The daily life of a dog in the Halton Region police service - Storm is part of a family.

News 100 blueBy Pepper

June 22, 2015


Sometime later today Halton Regional Police are expected to announce the name of the new dog that will join the K9 unit of the police service. A Burlington public school is one of the finalists.

Last week the Gazette visited with an officer at the K9 unit to learn about how the dogs are chosen, how they are trained, what they eat and where they live.

We met with Constable Matt Lawless who came to police work a little later in life than most police recruits.

Lawless points to Storm

Halton Regional Police dog handler Matt Lawless points to pictures of dogs in the K9 unit – storm is the dog he handles.

He served in Oakville as a uniformed patrol office and after six years of driving around in a police car he leaned of an opportunity to work with dogs and applied.

“It’s a tough competition but they chose me and I’ve been working with storm ever since.”

“A lot of people think we work with the dogs and tell them what to do – that’s not the way it works out” explained Cst. Lawless. “We are actually chauffeurs for the dog. We take them to work with us in the morning and take them home at night. The dog is like one of the kids that you have to drove everywhere – instead of taking kids to hockey, I take the Storm wherever he is needed.”

HRPS storm running

Storm – a part of the Police |Service K9 unit. When he has to move – he can move very very quickly.

Where do the dogs come from we asked. “The best dogs are bred in Germany but we don’t often get dogs direct from Germany. We tend to work with kennels in both Canada and the United States. We have people who work with us selecting the dogs we need.

There are now six dogs in the K9 unit – Cst. Lawless would like to see more. “They are very effective in police work – each dog tends to have its own strengths – some are good with explosives; others are good with drugs and others are very good tracking down or finding a person.

Cst. Lawless is assigned a car that has been modified for the dog. The day we met it was hot, very hot and when it came time to do some work with Storm I thought we were heading out to a kennel on the police property but we walked towards the police cruiser. “Am I going to ride to the kennel with you I asked.“

“No” responded Cst. Lawless. “Storm is in the cruiser.”

In the cruiser I thought – its roasting outside – I thought it was illegal to leave a pet in a vehicle. And it is – but Storm doesn’t live in any run of the mill police cruiser. The vehicle is outfitted with its own air conditioning and the engine of the car is never shut off when the dog is in the cruiser.
There is a complex set of measuring devices that know when to turn on the air conditioning on and when to turn on the fans that circulate the air so that the dog has a combination of fresh air that is conditioned.

Cst. Lawless reaches into the front of the vehicle and picks up the lead, opens the back door and snaps the lead on the dog’s collar and off they go. While Storm can certainly run, he tends to walk in a zig zag path with his nose pressed into the ground. This dog can sniff.

He paid no attention to me other than to sniff my hand when I held it out – after that it was as if I didn’t exist. The dog kept his eyes on Cst. Lawless watching for his hand movements and listening to his words.

The selection of a dog is an arduous process. Once selected a dog goes through a four month, 40 hours a week training program.

After the training the dog is tested. “Halton has worked with different groups on the certifying of our dogs. The RCMP used to do a lot of that work – but now we are working with trainers in the Niagara Region.”

HRPS Storm sniffing

The biggest thing Storm has going for him is his nose. He runs in a zig zag pattern with his nose almost glued to the ground.

The training isn’t limited to just the policed dogs – the dog handlers take part in ongoing training and trade notes with other police services across the country.

In Halton the police dog handlers meet once a week to work together and learn from each other. At the same time there is always a cruiser on the road with a member of the K9 unit in the back of the car. “Storm can tell there is something up just from the sound of the voices coming over the police radio. When I rev up the engine and turn on the police siren Storm begins to pace around in his space in the back of the cruiser – he knows he is going to be put to work very, very soon.

“Not all dogs make it” explained Lawless. Some turn out not to be cut out for this kind of work and new homes are found for them.

And where is home for a police dog I asked. The dog lives with the family. The police provide a unit that is kept outdoors for the dog to live in. When the dog retires he stays with the Storm is a member of the family.

Dogs like Storm will work for a number of years – the length of time they serve can range from four years to ten years.

The thinking in the K9 unit is that Storm has about another year before he gets retired from the K9 unit and Cst. Lawless returns to normal police work.

HRPS Storm waits for a command

Everything Storm does is the result of a command – given either by hand or by voice from his handler Cst. Matt Lawless

What will Cst. Lawless do next – he’s not sure. “I might write the examinations to qualify as a sergeant.”

