Unaffordable housing is bad for everyone: many don’t want to discuss real solutions

By Connor Fraser,

April 28th ,2022

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

 

Everyone is keenly aware of how unaffordable housing has become in our community and across other regions of the province. Many young people are now facing the reality of never being able to own in the region where they grew up. They are making tough decisions to live farther and farther away from work, and endure gruelling commutes that will impact their mental health and the environment. Darrell Bricker of Ipsos Public Affairs observed in a recent interview for the Ontario 360 Initiative that the outlook of Ontarians (and in particular young Ontarians) for their futures, has darkened, driven in large part by declining housing affordability.

While on the surface it may seem like just another issue, unaffordability has been created by diverse and complicated factors. Its costs are moreover sinister and threaten the future quality of life for all Ontarians.

There are very few locations where new single detached homes are being built – it is all high rise for Burlington going forward.

Since the 1960’s municipal zoning bylaws have set us on a collision course with this problem. Vast tracts of land are “locked up” with low-density, single-detached designations. Any attempt to introduce higher density (even modest 3 or 4 storey multi-units) are met with arguments of “neighbourhood character preservation” and ferocious opposition from existing homeowners. While “NIMBYs” perpetuate the problem and are convenient scapegoats, they are not responsible for decades-old zoning bylaws.

I am genuinely concerned that we have not learned any lessons in Ontario. Low-density urban sprawl continues at breakneck speeds. New development must be encouraged, but with an eye for much higher density and transit-oriented communities.

This connects with the second and perhaps most sinister and intractable cause of unaffordable housing: Significant numbers of Ontarian’s want low-density housing. The Anglo-American mindset romanticizes fierce independence and individualism. Unless you’ve got a driveway and your own tiny patch of grass, you’re not successful. Ironically, many of my friends who complain about skyrocketing prices are adamant in their desire to own a single-detached house. It’s understandable that many keenly aspire to a goal that was attainable for older generations – but I think it’s more important to realize that those goals may have been unsustainable. Regretfully, convincing so many that fulfilling lives may still exist within higher density settings (take Quebec as a good example) is a politically suicidal task.

The costs of unaffordable housing are immense. The future economic growth (and in turn quality of life and government services) of Ontario and Burlington relies upon attracting top employees and firms. Many investments have been made to transform Toronto and the GTA into a technology hub and take advantage of the intangible economy. Expensive housing and long commutes threaten that transformation. They are major obstacles to those considering whether to make Ontario their home. If you’re someone opposed to urban intensification in Burlington or elsewhere, consider that in 30 – 40 years you’ll likely need and want timely and effective healthcare services. Who’s going to pay for it if those who would’ve lived here and created value with their talent, have been driven from the province by unaffordability, thereby crippling the tax base?

Pierre Poilievre: targeting his message to people who are angry.

Rising home prices also open the door for populist leaders on the fringes of the political spectrum to gain power by capitalizing on anger. Under normal circumstances, such individuals would never be considered for public office. The federal Conservative leadership race has already seen examples of candidates trying to exploit anger over house prices and inflation for political gain.

I don’t see this problem being resolved in the near future. The composition of infrastructure changes very slowly, many aspire to live in low-density settings, and there are limited options for English-speaking young people in Canada: This is a slight simplification, but all the best jobs are in Toronto or Vancouver.

At the very least, the province must intervene by overriding municipal zoning bylaws to promote “missing middle” 3-4 storey multi-unit housing. Furthermore, the province could become more aggressive with mandating that all new development be higher density and transit oriented.

Could Perth, ON close to Ottawa with a lovely idyllic setting be made a larger community? The locals wouldn’t buy it

Other options that should be explored include actively building out secondary urban centres within Canada, and making these locations attractive to live. Even within Ontario, there are many regions that might be targeted for significant growth, such as Windsor and Thunder Bay. With a limited number of serious economic hubs compared to the United States, we risk over-concentrating demand for housing to an extent that local actors cannot solve.

The ultimate solution to this problem is compromise. On one hand, those in existing neighbourhoods should reflect that low-density housing was always an unsustainable, exclusive and very costly goal. Moreover, young people and those hoping to start families should reflect that remaining attached to an unsustainable ideal is going to make their lives unnecessarily difficult and unhappy. For the simple reason that many are unwilling to compromise, unaffordable housing is here to stay.

Connor Fraser is a post graduate student at the University of Toronto enrolled in the dual Master of Global Affairs and Master of Business Administration program.

Return to the Front page

Ward 4 Councillor broadcast to her constituents and tells them about a new program from city hall.

By Pepper Parr

April 28th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

Asked if she would run again Coun. Stolte cited her “disappointment and frustration had overwhelmed her on the day but that she was waiting for the results of this  coming weeks reports regarding the in camera closed meetings. Coun. Stolte expressed her sincerest gratitude for the many constituents, larger community members and staff that have been very thoughtful and encouraging 

Getting people to take part in a ward meeting is a tricky business. Council members can promote the event but it is up to people to actually get out to the meeting. Covid has limited what people are prepared to do.

