Keith Hoey and the Burlington Chamber of Commerce: He says it is the best networking deal in town - and he might be right.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 27, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

 

So – you’ve been in business for a reasonable period of time and you now need to expand your reach into your market. Or you are climbing the corporate ladder and you want to grow your personal network.

Keith Hoey, president of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce told an audience of new members that people buy things from people they know” and added – “so get to know people – network, that is what the Chamber of Commerce can help you do.”

coc-membership-orientation-meeting-sept-16

If you had a question: Keith Hooey had an answer for you. All part of his regular new member orientation sessions.

You know that networking is the key to it all – but where do you go to begin creating that all important personal network?  Ask that question of Hooey, and he will whip out an application form faster than you can pull out a business card.

Hoey is passionate about the work he does. He is unrelenting and is also a very funny guy.

Last week, the Gazette sat in on an orientation session for new Chamber of Commerce members – there were about 35 people gathered at the Burlington Golf and Country Club.

coc-new-member-checking-in

As interesting as Keith Hooey, president of the Chamber of Commerce was – there was business to be done.

Hoey wasn’t selling memberships – the people in the room were already members – what Hooey was doing was explaining just how good a deal they had gotten themselves into.

The benefits were impressive – Hoey almost made it sound as if you could end up making money on a Chamber of Commerce membership. The 3.5% discount on gas purchases will certainly get you started on the savings side.

If you are a small business operator there is the opportunity to sign your staff up to a health benefits plan.  The opportunities to meet people are abundant. There is he Before 9 crowd and the Business After 5 crowd that were described by Hooey as the best networking opportunities in the city.

The selling features that Hoey focused on were the Chamber’s three prime purposes: Networking,  Education and Advocacy.  The organization has over 1,000 corporate members, ran 103 events last year and has eight committees advocating on behalf of their membership.

How effective is the Burlington Chamber of Commerce in advocating or its members? Hoey gives on sterling example. There was a time when Burlington was short 22 doctors which was hurting companies that wanted to attract talent to the city. A committee was put together and after a period of time – these things do take time –  a program was put in place that attracted doctors to the city – Burlington is now just two doctors short of what it should have the size of its population.

Hoey had one word of caution for the new members he was orienting – “I hope you joined because you are interested”. An uninterested member was a person Hooey would chat up and give them reasons to become interested.

One critical comment: Hoey will tell people to “get out there and make money”. One doesn’t hear him say – and “give back to your community”. Other than that he does a great job.

He gave the new members all the time they needed and answered all the questions they asked – and kept looking at the clock – checking the time.

Hoey was leaving for a Chamber trip to India – a part of the world he had not been to before. And he had yet to pack for his afternoon flight.

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Culture weekend and Doors Open Burlington take place next weekend - plan for it, there is a lot to see.

eventspink 100x100By Staff

September 23, 2106

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The 7th annual Culture Days weekend kicks off next Friday, September 30 and runs through Saturday, October 1st and Sunday, October 2nd. Burlington is getting more involved than ever by making arts and culture accessible to the community.

This year’s Culture Days will feature many different types of artists, activities and events, including Doors Open Burlington us for the 5th year in a row.

Here is a breakdown of some of the events taking place:

Art Gallery of Burlington,

Burlington Libraries,

Burlington Performing Arts Centre,

Burlington Student Theatre,

Burlington Teen Tour Band,

On October 1st, Civic Square is transformed into Art in the Square, an event that runs from 2 to 5 p.m. Artists and artisans will showcase their artwork in a marketplace and provide interactive activities for the community. The event will feature live music and dance performances and provide the opportunity to be a part of the audience, explore various art techniques and try something new.

Doors Open Burlington
open-doors-2016-listThe 7th annual Doors Open Burlington takes place on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is an occasion to see your city from a different perspective and celebrate the cultural importance of the sites throughout the community. The event will highlight important buildings, organizations and landmarks that make Burlington a culturally vibrant place to live, work and visit. Admission is free!

open-doors-poster

The city is a collection of doors – next weekend you get a chance to open many of them and take a peek inside.

The Burlington Cycling Committee will lead a bicycle tour of the Burlington sites for the Doors Open event. Meet at City Hall, Civic Square at 10 a.m. and begin our journey to explore the sites. All ages are welcome and we will keep a leisurely pace using all available bike paths and bike lanes. There will be an opportunity to stop and visit each site. We estimate the cycle tour will take about two hours.

The looming question about this event is – will they drive along New Street and take advantage of those new bike lanes – and will that traffic count in the data the city is collecting.

Registration is required at the start of the tour.

Visit www.burlington.ca/culturedays to plan your weekend.

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United Way fund raising teams are going to try and pull a 200,000 lb A300 UPS cargo plane 50 yards - really?

eventspink 100x100By Staff

September 22, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

It will be the photo op of photo ops.

ups_a300

Tips the scales at 200,000 lbs – and they want to pull it at least 50 – by hand.

A team of people trying to move an Airbus A300 – 50 feet across the tarmac at the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport.

The occasion is the official kick off of the Burlington and Greater Hamilton United Way fall fund raising drive.

The Gazette plans on being there to see if this can actually be done.

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Former, now retired Burlington General Manager Kim Phillips giving it her best as she works with other staff on a United Way fund raising drive.

In past United Way drives we have seen staff at city hall tug away on a rope to move a heavy duty truck

The theme for 2016-17 is: Help us change 164,000 lives. In the past the United Way has created a fund raising target and found that they were losing sight of the real reason for being – people.

They have helped 164,000 people change their lives by being there to help when help was needed.
The United Way serves as a safety net – with that organization in place dozen of agencies through the two communities would not have the funds to give the help that is needed

united-way-not-a-supermarket

Shelves in a food bank – not exactly a supermarket is it.

That help covers the gamut from providing lunches for children on the weekend when there just isn’t a meal for them.

It includes financially supporting organizations that are on the ground, in the field delivering the support for the disadvantaged, the infirm – those down on their luck – often through no fault of their own.

Plane pulls are one way of getting some attention.
The Plane pull takes place on Saturday at the airport – make a day of it and takes the kids to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum.

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Grade six math scores low across the province - slightly above the provincial average in Halton.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

September 21, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The province released the results from the Ontario Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) which show Halton District School Board students continue to perform above the provincial average, with significant gains experienced in Grade 3 Reading and Grade 6 Writing levels.

These results were based on assessments completed in the 2015-2016 school year for primary and junior students in Reading, Writing and Mathematics.

