Reducing the amount of carbon dioxide we pump out into the environment is what will save the planet - which is our home. It is doable.

News 100 greenBy Jim Feilders

June 6, 2016


City council fully understands the impact climate change is having on us. The storm in August of 2014 brought that point home in a very vivid and expensive manner. More than three hundred residents suffered significant property loss. The city, the Conservation authority and the Regional government realized there were serious gaps in the level of preparedness.

The climate is changing due in part to the amount of carbon dioxide that is being allowed into the environment. Much of the CO2 is the result of the fossil fuels we burn to run our car engines and heat our homes.

The city has a number of plans in place to begin to cut back on the amount of carbon dioxide that is released into the environment.

Their task is to take specific actions and educate the public.

Burlington Carbon Plans Confusing You?
We have three plans affecting us regarding greenhouse gas emissions. Understanding what they mean can be a little difficult.
Strategic Plan

Council endorsed the Strategic Plan for the next 25 years to 2040 with one of many goals being to be net carbon neutral. It’s a tough call but the right thing to do in my opinion. But what does it mean? The definition in the Strategic Plan is “Having a net-zero carbon footprint refers to achieving net zero carbon emissions by balancing a measured amount of carbon released with an equivalent amount not used, or buying enough carbon credits to make up the difference”.

Talking to City officials, I learned that no one knows exactly how this will be achieved at the moment. Work will be done in the future.

But whatever is done must comply with the triple bottom line philosophy of sustainability. This means any plan must look at environmental and social impacts as well as economic. People have to be on board with the financial and environmental implications.
Province of Ontario

Last year the Province of Ontario announced its targets for carbon reduction to 2050.

GHG emisions 2014-2050

We know where we are and the targets for the future have been set – can we summon the discipline to achieve the targets?

Our Premier says we have to reduce total carbon by 37% in 2030 and 80% in 2050 – from 1990 levels.

Community Energy Plan
We have started to address this in the Community Energy Plan (CEP) that Council endorsed in January 2014; a lot of progress has been made.

The focus of the plan is to reduce energy consumption and cost as well as reduce greenhouse gases and improve local energy security.

The timeframe is to 2030. A report on progress to date is available here

It didn’t relate to 1990 levels. We didn’t track them back then and the closest we have is 1994 of 1.4 Mtonnes – close enough. This shows we met the 2014 target (1.4 – 1.19 = 0.21 or 15%, see below) and probably will meet the 2020 targets (1.4 – 1.1 = 0.3 or 21%). But we’re looking a little shy for 2030, coming in at 27%.

The CEP has set a realistic target of 26% reduction in energy consumption per person over the 15 year period from 2014 to 2030.

Although mention is made of investigating heat pump technologies and electric vehicles, the plan does not rely on switching fuels but reducing the amount we use as well as generating new energy from renewable sources. As a result, the amount of greenhouse gas reduction is the same as the energy reduction. If you drive less and save a 65 litre tank of gasoline and you save 156 kg of pollution. If you switch to an alternate fuel, you can still travel almost the original distance.

The plan does not account for population growth which is predicted to rise from 175,000 by about 30,000 people over this period depending on whether you look at the City’s estimates or the Province’s Places to Grow. This is about a 17% population increase. This tells me that if 175,000 people reduce their carbon by 26% and 30,000 people are added to the mix at the same reduction, the net decrease for the City is 14% to 1.025 Mtonnes from 1.19 Mtonnes.

Putting it all together with the best data I could find, is shown in the chart below. It includes the “What if” we do nothing, called business as usual. You know, keep our heads in the sand and keep doing what we have always done. I’m not saying change is easy by any means.

Burlington GHG emmissions - source

The obvious solution is to make the Community Energy Plan work – problem with that is we don’t know yet how to do that.

Extrapolations for the CEP are less optimistic as most of the behavioural change will have occurred. With our CEP alone, we fall short.

GHG emmissions Burlington tarhet

If we determine what the plan is and then stick to the plan – there is hope for us – but we have a long way to go – and it is not going to be easy.

Enter fuel switching. We need to replace gasoline vehicles with electric and hybrid models and transition our residential space heating and water heating from natural gas to electric inverter heat pump technology – air, water and ground sources.

These technologies are actually less expensive on a life cycle basis than their fossil fuel alternatives. Approaches that use a “hybrid” system of gas furnace and heat pump are available. So we can save the planet and money at the same time.

This will bring us close enough that industry can make up the remaining gap.

BIG PICTURE AAHalleluiah! We can do it and get our gold star from Kathleen living the life she depicts below.

To now go for carbon neutral may not seem impossible.

Feolders with unitJim Feilders is an engineer by training and an environmentalist by choice.  He drives a hybrid car, heat and air conditions his house at a cost of of approximately $375 a year. The views expressed here are solely his  own and not necessarily those of the various organizations with which he is associated.


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Finally the full story on the automobile accident last March - it is tragic - a young man now has to work at re-building his life.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 4, 2106


This story gets more and more tangled – it can now be ended

The accident took place in March.

Charges were not laid for 90 days. Names were not released.

The police eventually lay charges – still do not name the person charged.

They then release the name of the person charged.

Still no reason for the delay in the laying of charges.

The Gazette learns from a usually reliable source that the person who was eventually charged had been in a coma since the accident and that he had become conscious a few days ago.  Charges were then laid.

Was there not a better way to manage the flow of news?

Confidence in the integrity of the police service is critical. We have to know we can believe them at all times.

This situation is truly tragic – driving while under the influence of alcohol, runs a stop sign, crashes through a metal road rail, is seriously injured and in a coma for several months. To then come out of the coma and then be charged by the police.

This young man has some serious problems ahead of him.

The police were in a position to be both sympathetic and at the same time carry out their duties and use the opportunity to drive home the message – you can’t drink and then drive.