City technical types basically set up a broadcast studio in the Community Room at Tansley Woods. From there they can broadcast out, allowing Councillor Stolte to speak to people participating in the room remotely and bring in people who are participating from their home or office. Theoretically this could have been an international event if there were people in the United States or the UK who had some experience helping people to get to know their neighbours.

Lisa Kearns was the first Councillor who managed to set up a hybrid meeting and make it work. The live people in the AGB, where Kearns holds her meetings had less than eight people first time out.

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte, who announced during the Integrity report delivery and debate that she was not cut out for this kind of work and that she would not run for office again in October.

Glenn Nicholson, served as a community focal point on his street when many of his neighbours were flooded in 2014

A potential candidate showed up at the ward 4 meeting Wednesday night along with eight others and 30 people taking part on line.

Taking part on line requires the creating of what amounts to a small broadcasting studio to capture what is being said by those who participate on line and those in the meeting room, which in this case was in the Tansley Woods community centre.

Stolte went one step further than Kearns when she had a city staff member taking part virtually and talking about a city program we had not heard about before.

Burlington now has a small collection of “connectors” – people who help other people connect to others in their neighbourhood.

Sounded like a really good idea that seems to be working. Something to follow up with for more detail.

At this point here is what we can tell you.

A connector “self-selects” – they do that by getting in touch with Jennifer Spence at City Hall

Spence meets with the person, often over a cup of coffee and talks about what the person would like to do, what they know about the program and then explains in detail what the program is and how these self-selected connectors can do their thing.  You can reach city staff running the program at:  communityconnects@burlington.ca .

Mary Alice St James, a retired elementary school principal and a candidate for Council in ward 5 during the last municipal election, identified herself during the meeting as a “super” level connector, which is something that would be hard to argue with.

Return to the Front page

How Not to Get Mad at Loved Ones: 6 Ways to Manage Emotions

By Kate Brown

April 28th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Everyone experiences negative emotions from time to time. You may have been taught as a child to suppress them, but it’s natural to be angry. The main thing is not to let your feelings become the reason for quarrels with other people. You can learn to control anger by understanding what causes it and expressing it in healthier ways.

Imagine the situation: you boil when the boss asks you to do extra work. Perhaps it’s not the first time it’s happened because another employee has again failed to complete his duties on time. You’re fed up and feel like you’re about to explode. Then you gather your coworkers and tell them what you think of them. Gradually your anger fades and you feel better, but you realize from the surprised looks on the faces of those around you that this was not the best way to deal with your emotions.

Usually the cause of anger is an underlying problem. It’s possible that you’re tired of doing everything for everyone at work and it’s high time you built personal boundaries. You no longer want to take on the responsibilities of colleagues who are not up to the task. Anger and quarrels will not help change the situation, it’s much more productive to learn to express emotions in other ways.

How to Control Anger
There are several ways to control anger. By following the simple instructions on this list, you can activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which means you can calm down and relax. You’ll cope with anxiety and stress, your mood will improve, and your blood pressure will return to normal. Here’s what will help you not snap when you’re experiencing strong negative emotions.

Take a Break
Take time out and go for a short walk. This will allow you to reflect for a while before reacting to events emotionally. Go outside, feel the warmth of the sun, listen to the leaves rustling in the wind. Focus your attention on the world around you. Forget about the most pleasurable things, like gambling at a Canadian casino online or your favorite movie you’ve watched recently. This will activate your frontal cortex, and strong negative emotions will subside.

Awareness or Short Meditation
Close your eyes, slow your breathing, and allow yourself to calm down, relaxing your whole body. Take your mind to a place where you once felt happy. It could be the seashore, the mountains, or the arms of a loved one.

Writing a journal is an opportunity to put your feelings down on paper – you’ll be surprised how you feel when you go back and read them later.

Write a Diary
When you are angry, write an uncensored letter to the person who triggered your negative emotion. You can do this on paper or in your smartphone notes. Afterwards, reread the letter and try to figure out what experiences caused you to defend yourself through anger. Perhaps you feel humiliated or you are frightened by uncertainty. There is no need to send the letter to the addressee; it’s better to tear up the sheet or erase what you have written. This kind of practice helps you to structure your thoughts, find the true causes of your emotions, and cope with stress.

Deep Breathing
This method of anger management seems too simple, but it really works. The key is to start using it. If you are boiling over, but you cannot leave the room and need to continue talking to the person who provoked the negative emotion in you, turn away to breathe and count to ten. During this time, you will be able to determine the cause of your anger and outline a plan of action.

Exercise
If you are overcome by anger, do some simple exercises or swim in the pool. Exercise releases endorphins that make you feel better. It’s impossible to leave a workout with the same level of stress that you came to class with. Your anxiety level will decrease, making it easier for you to make informed decisions.

