Interactive Maps and Open Data services not available Sept. 6-7, 2018

notices100x100By Staff

September 5th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The city is upgrading the mapping and open data technology application.

You will not be able to  upgrade, interactive maps and open data will not be available on Thursday, Sept. 6 and Friday, Sept. 7.

These services will be available again on Saturday, September 8.

Data-Value-Chain-Spotlight

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Concerns over the quality of the drinking water at local schools are nothing to worry about: The Board has a policy to ensure that the water is safe and they keep parents informed.

News 100 redBy Staff

September 5, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A Gazette reader advised us that parents were getting notices about the amount of lead in the water in Halton Board of Education schools.

We asked Director of Education Stuart Miller the following questions:

What’s with the lead in the water at MMR?

How bad is it?

When did the Board learn about it?

What is the Board doing about it?

The Board of Education has it all under control.

David Boag, Associate Director of Education told that Gazette that lead testing occurs throughout the school year in all our schools.

Boag David

David Boag, Associate Director of Education at the Halton District School Board

In each school testing occurs at several locations (different fixtures) within the school. This testing occurred this summer and in some schools, lead concentrations were above allowable limits. Where this occurs, we inform families. This often occurs in the summer when water is allowed to sit in pipes and our regular flushing routine is not in effect at many sites.

Wherever there is a lead exceedacne, flushing occurs and the water is tested again. If the fixture where the test was done does not pass after flushing, the fixture is taken out of service and further maintenance or replacement occurrs.

All other locations must achieve a passing test for the fixture to be put back in service. Prior to school coming back for September we resume our daily water flushing to ensure water quality for staff and students in our schools.

The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks requires all sites to be tested annually between May and October. The Halton District School Board hires an independent, certified third-party to gather water samples and send to a certified laboratory to perform the analysis. Under the regulation, if an exceedance is detected, the lab is required to inform the Ministry of Environment Spills Action Centre, the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, Halton Region Public Health Department, the Ministry of Education and the school board.

If a fixture’s standing sample laboratory test results indicate an unacceptable concentration of lead and the flushed sample shows acceptable lead concentration levels, staff at the school perform a five-minute daily flush of every water line, and a ten-second flush at every fixture before school starts. This ensures the standing water condition does not occur. If a fixture’s flushed sample laboratory test results indicate an unacceptable concentration of lead, water supply to the fixture is shut off.

drinking-fountain-water

Pure clear water – tested regularly

The water supply is not turned back on until two consecutive tests are conducted and the results show the lead concentration within the water is safe to drink. Adjacent water fixtures are also tested to ensure the issue is not present within the supplying water line. If subsequent test results show unacceptable concentration levels, the fixture is either removed entirely or replaced and retested. In the event that there has been an exceedance, flushing will occur daily for a period of two years as a precaution. This applies to both standing and flush test results.

The drinking water at schools within the Halton District School Board follows stringent water testing in accordance with Ontario Regulation 243/07 and under the direction of the Ministry the Environment, Conservation and Parks. All sampling, testing and any remediation is completed before school commences to ensure the health and safety of students.

They’ve got this one under control.

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MM Robinson high school opens for the former Pearson high school students - a lot of effort was put into making the integration work.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

September 4th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

They will stream into the school by the hundreds.

The changes to the outer appearance of M. M. Robinson will be noted and the students transferring in from Lester b. Pearson high school will settle into their new surroundings.

New cladding roof MMR

M. M. Robinson high school being “spruced up”.

The building was looking a little worn – it was time to spruce the place up a bit. Some of the work was done during the summer- the balance will get done before the end of the year.

Getting to this point has been a huge task that pulled on most of the resources that exist at the senior levels of the Halton District School Board.

Blackwell +

Superintendent Terri Blackwell talking to Pearson high school during the formal school closing.

Several of the Superintendents were on call; Terri Blackwell was leading the drive to ensure that Pearson fit into MMR perfectly; that every possible and reasonable need was met.

Many of the teachers from Pearson came over with the students.

The closing of Pearson was contentious and might well result in at least two of the trustees losing their seats in the October municipal election.

School closing are not the concern of Claire Proteau, the principal at M.M. Robinson high school. Her job is to make the school work and ensure that each student gets the education they need and deserve.

She brings both an eclectic and colourful background to the task. She is not your cookie cutter idea of a principal. Very very hands on with an understanding that students today are different and that the world they are going into is equally different.

Claire outside the school

Claire Proteau stands outside her high school while students take part in a program run by the Halton police.

Claire graduated from high school and went to a community college because, as she put it, her marks were not good enough to get into university. She studied behavioural sciences at community college and went to teachers college as a mature student.

Claire treats her students as young adults and works with them at whatever level they are at. She has bounced around the Halton District School Board and worked in some challenging situations. She was at the Syl Apps Youth Centre, a 48-bed, Secure Residential Forensic Mental Health Facility for Ontario male and female youth. The Halton District School Board provides the educational component.

That job pulled on Claire’s experience in the federal correctional service – penitentiaries – where she found the inmates to be people she could work with. “It was the custodial staff – guards – that I couldn’t take. It wasn’t where I wanted my career to begin and end.”

Life in Kingston came to an end – Claire and the family moved to Burlington where she joined the Halton District School board.

She was on staff at Bateman when the Elgin/Brock students were integrated into the new school.

She worked at Central high school where she was a vice principal.

The opportunity to move to MM Robinson was too good for Claire to miss – she asked for the job and got it.

That’s when the challenges began – integrating several hundred students from Pearson which was a very small school. They are coming into a school that you can actually get lost in. It is the largest high school in the HDSB system.

It is a composite school – offers everything.

It has a student body that is defined by the part of the city they live in; north of the QEW east of Tyendaga. Middle class families in a quiet neighbourhood.

MMR has two vice principals, 50 teachers and 26 educational assistants.

There is a Community Pathway Program at MMR that is visible, the CPP students are fully integrated.
Students who have mobility challenges are helped by other students. While it is a big school with a large student population everyone seems to know everyone else.

Proteau at desk

Claire Proteau in her office – where she is open and engaging with her students.

There is a very healthy relationship between the student body and the Pathway program. It’s one big family.
The administration offices are on the second level of the school with an awkward set of stairs that gets you to that space. There is a small gallery, almost a balcony that let’s Claire look out over the gathering area inside the front doors where the students meet and lounge around.

The gallery area let’s Claire see what is going on – she has a very keen eye. Is there a principal that doesn’t have eyes in the back of their head?