The results in 2015-16 are being compared to results in 2013-14, as EQAO was not administered in public school boards last year.

hdsb-gr-3-6-eqao-scores

These scores are nothing to shout about – surely this isn’t the best our teachers can do?

In Grade 3:

• Reading: Results show a three-percentage point gain in Reading from 76% to 79% of students achieving at or above the provincial standard, while the provincial average was 72%.

• Writing: 78% of students attained the provincial standard, a decrease from 81%. The provincial average was 74%, decreasing from 78%.

• Math: Overall, provincial results declined from the previous EQAO assessment. In Halton, 70% of students – compared to 74% – exceeded the provincial standard. The provincial average was 63%, a four-percentage point drop. The decrease in Halton and Ontario was the same.

In Grade 6:

• Reading: Results remained at 85% of all students achieving at or above the provincial standard, while the provincial average was 81%. The past five years have seen growth of 6% overall in Junior Reading.

• Writing: Results showed an increase to 85% from 82% of all students achieving at or above the provincial standard, while the provincial average was 80%. The past five years have seen an increase of 8% overall in Junior Writing.

hdsb-grade-6-eqao-scores

We hope no one sees the reading and writing scores as acceptable – 90+ should be the goal that is reached. Math is terrible – expect the province to create a task force to up those numbers. Expect the Halon District school Board to move faster than the province.

• Math: Results decreased by five percentage points to 56% of students achieving at or above the provincial standard. The province saw a decrease of four percentage points in Grade 6 Mathematics with 50% of students achieving at or above the provincial standard.

While the Board is pleased with the overall EQAO results, having achieved higher than the provincial results in all six categories of the primary and junior assessments, HDSB recognizes the need to improve particularly in the area of math.

David Boag

David Boag, Associate Director of Education

“The Board continues to focus on its robust early literacy plan in all schools and is proudly making continuous gains in Grade 3 Reading,” said David Boag, Associate Director of Education for the Halton District School Board. “The Board’s Junior Reading and Writing scores improved as well, with the highest results ever in Grade 6 Writing.”

Junior Math results continue to decline for the Halton District School Board as well as for the province. While Halton continues to achieve above the provincial average in this category, the Board recognizes Junior Mathematics is an important area of focus.

“To improve math results, the province announced a revised math strategy this past spring. Halton is revising its Math Plan to reflect that strategy by developing goals to close the student achievement gap,” Boag said.

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Halton District school board grade 9 students are doing fine with their math scores - literacy is right up there as well.

News 100 redBy Staff

September 21, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Grade 9 month doing fine ‘’’

The province might be having problems with the mathematics scores for grade 6 students but the Halton District School Board is pleased with the scores for the grade 9 math.

Today the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) released results showing Halton District School Board students well outperforming the province in Grade 9 Academic and Applied Mathematics, and on the Grade 10 Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT). Secondary students must write the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) as a requirement of graduation.

hdsb-gr-9-math

There is clearly a lot of work to be done on the Applied side.

For Grade 9 Math, there are different assessments for students in the academic and applied courses. On the Grade 9 Academic Math assessment, 90% of students achieved the provincial standard, unchanged from the previous year’s result. The provincial average decreased by two percentage points to 83% of students achieving the provincial standard. In total, there were 3,302 students enrolled in the Academic Math course in 2015-2016.

For the 655 HDSB students in the Applied Math course, 55% attained the provincial standard in 2015-2016, a one percentage point increase from the previous year. The provincial average decreased by two percentage points from 47% to 45% from the previous year.

hdsb-gr-9-literacy

Literacy results are strong – are we seeing much in the way of creative writing at the high school level?

The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) results for 2015-2016 were also released today. The Halton District School Board’s success rate for students writing the test for the first time remained unchanged at 88%, while the provincial average was 81%, a drop of one percentage point from last year. The overall results for the OSSLT in Halton continue to demonstrate remarkable consistency.

This year, the OSSLT participation rate was 97% and the success rate was 88%. Both of these Halton results are above the provincial average, showing Halton students continue to demonstrate strong literacy skills.

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Can high school students become philanthropists? Foundation Board member thinks so.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 19th, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

 

An interesting idea cropped up during our interview with Tim Cestnick, the newest member of the Burlington Foundation, which most of you will remember as the former Burlington community Foundation.

New members of any board need to take a little time to settle in and get a sense as to how the board has run in the past. Tim Cestnick and Tim Hogarth go back some time – both are polished senior executive types that know how to think through problems and take a strategic look at what the objective is. And both are now board members of the Foundation. Hogarth has been on the board for a period of time.

foundation-lansberg-speakingThe Foundation recently went through a re-branding and is well into the roll out of their Mental Health Awareness work they have been doing the past two years. They have a major speaker. Michael Landsberg,  in town in October.

The number of Endowments they manage grows steadily as does the assets under administration – $10.7 million now.

The organization is readying itself for its Annual Gala that is being chaired by Rick Burgess this year. The event will be held at the Performing Arts centre on October 22nd.

foundation-gala-2016foundation-gala-dateThe Gala is a major fund raising event that covers the operational costs of the Foundation.

Every organization that relies on the public needs to constantly refresh itself and while a brand change perhaps perks things up a little, the meat is in the ideas they come forward with. And this is where Cestnick’s thoughts on just what philanthropy is all about are very relevant.

The vast majority of the people out there would say that people with a lot of money can become philanthropists – Cestnick doesn’t see it that way. He thinks we can tech people at the high school level to think in terms of being philanthropists.

“Why can’t a high school student can’t set aside a small sum each year and make that their philanthropic donation – something that would be built on each year?

We have United Way for that might be a response – and it is a good one.

If one looks at the annual Terry Fox run that takes place in Burlington every year you get a sense of how a public will take to an idea; how they will respond to something that changed the way they see the world.

young-philanthropist

Others are already involving their youth in philanthropic ventures.

Philanthropy allows that kind of thing. The United Way seeks funds to provide services. The Burlington Foundation came to the realization that we need to look at Mental Health differently and bring it in out of the cold where it wasn’t talked about – we just felt sorry for those who were experiencing bad mental health.

The Foundation now has a program in place that has people talking about mental health and what has to change in the way we deal with this now growing social problem. That hasn’t been the kind of work that organizations like the United Way are doing. This is not to take anything away from what the United Way does – we could not survived as a caring society if we did not have the United Way in place.

cestnick-cropped

Tim Cestnick newest Burlington Foundation Board member.

Tim Cestnick talks in terms of people needing to “feel” it when they are donating money. You give something up, you do without something you enjoy when you choose to make a philanthropic donation.

