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



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.”


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.


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.


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.


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.”


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

Return to the Front page

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

News 100 redBy Staff

September 12, 2016



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?


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 ( 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

Return to the Front page

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


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.


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.


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
Return to the Front page

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



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.


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

Agendas, minutes and videos from July 2016 onward can be found on the City Meeting Calendar at

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

1. Visit

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.

Return to the Front page

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

News 100 greenBy Staff

September 7, 2016



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


Return to the Front page

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

eventspink 100x100By Staff

September 6th, 2016



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.


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.

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. (

Return to the Front page

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


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:

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.


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,


Return to the Front page

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


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,

Return to the Front page

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



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.

Metamorphosis of the European Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), showing 3 instars: caterpillar, chrysalis and adult.

Metamorphosis – it is a concept that CAO Hassaan Basit takes seriously – he was responsible for communications and when the CAO job became available Hassaan Basit really wanted it – now that the desk is his – he is determined to make it work much differently. Time will tell how well he does.

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 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.



Return to the Front page

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

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

August 30th, 2016



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 new - yellow

Return to the Front page

New Street on a road diet - nice but bumpy

News 100 blueBy Staff

August 26, 2016


The debate continues but the marked bike lanes on New Street are almost ready to go.

One bike user gave it a go day before yesterday – he liked what he saw.  It is a very quick trip – 49 seconds on a weekday.

We will have a look at the traffic on a weekday morning and in an evening as well and see what it looks like.

Keep in mind that this is a pilot project.

New Street road diet – video clip

The bike rider did say: “I was skeptical, but it’s nice – even if VERY bumpy!”

Return to the Front page

School board announces new web site - but you can't get to it. E for effort; F for failure.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

August 24, 2016


The new web site is now accessible.  Looks pretty good.  The search engine is very good.  More comment to follow.

The Halton District school Board announced with some fanfare that their new web site was now live – click to get to it.

They get an e for effort but they fail at the execution – the site doesn’t load.

It will – they will fix it. Usually things like this are tested, tested and tested again before going live.

HDSB web site oopsIn their media release the board does say some functions may not be accessible to users. These functions may take 24-48 hours to deploy. “We appreciate the patience of parents/guardians, staff and community members as we work to get the website fully operational to provide an improved web experience.”

“The new website – which will use the same web address – is designed with parents/guardians particularly in mind. The fresh clean look, designed by web developer eSolutionsGroup, will provide users with accessible content which is enhanced with photos of Board students and staff members.”

The new homepage uses the latest web design elements to effectively bring users’ attention to important updates. Remaining on the site is the popular Spotlight on Schools feature where the Board shares news on engaging learning experiences in schools. The new website will include video options as another way to engage users and assist in conveying the exceptional learning taking place in our 105 elementary and secondary schools. News releases will have a prominent place on the new website, keeping stakeholders up to date on Board decisions, changes and key events and dates taking place throughout the school year.

The homepage will allow user’s quick access to many popular topics such as Find my Local school, Report a Student Absence, Transportation and Program Accommodation Studies, plus get the most recent social media updates. There will be large sub-menus to make navigation faster, an improved search engine and a translation function.

Beginning in the design phase, the Board gathered input from school communities to learn what they wanted to see in a new website. Several parent and staff focus group sessions were held in various parts of the region to ensure many voices and opinions were heard.

Given the increasingly mobile world we live in, the new website will operate much better on smartphones and tablets, making for a better user experience.

The old web site was almost a disaster – upgrading what they had was one of the leading priorities for Director of Education Stuart Miller.

We will let you know how it works – when we see it.

Return to the Front page

Getting ready for MoonGlade - at the Art Gallery in September - a 5 hour one time only happening.

artsblue 100x100By Pepper Parr

August 23, 2016



With a name like “No Vacancy” what was one to expect at an event that ran for just a couple of hours at the Waterfront hotel when it was first put on in 2013.

A murder mystery perhaps?

What the city got to see was some ground breaking art – described as “installations” which Jim Riley describes as a “three dimensional art form that is often specifically designed to use the walls, floor and space of a room as a sculptural artwork itself. The artist uses objects, video, sound or other material to create the artwork. The audience enters in to the space and becomes part of the actual artwork as opposed to passively looking at one sculpture, one painting one video or other singular artwork.

Doesn’t sound all that exciting when explained – you had to be in one of the rooms back in 2013 to appreciate what was being done.

No Vacancy put on a second event in 2014; it was one of those boffo – close to over the top events that was presented at the Village Square and given the name Cirque

The third year was put on at Old Lakeshore Road where the audience wasn’t as robust. Up until the 2014 event the group that put on the event did so without anything in the way of financial support from the city.

