurlingtonGreen added a local incentive and put a bicycle from Mountain Equipment Coop into the draw.  Anyone who voted was able to slide over to the Burlington Green website and enter their name into the draw for the bike.  The winner of that draw will be announced later this week.

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Some think you are what you eat – others say you’re what you wear. Burchill has some thoughts on what you might wear.

 September 12, 2013

By James Burchill

BURLINGTON, ON.   Many in the tech industry believe that the next generation of smart devices will be “wearable.” Remember watches? Ya, those things that are going out of style may be making a comeback when your iPhone and Android becomes wrist wear.

Is that a Dick Tracy wrist watch? What do you mean – you don’t know who Dick Tracy was – where have you been?

There are several designs in the works and Sony has already released a beta test on a wearable smart phone that works very much like your current phone in downsized form. This, of course, will change as these become more prolific and new ideas and the ergonomics of the devices are studied. Expect wrist flicking and hand flexing to replace finger gestures, for example.

Techies are seeing a future in which we are the device – in other words, apps and software, are made for the user, not the device. Whether we have a smart watch, a phone, in-car computers, or a desktop in or all of the above, the apps will work the same throughout with perhaps some differences because one device may be capable of more than another. 

A good example of how this works is Google’s Gmail.

Gmail works differently on your desktop than it does on your smart phone, for example. Imagine that across half a dozen or more devices.  Some will be “hands free” devices (such as the car), which will have interaction through voice commands and hand waving or eye gestures (all things being worked on right now).  Others will be hand-intense, like your smart phone, while still others will be a mix of the two.

A technological future in which devices automatically detect who is using them and load the apps (from the cloud, of course) based on that knowledge is not far off. Imagine checking the time on your watch and being notified that you have a new email. Instead of bringing it up there, you turn to the television and say “pause and show me email.”  It complies by pausing the show you’re watching and bringing up your email screen.  You see it’s important and you’ll need to reply, so instead of using the TV, you pick up your tablet and bring up the email app and finger in a response. Once you do so, you close the email app and the TV asks if you want to resume your show.

This future isn’t so far-fetched and is fast becoming the present.

Is this what’s on the horizon?

This means  app developers are beginning to (finally) think in terms of “screens” and “users” instead of “pop-ups” and “square boxes.” Recently, Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote, said that the transition from mobile to wearables is a far bigger deal than was the change from computer-centric apps to mobile devices.  If you think about it, your notebook and your cell phone have a lot more in common than would a cell phone and a watch or Google Glass, simply because the “screen” is very, very different.

In short, the screen and how you interact with it is changing radically. With heads up and similar options, the old “open a box, then open another one” thing doesn’t work anymore. Things have to be both more fluid and less intrusive. And again, people who use these wearable devices are not likely to have it as their only device and they’ll expect apps to work on all of their mobile machines (at the very least).

Things are about to get even more interesting.

 

 

James Burchill creates communities and helps businesses convert conversations into cash.  He’s also an author, speaker, trainer and creator of the Social Fusion Network™ an evolutionary free b2b networking group with chapters across southern Ontario.  He blogs at JamesBurchill.com and can be found at the SocialFusionNetwork.com or behind the wheel of his recently acquired SMART car.

 

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Ten rooms in a hotel – for just the one night. That might have happened at the Riviera – but at the Waterfront?

 

 

September 11, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  The cultural scene in Burlington gets busy right after Labour Day – everyone wants you to come to their event.

There is a poetry slam that would love you to show up and there is a dance production that is on for two nights at the Toddering Biped Theatre in Burlington.

We will do our best to publish a small piece on as many as we can.  What we have found, ever since the creation of the Arts and Cultural Collective of Burlington, is that there are dozens of artists doing very interesting work.  Is it all great?  That’s something you will have to decide.  Is it worth going to?  A sense of adventure is helpful when you embark on something you’ve not done before.  Take a chance, call up one of your friends and move out of your comfort zone and see what happens.

Each November the Art in Action group holds a Studio Tour and gather’s between three to five artists in one home with eight to ten homes in the tour.  That event is a chance to make a day of it and get a cultural dunking.  The Studio Tour is something you have to do at least once.

It runs for just four hours – tickets available on-line.

An event taking place September 19th intrigued us.  Dream State is being hosted by No Vacancy; the arts initiative Selina Jane Eckersall created to bring more focus to art and culture in Burlington. Dream State is a multi-artist installation being held at The Waterfront Hotel and featuring the work of ten artists from a variety of disciplines.

The theme of the event is “dreams and dreaming”.  All ten artists are somewhat local, all hail from Oakville, Hamilton and Burlington with two taking the GO train from Toronto.

The ten artists are free to interpret the theme in whatever way they wish and each have their own room to create a unique installation.

Selina Jane Eckersall sits on the Board of Directors for The Halton Women’s Centre and wanted to help them raise awareness and do some fundraising – so proceeds from the Dream State silent auction will be divided between the artists who place their work for auction and the Women’s Centre. Additionally, any ticket sale proceeds (after all of the hard venue and catering costs are paid) will be divided equally between the artists and The Women’s Centre.

Jim Riley does some of the most amazing video work.

“Why am I doing this?” asks Eckersall:  “Because our city needs more of a thriving art scene with more players. The more the merrier – the grander our culture. Our neighbours (both to the East and West) have much more in the way of funding, events, opportunities, and culture when it comes to art. I really want to see that happen here in Burlington, and I believe it can. I am a fan of all things Burlington and all things community too, so I am always looking for ways to both be of service and to promote the wonderful people, businesses, causes, and places that we have here in our city.”

The event is on September 19th, 2013.  It runs from 6pm to 10 pm.  The rooms are on the lower level of the Waterfront Hotel.

 This kind of event would have been great in the now demolished Riviera Motel.  Eckersall wanted to hold the event at the Ascot Motel but there was a complication with a long-term tenant.  Going from motel room to motel room would have been a hoot.  But the Waterfront Hotel it  is – where each artist will have a room to interpret their dream.

There are some exceptionally good artists taking part in this event.  You will remember many of these artists and tell your friends about what you saw for some time.

Here’s the run down.

Xiaojing Yan

Xiaojing Yan creates mixed media installations, which express personal ideas of identity, history and communication from the perspective of an immigrant working between cultures. Yan employs traditional Chinese materials and techniques and reinvents them within a Western aesthetic and presentation. In several of her series, Yan uses the reeds and fibre papers of Chinese lantern making to mold the fragile cocoons of an immigrant life – where staying safe and protected within an unfamiliar, often intimidating cultural environment is essential to emerging and adapting with a reincarnated identity.

Yan mixes western aestheticism and Chinese materials – these are not just Chinese lanterns.

Xiaojing Yan is an artist who has migrated from China to North America, both her identity and work pass through the complex filters of different countries, languages, and cultural expectations. Making art is a transmigration of Xiaojing’s ideas, and physical presence. Xiaojing has education from both the eastern and western worlds, with a B.F.A in decorative art, Nanjing Art Institute, Jiangsu, China, as well as a M.F.A in sculpture from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Faisal Anwar

Faisal Anwar is a digital media artist/ interactive producer / UI/UX expert (Toronto/ Pakistan). He is founder of an interactive art studio, DigitalDip and Co-founder Me A Monster Inc. His project series, Oddspaces, brings together art, culture and technology in an odd configuration to explore our perceptions towards architectural space, private or public spaces and social interactivity in modern urban cultures. He has shown at the Winter Olympics 2010, and performed nationally and internationally.

The “art” of war.  A closer inspection of Anwar’s work and the word horror follows.

His project Odd spaces was part of  Vancouver Olympics 2010 Code live exhibition. In October 2011 Oddspaces was also shown at Nuit-Blache Toronto and created a real-time installation between Karachi, New York and Toronto. Odd spaces was presented at the exhibition ‘Six Degrees of Separation: Chaos, Congruence & Collaboration’ 2008, curated by KHOJ, International Artists’ Association in Delhi, India and was presented in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh in September  2008.

 

Daniel Anaka

Daniel Anaka was born in 1978 in Brampton Ontario and currently resides in Toronto, Ontario. Daniel Anaka’s career as an artist has been as controversial as it has been brilliant. He works in the age of nonrepresentational art, much of his work having the look and feel of a Rembrandt, style of a Klimpt, narrative of a Rockwell, and sensuality of fashion photography. Other than attending artist material workshops, he is largely self-taught by studying the works of the masters, examining contemporary works, and working alongside other artists. Daniel now consults artists in materials and process, conservation, and frequently instructs artist workshops in representational and abstract acrylic and oil painting.

Anaka classic work and classic form – to be appreciated.

Anaka is principally known for his monumental, sensual, and emotionally raw depictions of women in his figurative and portrait work.

Jim Riley

Jim Riley is a Burlington, ON, based artist and independent curator. His art practice is a blend of documentary evidence, personal ideology, social commentary and artistic explorations. Riley’s present aesthetic investigations explore time and perceptual memory.

Riley captures a thought and then holds you to that thought – riveting.

His recent art practice has involved public and gallery video installations. He has a BA from Brock University. Currently, he is on the Media Arts Team of the Burlington Art Centre and is the Chair of Exhibitions and Programming Committee at Centre3 for Print and Media Arts (Hamilton). He has exhibited his art for more than twenty-five years in Canada and the US.

Grace Loney

Grace Loney is an active visual artist living in Southern Ontario.  Grace’s work is enjoyed in private collections throughout North America, Britain and Japan.   Her paintings are intuitive and alive with colour and rhythm.  She uses acrylic, oil pastel, water-colour, and painterly mixed media to create depth in abstract expression.

A maze? Art to be experienced?  Loney seem to push the limits.

“As an artist, I have journeyed down many paths to explore different ways of creating and making.  My goal is to contribute to human experience by making art for art’s sake and currently I paint compositions.  I also love to play with clay.  Along the way, I’ve learned to work with new and found wood, fibre glass, cement, soil, and garden growth.  I’ve had to learn to represent myself digitally and make acquaintance with cyberspace.”

Sanjay B Patel

Sanjay B Patel is a Canadian of Indian descent, residing in between Hamilton and Toronto. This talented artist is carving a path with his one-of-a-kind commissioned work; a unique experience that offers the client a custom abstract representation of their energy, tastes and personality, while taking into consideration the current colour, lighting, and space in the room.

Patel bursts with colour – what will he do with a single room.

Sanjay Patel is a refreshing artist who perfectly balances himself between classic, fine art fundamentals and modern couture design.

Reg Moore

Reg Moore is a projection and light artist holding unique events under the name Realtime Activities. Realtime turns the clock back and forth with shout-outs to eclectic moments and personalities in motion picture, photography, animation, music and popular culture.

When Reg Moore adds sound to these visuals – “cool” and “awesome” are the only reasonable responses.

Using an existing site and manipulating it, Realtime creates installations that are a visual feast for the average individual and a delight to the more seasoned viewer who recognizes Realtime’s incorporation of such ground-breaking works as “Moth Light”, “Rhythmus 21”, “Dog Star Man”, and “Matrix III”, to name a few. A Realtime installation is both a fabulous live event and a compelling expression of art.

