The community is seriously divided on the private tree bylaw - so is council but the

News 100 greenBy Staff

December 18th, 2019



It has been a contentious issue for close to a decade.

It was impossible to find a consensus – positions were deeply divided. The environmentalists had a view point and they believe they are right; the property rights people know the environmentalists are wrong and have all kinds of documentation to show the law is on their side.

Positions taken by King George III were brought up by the property rights people who argue that the municipality don’t have the right to tell the owner of a tree what they can and cannot do with or to that tree.

City Council did get to vote on the bylaw that has several sections of which have been deferred to a January Council meeting.

The bylaw will not come into force until April 1st, 2020.

The fear amongst many in the city is that those who have trees on their property may choose to cut them down before the bylaw is in force.

Anthony Fac

Albert Facenda, a frequent council delegator.

Albert Facenda, a frequent council delegator said in a Gazette comment: “Arborist’s, Start your Chainsaws and Chippers!!  Between now and April 2020 tree service companies will be going crazy to get ahead of the deadline.”

Before the vote took place Councillor Paul Sharman tabled 12 amendments to the bylaw. Some were deferred but there was nothing of substance that was approved as an amendment.

Sharman hand up

Councillor Sharman: “”This Council couldn’t wait for Roseland pilot project to complete.”

In his closing comments Sharman said:

“This Council couldn’t wait for Roseland pilot project to complete.

“This Council couldn’t wait for the forestry management plan.

“This Council doesn’t even know the capacity of the built area was even designed to hold a bigger UTC than 15%, this whole thing may be a wild goose chase.

“As Arborist, Thomas Wright, says, this Council does not even know whether the City has a significant loss of tree canopy happening.

“So, it is proposed that the City of Burlington impose heavy fees, possibly significant fines and replanting costs on potentially 10’s of thousands of home owners in the next 10 years all with the single ideological goal of stopping them from cutting trees down that will die in any event.

“This bylaw may trigger a number of unintended consequences, including:

1) Providing home owners, the incentive of selling their land to assemblers who will convert single family home neighbourhoods into blocks of townhomes, especially south of the QEW. All because this Council has made it prohibitively expensive to improve their homes.

2) Disincentivizing home owners from ever planting trees on their own property because when they grow to be over 20cm’s they represent a significant financial risk in the event they wish to reorganize their property.

“People will not be allowed to manage their own property without paying huge, punitive fees to the City all to protect someone’s good idea.

Sharman picking

There were times during the private tree bylaw debate when Councillor Sharman was distracted.

“The reason the Urban Tree Canopy (UTC) in the urban area is only 15% is precisely because it was developed with homes. But no one in City Hall has checked that out.

“This whole rushed and ill-conceived bylaw is premised on the desire to sustain and increase the UTC significantly, but no one in the city has bothered to check how feasible that lofty goal is. All that is being done here is a huge penalty on anyone who wishes to improve their property. The property they have worked hard to own. The city is going extort huge sums of money to satisfy an idealistic fantasy.

“I cannot support this decision Council is about to make in the complete absence of evidence. I repeat myself again, this bylaw is rushed and ill-conceived.

Shawana Stolte 1

Councillor Stolte: “As a community …we are playing “catch up” to other more progressive municipalities.

Councillor Shawna Stolte responded saying: “I by no means see this Bylaw as being “rushed and ill-conceived” as presented by my colleague on Council.

“Staff have worked very hard on this policy framework and members of the Forestry Department have worked towards this goal for nearly a decade.

“As a community we are not leading the way…we are playing “catch up” to other more progressive municipalities that enacted tree protection bylaws years ago. If these policies had not been effective, those communities would have repealed them long ago.

“One silver lining of the City of Burlington taking so long to enact our own tree protection bylaw is that we have benefited not only from the research conducted by other municipalities but also from the benefit of their lived experiences. This does not mean however that we should merely replicate another municipality’s solutions.

“We are unique, we are special and we have worked hard to collaborate and come up with an initial framework that fits our unique community.

“There remains some details to finalize, especially with the financial impact to the residents, but the purpose and objective of the bylaw is clear and I am proud to support this proactive, positive step forward for our community.”


Angelo - not getting it -deferal

Having seconded the 12 amendments to the Private Tree Bylaw Councillor Bentivegna had questions about many of them.

