Regional compost give away to take place again - starts May 9.

News 100 greenBy Staff

April 30th, 2016


Some days it feels like there might be some snow coming our way. It is certainly confusing – is it spring or isn’t it. This confusion isn’t something that just happened – it is something we have let happen with the way we have treated this planet.

Our behaviour is changing – slowly.

The Regional government has set up programs that allow us to change the way we handle waste. They are committed to diverting waste from the landfill sites and working towards becoming more sustainable than we have been.

Composting - best way to get a garden to really produce - and this time it is free.

Composting – best way to get a garden to really produce – and it is free.

As part of this commitment the Region will once again offer its popular spring waste events. The Region offers these services to help divert waste from Halton’s landfill by making it easy for residents to properly dispose of waste, helping Halton become a more sustainable place to live.

“Regional Council is committed to protecting and enhancing our rich, natural environment by continuing to work with residents to increase the Region’s waste diversion rate,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “Our spring events not only provide residents with an opportunity to properly dispose of waste, but gives residents an opportunity to give back to the community.”

This year’s spring waste events include:

Spring Compost Giveaway
Residents can stop by the Halton Waste Management Site (HWMS), located at 5400 Regional Road 25 in Milton, to pick up high-quality compost free of charge. Residents are reminded to bring their own bags or containers (maximum seven garbage bags or equivalent per household) and a shovel in order to bag their compost.

If you ever wondered how that compost is prepared – take a peek at the short video – the Region has done some useful educational work.  Click here for that video.

Hours of operation are:
Monday, May 9 – Saturday, May 14; 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 15, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Last year’s Compost Giveaway events, 4,400 residents picked up approximately 2,000 tonnes of compost. Residents also donated $9,784 and close to 4,500 kilograms of food to local food banks as part of the event.

Special Waste Drop-off
To make the recycling of household hazardous waste and electronic waste more convenient for residents, Halton Region hosts several Special Waste Drop-off Days through the year, free of charge. The first event for 2016 will take place on Saturday, April 30 at Robert C. Austin Operations Centre in Georgetown from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Residents are invited to drop off acceptable items, including pesticides, paint, motor oil, antifreeze, propane tanks, computers, stereos, TVs and DVD players. This event is for Halton residents only. No commercial waste will be accepted. For more information and a complete list of acceptable and unacceptable hazardous items, visit

If you need more information visit or dial 311.

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The sweet subtle sound of a flute and some of the best gossip you are ever going to hear about giants in the world of classical music.

eventspink 100x100By Pepper Parr

April 29th, 2016


A young musician who got hooked on history from her music teacher in high school is going to take to the stage of the Performing Arts Centre May 12th and put on a performance that is a combination of her playing her flute and film clips about the composers who wrote the music she plays.

The film clips are not going to be dry or dusty history explains Hayley Marie. The music during the period of time she is focused on – 1870 – 1910 was boisterous, ribald and vibrant and has been with us for more than 100 years.  Titled “An Evening in Paris” the performance entertains and informs – you will see classical music a lot differently when you walk out of The Centre.

Eyes with evening in parisThe classical music we know today came out of that period when Debussy, Ravel, Saint Saens,Faure, Wido rand Satie were both writing and performing.
France had taken a terrible beating during the Franco Prusian War during which there was a 135 siege of Paris forcing people to eat horsemeat. France was prostrate on the world stage.

It was out of that terrible defeat that France rose politically, economically but most importantly culturally.

The world saw the first of the Impressionists –Renoir and Monet were painting during this period. And the music just flowed.

Hayley Marie ties together both the music and the story behind the men who wrote the music. It is fascinating – gossip at its very best. She has a fierce interest in preserving the human side of classical music fired by a desire to show how these musical giants interacted with the society they were a part of – it wasn’t’ always a pretty picture.

On bench - white dress - flute

Hayley Marie Remple

Concert goers in the Paris that Hayley Marie Remple talks about was not polite society. Applause was loud, displeasure resulted in booing and throwing fruit at a performer. Patrons were known to jump up on their seats and shout. Fisticuffs were not unusual – Passions of people who were fully informed about the music they were listening to rose quickly – and everyone had an opinion.

The composers were real people with real problems, some had significant addictions and some had personal lives that would rival anything you read about Mick Jagger or Elvis Presley.

Hayley Marie, a Governor General Award winner and three time performer at Carnegie Hall walks on to a stage to present a performance that is part of a month long five province tour.

Remple has performed in southern California, Connecticut, Montreal and Winnipeg. In 2009, she completed her first concert tour of Germany and France.

A century after the deaths of these towering composers scholars are still studying their work and music The France she is going to reflect built the Eiffel Tower and created the statue of Liberty that was given as a gift to Americans.

May 12th – 7:30 pm

Performing Arts Centre

Tickets $35

Box office

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Getting kids on their bikes is now a target for the city, the people who run the GO system and the provincial government too.

News 100 redBy Staff

April 27, 2016


There are parents that believe bribing your child to do something is easier than direction and discipline.

The city may be listening to these people.

Burlington and Healthy Kids Community Challenge have partnered with Metrolinx to encourage local teachers and students to register their schools for Bike to School Week, taking place from May 30 to June 6.


There wasn’t enough room for all the bikes at this school.

“We know from Halton Region’s Active Transportation and Health report that close to 40 per cent of Halton residents aged 12 and older were largely inactive during their leisure time over a one-year period between 2013 and 2014,” said Mayor Rick Goldring. “We want to help change that figure, and cycling is a great way to get active and improve our health while seeing Burlington from a different perspective on two wheels.”

