Some very pointed questions from well informed people on the Bateman High School property. Why is city hall making this so difficult?

By Pepper Parr

June 21st, 2022
The Procedural Bylaw determines what you can say and how you must say it when you are delegating before city council.
They like it that way.  I will come back to that Bylaw later.
It’s a little different when citizens can put what they are thinking and feeling about the plans to purchase Bateman emails/questions posed
The following are questions that were sent to the city by residents.

Why is the business of purchasing this property proving to be so difficult – it is really about one pocket of public money being put into a different pocket of public money.

1. Hi there,
I would like to give feedback on the project. Hope this is the correct forum.

I have lived in Burlington my entire life, I have been a volunteer in various areas from
sports to mental health.

My family [Greg/Andrea] Howard has been recognized for work in the community.
Today I am 45 years old – the last two ice arenas that have opened were Mainway in
the 1980’s / then Appleby in the 2000’s.

Our population continues to grow, our recreational infrastructure for ice sports / indoor
events does not.

Youth hockey is growing, girls and women’s hockey continues to grow, adult programs
are growing.

Arena’s are destinations, and I would bet besides the sound of music festival and
soccer fields – more visitors come to these arena’s / rec. centers than other place in

The “Skyway” rec center project is now used to hold city arborists equipment. We have
now reduced arenas, not grown them

The city of Burlington needs to look at this project with the inclusion of an arena. The
youth deserve it.

Hope someone can acknowledge this.
I’m happy to discuss more.

Thanks, Justin Howard

2. Turn the available land into a much needed full ice and training facility for our
youth. Ice availability in our City is not sufficient for the demand. Our youth are
shortchanged when it comes to ice sports!

Do something to make our residents proud without turning it into another pier
disaster! Dave Guluche

3. Why did the city not have a public engagement plan in place from when it decided
to pursue the acquisition of the property? Jim Thompson

4. When will the traffic studies be complete?
5. What is the plan for removing the asbestos on the site?
6. What is the plan for removing the asbestos on the site? (see above, in the

7. When will the traffic studies be complete?

8. “What regulation prevents the release of the cost information? The city offer was
accepted by the school board so why the need for secrecy?”

9. Good Morning, I’m glad to see and very much support the proposed adaptive
reuse of Robert Bateman High School by the City of Burlington for a combination
of community and educational uses. I am particularly happy to see the relocation
of the New Appleby public library branch to a more appropriate long term home.
Thank you to city staff and council for your leadership in making this happen.

10. Why is the city rushing engagement – how much is this going to cost the city

11. Why is the city not answering any questions regarding this project – who wrote
the FAQ.

12. How can a survey that was only up for one day and an information that only
lasted 90 minutes be considered as adequate public engagement?

13. There are outstanding questions that needs to be answered.
who provided the money to purchase the property in question?

who provided the money to build the school sitting on the property?

In both cases it was the TAXPAYER. Therefore the TAXPAYER should receive
the money back, NOT have to “PAY AGAIN” for the City to obtain the property &

We TAXPAYERS would like these questions answered!!!

Some additional questions from the Gazette.

Why is this engagement business being handled so badly?

Is anyone in the Communications department even listening?

And that Procedural Bylaw – it gets written for Council based on what they want the bylaw to be – why isn’t this an election issue?

Why isn’t there a group people (10 or so is all it would take)  to go over the document, re-write and then lobby the members of Council and put together a petition and press council until they make changes to the document.

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Factors Influencing The Prices of Cryptocurrencies

By Alex Larsens

June 21, 2022



Factors Influencing The Prices of Cryptocurrencies
Over the last few years, cryptocurrencies have become popular among investors worldwide. These digital currencies are characterized by high volatility, which translates to high levels of risk. Simply put, crypto prices can experience a wide swing in both negative and positive directions.

If you are wondering about the causes of these price fluctuations, then it is a must to look into the various factors that can influence the prices of cryptocurrencies. As the use of cryptocurrencies gains more adoption, they have become intertwined with the global economy. For this reason, this guide will look into these price fluctuation drivers.

What Drives Price Changes In Cryptocurrencies
Cryptocurrencies are not backed by the government or any central authority. This ensures that they are not affected by inflation rates, as well as other monetary policies, that can affect regular fiat currencies. However, other common factors can impact crypto prices. Some of these are introduced as follows:

Demand and Supply
Just like other traditional commodities, the concept of demand and supply can affect the prices of cryptocurrencies. Take, for instance, the supply of the largest cryptocurrency, Bitcoin is limited to 21 million coins. As the supply of this cryptocurrency nears its limits, demand increases since the supply drops. When demand rises, the price also rises.

The Impact of crypto exchanges
There is a dramatic rise in the rate at which cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and TeslaCoin, among others, are traded. This higher rate has been followed by the introduction of a plethora of crypto exchanges on the internet. For most major tokens, which are available on many crypto exchanges, there is a rise in the number of investors that are purchasing and selling the tokens.

For investors that are interested in swapping a cryptocurrency token with another by making use of multiple exchanges, each swap comes with a fee, which eventually increases the cost of investment.

Production Cost
To verify the authenticity of a transaction on a cryptocurrency network, there is a need for a process called mining. To reward miners, the network offers them a new cryptocurrency. In Bitcoin, for example, this is how new coins are produced. Miners are often charged with the responsibility of solving complex mathematical algorithms for the right to add a block of transactions to the public ledger, called Blockchain.

With this effort from miners, the decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies is not compromised. As the supply limit draws near – 21 million for Bitcoin – the level of mathematical algorithms that miners must solve to find and verify a block becomes much harder. The amount of energy and time that is needed to achieve this mining process might become very high.