The consequences are disastrous.

Young David Dren now has to rebuild his life – we wish him well.

The Halton Regional Police Service do strive to keep the public informed – they might use this situation as a case study on how to inform the public and at the same time keep driving home the message – you can’t drink and drive.

The full story line:

Original story.

Police release the name of the driver.

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Burlington MP speaks of electoral reform in the House of Commons

News 100 redBy Staff

June 3, 2016


The Member of Parliament for Burlington rose to speak on the House of Commons about the matter of electoral reform – changes to be made in the way Canadians elect their Members of Parliament.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to participate in this important and historic debate on the establishment of a special all-party committee on electoral reform. This is an issue that affects all Canadians, and I am glad to see such strong principles proposed in the amended motion to guide this committee’s study.

I wish to spend my time today discussing some of the changes to our electoral system that have been introduced over the past century; changes that at the time were seen as rather dramatic alterations to our system.

Many of these reforms, however, are now looked back upon by Canadians as moments of true progress in the history of our great democracy.

Burlington - federal boundaries

Boundary for the constituency of Burlington

The electoral system we have today is the product of almost 150 years of evolution. The election we saw in October was quite different from elections upon Confederation, when only a fraction of Canadians, namely land-owning men, had a say in our democratic institution.

Our government’s pledge to replace the first past the post system is just another step in this historical evolution to a more inclusive, efficient, and stronger electoral system for all Canadians.

Allow me to begin in 1920, over a half century after Confederation.

After 50 years of elections in this country, Parliament established the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer. It was not until 1927 that the Chief Electoral Officer was appointed by the House and not the government. These were seen as quite major changes at the time, but they are ones we can all look back on, knowing they have helped lead to nearly a century of trusted and independent electoral administration in this country.

It was not until 1964, nearly a full century after Confederation, that Parliament introduced independent electoral district boundary commissions to draw riding boundaries, bringing an end to gerrymandering. Prior to this, the government could simply decide who got to vote where, with little recourse for individuals, communities, or opposition parties. This is another instance of what was once proclaimed to be a fundamental change to our electoral system. In hindsight, we see that this reform has helped build trust among Canadians that our electoral system has integrity, that it is fair, and that all communities have a voice.

Wallace and Gould

Karina Gould accepting congratulations from former MP Mike Wallace the night of the last federal election.

In our ever-evolving system, parties only began registering with Elections Canada in 1970, and they only became subject to election spending limits in 1974. After a century of elections, Parliament significantly altered our politics by removing the role of big money in our elections. I truly believe our democracy is stronger because of that, but once again, it was an area of contentious debate at the time. Today, the idea of unlimited spending in an election would be quickly dismissed by Canadians as a barrier to the level playing field we hold dear for free and fair elections. We are proud that our elections are based on ideas and debate, and not simply dollars.

I have spoken briefly of some reforms to the electoral system itself, but I would like to turn now to the increasing franchise over the years; a clear example of how far our electoral system has progressed since Confederation.
Allow me to return back to the 1920s, when elections in this country were decentralized and run under a hodgepodge of provincial statues.

In the 1920s, the federal legislation deferred to the provinces in allowing disqualifications on the right to vote for “reasons of race”. This provision worked to disqualify many Canadians, including those of Chinese, Japanese, and Ukrainian descent, among others. However, it was not until 1948 that Parliament deleted references to disqualification on the basis of race. It was not until 1950 that Parliament allowed the Inuit the right to vote, and it was not until 1960 that Parliament allowed first nation people the right to vote without forcing them to give up their status or home on a reserve.

Expanding the franchise was divisive at the time. Today, however, we look back and simply wonder what took Parliament so long to recognize the rights of all Canadians in exercising their vote.

3 things - Gould with adult

Karina Gould listening to a constituent.

Women were not able to vote until legislative changes were enacted in 1918.

Those individuals living in poor houses or the homeless were not able to vote until 1929. War objectors were not able to vote between 1938 and 1955.

It was only in 1970 that the voting age was lowered to 18 from 21.

What I am trying to get at is that, when we reflect on these developments without the partisan frames in which they were originally debated, we see reforms that uphold and correspond to our values as Canadians; we see reforms that uphold the rights of all Canadians; and we see reforms that strengthen the bond between the people and the government and that instill trust that the government is formed by the true democratic will of all Canadians.

It is almost incomprehensible that we could ever exclude a full 50% of society from the franchise, that we could exclude indigenous peoples, ethnocultural minority groups, and those who dared to express different beliefs from those of the government of the day. While I am certainly not proud of the history of disenfranchisement in Canada’s electoral history, I am truly proud of how far our democracy has evolved into a more inclusive system for all Canadians.

Electoral reform is the next step in this evolution toward a more inclusive system. We can build a better system that provides a stronger link between the democratic will of Canadians and the election results, one that motivates Canadians to take part, one that reflects our collective values of fairness, inclusiveness, gender equity, openness, and mutual respect. To get there, the process leading to reform must also embody these values.

Parliamentarians will need to set aside partisan interests and engage in a thoughtful and substantive dialogue with each other and with citizens.

CFUW Gould with voter

Karina Gould during the federal election debates in Burlington.

I strongly believe that stepping away from the first past the post system and embracing a new system that can reflect these values and the values articulated in this amended motion would be another milestone in the history of Canada’s elections. I suspect future generations will look back at the reforms proposed in this motion and reflect on them, as I have done today with past reforms. I suspect they will note this is yet another example of how our electoral system has evolved to further increase the inclusion of all peoples, to better reflect the will of voters and the representation of the House, and to work toward a system that produces a House that looks more and more like the faces of Canadians.

I hope all members will join me and support the creation of this committee.

