Two Arrested: Multiple Charges Laid in Relation to Gym Locker and Vehicle Thefts in Burlington

By Staff

August 22, 2022



The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) – 3 District Criminal Investigations Bureau arrested two suspects in relation to a series of gym locker thefts which began in June 2022.

The suspects would break into the lockers, steal the contents within, attend the parking lot where they would steal motor vehicles and attend nearby stores to fraudulently use the (stolen) credit cards.

The suspects have also been identified as being responsible for additional offences across the region and neighboring jurisdictions.

On August 16, 2022, the suspects were located and arrested by HRPS officers at a hotel in Cambridge. During the arrest the suspects were jointly in possession of a stolen Kia motor vehicle. Each suspect also possessed a quantity of methamphetamine and fentanyl.

Taylor Gillard (23) of No Fixed Address has been charged with:
• Theft of Motor Vehicle (6 counts)
• Unauthorized Possession of a Weapon (3 counts)
• Theft Under $5000 (6 counts)
• Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Over $5000
• Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Under $5000 (3 counts)
• Fraudulent Use of Credit Card (3 counts)
• Possession of Break and Enter Tools (2 counts)
• Possession of Automobile Master Key
• Possession of a Controlled Substance (2 counts)
• Fail to Comply being on Release Order (2 counts)

Michael Salverda (36) of No Fixed Address has been charged with:
• Unauthorized Possession of a Weapon (3 counts)
• Theft Under $5000
• Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Over $5000
• Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Under $5000 (3 counts)
• Fraudulent Use of Credit Card
• Possession of Break and Enter Tools (2 counts)
• Possession of Automobile Master Key
• Possession of a Controlled Substance (3 counts)
• Fail to Comply with Probation
• Fail to Comply with Undertaking

Both accused have been held in custody pending a bail hearing.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact the 3 District Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4777 ext. 2316.

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


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Nominees for Wards 4, 5 and 6 City Council seats

By Pepper Parr

August 21st, 2022



This review of the candidates who filed nomination papers is being done in three parts.  Those running in wards 1, 2 and 3 have been published.  This article covers wards 4, 5 and 6.  The third will cover the candidate running for Mayor.

Ward 4

Tony Brecknock candidate for the ward 3 council seat. OUNCIL SEAT

Tony Brecknock
Phone: 905-334-8118

The Gazette has yet to interview Tony Brecknock.  Basically due to scheduling issues.   He was active in the decision the Halton District School Board made to close two of the city’s seven high schools.

Olivia Duke candidate for the ward 4 Council seat.

Olivia Duke
Phone: 416-320-8843

Our attempts at meeting with Olivia Duke have not gotten us very far.  She has been actively campaigning.

Shawna Stolte, ward 4 incumbent

Shawna Stolte

Shawna is the ward 4 incumbent.  She has had her issues with the Integrity Commissioner and had her run ins with the Mayor as well. During what can only be called a ‘sparring’ match during a Council meeting Stolte made it very clear she knew how to stick to a principled position while the Mayor made it equally clear that she could use and abuse the power the Mayor has to amend an agenda to suit her personal agenda.  That sorry spectacle is HERE for viewing, if you haven’t already seen it.

Stolte has served the interests of her constituents very well and brought about changes in the way council processes and proceeds with its business.  Some were small, other quite significant.

Eden Wood
Phone: 905-630-4949

We have yet to meet Ms Wood.  Most of the first time candidates needed additional time to get their web sites operational.

Ward 5

The number of candidates that came out of the blue on the second to last day that nominations were open flooded ward 5  And probably stunned the incumbent who most people thought was going to be acclaimed.  Paul Sharman is now in a race.

We have no detail on any of the candidates listed below.  We will reach out to each of them and learn what wee can.  The first question that pops into our minds is this:  Was it pure coincidence that three people with very little in the way of a public profile all filed their papers on the same day?  Journalists don’t believe in coincidences

Guy D’Alesio
Phone: 905-483-5093

Andrew Hall
Phone: 289-962-2862

Denny Pirzas
Phone: 905-484-0105

Paul Sharman, ward 5 incumbent

Paul Sharman
Phone: 905-320-7467

Paul Sharman burst on the political scene in the 2010 election when he filed nomination papers for the Office of Mayor.  Shortly after that Rick Goldring, who was the Council member for ward 5 also filed papers to run for the Office of Mayor.

Sharman almost immediately withdrew his nomination for Mayor and filed to run as the ward Councillor.

Both Sharman and Goldring won the race they ran in.

Sharman was a member of the Group that put together the Shape Burlington report that set out what people were unhappy about with city hall. One might ask Sharman if what he was a part in 2020 has had an impact on the way city hall works with its citizens.

Sharman went on to become a very different member of Council.  He brought significant private sector experience to the job and a mind that could never get enough data.

He was described by Goldring as one of the best strategic minds that Gold rind had seen.

Many thought Sharman would run for Mayor this time.  It was never really something he wanted to be.   He chose not to and while he didn’t assume he was going to be acclaimed we don’t think he expected three people the public knew very little about to run against him.

He has been a useful member of Council forcing his colleagues to look at significant financial issues in a different light.

.Ward 6

Angelo Bentivegna, ward 6 incumbent

Angelo Bentivegna
Phone: 905-973-6923

Angelo Bentivegna is the incumbent.  He defeated Councillor Blair Lancaster by less the 50 votes in 2018 and has worked hard to gain a stronger foothold in the ward.  His command and grasp of many of the issues that come before council is at times limited.  He has positioned himself as the Councillor who cares about what taxpayers have to deal with.

He is very strong when working a room – a lot of bonhomie to the man.

Rick Greenspoon
Phone: 905-466-4449

Rick Greenspoon has up until this point in his working life been the man behind the scenes making things work better and getting the job done.

He has a clear idea of what he thinks can be done and is out on the streets doing the door to door work that is essential

Many ward 6 residents in the Millcroft area have a significant issue with the plans Argo Developments have for the  the changes it would make with the golf course the community was built around.

Greenspoon appears to have made some deep inroads and been able to capitalize on the disappointment those people have with the incumbent.

Renato Velocci
Phone: 905-802-8808

We do know that Renato Velocci once ran against Linda Pugley for a council seat many years ago.

List of candidates for wards 1,2 and 3

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The candidates for city Council seats - Part 1 - Wards 1, 2 and 3

By Pepper Parr

August 21st, 2022



The list is long – we have broken it down to three articles: Ward 1, 2 and 3; followed by ward 4, 5 and 6 – then review of those running for the Office of Mayor

This is a very very different collection of people than what came forward in 2018.

There are some surprises; there is one from a jokester and one from someone who thought spending $100. to get his name in the paper was a good investment

Ward 1 boundaries

Ward 1
Robert Radway
Phone: 289-208-6474

Robert Radway – high school teacher running for the ward 1 Council seat


When we first learned about Radway we were told that he planned to continue working as a teacher and serve his constituents at city hall.  It was clear at that point that Radway had no idea just what the role of city councillor amounts to.  To be fair, Kelvin Galbraith didn’t know what he faced in terms of a work load when he was elected.  He operates a gym and has people who run the place day to day.

Radway has since changed his position and will now have colleagues cover his classes when he has to be at city hall.

Radway said he was encouraged by several Board of Education Superintendents to run for public office; whoever the Superintendent are – they should think in terms of early retirement.

Teachers can apply for a leave of absence which is almost always granted.  Radway missed the deadline to apply for a leave of absence this school year.  He has said he will apply for a leave of absence next year.

Kelvin Galbraith, ward 1 incumbent.

Kelvin Galbraith
Phone: 905-928-4513

Galbraith has some explaining to do.  There are perceived conflicts of interest that he needs to clean up.  The campaign may teach him to pay more attention to the needs of the voters rather than the interests of the developers.  That is not to say that Galbraith is a developer toady – it is to say that his inclination is to business rather than people

Ward 2
Keith Demoe
Phone: 289-259-0488

The Gazette has not had an opportunity to talk to or interview Keith Demoe.  We will get to him

Lisa Kearns is the ward 2 incumbent.. She has been an effective councillor

Lisa Kearns

Lisa Kearns is a very intelligent woman with a strong private sector background that gives her an understanding many Councillors don’t have of budgets and numbers.  She is perceptive, quite sharp with her tongue when she relaxes.  She has introduced a lot of new words to this council; some we are still trying to figure out what Kearns means – just what does she mean wen she refers to “the Delta”.  She has earned every penny she is paid.

Tim O’Brien

Tim O’Brien brings experience from the Catholic School Board to city hall; if one can survive in that environment – you can survive city hall.  We are schedules to interview Mr O’Brien this week.

Jennifer Hounslow – candidate for the ward 2 city council seat

Ward 3
Jennifer Hounslow

We have not yet managed to set up a meeting with Ms Hounslow.  She’s on the list and at some point we will get through to her. A statement on her web site says:   “I am running because we need a representative who can listen, lead, act, and execute. You deserve to have the right person on board to manage the city budget and keep us operationally and fiscally strong, impact policy, and advocate for your concerns.”