To maintain their profit to make up for the high production costs, most miners often raise the value of cryptocurrencies. After all, it makes no sense for miners to invest more production costs into the mining process if the cryptocurrency they are rewarded is lower in value.
Government Regulation and Media Hype

The fact that cryptocurrencies cannot be controlled by a single entity scares the government. They feel that traditional FIAT currencies might be under serious threat since cryptos are more than capable to stand in as alternatives. For this reason, many governments restrict – or completely ban – the use of cryptocurrencies in their country.

For nations with a high number of crypto investors, any bad government regulation can negatively impact the value of the digital asset. Besides this, social media hype has also been known to affect cryptocurrencies by lowering and raising their values. The involvement of celebrities can also influence the adoption of cryptocurrencies, which raises demands for them and increases their values.

The crypto market is on the rise. However, its high volatility makes it a risky investment. For this reason, it is important to understand the various factors that can drive crypto prices while implementing the right strategy that can manage these factors.

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Facebook is the launchpad for another large-scale phishing campaign,

By Christopher Boyd

June 21st, 2022


One of our security service providers published a scam that is targeting Facebook users – targeted in massive phishing campaign. We share it with you. First published June 9th, 2022

Facebook is once again the launchpad for a large-scale phishing campaign, according to researchers at PIXM. The campaign, which first shows signs of life back in September 2021, has generated millions of page views and ad referral revenue “estimated to be millions of USD at this scale of operation”.
Credential harvesting on a grand scale

Researchers claim the threat actors stole one million credentials in four months to help achieve the above potential level of revenue. Aspects of the phish campaign are fairly typical of what you can expect to see from a Facebook phish, and the tactics used to spread bogus links are not particularly original. What matters most of all is that it works. When basic phishing tactics pull in so many accounts and clicks, there’s no need to overcomplicate things.

One of the scam pages from 2021 attracted no fewer than 2.7 million users, with the number rising to about 8.5 million in 2022. This is a huge ramp-up of already significant numbers, and also perhaps a little surprising that the site avoided being taken down for abuse.

This is one phishing campaign that isn’t messing around.

How the phish worked

Unfortunately specifics are absent in a few areas, but it works as follows.

A Facebook user receives a notification in Messenger. This is, at its most basic, a rogue link.

There’s no information around whether a message accompanies it, and if so, what it says. However, something as simple as the below messages are routinely used in Facebook scams:

Seen this?
Is this you in the photo?
Guess who died?
Check this out!

The link is shortened to help bypass any Facebook spam filters. The shortening services used are commonplace, popular and entirely legitimate. This makes it trickier for Facebook to figure out if the link is potentially good or bad.

The link takes potential victims to a variety of sites but a phishing page will be the primary destination. Once phished, the victim is sent elsewhere. It could be a promotion, a survey scam, or pretty much anything else that’s ad-centric. There’s also the mention of potential malvertising pages, on top of the threat of being phished. All these links have ad trackers and other ad-related forms of revenue generation buzzing away in the background.

Current state of play

According to PIXM, the campaign is still alive and kicking. Many of the sites involved have been taken down, and one website listed in the landing page code has been “seized” in relation to an investigation. What that investigation is, and who is doing it, isn’t clear.

What is clear, is that without dedicated resources and probable law enforcement involvement, something like this will never fully go away. It’s simply too easy to keep creating spam domains, signing up as an affiliate, and generating endless shortened URLs. The (potentially exaggerated) claims of $150 for every thousand visits from the US alone from the threat actor is all the incentive they need to keep doing it. As researchers note, this figure would result in a theoretical revenue of $59M from the end of 2021 to now.

Tips to avoid Facebook phishing

Be wary of messages which don’t follow the natural flow of a conversation. Messages sent at unusual hours or out of the blue with a link should be treated with caution.

If you’re presented with a “Login to view content” box, take a deep breath before going any further. If you’re already logged in, there should be no reason why you’d be asked to login again. Check the URL. Are you on, or an unrelated website?

If you’re able to, ask the sender about their message away from Facebook. Their Facebook account may have be compromised, but you probably don’t have to worry about sending them a text.

Enable 2-factor authentication (2FA). If you hand over your password to a phishing page, the phisher can’t do much with it while you’re protected with 2FA. Keep in mind that some phishing sites will also try to steal your 2FA codes.

Add login alerts to your Facebook account. If someone does compromise your login credentials and access your account, you’ll be notified by Facebook as soon as this happens.

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An illustrated look at what the election results mean -

By Staff

June 14th, 2022



Dave Meslin has been working tirelessly to “Unlock Democracy” and change the way we elect our leaders.

He champions ranked ballots and thinks that is the way the public will get the kind of representation they deserve.

First past the post keeps the small less established political parties of the House of Commons and the provincial legislatures.

There was a time when Justin Trudeau that it was an idea worth trying – then changed his mind and put Burlington’s MP Karina Gould in front of a microphone to explain what wasn’t going to happen.

And it will never happen until the public votes the New Democrats or the Green Party into office and they “might” stand behind their promises.

Politics is about power and those who have it don’t trifle with it – they hold very tightly in their hands.

Nevertheless Meslin soldiers on. He sent us two illustrations and asked that we share them.

For those who didn’t vote – you know who you are – you get to live with what Doug Ford is going to do to this province. Those two donuts are about as healthy as Crispy Cream donuts.




Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better.

Related background:

What does Dave Meslin mean when he talks about ranked ballots?

Meslin offers a free course on the first day of every month – Click here for the link

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How do butterflies relate to Climate Change? Encourage your child to become a Butterflyways Ranger and they will tell you.

By Staff

June 8th,  2022



They fascinate almost everyone – the 7 to 11 age group wanted to hold them in their hands.

You may not have heard about the Butterfly Project – but you have certainly heard about Climate Change.