Storm will live the good life of a retired police dog – Cst. Lawless didn’t say if he would get more than the one meal a day he gets now.

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French immersion: has it been too successful and can we find the teachers to deliver the program?

News 100 redBy Walter Byj

June 19, 2015


For some it is a grand success story while others view it as an experiment that has created a mess. Either way, it has created a logistics nightmare for boards across the province as educators try to run both a successful English program along with a strong French Immersion program.

School busses - winter

Busing students to schools with a French immersion program adds to the problem – and the cost.

School busing, disruption of community schools, huge uptake in French Immersion and a shortage on competent French teachers in Ontario is forcing many boards to review their current implementation of French Immersion.

In Halton, the board recently created the Program Viability Committee (PVC) whose goal was to do a thorough review of the challenges that French Immersion has placed on the English program and to then propose a number of solutions that could alleviate any current problems.

The committee, which consists of 22 members, includes the Director of Education, board superintendents, schools principals and three trustees. The trustees are J. Oliver (Oakville, K. Graves (Milton) and R. Papin (Burlington).At the recent board meeting committee chair S. Miller (Associate Director of Education) presented to the board the initial written report.

Miller began his presentation stating that French has had a presence in Ontario for over 400 years. He then when on to explain that although the Halton Board has a very robust French Immersion program, there are some unintended consequences, particularly in some of the dual track schools, where there is a low uptake in the English program.

He stressed that the mandate of this committee was not just French Immersion, but of both French and English programs to ensure that students in both are receiving the best education possible. He did concede that this will not be easy and that no solution will be perfect.


French immersion – not as easy to deliver as many think – resources not always available.

He reiterated that many boards are facing the same issues and reviewing how they face those challenges helps Halton in finding a solution. The report contained a number of appendices that contribute to the current situation. These will be reviewed at a later date.

Following is the initial recommendations that have been presented to the board. A more detailed review of the factors leading to these recommendations along with pros and cons will follow in part two of this report.


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 will 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 will be delivered in single track FI schools. French Immersion will be phased out of dual track schools and no new dual track schools will be considered. The location of the single track schools will be determined at a later date.

3. Option 3: French Immersion will commence at a later entry point (mid entry); Grade 4. This will 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 will occur in dual track schools only.

4. Option 4: French Immersion will commence at a later entry point (mid entry); Grade 4. This will 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 will occur in single track FI schools only.


Be it resolved that the Halton District School Board initiate a community consultation/feedback process with the process and the method of consulting and communicating to the public coming to the Board of Trustees before the end of September 2015 for information.

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Graduating elementary students will get report cards June 24th - the rest will get something at the end of August.

News 100 blueBy Walter Byj

June 19, 2105


Halton elementary students from senior kindergarten to grade seven will be able to pick up their report card sometime between August 31st and September 3rd. at the school the student attended in 2014/15.

Zahn with students

If these students were elementary students and were graduating this year – they will get their report cards before the end of the month. If not – they will get something in the mail before September.

For those report cards not picked up, they will be mailed to the families concerned.

Trustees approved an expenditure of $100,000 to cover the cost of inputting the information during the summer of 2015. The report cards will reflect grades/achievement levels and learning skills.

They will not include any comments.

For those graduating from their particular school, report cards will be issued June 24th.

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Burlington staffer teaches our Dutch twin a little about Service Based Budgeting

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 18, 2015


Rob Peachey was one of six  people who travelled to Holland for the 70th Anniversary of the ending of the Second World War last month. Canadian troops liberated much of Holland including Apeldoorn, a city Burlington was twinned with n 2005.

Rob Peachey

Rob Peachey, part of the Burlington delegation that went to Holland.

Peachey handles parks and open spaces development for the city which includes the park the city created on Elgin Street. Apeldoorn did the same thing in Holland where visitors can see the Burlington Park.

What does a Canadians parks and open spaces bureaucrat say to a bureaucrat in another country where land use is significantly different than ours and administrative practices are also considerably different?

The thing that struck Peachey, almost literally, was the number of bicycles on the streets – “the things were everywhere”, he said. “We just don’t see that kind of cycle traffic in Burlington” Peachy added.

Peachy found that civil servants in Apeldoorn have yet to create the kind of administrative tools we have in Burlington.. Peachey spent some of his time explaining our Results Based Accountability and Service Based Budgeting to his peer in Holland and expects to trade information with them as he continues to maintain the relationship he now has.

They are quite a bit ahead of us with their community gardens said Peachey.