Kyle Tonkens

Kyle Tonkens is a Canadian artist who lives and works in Oakville, Ontario. In addition to completing a Bachelor degree in Sociology at the University of Western Ontario, Kyle has studied Visual Arts and Art History at both the Ontario College of Art and Design and the University of Toronto [Mississauga].

Tonkens uses colour  to create abstract masterpieces.

Kyle’s current project 100 Billion Sons&Daughters is an ongoing series of paintings created to celebrate each and every person who has ever lived, and their inherent beauty. Kyle uses colour choices provided by the ‘subject’ of each painting to create abstract masterpieces named in their honour.

Keith Busher

Keith Busher of Precious Mutations is an emerging artist from the Hamilton area who became famous in 2012 for his zombified nutcrackers and mutated thrift store finds. What began as a lesson to his two daughters about what could be accomplished when you are not sitting in front of the TV has turned into the work that he has become best known for.

Busher’s zombified nutcrackers and mutated thrift store finds.

Keith began purchasing thrift store/garage sale ceramic figurines and ‘mutating’ them into humorous, sinister and sometimes downright macabre creatures.  His zombified nutcrackers were shipped all over the world to countries like Japan, Australia and the Netherlands.  Keith’s work was recently featured at an installation at MANTA Contemporary during the Hamilton Art Crawl. The exhibit was entitled Re-Visions and featured his work alongside the work of award-winning artist David Irvine.

Lana Kamarić

Lana Kamarić is a contemporary surrealist artist. Born in Sarajevo, Bosnia, she began painting at a very young age. In 1994 Lana moved to Canada with her family, and made a home in Burlington, ON. She graduated York University with a degree in Art History in 2011, and currently works at the Burlington Art Centre.

Kamarić’s windows into another world, an escape from the anxieties of reality.

Drawing inspiration from various mythologies, folklore and fairy tales, her work often incorporates classical narratives to represent themes of time and identity. The goal of her paintings is to create windows into another world, an escape from the anxieties of reality.

The art we have shown here is not what you will see at the Dream State event.  It is, we hope, representative of what these artists have done.  We certainly had our favourites.

This will probably rank as the best the city is going to see this year – make the time to see it.

Cost of a ticket is $20 plus a small fee.  Go on-line.

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There is trouble in our financial paradise; city manager cautions council. They don’t seem to hear him

September 11, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  The first we heard of the problem was when city manager Jeff Fielding casually mentioned at a city council committee meeting a couple of months ago that he suspected the city would experience net negative growth with ICI taxes.

ICI taxes is the tax revenue to city gets from the Industrial, commercial and institutional sector.  The ICI sector pays more in taxes on their assessed value than residential properties pay.

In a sentence that means the city brings in more money from ICI properties than it does on housing.  Just as important to the city is that they spend less in providing services to the ICI sector than they do to the residential sector.Worse still – we are losing some of the big industrial companies.  International Harvester will move to Hamilton shortly.

So – from the city’s perspective building more ICI and less housing is a good thing.  More money comes in and less money has to be spent.

And that for Burlington is now a problem.  There hasn’t been very much in the way of ICI growth – meaning no big tax dollars coming in.  Worse still – we are losing some of the big industrial companies.  International Harvester will move to Hamilton shortly.  There is no one with plans on the table to put up a large industrial, commercial or institutional structure. – and because the city cannot have a deficit it has to either cut costs or get more from some other source.  That other source is YOU – the city will begin charging fees for everything that moves.

The one commercial structure that is well past the drawing boards is getting tied up in red tape – the issue on that one is whether there should be affordable housing in the downtown core.

The city can dip into its reserves – and Burlington has very healthy reserves, but the province requires municipalities to maintain high reserve levels so those fat piggy banks can only be looked at enviously.  If the reserves fall too low – the city’s cost of borrowing rises.

That “other” source is taxes on residential housing or increases in service fees.  And they can only go so far with fee increases – so guess where the ax falls?  On the necks of the residential property owners and in cutbacks in services.

In the 2008/09 taxation year the  commercial industrial growth was 1.9% over the previous year.  In the 2009/2010 tax year the growth was 1.73% over the previous year.  In 2010/11 the growth over the previous year was 1.99%.  In 2011/2012 the growth over the previous year was .46% and in 2012.2013 the growth was .17%.

 Fielding told council, the city appears to be moving to a negative rate of growth The trend is not good and as Fielding told council, the city appears to be moving to a negative rate of growth – a situation that is not sustainable.

When this issue came up at a Development and Infrastructure meeting earlier this week – there was no sense of alarm – they yammered away about a private tree bylaw.

The data the treasury department has shown that people who live in Burlington have jobs – but those jobs are not in Burlington.  They travel to Oakville, Hamilton, Mississauga and Toronto.  And they spend their dollars while there are in the communities within which they work.

That point was a key one in the Cultural Directions report the city is using to develop a Cultural Action Plan.

In 1996 there were about 73,000 people in Burlington employed.  In 2016 the number of people employed is projected to be at the 100,000 level but in 2031 the estimate flattens severely and is projected to come in at 105,00 people in Burlington with jobs.

In the five-year period between 1996 and 2001 – 8,800 net new jobs were created.  In the five-year period between 2026 and 2031, only 1204  jobs are forecasted to be created.

This sign tells the sad story of Burlington’s commercial development problems. Developers want to take land out of commercial zoning and move it into residential. They fight like crazy to get the zoning changed – all the way to the Ontario Municipal Board – where they all too frequently win.

Why are we not creating new jobs in the city?  Because corporations and organizations that employ people are not opening offices in Burlington.  Why is no one opening up new offices in Burlington?  Because no one is building new office space.  Why are new offices not being built?  Do we not have the land to build offices on?  The city has plenty of land that is zoned commercial/industrial but the owners of those properties do not want to build office buildings – they want to build residential housing because there is much more money on residential.

Zoned commercial, spitting distance to the QEW, minutes from downtown – owner wants to rezone and make it residential.

But residential housing costs the city more to service than that city has been able to collect in taxes.

This is pretty close to one of those Catch 22 situations – where the city does not appear to be able to win.

It gets worse.  The age of a building determines to some degree the assessment rating applied to the property. About 2% of the housing stock was built before 1946;  26% was built between 1946 and 1969; 22% was built between 1970 and 1979.  Between 1980 and 1989 20% of the residential housing we have was built, with 12% of what we now have built between 1990 and 1999.  The figure for 2000 to 2005 was also 12% with  6% built between 2006 and 2011.

That’s a lot of numbers but the net result is that the city has a lot of housing, and infrastructure that goes with it, that is going to need to be replaced at a time when the amount of money coming into the city is lessening.  That’s a problem that needs a solution.

Developers don’t want to put up this kind of building – not enough money it. Tye city loves properties like these – they create jobs, keep people in the city and they are less expensive than residential properties to service. Our problems resolving this problem with the developers as us stymied – and in the process of going broke as well.

It is just as bad on the commercial/industrial side.  At present about 41% of the ICI buildings were put up before 1980.   Older buildings have a lower assessment value and that assessment translates into the amount of tax revenue the city receives.  Put in different language – the city’s best tax payers are getting older and they aren’t paying as much as they used to in taxes – but the city needs that money now more than ever.

During a discussion with city manager Fielding and city treasurer Joan Ford, Fielding commented that the “platform is certainly not on fire” but these numbers are certainly red flags that we have to pay serious attention to.

Upper Middle Road looking east towards Burloak – prime commercial. No takers?

Interestingly, Fielding made the comment about potential negative net ICI revenue on two occasions but I don’t recall any Council member picking up on it and asking for more information.  The numbers part of the city’s business is not a strong point for either Councillors Meed Ward or Lancaster but Sharman, who would have you believe he is the smartest guy sitting around the horseshoe, and Dennison who will remind you frequently that he has an MBA, have yet to mutter a word.  Something is amiss.  

This year we saw the Alton Village complex go up – that will add to the assessment base won’t it?  Nope; schools, public property and churches do not pay property taxes – so while the project was massive – it does nothing to the city’s revenue position.

And the housing in those communities is costing us more than it is paying us.

The city has been managing the IKEA file for some time now – they recently passed a new by-law relating to the property and repealed one that had passed previously. This photo shows the size of the problems – North Service Road as it is cannot handle the traffic IKEA will draw, nor can the Walkers Line intersection. Mammoth problems to resolve – will IKEA decide they can’t make a move work to the North Service Road and take a walk? It’s a question they have to be asking themselves.

The city manager was right to issue a note of caution.  He may need a megaphone to get his words into the ears of the seven people who serve as your council.  Is this an election issue?

And – what is the city doing to get things actually moving on the economic development side?  And – is there a chance that IKEA will decide things are just not going to work for them on the North Service Road and take a walk?

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Private tree bylaw is dead in the water. Even with the Mayor’s support it could not get past a council that fails to understand.

 

 

September 10, 2013

By Pepper Parr

It is going to be very tough to get a private tree by law in this city.  The dean of Council, John Taylor, summed it up when he said “the will is just not there”, the public just doesn’t want this” and try as they might BurlingtonGreen and Ward 2 Councillor Meed Ward,  who pushed as hard as one can push, could not get this through the Development and Infrastructure Committee that met Monday evening.

Staff took Council through a review of the Urban Forest Management Plan and said basically, that the way to maintain the urban tree canopy we have is to just plant more trees – but didn’t say that it takes decades for the trees we plant, to get to the point where they are a significant part of the urban cover, that we have now in some parts of the city.

In its report the Roads and Parks Maintenance department took the position that “…many view a private tree bylaw as a means to protect trees and the urban canopy.  It is one potential component of an effective urban forest management strategy.  Recognizing the significant resources required to administer and enforce a private tree bylaw it is recommended that resources are better focused on a continued implementation of the recommendations of the Urban Forest Management Plan.”

In a phrase – a private tree bylaw wasn’t worth the paper and the work it would take to get it up and running.

Staff did support an Annual Symposium that would educate the public and would present a business case for this expense when they get into the budget cycle.  Lip service.

Meed Ward and Mayor Goldring picked up on the loss at the July meetings where Council basically said this is not something we want to do.  At that time Meed Ward and the Mayor determined to press on and get something on the table.

But Taylor had it right: Council, reflecting the public frame of mind, was not going to require people to get permission to cut down a tree in Burlington.

As a last-ditch effort Meed Ward put forward a proposal that would require nothing more of a property owner than filling in a form so that city hall could at last gather data on how many trees are being cut and where the cutting is taking place.

Councillor Paul Sharman, centre in the blue shirt, has been a staunch and consistent advocate for having verifiable data in hand before making any decisions. Given an opportunity to gather that data at very little cost to the city, the Councillor folded and let his ideology get in the way of common sense.

Even Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman, often referred to as Mr. Data (he just will not make a decision without adequate data) would go along with this one.

The best those who wanted to see something proactive done to protect the urban forest in Burlington could get was a Symposium at which some public education could take place.

BurlingtonGreen president Ken Woodruff found himself admitting that he had not read one of the reports that was being discussed by a city council committee. A no, no – gotta do the homework.