Luke McEachern
Phone: 289-941-2996

The Gazette has not been able to reach Mr. McEachern – yet

Rory Nisan is the ward 3 incumbent.

Rory Nisan
Phone: 905-464-7195

Rory Nisan became a member of Council in 2018  taking with him the expectations of a number of people that he would fill the shores of former Council member John Taylor who had done a good job during his 20 + years on Council.  At this point those expectations have not been met.

Perhaps a stiff challenge will reveal a different Rory Nisan

The list we have set out above has yet to be certified by the City Clerk.  That will be done on Monday.  We don’t expect any changes in wards 1, 2 or 3.

The Gazette intends to interview each of the candidates at least once



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Gaetan: POPS unfair to Condo Owners

By Joseph Gaetan

August 20th, 2022



If you know anyone who is thinking about buying a condominium – pass this along to them. They will thank you.

Privately Owned Public Spaces, a.k.a POPS, are spaces dedicated to public use and enjoyment, which are owned and maintained by private property owners (but not all property owners in the City of Burlington, just condo owners), in exchange for bonus floor area or waivers.

POPS agreements when in place are provided by a developer but then maintained by property owners in perpetuity in accordance with the statutes, bylaws, regulations in place and pursuant to any City approvals. POPS in part are also the result of City zoning regulations aimed at ensuring the densest areas of our city also offer a measure of open public space and greenery. Thus, POPS can be important amenities for the enjoyment of Burlington citizens, and visitors.

The POPS that is to be part of the Core development located between Lakeshore Road and Old Lakeshore Road is a decision made by the developer that future residents will have to pay for.

If you have never owned a condo that has a POPS or never plan on doing do so, you may think what is the big deal anyway? Well, the big deal is, those who do own one, end up paying for something they had little input on and something that will affect their cost of living as long as they live there. The cost of the POPS will be reflected in both the common area fees (CEF’s) that owners pay on a monthly basis as well as the monthly contribution to the Reserve Fund that is put in place for major repairs and/or replacement of the POPS assets at some point in the future.

So, imagine a situation where the parking structure is buried under a POPS. In the beginning owners will be paying for basic and ongoing yard maintenance, snow removal, pruning of trees, replacement of benches and any litigation, insurance etc. Sometime in the future (as identified in the Reserve Fund but often sooner) the underground concrete slab will have to be repaired or sections replaced. But before that, all of the overburden, all the trees, all the sidewalks, everything on top of the slab will be stripped clean and taken off-site so that the remedial work can be performed.

Upon completion of the repair/remediation work, guess what, new soil will be returned to the site, new trees planted, new sidewalks poured and after 6 to 8 months of disruption the POPS will have been restored to its original design parameters. Without exaggeration this could cost the property owners millions of dollars.

When a developer turns a property over to a not-for-profit condominium corporation the common area fees and Reserve Fund allocations are grossly understated. The principal reasons for this being, there is no cost history or Reserve Fund study to base these figures upon. A condominiums first Reserve Fund study occurs during its first year of incorporation with follow-up studies every three years afterward.

Under normal circumstances per the Condominium Act 1998, upon turnover the Condominium Corporation usually has one year to cancel any contracts made by the Declarant.

Case in point, one condo in Burlington chose to cancel the Geo-Thermal, Renewal Energy Agreement put in place by the Declarant. The corporation was able to cancel the agreement and then secured a loan to purchase the system saving residents approximately $6 million dollars over a 30-year period. This option does not apply to POPS as canceling such agreements is beyond the scope of this section of the “Act.”

Below is an excerpt from an Official Plan Amendment Rezoning Application document for a development that was approved in 2008:

Conditions of Zoning Approval
“agree to grant an easement to the City for the purpose of providing public access over the (feature details redacted) containing the (feature details redacted) at the South end of the front yard, from (address details redacted) of, and pay for all costs associated with the easement including the preparation of a reference plan legally describing the location of the landscape courtyard subject to the easement; and,

“include the following warning clause in all Offers of Purchase and Sale and in the

Condominium declaration:
“purchasers/tenants are advised that the landscape courtyard containing the (redacted) at the South end of the front yard, is for public use”

POPS were invented in New York, in 1961 via a Zoning Regulation, the purpose was to find solutions to the city’s budget gaps in providing public spaces. Mobilising private funds seemed like a good way to build public infrastructure and something a city could offer that was seemingly free (i.e., public spaces, in exchange for additional housing units).

POPS have a place in the public realm and should not be discarded in totality. The use of POPS has been successfully used throughout the world (i.e., High Line NYC) but not without issues (i.e., Autumn of 2011, a small anarchist group occupied Zuccotti Park, a public plaza in Downtown New York).

All homeowners in Burlington should expect and deserve to be treated fairly and equitably. While I there is a place for POPS, such developments that create a cost burden to one class of taxpayers and not others are simply wrong. If the City of Burlington approves POPS for additional height on a particular building, or additional housing units in a development, those costs should be spread across all taxpayers within the City of Burlington.

With an election on the horizon the subject of POPS deserves attention. When a candidate asks for your support, it is fair game to ask them if they are in favour of approving developments where the POPS will place an unfair financial burden on some taxpayers (condo owners). Residents of a building that sits on .58 hectare of land, and contributes around $1 million a year in realty taxes, should not be asked to also pay more for a POPS.

Further information regarding the issues and cost effects of POPS on condo owners can be found by reading the CCI Toronto article entitled, “Privately Owned Publicly Accessible Spaces” that may be found by visiting, CCI-T-Condovoice-Spring2019-FB19.pdf (

Related news story:

Just what does a POPS mean

Joe Gaetan is a Burlington resident who lives in a condominium that has a POPS.

He speaks on occasion before Council on civic issues and participates in Ontario Land Tribunal matter




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Veg Fest on Saturday at BurlOak Park

By Staff

August 19th, 2022



A VegFest featuring vegan products from local vendors, and welcoming any and all – from the vegan-curious to the experienced vegan.

Takes place on on August 20, 2022 at Burloak Waterfront Park from noon until 7pm

The free, family-friendly outdoor event will have something for everyone, including kids’ activities, demos, speakers, and a live band.

Visitors can experience delicious plant-based food and drinks, as well as health, beauty, and fashion products from a wide array of vegan businesses based in Burlington and surrounding communities.

The first 200 attendees will also receive a FREE swag bag filled with samples and coupons generously donated from our vendors and sponsors. Donations to buy plant-based food for the Burlington Food Bank will be accepted with a chance to win a prize for every $10 donation. A free shuttle will run throughout the day between Appleby GO station and Burlington VegFest.

The event will run from the official ribbon cutting and opening speech by Mayor Marianne Meed Ward at noon and will end at 7pm.

Plant-based lifestyles are on the rise across the West in response to health, environmental, and ethical concerns. Activists recognize the urgent state of these crises and Burlington VegFest hopes that this event will inspire and enable more people to take action to create a kinder, healthier, equitable planet for humans and animals.

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POPS - Privately owned public space - something every condo buyer wants to know more about

By Pepper Parr

August 18, 2022



Imagine this:

You decide to buy a condominium and learn, probably well after you the sale has closed, that some of the property is privately owned but it is public space – which means any Tom, Dick or Harry can use that space and you are responsible for the upkeep of the space and probably ensuring that it is safe.

The Chrysler Carriage House will be integrated into the development

The developer selling you the property will not have told you this but it will be included in the title document you get once the condominium is registered.

The lawyer you hired to handle the paper work may not know all that much about POPS

Privately owned public space (POPS), or alternatively, privately owned public open spaces (POPOS), are terms used to describe a type of public space that, although privately owned, is legally required to be open to the public under a city’s zoning ordinance or other land-use law.

Both terms can be used to represent either a singular or plural space or spaces. These spaces are usually the product of a deal between cities and private real estate developers in which cities grant valuable zoning concessions and developers provide in return privately owned public spaces in or near their buildings. Privately owned public spaces commonly include plazas, arcades, small parks, and atriums.

The term privately owned public space was popularized by Harvard professor Jerold S. Kayden through his 2000 book Privately Owned Public Space: The New York City Experience. The history of privately owned public space commenced in 1961 when New York City introduced an incentive zoning mechanism offering developers the right to build.

Between 1961 and 2000, 503 privately owned public spaces, scattered almost entirely in downtown, midtown, and upper east and west sides of New York City’s borough of Manhattan, were constructed at 320 buildings.

While privately owned public space as a term of art refers specifically to private property required to be usable by the public under zoning or similar regulatory arrangements, the phrase in its broadest sense can refer to places, like shopping malls and hotel lobbies, that are privately owned and open to the public, even if they are not legally required to be open to the public.

POPS is often referred to as Public Realm by a developer.