If I understood Tim Cestnick correctly he is interested in introducing people to the idea that there is something biblical about philanthropy and I got the impression it was something he might try to get on the Foundation agenda.

It will be interesting to see if this goes anywhere – it should.

 

Related article:

Cestnick appointed to Burlington Foundation board.

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MoonGlade was an outstanding success - 17 installations that saw more than 3500 visitors during a four hour show event.

artsblue 100x100By Pepper Parr

September 19, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

It went well, it went very well.

The MoonGlade event put on by No Vacancy in partnership with the Art Gallery of Burlington was a huge improvement over the event last year. Shows what a curated event can be.

When Denis Longchamps, Chief Curator, added his skill set to No Vacancy’s organizational talents the city ended up with an event that can only grow. We are all winners with this one.

entrance-kune

The tunnel portion of Kune Hua’s installation

It is an event Burlingtonians are going to have to grow into. Among the 17 “installations” pieces the one put on by Kune Hua was by far the most popular. While it wasn’t “art” per se, it certainly attracted a lot of people.

There was a line up outside the installation even though most people didn’t know what it was until they got inside and had a conversation with Kune who talked to everyone who passed through.

kune-session-tent

Part of the Kune Hua installation consisted of a number of tents set up – people went in and just talked to the person inside. About what? We didn’t ask – hundreds lined up.

It was described by one arts professional as something that was more philosophical than installation art – but it appealed to people.

Kune was on a high when the event came to a close; he sent a thank you out to all those involved and said:  “What an incredible night! 🌸🌝 Feeling so much love 💗 and the light ✨ was certainly bright tonight. The LOVE garden was in full bloom and hundreds of people picked up the fragrance. Thank you so so much to everyone who helped make this happen from creating it, supporting it and experiencing it! It truly was a magical night.”

Jim Riley was given the space he needed for his visual installation.

One person who attended said the Art Gallery had probably never seen this many people in the place at one time before.

An added bonus for the people who went to take part in MoonGlade was the “stitched art” exhibit that was on at the same time. Unfortunately many, if not most people didn’t realize that the work was unique and one of the best shows of stitching, which is an offshoot of quilting, that will be seen in this province.

Kelly Bruton of Newfoundland had an excellent installation that called for some interaction to be fully appreciated.

madden-horse

Shevon Madden’s installation.

Shevnon Madden’s installation of a wire sculpture of a horse head with all the musculature of the neck clearly delineated was quite stunning. Her visual and vocal commentary made a telling point on how we train animals.

Longchamps wanted a much more hands on approach and art that was both interactive and made a social comment. For the most part he got much of what he wanted.

What was missing was public interaction.

deconstruction-t-shirts-bruton

The Deconstruction table – created by Kelly Bruton

Kelly Bruton had difficulty getting people to spend any time at either her destruct or reconstruct tables. The object was cut up T-shirts into strips of cloth and use the strips to make rugs.

reconstruction-rugs-bruton

The reconstruction table.

What we noticed was that people flitted from one installation to another and didn’t quite know what to do when they got there.

The exception was the Kune Hua installation. No one was able to say quit why it worked – just that it did. And that can be said for everything about MoonGlade.

kune-sitting-pads

It was mediation and music – which is what many wanted.

The Beer Garden went well; the Food Trucks met the need and the music was just fine.

Look for this event to be repeated next year. Kune Hua hasn’t a clue as to what he will do for a repeat. He has a full year to think that through.

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Vaccine for shingles now free to seniors.

News 100 blueBy Staff

September 15, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Hearing that – Starting today, the shingles vaccine will be available across the province for people 65 to 70 years of age might get little more than a shrug from most people.

For those who have experienced shingles it is no laughing matter.

shingles-2-female

Shingles is a very painful condition – it isn’t limited to people over 65.

“Shingles is a painful illness caused by the chickenpox virus that can reactivate without warning later in life. The shingles vaccine lowers the risk of getting shingles significantly and reduces the chance of complications from this disease for people without medical contraindications.

The government is investing $68 million over three years in order to publicly fund the vaccine, which will reduce the likelihood of Ontario seniors developing the painful infection, and reduce visits to emergency rooms and hospitals.

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, affects more than 42,000 people every year in Ontario and can cause complications such as loss of vision and debilitating nerve pain. Studies show that the vaccine is highly effective when seniors are vaccinated between the ages of 65 – 70, and this new program aligns with scientific and expert recommendations from Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization and Ontario’s Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee on Immunization.

Those who are eligible for the shingles vaccine should contact their primary care doctor or nurse practitioner to receive the vaccination.

Approximately 850,000 seniors between the ages of 65 and 70 years are expected to be eligible to receive the publicly funded shingles vaccine.

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Getting the kids off the sweetened beverages is a challenge indeed - but the city is going to try.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 15, 2106

BURLINGTON, ON

How would you describe getting the kids to drink water and give up sugar-sweetened beverages?

Some would call that a “challenge” which is exactly what city staff and Community Development Halton are going to try to do at the Healthy Kids Community Challenge that will take place Tuesday, September 27 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Mountainside Recreation Centre.

Residents are invited to a community workshop to share ideas on how to encourage children and families to drink water as a healthy alternative to sugar-sweetened beverages.

Goldring + Tina 4 run jump play

Mayor Goldring was on hand for the launch of the Healthy Initiatives program. He didn’t try the hoola hoop but he did draw in chalk on the sidewalk.

“Having a city that is healthy and green is one of the four key objectives in Burlington’s 25 year strategic plan,” said Mayor Rick Goldring. “We want to help motivate kids to drink water when they are thirsty and make choices that will lead to good health.”

Ideas generated from the community brainstorming event will be used to support the second theme of the Healthy Kids Community Challenge, Water Does Wonders.

Burlington is one of 45 communities selected to take part in the Province of Ontario’s Healthy Kids Community Challenge program, created to support healthy and active lifestyles in children zero to 12 years old.

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care will launch a new theme related to physical activity or healthy eating about every nine months and Healthy Kids Community Challenge Burlington will work together with local organizations to develop programs, policies and initiatives that promote and enable healthy behaviours.

Beard - hoola hoope - run jump play

The program started out as a provincial Healthy Kids Community Challenge, created to support healthy and active lifestyles in children zero to 12 years old. Millions were to be put into the program which the city outsourced partially to Community Development Halton.