There were two delegations: BurlingtonGreen, who found themselves admitting that they had not read one of the reports they were delegating on and Albert Facenda, a local developer,  who has yet to find a situation that cannot be stretched into a pretty wild exaggeration.  Last night he brought up a problem in Oakville that involved a city owned tree and the difficulty he had in getting it removed for his client.  Albert had the cost to his client exceeding $10,000.  He was aided in his efforts by Councillor Sharman who kept asking leading questions helping Facenda make a point about an issue in Oakville when the committee was talking about Burlington’s trees.  Go figure.

Councillor Meed Ward did introduce the idea of creating Tree Protection Areas – the idea had merit but got beaten back when too many Councillors complained about the paper work that would be involved.

There was the suggestion that residents could use the Heritage Protection process we have and take the tack that trees and vegetation are part of a landscape and that landscape is part of Heritage.  City Planning Director Bruce Krushelnicki did say that might be possible but that he’d never seen it done anywhere.  He certainly didn’t champion that idea.

Councillor Taylor did like it and one can expect him to follow-up on that one.

The long and the short if it is that Burlington is not going to see any kind of a bylaw that calls for the public to get permission to cut down a tree on their property.  If a person owns a piece of property that has a tree and the owner doesn’t like it – they can cut it down – even if the reason is that they don’t want to have to rake the leaves.

My Mom had a phrase for doing things like this. “So you’re going to cut off your nose to spite your face are you?” It looks like that’s what Burlington is going to do.  Both the Mayor and Councillor Meed Ward, not natural allies, are pulling together on this one, but the wagon they are pulling isn’t going to budge.  There is more politics and ideology behind the reluctance of the other councillors to doing anything.  Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven, who chaired the meeting, offered no opinion or comment whatsoever.  He knows where his bread is buttered.

This is what most people in Burlington want; a gorgeous urban tree canopy that shades our streets, improves property values and gets some of the pollutants out of the air. But at the same time people want to be able to cut down a tree on their property if they don’t like them. We can’t have it both ways – can we?

We frequently use a photograph of Belvenia Street with that gorgeous canopy of trees that are both private and public that line the street.  This is what Burlington has and what most people want to keep.  Many think that the direction we take now may get us to the point where we don’t maintain this kind of urban canopy.

A symposium might not be enough.

There may be one last effort on the part of BurlingtonGreen to get more information in front of Council at its September 23rd meeting.  It won’t make a difference.  The city is getting prepared to go down the municipal election road and anything that impedes on the perceived rights of the property owners doesn’t get the vote returning them to office these Council members need.   Rather than argue this issue on the door steps next summer this council is going to tuck it under the rug hoping it will stay there.

Council voted to receive and file the report.

Perhaps in 2015 it can be revived.

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In Ontario, naturopathic doctors are considered primary care physicians.

Jeremy Hayman, Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND) will be writing a regular column for the Burlington Gazette.  ND is a professional medical designation earned following an undergraduate pre-medical degree and four years of post-graduate medical training at a fully accredited (CNME) naturopathic medical college. All licensed Naturopathic Doctors practicing in Ontario have been fully regulated under the Drugless Practitioners Act.Upon completion of regulatory board examinations, Naturopathic Doctors, as primary health care providers, are required to maintain their competency by meeting continuing education requirements as well upholding naturopathic medical association standings.

In comparison to a Medical Doctor designation (MD), a Naturopathic Medical designation (ND) is comprised of an equivalency in term of basic science education hours.  Where an MD focuses more time on pharmaceutical medicine, NDs also study pharmacology and its drugs, however extensive training in natural medicine (such as botanical, Oriental, nutritional, physical, and homeopathic medicine as well as lifestyle, counseling and herb-drug interactions) is adjunctively studied as well. In Ontario, a naturopathic doctors is considered a primary care physicians. NDs cannot prescribe pharmaceutical medications in Ontario as MDs are able to, and are only covered under extended health plans and not OHIP billing, however they are able to employ conventional laboratory testing and diagnostic imaging as necessary.

September 5, 2013

By Dr. Jeremy Hayman

 BURLINGTON, ON.  September 5, 2013  When it comes to understanding the meaning of the popular phrase “too much of a good thing”, we all too often overdo our ideal balance by taking this idiom to the extreme. It’s common practice to believe that if something is healthy, then more is better. We have all experienced, in one way or another, too much of something we believe is “good” often times turns out not to be as “good” or as pleasant as we first thought.

There are limits – or at least there should be some limits we observe.

How many of you have ever basked under the healthful vitamin D filled sunrays on a warm summer day only to regretfully suffer the agonizing (and burning) result of “too much of a good thing”? Ok, so we agree, in our own unique and sometimes retrospective way, too much of a “good thing” may in fact result in the complete opposite of what we originally thought. This consideration has forced us to accommodate moderation into our daily lives, correct?

  Well, not always in reality, but the true meaning and moral does allow us to consider the wise choice that everything in life should be experienced in balance. Although, when it comes to natural health and contributions to natural health, I sometimes, beg to differ. When it comes to balance and happiness within our children’s mental health, I beg to differ without question.

  The mental health status of children constitutes a need for balance, however the more happiness, balance and support toward a child’s mental health, argument cannot be justified that too much of a good thing is ultimately “too much”. Mental health of children is of utmost value, and the more support that can be provided naturally, the better. So let’s talk mental health within our most impressionable population, and let’s learn what it takes to naturally keep the mental health of our children balanced.

  According to Health Canada, one in  five Canadians will experience some type of mental illness over the course of their lifetime, many of whom will never fully recover. The other four will have a friend, family member, or colleague who will experience a mental health issue. Children, within this statistic, are sadly, not excluded. So what is sound mental health as it pertains to our children and how can the balance toward such a “good thing” be realized? Mental health in children refers to the mental state of how one thinks about, feels, associates, and responds to the world within and around him/her. Depression, anxiety, general stress, attention deficit, autism, panic, and bi polar are mental health states but to name a few. Achieving consistent happiness, positive adaptation, awareness and balanced thought and feeling is what exemplifies mental health to its ultimate degree. When mind and body become occupied and clouded with an ongoing interference of thoughts and feeling, mental health state begins to decline.  Once it acclimatizes to this state of mal-adaptation, psychiatric “disorder” may inevitably ensue. Continued psychiatric distress does nothing more than lend itself to a continued spiraling of ill-health, physically, mentally and otherwise.

  One in  five Canadians will experience some type of mental illness over the course of their lifetime.Interestingly enough, many children affected are being diagnosed simply as an illness due to genetics, “chemical imbalance”, or “predisposition” (which by the way isn’t necessarily an accurate preceding diagnosis at all). It is, however, becoming more and more striking, yet accepted, that mental health issues can also arise from psychosocial stress, unhealthy diets and food production, environmental and toxin influences, as well as from the use (and overuse) of pharmacological medications. Although the contributing source which underlies how a child feels mentally and emotionally may not always be undeniably determined, we do know that focusing on the basics will help make a child feel better.

  When a mental predisposition or illness in a child is typically diagnosed, there is a tendency not to turn to creative solutions for support, but rather to quickly medicate our children. Medication does have its place, however, from a natural and primary care perspective, what should be done is to address a child’s environment, parental stress, nutrition, lifestyle, and an overall comprehensive evaluating view of a child’s life. As stated, medication does have its place (pending individual circumstances, no doubt), however by simply medicating our children as first line treatment, in all circumstances, what’s being done is simply disempowering children, inducing a biochemical imbalance in the brain (not altering or fixing one) and simply guiding children into believing that coping and self-regulating cannot be accomplished without drugs. If all aspects of a child’s life is addressed, medication may still be required, but potentially at a later date, a lower dose, for a shorter time, and may in fact create a better result, given all other supporting aspects have been addressed.

  So how exactly do we treat a mental illness in a child? First and foremost, a professional medical assessment needs to be performed in order to determine where along the “spectrum” a child’s mental state rests. Many diagnostics are determined using a firm array of clinical signs and symptoms, depending of course on the mental state in question. With anxiety for example, a child’s anxiety and worry state would need to be associated with at least three of seven symptoms (sleep disturbance, easy fatigue, and being “on edge” for example). And more importantly to note, just because a child “displays possible symptoms”, doesn’t automatically conclude a mental illness is at hand, however, it also does it mean that there is not.  A whole picture approach would need to be considered, as many symptoms of mental health illness can very well be generalized symptoms in and amongst themselves. Yet, a single symptom can also be a key clue that an initial mental illness may be at play. So rather than diagnosing or treating a mental illness based on a limited clinical picture, a comprehensive and total life picture of the child, as a person, needs to be considered and sought out (as addressing a person and not just an illness, is truly what medicine and its management should be all about).

  Once a mental status has been determined, natural support in the way of botanical medicine, correction of nutritional deficiencies and a therapeutic approach to diet, stress, and environment, in conjunction with primary health care can be successfully accomplished. Vast approaches to mental health can be employed, however utilizing a comprehensive medical approach, encompassing natural sound and evidenced based medicine, combined with primary care practice often works best. Once a mental status has been determined, natural support in the way of botanical medicine, correction of nutritional deficiencies and a therapeutic approach to diet, stress, and environment, in conjunction with primary health care can be successfully accomplished. Realizing and diagnosing a mental illness in a child at any age is not something that sits well with anyone. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be a life sentence of unhappiness, instability or illness either. The evidence is there, that natural medicine works, and by incorporating the essentials in terms of what makes our children better, success with mental illness can be realized.

  Functioning of a child to the degree which satisfies society’s expectations alone is not the element to success. Fundamentally supporting a child’s mental health issue(s) at its root IS the only management tool to propel mental and emotional stability from a life of uncertainty to that of making “too much of a good thing” worth living.

 Dr Jeremy Hayman is an Ontario and Board licensed Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, practicing at Back On Track Chiropractic and Wellness Centre in Burlington Ontario where he maintains a General Family Practice with special interest in Psychiatric as well as Pediatric health. Dr Hayman can be contacted at drjeremynd@gmail.com

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Where Should I Go On My Next Trip? Travel writer can help – Just Ask!

 

 

September 5, 2013

By Gordana Liddell

BURLINGTON, ON.  Where should I go?  Good Question. Actually, while this is one of the most common travel inquiries I get, it’s a terrible question. It’s far too general and can’t possibly be answered until you answer some questions yourself:

Let’s use the W5 approach, shall we?

The world is your stage – what part of that stage do you want to walk on?

WHO are you? Are you the type of traveller that wants to go to a popular destination; one that is deemed to be the most current and hip – where you are most likely to spot celebrities who go to the most fashionable spots in order to be spotted? Or do you want to travel to a place a little more out of the ordinary? Do you enjoy telling people where you have been in order to get the reaction…”where”? Would you prefer to see a destination in its genuine form or would you prefer to hit the parties and the crowds? You get my drift, I’m sure.

Your budget is also a tremendous factor in determining exactly where you will be able to go. Are you a prince? Or are you a pauper? The amount you wish to spend will not only help to determine your destination, it can also limit how you get there as well as the time of year you can afford to go. But there is usually a solution for everyone, as long as the limits are reasonable and the minds are open. Everyone should be able to get a way – your budget will help to define your parameters.