Let’s apply this concept to Burlington, and specifically to the Core development that is located on properties that are between Old Lakeshore Road and Lakeshore Road and the large Molinaro development that has towers on either side of Brant Street at Ghent.

That development has five POPS.

The Core development, in the words of the development justification report describes the development as having “ been shaped by a comprehensive landscape strategy that integrates high quality public realm improvements across the site.

“A significant area of privately owned, publically accessible open space is provided on the west side of the development, adjacent to the proposed tower. The 19.3 metre wide space facilitates an important view corridor down to Lake Ontario from Lakeshore Road. The open space draws people towards Burlington’s waterfront serving as a connection point, while also providing an active meeting and gathering space where the whole community can interact, relax and play.

“The open space will provide a diverse and attractive green contribution to the proposed development that softens and balances the paving and the building massing. It has been designed to allow for the future expansion of the open space when the property to the west ultimately redevelops.
“Significant public realm improvements will also be integrated along the north and south sides of the site, through significant streetscape improvements. The widening of sidewalks and new paving and tree planting will bring life to both Lakeshore Road and Old Lakeshore Road, and significantly improve the setting of the heritage building.

This rendering shows the POPS looking north from Old Lakeshore Road

“The integration of these public realm improvements will create a strong sense of place, foster social interaction and support a positive pedestrian experience. The benefits will be experienced by both the residents of the development, and Burlington’s existing residents, and contribute towards the building of healthier communities for a more sustainable future.”

All well and god but the fact of the matter is that the condominium owners are responsible for that property and all the liability that entails.

We will be writing about this in more detail going forward.

There are eight high rise developments in this photograph. Not all of them have POPS as part of the development.  We have identified the eight properties; some are almost complete other are at the OLT appeal stage.

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Online Casino Bonuses: How to Get the Most Out of Them

By Stanley Nordstrom

August 18th, 2022


When you are online – it is you and your computer – try getting together with friends and all be on line at the same casino


If you love playing casino games, then you’ve probably come across a few online casino bonuses in your time. But what are they exactly, and how can you make the most out of them?

In short, online casino bonuses are special offers that casinos give to their players in order to encourage them to keep playing. They can come in many different forms, such as free spins, match deposit bonuses, etc. Bonuses for Canadians are bonuses specifically made for Canadian players.

The best way to make the most out of an online casino bonus is to choose one that suits your gaming style.

What types of bonuses are offered by online casinos?

The most common type of bonus is the welcome bonus, which is given to new players when they sign up for an account. This bonus usually matches the player’s first deposit, up to a certain amount.

The bonuses are real and they add some fun to the sport.

Next, there are reload bonuses which are given to players who make additional deposits after their initial one.

There are also often special promotions that offer bonuses for playing certain games or meeting other requirements.

How to Find the Best Online Casino Bonuses

There are a few things to look for when trying to find the best online casino bonuses.

First, you want to make sure that the casino has a good reputation.

Second, you want to look for casinos that offer generous bonuses. A lot of casinos will offer sign-up bonuses or reload bonuses, but the best ones will offer both.

Finally, make sure that the wagering requirements on the bonus are reasonable. The best bonuses will have low wagering requirements.

Are there any disadvantages to taking an online casino bonus?

While online casino bonuses can be very beneficial, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Make sure you understand the Terms and Conditions that apply at online casinos.

First and foremost, make sure you understand the terms and conditions of the bonus before claiming it. Some bonuses may have wagering requirements, while others have time limits.

Remember that not all games contribute equally to meeting wagering requirements. If you’re primarily a slots player, it may be better to look for a bonus that has lower wagering requirements or is geared specifically towards slots players.

Finally, keep in mind that online casino bonuses are usually subject to cashout limits, so make sure you check it before claiming a bonus.

When it comes to online casino bonuses, the best way to make use of them is by playing smart.

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What the planners think should be built in each of the MTSA's

By Pepper Parr

August 16th, 2022


The magnifying feature has been used in this article

The boundaries for each of the MTSA’s has been set.

The task now for the planners is to define what they call precincts and determine what can be built in a precinct.

A precinct is an area given a boundary.

By what can be built they mean the height, the zoning and a number of other requirements assigned to a piece of property.

While the MTSA boundaries are set, the boundaries for some of the precincts might be changed and what can be built will probably see some changes as well.  Members of Council had some comments when they first saw the MTSA’s with precincts in place.

Set out below are images of each MTSA.

When you run your cursor over the image you will see a second screen pop up with a magnification of the image – which should make it easier to read the map.

The magnification applies only to the image in front of you.  As you move from image to image you can enlarge at each image.  You aren’t enlarging the type face.

The Aldershot MTSA with what the planners are currently calling the “preferred precinct” boundaries”

The Burlington GO MTSA with the boundaries showing what the planners are currently calling the “the Preferred Precincts”

The Appleby Line MTSA with the boundaries showing what the planners are currently calling the “the Preferred Precincts”

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Residential developments around the GO stations: what will the city look like in 2051 when the targets are reached

By Pepper Parr

August 15th, 2022


Part 2 of a series

They were first called “hubs”; at first there were four of them but that got cut down to three when the thinkers realized that a bus terminal that couldn’t hold a dozen people was just that – a rinky dinky bus terminal that the transit people thought of closing at one point.

They went through a name change and are now called MTSA’s:  Major Transit Station Area and have become the location where the bulk of the growth in the city will take place.

This was the original idea – until someone realized that the xxx was a bus terminal that couldn’t hold 12 people

By growth the consultant who prepared a report are talking about job growth and residential growth.  The market analysis was undertaken to establish the context for understanding future residential and non-residential development potential and prospects within Burlington’s MTSAs.

They were focused on where people would live and where they would work – and what kind of work would be available.

“In planning for MTSAs and other strategic growth areas, municipalities need to have regard for target sectors and to accommodate mixed uses in these locations, developing high-quality urban environments that provide for a mix of live/work opportunities, along with high-order transit and access to amenities. There is also a need to advocate for a more flexible planning approach and stronger integration with planning and economic development perspectives.”

This is city building at its highest level.  The conclusions the planners reach and present to Council will be used to create a housing strategy and the establishment of precincts – areas within the MTSA boundary that will accommodate different levels of intensification.

Included in that strategy will be what the city decides in wants in the way of Inclusionary Zoning – which is another way of saying the city will create and put in place rules that set out how much affordable housing is possible.

Add that that bit about affordable housing the phrase “attainable housing” – housing that people can afford to buy.

This article is part of a series on just what the impact of the MTSA’s is going to be for the city.

Let’s look at some of the numbers:

“The long-term outlook for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (G.G.H.) The population of the G.G.H. is forecast to increase from 9.5 million in 2016 to 14.9 million in 2051.

“This represents a population increase of 5.3 million people (153,000 annually), or 1.3% annually between 2016 and 2051.

“This represents an employment increase of 2.4 million jobs (69,000 annually), or 1.2% annually between 2016 and 2051.

The Region of Halton leads in employment growth – that is expected to continue. Now housing has to be built for these people.

“With an estimated population of 614,500 as of 2021, Halton Region is expected to grow to approximately 1.1 million people by the year 2051. Between 2021 and 2051, it is estimated that over 179,000 new households will be required across the Region, largely within existing and future urban areas.

“To accommodate future residents, there is also an increasing need to develop new and innovative approaches to housing development within areas that are pedestrian oriented and transit supportive.

“The availability of housing is a key factor in attracting and retaining people and businesses to a community. In an increasingly knowledge-based environment, the ability to cultivate, retain, and attract talented workers is increasingly important.

“Attracting and retaining people of working age and their families, which is necessary to support a broad range of employment opportunities, requires a diverse housing stock.

“Halton Region had a total of 208,601 occupied residential dwelling units. In 2021, 55% of housing was comprised of low-density dwellings (single and semi-detached) compared to 19% and 26% for medium- (townhouses, rowhouses) and high-density (condominium and rental apartments) units, respectively.

“Halton Region has a strong tradition of home ownership with approximately 76% (54,540 units) of housing units defined as owner occupied.[

“Over the 2021 to 2051 period, Halton Region’s housing base is expected to increase by 175,800 units.[12] Figure 4 provides a summary of Halton Region’s forecast growth in households by primary age of maintainer for 2021 and 2051. As shown, the primary age of household maintainer is anticipated to shift to a greater share of older households, with the strongest anticipated household growth expected for those aged 75+, accounting for 25% of household growth, followed by empty nesters/young seniors (65-74 age group). On an aggregate basis, approximately 40% of household growth over the 2021 to 2051 period is expected to be in households where the primary age of maintainer is 65 or older.”

If these numbers hold – planners have their work cut out for them.

“Growth is expected to be concentrated in the 25-44 age cohort, including couples with and without children with varying levels of income. The strong population growth in the 65+ age group is anticipated to be driven by the aging of the existing population as well as in-migration from this age group. These two demographic groups represent the strongest market segment for higher-density dwellings such as apartments and condominiums.