In 2015 and in 2016 a grant of less than $5000 each year was made available.

Each No Vacancy event is given its own unique name. The group has chosen MoonGlade for the 2016 that will take place in Brock Park, at the rear of the Art Gallery on Lakeshore Road and some space inside the gallery.

There will be 17 different individuals installing their work.

There will be a pop up arts gallery, live entertainment and a collection of food trucks.


Xiaojing Yan is a Chinese-Canadian artist born in Nanjing, China, who currently lives and works in Toronto, Canada

Among the installation artists will be Xiaojing Yan who is returning to the No Vacancy list.


A collection of ceramic spoons arranged to form a bridge – installation art at its very best.

Xiaojing Yan is a Chinese-Canadian artist born in Nanjing, China, who currently lives and works in Toronto, Canada. Xiaojing Yan received a B.F.A in decorative art from Nanjing Art Institute, China, in 2000, and an M.F.A in sculpture from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, USA, in 2007. The central themes running through her work concern immigration, identity, cultural difference, and transmigration. Often using traditional Chinese materials and practices within the contemporary aesthetic.
Yan’s work has been exhibited in galleries and museums in Canada, China and United States.

Her work was included in the featured project at Art Toronto 2014 and the featured exhibition “Beyond Geography” at Art Toronto 2012. Recent solo shows include “Hybrid Vigour” at The Latcham Gallery, Stouffville, Canada(2015);”Cloud Cell” at the Red Head Gallery, Toronto(2015, 2012), “Innocence & Experience” at Lonsdale Gallery, Toronto(2014), “Red and White Melody” at TRUCK Contemporary Art in Calgary (2014). In September 2017, Varley Art Gallery in Markham, Ontario will present her solo exhibition. And in November 2017, Suzhou Museum will present her first solo museum exhibition in China.


Xiaojing Yan was one of the artists that contributed to perhaps the most attractive collection of bike racks in North America

Yan has been in many public and private collections including the most recent permanent collection “Cloudscape” at Seneca College at Newnham Campus, Toronto, Canada (2013).

Yan is the recipient of the 2014 Outstanding Young Alumni Award from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and the 2013 Mandarin Profile Awards. Additional information on this installation artist can be found on her web site:

Return to the Front page

Unneeded or expired medications can now be left at any Halton pharmacy - police ending their facility drop off locations.

News 100 redBy Staff

August 22, 2016


The successful prescription drug drop off awareness campaign run by the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) – Drug and Morality Unit (DMU), along with local partner pharmacies is transitioning from police facility drop off locations to locally based community pharmacy locations.

Expired or unused medications (prescription or over the counter) can be returned to any pharmacy in Halton. By responsibly dropping off your unused / expired medications to local pharmacies, you’ll not only ensure they’re disposed of properly – you’ll also keep them out of the wrong hands, preventing abuse, accidental ingestion and protecting our environment in the process.

The current police facility drug drop off collection bins will be removed August 31st 2016. The HRPS-DMU thanks their local community pharmacies for their support and looks forward to future proactive and preventative initiatives.

Return to the Front page

Dispatch side of police communications unit gets fast paced at times.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

August 18th, 2016



The Dispatch side of the Regional Police communications unit is quite different than the Intake side.

The Intake people deal with whatever comes to them – the dispatch people are closer to the action. They come into the picture when the Intake side is unable to resolve an issue.

The job is a little more exciting on the Dispatch side – a dispatch operator can pull up a screen and see exactly where the patrol cruisers are in the community she is handling (the vast majority of the comm-unications staff are female).

Their is a GPS system in every cruiser.

Operator at dispatch

The Dispatch operator for Oakville keeps her eyes glued to the monitors in front of her as she communicates with officers in the field.

There is a Dispatch operator for each community: Oakville, Burlington and Milton – Halton Hills is included in the Milton operation.

The Dispatch people can be in instant contact with every unit of the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS).

They are basically the connect point for every police officer in a vehicle on patrol.

Dispatch can be linked to the Marine unit in Oakville and patch them into police cruisers that are on a scene at the pier in Burlington.

The Dispatcher is basically a tool, a resource for the front line police officers who rely on them for information and at times direction.

Supervisors work station

Shift supervisor works form this station – count the monitors she has in front her – that plus three mice.

Dispatchers, like the Intake people are monitored all the time by the shift supervisor who can listen in on any operator.

The tension is a little higher on the Dispatch side.

During my time with this unit I sat with Nicole and Sam; both women had parents or relatives who were in the police service who suggested they give it a try.

It involves shift work which doesn’t work for some people.

It also calls for a lot of training and you become part of the unit by being smart and quick. There wasn’t all that much going on when I sat in with the Dispatchers – but when it gets hectic – everything rests on their shoulders.