The province came to the realization that there were too many kids focused on either their cell phone or their tablet and the waist measurement were beginning to climb.
They came up with a program that funnelled money into communities to get kids off their duffs and get more exercise

Burlington is a city that has traffic jams in front of some schools and reported fisticuffs at others over the stopping of cars that were dropping kids of at schools.

In Burlington the delivery of the Healthy Kids program got passed along to Community Development Halton which has done a remarkable job of getting into communities, especially those with a lot of financially disadvantaged children, and creating after school and evening events.

The Regional Police use bicycles on a regular basis as part of the way they do their work. Are there any other civic employees using bicycles?

Brant Street where the Regional Police use bicycles on a regular basis as part of the way they do their work. Are there any other civic employees using bicycles?

The model has been taken up by a number of other communications – even though city council had some difficulty fully buying into it.

The Healthy Kids Challenge is tying into the Bike to School Week event. Schools that register for Bike to School Week by May 6 will be entered into a draw for a chance to win one of 20 bike racks, provided by Healthy Kids Community Challenge Burlington and the city, for their school.

In addition, schools that sign up to participate before the close of registration on June 1 will be entered into a draw to win a Can-Bike rodeo for their school in the 2016-17 school year.

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Sustainability at the ground level - walking tour of Spencer Smith Park and the Beachway May 8th.

eventspink 100x100By Pepper Parr

April 26, 2016


The city’s Sustainable Development Advisory committee is getting out into the community and showing citizens what sustainability is like at the ground level.
The advisory committee often gets bogged down in writing reports and commenting on projects the city has sent them for review.

They produce an impressive annual report which unfortunately didn’t get much attention after it was submitted – copies are sent to the library and that’s about all the coverage the document gets.

The SDC, acronym for the Sustainable Development Committee are getting out into the community and sponsoring a Jane’s Walk through Spencer Smith park and the Beachway early in May – the 8th

Spencer Smith PArk from the west

The Spencer Smith Park we know today – pictures of what it used to look like are in the background articles.

The story of how the city recovered land along the edge of the lake and created one of the more impressive parks in the province – giving people wonderful access to the lake is one of Burlington’s crown jewels.

Spencer Smith

Spencer Smith

Few know who Spencer Smith was and what he means to the city. Mark Gillies, one of the Gazette’s from time to time contributors, did an excellent profile of Spencer Smith – there is a link to that profile below.

It will be interesting to hear what the Jane’s Walk guide has to say about the way the waterfront was developed to what it is today.

The walk will move into the Beachway – a part of the city with a rich, colourful and controversial history. It was never a “tony” part of town – it had a railway line running through it and at one point it had its own small newspaper.

It was once a robust community with hundreds of homes that were on leased land that the city eventually took ownership of – the leases were brought to an end and the homes got to meet a wrecking ball.


Beachway homes – they never want to leave – will they eventually be forced out?

There are still some 25+ homes in the Beachway – occupied by people who have been there for generations and want to remain in the community. Other residents are hanging in looking for a better offer from the Region which has a mandate to buy every property on what they call a willing buyer – willing seller basis.

While this war of attrition goes on between the region and the residents the Region’s planners are working up plans for a massive series of parks that will – if it ever comes to pass – will be the envy of communities across the province.

Beachway - Full park

The remake of the Beachway community is massive in both concept and scale – it will be decades in the making and what the planners are thinking today might be quite different than the end result. The pier is a pimple when compared to the park plans.

Most people in Burlington have no idea what the Region has planned for them – after the first announcement when the early thinking was made public, the Region went to ground – not a word from them in the recent past.

Will the Jane’s Walk shed any light on what is being done? Not likely.

Jane’s Walks were created to remember Jane Jacobs, an American who moved to Toronto in the xxx and became part of a group of activists who wanted to see better development in that city with more citizen input.

Hopefully the SDC will be true to her principles.

Janes walk Sustain adv commSave the news feedJacob’s, who would have turned 100 years old this year, upended the fields of city planning and architecture with her 1961 book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities. She was described as the most influential urban thinker of all time. Jacobs once said: “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody”?

The walk will begin at 1 pm – gather at the Compass in the park.


Spencer Smith – Part 1 by Mark Gillies

Spencer Smith – Part 2 by Mark Gillies

The struggle over the Beachway homes

The plans to turn the Beachway into a park.

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With the Cleanup done Burlington Green now prepares for the Green Up - they will be city building in the full sense of that phrase.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

April 26, 2015



The man in the green T shirt on the left is a member of the provincial government who was in town a few wars ago to announce funding for BG to plant tree seedlings in the Beachway.

The announcement was made a number of years ago – the province created a Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund that funnelled money into the city via BurlingtonGreen to plant seedlings in the Beachway area where the environmentally sensitive sand dunes need plants and tress to anchor the sand.

The BG people were given $12,960 by the province for the planning, creation of three new signs, supplies, plant and tree stock

After a very successful Clean Up event last weekend – 11,000 plus people took part – Burlington Green is holding a Green Up event – collaborating with Halton Region, Conservation Halton and the city.

GreenUp trees in Beachway

Seedlings planted in 2015 in the Beachway – what will they look like in 20 years?

Hundreds of seedlings will be planted and invasive species of flora will be pulled out and trashed. The Region, Conservation and city work with Burlington Green to determine the location of all the plantings and interpretive signs.

The Clean Up involved thousands – the Green Up is limited to just 100 volunteers. The planting of the seedlings is city building at its most fundamental level – the plants that are pushed into the ground are going to be there hundreds of years from now. It will be a warm, welcome experience for the 100 volunteers to walk through the Beachway in 20 years and see their trees growing.

The Region is beavering away on a plan to totally revise the Beachway from the community it now is to a rather spectacular park. The planting of trees now is all part of the evolution of that community.