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Doug Mays will demonstrate his watercolour techniques at Gallery [2]

eventspink 100x100By Staff

June 3, 2017


Doug Mays, award winning artist, will be demonstrating his watercolour techniques at Gallery [2] on June 8th from 7pm to 9pm.

Doug Mays - artThere will be a Q&A session.

Light refreshments will be served. Tickets: $15. Contact Gallery 2 on their website at

Dou Mays H&S

Doug Mays

Gallery 2 is one of a couple of galleries that have taken space yards away from the Royal Botanical Gardens on Spring Garden Road. They are almost a bit of an outpost –away from the downtown core – not part of the Village Square that was once the home, the equicentre for local artists, in Burlington

They are part of the Art in Action crowd, a group that found and felt that the Art Gallery of Burlington, formerly the Burlington Art Centre, was not meeting their needs.

The Seaton Gallery – stained glass – is right next door.

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District school board budget tops $700 million -

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

June 2, 2016


Are you ready for this?

A budget of $705 million for the Halton District School Board.

That is a whopper of a number and much of it comes out of your wallets. The province provides a significant amount – but that too comes out of your wallet.

Total operating graph

This is how that $705 million gets spent.

Total instruction exp

The bulk of the school board budget is spent on teaching students – here is a breakdown of that spending.

Key expense items:
Classroom Teachers

The $17,870K increase includes the addition of 17.5 Elementary Teachers and 38.1 Secondary Teachers due to enrolment growth, 1.25% across the board salary increase and removal of the delay in grid movement per the central labour agreement. This is partially offset by the reduction of 17.5 Elementary Special Education Teachers to reflect change in delivery model.

Supply Staff

The $1,350K increase reflects the impact of projected rising trends in usage and the impact of the central labour agreement.

Educational Assistants

The $2,200K increase includes the addition of 35 Educational Assistants and 1.25% across the board salary increase per the central labour agreement.

Early Childhood Educators

The $617K increase includes the addition of 1 Early Childhood Educator, 1.25% across the board salary increase and removal of the delay in grid movement per the central labour agreement.

Textbooks and Supplies

The $1,014K increase includes the addition of a new decentralized school budget supplement based on the School Needs index and transfer of Education Program

Computers The $806K increase reflects the acquisition of school technology funded through the Technology Learning Fund 21st Century Learning EPO.

Professionals, Para- professionals & Technical The $1,242K increase includes the addition of .5 Child and Youth Counsellor, 1 IPRC Clerical Support, 1 Applied Behaviour Analysis Trainer and 1 Social Worker for International Students and Refugee Support. This increase is also reflective of central labour agreements.

Library and Guidance

The $1,006K increase includes the addition of 2.5 Elementary and 3 Secondary Library and Guidance Teachers due to enrolment growth, 1.25% across the board salary increase and removal of the delay in grid movement per central labour agreements.

Staff Development

The $260K increase includes professional development and training to increase teacher capacity specifically related to special education.
Department Heads

The small increase of $15K represents the increase of department head allowances based on shifting enrolment between secondary schools and impact of the central labour agreement.

Principals and Vice-Principals

The $643K increase includes the addition of 1 Elementary Vice-Principal and estimated impact of the central labour agreement once finalized.

School Office

The $982K increase includes the addition of 5.2 Clerical Support Staff due to enrolment growth, 1.25% across the board salary increase per the central labour agreement and increase in administrative computer replacement.

Coordinators and Consultants

The $42K decrease includes turnover and job classification savings, partially offset by implementation of central labour agreements.
Continuing Education The $51K increase includes the impact of central labour agreements as well as addition of International

Language Supervisors.
Administration The $420K increase includes the impact of central labour agreements and the upgrade of financial system software. Also included is the continued support for Records Management implementation.


The $702K increase reflects an increase in operator costs per contractual agreements and projected service delivery.

Interesting that the Board of Education chooses to show their numbers as $702K – that K actually means 1024 and not a round 1000

Director of Education Stewart Miller expressed some concern over how well the public understands the way education is funded and said he wanted to create a committee that would take on the task of getting a deeper explanation o education funding into the hands of the public.

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Special athletes’ track meet to take place in Milton this year - 300 students to participate.

News 100 redBy Staff

May 31st, 2016


On Friday, June 10, 2016, students from the Halton District School Board will participate in the 29th annual Special Athletes’ Track Meet at Craig Kielburger Secondary School, 1151 Ferguson Drive, Milton. The track meet for athletes with physical and developmental challenges will take place from 9:30 a.m.–2 p.m.

HDSB logoWhen the event initially began, 29 years ago, there were only 12 special athletes participating. Coaches, school staff and home school peers, friends, family members and volunteers provided support and encouragement for the athletes. This year, more than 300 special athletes are expected to participate – a remarkable increase in participation during the event’s 29-year history.

The Special Athletes’ events will include 50m/100m/400m races, softball throw, slalom – wheelchair or ambulatory (non-wheelchair), long jump – wheelchair (independent) or ambulatory, precision throw beanbag, precision Bocce, T-ball, traditional Bocce and Frisbee.

This event provides Special Athletes with an opportunity to demonstrate their skills and celebrate their successes with fellow students, friends and family.

getting new - yellowThe Optimists Clubs of Halton Hills, Milton, Oakville and Burlington will once again be donating and serving hot dogs, hamburgers, cold drinks, and freezies at the meet.

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Burlington Green continues to plant new flora in the Beachway community.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

May 31st, 2016


It will be decades before people fully realize and appreciate what the planting of trees BurlingtonGreen has been doing along the Beachway.

Burlington green - girl planting shrubs

Plants that are known to grow in the sandy soil that make up much of the Beachway are carefully placed and then nurtured by Burlington Green volunteers.

The soil is very sandy, and it shifts and because no one has been looking after the land all kinds of invasive species have settled in and gone wild.