Apeldoorn community garden

Community gardens in Apeldoorn

Peachey added that the sports fields are not in the inner parts of the city but more on the outskirts and that there are fewer parks and none of them have the “jungle gyms” for children to play on that North Americans have.

Peachey did get to ride a bicycle – the hotel rents them” he explained. Bikes are a serious mode of travel in Apeldoorn – there are people in suits peddling to work in the morning.

He noted that there were no picnic tables in the parks that he saw and nothing in the way of public art and added there wasn’t much grass around properties in the city.

BTTB in Apeldoorn - celebration of the dead

Members of the Burlington Teen Tour Band lined the streets of Apeldoorn during the celebration of the dead event which was part of the 70th Anniversary of the end of World War Two.

The “celebration of the dead” event in which the Burlington Teen Tour Band played a significant role was, said Peachey, one of the most moving public events he has ever witnessed. “There was dead silence for the minute that the city went mute”. I found myself tearing up he added.

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Director of Education has failed twice at retirement; thinks he can get it right on this his third attempt - expects to leave in August.

News 100 blueBy Walter Byj

June 18, 2015


“There was no long term plan or goal to achieve when entering the workforce. I just wanted a teaching job” said Director of Education David Euale.

Eaule David

David Euale, retiring Director of Education for the Halton District School Board

However, as his qualifications grew and opportunities arose, he was always anxious to take the next step. And thus began his progressive career from teacher to vice-principal to principal, superintendent, and one year at the ministry to his current position as Director of Education of the Halton District School Board for the past five years. Euale retires in August

He did not bring a grand plan with him when he arrived in Halton; rather his mandate was to ensure that the board fulfilled its objectives. One key element was to set a multiyear plan, which was accomplished in three months, and became his mandate for the following five years.

It's not the kind of high school you were used to - MORE HERE

Euale leaves a board of education that ranks amongst the top in Ontario in terms of how well the students do on test scores. He also leaves before a possible strike in September.  Students at Hayden High develop their cooking skills.

Student achievement is always any director’s challenge he said and in Halton this was even harder as the scores were already near the top of the province. He feels that this challenge was met as he and the board have raised the bar during his tenure.

One source of pride was his work in e-learning in Halton. He was somewhat surprised that only ten courses were being offered electronically when he arrived. Four years later, 38 courses are now available with over 1,000 teachers having received E-learning training. E-learning could easily be used as a supplement to existing courses.

He has served with three separate boards and he is extremely proud of the quality of the trustees and they compare very favourably with other boards in the province. He feels that the trustees are not only dedicated, but also show an insight to the needs of students. The public in Halton is more aware and involved in their community and this contributes to the quality of the trustee he said.

This reporter sits in a different part of the room than the Director of Education – as I watched the approval of the budget there wasn’t a single question from any of the Burlington trustees on a budget that was to spend $685 million on operations and $62.6 million on capital projects. I thought there would be at least one question from one of the trustees.

With one of the few boards showing student growth, three secondary and nine elementary schools in the past five years this continued growth has been challenging.

Alton has a spanking new high school with air conditioned classrooms; the envy of every high school student in the city.  The school is part of a complex that includes a library and a recreational centre.

One of the early fully integrated community complexes that includes a Recreation centre, a public library and a high school were built in Alton while Euale was Director of Education.

He is a supporter of the new health and physical education curriculum as new technology has opened up a broad base for enquiring minds. We as educators need to respond to the free flowing information that is available through the educational process he said rather than leaving the internet as an educator. Our board has received its fair share of calls and I believe that our staff and trustees have handled them in a professional manner.

He feels that the students of today are better educated today than 15 years ago. We are graduating more students from secondary schools and with the new technologies; they are better researchers, better problem solvers and better collaborators.

Euale did concede that he does not know if the current students know their history facts or times tables as those in previous years, but with the teaching of the new technologies, something may drop by the wayside. Overall, we are seeing a much better educated student.

When the subject of the website was approached, he quickly conceded that there was work was needed. There is a lot if information on the site but finding it can be arduous at times. A total of $100, 000 in the most recent budget has been set aside to improve the site.


Euale knows that today’s students are getting much better educations – and that those students are going into a world that is a lot different than the one he grew up in.

When he leaves the board in August, Euale feels the challenges for the new director will be to maintain the high performance in Halton, to continue to focus on student achievement and manage expectations of parents with the funds that are available. Over the past five years he has managed to build and guide a very competent staff that if managed correctly should continue the high standard within Halton.