The 12 amendments Councillor Sharman put forward (they were seconded by Councillor Angelo Bentivegna who at times wasn’t certain where Sharman was going).
Council Meeting December 16, 2019
1. Direct staff to prepare a Forestry Management Plan equally as comprehensive as the Oakville Urban Forest Strategic Management Plan Town of Oakville, 2008 – 2027 by Q1 2021
2. Direct staff to update the Burlington Private Tree By-Law relative to the Burlington Forestry Management Plan when complete by Q2 2021
3. Direct staff to a) compare the Burlington Private Tree By-Law to Oakville’s 2017 By-Law and explain differences, and whether to modify Burlington’s b) update the Burlington Private Tree By-Law for review at March Committee Meetings
4. Amend the Burlington Private Tree By-Law to forego replanting or cash in lieu and planting of 1st 20 cm of any tree cut down under the tree by-law application process.
5. Amend the Burlington Private Tree By-Law to revise the aggregate planting policy and replace it with the Modified Oakville replanting requirement Attachment 1 and include adjustment for tree condition.
6. Amend Burlington Private Tree By-Law to increase 2mtrs set back from house allowance (whereby no application fees or replacement is required) to equal drip distance line or 4mtrs, whichever is less
7. Amend the Burlington Private Tree By-Law to include the following clause from the Oakville 2017 By-Law “5. The provisions of this By-law do not apply to the removal of trees: (g) to permit the construction of a building or structure, where the removal, injury or destruction is required under a building permit.”
8. Amend the Burlington Private Tree By-Law to require replacement tree diameter of 30mm instead of 50mm and adjust the associated cash in lieu accordingly
9. Amend Burlington Private Tree By-Law to exclude invasive species e.g. Norway Maple from application and tree replacement
10. Direct staff to develop firm policies for the Burlington Private Tree By-Law to define forestry assessment standards in order to allow citizens to clearly understand the basis of all City arborist’s assessments, decisions and ruling to ensure transparency and accountability for the February 2020 meeting cycle
11. Amend the Burlington Private Tree By-Law to exclude rural farm property other than up to 4 acres that are used for residential purposes. Exclude all wood lots that are subject to existing municipal by laws.
12. Direct staff to return of cash in-lieu funds to applicants if not used to plant trees on private property within 3 years proportional to contribution and actual plantings accomplished


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Long long debates - strong differences of opinion - but council voted to create a Private Tree Bylaw on a 5-2 vote.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

December 17th, 2019



They did it.

City Council passed a private tree bylaw during debates that got close to rancorous.

A number of items that are to be in the bylaw that will become effective April 1st, 2020 were deferred to a meeting in January.

There were 12 amendments put forward by Councillor Sharman – Bentivegna seconded the amendments.

The vote was 5-2 for with Councillors Sharman and Bentivegna opposed.

Trees Pine street

The tree was cut down to make way for a development – nothing has replaced it.

Tree Guelph line close up -no name

A Private Tree bylaw would have saved this tree or put some serious cash in city coffers if it had been cut down. There was no bylaw in place at the time this tree came down.

There is a lot that has to be adjusted before this bylaw will actually work.

Mayor Meed Ward was challenged twice on rulings she made as Chair of the Council meeting.

There were a number of delegations, two that brought solid information to the discussion.

The decision is historic for the city – will it bring about the results that this council wants?  Only time will tell.

The fear amongst some is that residents will begin cutting down trees to ensure that they don’t find themselves needing permits to cut down trees – permits that could cost tens of thousands.

This is a controversial bylaw – it is going to take some very deft management on the part of the Forestry department to convince people that there is a better solution than cutting down a perfectly good tree just because, as one resident put it, “it had become a nuisance”.

This by-law has the potential to come back and bite the city, this council and the Mayor.


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Party Clean Up - At the very least, you should clear up the dishes and glasses and put them in the dishwasher.

News 100 blueBy Jeremy Biberdorf

December 17th, 2019



Hosting a party is fun and exciting. Whether it’s Christmas, New Year or a special birthday celebration, you get to hang out with all of your favorite people.

party cleaning

At the very least, you should clear up the dishes and glasses and put them in the dishwasher.

However, cleaning up afterwards is not nearly as enjoyable. Ideally, you should clear up as much as you can as soon as the party ends. At the very least, you should clear up the dishes and glasses and put them in the dishwasher. You should also check for any spillages that may be a lot harder to deal with the next day. Here are some other tips to make after party cleaning slightly less of a headache.

Make sure that you have the utensils you need:
Before you start the cleaning process, you should make sure that you have all the utensils and cleaning products that you need. This means that you do not need to run to the store and stock up half way through the process. Items that you may need include:

Dishwasher tablets.
● Clean and dry cloths.
● Antibacterial spray.
● Kitchen cleaning spray.
● Floor cleaner.
● Polish.

Check what needs to be done and make a list of the items that you need. This helps to make sure that you have all the necessary items.

Let some air in:
Even if no-one was smoking at the party, there is still likely to be a stale smell in the air. You may also be able to smell unpleasant scents such as body odour and stale alcohol.

This is why it’s so important to let some fresh air in. Open doors and windows and use air freshener spray if necessary.

Collect dishes and bottles first
It makes sense to collect dishes, glasses and bottles first. As mentioned earlier, this should ideally be done as soon as the party ends.

party cleaning 1

Pour unfinished drinks down the sink and clean any bottles that can be recycled

Pour away unfinished drinks and clean any bottles that can be recycled. Dishes and glasses should be emptied and placed in the dishwasher. Remember to check all rooms for dishes and glasses. You would be surprised where people leave things at parties.

Be methodical
Once rooms are emptied of obstructions like dishes, you can clean them. Clean rooms one at a time. You should also plan your cleaning so that you do not trail through rooms that you have already cleaned.