How do you explain Climate Change to children between the ages of 7 and 11?

The older children get it and often become champions.

For the 7-11 set it’s a different situation. However they are the demographic that tends to be fascinated by Butterflys.

Gloria Reid and her pal Sharon Clark who are now officially Butterfly Rangers and have brought the David Susuki led initiative that started with five Canadian cities in 2017 to Burlington..

The Butterflyway Project is a volunteer-led movement that’s bringing nature home to neighbourhoods throughout Canada, one butterfly-friendly planting at a time.

They recruited a team of volunteer Butterflyway Rangers in each community. Their mission was to plant native wildflowers in yards, schoolyards, streets and parks to support bees and butterflies. The goal was to establish local “Butterflyways” by planting at least a dozen pollinator patches in each neighbourhood or community.

Over the past five years, they have recruited and trained more than a thousand Butterflyway Rangers from hundreds of communities. They’ve connected with neighbours, schools, city agencies, businesses and community groups. To date, they’ve helped:

    Get 85,000+ butterfly-friendly wildflowers into the ground.

    Create 6,000+ pollinator patches for wild bees and butterflies.

    Establish official Butterflyways in 75 communities and neighbourhoods.

Gloria Reid and her pal Sharon decided to grow a Ranger Group in Burlington.  They expect to show that a small group of residents can make a big difference. Rangers make their communities greener and healthier. They create opportunities, connect people and champion fun ideas.

Apply HERE to be a Butterflyway Ranger

You can also apply at this address.

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Community Development Halton Social Location and Systems of Oppression workshop rescheduled

By Staff

June 7th, 2022


Community Development Halton has rescheduled the Social Location and Systems of Oppression workshop to Wednesday June 15, 2022 at 12:30pm.

If you previously registered for the original date of May 31, you have received an email with instructions; if you missed registering earlier, you can register for the new date until June 13 at 5:00pm.

In this workshop you will walk away with:

• an understanding of your social location, systems of oppression, and common terms and how they relate to JEDI (justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion;
• understanding and harnessing your power, holding power, and giving power;
• how to share power – where and how this is possible at all stages of the volunteer engagement cycle; and
• how to lead equitable volunteer programs regardless of your positional power within your organization and specific tactics to foster inclusion

12:30PM – 2:00PM


Register Today at: CiviCRM | Community Development Halton (

CDH Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

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Virtual meeting lasts an hour and a half - does the public know much more other than that there will be a report to Council next week

By Staff

June 1st, 2022



One of our correspondents set out one view on the Public Meeting that took place virtually last night with the statement:

Smoke and Mirrors adding that the “the city doesn’t have a clue what it will be doing with the space other than the 15-20% of the building ( approx 40,000 square feet) that Brock is perhaps willing to sign a 20 year lease.

The space has to be ready by September 2024, and I have to wonder if there is a clause that if the renovations are not completed in time they can simply walk away from the lease.

The parking issue was skirted around, very similar to how the city deals with parking and traffic ” We will do this in phases and the existing parking will be sufficient”. What happens when phase 2 and 3 are complete? No mention of the timeline between the 3 construction/renovation phases. I can see this going on for years and years before it becomes “the much needed community centre”.

The City has not even looked into the cost of the removal of the asbestos. They have no plans to do this until the sale is finalized. Who does this ??? – go into such a large project without knowing what the cost will be for this removal ( this will be a very expensive proposition )- as you know it can be more dangerous to remove the asbestos.

I found it interesting that in 2014 the City paid to renovate a pool that didn’t belong to the city.

The HDSB who took art in the virtual event, skirted the issue as to what it will do with Gary Allen.

No company in the private sector would go through with the purchase or renovations of Robert Bateman without having all the necessary costs involved known before acquiring the property.

Early thinking on what the site could look like.

The only thing I got out of this meeting is how much or should I say how little space Brock is going to lease and that in my opinion this is what is driving the speed in decision, especially since Tim Commisso indicated that the city is the only one interested in the Bateman Property.

At the close of the meeting City manager Commisso said “ I think the fact that this is going to create a really strong facility and legacy for our community. But it’s been a year of us trying to look ahead while also seeing what the immediacy of having to make a decision about the purchase.

I’m not going to make any apologies for the fact that we’ve done as much as we can as much due diligence, but we don’t have all of the answers that perhaps people think we might or should have. In order to make the purchase decision.

Partly because we’re under a prescribed process that really requires us to be responsive to the school board in terms of meeting their needs. I will say the worst thing that can happen is that somehow that we weren’t involved in this process or whatever. And I won’t even speculate on what that means. But, you know, I think we made a commitment. And counsel certainly made that commitment that we would go through this process and try to do as much as we could in advance. But we don’t have all the answers. We do commit to is the process from here.

So let the design you know, what’s the community centre going to look like? What are the uses? How is that going to be done parking through zoning will all be public thing. It’s really a part of a process.

I think that we see moving forward and we hope and we encourage as many people as possible to get engaged now. Because I think at the end of the day, you know, this is a facility that we all want to be proud of. And I think by having our partners in there to really showcase I think the fact that Burlington is creating a hub here, so I’ll leave it at that.

I know I’m kind of over my comments over the time, but I just wanted to acknowledge that says that this is a unique project. It’s not like we bought a piece of land and then we started planning for it. We have to meet a prescribed timeline in order to purchase it because we’re an eligible agency. And then we have to essentially make sure that we design and program that properly. So that meets the needs of the community over the long term. In my years this has probably been the most challenging facility projects that I’ve worked on. And I’ve worked on quite a few of them.

The Gazette had two meeting taking place at the same time and has not found a way to be in two places at once.
We will review the recording a d go through the transcription we have of the event and report back real soon.