The invasive plants often choke out the plants that should be growing in that part of the city.

Beachway has gone through a number of evolutions – it was the part of the city where Joseph Brant started building his house in 1789 and in 1803 he moved into the house which was described “commodious”. Aboriginals camped in the area. In the late 1800’s there was a pretty well defined community along that part of the lake.

It was seen as a very tony part of town. At one point there was a vibrant community with more than 200 families living in the areas.

They had their own stores and Lakeshore Road was once the way to get across the canal.

The old Grand Trunk Railway had a single line into the city – that got doubled when the amount of produce that was exported from the Vineland area and Burlington required more in the way of rail capacity.

The Freeman Station that a group of citizens work tirelessly to ensure was not cut up for kindling, is a vital part of the Beachway story.

That the station isn’t within the actual Beachway is unfortunate but at least saved from the wrecking ball.

Burlington Green - invasive removed - waters edge

Grasses and shrubs that are invasive and crowd out plants that should be in the soil. The red markers define areas that are to be cleared.

The Beachway is now going to begin a new phase and be developed as a large park that is being designed by the Regional government. The intention is to eventually remove all the homes left in the Beachway – 25 at this point.

The design appears to have reasonable public acceptance but the removal of the houses is still very controversial and we certainly haven’t heard the last of that argument.

Burlington Green - planting bushes in sandy soil

Carefully potted.

Burlington Green - Gloria Reid

Gloria Reid pulls invasive plants.

Burlington Green focuses on ripping out all the invasive stuff they can find and planting trees that will keep the soil in place. The work done for the past three years is beginning to show results.

Each year they use a half day when 100 volunteers show up to pull the unwanted plants and patiently plant new ones.

The trees going in are white oak, bur oak and trembling aspen: 125 were planted this year. Chokecherry and heart leaved willow shrubs were planted along with five different kinds of grasses.

It is hard but satisfying work – and in the years to come it will have been well worth the effort.

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School board puts a new schedule for French immersion before the public - trustees get less than five days notice of a major shift.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 30th, 2106


In a daily newspaper report Halton District school board chair Kelly Amos said she was only made aware of the report on Friday (May 27th) that was going to debate a significant shifts in the way French Immersion is managed within Halton schools.

Stewart Miller, Director of Education has been faced with a task that apparently cannot be resolved – it has to do with the number of students wanting to be enrolled in the French immersion program and the number of qualified French teachers that are very difficult to find.

Stuart Miller

Stewart Miller – Director of Education Halton District School Board

Add to those two problems the difficult this has with class sizes in some schools. Miller said several months ago that he found himself faced with situations where there were less than ten students in a regular class (a non-French immersion class) which from a teacher student ratio just wasn’t something he could afford to do.

Staff worked up a report and set out a series of motions that were published in the agenda for the boards June 1st meeting.

The Board created a Program Viability Committee (PVC) that has been in existence for just over a year to review both English and French program viability in HDSB elementary schools. Considerable stakeholder consultation was done and feedback was brought to the PVC for review, analysis and recommendations.

After careful analysis of the feedback provided, the PVC identified a number of options. The one they are recommending will provide an additional year for parents to understand their child as a learner prior to making a decision to enter French Immersion, it provides a relatively early entry point as preferred by stakeholders and provides for a greater intensity in the first two years of the program which supports French language acquisition. The recommended model also requires few if any additional boundary reviews, maintains our current dual and single track school configurations and as such will provide for a simpler and less disruptive implementation plan and transition to the new model.

The Gazette has not had an opportunity to study the report that trustees received on Friday. We are providing the outline that was published without any comment or analysis.

Be it resolved that effective in the 2014-15 school year, the Halton District School Board introduce 40 minutes/week of Primary Core French beginning in Grade 1 in 24 Halton District School Board schools, with a commitment for a full roll-out by 2017-18, with an annual review of the roll-out to be brought back to trustees each year, and;

(a) THAT schools selected for the initial phase of this program represent a variety of school organizations
(K-8, K-6, Dual Track, Single Track English, large and small enrolments) across the four geographic areas within the Halton District School Board, (Halton Hills, Milton, Oakville, Burlington).

(b) THAT students in these schools will receive the following minutes of Core French instruction between Grades 1- 8:
40 minutes / week Grades 1-3
120 minutes / week Grades 4
 160 minutes/ week Grade 5
200 minutes / week Grades 6-7-8 (Appendix 5)

(c) THAT no later than June 2018, the Halton District School Board will assess the impact of this Primary Core French experience in relation to student engagement, student attitude, English proficiency and the impact on Grade 1 French Immersion uptake associated with these schools.

HDSB logo(d) THAT under the leadership of the System Principal for French Second Language, School Programs and Human Resources, the Halton District School Board will develop a long-term recruitment and staff development plan to ensure the Halton District School Board hires and retains the highest quality French teachers available and that this plan is shared with the Board of Trustees.

(e) THAT the Halton District School Board continues to provide staff development programs that include teaching strategies, modifications and accommodations to address students with diverse learning needs and students who arrive in Halton without prior experiences in either French Immersion and Core French.

(f) THAT the Halton District School Board develop and implement a 5-year plan whereby all Halton District School Board elementary schools with Intermediate Divisions have one classroom dedicated for the teaching of Grade 7-8 Core French whereas if it will not require additional portables.

Be it resolved that effective in the 2014-2015 school year, wherein a triple grade configuration has been possible (due to 23 or fewer students enrolled in three consecutive grades), the School Superintendent will assess the impact on the learning environment and opportunities for students and will consider and recommend for Board approval one of the following strategies;

staff as a Grade 1-2 blended class;
staff as a Grade 1-2-3 blended class;
redirect the Grade 1 students to a neighbouring school for their program and;

Wherein a triple grade configuration has been possible (due to 23 or fewer students enrolled in three consecutive grades for two consecutive years) the School Superintendent will consider and may recommend for Board approval a boundary review.