A high school is a big operational challenge. Young people finding themselves, figuring out who they are and what they think they want to be is a big task in itself.

Every year new students arrive and go through that process of fitting in.

This year the Pearson students are added to the mix.

Given the discord that surrounded the decision to close Pearson and moving students from a small school to a really big school adds to the challenge.

How do you make that work?

The prep that was done to get to this point was huge. Pearson students visited the high school many times; parents met with MMR staff – every question asked had to get a satisfactory answer; the students and the parents had to know that Pearson students were going to a new home that would include their character and values.

Two of the Boards Superintendents were assigned to ensuring that everything went smoothly.

statue outside MMR

MM Robinson high school is the only one in the city with formal art work at the entrance to the school.

Claire decided that the Student Theatre should be renamed and called the Pearson Theatre. Some students objected – Claire asked them what the name of the Theatre was now – they weren’t able to tell her. The theatre is on the left hand side of the main lobby just inside the entrance doors to the school. Pearson students will know the moment they walk into the building that part of their heritage has been transferred to MMR.

The new home for the Pearson crowd is a lot different than the small school they left; it is bigger, offers far more in the way of program and has its own culture.

The MMR space is organized as hallways; there is the French hallway – the space where the French classes take place, a hallway for English, Math, science, phys ed, the arts.

Students move from hallway to hallway – they meet with their friends who are taking math in that part of the school and meet with their friends in the phys ed hallway.

It’s a little different – but it works.

Two students were assigned the task of taking a Gazette reporter on a tour. We asked that students handle the tour – it was their school and we wanted their take on the place.

Group of students MMR

Students catching up on what’s going on in the school lobby.

We went from classroom to classroom: the phys ed set up is great; the photography class still uses film, they recycle the silver that is part of the celluloid. The money earned from the sale of the silver is rolled back into a fund that is used to purchase new equipment.

The automotive shop had just as many females as males in it.

Claire has worked to ensure that the school was not a collection of silos – with one group having no idea what another group was doing.

Her approach was to run a school that was as open as she could make it; as much a school that was totally focused on students – a place teachers come to each day to serve and meet the needs of the students.

Not always easy – something every parent can attest to.

The Angela Coughlan Pool is attached to the school and used by the school but is more a city facility that the school makes extensive use of.

Noted was that the high school does not seem to have a stellar swimming team. Nor does it have a student council.

Claire walkin cones in lobby

Students taking part in a police class where they learn what the influence of substances does to their ability to drive a vehicle. Principal Proteau take part

Discipline is always a problem in a high school setting – one could well expect Claire to be a very strong disciplinarian – she isn’t. She is a strong believer in second chances – and third chances if that is appropriate. She is there to listen to the students and understand where they are coming from and what they are dealing with.

Rules are necessary but Claire doesn’t treat them as the end all and be all.

She has a sense of humour and is there to be approached and engaged by her students – and her staff.
Some members of the staff chaff a little at Claire’s approach – but they too adapt or they look for a situation that better meets their approach to teaching high school students.

Claire waving in courtyard

Claire Proteau in the courtyard waving to students. A lot is riding on how well the Board of Education staff have prepared for the integration of the former Pearson high school students.

Will it work? It will work, if only because of the commitment Claire and her staff have made to merging the two student bodies. MMR isn’t Pearson but part of the heart and soul of Pearson will be in the building and the students that graduate will be the

Closing a school is never easy for the Board administration, always difficult for parents and hard for some students to understand.

Claire Proteau is doing what has to be done to make it work. You can bet on this one.

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Fibre content - an art form on display at the Art Gallery.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

September 3rd, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Art Gallery of Burlington is hosting Fibre Content: a community event that features the best of contemporary Canadian Fibre Art.

Event logoShowcasing works in fabric, paper, yarn, thread and mixed media materials, the goal is to raise the profile, awareness and acceptance of Fibre Art as an art form.

The event takes place from Saturday September 8 through to Saturday September 15

Tripitch

Floating in Blue – Triptych, Gunnel Hag

ARTIST TALKS AND HANDS-ON EVENTS

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2018

trees

Spring Thaw, Tracey Lawko

One Stitch at a Time
Lecture by Tracey Lawko | 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM

Her Enduring Love of Surface Design
Lecture by Gunnel Hag | 2 to 4 PM

Playful Abstract Creations
Workshop with Albert Cote | 2 to 4 PM

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2018

How I Do What I Do – When I Don’t Know What I’m Doing
Lecture by Mita Giacomini | 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM

Her Unique Use of Wash-Away Water Soluble Film
Lecture by Pat Hertzberg | 2 to 4 PM

Eco Printing on Paper and Rust / Tannin
Workshop with Chandra Rice | 2 to 4 PM

 

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Provincial government wants your views on how effective and efficient the programs they deliver really are.

News 100 blueBy Staff

September 3rd, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Government of Ontario is going to the people for their views on government programs – they want to make the programs in place more efficient and effective.

Queens ParkCalled a Consultation the document is on-line and requires about 15 minutes to complete.

The government has said they will report back on what they heard during the consultation in fall 2018.
Closing date: September 21, 2018

The Ontario government provides a wide variety of programs and services for Ontario residents, businesses and organizations directly or through service partners or third-party service providers.

They want to know, based on your experience, how effective are the government programs and services.

CLICK HERE to get to the survey.

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64,000 students, 6,507 teachers will be back in public schools on Tuesday.

News 100 blueBy Staff

August 31st, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton District School Board will be welcoming approximately 64,000 Kindergarten to Grade 12 students on the first day of school on Tuesday.

The Board’s 6,507 teachers, 3,117 non-teaching and support staff, and 222 principals and vice-principals are outfitting classrooms, tending to sports fields, polishing floors, cleaning buildings and organizing schedules to prepare schools for another productive and memorable school year.

New cladding roof MMR

New cladding on the sides of the high school and repairs to the roof are part of the work done at MMR during the summer.

The controversial transferring of Lester B Pearson students to M.M. Robinson High School starts on Tuesday as well. During the summer, MMR underwent some renovations to improve the educational experience for all students as the two schools merge into one community. The school’s Community Pathways Program (CPP) space has been re-constructed, new locker bays installed throughout the building, the theatre’s facade re-designed and renamed the Lester B. Pearson Community Theatre and new cladding added to part of the outdoor front facade, in addition to other improvements.