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City seeks local artists - Celebrating Diversity through Public Art

By Staff

May 31st, 2022



Burlington is inviting artists, artist-led teams and community groups to submit their ideas to create art in Burlington public spaces celebrating Burlington’s diverse communities.

A total of $29,000 is available for up to eight projects, depending on the proposals submitted.

Public art attached to the bridge on Regal Road.

Proposals may include, but are not limited to murals, sound / light installations, artist designed seating, children/youth projects, temporary art projects, or artist designed crosswalks. Interactive projects are encouraged.

The public art program will support successful applicants by providing resources and staff support through the planning, installation and execution of the project. This can include connections to artists and fabricators, assistance with permits and permissions as well as general project support where applicable.

Information Session
Applicants are invited to an optional information session to learn more about this public art opportunity and the application process.

Publicly funded art on an electric utility box at Port Nelson Park – a location that was once a major port for what was then the Township of Nelson

Thursday, June 16, 2022 at 7 p.m.

Online – Please RSVP to before June 15, 2022 for virtual meeting details.

Who Can Apply?
This opportunity is open to individual artists, artist teams, artist collectives, ad hoc groups, or arts and culture organizations, as well as partnerships and collaborations between arts and non-arts applicants. Applicants from equity-seeking groups are especially encouraged to apply. The deadline to apply is Friday, July 15, 2022.

For deadlines and more information on how to get application help and/or apply, please visit

Deadline Activity

June 16 Voluntary online information session

July 15 Application deadline

By July 31 Successful artists selected; enter into a contract with the City of Burlington.

August Project development: Artists work with Public Art staff to develop and approve Detailed Project Proposal

September – December Project execution (TBD – based on individual project requirements)

Councillor Sharman speaking to Angela  Paparizo.

By diverse backgrounds the city includes: seniors, youth, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour), LGBTQ2S+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, TwoSpirit) and those with disabilities.

Angela Paparizo, Manager of Arts and Culture tells the arts community: “We want your creative ideas to activate a community space and will provide project support to make it happen!

Please join us for more information on June 16 and be sure to submit your ideas by July 15. We look forward to hearing from interested artists, whether you are an emerging or established artist.”

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City Manager Tim Commisso will lead the Bateman High School purchase Public Meeting on Tuesday

By Staff

May 30th, 2022



The following was passed along to us by a reader who was given the information by the city’s Communications department.

Director of Communications  Kwab Ako-Adjei, Director, Corporate Communications & Engagement said:

 “As with any public meeting the City holds, including virtual meetings, those in attendance will have an opportunity to ask questions. We are finalizing the details of how the questions will be asked, we will let those in attendance know at the beginning of the meeting how they can ask their questions.

“City Manager Tim Commisso will be leading the discussion along with other City staff (to be confirmed) that can speak to the project.”

Want to see just how good those facilitating chops are.

Finalizing the details the day before the event is cutting it kind of close – but better late than never.

The City Manager will lead the event – our recollection is that this will be the first time Tim Commisso will chair an event.  His practice is to make a comment during a meeting.

It will be interesting to see just how good his facilitating chops are.

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City plans to give away 25 bike racks - they will have to pick them up and build a concrete pad

By Staff

May 30th, 2022



Bike Month, is being celebrated in Burlington through to the end of June.

The city sees this as an  opportunity for people to try riding a bike for the first time, learn new skills, or simply have fun and connect with new people.

Special lanes for bicycles and the speed at which vehicles travel along city roads are an ongoing concern .

Riding a bike is one of the best ways to get around and explore your community. Fifty per cent of trips in Burlington can be done in a less-than 20-minute bike ride.

Burlington is once again holding a draw to give away bike racks for businesses and organizations to encourage cycling to their locations and offering a series of cycling webinars to celebrate Bike Month in Burlington.

Bike Rack Giveaway

The City, in cooperation with the Burlington Cycling Committee and the Integrated Transportation Advisory Committee, has 25 bike racks to give away this year. Each rack holds about 10 bicycles and is valued at $700. Interested parties are asked to email with contact information by June 15, 2022.

Bike rack that will be given to 25 locations

Selected organizations will be required to pick up and transport their bike rack to their private property and install the bike rack on a concrete pad for public use.

The City has been providing various organizations in the community, such as places of worship, small businesses and schools, with free bike racks for the past eight years.




Free Cycling Webinars

Residents are invited to learn about cycling with kids, bike maintenance, road rules and other cycling topics with the City’s free webinars.

Basic maintenance is important

Family Biking
June 2, 7 to 8 p.m. Webinar informationZoom link
June 20, 7 to 8 p.m. Webinar informationZoom link


Knowing the rules of the road

Basic Bike Maintenance
June 13, 7 to 8 p.m. Webinar informationZoom link
June 26, noon to 1 p.m. Webinar informationZoom link






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The sun is shining at the Art Gallery - four artists show a view of the Caribbean tourism sector

By Staff

May 30th, 2022



With the pandemic receding from our day to day lives – that doesn’t mean it is over – the lock downs and restrictions are not as harsh.

We didn’t have a chance to update our readers on event at the Art Gallery of Burlington.

Joiri Minaya, Container #3, 2017. Archival pigment print, 40” x 60“
. Courtesy of the artist.

Here Comes the Sun is running until August 13th, 2022 in the Perry Gallery.

Four artists are featured – Irene de Andrés, Katherine Kennedy, Joiri Minaya and Ada M. Patterson

The exhibition was curated by  Noor Alé

Here Comes the Sun traces the origins of extractive tourism industries through the works of contemporary artists whose practices examine the interconnections between colonial legacies of crop plantations and service economies in the Caribbean.