Clean the floors last
Do not clean floors until you have finished all of the other cleaning. This stops you from getting dust and debris on clean floors. Once you start cleaning the floors, vacuum first and then clean wooden floors and wash carpets if necessary.

Get rid of stains as soon as possible
You should try to identify potential stains as soon as the party is over. Doing this makes them easier to deal with. Some stains, such as red wine, present a particular problem. If you encounter a red wine stain, it’s a good idea to use soda water to try and remove it. Add soda water, then blot the stain. You may need to repeat this process several times.

Take care of repairs
Hopefully, everything in your home will be intact after your party. However, accidents do happen. This is why it’s so important to carry out a thorough check for damage, such as cracked ornaments and broken chairs. Repairs should be completed as soon as possible, to prevent them from worsening. Depending on what the damage is you may be able to use one product for all cases of damage.

It’s important to make sure that hosting a party is a fun experience that you remember for the right reasons. Paying attention to these cleaning tips can help make this happen, by removing some of the stress.

Jeremy Biberdorf is a guy with answers to almost any question you have on maintaining a household – be it a 500 sq ft closet in New York or a 2500 sq ft home in the suburbs.  Ask him a house maintenance problem and he will have an answer.

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Walking the talk - crafting a budget that focuses on climate change issues hasn't put members of council in electric cars.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

December 16th, 2019


We were advised by the Office of the Mayor this afternoon that “The vehicle the Mayor uses is an electric plug-in.  Our apologies for any embarrassment we might have caused her Worship.

The climate has dominated the 2020 budget deliberations. Trying to get electric buses as soon as possible, pushing a private tree by law onto the books, setting aside funds to work on the Climate Action Plan, buying level two charging stations that would be set up at community centres.

Electric car fill up

If you get to the Locust Street parking garage early enough you can park your electric car and charge it at the same time. But get there early – they get taken up quickly.

Getting people out of their cars and onto buses by making it free for those under twelve, putting together a deal with the school boards that will have high school students riding a bus to school. During the summer there was a program that had seniors using transit free during the off peak hours.

Progress – Mayor Meed Ward would like to make transit free for everyone and if the buses they ride were all electric she would be ecstatic.

But there is a fly in this ointment; none one of the city councilors drives an electric vehicle.

BMW hydro EV charging device

Burlington Hydro leased an electric BMW and made it available to members of the 2014-18 city council and covered the cost of a charging station outside city hall to introduce the elected to electric vehicles. Nothing happened.

One reported that he drives his boys to school in his pickup truck and admitted that he found himself following the school bus in his pick-up truck explaining that the school bus didn’t come close enough to his home to make it convenient.

That is not exactly walking the talk.

The Mayor is provided a car as part of her benefit package – to the best of our knowledge it is not an electric car. (See correction at the top of this story) To her credit to the Mayor walks to city hall when she doesn’t have to travel – which isn’t very often.

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Public school board supports free transit for high school students - city will give it the nod on Monday.

Budget 2020 redBy Staff

December 12th, 2019



Trustees of the Halton District School Board (HDSB) encourage the Burlington community to add their voices to ask the City of Burlington to support free municipal transit for high school students. The City is currently in budget talks, which includes a process of prioritizing such initiatives.

School buses

High school students might get an upgrade to the traditional orange school bus to a nice new electric bus. Not this year – but soon if the four boards and the city can work out an understanding.

Halton District School Board Trustees will be delegating Burlington City Council on Monday, Dec. 16, 2019 in favour of continuing talks to develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for all Burlington high school students to ride municipal transit free of charge beginning September 2020.

Grebenc - expressive hands

HDSB Chair Andrea Grebenc.

Tracey Ehl Harrison

HDSB vice chair Tracey Ehl Harrison

Earlier in the year the HDSB re-elected Andrea Grebenc as chair and Tracy Ehil Harris as vice chair – this is the third term for each woman.

This item will be on the Council agenda on Monday, Dec. 16 at 6:30 p.m. at Burlington City Hall.

Currently, school boards pay for student municipal transit passes for specific high school students who commute to specialized programs offered at schools other than their home school. One of the possible Halton District School Board commitments under the MOU could be to maintain the current level of financial contribution to help offset the costs to the City.

The school board trustees are asking people to consider attending the December 16 meeting to support the Trustee delegation, delegating yourself or sending in a letter of support.

The city has allocated $42,500 to cover the cost and is looking to the other school boards to chip in.

Burlington City Council is trying hard to get electric buses into the fleet, add to the size of the fleet and install EV chargers for the buses – they come in at $1 million each.

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Entrepreneurship for women: thinking big and going global

News 100 blueBy Staff

December 11th, 2019



There is a new women’s accelerator program called Beyond Boundaries that is being run by HalTech

The program will offer:

• Skills development in financial acumen, technology expertise, and scaling up
• Targeted connections through networking events and strategic introductions.
• Mentorship, advisory support and peer learning circles.
• Exploration of new markets and global opportunities.

Boundaries Haltech graphicThe Government of Canada is advancing women’s economic empowerment with the first ever Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES), a $2-billion investment that seeks to double the number of women-owned businesses by 2025. Doubling the number of women owned businesses requires a strong ecosystem of support, expertise and connections.