Students, staff and parents/guardians will also walk into many other Halton schools that underwent various renovations and upgrades this summer. Approximately $25 million worth of construction projects were completed at dozens of elementary and secondary schools. Work included roofing improvements, ventilation, new entranceways, windows, doors, flooring and washrooms, and more.

Over the summer, the HDSB transitioned to a new Student Absence Reporting system called SchoolMessenger. Families can register for SchoolMessenger through the website (go.schoolmessenger.ca) or the HDSB Mobile App. Resources and training videos to support parents/guardians with the transition to SchoolMessenger are available on the HDSB website (hdsb.ca) by searching “SchoolMessenger”.

This new system enables parents/guardians to receive app notifications, text messages, emails and phone calls from schools and the HDSB. Families will now be able to report absences for their child using the HDSB Mobile App, the SchoolMessenger website or a toll-free phone number.

The HDSB Mobile App, rolled out earlier this year, consolidates important information for parents/guardians and students into one easy-to-access location. Report absences, receive school and Board news, social media and calendars all in one place. The HDSB Mobile App is available for download on the App Store and Google Play by searching “HDSB”.

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A strong, direct statement on what one citizen feels is wrong with city hall as people begin to think about who the next city Councillors should be.

opinionred 100x100By Stephen White

August 28th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Burlington Community Engagement Charter is not the Ten Commandments, and the last time I checked James Ridge was not Moses. Uttering a collection of sanctimonious pronouncements and expecting that suddenly things will change for the better or be done differently is not only naive but is foolhardy and absurd in the extreme.

Real engagement is not about a slick website with colourful pictures, or pretty PowerPoint presentations, or holding public meetings feigning interest while citizens rail on about the latest development proposal desecrating neighbourhoods. It is about real communication based on a respect for and an appreciation of the benefits that come from joint problem-solving, articulation of divergent viewpoints, and the search for viable solutions. Most importantly, it is a dialogue and sharing amongst equals.

The city holds budget review meetings that draw 50 people sometimes - seldom more. Putting questions about the budget on line and letting a panel of 5,000 people respond would give city hall a much bigger picture. They may not like the response they get - then what do they do?

Citizens at a budget meeting, reviewing a budget that has already been decided on. White wants that to change to a process that involves public input before the budget is cast in stone.

What we have in Burlington is a power imbalance that works for the benefit of a few against the interests of many. We have a Mayor who has really proven powerless to lead over the past four years, and who keeps trying to appease everyone with platitudes but really ends up pleasing no one. We have a Council who, despite multiple appeals and admonitions to the contrary over the past two years. has pushed their bloody-minded OP and Mobility Hubs agenda over the objections and against the wishes of residents.

All of this has played out against a backdrop of the business community, supported by the Chamber of Commerce and developers, who keep telling us, figuratively at least, to just shut up and drink the Kool-Aid, and whose grandiose promises extolling the virtues of development are over hyped while the negative externalities (e.g. traffic congestion, too few parking spaces, lack of green spaces, etc.) are dramatically under-reported. And watching it all from the sidelines are municipal public servants whose contribution to this circus performance is to continually prattle on about how we all need to “Grow Bold” and “intensify” while producing copious amounts of communications drivel intended to mollify an increasingly militant and wearisome public, all done in the name of “engagement”.

We can change our Mayor, and we change our Council, but those actions, in and of themselves, will not yield change post October 22nd. What we really need to change is the process and the players who manage it.

Beachway meeting April7-15 full house

Citizens gather for a public meeting on what should be done with private homes in the Beachway. Their views were not included in the final decision. The Region will buy every house when it comes on the market.

Consultation and dialogue needs to occur from the outset, not as an afterthought. We need dedicated resources at City Hall, not aligned with developers, who will aid citizens and support neighbourhoods when mounting objections to development proposals. We need City Hall support to create and sustain neighbourhood and ratepayers’ associations as a non-elected counter-veiling force to challenge developers and as a conduit to meaningful citizen engagement.

We need advisory panels whose members are reflective of the community, and not populated with special interest advocates. We need to build in the concept of engagement and communication into every business process that is conducted municipally, and not just some pious Engagement Charter that gets framed and hung on a wall somewhere and is essentially meaningless.

CHAT group photo

Members of ChAT – the Charter Action Team responsible for ensuring that the Engagement Charter is actually complied with.

Those who manage the process need to be evaluated and held accountable on how well they actually do it.

And finally, we need to open up a serious discussion around the continued employment of several municipal public servants whose past derisive comments and behaviour don’t exactly connote with the concept of “engagement”.

Related news story.

The Engagement Charter.

The Shape Burlington Report

Stephen White is a Burlington resident who lives on the east side of the city.  He comments from time to time on how well the city is run.

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Another hot, hot HOT day. Head for the mall if you want to get in some walking exercise. The lake water will cool you off as well.

News 100 redBy Staff

August 27th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It is hardly news anymore. Excessive heat warnings from the Regional government. It is the new normal and seniors, people with breathing problems and very very young children need to take notice.

As a result of extreme heat and humidity, Environment Canada has issued a Heat Warning for Halton Region starting Monday, August 27. This warning is issued when forecast temperatures are expected to reach at least 31 degrees Celsius with overnight temperatures above 20 degrees Celsius for two days, or when a humidex of 40 or higher is expected for two days.

Beaches are an option – take sun screen.

Burlington Beach aerial

The city doesn’t have quite this much beach any more – weather has eroded quite a bit of it. But it is still a place to cool down.

Especially at risk

• older adults (over the age of 65), infants and young children, people who work and exercise in the heat, people without adequate housing and those without air conditioning
• people who have breathing difficulties, heart problems, kidney problems or take heat-sensitive medications
Prevention tips
• stay cool
• avoid strenuous outdoor activities
• seek shade from the sun
• spend time in air-conditioned places, such as shopping malls and community centres
• drink plenty of cool liquids, especially water
• visit friends and neighbours who may be at risk and never leave people or pets in your care unattended in a car

People exercising in a mall

Mall space could be put to very good public service use.

With these significant differences in weather people are going to need to find different places to get some exercise.  Some malls in North America have taken to running exercise programs.  There are two malls in Burlington who could put some of their space to a really good public service use.

If you or someone in your care experiences rapid breathing, headache, confusion, weakness or fainting, please seek medical attention right away.

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We will keep you informed. We will implement what you decide. It's all in a promise the city made to you.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

August 23rd, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Is it deliberate?