“Children need a lot of water to stay hydrated and healthy,” said Jennifer Spence, the co-project lead for Healthy Kids Community Challenge Burlington. “Water makes up more than half of a child’s weight, and a steady supply is necessary to keep bodies working properly.”

When members of city council are deliberating and are in their seats for a couple of hours – they have a small fridge that holds cool beverages. In the five years the Gazette has covered this city council we have yet to see anyone of them come out with a container of water.

The Mayor does bring in his personal water bottle.

City council chambers might be a good place to start this change.

There is more information about the Healthy Kids Community Challenge Burlington, visit www.healthykidsburlon.ca or like Healthy Kids Community Challenge Burlington on Facebook, follow @HeathlyKidsBurl on Twitter and @HealthyKidsBurlON on Instagram.

Related articles:

It started out as Run Jump Play

 

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The first reported human case of of WNV has been reported to the Region's Medical Officer of Health.

News 100 blueBy Staff

September 15, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A Halton resident has tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV).

This is the first reported human case of of WNV reported to the Region’s Medical Officer of Health this year.

The Halton Region Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Hamidah Meghani , advises residents to protect themselves against mosquito bites and remove mosquito breeding sites

WestNileVirus_transmission“While 80 per cent of people infected with West Nile virus will have no symptoms, others will have West Nile fever consisting of fever, headache, muscle ache and a rash. If residents are concerned or experiencing symptoms, I would encourage them to visit their health care professional.”

Urban 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 and in places that hold standing water such as bird baths, plant pots, old toys, and tires.

Residents are encouraged to take the following steps 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.

As part of its ongoing West Nile prevention program, Halton Region staff continually monitor areas of standing water, eliminate potential mosquito breeding sites and larvicide when mosquito larvae is found. A map showing the locations of standing water sites on public properties that have had larvicide applied this year is available at halton.ca/wnv.

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

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An art event not to be missed - even husband's will appreciate the detail and intracacy of the work on exhibit.

artsblue 100x100By Pepper Parr

September 12, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

 

They are called “ART QUILTs” which is defined as a creative visual work that is layered and stitched or that references this form of stitched layered structure.”

scroll

Donna Funnell’s Stitch Scroll is a delicate length of cloth with exquisite stitching.

Kind of technical sounding and really isn’t much in the way of an introduction to a marvelous art form that is currently on display at the Art Gallery of Burlington.

tree-leaves-green

Those ;eaves are not painted – they were stitched onto a piece of backing – the detail is incredible. Titled the Ginko Tree by Cecelia Cameron, Sudan Durham, Shirley Kilpatrick and Patricia Mennon – the Ginko Tree predates the dinosaurs.

Called Fibre Content – the show includes more than 100  pieces that will delight the eye – there is one piece that you swear is a photograph but in close inspection is a stitched piece of work.

portrait

It looks like a photograph – but it is stitching. “The Way is see myself by Sharron Deacon. A rare selfie.

Our apologies to our readers for not telling you about this exhibition earlier – it runs at the AGB until the end of next Sunday.

Well worth taking the time to attend.

Art quilts came out of the quilting community and created a niche of its own that has grown in the past thirty years. The tendency within this niche is to explore new ideas and new forms.

quilt-mary-cope-blue

Mary Cope’s contribution to Fibre Content on display now at the AGB.

These are not the familiar Mennonite quilts that the Kitchener area of Ontario are famous for – this work is known as art quilting; an art form that uses both modern and traditional quilting techniques to create art objects. Practitioners of quilt art create it based on their experiences, imagery, and ideas rather than traditional patterns. Quilt art generally has more in common with the fine arts than it does with traditional quilting. This art is generally either wall hung or mounted as sculpture, though exceptions exist.

The feminist movement and the new craft movements of the 1960s and 1970s, were the social environments that brought this art form into the public sphere.

The social activism of the time resulted in intricate, celebrated quilts (which often included rare Scandinavian indigo dyes). The transition from traditional quilting through art quilts to quilted art was rapid; many of the most important advances in the field came in the 1970s and 1980s.

Jean Ray Laury, one of the more prominent and influential of early modern quilt makers was an “academically trained artist and designer who encouraged women to create their own new designs based on their own experiences, surroundings and ideas rather than traditional patterns. Laury. Who died in 2011 said: “There are no rules in stitchery — no single ‘right’ way of working.”

doll-on-wall

Firefly by Monika Sheddon of Dundas was inspired by a large piece of fabric created by using free motion machine stitching, collage and paints. Face is needle sculpted on cotton.

That art form is on display at the Art Gallery of Burlington – not to be missed.getting new - yellow

 

AGB Hours

Monday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Tuesday – Thursday 9:00 am – 10:00 pm
Friday – Saturday: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sunday: 12 noon – 5:00 pm

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Parents advised that a shortage of school bus drivers is having an impact on school bus operations.

News 100 redBy Staff

September 12, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Halton Student Transportation Services (HSTS) advises that a shortage of school bus drivers is having an impact on school bus operations in the Halton Region, similar to many school boards in the greater Toronto area. This shortage could be negatively impacting some schools because of bus delays.

So it isn’t just Toronto that can’t find the school bus drivers needed – Might that be because they don’t pay enough?

shool-bus

That school bus you are used to seeing show up every day – just might not be there this month – there is a serious shortage of drivers for school bus routes in Burlington and Oakville.

Halton Student Transportation Services is working with the bus companies to try to minimize the impact on students. Parents are encouraged to sign up for delays and cancellation notifications on the HSTS website (haltonbus.ca). A list of bus delays is also posted on the HSTS website.

HSTS is a transportation consortium providing home to school transportation services to students of the Halton District School Board and the Halton Catholic District School Board.

The bus driver shortage is currently impacting Oakville and Burlington bus routes. Interested applicants are encouraged to contact the following bus companies about job requirements:

First Student Canada, Burlington and Oakville – 905-335-7010
Attridge Transportation Inc. – 905-333-4047

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Council will begin to figure out how much of your money they want - not much you can do about it.

Budget 2017 ICON aaBy Pepper Parr

September 8, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

City council will return to meeting in the council camber – and in the very near future – they will begin to look at the budgets they have to put in place for the 2016/17 fiscal year.

The numbers available at this point in time don’t look very encouraging.

budget-table-2015-2016

Human Resources costs are up 2.8% primarily due to increases to union and non‐union compensation.
Operating/Minor Capital Equip. The 0.6% increase is primarily due to higher electricity rates and increased costs for parts and equipment. These increases are partially offset by lower expenses on general office equipment.