The Green Up event takes place on Saturday May 28 – runs from 8:45 to 12:45 with refreshments being served.

The sands on Beachway do shift.

The sands on Beachway do shift.

Much of the Beachway is a dune, the only one in the Region and very environmentally sensitive.  The sands in th area actually shift over time.

BurlingtonGreen members water plants and shrubs they planted along the Beachway Park earlier in the year. One of their ongoing programs

BurlingtonGreen members water plants and shrubs they planted along the Beachway Park two years ago. Volunteers will be in the area late in May to continue this work

If you want to be part of this event – go on line and register – there is room for just 100 people – they will be city building for that half day.

BG volunteers have been doing this work since 2013. This year they will be planting native trees and plants.

Register HERE.


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Ward 3 just might have a creditable candidate for the 2018 municipal election.

Ward 3 map 72x650

Ward 3 is a mix of suburban and rural – everything south of Dundas is easy to serve – it is the rural parts of the ward that are both demanding and hard to serve.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

April 26th, 2016


Way back in 2010 two of the people who now sit on city council got themselves involved in the Shape Burlington committee, a group appointed by then mayor Cam Jackson to prepare a report on how well city hall was engaging the citizens of the city.

There was a lot of chatter at that time about city hall’s inability to hear what citizens were saying.

Two of the people on that committee, Paul Sharman and Blair Lancaster went on to throw their hats into the municipal election ring and got themselves elected – then they apparently forgot much of what the Shape Burlington report was all about.

At the same time Marianne Meed Ward was delegating consistently on the problems with the way the city was developing the waterfront area. She was instrumental in creating Save our Waterfront which sort of evolved into her campaign team and she too went on to get herself elected to Council.

While Meed Ward wasn’t part of the Shape Burlington group she was the one who remembered what the report was all about and created a constituency organization that spoke for the citizens in her ward and anyone else in the city who asked for help. And for the most part Meed Ward delivers.

All this is passed along as background on how people in this city get themselves elected to city council.

Burlington currently has two members of Council who have both been on the public payroll for more than 20 ears and are showing the wear and tear of public life. In their early years what they got in the way of remuneration wasn’t all that much to talk about.

Taylor with Black smilingJohn Taylor, Ward 3, has seldom had anyone worth more than the votes they get from family and friends run against him – other than Cory Judson, Taylor has never had to fight off a real candidate.

There appears to be an individual in ward 3 laying the ground work for a run at that seat.

When you cover municipal politics long enough you can see the potential candidates from some distance. They become active in the community and begin to groom themselves for the opportunity to run.

We saw that with both Lancaster, Sharman and Meed Ward in 2010.

In the 2014 election there were not the same calibre of candidate presenting themselves. In ward 6 there were ten people who ran for office – most were very inappropriate as candidates; they were not known and had done next to nothing in their communities. Vanessa Warren and Jennifer Hlusko were the exceptions.

In ward 3 – in 2014 – there were two candidates running against John Taylor who had little hope of gaining public office.

It looks as if it is going to be very different in 2018 – there is a gentleman who serves on a major Advisory Committee who appears to be grooming himself for that seat.

John Taylor is reported to have said to some people that he will not run again but that he will join BurlingtonGreen and become part of that committee.

Many thought ward 3 stood little chance of getting a decent member of Council when Taylor hangs up his boxing gloves.

That does not appear to be the case.

Stay tuned.


Shape Burlington Report – a seminal document.

City response to the Shape Burlington report. Long and boring; did the people who wrote the report ever read it?

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Burlington Green Clean up gathering moves to an outdoor location - smart move.

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 23rd, 2016


The weather cooperated; the 11,000 people who signed up were still doing so at close to midnight on the Friday for the Saturday event during which those thousands helped Clean Up the city.

There were 181 locations where people were picking up trash recorded.

Instead of the usual gathering at city hall – people gathered at Central Park in front of the band shell where Turtle Jacks once again served burgers to the hungry environmentalists.

BG Outdoor view 2016 cleanup

The gathering after the Clean up took place in Central Park this year. smart move – plan is to hold the get together outdoors every year.

BG proud grandparent - Sharman

This is what a proud grandparent looks like -Councillor Paul Sharman, the only member o Councillor we say wants his granddaughter to look into the camera. The Mayor arrived later to say a few words.

BG singer outfoor cleanup 2016

Music was part of the event – look for additional performers next year.

The decision to move outdoors was a welcome one. There was all kinds of room and while the crowds were not great the move was a wise one.

In time gathering outdoors on the Clean Up day will be the place to be.

BG girl under sign 2016

It was warm enough to be in short sleeves

BG button maker

BurlingtonGreen volunteer makes badges from art work created bu the kids.

There were displays and activities in the library where kids could have their unique badges made and other could colour.

There was a room set up with a video and Vince Fiorito was on hand to show people how to make seed bombs.

There were fewer speeches this year – and that has to be a blessing.

Burlington has to have one of the most impressive turnouts when it comes to volunteering at this significant event – kudos to the BG board for making this happen each year.

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Register now for the BurlingtonGreen annual Clean Up event.

News 100 greenBy Staff

April 18, 2016


It is one of the largest and most effective city – community groups Burlington has. They both advocate for the environment – they try hard, but not always successfully to hold city council accountable for the decisions they make that impact the environment.

BurlingtonGreen has initiated a number of projects that make a difference and they have invited world class speakers to the city. It is an organization that has real clout – it could be used more consistently and with more vigor at times.

REGISTRATION link is at the bottom of the page.

BG Clean up

Every age gets involved in the annual BurlingtonGreen Clean Up

Every Spring thousands of citizens pull on a pair of gloves pick up a green plastic garbage bag and go picking up litter anywhere they can find it.