Or is it from an organization that is now so dysfunctional that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.

We published an opinion piece by ward 2 city council candidate Roland Tanner who wrote about a meting that was very poorly promoted, pointing out that even the ward Councillor and candidate for Mayor didn’t know about it.

We did a follow up piece on how a public meeting on such a critical matter could be so poorly promoted. We kept coming across the Get Involved part of the city web site.

CHAT group photo

Those who know or should know how to communicate effectively: Back row, left  Kwab Ako-Adjei, Senior Manager of Government Relations and Strategic Communications,. Bottom row, centre Donna Kell, Manager of Public Affairs and to her left city manager James Ridge. They would have signed off on the ChAT report.

While we were reading up on Getting Involved we came across ChAT – an interesting group that, in their group photograph, has several city staff in the group – including Kwab Ako-Adjei, Senior Manager of Government Relations and city manager James Ridge.

In April 2013, Burlington City Council approved the first Burlington Community Engagement Charter. The Charter was created by citizens with support from staff. It is an agreement between and among Burlington City Council and the community concerning citizen engagement with City government and establishes the commitments, responsibilities and fundamental concepts of this relationship.

Ako-Adjei and Ridge surely know something about communicating.

ChAT had their most recent annual report on the web site.

Some excerpts from that document

1. Ensure notification is as widespread as possible:

a. Use communication tools that include City of Burlington website, local print media, online digital communication, direct delivery and social media.
b. Reach out to groups/individuals that may be affected by proposed developments, policies, initiatives, studies and municipal projects.
c. Create and develop partnerships that will help reach out to citizens.
d. Ensure that communication plans include early and widespread notifications.
e. Where appropriate, provide progress and/or completion notices.

2. Ensure notification is given early enough so that the citizens may be fully engaged:

a. Set up and maintain a way for citizens and groups to subscribe or sign up for early notification through email, social media or other means.
b. Advise the public of proposed developments, policies, meetings and major projects as soon as possible. For major projects and public meetings, at least two weeks notice to the public is expected. Exceptions will be made in emergency situations where less than two weeks notice will apply.

3. Support staff in providing early and widespread notification so that it becomes part of the corporate culture:

a. Provide staff training in effective public engagement practices through workshops and e-learning opportunities.

4. Collaborate with citizens and partners in empowering citizens through different means of communicating:

a. Use existing resources in the community to help to provide information as soon as possible.
b. Develop and use networks for information sharing of contacts.

5. Clearly communicate meeting dates and deadlines:

a. Schedule public meetings to take place early and with opportunities for public input into decision- making.
b. Create a central point on the City’s website where all dates are available.
c. Ensure dates are reflected on City project pages on the website.
d. Include dates in all relevant communication materials.

CHAT promise to the public graphic

Is this happening?

It is so immoral for a city to publish statements like this and then fail miserably to deliver on the promise.

The people who work at city hall want to be seen as professionals – and they should be. But there is nothing professional about how that public meeting Wednesday night came into being.

Burlington once had a city manager who made mistakes – and he had the decency to apologize publicly for the mistakes he made.

And he wasn’t crass enough to define his mistakes as a “learning opportunity”.

Related opinion and news stories:

Roland Tanner opinion piece

Public meeting that failed.

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Drummond on the new provincial government - How are they doing so far?

opinionred 100x100By Andrew Drummond

August 20th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Last Tuesday, the Doug Ford government’s first legislative session came to a close. It was clear from the outset of the session that Ford wanted to accomplish much and was willing to endure widespread public opposition to do it. However, it was also abundantly clear throughout the session that the government was being run top down from the Premier’s office and Ford’s ministers were frequently unprepared to discuss government policy until they had been briefed, even when it was regarding decisions within their own department.

Tory Education Minister Lisa Thomson

Education Minister Lisa Thomson: Old sex ed program to be used.

One of the areas that has been the source of the most confusion has been the Ministry of Education and Minister Lisa Thompson. One of the government’s first acts was to announce that they would be removing the current curriculum for Health and Phys Ed (colloquially known as Sex Ed) and replace it with the 1998 version from Mike Harris’ government. This decision was immediately met with near universal condemnation, as the 20-year-old curriculum does not cover topics such as cyberbullying, consent, sexting, or same-sex relationships.

The government’s reaction showed how unprepared they were for this decision. They have flip flopped four or five times, and eventually Minister Thompson ran from reporters rather than be forced to give further non-answers to what the government’s plans are. To this point, the government still has not communicated to school boards what the expectations are, and the Elementary Teacher’s Federation as well as many school boards have announced that they will continue teaching the existing curriculum.

The debate on what the curriculum should include notwithstanding, it is the chaos and lack of direction from the government that is most troubling. Minister Thompson seems to not have any idea why she is changing the curriculum, what she is changing it to, or how to implement such a change. Students in Halton are now going to be at risk of losing valuable lessons that have been recommended by police, health professionals, and social workers because the government is dysfunctional enough on this file to ensure no one knows what to do.

Another important area of education is school repair. During the election campaign, it was identified by the group Fix Our Schools that Ontario had $15.9 billion in overdue school repairs. Many Conservative MPPs signed a pledge to address this. The pledge specifically commits the MPP to “Support the provision of adequate, stable funding needed to ensure that by 2022 all Ontario schools meet this “State of Good Repair Standard”.” Burlington MPP Jane McKenna and Minister Thompson signed the pledge (it is worth noting that Effie Triantafilopoulos did not). One of the government’s early actions was to announce the cancellation of the Cap and Trade program, one part of which included $100 million in school repair funding annually. In response to the public uproar on this, Minister Thompson announced 3 days later the program would be reviewed before being cancelled, but has not commented further in the month since.

Following through on this pledge is critical for Halton, which on its own has hundreds of millions in needed repairs. But it is important from a different perspective as well. Citizens are cynical about politics. Many believe that politicians will say anything to get elected and then only act in their own best interest once in power. We need to all fight that assumption. But it starts with the ones who were elected on June 7th. They need to follow through on their word. If Jane McKenna signed a pledge, she needs to act on it. Even if she is not strong enough within the government benches to accomplish change, she needs to stand up and say she is trying. Or stand up and say anything. Silence makes you complicit in the deceit.

Tory buck a beer

Buck a Beer program gets announced – few craft brewers sign on.