“Historical population growth rates for Burlington in accordance with Statistics Canada Census data. For comparative purposes, historical population growth rates have also been provided for Halton Region and the Province of Ontario. As illustrated, Burlington’s population base increased from 151,000 in 2001 to 187,000 in 2021. Over the past two decades, Burlington’s population base has increased by approximately 1,800 persons or approximately 1.20% per year, exhibiting a lower growth rate than Halton Region which increased at a rate of 2.95% annually over the same period. In contrast, the population base for the Province grew at a slower rate (1.23% annually) during the same time period.”

Burlington’s growth compares poorly with the Regional numbers – the growth is taking place in the other municipalities

“The City has experienced a steady rate of Census housing growth over the past 20 years. During this period, the City’s housing base has increased by approximately 28% from 57,340 to 73,180, which represents an increase of approximately 790 housing units per year. Figure 12 summarizes housing growth between 2001 and 2021.

“Burlington currently has approximately 23,000 housing units at various stages of the planning process to potentially meet the forecast need for the short term. Of this, approximately 43% (10,000 units) is located within Burlington’s MTSAs.

  • The Downtown Burlington UGC/Burlington GO MTSA has 4,046 units, while the Aldershot GO MTSA and the Appleby GO MTSA have 16% (3,554 units) and 11% (2,476 units) housing units, respectively.
  • Approximately 83% and 14% of the MTSAs’ housing units are in high-rise and mid-rise buildings, respectively. A limited share of the MTSAs’ housing unit supply is in low-rise buildings.

“Strong population growth is expected in Burlington over the next 30 years with the population forecast to increase by 38% to 265,000 by 2051, as presented in Figure 28. Over the same period, Burlington’s employment base is expected to expand to 125,000 by 2051, a 27% increase. With respect to housing growth, Burlington’s housing base is forecast to increase by 47% to 107,765 by 2051.”

“The forecast housing growth over the 2021 to 2051 period, the majority (80% representing 26,766 units) is expected to be in the form of high-density units (apartments), followed by 11% for medium density (rowhouses) and 7% for low density (singles/semis). An additional 2% of housing is expected to be in the form of accessory units.”

Those percentages are close to astounding


“A broad range of considerations related to demographics, economics and socio- economics is anticipated to impact population and employment growth trends throughout the Region of Halton and Burlington over the coming decades. These factors will not only affect the rate and magnitude of growth but will also influence the form, density and location of residential and non-residential development.”

All the planners have to do is get it right.

Asking the people in Burlington what they think – may not be the smartest thing the planners could do.  People don’t like change – asking for informed comments or putting together a focus group could work.

Whichever – the Burlington we have and know today will begin to fade away within a decade.

Part 1 of the series

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Each of the MTSA's has a character and profile of its own - as they mature expect them to offer different life experiences.

By Pepper Parr

August 15th, 2022


First in a series on the impact and change the the MTSA’s are going to have on the city.

The three MTSA’s are very different.

All kinds of development has already taken place in Aldershot NTSA (Major Transit Service Area) where the ADI Development group has done a lot of building – they seemed to have forgotten that parks are supposed to be close to where people live.

The development sector did not get ahead of the demand that everyone knew was coming. They chose to let demand build up – then did the supplying.

Burlington is the current focal point while Appleby has not seen very much in the way of development – the pressing matter in the Appleby MTSA is the Fearmans  pork processing plant.  The owners of the facility have grown to be a world wide pork providers – and have invested heavily.  Can that kind of facility exist in a city?

The Molinaro Group were the first to build the high towers. They chose to be close to the GO station. Sales support the decision they made. The final two towers of the five tower development are close to seeing shovels in the ground.

Downtown Burlington UGC/Burlington GO MTSA – The MTSA covers an area of 102 gross ha (253 gross acres) located immediately north of Burlington Downtown. The area has access to Highway 403 and the Q.E.W. via Brant Street and Fairview Street, respectively.

The area is served by the Burlington GO train station (Lakeshore West line). The area has a significant underutilized land base and is home to a population of 1,670 and an employment base of 2,680 jobs. Major employment sectors include retail trade, manufacturing and food and accommodation. Land abutting Brant Street and Fairview Street comprises largely retail commercial uses with some recent high-density residential development along the latter.

Lands along Plains Road are largely general industrial in nature. A low-density residential area is located south of Fairview Street, east of Brant Street.

The area is intersected by two CN rail lines which separate the area into two distinct areas to the north and south. With the exception of one condominium project (Paradigm Midtown Burlington) located in proximity to the Burlington GO train station, the area has experienced limited development activity over the past decade.

Appleby GO MTSA – The Appleby MTSA is located south of the Q.E.W. at Appleby Line, with excellent access to the Q.E.W., and is served by the Appleby GO train station (Lakeshore West

A 150 year old corporation that plays a significant role in the Burlington economy. Should a slaughterhouse be in this location?

Line). The area is occupied largely by mature employment uses that exhibit a general industrial character, with residential townhouse complexes and small apartment buildings on the south side of Fairview Street.

The MTSA covers an area of 179 gross ha (443 gross acres), and is home to a population of 1,140 and an employment base of 6,390 jobs. A large share of employment is in manufacturing, professional, scientific and technical services and finance and insurance. A significant share of land in the MTSA is underutilized or vacant. The area has experienced limited development activity over the past decade and has limited development activity identified through site-plan activity.

While it comes close to looking like “project” developments the community has yet to find itself.

Aldershot GO MTSA – The Aldershot MTSA is situated immediately south of Highway 403, west of the Q.E.W. and Highway 407. The area is intersected by Plains Road and Waterdown Road which serve as the two main roadways.

The area has excellent access to Highway 403 via Waterdown Road. The MTSA is serviced by regional commuter rail (GO train Lakeshore West line). With a gross land area of 86 ha (213 acres), the MTSA has a population of approximately 1,100, an employment base of 1,090 jobs, and comprises a mix of low-, medium- and high-density residential, retail/ service commercial, industrial and institutional development.

The area has experienced significant residential and mixed-use development over the past decade.

The Appleby GO MTSA has the highest overall existing utilization of lands, both with respect to building floor space index and employment base, followed by the Downtown Burlington UGC/Burlington GO MTSA and the Aldershot GO MTSA.

While the Aldershot GO MTSA is the most underdeveloped with respect to non-residential land uses, it has the largest population base and has experienced the most development activity over the past decade (largely residential and mixed-use development).


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First of four Jazz on the Patio sessions was a fine occasion

By Pepper Parr

August 13th, 2022



The weather was perfect – the setting was good.

The one hiccup with the sound system didn’t get in the way of a solid presentation from Amanda Martinez as she sang her way through an all Latin programme.

There was hardly a space to put a chair – this year there were tables set up on the sidewalk.

Tables were set up on the sidewalk creating more space for the several hundred that attended

There were people across the street sitting on benches and about 20 chairs were set up inside the Performing Arts Centre.

This was the 13th annual Jazz on the Patio programme that is put on and is free to everyone.

There are sponsors – this year it was the Burlington Downtown Business Association.

It was a good performance – soft, easy on the ears with just enough energy to appreciate the artists.

Martinez draws on her Mexican – South African roots …

Career highlights include headlining the Blue Note jazz club in NYC, the FIFA World Cup in South Africa and the Pan American Games in Mexico and Canada.

This afternoon she enchanted an audience that is getting used to not being in a rigid pandemic routine.

The band members were good – there was one especially nice session where the flugelhorn was put to very good use.

For many the afternoon was their first outing in a long time.

It was a quiet audience – on occasion there was a polite burst of applause.

Burlingtonians certainly show up for these events – but you never get the impression that the music has gotten into their bones.  No one danced in the space inside – and there was plenty of room.

A few people swayed to the music and one woman stood up and clapped and waved her arms in the air.

But that was about it.

This a decidedly seniors crowd – its always been that way for this event.

We left after the first of two performances.  Bumped into some friends, caught caught up on their lives and noticed that a lot of people were going to stick around for the second performance.  Given that seating is really limited – wondered is that fair.

This is a free public event – let’s let everyone get a seat at the table.


There are two performances on Sunday:



People stretched out – took in a nice lazy summer afternoon.

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Ontario Court Decision on CN intermodal didn't give the Region everything it wanted but it did take the rug out from under the CN's main arguement

By Staff

August 12th, 2022



“On August 10, 2022, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice released its decision in a case between the Halton Municipalities and Conservation Halton (the “Halton Municipalities”) and CN related to CN’s proposed Intermodal facility in Milton.

“The Halton Municipalities had commenced the application to protect the thousands of residents that live near the CN lands in Milton from adverse and harmful effects that would arise from CN’s proposed intermodal hub.

“The Court decision flatly rejected CN’s claim that as a federally regulated rail project, it was immune from over 60 provincial and local laws designed to protect people and the environment from adverse and harmful impacts that would be caused by the facility.