Called the Clean Up – it takes place on a Saturday morning with everyone, in the past, gathering at city hall for a burger, pop and a chance to chat up their friends.

The Clean Up this year takes place on Saturday the 23rd – people can go to the BurlingtonGreen web site and decide where they want to do their community work and just show up.

The annual CleanUp-GreenUp campaign Burlington Green organizwes ends with a gathering of the environmental clan at city hall. One of these years it isn't going to rain on the CleanUp-GreenUp day.

The annual CleanUp campaign Burlington Green organizes ends with a gathering of the environmental clan – this year it will be at the Bandshelll in Central  Park – right next to the library. 

There are perhaps hundreds of places to Clean Up – when the work is done everyone is encouraged to gather at Central  Park and wander around the exhibits at the library or listen to music and have their burger and chat with friends on the grounds in front of the band stand. Entertainment is expected to be part of the event.

More than 55,000 participants have joined the collective effort resulting in cleaner parks, streams, school yards and neighbourhoods.

This citywide event invites citizens, schools, churches, businesses, neighbourhoods and community groups to come together to clean up and green up Burlington to help the planet locally. What a great and meaningful way to celebrate Earth Day 2016!

Registered Clean Up participants will receive free supplies (bags and gloves) to do their clean up activities and are invited to attend an Eco-­‐fair Celebration at Central Park Bandshell/Library on April 23rd from 11:00am to 4:00pm. Festivities will include a BBQ courtesy of Turtle Jack’s and refreshments courtesy of Tim Hortons, along with fun button making for kids, a variety of local eco-­‐display and opportunities to win free raffle prizes.

BG CleanUp 2015 Turtle Jacks trailer

Turtle Jacks will be there with their mobile kitchen. The line ups move quickly.

There will be displays inside the library and music at the bandshell.

Save the news feedAmy Schnurr, Burlington Green’s Executive Director explains that this is the 6th year the city and the BG people have worked together. It started in 2011 she said.  BG and the City partner on this event with the City contributing $7,000 from the Parks and Road maintenance budget for event planning and execution costs.

Registration gets done – just click here:

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It was the Blue Jays winning streak last year that got Griffin Gervais started on a project to improve a baseball diamond at his school.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 18th, 2016


It was pretty simple to Griffin Gervais, a grade five student at Lakeshore Public school – just ask people how to get the ball diamond behind the school repaired and they would tell him what was needed and it would get done because he was the kind of kid that did things like that.

Gervais - Neighbourhood

Carrie Gervais and her son Griffin at Matching Fund meeting.

Griffin had an occasion to meet Burlington’s MP, Karina Gould and asked her if she would help him with his plans for the ball diamond.  The grounds needed a serious leveling out – they had little rises and small shallow spots. The bases needed bags that were properly anchored – third base is currently a small hole that collects water.

The back drop is close to being ready to fall down. And the benches are kind of crappy.

The ward 2 member of city council happened to be at the same event – Gould pointed Griffin to Meed Ward who was pretty sure what Griffin and his buddies wanted to do was possible under a program that was being rolled out by the city’s parks and recreation department.

Neighbourhood logoThe city had created a Neighbourhood Community Matching Fund that could put up as much as $5000 into a project that is designed to improve a community.

If the success of the Neighbourhood fund depended on the effort of the Parks and Recreation people overseeing the program – the thing would be a raging success.

The purpose of the program is to get people involved in their communities by pulling together a group with a common cause.

Backstop Lakesh PS

Home plate is the only base that has a bag – and it doesn’t line up properly with the other bases. As a school play ground it has been allowed to deteriorate badly.

The Neighbourhood Community Matching Fund has Griffin Gervais’s name written all over it.

City hall staff were spending time in each ward meeting with people to explain what the program is and how it works.

They were in ward 2 last week explaining the program and taking people through the forms that have to be filled in. There are a lot of forms to be filled in.

Lkesh ps plate missing

No base bag at third base – just an indentation in the ground where water gathers.

Griffen on 3rd

Was he out – Griffin Gervais didn’t think so – but there was no base bag to really know.

To use the language of the retail sector – these people want your business and they will go well out of their way to make what you want to do in your community happens.

Julia Rogers, the lead contact person and the one who does the presentations, gets herself pretty wound up when she speaks. Griffin Gervais who as at the meeting with his Mom wants to see that baseball diamond at his school upgraded.

Traditionally, in Burlington at least, the school board and the city don’t cooperate all that well.

That isn’t slowing down the people running the Neighbourhood Matching Fund. They appear prepared to do whatever they have to do to get a spark going within a community that will grow into a nice flame that will ignite people in their communities to come together and do things that make Burlington a better place for everyone.

Carrie Gervais said she now has the quotes she needs from the Board of Education so “we now know what the target is. The parents added $200 to the budget for a party in the park to celebrate their success which is all part of the city’s objective. They want people to come together, work together to make their neighbourhoods better places.

Four boys Griffen

In no specific order: Sawyer Cobham. Scott Rose, Griffen Gervais, Kayden Maslanyk discuss the problems with their ball diamond

The Matching fund is intended for a project people want to see done in their neighbourhood. The forms are not that difficult – everything is on line – and if you have a problem – the staff are there to help you.

The city has set aside $50,000 for the program this fiscal year.

Applications have to be in no later than April 29th – which doesn’t leave much time. Staff actually apologized for the late start – this is the first year of what they see as a multi-year effort.

There are two completed applications in hand with one coming in from Giffin and his buddies. There are six wards in the city – someone is going to be disappointed.

Every project submitted won’t need a full $5000 explained Rogers.  So the $50,000 available for this year is expected to cover all the applications.