WHAT do you want to do when you get there? Lie down and not get up for a week, apart from getting yourself a fresh drink? Do you prefer to be active and, oh I don’t know…climb a mountain, or go horseback riding, or climb a mountain on horseback? Are you interested in history and architecture? Or is an endless coastline just about all you need to study?

WHERE do you see this all taking place? Before you choose the country you need to choose the setting. Beach? City? Ranch? Countryside? A combination of the above? There are many destinations that are blessed with more than one attribute. Would you like to focus on your favourite or do you like a little variety?

Nature travel is always interesting and can be quite adventuresome as well. Is it expensive?

WHEN do you plan to go? If you have decided that you wish to go on a beach vacation in the South of India and you have time off work in the beginning of July…I would advise you that it is monsoon season and it may dampen your experience. Time of year is very often a factor with regards to destination. It is also a huge factor in the price of tickets; these go hand in hand. Understandably so, higher fares are often directly related to the more “desirable” time of year.

WHY are you traveling? Because it’s awesome! Still, there are many reasons that people plan to take that plane/train/bus/boat/car out-of-town. Business, family vacation, girls’ getaway, some much-needed r&r, a-soul-searching-just-like-in-the-movies-journey, etc. ( I would never advise that last one to pack her bags and head to Vegas. ) Determine your motives and you are another step closer to nailing down that perfect location.

If you can answer at least some of the above questions I’m sure I can help you figure out some good options as to where you should go on your next trip.

Venice has always been a favourite – do you go direct or as part of a tour?

There are truly endless possibilities for travel in the world; there is always someplace we have not been and a unique way for us to experience it. Ask a million people who have gone to New York City and you will get a million different variations of how they experienced it. This is part of what makes traveling so wonderful and why we can never be “finished”.

There are countless questions related to travel; questions about the planning, booking, the journey and the destination. Have you got one? I would love to help make your next trip a little simpler, a little more enjoyable and perhaps even a little less stressful. Please send your questions to JustAsk@bgzt.ca and I will be happy to help.

Gordana Liddell is our resident travel writer and Art Centre guru. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto, a travel industry veteran of nearly two decades, freelance writer, and most recently book editor. She is fortunate enough to live right here in Burlington with her family.

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Meed Ward goes on an educational offensive – wants to save those trees. Is she scooping the Mayor’s issue?

September 3, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  Trees – do they belong to just the person on whose property they are rooted or do they belong to the community with the owner of the property on which they are rooted serving as a steward?

The moment you suggest city hall can tell you what you can and can’t do with your property all hell breaks loose – and with some justification.  The bureaucrats can at times be particularly insensitive and thick-headed.  The city has hundreds of people who will tell you stories of their woes and complaints.  

This is what a tree canopy should look like and this is what the people on Belvinia enjoy most of the year. But there are large parts of Burlington where mature stands of trees like this don’t exist because too many trees got cut down when development was done.

An attempt to create a bylaw that would govern the cutting down of trees on private property in June was defeated on a 5-2 vote.  A staff report suggesting the city not create a private tree by law didn’t help.

If there is going to be a change in the way Burlington looks at when we cut down trees it will take quite a bit more in the way of public education; a process that is hindered by the interests of the development community.  A private tree bylaw would prevent developers from cutting down trees on properties they have purchased and want to assemble and develop.

Known as the Joseph Brant oak, the tree, now more than 100 years old was a boundary marker for the grant of property given to Brant for his service to the British during the American Revolutionary War.

Resulted in just the Mayor and Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward voting for the idea.  The rest of Council sat on their hands and let their individual ideologies fill in that space where common sense should have prevailed.

At the time the Mayor came to the realization that there was some educational work to be done.   Meed Ward saw the situation the same way and has announced that she will be bringing forward a series of motions to provide the citizens of the city reasonable options.

Meed Ward has advised her fellow Council members that she plans to put forward a number of motions that will cover:

 1.  A No-fee permit requirement for cutting five or more private trees at one time.

2.  Notification and consent of adjacent properties for cutting private trees on the boundary of the property (Adjacent properties would be those on either side, and backing onto the property in question). Similar protections exist under the site plan process; this option would extend those same protections to trees in the absence of a formal development application.

3.  No fee city permission required to cut any tree on private property larger than 20cm in designated Tree Protection Areas. Tree Protection Areas (TPA) are streets and districts where neighbourhoods have opted in to tree protection, via a petition and 2/3 majority survey. A minimum of 10 households required for implementation of a TPA. Items 1 and 2 above would also be part of a TPA.

4.  Requirement to replant on private property or designated city property (to be determined by city staff) any private trees cut, on a one to one basis.

5.  An annual report to council on the number of permits granted and trees cut, as well as TPAs established. A review of the tree protection plan at least once per term.  

The intent of these motions, said Meed Ward is four-fold:

She wants to enhance tree protection for boundary trees and multiple tree cutting in the advance of a development application.  She also wants citizens who support her view the opportunity to enhance private tree protection in their neighbourhoods.

Meed Ward believes the city needs some mechanism, to determine just how many trees on private property are being cut down and would like to see data tracking and enhanced tree protection options for residents.

Mayor Goldring got himself elected as Mayor on a platform that included doing more for the environment – getting the traction he had hoped for took a hit when he voted to take the wind turbine out of the final version of the pier and when he changed his mind on creating separate bike lane for Lakeshore Road.

BurlingtonGreen came close to swallowing their tongue when the wind turbine got lopped off the design; there were so many good reasons for keeping the wind turbine in place – unless of course there were design problems that would come to light if the turbine was installed – but that’s another story – isn’t it?

What we may be seeing at city council is a significant public issue slipping out of the grip the Mayor should have on it and seeing it slide into the hands of a council member who, while not popular with her colleagues, is proving to be quite adroit at capturing the public’s imagination.

Her comments during the unveiling of the Spiral Stella sounded much more “mayoral” than those of Rick Goldring’s.

Meed Ward plans to bring this matter forward at the Development & Infrastructure Committee on September 9th, during the evening session.

There have been well thought through delegations to city council on the number of trees being lost – Council does not appear to be listening.  Colin Brock, speaking for BurlingtonGreen said in a delegation that Some council members commented that tree removal is not an issue in their ward, while another suggested it may be a problem in theirs.  Viewing this as a ward by ward issue is confusing to us. Just like the proposed escarpment highway or the proposed quarry expansion where the implications affect ALL citizens, so too is the preservation of our tree canopy in every ward, throughout the city. This decision needs to be looked at from a city-wide perspective.”

This glade of trees on the east side of City View Park is to be cleared of these trees to create space for the construction of Maintenance space. BurlingtonGreen didn’t think this was necessary.

That city-wide perspective is not in place yet. Burlington is still working its way through whatever relationship it is going to have with trees.  The city recently cut down a small grove of tree at the City View Park where a maintenance facility is to be set up.  There was nothing particularly outstanding about the trees and the city felt that given the very extensive tree planting done on the park property –this small grouping of trees would not be missed.

with the trees taken down and the stumps being pulled out the space at City View Park can be readied for the construction of maintenance space. Did the city lose some vital trees on this project?

There is a small property on New Street west of Guelph Line on the south side that has several magnificent trees on it.  The houses look to be rentals, not particularly well-kept – and seem to be waiting for a developer to move on them. 

Does development mean that trees like this have to be taken down? Probably. The houses are poorly kept, the three properties are ripe for assembly, if they have not already been assembled.

We would not be surprised if the properties are not already in the hands of one owner.

If development is all about location, location, location this property on New Street at Guelph Line is just waiting for the chain saws and the back hoes. Is is possible for a different kind of development on this location? A private tree bylaw would at least prevent the trees from being cut down arbitrarily – and that’s something the development community does not want.

The location of the property and the homes that surround it make this an ideal location for a small development.  But what about those trees?  Do they have to go – and sometimes the answer is yes – perhaps some can be saved but most of those trees will at some point have a close encounter with a chain saw.

There is a development on Ghent where more than 100 trees are slated to be cut down.  The Ghent project is a close to total failure of progressive planning.  The property that has been assembled is one that offers stunning opportunities but the developer has chosen the easy approach to a return on investment and wants to put in more than 50 homes in a set of properties that once had eight homes.

The planners weren’t able to come up with suggestions or solutions and what gets built on Ghent will never become the Roseland or Indian Point of Burlington three generations from now.  What we build today – is what we have to live with for a long time.  The way we are developing suggests there will be far fewer trees for the average family in Burlington.

That is not progressive planning.

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ADI developments breaks ground on Guelph Line and announces Dundas-Sutton project.

 

 

August 28, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  Construction equipment is on site and holes are being dug in the ground as ADI Developments begin building the three-story condo on Guelph Line between Mainway and Upper Middle Road.

The roof top deck and shared amenity was an interesting addition.  Will the noise from the QEW take anything away from the space?

It’s an attractive looking building with considerable thought as to how parking would be handled and the way people would use the amenities that are part of the structure. The roof top lounge on such a small building was an interesting add-on.

They looked like perfectly good trees that would have enhanced the development – but they got cut down.

As nice as the Guelph Line project is going to be – it could have been even nicer had more thought been given to keeping the number of perfectly good trees.  ADI, although new to Burlington, has picked up on the ability to cut trees down when some effort could keep perfectly good trees in place.

We asked the developer to comment on why several trees were cut down but did not get a response.

Ground broken – move in dates can’t be far off.

The project on Guelph Line is basically sold out and with construction underway ADI has another project which is about to go through the planning process.  The group made a presentation at a public meeting held at city hall to show the public what they had in mind for the Sutton Road and Dundas part of town – at the top of what we know as The Orchard.

ADI, a company run by twin brothers supported by a father who has considerable development experience, seem prepared to take some risks when it comes to design.  Burlington developers tend to stick with the familiar and not design building that fall far outside the tried and true buildings of the past.

Drive along Maple to get a sense of what Burlington has come to expect.  Devoid of design sums up those structures.

The plans, and that’s all they are at this point, were made public.  Now the developers have to get a sense of what the reaction is going to be and can they be sold – in a reasonable amount of time.

The Guelph Line project sold quickly enough.

An early architects rendering of what the ADI Development Group thought they wanted to do with the Dundas-Sutton project. The look of the project and the price point both underwent a change.

What started out as the LINK Condos+Towns project appears to be morphing into something with the name Bronte Creek in it.  The design appears to be going through a number of changes as well.  This project has an edgy look and feel to it.  ADI design is always a cut above what others bring to market and are usually priced comfortably.  They were talking of starts at $160,000 but that got bumped to $170,000.

Second design has a deck for residential use – a feature ADI has on another of its buildings – and parking at the ground level. Retail will be built into the ground level as well. Very short walk to Bronte Creek.

The project has a unique second level deck – garden arrangement that creates a lot of open air space available to all the residents and puts the parking underneath on a lower level.

No dates yet on when this project will break ground.  It got a decent community response at the public meeting.  Site approval should go smoothly.

 

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Local group creates a Magic Moment: brings renowned vocal talent to the city: Drifters will be in town September 14th.

August 23, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  When any kind of entertainment event takes place, someone has to produce the show.