Another of the flagship promises of the government was to lower the regulations on the minimum price of beer from $1.25 a bottle to $1. This was a very popular promise from Ford on the hustings, but another that was short-sighted in practice. The first point that the Conservatives failed to consider was that although the current mandated minimum price is $1.25 a bottle, no beer in Ontario was actually selling at that price. The lowest price for 24 bottles of beer is currently $35.50 at the Beer Store (or $1.48/bottle). If no beer company could afford to sell at $1.25 why would they at $1?

To avoid the PR problem that it would cause, Ford lined up a single brewery in Prince Edward County to commit to selling beer for $1 (despite their current cheapest beer selling for $2.95). He also offered the “Buck-a-Beer Challenge” to breweries where they would be given priority marketing spaces at the LCBO free of charge in exchange for lowering their beer price. To date, I am not aware of any other brewery taking him up on it. Buck-a-Beer by itself is a relatively minor issue, but it again showed a government not ready for governing and making poor decisions without forethought.

When Finance Minister Vic Fideli said on radio that the government needed to get Buck-a-Beer in place for the Labour Day long weekend so they could then focus on other priorities, it reinforced the image of a government that is out of touch with the things that people actually need. This was followed up with local opposition from nearly every craft brewery in Ontario. Burlington’s own Nickel Brook Brewery put out the following statement:

“Nickel Brook will not take part in the proposed “buck a beer” plan. We’ve always been about quality & don’t aim to change that now, or ever. We have no intention in joining a race to the bottom. We stand with our fellow craft brewers in opposing this gimmick by Ford.”

Tory Staffers applauding

Tory staffers paid to clap during media events to drown out questions from reporters.

All of these decisions have been hasty and ill conceived. There has also been a variety of “Trump-style” attempts to control or discredit the media. Throughout August, the Ford government sent paid government staffers to Ministerial press conferences to loudly applaud and drown out reporter’s questions. They have also used government money to construct “Ontario News Now” in order to produce their own news-type content. Possibly the worst example of this was Minister Lisa McLeod claiming that the Toronto Star was reporting “Fake News” when they pressed her on the Conservative pledge to see through the Basic Income Pilot. Minister McLeod has since apologized, but all of these actions show a dangerous disregard for the public and media as necessary in democratic government. It also will ring hollow any claims the Conservatives make regarding a lack of government funds. If staffers can be paid to stand around and clap, surely there is enough money to fund the programs we need? Actors were hired to be at a location to applaud when the Premier was giving a speech.

The Basic Income pledge again shows a troubling lack of influence and honesty from our local MPP. Jane McKenna stated clearly during the election campaign that she and her government would see the Basic Income Pilot through to completion. However, her government announced within a month of taking office that it was cancelling the program. Again, there are many, many reasons to want to see this program through to completion. The data collected would be invaluable to anti-poverty strategies for a generation. But, Minister McLeod cancelled the program for ideological reasons. “It really is a disincentive to get people back on track,” she said of the cancellation.

McKenna

Burlington MPP Jane McKenna in campaign mode.

Which means that the government is making an ideological decision that our MPP disagrees with (unless she was being disingenuous during the campaign, which would be worse) and she is unwilling or lacking the strength to say anything about it. Twice in the first month of this government, Ford has taken actions that directly contradict Jane McKenna’s public promises. Twice, Ms. McKenna has said nothing to defend herself or residents of Burlington.

The Ford government was elected to bring a certain kind of change to Ontario. And Jane McKenna was elected to fulfill her promises to the people of Burlington. Two months since their election and their actions do not live up to this obligation. So far, all Burlington has seen is a government that will accept crumbling schools when students return in September. Burlington has seen a government that is hurting the most vulnerable in our society because they have ideological problems with helping them. Burlington has seen a government rush to get cheap beer out in time for a holiday and say they will focus on other issues later. Burlington did not deserve this kind of change.

Andrew Drummond HeadshotAndrew Drummond was the NDP candidate for Burlington in the last provincial election.

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Director of Education will have his hands full this school year: negotiating a salary increase won't be one of them - province has put a wage freeze in place.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

August 20th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Directors of Education from school boards across the province met in Toronto last week to look into their crystal balls and try to determine just what might be in their future.

Spending cuts loomed large in the conversations which was followed closely by the realization that they would not be getting any salary increases this year.

The Directors experienced a seven year wage freeze that was lifted last year and then dropped back into place less than a month ago. They will learn to live on $200,000+

The concern over just how teachers are going to work with a sex education curriculum that is both dated and out of tune with the times is a concern.

Consent

Facts don’t seem to impact the province’s decision to use an older curriculum.

The Board’s still don’t have clear directions from the province and many teachers are concerned that the directions they get will clash with what they see as their responsibility to prepare students for the society they are going into.

Consent is a different word today than it was when the curriculum that is to be used was first written. That the difference even exists is a shame on all of us.

Miller prep at Central

HDSB Director of Education Stuart Miller

Stuart Miller the Director of Education for the Halton District School Board said that school boards have been down this path before when the Harris government cut spending on both schools and hospitals. With more pressure coming from the seniors sector than the parents – we can expect more to be cut from education when the cuts come – and they will come.

Miller will be meeting with all his school principals in the week ahead giving them a sense of what lies ahead.

The Mathematics curriculum is under review – the fear is that the Premier will insist that an older approach to teaching math will be brought back. The current government is not seen as all that friendly with advances in education.

Also in the line-up of problems is the number of collective bargaining issues that come up in February and March of next year. The government might see this as an easy place to reduce spending – so what if there are strikes – they tend not to last very long and the savings would be significant.

MMR Clair Proteau

MMR principal Clair Proteau checking out the design changes being made to her school.

At a more purely local school level – there are concerns about the number of students who are moving with the French Immersion program when it is taken out of Hayden High School and transferred to MM Robinson. Some of the feeder school are very much on side – 100% of the students will move with the program; at another school the number is close to zero prepared to make the move.

The situation was described as a “messaging” problem.

The really good news is that the transfer of Pearson high school students looks as if it will run very smoothly. A lot of work and effort had been put into making the transfer as seamless as possible for the students who will have to change their hoodies.

HDSB sign with flagIn Burlington Director Miller has a pressing problem coming his way with the accommodation that houses the Administrative Staff. The building on Guelph Line is not AODA compliant and has to meet the standard by 2025.

Upgrading old buildings is often more expensive than starting from scratch. The Board has land immediately to the south of the existing building that will meet the need – but the current crop of trustees weren’t all that keen on keeping the Administrative building in Burlington. Four of the eleven trustees are Burlington residents; four are from Oakville; two from Milton and one from Halton Hills.