If the program works – parks and recreation staff are planning on asking for more funding for future years.

The City has been pumping out media releases to remind residents that applications are due Friday, April 29.

Chris Glenn, the city’s director of parks and recreation believes there are a lot of good ideas out there and says:. “If you have a proposal for something you think would bring your neighbourhood and community together and build strong connections, we want to hear about it. Even if you are not able to complete all of the information requested in the application form, I would encourage you to still submit it to the city by the April 29 deadline.”  Glenn added that once a project is approved the sponsoring group has up to one full year to complete the work.

Griffin project is going to come in at about $11,000 – they are hoping they can get a full $5000 from the city and fund raise to pull in the balance.

The community is expected to raise half of the amount needed. That half can be cash, or in kind materials. Any work that people do on the project is counted at the rate of $17.02 for each hour worked. 50% of any professional services that are needed can be included in the budget.

Griffin’s parents set up a crowd funding account at:    There are no stones unturned with this group.

Neighbourhood - staffer

Julia Rogers will guide anyone through the application process.

It sounds a little complex – don’t worry about figuring out the details – Julia Rogers is a phone call away and she will take you through the application form line by line.

One of the issues on anything that involves the city or the board of education is insurance. That can be difficult to navigate. Denise Beard, Manager Community Development, said her staff will do everything they can to get you the insurance coverage you need.

Applications need to be in before the end of the month – approved projects will be announced in June.


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How are they doing so far? Public school board needs comments from parents - don't let them become complacent.

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 16, 2016


The public school board say they want your opinion and have created a Tell Them From Me survey that is available on line – but they forgot to say just where the survey is on their website.  We will check in with these people on Monday and get that information for you.

How effective is the public school board system?

Are you getting what you feel you need for the education of your children?

What does accountability mean?

Is accountability a two way street?

The people who deliver services to the public need to know what you think – if they don’t get public input they are left to do what they think is best – which isn’t always the best.  Citizens have a responsibility to advise – this is your opportunity.

Pre teens with robots on table

Students from across the Region took part in a Skills competition in Burlington.

From April 18 until May 13, 2016, all parents/guardians with children in the Halton District School Board are invited to complete the Tell Them From Me – Our School parent survey. Parents/guardians will be emailed instructions and a link to the survey starting April 18.

Parents will be asked about issues related to learning opportunities, communication, school culture, and climate. The information gathered from the survey is being used to help schools continue to create positive school climates, to inform annual bullying intervention plans, and for parents to have a voice in creating a supportive community at their school.

Students and staff are invited to complete their own Tell Them From Me survey at school. Individual responses are always grouped together for analysis. Parents may complete their survey online from wherever Internet access is available. If you do not have Internet access, please discuss alternatives with your child’s school administrator.

If you have any questions about the surveys please contact Frank Nezavdalf, Department of Research and Accountability, (905) 335-3663 ext. 3381 or by e-mail:

If you have any difficulties accessing the survey or require technical assistance please contact the HDSB Information Centre at 905-333-4372 (HDSB) or 1-888-432-4372 (HDSB), Monday to Friday 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. or by emailing

They both want and need you opinion – it is your children they are there to educate.

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Insight - the service city uses to do opinion polling of a group of people that are fully representative of the community.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 15, 2016


There are now have 694 Insight Community members!

In a city this size there should be at least 2500 people

Insight is the service the city has to do almost instant polling of a group of people that are fully representative of the community.

Insight logoThe service was not cheap – $100,000 a year – but it is a very useful and for the most part a very accurate tool to measure public opinion.

The panel is becoming more evenly spread demographically and is sitting at 53% Male, 45% Female (2% of you preferred not to answer).

It is now quite evenly split of over the six wards in the city. The numbers have grown with each and every survey put out to the public, where there has been the option of joining the community.

The Gazette has heard of people who were not accepted into the polling group and they concluded the city knew who they were and didn’t want them within the polling group.

Nothing could be further from the truth – the city knows a lot about the people within the group – except for one thing – who you actually are.

They know your age, what you earn, where you live, what kind of a home you have, if you use transit, your education – all kinds of data – but they don’t know your name.

What polling needs is a balance in the group questions are being put to – which means you might be a 42 year old male with a college education – they may have enough of those – but need women who are single with a post graduate degree.

If you are interested in being part of the panel – apply – the people who run the service will determine if you fit into the balanced panel they maintain.

Being turned down doesn’t mean they didn’t want YOU – it meant that there were already enough people like you on the panel.

If you want to follow up on this  CLICK HERE and you will get to the Insight page on the city web site.


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‘Shrooms that Glow in the Dark

Rivers 100x100

By Ray Rivers

April 15, 2016


Peace and quiet – not what I expected to find in a city with three million people, the eighth largest in Europe and with a war going on only a few hundred kms away. There are no military tanks on the streets, no machine-gun toting soldiers protecting major institutions and no bombs falling from the sky. If one were looking for that kind of excitement – it’s just not here.

With an economy less than half the size of fellow slavic neighbour Poland, there are a surprising number of modern Euro sedans clogging the streets of Kyiv (Kiev) almost as badly as in the rest of the continent. But the sidewalks are cleaner than Paris and there are no obvious signs of homelessness or drunkenness, though that seems impossible. And again to my surprise, young plugged-in women and men are seen strolling about the streets in the evenings, apparently free from fear for their personal safety.

Shops, restaurants and museums abound, along with ample open spaces and parks to accommodate families and the few tourists who make it over here. The city has a subway system that could give Toronto a few lessons and the architecture is strikingly old world, except in the suburbs where Soviet styled apartment blocks still dominate the skyline. Even the newly reformed police force has been outfitted with Prius patrol cars, giving them a very mod look.