Gesturing towards the Caribbean’s complicated relationship with the tourism industry, Irene de Andrés and Katherine Kennedy deliver criticisms of international stakeholders and land developers who stand to benefit from the economic, social, and environmental well-being of the region. Countering the intrusive colonial gaze, Joiri Minaya exposes fictitious representations of the landscape and the exoticization of Caribbean women. Ada M. Patterson subverts images of crops to offer a lamentation on the place of sugar and tourism in the Barbadian cultural imaginary.

The works problematize the paradise trope ascribed to the Caribbean by the West and pose questions about its construction: What are the historical foundations of this trope? Why, and for whom, was it built? Together, these works resist the Western gaze, address the shared complicity between tourists, diasporic communities, and land developers, and critique reductive conceptions of the Caribbean as a site of escapism.

The exhibition title is borrowed from Jamaican-born writer Nicole Dennis-Benn’s titular fictional novel. In Here Comes the Sun (2016), Dennis-Benn narrates the lives of three Jamaican women against a backdrop of power dynamics, economics, and gender inequities to advance conversations in the Global North about the complexity of tourism industries.

Here Comes the Sun has been generously sponsored by DJB Chartered Professional and the Ontario Arts Council.

The AGB is supported by the Ontario Arts Council, Ontario Trillium Foundation, and the Canada Council for the Arts.



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Data from city survey on Bateman high school limited but has merit

By Staff

May 26th, 2022



There weren’t that many participants taking part in the survey the city put out and then withdrew two days later but the data they collected does have merit.

The city wanted to know how people felt about the city selling a sports field to the Board of Education, and how people felt about the city buying the Bateman High school site and then renting part of what they bought to Brock University.

The results will surprise a lot of people – especially the ward 2 councillor who thought selling the sports field was close to a travesty.

The results:

There is some additional data if this kind of thing turns your crank Click HERE for that data.

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Backing down on the public survey over the sale of a sports field is proving to be a little awkward

REVISED By Pepper Parr

May 25th, 2022


The city’s Communications department had some concerns about wording we used to describe what we referred to as a self inflicted wound. There are some subjects that are very sensitive and we decided to remove a phrase we used.  Other than that – the story stands.  We changed the date as well from the 20th to the 26th.

Sometimes things don’t work out the way you want them to.

The decision to get public feedback on the city decision to sell the sports field to the west of Central High school has, to be polite about it, hit a speed bump.

The words transparency and engagement seemed to have been lost by the city communications people.  They are now falling over themselves trying to back out of a survey that wasn’t thought out all that well.

The tweet on the right, sent out earlier today, is kind of embarrassing.

City Manager Tim Commisso is reported to be putting together a public meeting to pass along more in the way of information.  What isn’t clear at this point is – will it be a joint meeting with the Board of Education or is the city going to have to wear this one all by itself.

What is so perplexing is that the rush that has been behind all this just wasn’t necessary – these are self inflicted wounds – the people who put together the survey need to really think through what took place and look for different approaches to what is a serious problem.

There is a public that is confused and angry.

City manager Tim Commisso needs to get a grip on this issue. It is close to being totally out of control. There are tens of millions involved.

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Resident feedback wanted on Robert Bateman High School proposals

By Staff

May 18th, 2022



The City of Burlington is looking for residents’ feedback on a proposed land transaction with the Halton District School Board (HDSB) and leasing arrangements with the HDSB and Brock University for the City’s planned acquisition of the Robert Bateman High School building and property.

The proposed transaction with the HDSB would see the City transfer ownership of approximately five acres of City owned-land (sports field at Central High School) to the HDSB as a component of a land exchange for the Robert Bateman site.

The sports field beside Central High school is owned by the city. Selling it to the school board frees up some cash that can be applied to the purchase of the Bateman location. It is a complex deal with a number of players that may not have had the benefit of some some take our time second thought. Some are wondering – why the rush? One pressure point is that Brock wants to be in the space they are renting – when? Tight timeline.

The City owned-land in question is located near Burlington Central High School and includes the high school football field and running track.

The HDSB has wanted to own the sports field beside Burlington Central High School for some time; that desire is consistent with the HDSB’s long-term intention to continue operating Burlington Central High School as a school. This land exchange component will advance the City’s efforts to secure the Robert Bateman site in continued public ownership, ensuring that the Robert Bateman site is available for continued educational and community-oriented uses.

Feedback will also be sought on proposed leasing agreements with the HDSB that wants to use some of the space and Brock University that wants to locate one of its departments in Burlington.

Both leases are expected to be long-term but not to exceed 25 years.

Burlington City Council directed staff to gather feedback from the public on these proposals. Public feedback can be provided at the City’s online engagement portal, Get Involved Burlington.  The time frame for getting sufficient public feedback is short.

The site is a big one; the plans to re-purpose the location from a local high school to a multi-use site that would pull together local residents, a unit of Brock University, a public library and a number of gymnasiums with lots of space left over.

A considerable amount of controversy is expected from the downtown community where there isn’t all that much open space to begin with. The 100th anniversary event was planned to take place on the sports field in June of 2023.  Will that space still be available to the public once it is in school board hands?

Any thought of a community centre with a pool in that part of town would be lost.  With three towers planned for Ghent and Brant, a short walk from the sports field, residents wonder if they are going to be locked out of creating more in the way of public amenities.

Click for the Link to Get Involve

This engagement opportunity will be open to Burlington residents until June 13, 2022.

Following public input, staff will report back to Burlington Council with a final report and recommendations at the June 21, 2022 Council meeting.

Some background:

In June 2021, HDSB announced that it has declared Robert Bateman High School surplus to its needs.

In December 2021, Council provided direction to staff to submit a formal offer to purchase the Robert Bateman High School site

On Feb. 3, 2022, Burlington City Council endorsed next steps to advance the potential acquisition of the Robert Bateman High School site from the HDSB.