Purchased Services Decrease of 0.9% is attributable to lower external service requirements. These savings are partially offset by higher computer, software and vendor hosted solutions as well as increased snow removal expenses.

Corp. Expenditures/Provisions Increase of 6.7% is mostly due to the infrastructure renewal levy and debt charges incurred for the accelerated renewal program. Additionally debt charges for the Joseph Brant Hospital are offset from the reserve fund (offset by recovery in General Revenues & Recoveries).

 Controllable Revenues are down 0.6% due to realignment of Transit Fare revenue to be in line with actual receipts, which is is partially offset by improved revenues in other services.

General Revenues & Recoveries The increase of 4.2% in General Revenues & Recoveries is mostly due to increase in Hydro dividend and Federal Grants, in addition to a recovery for debt charges from Joseph Brant Hospital reserve fund.

Business Cases The 2016 Proposed Budget includes 16 City business cases totaling $438K. They include proposals to address climate change (stormwater water drainage), enhanced bylaw enforcement, community investment and reduced seniors’ transit fare.

Additionally there are two business cases proposed by the Burlington Performing Arts Centre totaling $188K for community engagement and enhanced customer service.

A graphic of the spending shows where the city feels they need to spend your dollars.

operating-budget-2016-graph

Infrastructure, salaries & wages and tucking money into the reserve funds are where additional funds are needed.

Increases in the 4% plus range are hard to swallow when inflation is running at less than 2%

There are going to be some interesting discussions around the council table in the months ahead.

The steps staff and council will take to get a budget passed is as follows:

  • Capital Budget Overview November 21, 2016
  • Capital Council Information Session November 24, 2016
  • Public Engagement July – November 2016
  • Capital Budget Review December 8, 2016
  • Operating Budget Overview December 8, 2016
  • Operating Council Information Session December 15, 2016
  • Council Capital Budget Approval December 19, 2016
  • Operating Budget Review January 19, 2017
  • Council Operating Budget Approval January 23, 2017getting new - yellow
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City improves access to web casts and staff reports. Takes a bit to figure it out - but it is better.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 8, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It has taken a while and it isn’t perfect but it is better.

However, it does take a couple of minutes to figure out just how you get information on city council meetings.

The new Council agenda and minutes software is out there for you to play with.

Visual - city council full

The public now has better access to the staff reports and the web casts of council meetings – it would be really nice if they improved the production values of the web broadcasts – better camera are needed.

“The new online software will make it easier for people to access and share Council information,” said Danielle Pitoscia, manager of committee and election services. “This is important for residents as it is vital we provide Council and Committee documents through an open, accessible and transparent process.”

New or improved features for residents include:

• Shareable links to documents
• Improved search function
• Improved video streaming
• Videos time stamped and linked directly to agenda item
• Complements efforts toward paper reduction
• Compatible with Google Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer

You might find it useful to print this out – you will need to refer to it until you get the hang of just how the new software works.

screen-capture-for-city-calendar

This is what the computer monitor should look like if you want to see what is taking place at a city Standing Committee on September 12th. It takes a little getting used to – it is an improvement over what there was before.

The Gazette hasn’t had a chance to experience the web broadcasts of the different council meetings. They meet next week for the first time since July – maybe the cameras they are using have been improved as well

Agendas, minutes and videos from January 2009 to June 2016 can be found on www.Burlington.ca/agendasandminutes.

Agendas, minutes and videos from July 2016 onward can be found on the City Meeting Calendar at www.burlington.ca/calendar.

To access agendas, minutes and videos on the City Meeting Calendar:

1. Visit burlington.ca/calendar

2. Filter your search by selecting “City Meetings” from the calendar dropdown menu

3. Select either “Council” or “Council Standing Committee” from the category dropdown menu. You may choose to refine your search further using the date and keyword(s) features

4. Click “Search” to display your selections

5. Click on the title of a particular meeting to view details of that meeting

If you wish to request documents in alternative format or with communication supports, contact the Clerks Department at 905-335-7600, ext. 7698.

On a related matter – city council is going to debate the use of software that would automatically record votes taken by council – THAT is a much needed improvement. Transparency and public accountability are finding a place at city hall.

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Do you know the size of your environmental footprint? Find out.

News 100 greenBy Staff

September 7, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Burlington Green Environmental Association sent us the following:

As the world directs its attention to the challenges of climate change, BurlingtonGreen Environmental Association has developed a user-friendly on-line quiz to help Burlington citizens, including youth, discover their environmental footprint and how they can take action locally.

Sponsored by Burlington Hydro, the “What’s Your Eco-Score?” quiz consists of a series of questions about transportation, home energy use, food choices, waste reduction, and water use. No utility bills are required to complete the quiz! Users receive an ‘eco-score’, along with helpful locally focused green living tips along the way.

Electric charging - red carBurlingtonGreen suggests that transportation, home energy use, and food choices are ‘the big 3’ that people need to pay extra attention to, in terms of lowering their carbon footprint. Driving less, switching to an electric vehicle and ‘thinking outside the car’ by walking, cycling and using public transit will all help. Conserving energy at home, avoiding ON-peak hours electricity use, and installing a heat pump and solar panels provide additional opportunities to reduce one’s footprint as will consuming less meat and eating local and organic food whenever possible.

After spending some time taking action to reduce their impact, quiz participants are encouraged to take the quiz again to see their score improve. Fantastic prizes are available to be won just for participating ( Halton residents only) including a bike courtesy of MEC, Presto passes from Burlington Transit, a gift card from Whole Foods Market and more!

All levels of government are taking action to address climate change. Canada will release its climate change action plan in the fall of 2016. However, government action alone isn’t going to solve this tremendous challenge. It’s up to all citizens to do their part.

The Eco-Score quiz is right HERE

 

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Riley partners with Aaron Hutchinson on one of 17 art installations at the AGB on the 16th

eventspink 100x100By Staff

September 6th, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Less than ten days and the crowds will descend on Brock Park – just behind the Art Gallery of Burlington and take in the fourth edition of No Vacancy which this year is branded with the title – MoonGlade.

There will be 17 installations both inside and outside the Art Gallery.

Cirque-Student-Theatre-mannequins 2014

One of the 2014 No Vacancy installations.

Live music and Food Trucks parked along Nelson Street.

Jim Riley, a Video Artist and Sound Sculptor Aaron Hutchinson will be setting up their installation in the Rotary Room of the AGB. They are calling it “Inside his mind 2”

The genesis for “inside his mind2” was the artist’s reflections after a day of bicycling with his fourteen-year-old nephew. Ten years later Riley has revisited the concept of “transitioning” in this video installation. Riley blends documentary evidence and social commentary to depict the transformation for boy to young adult man, as seen in our contemporary culture.