What makes this so impressive is that the country is under siege. Yes, Russia is back in full imperial dress and determined to keep Ukraine as part of its revisionist empire, even if it has to kill all the Ukrainians. Over two years and 10,000 deaths after first invading its neighbour, Russia is nowhere near willing to return the land it occupies. And to keep it’s neighbour on its toes Mr. Putin periodically threatens to occupy the entire nation.

But there is another danger lurking that should not be ignored. Ukraine is the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident, at Chernobyl, just some 100 kms from Kyiv. Opened in 1977 as Ukraine’s first nuclear power plant, and only the third of its kind and size in the Soviet Union, Chernobyl operated for less than a decade before a relatively simple test of safety procedures led to a massive explosion and melt down, spreading radioactive contamination across the globe though mostly predominantly in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.


The Chernobyl nuclear station after the explosion – the world is still recovering from that disaster.

2600 square kms of northern Ukraine, half the land area of PEI, is off limits because of radiation poisoning. To keep the lid on the still-emitting source, an expensive new sarcophagus is being constructed. And after 30 years there has been some environmental rebound, with reports of growing wildlife populations and the regrowth of forests in the area. These rumours have encouraged poachers to hunt animals and forage timbers for their own use, despite the inherent danger of radiation poisoning and the further spread of radioactive pollutants.

There is a long term plan to rehabilitate the area but that will not happen for another half decade. Hiroshima and Nagasaki, hit by atomic bombs in the Second World War are pretty much back to normal, though researchers are still not satisfied. Nevertheless for nations operating nuclear power plants this does beg the question of whether those facilities are more dangerous than an attack by a nuclear weapon.

And speaking of radiation, the lowly field mushroom has come under attack as well in Ukraine. Apparently fungi are particularly adept at absorbing radioactive contaminants making them unsafe to consume. Yet, there are few activities more traditional that wild mushroom gathering in this part of the world. Mushroom hunting provides a source of recreation as well as nutrition, something that has become even more important for those struggling to survive in the Russian-occupied eastern Ukraine.

mushroom fields

Mushroom fields –

Of course there are those who brush off all of this talk of danger. A few folks who refused to leave the contaminated area are boasting they have reached a good ripe age notwithstanding – something akin to those folks who smoked all their lives but never succumbed to lung cancer. But, not me, my immune system isn’t that good. I’m avoiding the wild mushrooms that feature in just about every menu here.

I attended a choral performance to lament those victims of Chernobyl who passed some thirty years ago. Once again I was impressed with the lack of fuss over security as I carried my backpack into an assembly which included government officials and other dignitaries. Perhaps that is how it is. Perhaps one just gets numbed by what could wrong when so much has and does.

After all, this is a nation which has always known conflict and domination by other nations, including Greeks, Turks, Polish, Swedes, Russians, and Germans…. My Ukrainian grandparents had Austrian birth certificates. So it is understandable why they would not be spooked by Russia, and why they’d be totally blasé about the dangers of eating those tasty wild mushrooms.


Save media that mattersRay Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was a candidate for provincial office in Burlington where he ran as a Liberal against Cam Jackson in 1995, the year Mike Harris and the Common Sense Revolution swept the province. Rivers is no longer active with any political party.

Background links:

Poland and Ukraine   Chernobyl

Chernobyl Disaster

European Contamination 

Radioactive Deer 

Mushroom Hunting

Mushrooms –    More Mushrooms 

Even More Mushrooms     Chernobyl Survivors      More Survivors   Nuked Cities    More Nukes Cities

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Staff are recommending that City Council not proceed with the Mount Nemo Study.

News 100 redBy Staff

April 14, 2016


An update on the Mount Nemo Plateau Heritage Conservation District Study will be held on Monday, May 2, 2016 at Councillor John Taylor’s Ward 3 spring meeting.

While the City remains committed to protecting the special character of rural Burlington, city staff are recommending that City Council not proceed with the Mount Nemo Study.

At the meeting on May 2, city staff will:

Describe the chronology of events related to the Mount Nemo Study that have brought us to this point

Summarize the community response to the Mount Nemo Study received to date

Outline future opportunities to be involved in rural initiatives, such as the City of Burlington Official Plan Review.

mount-nemo wide

Where will the arguments to continue with the study come from? Why the shift in thinking?

Participants will also have the opportunity to ask questions of staff and offer comments. All questions and comments will be recorded for consideration in current and future City planning initiatives.

Date: Monday, May 2, 2016
Time: 7 – 8 p.m.
Location: Conservation Halton Auditorium, 2596 Britannia Rd, Burlington

Why the change?

Because there is a new planner running the department?  Or because cuts have to be made somewhere and this isn’t worth the cost?  Will not continuing with the study make any difference?

It was contentious from the beginning.


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Get that bike properly prepared for safe use in the weeks ahead.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

April 14th, 2016


This probably means that warmer weather is going to arrive and stay for a while.

The Cycling Committee has invited residents to attend a series of free cycling seminars to help prepare for the 2016 spring and summer cycling season.

There are four topics that will be covered during the seminars, which run at Burlington Public Library branches this spring.

For Rob Nxx a good ride on one of his bikes is better than a night out. A passionate believer in greater use of bicycles, N has served on the city's cycl;ing committee for some time. He redenly led a night ride that had some 20+ people out on the roads at nighht.

For Rob Narejko a good ride on one of his bikes is better than a night out. A passionate believer in greater use of bicycles, N has served on the city’s cycling committee for some time. He recently led a night ride that had some 20+ people out on the roads at night.