Anti-stress Accessories
The easiest and most affordable of these is a wrist expander. Squeeze and unclench the exercises in the palms of your hands. Monotonous actions will help to cope with stress and relax. Bonus – strong hands and excellent grip, the main thing – do not forget to change hands periodically. “I-affirmations.”

If you feel yourself boiling over, directly (but calmly) tell the person you’re talking to what you think about what’s going on. Use “I-affirmations” and don’t get personal. For example, you might say to your boss, “I’m puzzled by what you said.” My part of the project was done yesterday.” Such communication will provide new information and allow your boss to see the situation from a new perspective.

Speaking calmly and directly – takes the heat out of a conversation

Regardless of which way you choose to deal with your emotions, it’s important to identify the cause of your anger and recognize the difference between healthy and chronic stress. Understanding what makes you angry will help you deal with future outbursts of anger. If your anger is related to the other person’s actions, let them know how and why their actions affect you. The conversation should begin in a calm atmosphere – after you can pull yourself together. Together with the person, you are talking to, come up with a plan for how to communicate in the future.

Take time to get to know yourself better and develop emotional intelligence. If you learn to manage your emotions and stop snapping at others, you can strengthen communication and make your relationship healthier.

Return to the Front page

Can Burlington do what Milton is setting out to do - rescue the citizens of the city.

By Pepper Parr

April 28th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

If Milton can do it – Burlington certainly can.

The Milton Chamber of Commerce has partnered with Bell as a Community and are putting together what they will bring to an and this once-in-a-lifetime experience we have all been working through.

So many of us have been working remotely and not able to network and gather like we once did.
Milton is setting out to change that – Burlington has the capacity to do that.

Rotary managed to rescue and event despite COVID19 – how can Burlington create an event to rescue its citizensÉ

Rotary found a way to take over the Burlington Centre parking lot for their modified Rib Fest – perhaps the Chamber can do something similar.

The Milton Chamber is calling their event the ‘Welcome Back from Hibernation BBQ’ to network, see new and familiar faces, enjoy local food and drink, all while enjoying some music.

Watching and waiting to see what might come out of the woods in Burlington.

 

Return to the Front page

Art Gallery Guilds - the foundation the AGB was built on - holding their All Guild Exhibit April 29 to August 13th

By Staff

April 26th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

One of the things that makes the Art Gallery difference and distinct are the Guilds.

They are the foundation on which the Gallery as it exists today was built

Friday the Guilds come together and show the public what they have been doing while the pandemic took away the opportunity to visit the Gallery and enjoy what it has to offer.

A day or so ago we were shown a photograph taken by Frank Meyers that has been accepted for the Exhibition that opens on Friday.

A Frank Meyer photograph that has been accepted for the All Guilds Exhibition that opens on Friday

 

Attend and see what else they have to share.

The annual exhibition celebrates the guilds who make, learn, share, and teach at the Art Gallery of Burlington.

Burlington Fine Arts Association,

Burlington Handweavers and Spinners Guild,

Latow Photographers Guild,

Burlington Potters Guild,

Burlington Hooking Craft Guild,

Burlington Sculptors and Carvers,

Digital Arts Guild of Burlington.

Exhibition runs through to August 13th

AGB Hours

Tuesday – Friday 12 PM – 5 PM
Saturday 10 AM – 5 PM
Sunday & Monday CLOSED

Return to the Front page

Saturday night at the Opera - only in Burlington

By Staff

April 26th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Southern Ontario Lyric Opera (SOLO). We will be performing at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre on Saturday May 14th featuring two outstanding young Canadian singers.

Southern Ontario Lyric Opera (SOLO) Presents:
Encore!
Favourite Moments in Opera
Saturday May 14, 2022, 7:30 P.M.
Burlington Performing Arts Centre
Karoline Podolak, Soprano
Alexander Hajek, Baritone
Southern Ontario Lyric Opera Chorus and Orchestra
Sabatino Vacca, Conductor

Join them as they present a programme of operatic favourites featuring works by Mozart, Rossini, Verdi, and more!

For tickets please call the Box Office at 905 681 6000
Or online at https://burlingtonpac.ca/events/solo-encore-favourite-moments-in-opera/

Return to the Front page

Ukrainian Community Celebrates the Easter Service in Burlington with an adopted parish in Bakhmut

By Denis Gibbons

April 26th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A strong connection already established between parishioners of Holy Protection Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church and their brothers and sisters in Ukraine has enhanced the transfer of aid to refugees and victims of war.

The Burlington church adopted another parish in the city of Bakhmut, in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, as a sister city shortly after Russian troops crossed the border there in the summer of 2014 and eventually annexed Donetsk.

Heavy fighting has been reported in the area recently.

Since the war started on February 24, slightly used and new clothing has been packaged along with dry food, toiletries, first aid items etc. to make life a little easier for them.