As part of WES, Haltech Regional Innovation Centre and the Halton Region Global Business Centre are pleased to introduce an accelerator program designed to unleash the power and potential of women entrepreneurs. Created with the unique challenges and opportunities faced by the diversity of women who start and run businesses.

The first cohort of the program will start in early 2020.

CLICK HERE for an application form.

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Joseph Gaetan sees an upside to online learning - it worked for him.

opinionred 100x100By Joseph A. Gaetan

December 9th, 2019



At the moment, the secondary school unions and the Ontario government are at loggerheads over whether 4, 2 or 0 online classes should be offered. Having experienced both traditional and e-learning firsthand I can attest to the fact that in both cases some courses are delivered better than others.

Online 1

Take your courses when you want – where you want and if you didn’t get it the first time yo can replay the class.

In my experience there is room for improvement on both fronts and not every subject is a candidate for e-learning. One of the criticisms I have heard about e-learning involves access to tutors, something I found to be both a problem and an opportunity. On one hand not having instant access to a tutor can be frustrating, on the other hand, from personal experience, it can make you dig deeper for the solution. In education, as in life, some of the things that stick with us the most are the things we had to work the hardest to achieve. Easy and instant access to resources is not always the answer and is not always the best form of education.

Say or think what you want about online learning, it has been here a while and it is here to stay, and, it’s growing in leaps and bounds. For many people it is a game changer as it may be the only way they can earn those last few credits or a credential that they otherwise would not be able to earn. For some it is a matter of cost or a way to balance raising a family while earning a living.

According to the “Ontario Learn” website, in 1995 seven colleges put their heads together and started to offer online courses, today 24 Ontario colleges offer high quality online education. The original seven realized that by pooling resources, they could extend their reach by offering online courses and programs to students who would not otherwise have access to them.

“Athabasca University” (AU) is a Canadian Open University specializing in online distance education and is one of four comprehensive academic and research universities in Alberta. Founded in 1970, it was the first Canadian university to specialize in distance education. Athabasca offers online undergraduate and graduate programs and courses. AU serves over 38,000 students (over 7,900 full-load equivalents) and offers over 900 courses in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs in a range of arts, science and professional disciplines.

If you haven’t heard of a MOOC, you aren’t alone. MOOCS or Massive Open Online Courses have unlimited participation and open access via the web. EDx is just one online MOOC platform that has about 14 million learners and is the second largest MOOC provider in the world. The global MOOC market size was estimated to be $4 billion in 2018.

When I wanted to brush up on my knowledge of social media marketing, I turned to EDx and promptly found 10 offerings. One course from Boston University not only met my needs but allowed me, should I so desire, to earn a credit towards a Micro Masters. The course starts in April of 2020 and currently has 69,871 registrants.

So why all the fuss and push back here in Ontario? Online learning is anything but new. Online learning may also be the only choice for some people who have different learning styles or disabilities. My granddaughter is in grade 10 so I sought her opinion on the topic. Her response; she prefers having a teacher in front of her. Good enough. Online learning is not for everyone. Some students like my granddaughter prefer a live teacher, some may learn better, as I did, with online learning.

The current generation of high school students are prodigious users of online technology. So why not offer them online learning as part of our high school curriculum? Failing to offer online learning in this day and age is a missed opportunity.

Athabasca University has been around since 1970 and Ontario Learn since 1995, and 2020 is just around the corner, so let’s get on with it, but do it right, and by that I mean involving the right stakeholders be it parents, students, teachers and the government in the process.

There is but one pool of taxpayer money, some of that pool is dedicated to education, some of that pool goes towards paying for infrastructure, some for books and supplies, some for school repairs and maintenance, and some to teachers and other staff.

Online 2

There are strengths and weaknesses to online education. It does cost the governments less.

We have one of the best and most expensive education systems in the world. In order to continue to be the best we must find a way to make online learning part of that system and we can either lead the way, or we can sit back and suffer the consequence of lagging as did Research in Motion (RIM) aka Blackberry.

At the moment online education is geared to post-secondary learning. I see two pathways for primary and secondary student e-learning. One has the government and other stakeholders working hand in hand to figure out how to make e-learning part of Ontario’s education future.

The other path is market based where the government with the help of e-learning experts such as EDx create a series K to 12 courses that are optional for those who would benefit the most. In the end this approach will only work if there is value to members of the target market, “the student”.

Joseph GaetanJoseph A. Gaetan has a BGS degree in applied studies, earned through studies at The University of Waterloo and Athabasca University. He also earned a Province of Ontario Engineering Technology Certificate through Fanshawe College, and for 8 years worked at earning a trade becoming a Journeyman Machinist. He also studied French at the Centre Linguistique du Collège de Jonquière and Italian at Mohawk College. In addition, he has taken online courses through the EDx platform taking courses from Harvard, The University of Queensland, Wellesley and Delft Wageningen, he is currently working at learning 6 languages through Duolingo. His work career includes being a Machinist, a CNC programmer, a business owner, a consultant and the Director of Organizational Development for a Fortune 100 company. All of this thanks to life-long learning.