Be it resolved that effective in the 2014-2015 school year the Halton District School Board:

a) establish and communicate a consistent Grade 1 French Immersion February registration deadline for current Halton District School Board families, with a review of the effects of this procedure be undertaken by September 2014.

b) allow students who have not been in Senior Kindergarten within the Halton District School Board, register in Grade 1 French Immersion up to the first week of school.

c) communicate and implement the assessment and admission procedure for students with French proficiency arriving in Halton after the registration deadline.

d) All elementary schools that offer Grade 1 programming must host a Grade 1 Information Evening that includes information about English program, French Immersion program and Special Education placements. If the home school does not offer French Immersion, the school their students would be directed to for French Immersion cannot host their Grade 1 Information Evening at the same time. The Special Education presentation is to be scripted by the Board’s Special Education department, to include a description of all elementary Special Education placements.

Be it resolved that the Halton District School Board present the following options for the delivery of French Immersion to the public in the Fall of 2015 for the purpose of receiving feedback, considerations and comments. Feedback will be brought to the Board for consideration in the delivery of French Immersion programming:

1. Option 1: Grade 1 (early) French immersion remains a 50% French 50% English delivery model, but entry to FI would be capped. The method of capping would be determined at a later date.

2. Option 2: Grade 1 (early) French Immersion remains at 50% French and 50% English, however all FI programs would be delivered in single track FI schools. French Immersion would be phased out of dual track schools and no new dual track schools would be considered. The location of the single track schools would be determined at a later date.

3. Option 3: French Immersion would commence at a later entry point (mid entry); Grade 4. This would result in the delivery model of FI moving from a 50% model to at least a 80% French Immersion model. In addition the delivery of FI would occur in dual track schools only.

4. Option 4: French Immersion would commence at a later entry point (mid entry); Grade 4. This would result in the delivery model of FI moving from a 50% model to at least an 80% French Immersion model. In addition the delivery of FI would occur in single track FI schools only.

The Halton district school board has approximately 63,000 students in 86 elementary and 18 secondary schools. This enrolment projection results in an overall increase of 1.5% as compared to the 2015/2016 school year.

Kelly Amos

Board chair Kelly Amos expressed some disappointment at the short amount of time trustees have been given to review the recommendations and discuss concerns with their constituents. The trustees had less than five days to review a complex document.

What the board appears to be suggesting is that the roll out of French Immersion classes be cut back to create some time for parents to think about just what it is they want to do and then allow the board the time it needs to make it all happen.

It is messy – but there is some progress.

getting new - yellowStewart and the trustees that direct him have their hands full. It may not be that quiet a summer on the education front.

The Board will vote on this recommendation on June 15th. The board expects there to be a number of delegations – there will be a special delegation night on June 13.


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What do they do with all the funds raised? Plenty!

artsorange 100x100By Pepper Parr

May 28, 2016


The annual Art Sale raises a lot of money. As an event is draws a piece of work from Robert Bateman – he has donated a piece of his art every year for the past 38 years.

What do they do with the funds raised?


In 2015..


There was a time when art was taught in schools – not any more. If a child is to get an art education and the sense o accomplishment that goes with it – they head for the art gallery.

2,751 school’s children’s horizons were expanded
1,374 participants in course found fulfillment during 24,108 participant hours
1,383 participants delighted in art through outreach to 86 community groups
94,837 life enhancing excursions in the sanctuary of art and culture
Over 400 artists contribute to the culture of our community, while making their own dreams come true.

Important initiatives:
School outreach programs, affordable art classes and camps, art therapy for seniors with dementia and children/adults with developmental disorders

Over 20 regional, national and international exhibitions a year, as well as the world’s largest collection of Canadian contemporary ceramics.

Wallace with Wale George Dir Programs at BAC

Former Member of Parliament Mike Wallace on a tour of the kilns at the art gallery.

Add to that the Annual Soup bowl event.

And of course the Art Gallery is home to the Guilds that were the reason the place came into being.  There are over 300 volunteers in a building that has had pieces added to it over time – it is quite easy to get a little lost.

Johnathan Smith

Johnathan Smith, curator of the permanent ceramics collection watches artist Peter Powning making clay impressions of artifacts.

The Art Galley was the place Peter Powning took clay impressions  of objects brought in by citizen that were later cast in bronze and placed on the spiral Stella that stands outside the Performing Arts Centre

The gallery is open seven days a week – and there is no admission.

The city provides just under $1 million as a grant to the Art Gallery each year.

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Region begins the process of protecting the public from West Nile virus.

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 27th, 2106


The pests will be back soon – mosquitos.

That bite is a quite a bit bigger than most people realize.

As part of its commitment to enhancing the health and well-being of residents through public education and preventative programs, Halton Region has begun its annual larviciding program to reduce the risk of West Nile virus (WNV) in the community. This program is implemented in public property locations across Halton Region.


This is how the West Nile virus gets transmitted.

Larviciding is the process of applying pesticides to objects such as catch basins, where mosquito larvae have been found. Larvicide is applied when other attempts at reducing mosquito breeding sites haven’t worked to minimize the risk of West Nile virus and is usually applied either in catch basins or in large bodies of standing water on public property. This preventative program reduces the adult mosquito population, helping to stop mosquitoes that can carry West Nile virus that are often found in standing water.

“West Nile virus continues to be a concern in communities across Canada which is why Halton Region remains committed to monitoring and implementing programs to prevent and protect residents against this disease,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr.

“By working together with the community, we will continue to reduce the risk of West Nile virus and keep our community safe and healthy.”