This was the same argument to Burlington Airpark owners used.  The city won the first case – they lost the appeal and decided to throw in the towel.  Had Burlington taken the case to a high court CN would have known that they didn’t have a leg to stand on

It will be interesting to see if the Region appeals.  They might want to chase down Ian Blue the lawyer who did a fine job for Burlington on a case that was very similar.

“While the decision did not grant the Halton Municipalities request for an immediate injunction, it did leave open the door for future activity by the Halton Municipalities to continue to enforce their laws in the public interest.

“The Halton Municipalities will continue to review the Ontario Superior Court decision and consider its options. In addition, the Halton Municipalities are continuing its litigation in the Federal Courts to review decisions by the Canadian Transportation Agency, the Federal Minister and Cabinet to approve federal aspects of the CN Project. The Halton Municipalities oppose CN proceeding with the truck-rail hub in Milton because it does not comply with applicable provincial and municipal laws and will cause significant harm to air quality and human health.

To view the Ontario Court’s decision and learn more about the Halton Municipalities’ position on the project, please visit

Related news stories:

Region and its municipalities decide to take CN to court.


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By Frank P. Mickens 

August 14th, 2022


As online gambling continues to break boundaries, it was only a matter of time before governments around the world bent to the wishes of their citizens. The penetration of online gambling has spread to Canada’s largest city, and residents of Greater Toronto are chasing in on the fun.

While the gambling regime in Canada was previously rippled with obscurity, the coast is much clearer now as provinces now have the leeway to enact regulations and issue licenses pertaining to the gambling industry within their territory. In exercise of this right, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation regulate the gambling scene in Ontario, which includes the Greater Toronto Area.

The gambling industry has recorded major success in Ontario, with several land-based casinos, race tracks, and slots providers available in the province. This love for gambling is also translated onto the digital scene as online gambling has become popular in many areas of the territory.

Today’s post is by Frank P. Mickens of   a virtual casino review service in the province.

Gambling at an online location has a lot of advantages plus a fun experience.

How many people gamble online from the Hamilton area?
Recent surveys have shown that a large percentage of adult Canadians living in Ontario have at one time, or the other tried their hand at online gambling. The province’s population stands at a staggering 14 million people, representing a huge market for the online gambling industry.

This population strength and accessibility of gambling platforms have made it easier for most of the population to explore their gaming interests. Hamilton bears some interesting similarities to its mother province, Ontario. The city is home to a port which makes industries and commerce commonplace. The city’s population is just under 600,000, but that hasn’t stopped its inhabitants from gambling online.

Hamilton area families are gambling savvy and manage to find time out of their busy schedules for gaming and entertainment. Hamilton area families are also huge lovers of Bingo, which happens to be one of the most popular online gambling games of chance in Ontario.

Gambling Safely Online in Hamilton and Greater Toronto areas
As entertaining as online gambling may be, the foundation to having endless fun is the security of your data and funds. Since wagering is done online, customers are required to make deposits via bank transfers or card payments. So it is essential that you gamble on trustworthy websites only. Some of the ways to verify a website’s trustworthiness are by:

1. Licensing status:
Under Canadian law, operating casinos and iGaming businesses (whether virtual or land-based) is illegal without obtaining a federal or provincial license. If the gambling house has no license, it is safer to stay away to avoid falling victim to fraudsters. An operator’s licensing status also shows whether they have met the minimum financial requirement set by the government and are bound by Canadian laws or not.

2. Reviews
The reputation of a gambling house is also a key factor to consider. This is because offshore gaming platforms may still offer Canadians their services without obtaining a license. In such situations, it is advisable to read about the company’s services, terms, and the experiences of other users before plowing in. Fortunately, sites like help research these sites, so you don’t have to.

Protect your personal financial data by using Prepaid cards

3. Use Prepaid Cards
Even if you’re not conversant with the risks of virtual gambling today, entering your financial information online requires some caution. For this reason, it is advisable to use prepaid cards which are not connected to your bank account to make payments on these platforms. These cards have a preloaded fixed amount which you can top up via the issuer’s trusted channels. This helps to keep your funds and private information safe.

4. Encryption
Encryption software helps online casinos to protect their servers and customer data from getting hacked. As companies with large access to data, funds, and customer information, it is important that virtual gaming platforms are well protected. Encryption software ensures that your activities and exchanged data with online platforms stay private and invisible to third parties.

5. Accessibility and User Experience
A virtual gaming platform’s selling point is how easy it is to use and how well it adapts to the various devices of its customers. Thanks to the wide reach of online gaming today, you can access these platforms via smartphones, laptops, iPads, and many other internet-enabled devices. A good gaming website should have a friendly user interface that lets you enjoy the games seamlessly regardless of your device.

Make sure the location you are gambling at on line is fully registered and tightly regulated.

Residents of the Hamilton Area and Greater Toronto can look forward to more exciting games thanks to the current legal stand on gambling in the province. This comes at a time when lots of scrutiny and regulation are being channeled into the gambling industry to make it even safer and more enjoyable.

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Some members of the 2018 team that helped get the Mayor elected don't see her in quite the same light

By Staff

August 11th, 2022



The readers are what count.

In the direct correspondence, their emails and the comments they leave in the newspaper for others to enjoy they reflect ideas and thoughts of some of the people in the city and the several thousand that don’t currently live in Burlington.

One reader sent the following as a comment and we have “upgraded it to stand alone Opinion.

Mr. Parr asks the right question and, wisely, leaves the reader to arrive at their own conclusion. Here is mine and it is only mine. The context for the quote referenced in the article was Meed Ward’s response to the Ford pronouncement that he was proposing to give the Mayors of Ottawa and Toronto veto rights over their Councils.

Meed Ward (along with the Big City Mayors) was very quick to support “investigating” the broader application of this veto power and cited the remarkable synergy of the Burlington Council in support. ‘We’re a cohesive group anyways, are we not?’ Well, no, and the video clip attached to this article demonstrates more vividly than words could ever do, how dangerous such power would be if placed in the hands of any Mayor.

It is particularly worthwhile to watch the expressions of Council members (even Galbraith and Nisan) and the City Manager while our Mayor attempts her ‘ad hoc’ agenda management.

Marianne Meed Ward on election night in 2018

Whether you are one of her many followers, true believers in her brand of social media populism, or one of her detractors, often once part of the faithful who now view her with an open cynicism – Marianne Meed Ward is, I believe, a divisive figure; she polarizes. There are few in Burlington, if they draw breath and are on the right side of the grass, who don’t hold an opinion on Her Worship.

She is exceptionally charismatic; she can make someone feel that they are the only focus of her interest and commitment. She attracts followers as if by a force of nature. She is also resourceful, insightful and one of the hardest working politicians you are likely to meet. She picks the popular issues and rides them until they are exhausted. And she knows no “time out”. If she fails in something, it will never be because she has not put the time and effort into winning.

But she can also be, in my opinion, impatient, spiteful and self-absorbed. She does not appear to forget a slight or a perceived harm and she seems to lose perspective when an opportunity to “get back” presents itself.

Her treatment of Shawna Stolte is a glaring and shameful case in point. (Click HERE to view the video) So, does she work well with her Council? I would suggest that if the criteria are toleration of opposing views, natural ability to lead or a desire to selflessly mentor all subordinates equally, then the answer is a rather resounding “NO”. But this is only my opinion and my conclusion, of course.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward doing a Cogeco TV show with Blair Smith and Lynne Crosby

Blair Smith is a life long Burlington resident who has been active in representing the views of his peers.  He was part of the team that worked with Marianne Meed Ward to get her elected Mayor in 2018


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Jazz on the Patio - now an established annual event - August 13 to 14

By Staff

August 11th, 2022



Probably the best summer offering in the city.

The Performing Arts Centre has been pitting on their Jazz on the Patio for at least five years – it might be seven.

The talent they bring in is usually super.

JAZZ ON THE PLAZA – Four different acts over two days – taking place on the Performing Arts Plaza – all free – just get there early to get a seat.


Every summer, BPAC presents some amazing Jazz performers as part of our annual Jazz on the Plaza. This free outdoor event is attended by over 1,000 people annually.

Amanda Martinez will perform on Saturday August 13th at  4pm; Shuffle Demons will perform on the same date at 6pm

On the 14th Clerel will perform on Sunday August 14th at  2pm and Laila Biali will perform at 4pm

Amanda Martinez

Saturday,  August 13, 2022 at 4pm

Approx. 75 mins. No intermission.

Amanda Martinez a Toronto-based singer/songwriter whose music exultingly blends her unique Mexican and South African roots with flamenco soul.

Amanda Martinez is a Toronto-based singer/songwriter whose music exultingly blends her unique Mexican and South African roots with flamenco soul. Her solo CDs have garnered her multiple nominations for Latin Jazz Performer of the Year, and her songs have appeared on three Putumayo world music collections: Bossanova Around the World, Latin Dreamland and most recently, Cafe Latino. Her third and latest CD “Mañana” was helmed by GRAMMY-winning producer Javier Limón and is set for release in 2013. Limón, whose production credits include acclaimed singers such as Buika, Mariza and Diego el Cigala, hails Martinez as “one of the greatest voices in the world.”