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Police to regularly report on intimate partner violence

Crime 100By Pepper Parr

December 5th, 2019



In a media release the Halton Regional Police Service said: “Incidents of intimate partner violence threaten the very sense of safety and well-being that defines our region.

“Last year, our officers responded to more than 3,300 intimate partner domestic violence calls. We also know that intimate partner violence is overwhelmingly under-reported.   Statistics Canada estimates that more than 80 per cent of these incidents go unreported.

“Starting this week, the Halton Regional Police Service will periodically publish media releases that capture a de-identified incident of intimate partner violence in the community. No names. No residence details. We will, however, disclose the nature of the incident and what charges were laid as a result of an investigation. Each media release will also include key messaging that:

domestic violence

Intimate partner violence damages the very fabric of the society we live in.

i) reinforces that no one has the right to abuse another person;

ii) encourages victims and witnesses to contact the Halton Regional Police Service; and

iii) provides a comprehensive list of community resources for those affected.

“Our goals with this new approach to community-facing messaging are two-fold:

i) create an opportunity to connect others who are at-risk, or who may already be victims of intimate partner violence, with the resources and support they need and deserve; and

ii) heighten the awareness of the general public regarding how pervasive this violence is in our community.

“Intimate partner violence reaches across socio-economic, cultural, racial and class distinctions. It is a community problem that requires community engagement to address,” says Deputy Chief Jeff Hill. “It is impossible to fix what you can’t see, so we are broadening the conversation to clearly signal that this insidious violence is not solely an issue of concern to victims. If you see something, say something.”

Diane Beaulieu

Diane Beaulieu, Executive Director of Halton Women’s Place

Diane Beaulieu, Executive Director of Halton Women’s Place applauds the  Police Service for taking this bold step saying “An increase in public awareness will help de-stigmatize the issue of gender-based violence, and particularly violence against women. Every person in the community is entitled to feel safe in their home.”

“Given the prevalence of intimate partner violence in the region, it is imperative that all stakeholders shed light on this issue. In collaboration with our community partners, through ongoing education and shared information, the Halton Regional Police Service hopes to further prevent and reduce future victimization.”

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High school students considering educational options.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

November 28th, 2019



Students were arriving at the Mattamy Velodrome in Milton Friday by the busload from every public high school in the Region.

They were there to look at some of the educational opportunities available to them once they have completed high school.


1500 students from public high schools throughout the Region took part in an opportunity to see what their educational futures might look like.

A total of 1500 students were expected to go through two hour sessions looking at the offerings at community colleges and opportunities in both the public and the private sectors.

The exhibits filled the oval of the velodrome, which from time to time, had cyclists speeding around on the track.

The Halton Pathways: A Future that Fits program is designed to give students as many opportunities as possible to decide what they want to do in the way of work once they have completed their education.


Burlington’s Nelson High School pitching their SHSM program.

Several of the Community Colleges were on hand with representatives who could talk about various programs, at least one university was represented. The Regional Police had equipment on the site.

Part of the Pathways program is the Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM).

SHSM programs allow students to specialize their education around their chosen field of interest. Each SHSM program includes a bundle of 8-10 Grade 11 and 12 courses related to that area of interest.

Grade 11 and 12 students choose a major sector area such as:

Huntley Gibbs looking left

Superintendent Julie Hunt Gibbons.

Business, construction, arts and culture, energy, environment, information and communications technology, justice, community safety and emergency services, health and wellness, horticulture and landscaping, social justice, sports, transportation, manufacturing, hospitality and tourism.

The opportunity to specialize will result in notations on their report cards that often leads to a job as soon as they graduate because they have marketable skills.

Julie Hunt Gibbons, Superintendent of Education responsible for Secondary curriculum and school program, Student success and pathways destinations, Elementary schools: Brookdale, Eastview, Gladys Speers, Oakwood, Pine Grove, WH Morden and TA Blakelock High School.

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Region holds an Emergency Measures Exercise - How do we get People out of a High Rise when it is on Fire?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 27th, 2019



We seldom think about a fire in a high rise – when we do, I think most of us shudder and say – this doesn’t effect me – I live in a house or a four story apartment building.

However, fires do take place in high rise buildings and Burlington appears to be in the process of putting up as many of them as possible.

Evacuation HAber to High Rise 1

Halton Region Paramedic Services Operations Superintendent Michael Mitchell plans next steps.

The Region, which is responsible for the Emergency Measure Operation Centre, held an Emergency Evacuation exercise on November 22 with the city to assess the Region’s plans.

The scenario focused on a fictional fire in a Burlington high-rise building, which required residents to leave their units and take shelter at the Region’s Emergency Evacuation Centre located at Haber Community Centre.

“This exercise was another step forward in our ongoing work to help protect individuals and families during emergencies,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “Testing our response allows us to improve the way we deliver essential services and supports to residents. Our strong partnership with the Local Municipalities, first responders and community organizations ensures we are ready for emergencies in Halton.”