How these events come into being is often the result of chance meetings.  Reg Titian invited Wayne Brown out to Mohawk Raceway to listen to The Drifters.  That event was booked  by Titian, who is one of a number of agents who does talent search and booking work for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.  He is also the Canadian booking agent for The Drifters

This is the way it was done back then. It was a form of primal and tribal communication – and it worked.

Reg Titian on the left with Connie Smith and Robbie Lane, who will share the MC job chat it up with Scott Robinson, co-chair of the Magic Moment event. Robinson just might wear those trousers to the event. Wowza!

Reg began his career in music when he ran a store on James Street in Hamilton.  For many years it did quite well.   He ran retail for more than 25 years, taught music and was enjoying a good life until 1999 when the bottom fell out of retail and business in Hamilton was abysmal.  Titian had to diversify and get into different lines of business because retail wasn’t working anymore.

Entertainment is show business and that was the direction Titian went as he grew into the  He did work for the Niagara Falls Casino, has booked Diane Warwick and does a lot of work for the Norwich Fall Fair.

Festivals, country fairs, theatre productions  are all part of what Reg Titian does now.Why not create a Magic Moment in Burlington and tie it into the Halton Heros event

He had booked The Drifters into the Mohawk Raceway and invited Wayne Brown out to hear the show.  Wayne went and left that show with an idea.  Why not create a Magic Moment in Burlington and tie it into the Halton Heros event that was raising funds for police officers and their families that needed help when misfortune befell them.

Wayne Brown talked to Keith Strong who was heading up the Community Cares Committee of Halton, a group that pulls together citizens from Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills who gather once a year to hold a gala that raises funds for police services members who need help.

Wayne Brown, along with his co-chair Scott Robinson has stick handled the field work that will make the Magic Moment happen.

So when Wayne Brown got back to him with the Magic Moment idea and the Drifters Titian was their man.

Eric Kohanek, a former television journalist with the Spectator knows the Drifter well and explains that “the original Drifters group formed in 1953 and there were dozens of guys who joined up and then left over the years. The group that appears at Mohawk Raceway and other venues in Canada from time to time is actually called “The Drifters Featuring Rick Sheppard.”  Sheppard didn’t join the original group until 1966.”

“The original Drifters are actually based in the U.K. and are touring there in September. The other groups calling themselves The Drifters are actually splinter groups, not the original one.

With many millions of records sold – the Drifters are going to be in town to bring back a lot of those Magic Moments.

“Sheppard’s achievements since then are certainly noteworthy. He currently owns the Canadian trademark for the Drifters name and has re-recorded some of the original group’s hits as well as songs that sound similar in nature but have no link to the original group. He also reportedly won a lawsuit recently that prevents any other Drifters groups from performing in Canada.”

It’s an interesting story – all part of the Magic Moment that will take place in Burlington September 13th, at an exclusive Soiree to take place at the Waterfront Hotel.

Saturday evening The Drifters will take their Magic Moment to a much larger audience that will assemble at Nelson Park starting at 2:30 in the afternoon and run on until the last dance.

If you’re close to sixty you will know the music.  “On Broadway”, “Under the Boardwalk”, “Save the Last Dance for Me”, “Up On the Roof”, “This Magic Moment”, “There Goes My Baby”, and many more. The songs are etched into the memories of music fans worldwide and helped form part of the foundation of contemporary popular music. What these songs have in common is that they are all the product of a veritable hit-making machine better known to their millions of fans as The Drifters.

Rick Sheppard is an integral part of that hit making machine. He has been there for more than 45 years. Rick joined The Drifters in 1966 and recorded with the group on Atlantic Records through the early 1970s. During that time, he toured with The Drifters throughout the world and shared stages with some of the greatest names in music and show business. You can look it up in books and anthologies chronicling The Drifters history. Rick Sheppard is prominently featured.

Sheppard, a born entertainer, has been at the forefront of the music industry from the time he can remember. He began performing at the age of nine years old and by his teenage years had a number of local television appearances on his resume. His first real professional engagement occurred in Miami, Florida, opening for Sammy Davis, Jr. Right then, young Sheppard knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. He wanted to entertain.

 The first several years would see Sheppard on the road in a seemingly endless stream of one-night night club performances. During that time, he was in and out of a variety of groups as well. His career seemed to be lacking a real direction, and then came the telephone call that would change his life. Forever.

It seems that a songwriter familiar with Sheppard mentioned his name to legendary manager George Treadwell who managed the Drifter. He was looking for someone to replace one of the singers in the group.  Sheppard’s songwriter friend was persuasive enough to get Treadwell to call Sheppard to see if he would be interested in joining The Drifters.

At the time Sheppard thought the caller was a friend playing a joke, so he hung up. Fortunately, Treadwell called back, assured Sheppard that he was, indeed, the manager of The Drifters and that the offer was genuine. After a quick apology and three seconds to think it over, Sheppard said, “yes,” and became a part of one of the greatest hit-makers in the history of contemporary popular music. The rest, as they say, is rock ‘n’ roll history.

It will be one of the biggest one night events the city has seen in some time – and all outdoors, under the stars – at Nelson Park.

The Drifters featuring Rick Sheppard are entering their fourth decade thrilling audiences in the United States, Canada, and worldwide. Their show is high energy and visually entertaining, mixing the classic Drifters repertoire that fans have come to know and love along with hits from the 1970s and 1980s done up in the unique Drifters style.

In 1996, they released two albums and have since sold millions of  records.

That’s a lot of records and the Drifter are a load of talent – and for two days in September they will sing, entertain and provide music that people can listen and dance to at an evening under the stars at Nelson Park.

Tickers for the Friday evening Soiree are still available on-line.  And there is still some room at Nelson Park – tickets available on-line.  Show the partner in your life that you’ve not forgotten the music and you’ve not forgotten the person that took you to that Magic Moment music a long time ago.

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BurlingtonGreen one of five groups in the run for part of $100,000 – but YOU have to vote.

 

 

August 19, 2013

By Staff.

BURLINGTON, ON.   This is the time to get the clicker – no, not the TV remote – that key on your computer or the mouse you use to bring the cash home.

Almost like an election campaign poster – but this time there is a real winner – the community.

The BurlingtonGreen Environmental Association has been chosen as one of five Canadian organizations competing for votes in the 2013 Jamieson Laboratories  Call for the Wild! contest.

They were selected from 150 applications to participate in the Jamieson Laboratories people’s choice donation program that divides $100,000 between five wilderness and wildlife organizations based on the number of public votes received on the company’s voting page (Facebook is not required to vote) between August 19 and midnight on September 15th.

Call for the Wild! was launched three years ago to increase awareness about protecting, preserving and rehabilitating the wilderness and wildlife across the country. Throughout the four-week Jamieson Cares Facebook campaign, visitors can learn more about the important work of each organization and ask questions through social media. As they learn about the unique contribution of each wilderness/wildlife organization, Canadians will be invited to cast a vote for their favourite. Every vote will translate into a proportional donation from Jamieson Laboratories.

A tireless advocate for the environment – Amy Schnurr puts out the word every chance she gets – this time she wants your vote – and she isn’t running for public office. Why doesn’t she run for city council. Ward 6 would love her.

Amy Schnurr, Executive Director of BurlingtonGreen said: “We are honoured to be selected to participate in this nation-wide contest as it provides us with a rare opportunity to showcase to Canadians how a small but dedicated citizen based agency can achieve positive, impactful results to protect and to improve the health of our “urban wild,” She added that  “We hope our supporters will vote every day during the 28 day contest period so we can realize much-needed funds to support our programs and to expand our reach so we can have an even bigger impact.”

As an added bonus, BurlingtonGreen is including a “Help us win and you could win too!” component to their campaign. Along with voting for their agency on the Jamieson Call for the Wild! on-line voting page, their supporters will be invited to enter a draw for a chance to win a bike valued at more than $1,000 thanks to the generosity of Mountain Equipment Co-op.

Once you’ve voted, and you can vote once every day, you can then enter your name in a draw for the bike.

BurlingtonGreen is making remembering to vote once every day easy – they will send you an email.

BurlingtonGreen has had an exceptional year as an organization.  They were chosen as the community Jane Goodall launched her national drive to improve environmental awareness. That 2012 event filled the Performing Arts Centre for both an afternoon and an evening event.  Then the organization won a grant from the province to plant more trees on along Beachway Park.  Those funds were the result of a visit the then Minister of the Environment paid to Burlington during the annual CleanUp – Green Up event BurlingtonGreen organizes.

The annual CleanUp-GreenUp campaign Burlington Green organizes ends with a gathering of the environmental clan at city hall. One of these years it isn’t going to rain on the CleanUp-GreenUp day.

BurlingtonGreen holds the annual CleanUp-GreenUp campaign that rids the city of tons of trash.

Amy Schnurr, BurlingtonGreen’s executive Director was then chosen as the Environmentalist of the year in the annual Burlington’s BEST awards.

Not on the BurlingtonGreen mailing list? Join here today to get your helpful daily vote reminder.

Call for the Wild! is Jamieson Laboratories’ annual community investment program that grants a total of $100,000 each year to registered non-profit organizations involved in the protection of Canada’s iconic wilderness and wildlife.

Every year, five organizations are selected to participate in a public voting campaign on Facebook. At the close of each campaign, Jamieson Laboratories awards a donation to each organization based on their percentage of votes cast.

Jamieson Laboratories, Canada’s oldest and largest manufacturer and distributor of natural vitamins, minerals, concentrated food supplements, herbs and botanical medicines celebrates its 90th anniversary this year from a position of strength, market leadership earned by consistently providing innovative products of the highest quality, purity and safety.

“Starting Monday, we will be sending a daily vote reminder to everyone on our mailing list. The reminder will include the voting link along with a link for you to enter the awesome bike draw  – Help us win and YOU could win too!

You can easily unsubscribe from receiving the daily reminders at anytime by clicking on the SAFE UNSUBSCRIBE link located at the bottom of the mail you will receive from us….BUT we hope you will stay with us and support this amazing and rare opportunity to help BurlingtonGreen and our important efforts to help the planet locally in many impactful ways.”

Jamieson Laboratories’ decided to do what Kraft Foods did for the hockey community – look for a neat way to draw traffic and award cash prizes to the community that gets the most votes.

The Burlington Lions Optimist Minor Hockey Association BLOMHA)  won $20,000 for the getting its people out and voting.

BurlingtonGreen wants to motivate its members to do the same and has gone one step further – they have added in a draw for a bike – with a retail value of more than $1000.

When BuringtonGreen takes on a project – they go all out.

The green guys are in very good company on this one.  Last year the David Suzuki Foundation competed for Ontario.

The contest is being run on the Jamieson Facebook page – but you don’t have to have a Facebook page of your own to vote.

It all begins today – August 19th and runs to September 15th, 2013.

https://www.facebook.com/jamiesonvitamins. You can vote once a day every day from August 19th to September 15th, 2013. You do NOT need Facebook to vote.

Mountain Co-op has put up an MEC bike as part of the enticement to get people to vote for BurlingtonGreen’s chances to take home a large part of the $100,000 that is on the line.

Thanks to the generosity of Mountain Equipment Co-op, voters will have a chance to win an awesome bike valued at over $1,000.  