Awesome Bike Gear for 2016 – Wednesday, April 27, 7 to 9 p.m. – Central Branch
A variety of local bike shops will share the latest in cool cycling gear for 2016. From stylish cycle-friendly clothing to tech/training gear, to fun and trendy bike accessories and fabulous equipment for family rides. Local bike experts will answer gear questions after the seminar.

Bikes at Beaudoin school

Bikes parked outside a Burlington school – both board of education and city hall would like to see more students biking to school and fewer parents driving their children to school.

Bike Maintenance 101
Saturday, April 30, 10 to 11:30 a.m. – Central Branch
Wednesday, May 4, 7 to 8:30 p.m. – Central Branch
Saturday, May 14, 2 to 3:30 p.m. – Alton Branch
Learn about basic bike maintenance that can be done at home. Start the bike season off right with a properly maintained bike for an easier and safer ride. This includes a keynote presentation from Rolling Horse Community Cycle.

Bike Safety
Saturday, May 7, 2 to 3 p.m. – Alton Branch
Monday, May 16, 7 to 8 p.m. – Central Branch
Saturday, June 4, 10 to 11 a.m. – Central Branch
This seminar will cover the rules of the road, must-have bike accessories, the roles and responsibilities of cyclists and motorists, hazards and the proper way to ride on-road bike lanes, bike sharrows and bike paths.

Bike Infrastructure around the World – Wednesday, June 1, 7 to 9 p.m. – Central Branch
Which cities are doing cycling infrastructure right? What creations of pro-cycling design around the world could Burlington learn from? Explore cycling infrastructure projects from around the world.

The seminars are free but sign-up is required.

Save media that mattersFor more information about the Burlington Cycling Committee and these free seminars, visit To sign up for any of the seminars, call Burlington Public Library – Central Branch at 905-639-3611, ext. 1321.

All this attention to getting bikes ready just might do something for the city’s transportation modal split – and if you don’t know what a modal split is – ask the people who tell you how to get your bike ready – this is what they are all about.

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Hazel McCallion to speak to Junior League Woman - it will be one of those - You go girl - evenings.

eventspink 100x100By Staff

April 13, 2016


The inaugural Leading Ladies Charitable Dinner and Speaker Series, organized by the Junior League of Hamilton-Burlington, will take place on May 3, 2016 at LIUNA Station in Hamilton. Doors open at 5:30pm.

Hazel McCallion

Former Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion

What makes this a newsworthy event? Former Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion is going to take the microphone – and it should be a barn burner of a talk.

Hamilton artist, author and philanthropist Patricia Gagic, will share the stage for an engaging and inspiring evening. The evening will be a dinner and exciting silent auction, with the proceeds supporting the charitable work of the Junior League of Hamilton-Burlington.

“Part of the Junior League’s mission is to develop the potential of women.” says Stephanie Fontaine, President of The Junior League of Hamilton-Burlington Inc. (JLHB).

At 95, Hazel McCallion still outworks colleagues half her age. She is passionate about causes that benefit the community and is thrilled to support the Junior League. “My career has spanned many decades but I have consistently championed education and the development of women leaders, two priorities that I share with the Junior League of Hamilton-Burlington.”

As one of WXN (Women’s Executive Network) Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada in 2015, Patricia Gagic’s talents have touched many aspects of the arts and beyond. She is also a dedicated community advocate both locally and internationally. “As a lifetime volunteer and advocate for children around the world, I am excited to share my story in hopes it will inspire others.”

Tickets for the evening (including dinner and speakers) are $100 each (charitable donation receipt available for a portion of the ticket cost), and are available online at or through the office at 289-337-9526 (Tuesday and Thursday).

The JLHB’s current focus of young women affected by poverty grounds their volunteer efforts and partnerships across the Hamilton-Burlington community.

McCallion - hard look

Former Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion – she can be as tough as nails when she has to be.

While the Junior League of Hamilton-Burlington may be an organization of women committed to voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers purpose may be exclusively educational and charitable they are going to get an up close and persona look about the role women can and have played in the world of politics.

Hazel is going to lay a little of that political love on them.

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One of the best team of volunteers in the city will be back at the Freeman station - April 16th and 30th - brings work gloves

News 100 redBy Staff

April 10, 2016


They need help with scraping and painting, window cleaning, cleanup of the grounds, moving and cleaning Whinstones, installing safety material on the windows, relocating
the TH&B car, and moving the security fence.

Freeman - view from the south - volunteers needed

The outside of the Freeman station is looking pretty good – lots more to be done on the inside.

Does any of this appeal to you?

How about being a part of the team that has contributed over 3,000 hours of effort to get the Freeman Station to the point where they are thinking seriously in terms of setting a date for the place to open.

Freeman - close to final

The was the end of stage 1 – getting the station off blocks and to he location where it would rest on a foundation. That was phase two. The volunteers who are making this happen have put in more than 3000 hours of work – so far.

The Freeman Station has a proud history, not because of what the majority of city council did to keep it from being sold for kindling – but proud because of the tiring efforts and hard work to first find a site for the structure and then to raise the funds to get it moved and then to get started on the work that will make it a destination for many visitors to the city.

The Friends of Freeman Station want you to dig out your work gloves and wear old clothes and then show up on one of the two (both if you are so inclined) volunteer dates: April 16th and April 30th.

Getting it - blueWith the hardest part of winter behind them – the team will be out in full force. There is a lot to be done yet

The team would like to know what kind of talent is going to show up: alert them about your skills by emailing them at – and let them know what you can do.

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Photographers looking forward to the annual Latow photography weekend: April 16th - 17th

eventspink 100x100By Staff

April 9, 2016


“ Yes we know you’ve heard it all already”, said David Low, president of Latow, the Burlington photography Guild, “but a week from now Latow will be holding its Annual Photography Weekend with David duChemin, who is regarded as one of the top photography educators anywhere.”