Haber to high rise 2

Halton Region Children Services Supervisor, Stephanie Houghton, acting as the Haber Evacuation Centre Commander, briefs Canadian Red Cross volunteers.

The exercise, “High-rise to Haber”, tested specific response processes, including how the Region and City would communicate with residents, partners and staff at the evacuation centre. Participants assessed their joint response to identify strengths, challenges and areas for improvement.

The following participants supported the emergency exercise:

• City of Burlington Recreation Services Department
• Canadian Red Cross
• St. John’s Ambulance Burlington
• The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)
• Halton Region Paramedic Services
• Halton Regional Police Service

In addition to exercise “High-rise to Haber”, which was the largest scenario planned for 2019, the Region also participated in 12 smaller exercises and drills earlier this year. Emergency preparedness is a shared responsibility that involves residents, businesses, all levels of government and the community.

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Getting students the education they need for the career futures they see for themselves.

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 21, 2019



The Halton District School Board has announced it is hosting its second annual experiential learning event, Halton Pathways: A Future that Fits, for approximately 1,500 Grade 10 students, on Friday, November 29 at the Mattamy National Cycling Centre (Velodrome) in Milton.

Pathway graphicThe daylong event will feature an opportunity for students to explore high school Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) programs and to meet the teachers and employers related to each SHSM sector.

The event will include more than 45 local businesses, providing a full day of hands-on interactive activities for students.

Colleges and universities will attend and provide displays related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), Police Foundations, Trades and Technology, the Environment, Energy, and Arts and Culture. Activities will include a robotics display, healthcare medical simulation mannequin, construction and DIY projects, sound, lighting and equipment, a virtual reality trainer, fire trucks and fire extinguishers, cupcake decorating, welding simulations, therapy dogs and a fingerprinting session.

“This event will give our students the opportunity to explore many different businesses and learn about programs, like the Specialist High Skills Major and the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program, that allows them to engage in specialized programming and real-work experience in high school,” says Veronica Kleinsmith, Specialist High Schools Major Resource Teacher for the Halton District School Board.

The HDSB currently offers 60 Specialist High Skills Major programs and 15 Concentrated Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Programs with approximately 1,500 Grade 11 and 12 students enrolled in more than a dozen different sectors such as Business, Arts and Culture, Transportation, Construction, Justice, Community Safety and Emergency Services.

For more information on A Future that Fits, CLICK HERE

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School Board Invites parents to Take part in a formal Bateman high school closing event.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 21st, 2019



The request was to be expected.

The Halton District School Board does make a point of holding an event to celebrate the history and the story of a school when it is to be formally closed.

Bateman parents

The parents and students did everything they could – they had a convincing argument but they were up against an iconic high school a couple of km away.

For the people in the community and the parents who fought to hard to keep the school open – it will not be a joyous event. They fought then and think now that the closing of the school was a mistake.

They were right then and they are right now.

But – time moves on.

The Robert Bateman High School’s Integration Committee is seeking subcommittee members and volunteers to form two subcommittees to help commemorate the school, in preparation for the school’s closing in June 2020.

Interested students, staff, parents/guardians, alumni and community members are invited to complete an Expression of Interest Form by Friday, Dec. 6, 2019.

The subcommittees will be formed prior to the first meeting on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020 at 7 p.m. at Robert Bateman High School.

The Artifacts and Memorabilia Subcommittee is being created to assist in the identification, gathering and cataloguing of the school’s artifacts and the development of a plan to honour and display memorabilia. Members of the Closing Celebrations and Activities Subcommittee will assist in the planning of closing celebrations and activities.


The Boards data told the tale.

Hopefully one of the banners that was used during the many demonstrations will be included.

“The Integration Committee looks forward to working with members of the Robert Bateman community to celebrate and honour the history of this school,” says Robert Eatough, Superintendent of Education for the Halton District School Board.

Collard and Miller

Ward school board trustee Amy Collard, livid at the time over the decision the Board was getting ready to make on the closing of Robert Bateman High school stares down the Director of Education.

There is no decision yet as to what will happen to the school.  The ward trustee, Amy Collard has some ideas; she can be very persuasive and the Mayor of Burlington appears to be prepared to do everything she can to keep the property available for use by the community.

The fear that the site will be converted into land for a condo development is not on the table now and never will be.

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Guy who Chases Painted Horses will be speaking at the AGB November 27th.

eventsorange 100x100By Staff

November 17th, 2019



This is one of those events that has three different organizations behind the wheel as it were.

The Library is sponsoring it – you will need your library card to register.

The Art Gallery is the venue for the event – they have the space.

And A Different Drummer is in there should you want to buy the book.

The event is an opportunity to hear an “ever-droll playwright, novelist, and social commentator discuss his life, career and the concerns at the heart of his artfully wry and poignant new work of fiction, Chasing Painted Horses.

Hayden Taylor

The star of this show is Drew Hayden Taylor who is “one of the dangerous writers who knows the potential of humour, and how far it can reach into a society, how deep it can cut, how quickly it can heal.”