Martinez has headlined at the legendary Blue Note jazz club, at the 2010 FIFA World Cup Festivities in South Africa, and at the 2011 PanAmerican Games in Guadalajara, and is now honorary co-chair of PanAm 2015’s Ignite program. She will be performing in a series of countdown concerts to the 2015 Games, as well as speaking at events connecting athletes and sports fans with musicians and art lovers.

“She captures the raw emotion and passion of Latin Music making us sit up and listen” – CBC Radio


August 13th – 6 pm

These “demons” are energetic and move around when they perform. Lots of sound.

The Shuffle Demons are a high-energy Canadian band that blends virtuosic jazz and funk playing with eye-catching costumes and over the top stage antics to produce an incredible show. A hit at festivals all over the world, the Shuffle Demons are a crowd pleasing, full-on musical group that backs up wild stage antics with phenomenal playing by some of Canada’s most talented musicians.

The electrifying musical fusion that The Shuffle Demons brought to life almost 30 years ago has entertained audiences around the world with their genre bending sound. Saxophones, upright bass, and wild percussion backed up by incredibly solid musicianship and a highly entertaining show will leave you wanting more!

“It’s not every day you hear a band with three saxophones plus bass and drums with such solid energy that this band can serve.” – The WholeNote


Sun Aug 14, 2022 at 2pm

Approx. 75 mins. No intermission.

Clerel: A beautiful fusion of instrumentation layered with melancholic lyrics

Although he grew up singing with his grandmother, Clerel did not learn how to play an instrument until he was in University. We are thankful he picked up that guitar as he is now bringing us breezy and soulful music that earned him a spot on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show.

Living in Montreal, Clerel is Camaroonian born, a cultural influence heard and felt in his music. His music is also heavily influenced by American soul and jazz with deep roots in his experiences as an African immigrant living in the West. Experience the African drum beats coupled with guitar and trumpets in songs such as Lonely Dance. A beautiful fusion of instrumentation layered with Clerel’s melancholic lyrics.


Sun Aug 14, 2022 at 4pm

Approx. 75 mins. No intermission.

Laila Biali – “ability to meld traditional jazz with contemporary pop so effortlessly that neither style seems out of place on the same record” – Spinner Magazine

Laila Biali takes the best of pop, rock, classical, world and soul, informs it with her expertise in jazz, and weaves it into her musical arrangements and original songs. Laila has presented her music at prestigious venues spanning five continents including the North Sea Jazz Festival, Tokyo’s Cotton Club, Peru’s El Festival Internacional de Lima, and Carnegie Hall in New York City.

The talented Biali is a multi-award-winning Canadian singer-songwriter and pianist and has toured with Chris Botti, Paula Cole, Suzanne Vega and recorded with and supported Sting. Her accolades include “SOCAN Composer of the Year” and “SOCAN Keyboardist of the Year” at Canada’s National Jazz Awards.

“It’s not every day you hear a band with three saxophones plus bass and drums with such solid energy that this band can serve.” – The WholeNote



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Stronger Mayors proposed for Toronto and Ottawa - if it works - will Burlington be next ?

By Pepper Parr

August 11th, 2022



What the province is proposing:

“The Ontario government introduced legislation that would give the mayors of Toronto and Ottawa more responsibility to deliver on shared provincial-municipal priorities, including building 1.5 million new homes over the next 10 years.

“If passed, the Strong Mayors, Building Homes Act, would give the mayors of Toronto and Ottawa the ability to move priority projects forward and get more homes built faster. Proposed changes include:

      • hiring the Chief Administrative Officer and municipal department heads, and create and re-organize departments
      • appointing chairs/vice-chairs for identified committees and local boards, and establish new identified committees
      • bringing matters for council consideration related to provincial priorities
      • vetoing bylaws approved by council if they relate to matters of provincial priority
      • proposing the municipal budget

Steve Clark,Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs has tabled legislation that would mean a much different form of local government.

If we are reading this correctly the Mayor – not Council would hire the CAO (City Manager)  It would the Mayor’s hand picked choice – the Mayor could hire the departments heads – a task that is the responsibility of the city manager.

Those are sweeping changes and in our view not the kind of power and control you want to put in the hands of the wrong kind of Mayor.

A Mayor could propose a budget – were this to happen any self respecting city treasurer would resign.

To us this looks like the thin edge of a wedge that would/could do a lot of damage.

“This legislation is an important tool to get more homes built faster, and is one of a number of initiatives being taken by the Ontario government to address the housing shortage.

“The reality is over one third of Ontario’s growth over the next decade is expected to happen in Toronto and Ottawa, and too many families are already struggling with housing and the rising cost of living.

“We need to support efficient local decision-making to help cut through red tape and speed up development timelines,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “While there is no silver bullet to addressing the housing crisis, the Strong Mayors, Building Homes Act is another step in the right direction to provide more tools to municipal leaders to deliver on their platform commitments to constituents. The province is actively deepening our cooperation on all fronts across all municipalities to get 1.5 million homes built over the next 10 years.”

“These proposed measures would allow council to have the ability to propose amendments to the municipal budget. Council would also be able to override the mayor’s veto of any budget amendments and by-laws related to provincial priorities with a two-thirds majority vote.

If passed, the proposed changes are intended to take effect on November 15, 2022 — the start of the new municipal council term.

This is a debate that needs close watching.

The proposal is to apply to Ottawa and Toronto.  Are smaller cities next?

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Is Choosing an eCommerce Agency a Great Idea? Know Why

By Andy Walker

August 12th, 2022



In the world of growing economies, business is one of the best ways to catch up. But opening an online business might sound burdensome to many people. You might have an idea, but the execution seems like a far future, next to impossible. In times like this, we have eCommerce agencies as your saviour.

An eCommerce site gives your business a world wide reach and lets everyone in your home market know who you are and what you do.

What Are eCommerce Agencies?
How do you start a business? First, you start researching a specific market. Suppose you want to know about new Ontario online casinos and you research about that and gather some information. Then you get your own idea and start a business. You can also search for business strategies online. But theirs and your ideas will contradict as they only provide you with a generalized plan which might not be effective in your case.

eCommerce agencies are specialized agencies that make customized plans for clients according to their needs and business goals for them to achieve the target sales. Since they know what they are doing, you do not have to think much about it and face trials and errors.

Why Will You Choose Agencies and Not an Employee?
Hiring an employee indeed sounds easier and more economical than hiring an agency. But what are the advantages of hiring an agency? Let us get into it.

1. Expertise
Agencies are experts in their fields as they know the latest trends in the market, new technologies and creativity in their approach. They will provide you with expert guidance. An employee cannot have expertise in all the areas; they need additional training for it.

2. Saving Time and Cost-Effectiveness
Time is valuable in business as is the proper amount of investment. Agencies will provide you with a fixed budget and they have manpower so they will do the job in time. It will save your money as well as your precious time. Employees, on the other hand, can strain your budget.

Creating a budget and staying within it is critical.

3. Building Your Site
eCommerce agencies are connected with technical platforms so they will help you build a site from scratch or can upgrade your new site according to your requirement. You won’t need another employee for that.

4. Digital Marketing Services
Agencies help with SEO, promoting your brand via social media, product presentation, content creation, jamming the site with viewers by running PPC promotions, SMS and email marketing, influencers, etc. Otherwise, you have to hire multiple employees.

5. Strategizing CRO
If you are in the business field, you should know how much CRO helps in growing the ROI of your site. CRO consultants will take time to deliver the result but agencies are faster and therefore, they will help prevent losses.

What Factors to Keep in Mind While Choosing Your Agency?
There are a few checkboxes to tick before you finalize an agency. Let’s checkout the following steps:

1. Authenticity and Review Check
There are lots of frauds going on online and you do not want to be a part of it. Hence, always check the site thoroughly to find any discrepancy that might be there. Then head over to the reviews section to see if they are positive or not. Check both the original site as well as review articles to judge the best option.

2. Budget and Negotiation
The main reason you want an agency is to optimize your budget. Some websites offer price calculations and for some, you have to mail and clarify. After clarifying the budget, you can negotiate with them.

3. Finding the Specialization You Need
Agencies have descriptions on their pages from where you can find what areas they specialize in. Some might be experts in web designs while some might work with social media marketing. You need to choose which one is the best fit for your business.

This is the reason you are in business. Creating an eCommerce extension gives you world wide reach for your product or service.

4. After-Sales Service Check
After-sales service is essential in case some problem arises with your site later. Make sure to check the reviews if they provide it or not.

The Bottom Line
Choosing a good eCommerce agency is like opening a door to success. It will determine your future growth. The modern business market requires advanced technology and innovation. So, to keep yourself up with the competitive market, you have to find the best option to realize your dream. Nothing is too far-fetched, it only requires a genie. Let an eCommerce agency be that for you.