The Milton people do have a bit of a drive, especially in the winter when Board meetings end well after 10 pm. Also the number of trustees from Milton is expected to climb due to their population growth.

The education beat is going to be active.

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Public school board trustee candidates just as important as those who want to be members of city council

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

August 20th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The election that will decide who the Mayor of Burlington will be for the 2018 – 2021 term of office is attracting a lot of attention. The high profile offices usually get a lot of attention when an incumbent just might be getting the boot.

Burlingtonians have two very different choices if they decide that current Mayor Rick Goldring has done his bit. Ward 2 city Councillor Marianne Meed Ward has her hat in the ring and former city Councillor and Member of Parliament Mike Wallace are candidates for Mayor. Aldershot resident Greg Woodruff has also announced his candidacy.

While those top spots are important – the critical level of municipal government for households with children is our school board which is Regional in nature.

The Board that is seeking re-election is the Board that voted to close two of the city’s seven high schools when it was not crystal clear that those schools had to be closed.

t-shirts-central-strongThe school closings are what the Board administration wanted. The Director of Education changed his position once he had compelling data from Central high school parents. It isn’t clear why the Board staff did not spot what Central parents discovered.

Because of the doubt the Board trustees did have the option of voting to not close any of the high schools at the time and to wait for a few years to see just what high school enrollment was going to be.

The very significant intensification Burlington is going through makes it clear that we are going to see more people living in Burlington. Some of those people will be families and some of those families will have children and some of those children will be high school students.

In the process of closing Robert Bateman and the Lester B. Pearson High schools the trustees did two things that have done almost irreparable harm to the community. Bateman had a Community Pathways Program that provided an essential educational program for students that deserve as much opportunity as any other student.

Moving the program to Nelson is filled with problems.

Few, other than the parents who had children in the program, knew about the vital role CPP played in the lives of disadvantaged students.

Bateman - crowd scene with BullOn the several student events that the Gazette covered at the school we didn’t hear a word about CPP; but as the PAR process rolled out it became clear that the program was essential for a group of families.

PAR HDSB Parents at BatemanWhen the decision to close Bateman was announced those parents erupted as well they should have. Had they made their case earlier in the process a different outcome might have been possible.

The Central high school parents did their homework and pointed out how expensive (never mind how disruptive to student life) it was going to be to bus their students. The Board looked at the numbers Central provided and agreed and took Central off the close list.

They then put Bateman on the list; their response was to claim the Central parents had “thrown them under the bus”.

The closing of Bateman has been pushed back two years.

Collard Amy

Ward 5 Halton District School Board trustee Any Collard

With nominations closed – parents now know who has come forward to serve at the Board of Education level. There are a couple of bright spots. The acclamation of Amy Collard in ward 5 assures the public that there will be at least one strong voice coming from Burlington.

Diane Miller Admin review delegation

Parent Diane Miller delegating to Administrative Review Facilitator Margaret Wilson.

The entry of Diane Miller for the ward 3 seat is good news. Ms Miller made a very strong delegation to Margaret Wilson, the Facilitator appointed by the province to carry out an Administrative Review of the process used by the Halton District school Board to arrive at it’s decision to close two of the city’s seven high schools: Lester B.Pearson and Robert Bateman. Ms Wilson found for the Board of Education saying there was nothing fundamentally wrong with the process that was used.

Her public report said: “Based on my review and consultations, I conclude that, while there were violations of the Board PAR Policy, they were such that they had no material effect on either the deliberations of the PARC or on the final decisions of the Board.”

One wonders what the Board administration would have to do to draw a different response from the Facilitator.

Jason BartlettJason Bartlett, who is running for the Ward 1 and 2 seat is an active participant of the Special Education parents group and can be expected to advocate for the parents with children that have special needs. Those children need all the advocacy they can get

One can only wish that those parents had been more active during that period of time when the decision to close Bateman was made.
One hopes that the debate for the school board trustees can hear sound arguments and strong positions from the trustees and do away with that “we were thrown under the bus” claim by Bateman parents.
There is the potential to elect trustees that can do the job they are elected to do.

This is the time for voters to look over the candidates and ensure that the direction the school board takes is sound and meets the needs of the children that will be heading back to school in a couple of weeks.

Salt with Pepper are the opinions, reflections, observations and musings of the Gazette publisher

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First Rider program for those taking the school bus to class - on Saturday at Corpus Christ High School 9:00 am.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

August 18th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

That first ride to school on a school bus can be a big adventure or an experience that has a child close to terrified of being on their own.

The organization that manages the school bus service that services both the Halton District School Board and the Halton Catholic District School Board has organized a First Rider Program to be held on Saturday, August 25, 2018

The First Rider Program” (previously referred to as School Bus Orientation Day) will begin at 9:00 a.m.

School buses

Safely getting on and off of the bus and proper behaviour on a school bus are part of the First Rider program.

Parents of all first time riders are encouraged to bring their children to the free sessions, which will feature a classroom presentation on school bus safety, including Off We Go! a special video on school bus safety and a demonstration on a school bus.

School bus company safety officers and bus drivers will talk to the children and their parents about safely getting on and off of the bus, proper behaviour on a school bus, crossing the street to get to a waiting bus and overall school bus safety.

In addition, a handout will be provided to all young riders with tips on school bus safety. Both HSTS and the school bus operators hope this program will help students and their parents feel more comfortable riding a school bus before the first day of school.

The hour long sessions begin at 9 a.m. on August 25, 2018 at the following five locations throughout Halton.

To register students parents must contact the host bus company at the phone number listed below:

For Burlington the presentation takes place at Corpus Chris Catholic Secondary School 905-333-4047 (Attridge Transportation)

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Three Halton District School Board students earn perfect scores on an important test.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

August 16th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

She, along with two of her peers, have given the Halton District School Board bragging rights.

Dasha Metropolitansky served as a student trustee on the Halton District School Board where her performances were better than several of the publicly elected trustees.

Three students in Board of Education schools earned perfect scores in their International Baccalaureate (IB) programme.

Dasha Metropolitansky, Brian Guo and Hanson Liu achieved rare perfect scores in their International Baccalaureate (IB) programme. All three are students at White Oaks Secondary School in Oakville.

IBL student pics 2018

Brian Guo, Dasha Metropolitanskyand Hanson Liu got perfect scores on IBL tests.