To be eligible for the bike contest you must FIRST vote at Jamieson’s and SECOND enter the draw on BurlingtonGreen’s website.

A bit confusing – but the prize is there – the more often you vote, the more opportunities you have to enter the bike draw. Vote every day during the contest period and you will have 28 chances to win the bike!

If BurlingtonGreen people cast 50% of the ballots counted – they would get half of the $50,000 – and that isn’t chump change.   Every vote will translate into a proportional donation from Jamieson Laboratories.  BurlingtonGreen has a reputation for stretching a buck a long way as well.

While the contest has the potential to pull in a significant amount of money it is also a rare opportunity to show the people of Canada that our not-for-profit Association is making a positive difference to help the planet locally. BurlingtonGreen has achieved a great deal in the last five years realizing significant benefits to help the environment but they maintain they have a lot more important work to do.

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This time next week Stella will have moved in and the welcome party will have taken place.

August 19, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  Stella is moving from New Brunswick to the corner of Locust and Elgin, perched on the edge of the plaza outside the Performing Arts Centre.

Stella is a beauty – her full name is Spiral Stella and she came out of Peter Powning’s studio in New Brunswick.  Her pedigree? Pure Burlington – with several centuries of history all over her.

Spiral Stella is the most recent piece of public art set up in the city.  This latest effort is the result of a generous donation from Dan Lawrie, a Burlington businessman who, besides being a successful insurance company owner is also an artist in his own right.

Dan Lawrie, an artist in his own right and also collector sits with a piece of art that is part of his collection. It was the Lawrie donation that got the city to

He approached the city and offered to donate $37,500 for a major piece of public art.  The city went to Jeremy Freiburger, head honcho over at Cobalt Connects, its managing partner for the Public Art Program and he set up a volunteer committee that would judge the submissions that came in

And come in they did.  There were 119 submissions from artists from across North America.

Olympian Melanie Booth brought her medal to have an impression made and hopefully have it become part of the Spiral Stella sculpture. Jeremy Freiburger, on the right, the city’s managing partner for the Public Art Program, admires the medal. Trevor Copp, one of the members of the jury that chose Powning’s submission is beside Ms Booth.

The committee narrowed the 119 down to five and asked the public for comment: more than 500 people responded and out of those comments came the decision to select Powning’s Spiral Stella.

Powning was not a newcomer to Burlington.  He has five pieces of his work in the permanent collection at the Burlington Art Centre. Link to first stage

Powning made impressions in artist’s clay which he took back to his studio in New Brunswick and made bronze castings that will be affixed to the Spiral Stella. Shown here is one of the early castings. See anything that you recognize?

Boy who just cannot keep his eyes off the work artist Peter Powning does as he makes impressions in clay – the first stage of the creation of the Spiral Stella that will sit outside the Performing Arts Centre.

 Powning uses artifacts that come from the community to tell its story.  Hundreds trooped over to the Burlington Art Centre to have an impression made of their artifacts.  No one knew exactly where there object was going to appear on the Spiral – Powning didn’t know either when he was making the impressions.  What would go where was the creative part of the project.  Next Sunday we will get to see what Powning decided to do.

It should be quite stunning.

Work crew prepares the base for Peter Powning’s Spiral Stella that will arrive in town later this week and be unveiled on Sunday,

Originally the sculpture was going to be to the north of the walkway leading into the Performing Arts Centre but besides being open to a street where a vehicle could run into it, the location was too close to an oil pipeline that runs underneath Elgin Street.  The sculpture will not sit to the left of the walkway and be part of the Performing Arts plaza.  Much better location for this art.

Burlington is clearly on a roll.  The pier was successfully opened, the public loves the place and now we are going to see an exceptional piece of art in a location where thousands can see the work.

The last piece of public art the city put up was nice enough but it got plunked down in the middle of a high traffic road where care zoomed by as they slipped through a railway grade separation on Upper Middle Road.

Nice art, wrong location.

 Stella will be in a great location.

 

 

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Paletta Mansion is expected to get an new operator in the New Year. These guys are not going to be selling hot dogs over there.

August 17, 2013.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  The city, finally, put out a media release on the renting of the Paletta Mansion  to a restaurant operation.

City Council approved the renting of the property after running advertisements looking for someone who could do something with a property that had all kinds of prestige but they couldn’t turn on a profit on the place.  There was a time when the sales and rental numbers for Paletta were mixed in with the numbers for Geraldo’s at LaSalle Park.  When one of the bean counters at city hall took the numbers apart – Paletta didn’t look very good.

This could become the front entrance to an upscale, fine dining high end restaurant.  Would the grounds still be available to the public?

It looked so bad that the city decided to look for a professional operator to do something with the place.  All the history and the fine restoration work were nice to look at but the space just wasn’t used enough and it was clear the city didn’t have the capacity to run it.

 It took more than one Expression of Interest advertisement to bring in the kind of operator the city had hoped would come forward.  But they did get a bite and this time there was something well worth reeling in.  In a media release the city announced that it “will soon sign a contract with Radius restaurant group, a Hamilton-based company, which will become the service operator at the city’s historic Paletta Mansion starting in January 2014.

They appear to have attracted someone who has the experience and the reputation to make the site work as a very high-end, fine dining location.

The grounds are exceptional, the setting is picture perfect.  There is all the parking that one can ask for.  Look for valet parking once the place opens.

There hasn’t been a lot of detail available from the city on the lease agreement.  City hall wasn’t prepared to release details until the fine print on the lease agreement had been worked out.  The questions to be asked before the ink dries on the lease is: just what is being rented?  Just the Mansion?  The grounds surrounding it?  The sweeping lawn south of the wide stone deck that give a great view of the lake?

Will the grounds become a private enclave?  Birders will tell you that some of the best pictures they get are on the Paletta grounds.

Early attempt to reach the company that was going to lease the property proved futile.  When we finally managed to get someone from the company on the phone – we got disconnected. 

City council approved Radius after the city received four bids as part of a request for proposal process.  They add that details “of the agreement will be made public once the contract is signed later this month.” The existing vendor will stay in place until December 2013.  Until then, all bookings for Paletta Mansion will continue as usual.

Paletta Lakefront Park and Mansion is located on 14 acres of waterfront parkland. It offers community space, a lakeside park with walking trails, a beautifully restored heritage mansion and breathtaking views.

The mansion is used for corporate and public meetings, weddings and social functions. It is considered one of the finest representations of great estate homes designed and built in Burlington between 1912 and 1932.

The property at one time was actually owned by Laura Secord.  There is nothing recorded that suggests she ever visited the property.  Flipping land was apparently one of the ways to turn some cash back in those days.

There are some questions that need to be asked as the city wades into a deal with a new operator.  The city didn’t provide any details when it announced the company it would lease the location to. Radius.  When the tender for the pier was announced the city provided numbers.

Radius hasn’t been at all forthcoming with information.

The Mansion is a gem, the setting is superb and there is an opportunity to put a very high-end dining establishment in the buildings. 

We will dig about a bit and see what else we can come up with.

 

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Impact of intensification now evident; is this the “new” Burlington?

 

 

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  August 8, 2013.  Growth for a city like Burlington isn’t always a positive thing in the minds of many people.  There are loads of residents who like the place just the way it is – the last thing they want is more traffic.

The local community didn’t want the development and took their argument to the Ontario Municipal Board which approved the project.

These higher, multi-storey houses face Queensway, with a balcony and a patch of grass behind them, re-place the older housing shown below.

However cities don’t get to decide on what kind and how much growth there will be – those decisions get made by the province.

This World War II era housing met the needs of  families for more than 60 years.  They were purchased, assembled and after zoning and Official Plan changes were approved demolished.  These houses front on Queensway.

It was one of the first infill project that came to this council.  It wasn’t popular with the neighbours and looking back – it’s kind of clear that it isn’t the best planning work this city has done.

It met all the rules, but it really amounts to a lot of houses being put on six, albeit large lots, that had six houses.  There is basically no open space for people to play around in the new community.  Oddly enough,  to the immediate west of the project there is a co-op that has all kinds of space between the buildings.

The stretch of land once housed two buildings, one at each end, with large back yards.  Developers saw this an opportunity and bought up the land for this development.

Like much of Burlington, the community was orchards that over time gave way to housing.  At one point there was a small school that was closed and razed.

The public school board, with two years notice that this development was to be approved, don’t have space for the influx of new students

The original application was for 74 houses – that got whittled down to 56 – and was seen as a win for the city.

The community is bound by the QEW on the north and the railway line to the south.  It is a pleasant walk from the development to the GO station.

 

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Judge OK’s agreement that has the Air Park ceasing to dump landfill until at least October 4 – region tests well water.

 

 

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. August 5th, 2013.  Barbara Sheldon, the Appleby Line resident with mountainous piles of landfill on the north, south and east sides of her property that are part of the landfill work being done by the owners of the Air Park wasn’t sure if last Friday was going to be a good day for her or not.

Regional staff prepare to test the water in the well on the Sheldon property on Appleby Line. The background view is to the west – the only one not blocked by huge piles of landfill.

The Regional Health people were going to be on her property to test the well water and attempt to determine if there was any damage being done to the water in her well as a result of the run off from the landfill  which slopes onto her property.  She was told she would see the results in two weeks.

Sheldon believes the data from documents inspected by Terrapex Environmental, a company hired by the city to make some sense out of all the testing reports given to them by the Air Park,  confirms that there are contaminates in the water on her property and that of a neighbour to the north.

The view from the north side of the Sheldon property. At one point Sheldon could see Rattlesnake Point from her house

She felt the city should have moved to have the well water in properties immediately adjacent to the Air Park land tested, but the city did nothing.  Sheldon worked her way through the Regional bureaucracy and the provincial Ministry of the Environment (MOE) to get the testing done last Friday.  Sheldon wonders where her Council member was on all this; not a word of support from Blair Lancaster on what residents could do.

The southern view from the Sheldon property – that 30 foot plus pile of landfill wasn’t there when the property was purchased.  If the owners of the Air Park get their way this part of their land will become a helicopter landing and take off area.  There goes the neighbourhood.

With the well water testing done, Sheldon headed for Milton to sit in a Court room and hear how the city and the Air Park were going to work their way through a couple of procedural issues. 

A few weeks ago the city and the Air Park planned a meeting at the airport to talk through the issues.  At the last-minute the Air Park cancelled that meeting and served the city with a document that was to get them both in front of a Judge.

The Air Park was asking the Courts to declare the Air Park rights under the Constitution Act, the Aeronautics Act, and the regulations within those acts are valid.

The Air Park wanted the Court to declare that the city’s  Topsoil Preservation and Site Alteration By­ law does not apply to the Air Park’s operations  and  construction  of aerodrome facilities on its premises;

The Air Park also wanted a judge to declare that the order to comply with that bylaw, issued by the city,  on or about May 3, 2013,  is null and void and of no legal effect;

The Air Park also wanted an injunction that would prevent anyone acting on the city’s behalf from interfering or attempting to interfere with the Air Park’s operations and construction of aerodrome facilities on its premises.

The city was surprised at those moves and concluding that the friendly talks were over quickly moved to apply for a permanent injunction restraining the Air Park from placing or dumping fill, removing topsoil or otherwise altering the grade of the land by causing, permitting or performing any other form of site alteration on the land.