They give definition to what is meant when we say “multi-tasking”.

There are several woman who have been with the communications unit for close to 35 years.

Sam decided to drop out of university – it wasn’t what she wanted to do – she likes the pace and the rush that comes from those occasions when there is a situation that is very active with several police cruisers involved in an action.

Nicole managed a tanning salon – these are ordinary people who happen to have that collections of skills and ability that makes them good listeners who can adapt to a changing situation quickly.

None of the communications people are sworn officers – they are all civilians doing a critical job and overseen by a staff sergeant.

The training is rigorous and everyone is cross trained and moved from task to task during a shift; any operator can do any job. A full time trainer is part of the unit.

The significant changes in communications technology adds to the need for constant training.

Police station - new - from east side

New police headquarters, yards away from th current office, is scheduled to open in July of 2017

In July of 2017 the communications unit will move to the top floor of the new police headquarters where they will have a lot of new equipment and some new furniture. Staff Sergeant Dave Cross who oversees the unit points out that some of the furniture is more than 25 years old.

Migrating from one location to the other is going to be something of a logistics challenge – which the unit will handle with considerable aplomb – that’s what they do.

Related article:

Civilian operators keep the flow of critical information constant at police communications unit



Return to the Front page

Fire Department has lifted its longest-running open-air burning ban.

News 100 redBy Staff

August 17th, 2016


On July 6, 2016, a fire ban was issued after the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry identified a high fire-risk rating in the Burlington area following prolonged hot and dry weather conditions.  That ban has been lifted.

“The recent rainfall and slightly cooler temperatures factored into the decision to lift the ban,” said Chief Fire Prevention Officer Joe Wintar. “Though the fire ban has been lifted, residents should still use extra caution when burning outdoors.”

Residents that live in designated burning areas with open air burning permits can resume use of open air fires for controlled brush burning and recreational fires.

BBQ on fire

Caution and control should be the approach.

The use of charcoal barbecues at designated picnic areas in city parks is also allowed again. Park users are encouraged to book a permit in advance of their preferred dates. Request a booking online at , call 905-335-7738 or visit for more information.

The Burlington Fire Department will continue to monitor and assess the local wildfire threat and provide updates on city open-air burning restrictions. If you are unsure if a fire ban is in effect, please contact the Burlington Fire Department at 905-637-8253.

For more information about open air burning in Burlington visit:

Return to the Front page

Apartment owner fined $30,000 for failing to provide records of various life safety systems and equipment in the building.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

August 16th, 206



Owners of a Burlington multi-unit residential building, that the city chose not to named were convicted on six counts of failing to comply with the Ontario Fire Code, resulting in fines totaling $30,000.

“Compliance with the Ontario Fire Code is the building owner’s responsibility,” said Fire Chief Tony Bavota. “We work with apartment owners and property managers to educate them on their responsibilities to provide and maintain all life safety equipment in our city’s buildings.”

Lilnan Court

Owners of Lilnan Court apartment building, as yet identified, were fined $30,000 in provincial court.

Earlier this year, the owners of the Lilnan Court apartment building appeared in the Ontario Court of Justice, Provincial Offences Division in relation to these charges that were filed in connection with a fire inspection of the property after a complaint was received.

The inspection revealed several issues including lack of maintenance and failing to provide records of various life safety systems and equipment in the building.

The Burlington Fire Department conducts more than 75 proactive multi-unit residential building inspections each year. Since last spring, the fire department has been working with local apartment owners and managers to create a public safety outreach program that will target 91 high-rise buildings over the next five years. The objective of the program is to educate residents living in condos and apartments about escape planning and reduce the number of preventable fires.

The Gazette will try and dig out the names of the owners. Quite why the information was not made public is difficult to understand – what happened to transparency?

Return to the Front page

Terry Fox run route changed due to the rebuild of Lakeshore Road - will begin at pier on September 18th.

News 100 blueBy Alison Webster

August 16, 2016



The road re-building work taking place on Lakeshore Road at Maple Avenue and North Shore Boulevard in Burlington, Ontario, may have many residents wondering what this means for September’s 36th Annual Terry Fox Run, which usually starts at Beachway Park.

The Burlington Terry Fox Committee is proud to announce that for this year’s run, on September 18th, 2016, we will be starting and finishing at The Brant Street Pier, near the Waterfront Hotel at the east end of Spencer Smith Park. The route will remain roughly the same, only the starting point will differ.

These ladies are in the homestretch of the Terry Fox 5k run.

These ladies are in the homestretch of the Terry Fox 5k run.