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Poo, poo, poo - why so much shampoo

By Connor Fraser

August 11th, 2022



We have allowed powerful firms to created wasteful narratives. It’s time to push back.

How many times per week do you poo?

This past winter, I happened upon a regular schedule, nearly every day. Oh, and by “poo” I mean shampoo.

In December, my hairdresser recommended a new set of shampoo, conditioner and product specific to my hair style – instead of generic soaps found at the grocery store. I suppose it was more excitement at the prospect of taking better care and ownership of my body that caused me to embrace this daily routine. Recently, it has propelled me to think about how often I wash, and whether soaps are even necessary every time. They are not.

Proponents of the moderately famous “no poo” movement will argue that abstention from all commercial soaps is possible. There are people all over the internet who claim to have done so for 5+ years. While those claims are more than a bit ridiculous and I don’t plan to jump on their boat anytime soon, recently I have experimented with lathering up only every third day, and (maybe) rinsing for the remainder. And I haven’t noticed any difference. If anything, my hair is healthier than before.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Europeans get away with much less – they shampoo roughly half as often as North Americans. My friends and family who recently returned from vacation in France, Spain or Italy all reported a great experience. They didn’t mention anything about slippery streets or having to throw out clothes after brushing into someone’s head on the subway.

The push to have long flowing curly hair is a feature of advertising in North America

In fact, regular use of shampoo arrived only in the 20th century, when large-scale advertising campaigns “showered” people with the idea. They painted an image whereby buying and using their product was a ticket to gaining social acceptance. Those who remained on fringe were medieval.

As a student of business, I appreciate that firms exist to harness (hopefully for good) the most basic human instinct which is self-interest. Optimally, appropriate checks and balances would be in place to control the worst impulses of owners to, among endless possibilities, commit fraud or abuse their employees. But there is nothing illegal about pushing a product which people don’t really need, or at a greater frequency than is actually necessary.

I wonder whether Canadians are guilty of sleep walking into this trap. People, myself included, love stories. We crave simplification and narratives, and marketing departments at most large multinationals have evolved into history’s most successful storytellers. The problem arises, however, when the stories we are told do not end up creating value for consumers. Business, like politics and life, is a game. We must be vigilant to keep competitors honest and fight tooth and nail to avoid being coaxed out of our hard earned savings of real and social capital.

Over-usage of shampoo is but one example. What about laundry & dishwasher detergent? For the past year, I have washed my clothes with Tide. Despite always pouring the smallest suggested measure of detergent, even for heavy loads, I have never experienced dirty clothes. Moreover, my family always splits the bar of dishwasher detergent in half. Literally zero difference.

What about cellphones? Is it fate that everyone on the planet should have a portable phone, or rather did executives in Silicon Valley conspire to cook up another great narrative which we have all embraced without an afterthought? While I’m being crude, there is plenty of truth here.

You’ve seen a lot of these.

Because we live in an increasingly digital age where advanced marketing tactics have given firms the upper hand, so too must we arm consumers, and particularly young consumers, with the tools they need to defend themselves. When I was in elementary school, I recall my teacher briefly explaining to the class why it’s important to constantly question the messages behind advertisements.

That was one lesson, in 4th grade. For the most part, myself and my classmates were left to fend for ourselves. One opportunity might be to revitalize Ontario’s media literacy curriculum such that it rigorously prepares tomorrow’s generation to become more responsible and critical consumers. Additionally, consumer protection groups might accelerate verification of claims made by companies to ascertain whether they are backed by objectivity and science. Perhaps there is a rationale for increased funding towards federal watchdogs such as the Office of Consumer Affairs.

In the meantime, I encourage you to think about what products and services you consume as part of your routine, with an eye for identifying which are truly adding value, and which are freeloading. Consider sharing your findings and perspective with a comment below – I’m excited to learn what you discover!

Connor Fraser is a long-time resident of Aldershot.

In 2020, he completed undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto, with a B.A.Sc. in Engineering Science and a major in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

He has returned to U of T to enroll in the dual Master of Global Affairs and Master of Business Administration program.

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Major changes in structure of volunteer committees at Chamber

By Pepper Parr

August 8th, 2022



We had heard there would be changes in the structure of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce Volunteer committees – they were to be reduced to two from the seven that were in place.

There were those with the view that the Volunteer  groups had far too much clout and that changes were necessary.

In a statement put out today Terry Caddo is confirming that changes have been made and invited people to volunteer within the new structure.

He said:

Burlington Chamber of Commerce President Terry Caddo

“Thank you for your ongoing support and dedication to the Chamber and the local Burlington Community. We would like to express our gratitude and thank our volunteers from our current and historical committees, who have selflessly contributed their time to drive Chamber initiatives.

“As we implement our new strategic plan, there will be a few changes with the composition and structure of our committees moving forward.

“As we align with our strategic pillars of; Connecting Leaders, Active Advocacy and Creating Opportunities, we will be reducing the number of committees to the following:

Membership Experience and Engagement, and Policy and Advocacy. This restructuring will result in increased diversity within the two committees to allow for a greater representation of the Burlington business community.

The Burlington Chamber will be able to create impactful opportunities for our members, as we will be able to have committees that are truly reflective of our membership.

The Member Experience and Engagement committee will provide insight and support to the Burlington Chamber of Commerce on membership recruitment, engagement, and retention, and serve as the organizing centre for Chamber events. This committee will directly align with the strategic plan pillars: Connecting Leaders and Creating Opportunities.

Taskforces will be created within the committee as needed to help support with signature events such as the Business Excellence Awards, Wonder Women Conference, and the annual Golf Tournament.

The Policy and Advocacy committee will actively advocate and influence on local, regional, provincial, and federal issues and policy affecting Burlington businesses and will directly align with the Active Advocacy pillar. This committee will be the go-to source for business discussions in the community and be successful in creating a strong community of businesses and other agencies that support each other.

As we move forward, we ask that you complete the below application to participate in these new committees. We encourage current and past volunteers to re-apply. Please use the link below to complete your application.


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Last week Council went for a $39million spend to build a new Skyway Arena - Stolte chose fiscal prudence and voted no.

By Pepper Parr

August 8th, 2022


This is a long article.  It focuses on one new arena but sets out how this council is going to spend to provide the infrastructure it thinks the city needs.  See it as a cautionary tale.

Council met on Thursday to decide if they were going to go forward with the construction of a new Skyway arena in ward 5.

Referred to as the Skyway Arena – the structure in place now was taken out of commission WHEN because it no longer met the rules related to Freon.

The rink was small.

The city did a lot of planning on this project – it was to be carbon free, solar panels on the roof, two regular size ice pads, pickle ball courts, community rooms and a walking track.

The new Skyway arena will be to the north of the proposed 6 story Lakeside Plaza development. Not a word was said about the development plans during the decision to spend $37 million

Way back when Councillor Paul Sharman was first elected he tried, in vain at the time, to get in touch with the owner of the plaza that had seen better days. It took a couple of years but eventually there was a development proposal that included eight structures.

During that time the Burloaks Park was completed – it is one of the better parks in the city that is seldom crowed that way Spencer Smith Park is.

The community amenities will include pickle ball courts, meeting rooms and a Walking Track.

This is the background behind the decision to spend twice as much as was originally planned on the Skyway arena.

The decision was to a contract for the construction of the new arena to Norlon Builders London Limited for $37,021,769.55

Staff asked that Council

Approve the revised total budget of $39,433,100 with revised financing proposed.
Authorize the additional funding of $2,000,000 from Tax Supported Debt; $403,000 from the Corporate Accessibility Implementation Project and $4,710,100 from the infrastructure renewal reserve fund.

Significantly looking structure for an arena – walking track, community meeting rooms and pickle ball courts make it more of a community hub. Something badly needed in the community.

What makes the development awkward is that it is a 1.4 km and a quarter away from the Bateman high school site that the city is in the process of buying – the public will not know much about the cost until sometime in September when the deal is expected to close.

The figure of $500 million was mentioned by Councillor Stolte, who was sanctioned by the Integrity Commissioner for revealing information that was discussed in a closed session of Council. The figure Stolte made public was, as she explained it, an approximation.

The Bateman and the Skyway arena are all about creating more in the way of space for a growth in population that will add three new communities to the city around the GO stations.

The Bateman and the Skyway development are in the south east sector

Lisa Kearns Councillor for ward 2 asked a procurement question, wanting to know how far into the process was the tender?

Staff had already decided who should be getting the job – all they needed was approval from Council to go forward.

Jennifer Johnson on the left, listening to a resident when public feedback was being gathered about the residential plans.

Jennifer Johnson, the staff member who oversaw the redevelopment of the WHICH ONE explained that three compliant bids and were ready to give the contract to Nolan for $37 million plus.