He’s an award-winning playwright, novelist, journalist, scriptwriter and artistic director of Canada’s premier Native theatre company—and a very funny man. BPL is thrilled to welcome back Drew Hayden Taylor to share his latest novel, Chasing Painted Horses.

Admission is free–please register at this link or by contacting us at 905 639 0925 or

If you don’t have a library card give the Drummer a call – they can register you.  Seating is limited – there are a reported less than 30 left.


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Public Board of Education holding a partnership opportunities meeting in December - need for a new administrative building on the list.

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 12th, 2019



Each year the Halton District School Board holds a meeting to which community organizations and members of the public are invited to discuss potential planning and partnership opportunities.

Partnership opportunities in existing schools and co-build opportunities in proposed new schools, as well as a new Board Administrative Centre, will be discussed at the J.W. Singleton Education Centre, 2050 Guelph Line, Burlington on December 11th at 7:00 pm

Potential partners are requested to bring relevant planning information such as population projections, growth plans, community needs, land use and greenspace/park requirements to the meeting.

The big one on this list is the critical need for a new administrative building on the Upper Middle Road – Guelph Line site. The existing structure is bursting at the seams. Much of the senior staff has to located at the Gary Allan High School on New Street which results in hours of wasted time in travel between the two locations.

A number of the trustees were hoping that any new administrative building would be located closer to the center of the Region; that probably won’t happen because the Board currently owns the land on which the administrative building is located where there is a lot of space for a new building.

HDSB location

The Board owns the land right up to the NW intersection of Upper Middle and Guelph line.

There is some background information, policy and the procedures the Boards are required to follow.

You will find that HERE

The key contact at the Board of Education is Domenico Renzella, Senior Manager, Planning. 905-335-3663 | Toll-free 1-877-618-3456


Related news stories:

New Admin building will cost $23 million.

Not all trustees like the idea of a new Admin building in Burlington.

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Public School Board Wants Input on their Next Multi-Year Plan

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 11th, 2019



The Halton District School Board (HDSB) is asking students, families, staff and the community to share views and identify areas of focus for the Board’s next Multi-Year Plan 2020-2024.

HDSB multi yearOpportunities to provide input include community roundtable discussions, focus group sessions, and online surveys, available from Nov. 4 to Dec. 2, 2019.

The Multi-Year Plan (MYP) is the roadmap that informs the Board’s decisions and allocation of resources, while guiding collective actions for ongoing improvement over the next four years. It sets the direction to ensure the Board’s efforts support all students, staff and families across the HDSB.

The current MYP 2016-2020 can be found here.

All parents/guardians, staff, students and community members are invited to complete a survey to assess the Board’s current MYP and provide input on areas of priority in the next MYP. The surveys are open from Nov. 4 – Dec. 2, 2019.

All parents/guardians, staff, students and community members are invited to discuss and provide face-to-face input on the development of the Board’s next MYP at two community roundtable discussions held in the north and south areas of Halton.

Two separate identical sessions will be held from 7 – 9 p.m. on the following dates:

• Monday, Nov. 18: Milton Staff Learning Centre (215 Ontario St S, Milton) – Register here

• Thursday, Nov. 21: Garth Webb Secondary School (2820 West Oak Trails Blvd, Oakville) –
Register here

Stuart Miller

Director of Education Stuart Miller

“The Multi-Year Plan is strengthened by the experience and input of students, staff, families and community members,” says Stuart Miller, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board. “Your voice is critical to getting the plan right and setting the direction for the HDSB. We look forward to your participation in helping to shape the next four years in the Halton District School Board.”

Consultations will take place until December 2, 2019. The feedback and insights received from stakeholders through the online surveys, community roundtable discussions and other forums will inform the development of the new MYP over the next three to four months. The MYP 2020-2024 will take effect in September 2020.


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High school information nights - schedule dates.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

November 11th, 2019



High school information nights are scheduled during the month of November to provide an opportunity for students, parents and guardians to learn about Grade 9 programs, services for students and diploma requirements.

Each high school in the Halton District School Board will host an information evening. Families should attend the information night at the school designated for their community.

Dates and locations for each information night are set out below:

Aldershot High School
November 28, 2019 at 6:30 p.m.

Burlington Central High School
November 14, 2019 at 6:30 p.m.

Dr. Frank J. Hayden Secondary School
November 14, 2019 – from 6:00 pm – 9:00 p.m.

M.M. Robinson High School
November 14, 2019 from 7:00 p.m to 8:30 p.m., (includes a French Program info session)

Nelson High School
November 20, 2019, from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m

HDSB grade 9 intro

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Lest we forget

Remembered, respected

Remembered, respected


The memorial was put in place after WWI when the citizens of Burlington wanted to do something to remember the fallen.  It was paid for by citizens and then turned over to the city to maintain.

The bronze plaque on the front was put in place to commemorate those lost in WW II – beneath that plaque are the following words:

“To teach that he who serves is lost,
To bear in silence, though our hearts may bleed,
To spend ourselves, and never count the cost,
For others greater need.”