David du Chemin

David duChemin

David duChemin is a world and humanitarian assignment photographer, best-selling author, digital publisher, and international workshop leader whose nomadic and adventurous life fuels his fire to create and share. When on assignment du Chemin creates powerful images that convey the hope and dignity of children, the vulnerable and oppressed for the international NGO community. Drawing on a previous career in comedy, du Chemin is a dynamic and engaging presenter and educator. A driven artist, creative professional, entrepreneur and life-long adventurer, du Chemin educates and inspires through stunning visuals and hilarious travel stories.

David du Chemin picture - man at mosque

From the David duChemin collection.

Saturday’s full-day seminar, Photographically Speaking, – a day of inspiration and

Sunday mini-seminars: three 2-hour sessions: A Stronger Approach to Travel
Photography, Stronger Landscape Photography, and The Visual Imagination.

Saturday evening Latow AV Festival – 10 presentations combining images and music in
innovative ways.

Latow is the photography guild associated with the Art Gallery of Burlington.

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Ontario high school students invited to Challenge the World through volunteer efforts.

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 9, 2016


Ontario is challenging high school students to “change the world” by volunteering for at least three hours in their communities.

The challenge runs from April 10 to May 23, coinciding with National Volunteer Week.

volunteeringThis year’s goal is to have 39,000 students aged 14 to 18 participate in volunteering. The ChangeTheWorld challenge, which is delivered in partnership with the Ontario Volunteer Centre Network encourages young people to get involved in their communities and helps them develop important skills like teamwork and leadership.

Ontario high school student are required to put in 40 hours of volunteer time in order to graduate.

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Long-Term Accommodation Plan

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 8th, 2016


Parents and community members are invited to review and give feedback on the Halton District School Board’s 2015-2016 Long-Term Accommodation Plan

This plan addresses the existing and projected accommodation needs of students in elementary and secondary schools and identifies new capital
project initiatives, such as the need for new schools.

The Long-Term Accommodation Plan along with Powerpoint presentations, which we have set out below, outlining key points for Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton, and Oakville.

Elementry Capital prj part 1

Elementary capita part 2Secondary capital prjThe information is available on the school boards web site at Follow the link from the homepage under ‘Program and Accommodation’ to access the plan and presentations.

The Board wants any input before Wednesday, April 27, 2016.

You can communicate using either of the following:

The online feedback form here <>
or visit

By mail: Planning Department, PO Box 5005 STN LCD 1, Burlington, ON L7R 3Z2

Staff will report back to Trustees at the May 4, 2016 Board meeting and recommend any changes to the LTAP.

There isn’t much in the way of opportunity to comment on the web site. You might find it more useful to be in touch with your trustee if you have concerns. Responders are given a number of boxes that can be ticked off. The questions asked are:

Check all that apply

Timing and Status of Capital Projects
Condition of Physical structure, facility issues (e.g. equity between new and old schools)
Future elementary and secondary boundary reviews and Program and Accommodation Review
School utilization rates and capacities
School program offerings and/or relation to school utilizations
Transportation issues and walkability of schools.

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Halton students to compete as public speakers - English competition next week; French competition took place earlier.

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 7, 2016


Each year, the Halton District School Board hosts public speaking competitions in Canada’s two official languages.

The English public speaking competition involving approximately 20 students in Grade 9-12 on Tuesday, April 12, 2016. It
starts at 6:30 p.m. at White Oaks Secondary School (1330 Montclair Dr., Oakville). The public can attend this free event.

The event provides separate competitions for Junior (Grade 9-10) and senior (Grade 11-12). Students speak on any subject they choose for 5-6 minutes
without a microphone and be judged on organization, effectiveness originality, grammar, delivery, voice, body language, eye contact, grammatical correctness, enthusiasm and pronunciation. The judging panel will include Associate Director of Education David Boag, Board trustees Kim Graves and Kelly Amos, and a member of the Oakville Toast Masters.

Kyle Stewart, White Oaks Secondary School teacher and co-organizer of the April 12 event, said public speaking is a skill that can benefit students in their education pursuits as well as in the workforce.

“This event is an opportunity for students to showcase their strengths in public speaking,” Stewart said. “We are expecting a tough competition and
fantastic speeches from these exceptional students.”

Prizes will be awarded to the winners in the Junior and Senior categories.

Last week, the Board held its French public speaking competition for more than two-dozen elementary and secondary students. The winning students will represent the Board at the Canadian Parents for French French Public Speaking Regionals at the Glendon campus of York University on *Saturday
May 14, 2016*.

The winners were in the following categories: Core French Junior – Manahil Sabrini W.H. Morden Public School; Intermediate – Urmi Sheth, W.H. Morden Public School; Extended French – Junior Alish Ahmed, W.H. Morden Public School, Intermediate – Sara Zia, W.H. Morden Public School; Francophone Plus (FSL+) Junior – Jose Milan, Forest Trail Public School, Intermediate – Julia Mistele, Sunningdale Public School, French Immersion – Junior Vanditha Widyalankar, Tiger Jeet Singh Public School; Intermediate – Abigayle Burnette, Rolling Meadows Public School.

Grade 11-12 student Nicolas Génier, White Oaks Secondary School (WOSS) – French as a mother tongue; Grade 11-12 student Abdulrahman Al Bochi, WOSS – French Immersion; Grade 11-12 student Afif Bhimani, WOSS – Extended French; Grade 9-10 student Danyaal Irfan, Iroquois Ridge – French Immersion; Grade 9-10 student Abi Sudharsham, WOSS – Core French.

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