Riley

Inside his mind

There is a two channel video projection using a left and right eye to show the past and present activity of the young man. Riley incorporates the blood moon in to this installation both within the space as well as video projections. The moon is often used to symbolize mystery such as transitions.

Aaron Hutchinson has collaborated with Riley to create the sound sculpture for “inside his mind2”.
Sound Sculpture is an intermedia and time based art form. It is an expansion of an art installation in the sense that it includes the sound element and therefore the time element.

Jim Riley

Jim Riley, video artist

Jim Riley is a Burlington, ON, based artist and independent curator who is deeply involved in the organizational side of the arts collective that has upgraded itself to an Arts Council. His art practice is a blend of documentary evidence, personal ideology, social commentary and artistic investigations. Riley’s present aesthetic investigations explore time and perceptual memory. His recent art practice has involved public art and gallery video installations. He has a BA from Brock University. Riley has exhibited his art in Canada and the US. Some of Riley’s video art is represented by V tape Distributions, Toronto. www.jimriley.ca

Aaron Hutchison - Hamilton

Aaron Hutchinson

Aaron Hutchinson is a new media artist and musician from Hamilton (MA in Communication and New Media, McMaster University). He currently makes music in a variety of ensembles that have taken him around Canada, the United States and Germany. Aaron won the 2012 Hamilton Arts Award for emerging artist in New Media. He is a founding member of the Hamilton Audio Visual Node (HAVN) and the music director of HAVN records. (aaronhutchinson.ca)

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Electoral reform is complex - but it is vital if we are to make the will of the people the law of the land. It is your government; you pay for it - be part of the process of getting it right.

Burlington’s Member of Parliament,  Karina Gould, will be leading a public consultation on Electoral Reform at the Mainway Recreation centre in the auditorium on Saturday September 10th at 12:30.

She wants to hear what her community has to say about the changes Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to deliver in the way of electoral reform. During the election campaign Trudeau said that election was the last that would be run under the First Past the Post (FPTP) process Canada has been using since Confederation. What we choose to use as an election process is now a question the public needs to answer.

backgrounder 100By Jay Fallis

September 1, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

This is the 3rd of a 3 part series on electoral reform.

I have explained the First Past the Post (FPTP) system of electing the members of the House of Commons that we use today.

I explained Mixed Member Proportional system, or MMP.

 

In this system, MMP,  each voter receives two ballots. One is used to select the local candidate of their choice, while the other is used to select the party of their choice. The ballots selecting the local candidate are tallied up in each riding, and the candidate with the most votes wins. This is the same in our current system, except that constituencies would be bigger.

With MMP, once the candidate for the constituency is decided, the ballots, which indicate party preference, are tallied and the popular support of each party is determined.

The MMP process  distributes a percentage of the seats to each political party based on the percentage of the vote they got; the problem for many people is who, which person, would sit in that seat?  Would the political party give the seat to one of its members?

In this article I am going to cover two other possible electoral systems. The first is called Alternative Vote (AV); the second is called the ABC approach to electing people to our House of Commons.

Under Alternate Vote, a voter continues to vote for their local candidates. However, instead of selecting a single candidate with an X, voters order each of the candidates 1-2-3 etc., from their most preferred selection to their least preferred.

When first place selections are counted, a candidate with more than 50% of the popular vote wins. If however no candidate receives more than 50%, then the candidate with the least number of votes is eliminated. The ballots that selected the last place candidate are redistributed using the second selections. This process continues until one candidate receives more than 50% support.

Voters going in door

Voter turnout has often been low for the past decade; many people feel the current method of electing members to the House of Commons results in an un-representative form of government.

Although this system maintains regional representation as it exists under our current system and allows voters to cast a more accurate ballot, this system has its problems. There is a significant chance it would be advantageous for the Liberal party, as voters on each side of the ideological spectrum have a tendency to select Liberal as their second choice. This could allow Liberal candidates to win in tight ridings more often than not.

Furthermore the method for counting is complex. It would either require days to count by hand or require electronic counting systems. Either method ensures a high probability for error and would be expensive.

Finally, this system would be detrimental for independent candidates and smaller parties. Currently, it is difficult for these candidates and parties to win seats. However, introducing this system would make their advancement even more difficult. This seems unfair when considering that there can be strong independent candidates and viable small parties.

There is another approach – it is referred to as ABC – Alternative Borda Count; developed by French mathematician Charles de Borda.

It is described as easy as ABC (Alternative Borda Count). In this system voters are able to make up to 3 selections: a first, second, and third choice. If voters wish, they can choose to select only a first and second choice, or only a first choice. Each first choice selection is worth 4 points, each second choice selection worth 2 points, and each third choice selection worth 1 point. When the points are tallied and the local candidate with the most points wins.

Flag at house of commons

Members of the House of Commons have been determined by First Past the Post elections since confederation. The current government has determined it is time for a change.

Although this system does not guarantee perfect representation of votes to seats in the legislature it does represent an obvious improvement from Alternative Vote.

The first advantage is that this system is simple when compared to Alternative Vote. The calculation method and ballot can easily be explained to voters. Additionally, counting can be done relatively efficiently by hand and results could be posted on election night without the use of electronic counting.

This system maintains our country’s current regional representation. All ridings would remain as they are. However, in order to win ridings, candidates would require support from approximately 70 to 80% of the riding’s population. This is much higher than Alternative Vote which would often produce winners with just over 50% of support.

As for independent candidates and smaller parties, this system encourages their advancement. If a candidate or party receives few first place selections, but many 2nd and 3rd place selections they still have some opportunity to win. This will not mean the advancement of many, but it would mean that more independents and small party candidates have the opportunity to win.

Finally, this is a system that has the capability to be popular amongst Canadians. Although it has yet to attract the attention of reform advocates, a preliminary study has shown very high support for the system amongst the voting public. The study I refer to is a paper I did while earning my Master’s degree at the University of Toronto.

Not only does it attract those who support reform, it also attracts many who don’t, because it is simple and offers them the ability to vote as they do under the current system (by choosing to make only a first selection).

ABC is a system that meets many different needs and has the potential to bring about positive change to Canada’s political system when compared to Alternative Vote. To learn more about the ABC system or sign the petition you can go to:    abcvote.ca.