Father Zenon Walnycky leads in prayer, along with Deacon Danylo Dudar and altar servers attired in blue.   Photo by DENIS GIBBONS

Volunteers gathered in the parish hall on Pine Street on Easter Weekend and another drive was held in Millcroft Park on Sunday, which was Easter for those of the Ukrainian right. As a result, dry goods, sleeping bags, medical supplies etc. will be shipped to the front lines in Ukraine.

“I’ve been doing fundraising ever since I moved to Aldershot in 2007 and I’m overwhelmed with the generosity of Burlingtonians,” said Lida Pichocki, one of the volunteers. “It’s amazing to see that people are standing with Ukraine and that they care.”

Pichocki’s brother Stephen, who is in charge of the local Tyrsa Ukrainian Dance Troupe, said his dancers will perform at a special Concert for Ukraine at St. Christopher’s Anglican Church Saturday, May 14 from 2 to 4 p.m.

Tenor Jeff Madden is also on the card, accompanied by pianist Andrea Battista, as well as bandura players and a special Ukrainian song performed by three Ukrainian refugee children, who recently arrived in Burlington.

Iryna Demchuk, who fled Ukraine after the war started, accepts some Easter eggs from an altar server.   Photo by DENIS GIBBONS

Iryna Demchuk, another refugee, left her hometown of Zbarazh in Western Ukraine in March and eventually made her way to Burlington at the invitation of her cousin Stefanie MacArthur and her husband John.

It took her more than 10 hours to travel by bus past the large Ukrainian city of Lviv to Warsaw, the capital of Poland, where she stayed for three weeks with the help of friends before obtaining a visa to come to Canada.

“I want the war to stop as soon as possible,” Demchuk said. “I want our family to be together.

“I saw the eyes of a man who took his wife and children to the Polish border and then had to come back. It was very painful.”

Naturally, Demchuk misses her husband and would like to go back home when it is safe. But for now she will volunteer with the church to help Ukrainian refugees and those still back in the country in any way she can.

Late in the evening on April 5, the noisy sounds of four Russian winged missiles were heard flying over the region near Zbarazh.

Luckily three were destroyed by Ukrainian air defence equipment and the fourth was damaged, preventing it from reaching its target, believed to be civil infrastructure in the western part of the country.

Demchuk, who works as a foreign economic activity specialist for the town council of Zbarazh, left at the urging of her husband Volodymyr, an architect who must stay to provide support to Ukrainian military forces because he is 41 and they have no children.

Lviv, located only two hours from the Polish border, has mostly been spared from damage, although 35 people were killed on March 13 when Russian missiles targeted a Ukrainian military base about 40 miles to the northwest.

Father Zenon Walnycky blesses an Easter food basket with the assistance of Deacon Danylo Dudar.      Photo by DENIS GIBBONS

Later five Russian rocket attacks hit the city’s civilian infrastructure.

Return to the Front page

Rainbow Crosswalks in Hamilton get a better go of it than those in Burlington - more TLC in Hamilton water?

By Pepper Parr

April 24th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Why does the Rainbow Crosswalk in Hamilton, on a street that has more than 300 transit buses driving over it every day and thousands of cars as well look as good as they day it was painted?

Damaged Rainbow Crosswalk in Burlington.

While in Burlington two Rainbow Cross walks are peeling and are a bit of an eyesore.

Hamilton Crosswalk next to city hall is in splendid condition despite heavy traffic.

What a bit galling is the big expensive fuss the Mayor made of the installation of the Rainbows – which are attractive and make a much needed statement?

It’s like a gift that is broken – and no effort is made to make a public statement about what is being done to fix the damaged Crosswalks and when results can be expected.

It’s a bit of an affront to the people who really supported the decision to have Rainbow Crosswalks in the city.

Return to the Front page

Summer: Temporary Patios and Sidewalk Detours

By Staff

April 22nd, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Earlier this year, Council approved the temporary patio program for the 2022 patio season to continue to support local businesses.

Sidewalk detours and patio set-up will begin next week in the downtown and will run until Oct. 31, 2022.

Sidewalk Detours

Maybe the patios will bring warmer weather?

Some patios will be installed on City sidewalks. These sections of the sidewalk will be detoured onto the road with traffic barriers. These barriers will help with pedestrian safety.

City of Burlington staff will be installing the sidewalk detours during the week of April 25, 2022.

The sidewalk detours for patios are being installed in downtown Burlington on:

      • The north side of Pine Street between Elizabeth Street and Pearl Street
      • The north side of Lakeshore Road between Brant Street and John Street
      • The north side of Lakeshore Road between Locust Street and Brant Street
      • The west side of Brant Street between Elgin Street and Lakeshore Road
      • The east side of Brant Street between Maria Street and James Street
      • The north side of Elgin Street between Locust Street and Brant Street

 

 

Return to the Front page

We know it as earth day

By Staff

April 22nd, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The world must stop increasing its greenhouse gas emissions within the next three years — and then rapidly slash them — to prevent the more extreme consequences of climate change, according to the latest United Nations report that highlights the need for stronger action to address the global climate crisis.