The city also asked for an interim injunction restraining the Air Park from placing or dumping fill, removing topsoil or otherwise altering the grade of the land by causing, permitting or performing any other form of site alteration on the Property.

The city added to that a request for a mandatory order requiring the Air Park to remove the fill deposited on the land in contravention of Table 1 of Ontario Regulation 153/04.

These two applications to the Court were to be heard on August 28th.  The first thing that had to be done last Friday, was to put these on hold and to have the judge certify an agreement the city and the Air Park had reached on what could be done and what could not be done while all the legal wrangling went on.

The city and the Air Park had come to an agreement on how things should work out on the site while the lawyers did their talking.  City hall was now very wary over the Air Park’s behaviour; they thought they were meeting to talk about the problems a few weeks ago,  while the Air Park was preparing documents to get in front of a Judge – so rather than rely on a verbal agreement the city asked that the agreement be taken before a judge and endorsed which meant the verbal agreement had the clout of a Court order.

The Judge endorsed an agreement that the arguments that were to be heard August 28th were to be moved to a date sometime after October 4th.

Between now and then the Air Park “will not bring any fill on its land other than gravel and pairings grindings for runway base only and not to be mixed with other fill and asphalt for pairing to allow completion of runway widening and taxiways”.  The judge added that these “terms will continue to apply until the disposition of this application”.

So, the city in effect has its injunction and north Burlington residents can rest assured that there will be no landfill dumped on the site until the October 4th hearing.

The Air Park sits in the middle of the eastern part of north Burlington and has operated as a small dirt runway operation for years. Vince Rossi purchased the operation and began his quest to develop it into almost a regional air park with little if any input from the city of the region. Economic development was in the hands of an independent entrepreneur who believed he had found away to avoid complying with city bylaws.  The city didn’t see it that way.

The Air Park claims they are regulated by federal government rules and are not subject to municipal bylaws.  The city agrees that the running of the airport is regulated by the federal government but what the air park does with land fill and changes to the grading of the land and how water runoff is handled is regulated by the municipality.

During a council chamber foyer conversation city manager Jeff Fielding made it very clear to Glenn Grenier that the city did not share his view that the Air Park did not have to comply with city bylaws. Grenier had positioned himself as a leading expert in aeronautical law and that the city should respect their rights. The city doesn’t believe the Air Park actually has the rights they say they have.

Stopping work at the Air Park until the differences of opinion are heard by a judge had the potential for Air Park to lose what is left of the construction season

Where does all this leave Barbara Sheldon?  She will know in two weeks if the water in her well is damaging her health.

And, on October 4th , after four hours of deliberations she will know if a Judge sides with the city and says they have the right to impose their rules on the Air Park or if the Air Park comes under federal jurisdiction and does not have to comply with municipal bylaws. 

Should the Air Park prevail, this idyllic setting will cease to exist – there will be helicopter pads less than 75 yards away.

If the Air Park argument prevails Sheldon sees a quiet life on her property coming to an end.

And if the Air Park prevails Burlington is going to have to do a big think on just what is going to happen in terms of development in the rural part of the city should they be told that their bylaws have no impact on the Air Park.  That’s a huge issue for the city.

Whatever the decision – expect it to be appealed.  This case has ramifications for every municipality across the country – it’s a fight that has been brewing out there for some time.  Burlington looks as if it is the city that will be taking this one on.

Should a Judge tell the Air Park that their aeronautics operations do indeed come under federal jurisdiction but what they do that relates to the way they grade their land or manage water that runs of land they own is subject to the bylaws of the city, then the Air Park is going to re-think how they are going to get along with city hall and the Region.  No more thumbing their noses at the city.

That kind of a decision could have a very significant impact on the operation Vince Rossi runs and could put his $5 million investment – and then some – at significant risk. 

We got a hint of what the argument is going to be about when one of the lawyers representing the Air Park commented last Friday that for “many years the city has agreed that its regulations and bylaws did not apply to the Air Park”.  If there is documentary evidence to support that argument the city could have a problem.

The city didn’t pay nearly enough attention to what the Air Park was doing for the past five years.  They seemed content to go along with the Air Park’s claim that they were federally regulated and they could do whatever they wanted with their land.  When the city got a look at just how much grading was being done – they began to take action and since then have been very aggressive.

Vince Rossi at his only meeting with north Burlington residents since the issue of what he was doing with his Air Park once the extent of his landfill work was clear.

The city has also been much more forthcoming with information.  They have posted copies of the documents served on them by the Air Park and have posted copies of documents they served.  Burlington has not seen this level of transparency in the past.  Healthy to say the least.

Had the city been on the ball they would have seen the signs and begun to monitor what was going on up there.  The Mayor knew they were doing something; planners were at least apprised of what was happening and the Economic Development Corporation was aware – as to just how much they knew and what they did with what they knew will prove to become an issue in a court room.

The Air Park for its part should have been more forthcoming, less arrogant and been prepared to work with the city and be good neighbours.

The city’s failure to be on top of this file and the arrogant approach the Air Park used in their dealings with the city is what got both of them into a Court room.

 

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Wade Group becomes part of a national professional services firm; change becomes effective in September.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 29, 2013.  The  Wade Group Professional Services, a Burlington-based accounting and consulting firm, will merge with MNP LLP, one of Canada’s largest national accounting and business consulting firms, effective September 1, 2013.

Wade, formed in 1968, will become part of the MNP group; a national firm with 75 offices across the country staffed by a team of nearly 3,000 people

The five Wade partners and their support staff will print up new business cards and have a new sign put up outside their office saying they are part of the MNP operation which has been named in the past as one of the BEST EMPLOYERS in the country.

In a prepared statement the Wade Group said they were “looking for an opportunity to offer more specialty services to its clients, while MNP sought more resources to serve the GTA and Halton-Hamilton region.”  Wade delivers services in accounting, tax, and consulting to entrepreneurial business owners in a wide variety of sectors including self-employed professionals, high-tech, tourism, construction, manufacturing, logistics, hospitality, healthcare, and education.

William Sloper, Managing Partner, Wade Group said: “We had been looking for some time to add more resources and specialty services and felt the best way to do that was to join forces with MNP,” says  Sloper, Managing Partner, Wade Group. “With deep expertise  in providing professional services to private enterprise, public companies and wide array of organizations— locally, across the country, as well as through affiliates around the globe—MNP enhances Wade Group’s  ability to ensure our clients can address all their business needs no matter where their business takes them.”

Operating since 1945, MNP  has  over  75  offices and a team of  nearly  3,000 from Vancouver to Montreal.  “We are delighted to have the professionals of Wade Group join MNP.  Their commitment to providing outstanding value and service to their clients matched the MNP approach,” says Sean Wallace, Executive Vice President for Ontario and Quebec. “Their highly personalized service has been the hallmark of Wade Group for 45 years. In fact, it has been their philosophy that an informed client is better able to assist when determining the strategies and advice that will best meet the client’s needs. It’s a philosophy we share.”

Sloper adds that MNP has an organizational culture and values founded upon an unwavering commitment to people that is similar to Wade Group. “MNP is quite simply a fun and rewarding place to work and do business, where authentic relationships, an entrepreneurial spirit and a healthy balance between home and work life are at the core of how business is run. We are excited to grow together in our efforts to help our clients and staff achieve even greater success.”

It looks like a good fit – will it make any difference as to how the professional accounting and consulting services business market is shared in Burlington?  Will MNP become a more aggressive firm seeking new clients now that it can offer a wider range of services or will they be the Hamilton/Burlington arm of MNP’s national operation?

Expect the other players in the game in the Burlington market to tighten their relationships with their existing client base; they will want to make sure none of them wander elsewhere.

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Air Park agrees to stop landfill dumping until the matter of jurisdiction is settled.

 

 

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. July 29, 2013.  One side blinked; guess which one?

The City of Burlington and the Burlington Executive Airport have reached a settlement to stop fill operations at the airpark until a decision is made about whether the city has jurisdiction to regulate fill operations through its site alteration bylaw.

According to a city media release, “representatives from the legal teams for the city and the airpark continued discussions over the weekend to try and resolve the dispute. They reached a settlement on behalf of both parties, and together will request that the court endorse the following directions on Friday, Aug. 2:

 that the city’s motion for injunction and the air park’s motion to strike or stay the city’s claim be adjourned pending the outcome of the air park’s court application regarding jurisdiction

that a hearing date for the application from the court be set for a date as soon as possible after Sept. 2, 2013

that the airpark will not bring any fill onto its land other than gravel and pavement grindings for a runway base (not to be mixed with any other fill) and asphalt for paving to allow completion of the work being done to widen a runway and taxiways

that the airpark will permit city staff on site to ensure no fill operations are taking place during the runway and taxiway base preparation and paving work

that the city will not exercise any self-help remedies, such as a prosecution under the Provincial Offences Act, against the airpark during the term of the settlement agreement

that the terms of the agreement will continue to apply until the court makes a decision on the airpark application.

Scott Stewart, the city’s general manager of development and infrastructure, sees this as “a positive step forward in resolving the issue of fill on the Burlington Executive Airport site.”  He added that: “The settlement will ensure that fill is stopped on an interim basis until the disputed matter of jurisdiction can be determined by the court.” 

Up until this recent shift in attitude the Air Park has been one tough customer.  Shortly after a citizen, Vanessa Warren, delegated at city council the Air Park announced that it would be operating until as late as 11:00 pm some evenings while it dumped asphalt scraped from the 407.  They explained at the time that this work had to be done at night because that was the only time the trucks had access to the 407.  That didn’t go down particularly well with the city and the Air Park backed off that idea.

There will still be some trucks entering and leaving the airpark to complete the paving of the runway and taxiway, Stewart said, but truck traffic associated with the deposit of fill will not return until the court matter has been decided.

In the meantime, residents along Appleby Line and Bell School line are asking the office of the Regional Medical Officer of Health to test the water in their wells.

Sheldon said: “My suspicions and worst fears of Mr. Rossi’s mammoth landfill dumping operation have been confirmed by the environmental firm hired by City.  Their report indicates the fill that has been accepted by Mr. Rossi does indeed contain contaminants. 

“Mr. Rossi intentionally piled this fill, in some places at least 30 feet higher than my land, on three sides of my property and in very close proximity to my property line.   Because of the towering elevations he created, Mr. Rossi has recklessly destroyed the natural storm water drainage pattern.  Over the years, I have accumulated a great deal of documented evidence, photos and videos, of filthy surface water flowing onto my land and into my pond.  I also have documented requests to Mr. Rossi, dating back to 2009, that he restore the storm water drainage pattern or at the very least have it professionally engineered to stop the flooding and ponding on my property.  He never did.”

Trucks bring in landfill described as contaminated onto their site south of a residents property. The fill is some 25 yards away from a pond on the residents property. Air Park has committed to stopping the landfill operation while the Court’s work out the matter of jurisdiction.