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Public gets a chance to learn just how the iSTEM program is working at Aldershot High School.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

October 31st, 2019



It was the best decision that came out of the PAR (Program Accommodation Review) of 2017 – an event that shut down two of the city’s seven high schools.

There were some issues at the time about the amount of unused space at the Aldershot High School, which was threatened with closure.

A trustee who failed to get re-elected came up with the idea and staff got a grip on it and created what came to be known as i STEM – Innovation, Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics program that takes a project approach to learning that requires students to solve problems with the subjects they are learning.

Blackwell and Miller at itsem Nov 2018

Superintendent Terri Blackwell with Director of Education Stuart Miller the night parents showed up to learn more about the iSTEM program.

The program started in September with a grade 9 class that has students from across the Region.

The response to the creation of the STEM program surpassed the Board’s most optimistic projections.

There will be a presentation on November 12th at the high school – the public will get a chance to see how well the program is working.

The grade 9 students will move on to grade 10 – when they graduate there will be a full high school program.

Available to students in Halton and beyond, I-STEM (Innovation – Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) enables students to develop innovation skills related to engineering design and design thinking, entrepreneurial thinking skills and global competencies. Students will have enhanced learning opportunities through community and post-secondary partnerships.

“I-STEM has been designed to prepare students for future trends in the workforce and help students solve complex economic, social and environmental problems,” says Terri Blackwell, Superintendent of Education for the HDSB. “We are fortunate to work with an extensive group of advisors on program development, opportunities and learning.”


Superintendent Terri Blackwell

“I-STEM has been designed to prepare students for future trends in the workforce and help students solve complex economic, social and environmental problems,” says Terri Blackwell, Superintendent of Education for the HDSB. “We are fortunate to work with an extensive group of advisors on program development, opportunities and learning.”

“We look forward to sharing with families and the community what current I-STEM students and faculty are accomplishing in the program’s inaugural year, as well as showcase the new and innovative learning spaces.”

I-STEM Open House, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019, 7 – 8:30 p.m.
Aldershot School (50 Fairwood Place W, Burlington)
A presentation will be held in the auditorium at 7 p.m. and repeated at 7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Overflow parking is available at LaSalle Park.

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The importance of looking after the caregiver.

News 100 blueBy Staff

October 25th, 2019

Parents/guardians are invited to attend a free evening presentation on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019 aimed at addressing the importance of looking after themselves as caregivers in order to look after their loved ones.

The presentation by Michele Sparling is titled “Putting ‘Self’ in Caregiving – How Looking After you Helps You Look After Them”.

Seniors - caring for them

Who is taking care of the care-giver?

In this session, parents/guardians and caregivers will hear why self-care is an important part of the regimen of care, what it is, what it is not, and one family’s story of finding room to breathe and reset, in order to be there for their loved ones.

Presented by Community & Parent Partners for Kids (C.A.P.P. for Kids), the event runs from 7 – 8:30 p.m. at Gary Allan High School/New Street Education Centre (3250 New St., Burlington). There will be community displays from 6:45 – 7 p.m.

Michele Sparling is a Partner at Innovative HR and has 30 years of in depth experience as a results-oriented senior human resources professional. She has a Bachelor of Business Administration, and a Master of Industrial Relations. She is trained in mediation, facilitation, ASIST, Mental Health First Aid, and as a SocioPsychological Health and Safety Advisor. Michele and her family have lived in the Oakville community for 23 years.

C.A.P.P. for Kids is a partnership between Halton Region, Halton District School Board, Halton Catholic District School Board, Reach Out Centre for Kids (ROCK), Our Kids Network, Halton Regional Police Service, Ontario Early Years, Burlington Public Library, City of Burlington, and the Halton Multicultural Council.

For more information about this event, email

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Journalist, broadcaster and historian to talk about her book on Mary and Christopher Pratt - a couple that left a significant mark on Canadian art.

eventsblue 100x100By Staff

October 23rd, 2019



Carol Bishop-Gwyn, is a journalist, broadcaster and historian of the arts who has written an enthralling chronicle of the eventful lives, the indelible works, and the colourful relationship of artists Mary and Christopher Pratt.

Pratt art - boat

An early screen print – Boat in Sand, 1961 is in the National Gallery’s collection.

Ross King explains the book this way: “Christopher Pratt has left a truly indelible mark on the Canadian art canvas. Bishop-Gwyn’s remarkable double portrait of Canada’s first couple of painting explores the lives of Mary and Christopher Pratt with the insight and sympathy of a friend and insider, and the wide lens and forensic scrutiny of an historian.

“Along the way we learn of the passions, tragedies and rivalries behind two extraordinary bodies of work.”

In Art and Rivalry,  Carol Bishop-Gwyn delves into the the lives of Christopher and Mary Pratt, Canada’s most renowned contemporary artists.  Their once supportive relationship ended in scandal, divorce, and a furious competition for dominance in Canadian Art. Their never-before-told story offers insight into the role of art and artists in our society.

Gwyn book on PrattThe Provincial flag of Newfoundland and Labrador, was designed by Pratt and adopted in 1980.

Nfld flagAdmission is free–please register at this link or by contacting us at (905) 639 0925 or

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