Given that Councillors are in the middle of an election Kearns wanted to be seen as being on top of everything said: “I’m looking to understand or hear what within the bid tender document and or agreed upon by those compliant bids would potentially help the city in a situation where the vendors work fell short or compliance with specs was not met. Those types of things. I want to understand what our insurance plans are, so to speak, so that we can be very much guaranteed that we have the best quality for our you know, the best quality when this work gets undertaken?

Johnson explained that “through our pre-qualification, we went through two rounds for general contractors where we asked them to qualify, electrical, mechanical and landscape because those were a very big component of the project. So they actually had to name the consultants they were using and had to close the bid with them. So through the pre-qualification process, we knew who those trades were, they were local trades, good trades. And basically, we pre-qualified five general contractors prior to even releasing the tender documents.

Solar panels on the roof will cover a lot of the electricity costs?

“Our specifications were very tight, because we tried our best to include designs that were all locally sourced. We also went through a review process with the consultants to ensure that all the equipment that we included in the design and specifications were still able to be sourced without you know, extended lead times. Contractors, are obligated to fulfill their contract under that lump sum.

The Skyway arena is in ward 5, Sharman territory. He said: Just slightly more than half of this cost is more than the city expected, but this is not a unique situation- that’s happening to everything. The question raised from time to time is should we wait for things to get better? The Staff report concludes that it’s going to be at least five years before the current pressure on costs decreases.This is not going to get better. If we don’t do it now.

It’ll just get worse and where does that leave us? It raises all sorts of concerns about improving the infrastructure in the city and increasing the infrastructure in the city. And we’ll have to cross that bridge when we come to it. But for now, I believe that we’re doing something that is badly needed by the city. We need the ice pads and the community rooms and the walking track.

Bateman won’t solve the ice pad problem, it won’t provide the walking track for the seniors who live in the immediate arena. And the pressure to build the pickle ball courts. So we’re going to be there. This is a wonderful addition to our recreation facilities in Burlington. Much needed, much appreciated. And we can just hope that cost isn’t going to be with us as a problem for ever.

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte took a much different position. “I’ve certainly brought up concerns before about the commitment to projects located 1.4 kilometers away from each other. We’ve made a huge commitment to debate and project and I just feel very uncomfortable with as Councillor Sherman has brought up the increasing cost of this which I know is realistic. I know that costs are going up across the country. We’re all aware of that. But the reality is too is that by utilizing the limited funds that we have available to us and the limited room that we have in our debt capacity limit, we’re committing most of our eggs into two baskets that are in the southeast corner of Burlington and I’m just not convinced that that’s an appropriate decision for us to be making at this time.

That walking track and a community rooms would be nice. I think that we could scale this project back to ensure that we have the ice rinks and I think that we could make sure that we have transportation options available to seniors to get them up to the proposed community rooms that we hope to have at the maintenance project. And that would leave us some funding available to ensure that we are able to take care of other infrastructure projects and that we have other opportunities to use our debt capacity limit because there certainly are a lot of a lot of other projects around the city that need attention. I wasn’t in support of this before. I’m still not. I know that it would be a great project if money were no object, but money is an object and I won’t be able to support this today.

Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan said: “This is a higher price than we anticipated. No doubt about it. We’ve made the Skyway a priority for a long time. I believe we can still pursue upper level government funding and I’m sure we will but we can’t just bring everything to a standstill.

Ward 1 Councilor Kelvin Galbraith said: “I’m in support of this. I am part of the ice user group that knows there is a big need for another ice rink. It’s the ice users have been hurt for the last couple of years now that Skyway has been taken out of the inventory and replacing it with a full size rink is very important and will be very valuable to the ice user groups.

“I think the city needs more of these type of facilities and the longer we wait, the more expensive it will get. I think the time is now and I’m prepared to support this today.

Lisa Kearns put her financial concern, chase down the details spin on the building of a new arena.

Lisa Kearns joined what was now a majority of Council and said: “I think the whole conversation we’re having here is really reflective of the petulance that I’m starting to see around some of these really, really big ticket items. We know that we’ve already committed to prioritizing Skyway community centre and it feels a lot like this is one of those projects that we’re so far into that is difficult to turn around in, in response to escalating prices. Now, in my view, there are two things to look at here. One is of course the community value which we can’t put a price tag on it’s clear we do need more ice rinks. And in fact, we need the type of ice rinks that can host and hold tournaments and things of that nature so that we can really capitalize on those additional tourism dollars especially in light of having our municipal accommodation tax now ushered in so we do need to look at this really big picture.

“It’s one thing to award a tender. It’s another thing to award a tender with really strong terms that despite escalating costs still puts the city in the driver’s seat around ensuring the diligence used around those funds. Those are many types of causes like clawback clauses, there’s the dispute resolution, there’s payment terms certainty of terms limitations of liability. I want to be really really sure that when we are embarking on projects this high visibility and this high of a price tag we have covered all our bases.

The table below shows the change to the Total Project Cost over the last three years. The lowest compliant bid has resulted in an increased construction cost to $36.7 million, including soft costs, and project contingency, the new total project cost is estimated at $39.4 million (including the parks revitalization component). This is an increase of 22% from the Class A, most recently completed in March 2022 or $7.1 million.

It’s really important that we don’t have bumps along the way from today’s meeting where we’re proving this to when we can actually open the doors and welcome our residents across the city into a facility like this. I do want to also put on record and echo the comments of Councillor salty in that I am worried about our debt limit and our debt threshold. We still have a really big ticket in very similar proximity that hasn’t even had its capital costs disclose to the public yet. And that will no doubt require some support from our tax base and of course from our infrastructure renewal reserve fund so that fun will quickly be dwindling and it’s I’m hopeful that they’ll be a lot left for some of the other areas where we are really putting a focus on growth.

I am supporting this today with caution. And you know putting everyone involved in this in this project on notice that we want it to be an absolute and true success and we want it to be handled with the greatest level of diligence as possible.

The project was short 7 million – they dug into reserves and pushed $2 million onto the backs of the taxpayers – by taking out a 15 years debenture at 4.5%. Don’t you wish you could get that interest from your bank

Councillor Sharman added later in the meeting before the vote saying he recognized that his comments about money were made the way they were said because I think that it’s just a fact of life that cost is increasing. The arena had to be closed because the Freon system became illegal. Otherwise, we would have continued to have Skyway arena open, but it was grossly inadequate. It was built in the 60s. It was no longer up to standard in terms of installation and efficiency and effectiveness and it was undersized so it needed to go. So it’s going to be built. I think that’s one point with respect to money or No, I have a fairly reasonable understanding of money and my view of the world is very oriented towards future cash flow and where it’s coming from.

Paul Sharman: “I have no concerns about money.”

“I have no concerns about money, it will be resolved and especially in Parkland dedication, even if I do think it’s a bit rich it’s going to pay for a lot of stuff. We will still be building within the urban boundary. We will have the cash to pay for the facilities we need for another 70,000 people in the course of the next 30 years. And if anybody’s thinking differently than I ask you to talk to me, because planning and cash flow forecasting is an important way of thinking and I have no concerns about the money. And that’s about it for me. I’m delighted that we’re getting on with this.

Mayor Meed Ward decided it was her turn to take a kick at the can. “I am really looking forward to the ground-breaking in October. We know that we need more community facilities for our growing population period full stop – we are at capacity, we are bursting at the seams. This will be a facility that is used and loved by people from across Burlington the ice pads the community meeting space the parkour out front and also it will be really the future of how we build community facilities in Burlington. It will have solar panels on the roof. It will be a low carbon building, that is the future and we are not done yet. Our community amenities our parks or community centers have not kept up with the growth that we have seen in population in Burlington – this is one more opportunity to not only refresh what was there before, but expand it. The Walking Track is was really important.

It’s not so much about what we spend, it’s what we spend on and this there’s no question in my mind that this has been a priority. And so we just need to get on with it. We need to because the price isn’t gonna get any cheaper. And the cost escalation that we have seen is due to factors that are outside of the city’s control for sure and there’s no time like the present to get going.

This will put us at 11% debt ratio, our city imposed ratio is 12 and a half so we’re still well below that. The province imposes a debt ratio of 25%. Tax supported debt is only one of many sources of funding. We have reserved funds – revenue from users that will come back to us. I know the pickle ball courts will be very well used and played.

We have just increased and really level set the development charges that we will be charging for new growth and our Parkland dedication fees we were way behind, leaving money substantial amounts of money on the table.

I’m enthusiastic about finally getting on with this centre and we will mean we need more we’re not done we are not done yet with parks and community centres. Because we still have a lot more growth coming and we still have some catching up to do. And we have the money. We have the money to do it.

We do need a recorded vote on this. So I will turn it over to our clerk to take the recorded vote.

Councillor Bentivegna had some interesting questions and concerns about what was going to happen to the taxpayer.  His views will be covered in a seperate article later in the week.

Councillor stuck to her guns; the only Council member to talk about fiscal prudence.

City Manager Tim Commisso sat in on the meeting – didn’t say a word

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