“Larviciding is just one part of our West Nile virus prevention program which includes public education, monitoring and surveillance, eliminating potential mosquito breeding sites and larviciding,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health. “By eliminating standing water sites and by covering up outside at dusk and dawn and applying DEET or lcaridin, we can reduce the occurrence of West Nile virus in our communities.”

Halton residents can help reduce breeding grounds for mosquitoes by removing objects that may hold water, such as bird baths, plant pots, old toys and tires. If residents see standing water on public property, they can report it to Halton Region by emailing or dialing 311.

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. 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.

A map showing the locations of standing water sites on public property where larvicide is applied is available at For more information about West Nile virus, please visit or dial 311.

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Is the public taking to the new parking meters?

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

May 26th, 2106


The parking meters have been in place for a couple of weeks – but these two walkers don’t appear to be convinced that they can be trusted.

Which leads to the question – does the city have any sense yet that the acceptance rate of the new meters is on track.

Babes at parking meters

Two citizens are not totally certain that this device is something they want to give their money to – is that the general sense in the city?

We are not hearing anything negative – but we aren’t hearing anything positive either – and we hear nothing about anyone actually using the telepark feature that lets people use their cell phone to pay for parking – and also has the potential to let commercial establishments pay for your parking.

The sense we are getting is that few appear to want to pick up that option – which is unfortunate. That part of the software was probably the most expensive.

The city is spending $500,000 on these parking meters – the public will want more than a pretty machine on the street for that kind of money.

The city is rumoured to be putting together a marketing plan – customer information package – that hasn’t hit the streets yet.

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30 local schools win bike racks in contest sponsored by the people who run the GO trains

News 100 yellowBy Staff

May 26, 2016


More than 30 local schools across the city have signed up to participate in Bike to School Week, a Metrolinx initiative that encourages local teachers and students to use active transportation for their daily commute to school between May 30 and June 3.

We have a question – why is Metrolinx doing this – they run the GO train service.

Grebenc - expressive hands

School board trustee Andrea Grebenc wants to see every students using a bike to get to school.

This should be a local initiative – by either the city or the school board – both would be great. School board trustee Andrea Grebenc wants every student on a bicycle.

“This event is a great way to encourage more kids and adults to leave the car at home for short distance trips,” said Vito Tolone, the city’s director of transportation. “We have seen a 600 per cent increase in the number of schools participating from 2015.”

Schools that registered for Bike to School Week by May 6 were entered into a draw for a chance to win one of 20 bike racks, provided by Healthy Kids Community Challenge Burlington and the city.

The winning schools that will be getting a bike rack are:

Aldershot Elementary School
Alton Village Public School
CH Norton Public School
Charles R. Beaudoin Public School
Dr. Charles Best Public School
Gary Allan High School (STEP Program)
Glenview Public School
Lakeshore Public School
Maplehurst Public School
Mohawk Gardens Public School
Pauline Johnson Public School
Rolling Meadows Public School
Sacred Heart of Jesus Elementary School
Sir Ernest MacMillan Public School
St. Gabriel Elementary School
St. John Elementary School
St. Mark Elementary School
St. Paul Elementary School
St. Raphael Elementary School
Tom Thomson Public School

Bikes at Beaudoin school

This is a school in need of a bike rack.

Schools that register for Bike to School Week before June 1 still have an opportunity to be entered into a draw to win a Can-Bike rodeo for their school in the 2016-17 school year.

“Being active on their way to and from school not only helps children get to know their community better but also improves their health,” said Chris Glenn, the city’s director of parks and recreation. “Active transportation is fundamental to building a healthy community.”

getting new - yellowFor contest rules and regulations, please visit To register for Bike to School Week, visit

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This is a deal - Symphony on the Bay: The Orchestra for Kids - $10

artsblue 100x100By Staff

May 25, 2016


Symphony on the Bay: The Orchestra for Kids.

May 28 11:00 AM

Admission is $10 + HST for children (one free chaperone per child).

This program was sold out last year so buy your tickets early to avoid disappointment.

Symphony on the Bay

All this – for $10

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Final week for the VanMaurik exhibiton at the Seaton gallery; Kwapich’s - Feathers Fur and Fables to follow.

eventspink 100x100By Staff

May 23rd, 2016



Tamara Kwapich H&S

Tamara Kwapich – self portrait

Teresa Seaton has invited her friends to see Tamara Kwapich’s ” Feathers Fur and Fables” Exhibiton on Sun June 5th form 1pm – 4pm. She will tell you it is a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Kwapich was one of six artists whose work was placed in the city – one in each ward.  We will tell you more about her when her event takes place

What we can tell you wish much certainty is that you want to get to the gallery before May 29th – when the

Maurik white peonies Louvre

Michele Van Maurik peonies at the Seaton gallery.

Michele VanMaurik exhibiton comes to an end on May 29th. If you haven’t had a chance to see her flowers you are really missing something.

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McDonalds lets the publisher create his own burger and then names it after him.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 19th, 2106


Introducing new technology into a retail operation with a very strong brand has to be managed very very carefully. There can be no glitches.

McDonalds took a bold step and put in large screens at which people could place their food orders – the device covers all the bases and accommodates just about every need you can imagine.

McDonalds - Aldershot just signs

Some people prefer the smile that comes with the service from a person behind the counter.

But at some locations – the devices don’t get used. “There are people who would rather talk to the person behind the counter” explained Ryan Sgro who has the ability to hold a conversation and at the same time constantly scan the service counters.

“Each McDonalds has its own environment – some get more traffic at the drive through – others have line ups that lead out the door” added Sgro.

The McDonalds on Plains Road and King Road intersection in Aldershot is one of those place people drop into – quite often a group of people getting together to have a cup of coffee. The windows on the western side draw those who want to read a newspaper in the sunshine.