The IB programme is an internationally recognized, two-year diploma, which provides a challenging curriculum for highly motivated students. It offers additional academic rigor in languages, mathematics, humanities and sciences and emphasizes personal development for students. It is offered at 5,000 schools around the world, including three in the Halton District School Board: Georgetown District High School, Robert Bateman High School and White Oaks Secondary School.

The IBL program is scheduled to transfer to Central high school when Robert Bateman high school closes.  The date for that closing keeps getting extended.

According to the IB organization, only 13 students in the ‘Americas’ region achieved a perfect score (45 points), and three are students from the same school in the Halton District School Board.

“I owe my peers, teachers and White Oaks administration so much for providing me with excellent resources and counsel, without which my accomplishment would not have been possible,” Guo says. “I am honoured to have received a 45, but I am most appreciative of the IB for its formative impact on me as a learner and as a global citizen.”

“Aside from feeling extremely grateful, I am very proud that the three of us can represent White Oaks,” Lui says. “I hope this showcases the quality of the HDSB staff and resources that paved the road to our
achievement, and encourages more students to pursue this wonderful educational opportunity.”

“I’m extremely proud that I’m one of only 13 students in North and South America who achieved a perfect score in such a demanding program,” Metropolitansky says. “The fact that approximately a quarter of North and South America’s perfect scores came from the Halton District School Board is extraordinary and a testament to the quality of our schools.”

“The Halton District School Board is very proud of the scores Brian, Dasha and Hanson achieved in the IB programme,” says David Boag, Associate Director of the Halton District School Board. “For many of our students, the IB program is a great complement to the high level of education they already receive in our Board. We wish Brian, Dasha and Hanson the best of good luck, as we are confident they will achieve much success in their future endeavours.”

This fall, Guo is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Duke University; Lui is studying Health Sciences at McMaster University; and Metropolitansky is attending Harvard University.

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Coordinator of Nursery/Toddler Ministry - for Port Nelson United Church.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

August 16, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There are churches in Burlington that have not been able to renew the contract with their pastor.

There are churches that have had to merge with neighbouring churches.

There are a number who think they just might have to give up.

And then there are churches that are vibrant, packed, have growing congregations.

The why of the difference is beyond this article.

Port Nelson United Church

Port Nelson United Church

One of the churches that is healthy is Port Nelson United Church – and they are looking for a COORDINATOR OF NURSERY/TODDLER MINISTRY

This is more of an advertisement than a news story – we are comfortable in letting the news pages be used to recruit the kind of help that healthy congregations need.

The primary focus of the nursery/toddler Coordinator is to provide a consistent welcoming presence/relationship with parents and the children working with the volunteers to ensure a safe, caring environment for Sunday mornings (10 a.m. -12 noon) September through June.

This is a paid position that could be shared by 2 individuals

AREAS OF RESPONSIBILITY
– To maintain up to date registration forms and information about the infants & toddlers with parent information for ease of contact.

– Oversee sign-in/sign out procedures; ensuring the use of JTECH paging devices

– To establish excellent working relationships with the volunteers overseeing and assisting in their engagement with the children

– Ensure care of equipment and toys in the Nursery and that they are age appropriate, safe, clean and well organized for easy child access

– Ensure that all supplies needed are provided for the comfort & safety of the children

– Communicate any concerns to the Spiritual Growth Ministry

Port Nelson Glee Camp

Port Nelson United Church Glee Camp

ACCOUNTABILITY
– The Chair of Spiritual Growth Ministry

– Ministry & Personnel Committee

CLOSING DATE: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7TH

Please direct enquiries and resume to: Ann Fleming:

office@portnelsonunitedchurch.com

It is nice to see that there is still a place where children are nurtured and grown as Christians.

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West Nile virus positive mosquitoes found in Burlington, Oakville and Milton.

News 100 blueBy Staff

August 8, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Three batches of trapped mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile virus;two in Burlington and one in Oakville—for a total of four WNV positive mosquito batches in Halton to date.

“Halton is committed to being safe and healthy and reducing West Nile virus in our communities through both education and preventative programs like larviciding,” said Dr. Daniela Kempkens, Halton Region’s Associate Medical Officer of Health. “Until the hard frosts of fall set in, people should continue to protect themselves against mosquito bites and remove mosquito breeding sites.”

West-Nile-mosquito-biting1Urban areas are more likely to have mosquitoes that carry WNV. The types of mosquitoes that transmit WNV to humans most commonly breed in urban areas in places that hold water such as bird baths, plant pots, old toys, and tires.

WestNileVirus_transmissionThe following are steps that residents can take to protect themselves and their families from mosquitoes:

• Cover up. Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts and pants with tightly-woven fabric.
• Avoid being outdoors from early evening to morning when mosquitoes are most active and likely to bite, as well as at any time in shady, wooded areas.
• Reduce mosquito breeding sites around your home by getting rid of all water-filled containers and objects, where possible. Change the water in bird baths at least once per week.
• Use an approved insect repellent, such as one containing DEET or Icaridin.
• Make sure your window and door screens are tight and without holes, cuts or other openings.

To report standing water at public facilities or for more information about West Nile virus, please visit halton.ca, call 311or email wnv@halton.ca.

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Public school board appoints a trustee for Milton - he gets to take part in four board meetings.

News 100 redBy Staff

July 30th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

At a special Board meeting on Wednesday, July 25, 2018, trustees of the Halton District School Board appointed Reza Ali Chaudhry as Trustee designate for Milton Wards 1, 6, 7, 8. Chaudhry will be sworn into office at the first regular Board meeting on Wednesday, September 5, 2018.

He will serve as one of the Milton trustees until November 30th at which time the newly elected trustees take their seats. Chaudry will attend 6 meetings plus 6 Committee of the Whole meetings.

On June 20, 2018, the Halton District School Board resolved to fill by appointment the vacancy created by the out-of-region move of Kim Graves, Trustee for Milton Wards 1, 6, 7, 8, and adopted the appointment process the Board has used for past appointments. In following this process, applications were accepted until Thursday, July 12 at 4:30 p.m. Seven applications were received by this deadline, with one candidate withdrawing their application.

Qualifications of applicants, in accordance with the Municipal Act and the Education Act, were confirmed and interviews with applicants took place on Wednesday, July 25, 2018. Six applicants were interviewed by the interview committee, comprised of available trustees. Interviews were held in public, as was the deliberation following the interviews.