Shortly after, also in June 2021, the City of Burlington announced that an expression of interest would be submitted to the HDSB to purchase the Robert Bateman site through a partnership with Brock University.

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Public school board to purchase the city owned sports field next to Central High School - that is part of a bigger story

By Staff

May 18th, 2022



The Halton District School Board put out the following media release.

The Halton District School Board is advancing a land transaction with the City of Burlington that would see the exchange of the City-owned sports field at Burlington Central High School (1433 Baldwin St, Burlington), with the sale of the former Robert Bateman High School (5151 New St, Burlington).

The school will own the sports field once the negotiations are complete

The parcel of land adjacent to Burlington Central High School is approximately five acres and includes the sports field and track to the west of the school. The Board’s purchase of this land ensures the continued operation of Burlington Central High School by the HDSB for the foreseeable future.

In June 2021, HDSB trustees approved a plan to declare the former Robert Bateman High School facility surplus to its needs and retain an interest in a portion of the facility to relocate the Burlington Gary Allan Learning Centre. In September 2021, the City of Burlington expressed interest and submitted their formal offer on Feb. 3, 2022, which was accepted by the Board.

This opportunity to acquire the area at Burlington Central H.S. presented itself to the Board and the City as part of the negotiation process, where the land exchange was incorporated as part of the final offer. This was supported by the Board, as it advances its long-term facility accommodation strategy in Burlington. The Board sought Ministry of Education approval and received a positive response to proceed with the transaction.

The outcome of this transaction addresses key objectives for the HDSB and the City by ensuring  important educational and community programs continue to be offered within Burlington.

The Board looks forward to continuing to work with the City of Burlington on this matter.

The acquisition of the sports field is related to the Robert Bateman High School land transaction.

The bigger story is that the city had to find a way to lessen the public pressure on a price tag that was being floated and resulting in a lot of indigestion.  Whatever the city gets for the sports field will lower the cost of the Bateman site.

The city is gearing up another engagement effort to get some grease on a very squeaky wheel.


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How City Hall refused to share information: We push for better transparency - your job is to demand it.

By Pepper Parr

May 9th, 2022



Every reporter strives for accuracy – they listen hard to what people are saying – waiting for that quote that just makes the story.

Accuracy matters – not as easy to get as people think.

Technology has made a big difference; it allows a reporter to capture what a person said and then transcribe it and use it in the copy being written.

As everyone knows – the technology can bite your bum.

The people best at getting what is said down perfectly are the Court reporters – they have a device that lets them capture what is said and instantly read it back

A number of years ago the City employed what would be the equivalent of a court reporter to capture what was said at Council meetings.

A Court Reporter with the transcribing equipment

The transcript produced was something the Gazette was very interested in getting a copy of.

We asked if we could have a copy.

We were told we couldn’t have the document which we thought was a public document.

We asked if we could buy a copy of the transcripts.

No the city wasn’t interested in doing that either.

We asked for the name of the company doing the work.  We thought we could buy the transcripts directly from them.

No – the city was not prepared to give us the name of the company that was doing the transcribing.

Kwab Ako-Ajei.,Director of Communications

All this back and forth was done by email with the Director of Communications Kwab Ako-Ajei. Director of Communications for the city.  Kwab reports directly to the City Manager.

Someone somewhere at city hall made the decision that the Gazette, a credentialed online newspaper, operating for more than ten years (longer than the people who have their fingers on the flow of news information to media have held their jobs), that the Gazette was not to be given access to the data they need to do their job effectively.

Council talks about the importance of media in the process of engaging the public. At one point the Mayor of the city publicly praised the Gazette for the job it was doing.

We may have done the job a little too well for some.

What to do?

Folks, Burlington is your city, your home.  You elect the government you get and they appoint the administrative leadership.

We push for better transparency – your job is to demand it.

Part 1 of the series

Part 2 of the series





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STOP the SPRAWL: the growth taking place and what is in the works adds to the climate emergency

By Staff

May 5th, 2022



The provincial election that began officially yesterday is about climate change.

Your life and the quality of the life you live in the next three to five years is going to be decided on who you elect on June 2nd.

Stop the Sprawl a group working across the province is doing there best to set out the issues and give you a chance to take part in this vital exercise.   Send them your thoughts: Stop Sprawl Halton –

On April 14th 2022, Bill 109, the More Homes for Everyone Act hurriedly received royal assent a scant two weeks after it was introduced. Bill 109 formalized a provision that would allow the Minister to refer Official Plan Amendments to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) if the Minister is not satisfied with the submission.

Beausoleil, the structure on the left in this rendering was approved at the Ontario Land Tribunal level – city council was not in love with this one.

This is an unacceptable shift from the long-standing process whereby provincial and municipal planning staff work collaboratively to achieve consensus on Official Plan submissions. Simply pitching submissions to an arbitrator that allows a single individual the authority to accept or deny Official Plans converts municipal planning to an adversarial process that will unnecessarily cost municipal taxpayers millions of dollars.
Official Plans and local autonomy threatened

In November 2021, Hamilton City Council voted to accommodate all expected future growth within its current urban boundaries, rather than sprawling outward onto precious farmland, woods and wetlands because the mandated market-driven housing mix CAN be accommodated.

It is unacceptable, therefore, that Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark stated in the legislature that Hamilton’s refusal to expand its urban boundaries was unacceptable to the Ford government, and that he was considering referral of the matter to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) for a decision. Hamilton’s approved plan was in compliance with all provincial policies.

In February 2022, Halton Regional Council also directed their staff to prepare an Official Plan with no urban expansion for the next 20 years, recognizing they have enough vacant land within the current urban boundary to accommodate all mandated growth to 2041. Halton also elected to delay approving its plan for accommodating growth to 2051 until the province reveals its response to the Affordable Housing Task Force Report. Halton fully intends to be compliant with Provincial legislation once the new rules are known.