I have given readers a quick overview of the different systems that are being considered.  The government is now asking Canadians which system they would like to see.  It’s an important decision – make a point of getting out to the public meetings and do some research.

Links:

CBC ran a very interesting piece – worth reading.

First of the 3 part series

Second of the 3 part series

Jay Fallis Bio PicJay Fallis is a graduate of the University of Toronto where he earned a Master’s Degree that focused on electoral reform.

He writes a column for a daily newspaper in Ontario, the Orillia Packet and Times,

 

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Mixed member proportional voting is complex and confusing but is seen by many as better than what we have.

Burlington’s Member of Parliament, Karina Gould, will be leading a public consultation on Electoral Reform at the Mainway Recreation centre in the auditorium on Saturday September 10th at 12:30.
She wants to hear what her community has to say about the changes Justin Trudeau promised to deliver in the way of electoral reform. During the election campaign Trudeau said that election was the last that would be run under the First Past the Post (FPTP) process Canada has been using since Confederation.

backgrounder 100By Jay Fallis

August 31, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

Part 2 of a 3 part series on electoral reform.

Yesterday, I described the system Canada has been using since Confederation to elect its members to the House of Commons – First Past the Post – FPTP

The Liberal party promised to change this approach during the last federal election. The MP’s are now meeting with their constituents to discuss what the approach should be if not FPTP

A possible approach is referred to as Mixed Member Proportional system, or MMP.

Voting ballot box

Will a more representative method of electing Members of Parliament result in a higher voter turn out?

In this system each voter receives two ballots. One is used to select the local candidate of their choice, while the other is used to select the party of their choice. The ballots selecting the local candidate are tallied up in each riding, and the candidate with the most votes wins. This is the same in our current system, except for the fact that the ridings would be bigger.

Once the local seats are decided, the ballots which indicate party preference are tallied and the popular support of each party is determined by adding up to a total percentage out of 100. In order to ensure that each party has a number of seats reflective of the popular support they received, there are a designated number of seats distributed in accordance with the percentage of each party. In our Parliament it would probably be about 100 seats.

To give you an idea, let us pretend that instead of 338 seats in the House of Commons, there were 200. Of those, 100 would be designated for ridings and the remaining 100 would be designated to ensure that the popular vote is reflected in the Legislature. Let us say that the Liberals won every single riding, yet only amassed 50% of the popular support. Additionally, the NDP and Conservatives were unable to win a single riding seat, but each amassed 25% of the popular support. This would mean that the remaining 100 seats would be divided evenly between the NDP and Conservatives. Thus, the legislature would be reflective of the popular vote because the liberals would have 50% of the seats, leaving the other two parties with 25% each. Regularly there are more seats and parties to make it so that the equation is more intricate, but in essence the way that the seats are distributed is the same.

This explanation begs the question; who will be selected to sit as members in these non-riding seats? One way is to allow voters to choose their favourite representatives of the party for which they voted. The candidates from each party that receive the highest approval ratings would then be selected to fill these seats.

House of Commons

Is it just a matter of putting bums in seats or do we want to find a more representative method of electing Members of Parliament?

This concept of “list” seats is probably one of the most controversial aspects of this system. Some support it as voters can elect qualified candidates who would otherwise fail in local ridings. Furthermore, voters of all political stripes throughout the country will most likely have a member that will represent their political interests. On the other hand, critics argue that extended ridings and lack of local affiliation will make it so that MPs will not be as accountable to the electorate.

There is also the issue of conflicting jurisdiction for each elected official. Initially in the Scottish Parliament, the MMP system led to disputes over which Member of Parliament had jurisdiction to handle particular issues thus creating two classes of MP. However, many of these problems could be resolved either through a change in political culture or through modified legislation.

Although MMP is not perfect, it’s most profound advantage is that it ensures that all voters who support different party stripes are adequately represented in the legislature. In this system, almost all votes cast are taken into consideration leaving all parties accurately represented.

As it stands, it seems difficult to perceive that MMP would be introduced without a hitch. It is not the system endorsed by our current Prime Minister, and there is much opposition over certain aspects, especially the presence of the list selection process.

Nevertheless, implementing MMP would certainly produce a Parliament that better represents Canadian voters and be a marked improvement on our current system.

First of a three part series on election reform.

Jay Fallis Bio PicJay Fallis is a graduate of the University of Toronto where he earned a Master’s Degree that focused on electoral reform.  He writes a column for a daily newspaper in Ontario, the Orillia Packet and Times,

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Conservation Halton is going through a Metamorphosis and wants to hear from you - if you live north of Dundas - this will matter to you.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

August 31st, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Conservation Authority is going through a change – they are calling it a metamorphosis which they define as a “biological process of transformation, differentiation and growth that many species go through as they transition from one life stage to the next.

That is a mouthful.

With a new CAO in place, Conservation Halton, now wants to hear from the public – they want feedback on their strategic plan which includes their Promise, Purpose, Ambition, Guiding Principles and Themes, that frame their priorities and commitment to the environment, communities and customers.

Tucked into that plan are the Key Objectives, Key Enablers and Key Service Targets. These are the changes that Conservation Halton wants to make as an organization and the goals that we will work toward.

They won’t get much in the way of disagreement on any of the above – what they are getting however is a wry look from a public that feels it was not  listened to during the reign of the previous CAO.

Conservation Halton is the community based environmental agency that protects, restores and manages the natural resources in its watershed. The organization has staff that includes ecologists, land use planners, engineers, foresters and educators, along with a network of volunteers, who are guided by a Board of Directors comprised of municipally elected and appointed citizens.

Conservation Halton is recognized for its stewardship of creeks, forests and Niagara Escarpment lands through science based programs and services.

Haasaam Basit Conservation Halton

Hassaan Basit, Chief Administrative Officer of Conservation Halton.

Hassaan Basit wants to transform Conservation Halton. Vice chair John Vice sees it becoming “a modern organization known in the community for innovation, collaboration, efficiency and service delivery.” They want to position Conservation Halton to deliver effective natural resource management, ultimately leading to improved well-being of our communities.”

“A crucial part of this Metamorphosis is for us to listen to people we serve in the community and find out ideas and thoughts they may have on how we can achieve this transformation. This is why we have embarked on a multi-faceted public engagement between now and the end of September where we hope to connect with people in different ways,” John Vice continues.

The planned public engagement give significant depth to the phrase “multi-faceted public engagement”; there is hardly a base they don’t cover.

Creeks map

What happens to the watershed in Burlington is job #1 for the Conservation Authority. There are 16 creeks that the Authority keeps a constant eye on – daily.