“The interview committee was impressed by the qualifications and passion expressed by all applicants and appreciates the interest from the community to fill the role of Milton Trustee,” says Andréa Grebenc, Chair of the Board.

Reza Ali Chaudhry

Reza Ali Chaudhry

Reza Ali Chaudhry brings extensive experience in education and leadership to the role, having spent more than two-decades of his career with the Canadian Forces as a senior officer. He has worked alongside Canadian academic institutions and the United Nations internationally to empower local leaders and enhance public education. Currently a professor, he holds a Master of Business Administration, Master of Peace and Conflict Studies and various executive certificates. Chaudhry’s involvement with the Halton District School Board includes holding positions on school council and taking an active role in the Milton School Boundary Review, attending Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) meetings, Parent Involvement Committee (PIC) and Parents Reaching Out (PRO) Grants engagement events in school communities.

“I am excited about working with our community and our school board on providing our students an innovative and inclusive educational experience,” says Chaudhry.

The upcoming meeting schedule for the Halton District School Board is posted on the Board’s website at www.hdsb.ca.

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If the formula put in place for Toronto were applied to Burlington we would have three members of council and a Mayor.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

July 28th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

For those who sincerely believe that the public is better served with smaller government the decision Premier Doug Ford made about the size of Toronto’s city council will come as good news.

Ford has told Toronto that it has to align the ward boundaries with the boundaries in place for the federal and provincial constituencies; the two are identical.

Toronto has 25 federal/provincial constituencies and so they will have 25 wards.

Burlington has three federal/provincial constituencies – Milton, Burlington and Oakville North Burlington.

Boundaries for the riding of Burlington will stay the same. Oakville gets an additional seat and Halton gets bits and pieces chopped off.

Boundaries for the riding of Burlington

Milton map

Boundary for the riding of Milton.

Oakville North Burlington

Boundary for the riding of Oakville North Burlington.

Some of the people in the Northern part of Burlington are represented by the MP Lisa Raitt and the MPP Parm Gil from Milton.

Some of the people in the eastern part of the city are represented by MP Pam Damoff and MPP Effie Triantafilipoulos in the Oakville North Burlington constituency.

The rest of the citizens are represented by Karina Gould, a member of the Justin Trudeau cabinet and MPP Jane McKenna.

Using the Ford formula – Burlington would have three council members and a Mayor.

That would be nice and cozy wouldn’t it?

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Young people get to experience what fire fighting is all about.

News 100 redBy Staff

July 26th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Burlington Fire Department recognized 12 young people, aged 12 to 14, who successfully completed Camp Ignite, a firefighter boot camp, at a graduation ceremony at Burlington Fire Station 1.

Fire fighters - Camp Ignite

Camp Ignite graduates – 2018

Burlington Fire Chief Dave Lazenby and fire department staff, along with Big Brothers Big Sisters staff, volunteers and families congratulated the campers and celebrated their accomplishments at the department’s first-ever Camp Ignite.

Fire fighters - rapelling

Rappelling down the wall of a building was part of the week long camp experience.

Camp Ignite is a week-long boot camp, in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Halton and Hamilton, that gives youth the opportunity to participate in emergency response training while providing them with valuable life skills. Campers experienced a scaled-down firefighter recruit training program, including:

Fire fighters with hoses

Handling the fire hoses is not easy. The experience was very real for these young people.

• Vehicle rescue training
• High-angle rope rescue training
• Car and dumpster fires training
• Search and rescue training
• Water rescue training
• CPR awareness and first-aid training

This camp was funded by donations provided by Burlington Professional Firefighters Association, IAFF Local 1552 and the City of Burlington’s Parks and Recreation Department.

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ONE BURLINGTON FESTIVAL: Building Bridges Between Faiths - August at the Band shell noon to 4:00 pm

eventsblue 100x100By Staff

July 18th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There are times when the city slogan – Burlington is one of Canada’s best and most livable cities, a place where people, nature and business thrive., makes sense and actually applies to the city of Burlington.

Syrians Dec-2-meting-cr accepting syrians

They packed the Mainway arena to talk about how Burlington could best welcome Syrians to the city.

Back in December of 2015 the Mayor of Burlington called a public meeting public meeting on Syrian refugees to gauge what there was in terms of community support.  Many were surprised at the size of the turnout – Mainway Arena was close to packed.

EleezaThe turnout was impressive. Eleeza at the time a 10 year old, stood to tell the audience that she was raising funds to buys toys for the children who were arriving at the airport.  People began putting money in her hands.

Burlington was capable and more than ready to welcome the new comers.

Just over a year ago Rory Nisan arrange for a candle light vigil to be held in Civic Square to recognize the senseless slaughter of six people at a mosque in Quebec city.

The idea took on a life of its own and is now an annual event when different faith groups get together and celebrate what they have.

ONE BURLINGTON FESTIVAL: Building Bridges Between Faiths

The event is to take place in front of the Band shell next to Central Library on August 6 from noon – 4 p.m. In the event of rain, the festival will be moved inside Central Arena.

“I am excited for this Festival and have been meeting with Muslim friends from the mosque, Hindu and Jewish groups and a variety of Christian leaders – and we will be able to learn about different faiths and cultures while sampling many different ethnic foods,” said Rev. Orville James, minister of Wellington Square United Church.

Osob-Adus-BEST-2017Osob Adus, Burlington Citizen of the Year and well-known community activist, said the festival is a way of knowing and embracing the beauty of all faith traditions and creating bridges between them.

“Mutual understanding and respect are the foundations for building communities across the borders of difference,” said Adus, a Muslim.

Now in its second year, One Burlington Festival was initially held as a response to the Quebec City mosque mass shooting that occurred the evening of January 29, 2017 at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City.

This year, the festival will open with an Interfaith prayer led by five clergy representing different faiths. An Indigenous smudging ceremony will follow.

Throughout the afternoon, along with free food, entertainment from different cultures will be featured. Performers include local singer-song writer Kim Verrall and violinist Sophie Huang; the Burlington Slam Poets who are celebrating their 10th anniversary; First Nations performer Jimmy Dick and his family and dance groups from the Sikh, Persian and Afro-Canadian communities.

Central park bandshellChildren’s activities and games include compiling a faith passport for which every child will earn an ecologically-friendly prize.

The ecological theme of this year’s festival focuses on building an understanding of the connections between faith and ecology. Everything from Eco-dinnerware to a green clean-up team are embedded in this year’s event.

graphic01

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