Many other municipal councils are still completing their Official Plans. Will their deliberations be subject to the Minister’s whims too?

Referral to the OLT: double jeopardy for Councils and taxpayers

The problem in the Region of Halton is the same problem Hamilton is fighting.

The threat of referral to the OLT, with its significant price tag, will surely influence decision- making as councils struggle with the cost of a potential OLT court case. Councils understand that there is always the threat of going to the OLT to defend their decisions from challenges from land speculators. But they should not have the province also threatening the same challenge. What, in effect has happened is that the challenges expected from speculators will now be paid for by the people of Ontario via the Province’s intervention.

It is an affront to democracy to reject the planning decisions made by elected councils, when they have followed provincial legislation and made their decisions following due process, consistent with local priorities.

Ontario’s Stop Sprawl Coalition calls on the Province of Ontario to repeal sections of Bill 109 that deal with referrals to the OLT.

We have a climate emergency: plan for it!

The climate has changed – the sudden floods in 2014 caused this flooding in Burlington

Ontario’s Stop Sprawl Coalition supports:

• Ending exclusionary zoning to allow for gentle density in existing neighbourhoods
• Growth through sustainable, more efficient use of land
• Ending sprawl as a means of accommodating new population
• Designing complete, walkable, transit-supportive mixed-use communities
• Saving farming, not just farmland
• Rethinking employment areas for efficiency of land use
• Protection of natural assets, including watersheds, water sources, sensitive lands and biodiversity
• Broad community consultation including Indigenous voices

The Places to Grow Act (PGA) was introduced in the Province of Ontario in 2005. This provincial legislation provided new guidance for how municipalities accommodate growth. It was introduced specifically to address the alarming loss of prime agricultural farmland in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) and the negative consequences of sprawl such as increased commute times, traffic congestion on provincial highways, loss of productivity, increased greenhouse gas emissions and the unsustainable increasing costs to the taxpayers for servicing sprawling growth.

The PGA for the first time forced all municipalities in the GGH to reduce their reliance on converting farmland to subdivisions and introduced mandatory intensification targets within built- up areas of the communities.

The Ford government updated the legislation in 2019 by walking back the intensification targets and by introducing a goal that would effectively require municipalities to approve more sprawl to accommodate growth. The key new requirement was to accommodate the future market for single family dwellings.

Since late last year, Stop Sprawl organizations have sprung up across the GGH in response to these changes which move the province in a backward direction. Municipalities have other priorities that will be thwarted if they simply comply by approving sprawl.

How we must grow during climate breakdown

The Green space we have left. In Burlington the Escarpment is protected – will a second term PC government keep that protection in place.

Ontario’s remaining green spaces are precious. They mitigate climate change and provide future food security. We applaud municipal councils that have chosen to accommodate growth within their existing urban areas and are diligently working on policies that will increase the supply of single-family dwellings without an urban expansion. They have chosen to grow by focusing intensification along higher order transit corridors and in commercial nodes. They have chosen to provide more opportunities for affordable housing to be built near services. They have chosen to plan for growing vibrant walkable, less car-dependent neighbourhoods. They have chosen to grow in a more financially viable way in contrast to accepting the escalating cost of growth through continuing expansion of their urban boundaries.

Stop Sprawl Ontario supports sustainable growth that integrates responsible land management , more efficient use of land, and focuses on creating walkable, livable, healthy communities for all residents in harmony with nature.

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It is much more than a model railroad in the basement of the Freeman Station. It is a significant look at the early years of the city.

By Denis Gibbons

May 3rd, 2022



Folks in the Bay Area remember Bob Chambers as a superb photographer with The Hamilton Spectator, who covered world events like the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1981.

Few, though, know of another of his many talents – creating miniature displays, sometimes known as dioramas.

A steam locomotive pulls up in front of the miniature Burlington Junction station. Photo by DENIS GIBBONS

A huge replica of the hamlet of Freeman in the 1920s, and specifically the old Burlington Junction railway station, now occupies the basement of the historical Freeman Station on Fairview Street.

Freeman was located at about the intersection of Brant Street and Old Plains Road.

Retired Teachers of Ontario members presented the Friends of Freeman Station with a grant of $4000. Left to Right: Ron Danielsen, FOFS President; Ruth Miller, RTO Project Sponsor; Penny Hambly, RTO Awards Committee; Carolyn Hilton, RTO Awards Committee; and Claudia Stewart, RTO-District 15 President.

Retired Teachers of Ontario (RTO) provided $4000  to fund a computer control system for its historic model railway educational exhibit. The money was used to purchase the central “brains” of the museum-quality model railway diorama depicting life in the village of Freeman.

Chambers constructed the model in the basement of his home. Gates Bisson contributed other items like a replica of the old fruit-processing plant and Supertest gas station and historian Bob Miller created a cattle pen.

Gary Thompson also donated a circus train, which will be used when children start arriving on field trips. The train often passed through Burlington many years ago on its way to set up in Hamilton.

Miller and KenTaylor, members of the Friends of Freeman Station, operate the model railway setup, which covers 660 square feet.

Miller recalls that before the layout was set up in the basement, the group set up a smaller model railway display at the library and included a Thomas the Train engine, from the popular TV show for children.

“Thomas’ headlights showed up as little eyes,” Miller said. “The kids just loved that.”

Two miniature locomotives approach the junction carefully. Photo by DENIS GIBBONS

The focus is the illuminated Burlington Junction station, which until 1988 stood on the railway line just to the southwest of the intersection of Brant Street and Old Plains Road.