“Owing to our unique position and technical expertise in local watershed science, conservation authorities play a critical role in helping achieve a number of provincial and municipal goals and objectives related to natural resource management, preserving natural and cultural assets, green infrastructure, sustainability and climate change,” says Hassaan Basit, Chief Administrative Officer of Conservation Halton. “As we mark our 60th anniversary later this year and look back at the role conservation authorities have played in the province, it is a reminder of the need to constantly evolve.”

“Conservation authorities respond to natural resource management needs and challenges, even when they change, evolve and intensify, as they have since the Conservation Authorities Act was created. We anticipate that these needs and challenges will continue to change over time, so we must have the strategic agility to continue to adapt,” Hassaan Basit continues.

There are five ways for people to engage with Conservation Halton on Metamorphosis.

1. Attend a Public Open House

The Conservation Authority will be hosting two open houses, where members of the community will have the opportunity to learn more about our strategic directions, comment on our strategic priorities and share ideas for initiatives. Community members interested in attending one or both of the public open houses are asked to register here.

Tuesday September 13
6:00 – 8:00 PM
Conservation Halton Office
2596 Britannia Road, Burlington

Saturday, September 17
10:00 – 12:00 PM
Crawford Lake Longhouse
3115 Conservation Road, Milton

2. Have Your Say in a Survey

We have also created a series of short surveys, which we hope will help us understand the issues that are most important to our community and collect ideas for initiatives regarding these issues. The four survey areas are Sustainable Communities, Environmental Conservation, Climate Change and Outdoor Recreation. Each survey should only take a couple of minutes and responses will be used to shape many of our priorities and efforts. The surveys can be found here.

3. #chlistens on Facebook and Twitter

There will also be many opportunities to engage with us on social media. We will be hosting three open thread discussions on Facebook on September 9, 16 and 23 at 2:00 PM and two live chats on Twitter on September 21 and 28 from 7:00 – 8:00 PM. Look out for the #chlistens hashtag and tune in to chat with us about conservation, climate change and sustainability.

4. Share Your Lunch and #tableyourthoughts

Keep an eye out in the parks for our bright, painted picnic tables! Each picnic table has two chalkboards with the phrase “Conservation to me is…” written on them and park visitors are encouraged to complete the sentence, take a photo of their response and share it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #tableyourthoughts. It is our hope that this campaign will inspire real conversations around environmental conservation, climate change, sustainable communities and outdoor recreation.

5. Email Us

Comments can also be sent to web@hrca.on.ca with “Metamorphosis” as the subject line.

Conservation Halton sign - angle

Tucked away in a building that needs some serious upgrades – the staff work at monitoring the watersheds – all 16 of them – and running an extensive educational program and at the same time working at developing the tourism potential of some of the their properties.

Conservation Halton staff will also be meeting with key community stakeholders, including our municipal partners, environmental organizations, recreational groups, builders, developers and other members of the business community, in the coming weeks.
For those who live north of Dundas and tried to get permits to do some work on their property all this is close to exciting. The proof of course is in the pudding – but it does look pretty enticing.

Conservation Halton is the community based environmental agency that protects, restores and manages the natural resources in its watershed. The organization has staff that includes ecologists, land use planners, engineers, foresters and educators, along with a network of volunteers, who are guided by a Board of Directors comprised of municipally elected and appointed citizens.

Conservation Halton is recognized for its stewardship of creeks, forests and Niagara Escarpment lands through science based programs and services.

 

 

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New Street road diet: Staff issues some comments - an attempt to put oil on troubled waters?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

August 30th, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The heat is clearly on – staff in the city’s transportation department have taken to thanking people who have used various means of communication to let the city know how they feel about the “road diet” New Street has been put on while the city experiments with dedicated lanes for bicycles on the north and south side of the street between Guelph Line and Walkers Line.

The decision to spend the $250,000 on the pilot project was made by city council July 18th.

It is a change – and people don’t really like change – particularly in Burlington.

Transit - Vito Tolone

Director of Transportation Vito Tolone is a well informed on transportation matters. What he could not be expected to know was how the public was going to react to the idea of putting dedicated bicycle lanes on New Street. Members of council are supposed to know what their constituents think.

In a media release the city said they wanted to thank the hundreds of people who have taken time to comment about the New Street road diet one-year pilot program and assure people that their comments are part of the findings of the pilot.

The Gazette recorded more than 60 comments to which we add the 21 that we did not publish due to the offensive language; some people got very exercised over this one.

It is unusual for city hall to put out a media release – before a project has had a chance to create some data. While there will be data – right now there is just a lot of noise.

Vito Tolone, director of transportation for the city said: “We are hearing what residents have to say, responding to a variety of questions and reading and collecting each comment to include in our pilot findings.” He adds that the “road diet is a one-year pilot program that aims to create a complete street that allows for multiple forms of transportation and enhances the safety of the road for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

“Through the city’s strategic plan process, we heard from residents who told us they would like safer places to cycle and more transportation choices when it comes to getting around their city,” said Tolone. “Throughout the one-year pilot, the city is using technology to track all forms of transportation along this stretch of New Street, including cyclists, pedestrians, buses and cars. We will also be collecting data on the average speed travelled and the number of collisions to help us understand how the road is being used.”

Burlington City Council Group

Six of the seven voted for the New Street Road diet – Councillor Sharman voted against the pilot project.

Tolone said his department is going to collect “four seasons of data in 2017”; one can only hope that with the uproar, and this is certainly an uproar, that the city will not wait until it has all the data in hand – regular reporting to the public goes a long way to meeting that “transparency and accountability line” that the city trots out regularly.

The pilot looked like a reasonable approach – what neither council nor staff was prepared for was the reaction – most of it before the pilot really had a chance to start. Council voted 6-1 for this (Sharman voted against it – what does he know that the other six don’t know).

Bike lanes - New street

Existing lane configuration on the left – the road diet on the right.

New Street is due to get a new asphalt surface in 2017 – council thought this was a good time to do a pilot project before they began laying down the new surface, when the section of New Street between Guelph Line and Walkers Line is scheduled to be resurfaced.

Conducting the pilot project before this work takes place means there will be no added cost to either return the road to its current setup if the pilot is not successful, or to keep the new bike lanes if the pilot program is adopted.

The pilot project now has the distinction of having a page of its own on the city web site. For more information about the New Street road diet, including responses to some of the most frequently asked questions from the community about the pilot, please visit www.burlington.ca/newstreetdiet.getting new - yellow

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