The Terry Fox Run promises to be the same family-friendly event participants and spectators have come to expect year after year. With face painting, balloon animals, and loads of other fun activities, the Terry Fox Run is not only a great cause, but also a fun annual event that is always a crowd pleaser.

We have music, a performance from the M.M. Robinson Drumline, food, and so much more!

Have you seen the Terry Fox monument yet? If you haven’t, make sure you check it out the morning of the run. Located near Spencer’s on the Waterfront restaurant, at the west end of the park, the monument marks Terry’s run through Burlington on July 13th, 1980. The structure is actually a distance marker, indicating how many kilometres Terry Fox had run by the time he reached this spot on Lakeshore Road.

Fox monument with Brant Inn

A monument put up by citizens to mark a point where Terry Fox paused during his Marathon of Hope run in 1980. The stone marker just to the left is where the famed Burlington Inn was located.

Want to get involved? There are many ways you can participate in The Terry Fox run this fall. You can sign up to run or walk, collecting pledges from family, friends, and co-workers, you can create a team, and set a larger fundraising goal, or you can volunteer and help us make this year the best event yet!

If you’re interested in volunteering, please contact the Burlington Terry Fox Run Committee Chair, Craig Gardner at the email address set out below or find our Facebook page to learn more!

Parking will be available in a variety of city parking lots downtown, including the parking garage located on Locust Street. Registration begins at 8 a.m., and the 5 and 10k run will start at 9 a.m., with the walkers and groups going at 10 a.m.

Craig Gardner:

Return to the Front page

Moving from run of the mill dance classes to a dance experience - a one week class - worth looking into.

artsorange 100x100By Pepper Parr

August 15, 2016


School for the students starts September 7th – for those who want to expand their dance experience there is a class starting Monday, August 22, 10:00am through to Friday, August 26, 4:00pm

This is a one‐week contemporary dance and movement intensive for dance artists to explore training, performance, dynamic movement and choreography.

The week will conclude with an informal in‐studio performance. This 5 day intensive is intended for emerging professional dancers, professional dancers, and dance students who are interested in contemporary dance and Form CDT.

Form - single woman on stage

Lisa Emonds on stage

They ask that dancers be at least 14 years or older and have had a minimum of 3 years technical dance training. The day will begin with a morning contemporary technique class and lead into improvisation, exploring dynamic stage presence and exciting physicality. The afternoons will be spent exploring and learning a new collaborative choreography created by Form CDT artists.

Participants that commit to the full week will be given priority. Space for enrollment is limited in order to offer the best experience.

To register please email with your your name, age, contact information, a very short statement of interest (150‐500 words), fun video link (youtube, vimeo, etc.) or photo (be creative). We will get back to you quickly!

Transform Dance logoOPTIONS and FEES

OPTION A: Full Workshop Including Technique Class, Improvisation and Afternoon Choreography Session
10:00‐4:00pm= $200.00 + HST
OPTION B: Full Week of Technique Class for the week 10:00‐11:30am = $80.00 + HST
OPTION C: For all ages and abilities: Improvisation for the week 11:45‐1:00pm = $60.00 + HST
OPTION D: Drop‐in rate for morning technique classes/improvisation open to professional and pre‐professional dancer artist = $20.00 + HST per class

A little bit about Form:
Form CDT is a Hamilton/Burlington/Toronto based collective founded in February 2014. Their aim is to excite curiosity in their audiences. The goal is to have each audience member contemplating their work long after the performance. They seek to expose hidden truths (our fears, our weaknesses, and our happiness, etc.) within the work they create. In order to expose the truth of ourselves they encourage and value vulnerability as a key aspect of our creation process. As Gary Smith from the Hamilton Spectator said when writing about Form: “Think cutting‐edge…It challenges notions of what dance ought to be.” We would love for you to join us in an exploration of movement and truths.

FORM two dancers - one masked

Form during their stunning production at the Performing Arts Centre

Form CDT’s biggest accomplishment to date is the 2015 production of Reflective/Vulnerable, a self produced show at The Burlington Performing Arts Centre with the support of the Ontario Arts Council. Please visit: to learn more.

These are exceptional dancers who continually look for new ways to express thoughts, feelings and ideas – if you want to grow your dance experience – check this out.

Return to the Front page

Live and Play guide on line now

News 100 redBy Staff

August 12, 2016



The 2016-17 Live & Play guide – the City of Burlington’s guide for information on recreation, sport, culture programs and festivals and events is now available online.

Printed copies are available for pick up at recreation centres, City Hall, 426 Brant St., Burlington Tourism and the Burlington Public Libraries.

Live and play coverThe Live & Play online guide allows you to view and share program information as well as register for programs directly from any computer or mobile device. View the online guide… RIGHT HERE

getting new - yellow

Return to the Front page