This really sobering news comes to us on Earth Day – an event that began in 1970.

In January 1969, Americans witnessed the ravages of a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, an American wanted to infuse the energy of student anti-war protests with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution.

We have known about the problem for decades.

And we haven’t done very much about it.

And time is running out.

Return to the Front page

Rickli Sculpture Finally has a Home of its own at the AGB

By Pepper Parr

April 21st, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A number of years ago insurance executive Dan Lawrie  donated a healthy sum to the Art Gallery of Burlington to commission a Walt Rickli sculpture that would sit in the Outdoor Garden that was eventually named after the Lawrie  Family.

I was personally impressed with the work – to me it was an incredible work of art. The AGB curator at the time saw it as very good craft work; he didn’t see the interpretation that Rickli felt the work expressed.

The sculpture, which was very heavy, was put in storage and remained there for a number of years.

I had occasion to be in the Art Gallery recently and asked whatever happened to the work – and was told that it is now in the Garden.

I skipped around to the Conservatory and there it was.

Photographed it so you can see what Rickli did – when you are in the Art Gallery next see for yourself and decide if this is art or craft.

It was certainly a large work and weighed a tonne. It was paid for by a respected citizen with the work done by a respected and award winning artist.

There is an obligation to at least support and recognize our own.

Return to the Front page

Burlington Green needs help giving trees away on the weekend,

By Staff

April 20th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Burlington Green has  two important things they  could use your help with this month – they hope  you can lend a hand.

Burlington Green is looking for people like this to help give away trees on the weekend.

  1. They are in need of volunteers to help with the Tree Giveaway this Saturday, April 23rd. Can you help?

It’s quick and easy to sign up to help. Great opportunity for high school volunteer hours too!

And to spread the word, we’d love shares on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIN.

We’re also looking for folks to join our amazing Board and help with other fun and rewarding activities. See our current volunteer opportunities.

 

Return to the Front page

Ireland House Museum will re-open May 3rd.

By Staff

April 20th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Slowly but surely things are opening up.

On May 3rd, Ireland House Museum re-opens to public admission.

Pre-booking is highly recommended to ensure a guide is available when you arrive. Hours are 10:00am to 4:00 pm, Tuesday to Friday, and 1:00pm to 4:00pm on Sundays.

Tour times are available on the hour.

To book a tour click HERE

Return to the Front page

Halton District School Board studentswill be strong competitors at Robotics event.

By Pepper Parr

April 13, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Burlington high schools have always been strong competitors in the field of robotics.

Six robotics teams from the Halton District School Board (HDSB) will be competing at the FIRST Ontario Provincial Championship in Mississauga Thursday through Saturday (April 14-16).

The robot was taught how to throw that basketball. It was not drafted by the Raptors

Schools participating include Burlington Central School, M.M. Robinson High School, Garth Webb Secondary School and Georgetown District High School, each with one team, and Oakville Trafalgar High School with two teams.

Each HDSB team qualified for the provincial competition based on their results from taking part in regional competitions including those held at Humber College, Waterloo and York universities. This provincial competition is a qualifier for the World FIRST Robotic Championship held April 20-23 in Houston, Texas.

“Our Halton FIRST robotics teams worked extra hard this season coming out of lockdown, with tight timelines to build their robot in time to compete in their first qualifier at the beginning of March,” says Veronica Kleinsmith, Lead for the Specialist High Skills Major andPathways programs with the HDSB.

“All HDSB teams built impressive robots this year and three of our schools are ranked in the Top 6 in Ontario going into this provincial competition. Each team raises funds from community and business sponsors, designs a brand for their team, hones their teamwork skills, builds and finally programs their robots for a difficult field-game challenge.”

The students who take part in the robotics courses are amongst the smartest in the HDSB system.

Established in 2001, FIRST Robotics inspires young people to be leaders and innovators in science and technology by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills to inspire innovation and foster self-confidence, communication and leadership.

Return to the Front page

Climate Earth Day Event Saturday, April 23 at Central Arena

By Staff

April 12th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The City, Burlington Hydro, BurlingtonGreen and Plug’n Drive are hosting Earth Day activities in the parking lot at Central Arena on Saturday, April 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Register for Tree Giveaway
The City of Burlington is giving away 200 trees. To receive a free four-to-five-foot tree, you must register in advance and have a vehicle able to safely transport the tree.

Registration opens April 13.

To register for a tree, go to Get Involved Burlington. Quantities and tree species are limited.

Meet Electric Vehicle Experts
The City and Burlington Hydro are sponsoring Plug’n Drive’s Mobile EV Education Trailer for four weeks at the arena starting April 23 until May 20, 2022.