With this being his third retirement, first from the Upper Grand School Board, then from the ministry and now from Halton, don’t place any bet that he won’t show up again somewhere in the educational field.

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Sculptures to be part of the AGB Courtyard for the summer season.

theartsBy Pepper Parr

June 18, 2015


The Sculpture Garden in the Courtyard of the Art Gallery of Burlington is going to get a treatment with the work of Spanish artist Jordi Alfaro, originally from Spain but now a resident of Dundas, Ontario.

Jordi Alfaro AGB  Credit Reid Flock

Spanish artist Jordi Alfaro with one of his Arrieros exhibition pieces. Photo Credit Reid Flock

Designed specifically for the unique architectural space, Alfaro has transformed the AGB courtyard into a sculpture garden for his Arrieros exhibition.

Alfaro has used the abstract nature of the design of the Courtyard and created a series of monolithic forms that complement the straight horizontal and vertical lines of both the architecture and the plantings of the space.

AGB Alfaro piece - Spanish

Polished pieces appear to be hiding in the lush vegetation of the Courtyard at the AGB.

His single large sculptures and his stacked round forms have the evocative sense of prehistoric monuments like Stonehenge in England, or Carnac in France, but their often bright coloured glazes and crisp bands of colour hint at minimal sculpture out of the 1960’s.

Placed in amongst the plantings or out on the concrete surfaces, these works engage the viewer asking them to navigate the space with an increased awareness.

AGB Spanish - cave mouth Spanish

There is some of the contemplative nature that one finds in some Zen stone gardens in this piece – part of the Arrieros exhibition.

These works suggest the contemplative nature that one finds in the Zen stone gardens in Japan but is totally unique to this artist. The quiet strength of these works transforms the space into as oasis of calm on an otherwise busy day.

AGB Arelo Spanish two pieces - railing

Looking like sentries at the top of an entrance these two piece in the Arrieros exhibit wait for a visitor

There is a quietness about the Courtyard – the kind of place to take in some of the sunshine, read a newspaper over a cup of espresso.

Curated by Jonathan Smith, the AGB-tailored exhibition will run from June 13, 2015 to September 30, 2015, with the opening reception taking place Sunday, June 28, 2pm – 4pm.

AGB Members will be offered free admission to the exhibition. More information on the benefits of AGB membership can be found here 

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Telling the sustainable story will take more than handing out copies of a solid report.

News 100 blueBy Staff

June 17, 2015


It’s all about the environment – global warming, flooding and much different weather patterns than we are used to – there is a lot of talk; the fifth State of the Environment Report (SOER) for Burlington, prepared by the Sustainable Development Committee was presented to a Council Standing Committee earlier this week.   SOERs have been presented to council in 1998, 2004, 2007 and 2011.

Halton escarpment - long view up slope

Does sustainability mean ensuring the Escarpment is never touched?

The purpose of the document is to provide information on the state and health of Burlington’s environment and to make recommendations for improving it.

The SOER identifies eleven themes, and reported on:

Why it was measured
What was measured – indicators
What was found – indicator values and trends
What is happening to address the issue

The 2015 document points to progress is being made in certain areas of the city related to environmental sustainability:

The Cootes to Escarpment Land Strategy and Park System has partnered various levels of government, agencies, utilities, and non-government organizations to preserve and expand natural areas and engage the community on the value of these lands. The system is one of the most biologically rich areas in Canada with more than 1,580 documented species and habitat for more than 50 species at risk.

Under Places to Grow and with a firm urban and rural boundary, the city will continue to transform from a suburban community to a more urban built environment that should support a sustainable transportation network.

Support for urban agriculture and local food opportunities, such as community gardens, continues to grow.

Halton Region continues to experience success in reducing the waste diversion rate by expanding programs for local residents.

Greenhouse gas emissions from the community and city operations are decreasing.

Water efficiency efforts appear to be working as water consumption on a per capita basis appears to be decreasing (for low rise residential development).  However, it is acknowledged that there are challenges facing the city and partner agencies going forward:

The uncertainty of the impacts of climate change, not just with local infrastructure, but with health, food security, the natural environment, among others. A regional adapation strategy should be considered.

The automobile is still the preferred mobility option in Burlington and changing the modal split in favour of other sustainable modes like transit, walking and cycling will require ongoing support in these areas.

The urban forest is under threat by invasive species and urban development, making the Urban Forest Master Plan an important resource.

The Sustainable Development Committee recently prioritized their top ten recommendations in the SOER:

ADI rendering from SW

The use to which we put the land we have – who gets to make those decisions?