For those who decide to use the screens – they are actually fun.

You sort of talk to the screen by just touching it.

McDonalds - starting out

Eating in or taking it home?

McDonalds - Build your burger

I wanted an Angus burger and the options available to me were right in front of me – all I had to do was touch the screen.

McDonalds - Turning up the taste

I could tune up the taste as well – give it a little zip.

McDonalds - eaating the food

The result of the Angus Burger I created can be seen by the smile on my face. My friend was just as pleased with her salad

The Sgro family operate six franchises in Burlington and one in Waterdown. Ralph, who started out with the McDonalds corporation a long time ago as an employee where he once worked at the Guelph Line location, drops by and remind son Ryan of a task and then nods to a customer who has been coming to the Plains Road location for years.

There are a lot of young people in Burlington who got their first job at McDonalds, said Ralph. “I’m pretty certain that we trained a lot of the people who now work at Canadian Tire because when I go in there to make a purchase I see a lot of my former staff working there” he added.

Ralph talks about the value of community for his locations. “There was once a serious fire at Walkers Line and Upper Middle Road – we made up meals for the firemen (and women) who had to battle that blaze – we ended up feeding some of the people who had to flee their homes.” Ralph explains: “We had a kitchen and food – they were hungry – we fed them.”

Ryan comments on the view some people have that the technology is taking jobs away from people.

“Nothing could be further from the truth” explains Ryan. The technology allows us to handle food orders faster which means more volume which means needing more people in the kitchen.”

Also, people can take their time in front of the screen and they usually aren’t holding anyone up – there are two of the large screens in each location. Once you get the hang of the things they are pretty easy to handle.

McDonalds - pepper order

The burger I created was so good – they named it after me. But the Sgro family nixed that idea – they did let me have the picture.

McDonalds calls the technology – “Create your taste”.

It worked for me.



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City taking a research approach to developing culture - looking for an artist to help define cultural nodes.

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 18th, 2016


The City of Burlington public art program is inviting professional artists and artist teams to submit expressions of interest for an Artist-in-Residence program.
Working with the city’s Arts and Culture staff, the selected artist(s) will conduct a 6-month residency to research the existence of ‘cultural nodes’ in Burlington.

In addition to attending planning meetings and consulting with key stakeholders, the selected artist will create temporary public art interventions to engage and interact with the community.

This is a non-live-in residency however the selected artist is expected to visit Burlington frequently and must live within easy travel distance.

The city’s public art program, funded for the most part from Planning Act Section 37 funds (these are monies developers give the city for additional height and density among other things). The city puts $50,000 of its own money into the public art plan.

The opportunity is made up of a $10,800 artist fee and up to $10,000 materials

Culture - Mapping-cultural-hotspots

Early in the creation of the Cultural Action Plan people were asked to indicate where they saw culture taking place in th city. The next step is to build on the knowledge gathered.

The city has a Cultural Action Plan as well as a Culture manager and of course there is the robust arts collective that leans on city council every opportunity it gets.

Burlington hired Hamilton resident Jeremy Freiburger to craft the Cultural Action Plan. The work leading up to that document included asking people to map out where they “do” culture and how they define culture. Links below on those new stories as well.

The focus appears to be looking for ways to better define cultural nods. We are not sure that research actually makes that kind of thing happen – when people find a place they want to be they gather at that place and it just becomes a node. The approach this call is using sounds and feels a little like “social engineering” – and we know where that kind of effort gets us.

The project goals include:

The integration of an artist’s perspective into planning cultural nodes
Create opportunities for street-level cultural engagement through unique public engagement activities and temporary public art installations
Make recommendations on ways to link identified cultural nodes
Make recommendations on future permanent public art installation(s) related to cultural nodes

The deadline for this opportunity is Monday, June 20, 4:00 p.m. Artists wishing to learn more about this project are invited to an optional information session on Wednesday, June 1 (7:00 to 8:00 p.m.). The presentation will be followed by an open Q&A session with the public art manager.


From the left – three people heavily involved in the cultural community: Deb Tymstra, Teresa Seaton and Donna Grandin.

Artists interested in learning more about this project are invited to an optional information session at the Halton Hive, 901 Guelph Line, Burlington. Loads of parking. The Hive is just south of Harvester Road . A brief presentation will be followed by an open Q&A with the public art manager.

Those wishing to attend must RSVP by Monday May 30th at

For more information contact:
Kim Selman, the Public Art Manager over at Cobalt Connexts is the lead on this. You can reach her at or at 905-548-0111



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Tansley Woods Pool Closed Until 6:00 a.m. Friday May 20, 2016

notices100x100By Staff

May 19th, 2016

Tansley Woods pool is closed for the remainder of the day due to an unforseen maintenance issue. The pool is expected to reopen at 6:00 a.m. on Friday May 20, 2016

The following programs are cancelled:

• Combo Lap Swim 10:30am-noon
• Lap Swim Noon – 1:30 p.m.
• Water Running 1:30-2:30 p.m.
• Swimming lessons 5 to 8:30 p.m. Information on make up options will be distributed at next week’s lesson.
• Aqua Boot Camp at 7:35 p.m.
• Leisure Swim 7:30-9:00 p.m.
• Swim Training 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.

The Aldershot pool closing announcement used the same wording – they were close for several days.

They rarely say what they mean by an unforeseen maintenance issue.

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School board to hand out Eddies at the Performing Arts Centre May 31st.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

May 19th, 2016


Have you herd of the Eddies?

The 15th annual Eddies Gala Awards evening – a popular festival celebrating student filmmaking – will be held on Tuesday, May 31, 2016 at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre.

The theatre doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the awards celebration begins at 7 p.m., followed by screenings of this year’s winners. This event is open to the public, no tickets are required and admission is free.