Talk with experts and owners about driving an electric vehicle (EV).

Book an EV test drive in advance at plugndrive.ca/meet-burlington/. Test drive appointments are available Thursdays to Sundays starting April 23 until May 20, 2022.

Check Out BurlingtonGreen’s 12th Annual Clean Up Green Up

Learn about spring eco-opportunities. Giveaways at BurlingtonGreen’s tent will include free clean-up kits and free pollinator seed packets for the first 100 visitors.

More information about the Clean Up Green Up event can be found at burlingtongreen.org

 

Return to the Front page

What's open - what's closed during the holiday. City Hall closed Friday and Monday as well

By Staff

April 12th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Tables waiting for customers

City services and facilities will be closed for Good Friday, on Friday, April 15, and Easter Monday, on Monday, April 18.

A list of which City services and facilities are available on the Easter holiday weekend is set out below.

If you are out and about and in places where there are a lot of people – wear your mask.

The weather reports look good – a chance to get out and enjoy the city – restaurants are looking forward to welcoming their customers.

Return to the Front page

Councillor Stolte expands on what she thinks civic politics and public service is all about; some real surprises

By Pepper Parr

April 11th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

Part 3 of a 3 part interview.

As we prepared to bring the interview to an end we asked ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte what she would do differently if she were to serve a second term; what did she get right and what did she get wrong.  She was surprisingly direct in answering the question.

The debate that ended a 24 year career in municipal politics; Jack Dennison on the left with Shawna Stolte on the right during a debate at Nelson High School.

“I think I focused on what I ran on. I ran on the tree canopy protection,  on affordable housing.  I ran on engagement and a voice at  City Hall. I ran on improving public transport and I ran on services for seniors. A lot of other issues  have come up in the meantime, but I feel like I have stuck by what people chose to vote on me on.

“This is what I didn’t do right and this is a mistake I’m not going to make again. I did not learn how to use my system.

“It took me till halfway through the term to understand how to work well with my assistant and how to  be a 10.

Editor’s note: The following two paragraphs are highlighted – they are very relevant to the decision Mayor Meed Ward made  revise a Council meeting agenda

“There is no fault in how things worked out in assigning me an administrative assistant.  (City staff choose who a Council members assistant is going to be – there is no input from the Council member.) During my first week on the job my assistant was very open and said she didn’t want to be here. She said she had a one year contract. She said she wanted to work in the Clerk’s office doing election work. She said “that’s where I want to be. I don’t want to be an assistant but I was sent up here because it’s my home job and I plan to get out of here as soon as I can.”

“I appreciated the honesty, it was better than finding out all of a sudden. So within six months she was gone. I went through June, July, August, September and October, four months of not having an assistant . I was bounced around .  I did appreciate all the other assistants taking a turn helping me out but it left me with no ability to fully understand  the practices or procedures on my end. I then had a contract assistant for about five months before I got Nancy. She came in three weeks before the pandemic. It was a rough.

“Something else I didn’t know. I assumed work in the city was done in a collaborative way.

“The learning curve, the confidence in being able to handle that learning curve and being able to handle the level of responsibility and expectation of the role and expectation on myself in the role was immense.

“And things were coming at us at a fierce pace; all five of the newly elected were struggling.

“I really wanted to dive into the issues and into the best practices of the city. I think that’s a piece of work that has surprised me the most.

“Naively, I discovered how much work needed to be done on policies, practices and procedures.

“Especially with council – so much of my work had to be focused much more internally than I was expecting.

“Going into a second term I would like to do things on two levels: the personal things, the things that you aspire to – I think I can get this done.

“And then the bigger picture, the things that I really think are critical fundamental for the way the city grows, because we have huge changes..

Seven new towers will be built in three phases with a projected population of about 2500 people.

“The growth at the GO stations where we are going to build this city and add 25 to 30% in the way of new population. The growth is real.

“This community is in transition; it is growing and evolving so quickly. I do think council should be bigger. I would love to see some consideration given to a council that’s made up of Ward councillors and councillors at large. I had a meeting with the city manager and councillors from Thunder Bay where they have that model.

“I think a model of having councillors doing constituent work and having votes on major city issues is important but I also really believe strongly in the model of councillors at large who do not have a ward to oversee they more have a portfolio – perhaps two councillors at large one who has for an example of a portfolio of environment, public transportation, and planning, where they kind of focus like they’re the higher focus on bigger issues that are city wide.

“Because I do think, having worked with the other councillors there still this protectionism around a lot of little things.

“Regional representation can stay the way it is just add two City Councillors at large. I think that would take Council up to nine. I think whenever you have a group dynamics, the smaller the group, the more opportunity there is for stronger personalities to have a bigger impact on a smaller group. And I think that that is part of the challenge for the City Council. I think if there would be less opportunity for strong dynamics if there were two more councillors added in. And I think when you look at our fellow regional councils, they’re all 11 to 13 members.   I think going up to nine is reasonable.