 “This dumping has been going on for 5 years, so I have grave (appropriate term) concerns about my well, my pond and my land being contaminated – if not already, then soon.  These need to be thoroughly tested immediately and ongoing until the contamination and/or the threat of contamination has been permanently eradicated.  For that matter, all of the landowners in this community need theirs tested as well.  What about those here who farm commercially?  Has Mr. Rossi contaminated their crops and endangered their livestock as well?  And what about the treasured wildlife in this rural area – what happens to them when their water sources are poisoned?  Not only have lives and livelihoods already been destroyed, but the significant natural elements of our rural green belt region have been jeopardized by this thoughtless, greedy man.  I delegated to City Council a month ago that he is getting away with murder.  Truer words I’ve never spoken.”

Sheldon advises her neighbours to call the Medical Officer of Health at the Region and demand to have the water in their wells tested to see just how contaminated it is.

 

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Who knew what when: That’s what much of the argument between the city and the Air Park is going to be about.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 23, 2013.  So – they’re going to court.  That’s a place where the wheels turn slowly and evidence gets dragged out of people one sentence at a time.

The city of Burlington and the Air Park have each sued one another and now begin the process of pulling together all the papers that will get put forward as evidence.  Each side will prepare their witnesses and the lawyers will prepare their questions.

Somewhere along the way everyone might decide to play nice, nice and each party will back off a little and decide to settle this disagreement out of court.

Burlington and the Region have said they just didn’t know what was going on up at the Air Park.   That would be nice if it were true but they did know.  They were told in April of 2009 when the Air Park held a neighbourhood meeting.  According to the Newsletter the Air Park put out the city’s planner was there, although they don’t name the person. 

Ward 6 Council member Blair Lancaster held some of her community meetings at the air park which was certainly a nice setting. Lancaster maintains that she had not hard from any of her constituents before March 15th of this year. The evidence suggests otherwise.

The claim Oakville’s city planner was there as well and that the then council member for Ward 6 was also at the meeting.  They misspell her name (Carol D’Emelio) but claim she was there along with 60 “neighbours”.

In its April 2009 Newsletter the Air Park reported as follows:

The Air Park publishes a Newsletter for its clients.

“As you might imagine, the neighbours of the airport have an interest in what happens next

door, or here at the airport. Recently we have been doing some preparatory work on the

west side of the airport including creating a road that will eventually access Appleby Line

and be the main road into the airport and to the proposed terminal building near the infield

of the airport.

“The neighbours rightfully were asking questions of ZBA actions and we were dealing with many rumours and untruths, so Feb 17th at Spectrum’s classroom we held a neighbours information session and presented the future plans of the airport.

Over 60 neighbours were in attendance, as well as Councillor Carol D’Emelio from Burlington City Council, City Planners from Burlington and Managers from Halton Region.

Vince Rossi, owner of the Burlington Air Park has always played the politicians as hard as he could. At one point he had Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion sending fax messages for the Airpark from her office the Minister of Finance. In this picture, undated, he has Halton MP Lisa Raitt attending an event, believed to be a Christmas party before she became a Minister. Only time will tell if the influence is going to work for Rossi. Raitt is now the federal Minister of Transportation which is responsible for the oversight of Canadian air parks.

“We addressed untrue rumours such as our intention to build a “Fuel Depot”, or a “Hotel Complex” on the field. We also addressed the untrue rumour that we are expanding th Length of the runway (while this would be nice, operationally there would be little advantage).

“Some things that were discussed, and that we all have a responsibility to abide by are operational issues and noise management. The Neighbours routinely observe, as do we, aircraft flying too low on final, or not obeying the 5 degree turn departing Rwy 14.

“We’d like to remind you that your considerate operation helps the airport live in harmony with those closest to us: Our neighbours!”

Was this just good corporate PR or did the airpark really reach out to the community?  Has there been any undue political influence in the past?  did the city know what was happening around their airport?  Should they have known?

Are there any limits to what an air park owner can do on an operation that is federally regulated?  And just how environmentally damaged is the land fill that has been dumped on the site for the past five years?

And what is the Region doing to test the water that the environmental report from Burlington’s experts has said could be tainted?

The Regional medical Officer of Health has a responsibility to ensure that the health of the community is secure.  There is ample evidence to suggest bore holes should be drilled to test the makeup of that landfill.

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City seeks a permanent injunction on the dumping of landfill at the Air Park.

 

 

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 22, 2013.  It is getting nasty out there.  And it is getting expensive but the city has taken the position that the dumping of landfill at the Air Park site south of Derry Road between Bell School Line and Appleby Line has to be stopped.

Were you to drive by this site today the elevation would be considerably higher. The owners of the air park have been dumping fill on their property for more than five years without obtaining a permit which the city believes they must do.

Last week the Air Park served documents on the city setting out an application they are making to Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice to have their rights, as they see them, clarified and enforced.   In a delegation to city council late in June, lawyer Glenn Grenier, representing the Burlington Executive Air Park, tried to tell Councillors that they had no rights as far as what is done at an Air Park.

City manager Jeff Fielding, on the left, making his views known to Air Park lawyer Glenn Grenier after a council meeting. City lawyers  stand to the right.

City manager Jeff Fielding was closed to incensed at the comments and on three occasions that evening  advised the Mayor to send the delegation packing.  After the council meeting Fielding had some choice words for Mr. Grenier.

Some saw that as a stall on the part of the Air Park.  The city would very much like to see the rights the Air Park claims it has judicially confirmed.  BUT – in the meantime – stop dumping landfill on the site and to make that point the city sued the Air Park seeking a permanent injunction.

Interestingly, the city filed its claim in the Ontario Superior Court in Toronto while the notice the Air Park served was filed at the Superior Court in Milton.

Can the two proceed at the same time in two different courts?  The lawyers will work that one out.  What is evident in all this is that the city is not stepping aside.  Nor is it waiting for anyone to do something for them.

Based on a voluntary decision not to haul landfill to the Air Park site you won’t see any King Paving trucks working this location.

A bit of positive news is the decision on the part of King Paving to voluntarily stop hauling fill to the site. Kudos to them for taking that position. City Manager Jeff Fielding publicly thanked King Paving for “doing the responsible thing at this time.”   This decision on the part of King Paving will certainly fracture their relationship with the Air Park.  There was a point at which the Gazette could not get a comment from King Paving without their clearing it with Vince Rossi, owner of the Air Park.

Based on the opinions of a respected environmental testing firm the city now knows there are  excessive levels of substances such as petroleum hydrocarbons, lead and zinc in some of the fill.  Based on that evidence the city wants:

A permanent injunction restraining the Airpark or anyone acting on their behalf from placing or dumping fill, removing topsoil or otherwise altering the grade or any other form of site alteration at the airpark;

An interim injunction, along the same lines as above;

An order requiring the airport to remove all fill deposited on the airpark lands that does not meet the Table 1 of Ontario Regulation 153/04 standards; and

Recovery of costs.

The city has also asked the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) to review the findings and take the appropriate action on behalf of Burlington residents and enforce any applicable ministry regulations against the airpark owner.

The city commissioned a review of the available environmental testing reports of the fill received at the airport amid growing concerns from residents and City Council.

The culvert shown here is reported to run the full width of the Air Park property with thousands of tons of landfill for which there are not adequate testing data draining to the culvert and into land on the Cousins Appleby Line farm and into the area water table.

According to the city’s Statement of Claim approximately 59% of the landfill dumped since 2011 is contaminated.  In a report from Terrapex environmental, the company that did the review of the documents that set out what is in the landfill, there are not nearly enough documents (reports on where the fill came from and what is in it) to be able to give an opinion on just what is in the landfill dumped before 2011.

The only way to find out what is in the fill is to drill a series of “bore holes” throughout the site and analyze the results.  The city feels it is up to the Air Park to do this testing at their expense and to make the results available to everyone.

The Air Park uses the fact that air parks are federally regulated – and on that point they are right; they also take the position that “everything” they do on their property also comes under federal regulation and this is where the city, the Region, the MOE and the federal department of transport bureaucrats have parted ways in terms of their thinking.

The Air Park has twenty days to prepare a statement of defense (they can ask for an additional ten days) and then the judicial process begins.  If the city can come up with evidence that the contaminants in that fill are of significant and truly endangers public health this whole business can be expedited and a hearing held that could result in an interim injunction until more facts are gathered.

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Air Park legal team sues the city; so we all trot off to a court room. City’s pier court case being held in the same Court House.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 18, 2019.  Are we seeing a whole new level of transparency on the part of the city?  Are we also seeing a significantly and very welcome difference in the way city hall responds to problems its citizens run into?

The city posted a copy of the Writ served on them by the lawyers for the Air Park; not the kind of thing they have done in the past – they certainly didn’t handle the pier problems this way.

When the ship is about to sink you throw everything overboard. Air Park owner Vince Rossi puts all its chips on the table and waits to see how the dice play out.

With city hall now on a summer schedule and more people away than those at their desks it is difficult for those putting in the hours to stay on top of everything.

The city was preparing for a meeting with the lawyers representing the Air Park people while the Air Park legal team was focused on the wording of a Writ they served on the city earlier today.

The Air Park is seeking a number of court orders including:

A declaration of its rights under the Constitution Act, 1867 and the federal Aeronautics Act;

This is what the fight is really all about; does the Aeronautics Act trump a local bylaw?

A declaration that the City of Burlington’s Top Soil Preservation and Site Alteration By-law does not apply to the airport’s operations and construction of aerodrome facilities at the location;

For the sake of all of us – that had better turn out to be the case or municipalities across the country have real problems to deal with.

A declaration that the city’s order to comply is null and void and of no legal effect;

                  They wish is the only comment one can make on that one

An injunction to prevent the city from interfering with its operations and the construction of aerodrome facilities at the site; and

The city isn’t interfering; it is doing what is it required to do.  The only fault on the part of the city and the Region is that they didn’t tackle this one years ago.

Costs against the city, including HST.

               The upside of this one is that the city doesn’t pay the same level of HST as the rest of the world.

The one consistent thing about the Air Park’s behaviour throughout this real mess is their tendency to bully and intimidate. The piece of equipment was parked overnight less than 50 yards from the home of an Appleby Line resident. It sat on top of a 35 foot + pole of landfill that should have never been put on the land in the first place.

That is a very ‘ballsy’ move on the part of the Air Park.  With the Environment Ministry buzzing around and the federal ministry of transport suggesting that the airport people do have a responsibility to adhere to some of the city’s rules and regulations and the Region in a position to have their Medical Officer ask some embarrassing questions and demand that the property owners do what has to be done to protect public health  – the smartest move for the Air Park was to get out-of-town and into a court room where they can ask for delay upon delay.

The injunction they have asked for could backfire – the city might well ask for an injunction and should that request prevail the Air Park would find themselves under an injunction and involved in a court case that will last years – if it gets to the point where there is actually a trial date.  If there is a trial there is going to be some very impressive legal counsel arguing before a judge in a Court room in Milton..

While all this happens the people in north Burlington, especially those whose property has been directly impacted, and wondering if they are going to get sucked into this legal black hole.  And what if papers are served on them?  They don’t have the deep pockets the city has to fight this fight.

For a city that started out the week with what they felt was a strong consultants reports to find themselves with a Writ in their hands and a date with a judge – it can’t be looked upon as a win.

However, it is far from a loss.  Desperate people do desperate things


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