Eddie clip HDSB

A clip from an Eddie winning entry.

The Eddies, the Halton Student Film Festival, celebrates student success in filmmaking by recognizing technical and creative achievements and is open to all elementary and secondary students. Previous Eddies award winners have gone on to achieve success in the film and television industry, with some capturing prestigious awards for their work.

This year the event is highlighted by an impressive list of professionals who will judge the submissions. They include:

• Mandy Holyoke – Production Coordinator for Little Charmers, a popular Nickelodeon animated series.
• Kyla Springall – Assistant Production Manager at Cineflix, has been Production Coordinator on Property Virgins for 84 episodes and is now coordinating a Property Virgins spin-off series.
• Vaishni Majoomdar – experience includes casting on Good Witch, Reign and Schitt’s Creek.
• Omar Salama – Creative Director at Block 94.
• Jeff Bowman – retired Multimedia Administrator and co-founder of The Eddies.
• Ana Yavari – Editor on The Tudors, The Borgias and the Showtime series Penny Dreadful.

“Approximately 500 students participated this year from various subject areas making this a true display of how technology can be integrated in all academic and technical subjects,” says Dale Andrews, teacher at White Oaks Secondary School and co-organizer of The Eddies.

For a look at one of the entries that won last year CLICK here


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Performing Arts Centre reveals its 5th season program - looks pretty good.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

May 18th, 2016


The question was – what will she have to show us when the Performance Arts Centre reveal takes place? Will it compare favourably with the superb program Brian McCurdy delivered before he took leave of running the Centre?

And would there be room for the local talent – and not just shows that were travelling and could spend an evening in Burlington?

And is the lineup for 2026/2017 a good line up?

Haines at reveal 2016

Performing Arts Centre president Suzanne Haines chatting with a patron after the presentation.

Suzanne Haines delivered.

It’s a more than decent line up – and if the VIP members who lined up to buy tickets are any indication – the year will keep city council happy, meaning that BPAC won’t be back asking for more money – they already get close to a million dollars as it is.

A VIP member is a patron who has purchased 4 or more shows in the previous season and the capital donors and supporters.

There are a couple of boffo stand outs to comment on. The Shanghai Acrobats from China are astounding – a cultural circus if you will.

BPAC reveal - Ladies with program

Two Performing Arts Centre patrons flipping through the program book.

The Aga Boom – three clowns that will delight both parents and the children they bring with them. The pricing on this one is great $15 if you bought a series.

Series pricing is $5 off the regular price if you buy tickets to four or more events. If this show doesn’t sell out – turn the Performing Arts centre into a day care centre.

A lot more jazz than one might have expected – most of it top rank

A solid family program for the Christmas season.

Some greats – Les Grand Ballet out of Montreal, the Nylons Farewell tour, Piaff! The Show (expect this to be a stunner)  The popular Gerry Dee and

There wasn’t as much local talent given an chance to grow on the stage.  There are going to be what are commercially called Added Value events – which will be performers in the Family Room entertaining theatre goers before and after different shows.  That’s a start.

Last summer the Performing Arts Centre put on free Jazz on the Plaza concerts that were a huge hit. They have expanded the program to include a Tuesday night live, a Friday Jazz on the Plaza and Sunday Family Fun.

The presentation of the 2016-17program however was weak – it lacked any pizzazz.

BPAC reveal - ticket buyers lined up

Patrons lined up to get their tickets booked.

Performing Arts Centre president Suzanne Haines stood on one side of the stage and Director of Programming Costin Manu stood on the other side and read from telepromters. One would speak and then the other – as they passed the job back and forth.

There was an opportunity for the two of them to ham it up a bit and become part of the entertainment. At one point Costin was dancing away in small circles on his side of the stage – while Suzanne tapped her toes on the other. They could have danced towards each other and made their presentation much livelier.

Costin Manu can be very funny – he should have been given a writer to provide him with a bit of a script. It is after all show business.

BPAC reveal - Ilene chair with patron

Ilene Elkaim, chair of the Theatre Board listens to a patron

The “reveal” as many people chose to call the event closed with a nice touch. Haines announced that Royal Wood would return to the stage on October 1st – the 5th anniversary of the opening of the venue.

The Gazette was there that evening, which was described as a soft opening. The house wasn’t packed but the attendance was more than acceptable.

As Wood was taking his final bow two of what I describe as the “blue rinse” set strode up the aisle muttering about the lousy performance. They proved to be completely wrong – the place works – now to keep the costs in line and the content current, popular and just a little edgy at times.

Tymstra + friend

Deb Tymstra who reports on culture for Cogeco took in the evening and chats up a friend.

The real test is to see the box office numbers – sales Tuesday night won’t be known until next week – they don’t appear to have adding machine over there.

getting new - yellowThe Gazette will comment and report on the evening later in the week. It was a fun night, the finger food offering was plentiful – the wine offerings at the bar could do with some expansion. The program book patrons took away with them is a keeper – everything you want to know about the new season is within a well designed book.

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How the police work to be explained to new Canadians

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 17th, 2106


The Regional Police have organized a very proactive approach to introducing how the police and emergency services work in the Region

On the 25th of May 2016, Halton Regional Police will be hosting ESINC Day (Emergency Service Introduction for New Canadians). The event will be held at the Halton Regional Police Service Headquarters located at 1151 Bronte Road, in the town of Oakville.

The event will run from 12:00pm to 2:00pm.

Come meet your local police officers, firefighters, paramedics, tour the emergency vehicles and visit the community information booths.

For more additional information please contact Cst. Jody Dugas of the Regional Community Mobilization Bureau. 905-825-4747 ext 5240.

If you know people who are new to Canada – mention this to them. Authority figures are seen differently in Canada than they are in the countries many new Canadians come from

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