“There’s a bigger picture that has stunned all of us.  The challenge for all of us is immense.

The proposal is for 40 storeys – it will be less than that – begging the question- is Brant and Lakeshore the place for this kind of building.

“The size of the developments that were coming forward; the determination as to what was going to happen at the intersection of Brant and Lakeshore where two huge towers were being proposed.

“The Planning department was overwhelmed – how were we to fully understand the long term implications?”

I once asked a council member I was having a conversation with about the vision for the city in the Strategic Plan.

What vision was the response.  There is no vision.  When I put this response to Stolte she responded:

“I think anytime you’ve got a new council coming in with a new city manager, that vision is going to be preliminary and will need a lot of tweaking.   I think this next term  hopefully with some returning members, –  oh my gosh, a whole new council again, would not be very helpful for the community. I don’t start the learning curve all over again.”

“I would like to improve public transportation, though from an environmental perspective, hopefully get more environmentally friendly transit,  to get people out of cars.  We need to tackle the environmental issues as well as the traffic issues that we’re dealing with.

“I want to land this housing strategy complete with immediate short term, medium term and long term action items. I want it to be actionable, come heck or high water. I am not going to be okay letting this housing strategy become a policy that gets stuck on a shelf or not implemented.

The public hasn’t had much in the way of opportunity to watch what the Working Group has done. The need to do everything by Zoom has been a problem.

“The Working Group on Housing is sending out messages left, right and center to staff about the expectations that will go to council. There are some pretty high expectations for the implementation of the housing strategy.

“One of the things  that I really want to continue to focus on is low rise residential construction guidelines. Right now it’s the Wild West out there.   There are no rules.  The contractors doing  low rise, residential  construction are not managed and it is the residents in these areas that are suffering.

“I have been working on this problem for two years trying to get some changes made. Cary Clark has been helping. He’s been the champion for it but has admitted to me that his authority to effect change is extremely limited, which I understand.  There are parts of the city where there is a lot of this work taking place with no low rise residential construction management in place.

“There are places in my ward where you have three, four, sometimes five, infill properties, private residential properties being bought, torn down and rebuilt.  There’s no guidelines  – which results in construction vehicles and porta potties out on the street and piles of debris.

“There are construction management rules for the bigger developments, not for infill projects  and it is awful for some of these residential streets.

“The problem is that there are six different bylaws that need to be amended.  There is a report coming from the Legal department in  April.  I finally put my foot down and said I need a summary of these bylaws from the legal department to hear what’s getting in our way. And what strategies and solutions are we going to implement in these bylaws so that we can actually get some of these construction guidelines in place because it’s awful for some of these families who are trying to live their quiet life and they’re surrounded by construction. That’s worse for them. Because they have it literally outside their bedroom window. Literally.”

Nothing about the antics from this lady.

I said that would be the last question but not quite.

What was the funniest thing funniest thing that happened in the first four years ?

“I can’t tell you. Off the record I might tell you some of the antics that took p[lace on the seventh floor of City Hall. We’ll leave it at that. Okay.”

The first four years have been a real ride for the five elected for the first time. They were new and there was nothing in the way of a support system for them, no one to mentor them.

They had to rely on what they could learn from the city manager, the man they made the decision to hire.

Nothing from us on those antics.

Part 1

Part 2

Return to the Front page

Female fox looking for her pups

By Staff
April 10th, 2022
BURLINGTON, ON
Local artiest, Helen Griffith, took these pictures of a fox in her back yard and made the following comments on her Facebook page:
Last week we had this beautiful fox in our backyard. I think it’s pups may have been removed from a neighbour’s yard and the fox seemed to be calling and looking for them the night before as well as in the morning. Such a sad sound to hear, but probably safer for all the local small pets.
Return to the Front page

Home Opener: The Jays bring it home at the Rogers Centre; beat Texas Rangers 10-8

By Denis Gibbons

April 9th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The boys of summer were getting ready to play their season opener in a ballpark they had not played in for close to two years.

The crowd in the stadium was expected to top 50,000 people.

And the fans were pumped.

Anything less than a win, a big win was going to be seen as a bummer.

I interviewed nine Burlingtonians at the GO station to get their take on the game they were going to watch.

Interesting bit of information – a lot of the people I interviewed were from the Niagara region – I thought they would have boarded the GO train at Aldershot.

Nolan and Elliott Jackson

Nolan Jackson, 16, (left) and brother Elliott, 12, had tickets for Opening Day of 2021, but couldn’t make it because the Blue Jays had to open in Florida during the pandemic. They didn’t miss this one, though.

Nolan, a middle infielder with the Oakville-based Ontario Royals, said the Jays have a lot of young talent like Bo Bichette and Chapman. “But pitching could be their weakness,” he said. “They need to strengthen their bullpen.”