Near the station is the actual junction of two lines – one which ran all the way from Montreal through Toronto and Burlington, then split at Hamilton allowing passengers to travel as far as either Chicago or New York.

Visitors took lots of photos of the miniature layout. Photo by DENIS GIBBONS

The other line, which started at the village of Allandale near Barrie, ran south to Burlington, then down the Beach Strip to service cooling units for frozen fruit grown in the area.

Because it eventually re-connected with the main line at Stoney Creek, it also was a quick bypass of the clogged lines in Hamilton.

The display includes a video describing how a steam locomotive works.

Burlington was once known as the fruit basket of Canada.

Dried fruit, particularly melons grown in farms along Plains Road, were shipped from the station around the world. Later canneries opened in this area.

A child in period costume was part of the crown on the re-opening of Freeman Station. Photo by Denis Gibbons

Queen Elizabeth and Canadian Prime Ministers from Sr. John A. MacDonald to Lester B. Pearson travelled along the main line, as did NHL teams moving from Montreal and Toronto to Detroit, Chicago and New York.

More than 1.000 service men left the station to defend their country in times of war and peace. Marching bands and hundreds of their fellow citizens walked with them to the station to bid them farewell.

After the Second World War, many emigrants from Europe arrived at this station to make a new life in Burlington.

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HDSB to focus on one of the five focus areas each day that make up the 2020-2024 Multi-Year Plan to show the importance of schools, staff, families and the community working together

By Staff

May 2, 2022



HDSB to focus on one of the five focus areas each day that make up the 2020-2024 Multi-Year Plan to show the importance of schools, staff, families and the community working together

Everyone has an opinion on education and everyone pays taxes to support the system we have in Ontario.

There is a lot to be learned about how our children are educated.  The week of May 2nd is your opportunity to learn how the Halton District School Board does that educating.

The Halton District School Board joins school boards across Ontario in celebrating Education Week from May 2-6, 2022. This year’s theme from the Ministry of Education is, Moving Forward. The HDSB will celebrate Education Week by focusing each day on one of the five areas of focus in the 2020-2024 Multi-Year Plan (MYP) to show the importance of schools, staff, families and the community working together to support the well-being and success of students.

Curtis Ennis, Director of Education for the HDSB. – seeing more interaction with the public than previous Directors.

Education Week provides an opportunity to demonstrate the deep and enriched learning that is taking place across the Halton District School Board,” says Curtis Ennis, Director of Education for the HDSB. “The week also allows us to reflect on the importance of a strong and vibrant education system. Learning is most successful when we create equitable conditions that support excellent outcomes for all students. We are excited to profile how engaged our schools and students have been this year and we look forward to continuing to focus on learning, engagement and success for all.”

Throughout the week, we will be sharing examples of how each of the five areas of focus in our Multi-Year Plan guide student and staff learning in classrooms and throughout the Board.

As a lead off to Education Week, the HDSB is also proud to be hosting a groundbreaking ceremony tomorrow (April 29) to celebrate the beginning of a new elementary school in Milton expected to open in the Fall of 2023. The school will accommodate 788 Kindergarten to Grade 8 students and will offer English and French Immersion.

Monday, May 2 – Equity and Inclusion: This area of focus shows how schools champion supportive and inclusive practices to ensure equitable access to positive opportunities and outcomes for all.

They arrive full of energy and enthusiasm – how different are they when they leave school ?

Tuesday, May 3 – Mental Health & Well-Being: This area of focus highlights how students strengthen safe and caring school environments that promote well-being, and enhance relationships and positive learning and working climates where everyone belongs and feels safe. May 2-8 is also Mental Health Week, as designated by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), which promotes mental health awareness, decreasing stigma and helpful resources.

Wednesday, May 4 – Environmental Leadership: This area shows how students and staff take action to help create a sustainable world and will be showcased to demonstrate how HDSB schools are providing opportunities to learn about connections between ecosystems, social justice and climate, as well as elevate local environmental initiatives and practices.

Thursday, May 5 – Learning & Achievement: Examples will be shared of how the HDSB strives to create learning environments to elevate student achievement, foster a culture of high expectations to maximize student and staff achievement and promote innovative strategies.

Also on May 5, the Board is proud to recognize the success of students through its annual Celebration of Student Excellence event. This virtual event will start at 7 p.m. Each year, one student per school is honoured for their excellence in self-improvement, enhancing the school and/or local community, citizenship, student leadership, academics, vocational studies and specialized programs or extra-curricular activities. A link to view the ceremony will be on the HDSB website ( on Thursday, May 5 at 7 p.m. 

Friday, May 6 – Indigenous Perspectives & Awareness: On the final day of Education Week, the HDSB will highlight the many learning opportunities for students and staff that help promote knowledge and understanding of Indigenous perspectives and realities.


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Donated formal wear is available for students to choose from on May 9 and 17

By Staff

April 29th, 2022



This is a really neat program.

Donated formal wear is available for students to choose from on May 9 and 17

Dresses, suits, shirts, ties available for students to browse at drop-in sessions

The Halton District School Board will host open houses in May for students to select, at no cost, donated formal wear for upcoming prom or graduation events.

Called Fashion Forward, students will have the opportunity to view and try on formal wear in a friendly and welcoming environment. Students may select from a variety of new and gently-used attire that has been donated for proms, graduations and other special events.

There are many different styles, colours and sizes of formal dresses available as well as suits, shirts, ties and shoes.

The dates to browse for formal wear are Monday, May 9 and Tuesday, May 17. Each open house runs from 2:30 – 6:30 p.m. and will be held at Elsie MacGill Secondary School (1410 Bronte St S, Milton).

It would have been nice if the selection opportunities were held in each municipality – maybe next year.

Students are required to bring student identification to the open house they attend.

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