Barb Parsons

Attending her 10th Opening Day game, Barb Parsons said Toronto’s chances are very good this year, barring injuries. “They have a lot of talent and good chemistry,” she said. Although it was her 10th opener, it was her first Blue Jays game in 12 years. That was before her husband passed away.

Jo Savelli

A public health nurse in Hamilton, Burlington’s Jo Savelli set an excellent example by wearing her Blue Jays mask as she waited for the GO train. As a 14-year-old, Savelli watched the team’s major league debut in the snow on TV in 1977.

Later that year she was a member of a Burlington team that won the Provincial Women’s Softball Association championship in its age group. What did she pay for her ticket? “$145, but I’m right behind home plate, five rows up. And it pays for all the vacations I’m not taking!” she said.

Ian and Liam MacRae

Eleven-year-old Liam McRae, a second basemen with the Burlington Bulls minor peewee team, attended his first Opening Day with his father Ian, who has his own construction company Your Life Outside.

The father-son duo have been to spring training games in Dunedin, Florida, but were looking forward to seeing a healthy George Springer leading off for the Blue Jays. What impresses the Central elementary school student about Springer? “He’s really good at his position and he smiles a lot!”

Tyler Maskell

A last-minute ticket worth $140 landed Tyler Maskell, 26, in a seat a field level near home plate. On his first Opening Day ever, Maskell was anxious for his first peek at the Blue Jays newly acquired third baseman Matt Chapman.

“He should put us over the top,” said Maskell, who also was lucky enough to be a spectator at the Blue Jays first game back in Toronto last July when they took the field at Rogers Centre for the first time in 670 days storming out of a tunnel, smoke shooting into the air behind them as the home crowd roared. They ran as a team towards the infield, their path lined on each side by 100 healthcare workers waving Blue Jays flags.

The Jesus Family

It was the second Opening Day visit for Burlington’s Trish Jesus, who made the trip with her husband Josh and sons Jeffrey, 10, and Darryl, 7. The family created these colorful signs at home.

“We’re in the nosebleeds,” Trish said. But that afforded the boys a perfect view of their favorite player George Springer in centre field. Josh, who has taken in three or four openers, said the best was the year the family had free tickets in a private box. “That’s when Bautista and Encarnacion were playing,” he said.

John Droughan

A condo superintendent, 33-year-old John Droughan -paid $60 for 200 Level seats in the outfield on his first Opening Day. “It’s exciting,” Droughan said. “With Vladdy and Bo, it’s going to be an electric offence. As long as our pitching holds up, we’ll have a good year. Droughan’s fondest memory was attending a playoff game against Texas during the Blue Jays long playoff run in 2015, which ended with Toronto losing to the Kansas City Royals in Game 6 of the American League championship series.

Dayna Naim

A student at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Dayna Nairn has a huge affection for Bo Bichette and she’s not afraid to show it, as the photo indicates. “He’s my age and he’s a shortstop like I was when I played,” Nairn said.

Nairn bought a ticket online for her initial Opening Day. “The Jays spent a lot of money during the off-season, I think their chances are very good.”

Doug McKillop and his daughter Ashleigh

Doug McKillop’s father Lionel was in the stands at Exhibition Stadium in April of 1977 when the Blue Jays made their major league debut in the snow. He still has the ticket stub. Friday he took in his 15th Opening Day with daughter Ashleigh, who has been to seven or eight herself.

“There’s no excuse why they can’t get to the World Series,” Doug said. “They just have to stay healthy.

The first three innings were not good for the Jay – from that point on they took control of the game and ended up winning the season opener against the Texas Rangers 10-8.  The fans on the GO trains going home were happy campers.

Every seat in the ball park had a team cap on the seat. Keep sake for sure.

Return to the Front page

One of the best restaurateurs in the city appears to be prepping for a return - this time as Emmas Kitchen

By Pepper Parr

April 7th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Most people are aware of the financial hit the hospitality sector has taken as a result of the pandemic.

The deep thinkers at the Economic Development Corporation and the leadership at the Burlington Restaurant Association believe it is going to take between 18 and 24 months for some to recover.

Those that had to take on a load of debt are going to need as much as three to five years to fully recover.

Craig Kowalchuk – on the way to a come-back?

One restaurant operate appears to be positioning himself for a new launch.

Craig Kowalchuk who operated Emmas Back Porch – very successfully for years has a new brand name on his T shirt.

Kowalchuk took the position that the pandemic was going to last a long time and renting space that he could not use due to closures was just not good business.

He put the corporation into bankruptcy and gave the landlord the keys.

The landlord gussied up the place a bit and does some private rentals.

When the conditions are right – look for Kowalchuk to appear in a new location- unless of course the owner of the property sees wisdom in welcoming back his former tenant.

It was the best spot for a brew and a decent meal – out on the patio overlooking the lake.. It will re-open at some point – under whose operation – no one is certain at this point.

Return to the Front page