1. That the city focuses on future land planning opportunities for mobility hubs, with design principles supporting energy efficient and smart development with a sustainable transportation network.

Regional Chair Gary Carr tasting honey while on an agricultural tour.

Regional Chair Gary Carr tasting honey while on an agricultural tour.

2. That the city expand the position and responsibilities of the Community Garden Coordinator from seasonal part time to support the local food movement in Burlington, by encouraging local food production and distribution, and supporting urban and rural agricultural programs.

3. That the city undertake Transportation Modal Split surveys on a more consistent basis than the Transportation Tomorrow Survey. It is recommended that this survey include questions to detail why residents of Burlington choose their preferred mode of transportation and what steps need to be taken to encourage residents to rely on more sustainable transportation options.

4. That the city continue the implementation of the Community Energy Plan with a focus on fuel and cost savings, by switching from gasoline vehicles to electric/hybrid vehicles, investigating opportunities for local sustainable generation (e.g. district and renewable energy), improving efficiency, increasing community engagement and improving the built form.

Flood weather network bridge

Water – it can work for us and it can work against us. Either way it is a resource to be managed so that it can sustain the community.

5. That the city implement repairs and actions to mitigate future flooding impacts based on the results of the current study being carried out by the City of Burlington, Region of Halton and Conservation Halton in a cost effective manner. The study should include an update of the design standards for the stormwater system considering climate change impacts. That the city follow the principles (e.g. electrical boxes above flood level) required by Alberta when remediation is being carried out on residences, etc. (particularly where residences have been flooded repeatedly).

6. That the city request a geotechnical report through the development review process to ensure the proper design is applied when building construction takes place near or below the water table, particularly in low lying areas where the water table level is near the surface. Ensure the Ontario Building Code requirements are implemented, such as waterproofing of the foundation walls and measures to mitigate a reduction in the bearing capacity of the soil.

7. That the city, in partnership with Conservation Halton as appropriate, undertake a series of pilot projects on city properties using Low Impact Development stormwater management techniques to treat stormwater runoff at its source rather than conveying it through the traditional stormwater infrastructure.

8. That the city ensure community resiliency by working with regional partners including Halton Region, Conservation Halton and the local municipalities to develop a climate change adaptation strategy.

9. That the city implement green building standards to require builders to include sustainable building measures in their projects.

10. That the city continue to undertake a training program for city staff who deal with planning applications and building permits to obtain LEED accreditation and to make use of the LEED Neighbourhood checklist developed by the SDC.

The Sustainability Advisory Committee is made up of volunteers who have taken on a mammoth task.  At times the city has asked them for comments they weren’t able to provide; with these periodic reports the city gets solid data but then struggles to leverage the data and inform the public.

Sheldon Creek clean up - tires

Tires pulled out of creeks by clean up crews – the tires got dumped there by people who should know better.

Burlingtonians are particularly willing to pitch in and do what needs to be done to make the difference.  Thousands turn out for the Green Up – Clean up event; hundreds trooped to the Beachway to plant trees.  The task now is to get the message out – which is easier said than done.  The Sustainable Development Committee plans to make their report available within the community.  Copies will be distributed to the Burlington Public Libraries and local senior elementary and secondary schools as a resource document. An electronic version will be provided on the city’s website. The Committee will promote the on-line link to the SOER to minimize the number of printed copies.

It is going to take more than dropping copies off at the library and at schools to get the depth and breadth of just what sustainability is all about.  On that score the committee gets a low C grade – great stuff but it has to go much further than a presentation to council and being put in the libraries.

It comes back to that leadership issue – doesn’t it?


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Board of education does a quickie and approves spending for both capital ($62.6 million) and operating ($685.7) spending in minutes - also says it will be going along with the new sex ed curriculum .

News 100 blueBy Walter Byj

June 9, 2015


There were not many items on the June 3rd agenda, but two of them had the potential to make for a long meeting. The increase in Education Development Charges were approved by the Halton District School Board without so much as a peep from any of the developers who have to come up with the cash.

There was a report from an economic consulting group that confirmed what everyone knew – land pieces had increased. Jack Ammendolia of Watson and Associates Economists confirmed that land costs have jumped again in Halton and the increase was necessary to cover the costs of new schools in Halton.

Since last year the per acre cost is as follows

Oakville from $1,250,000 to $1,440,000
Milton from $950,000 to $1,050,000
Halton Hills from $625,000 to $950,000

There was no number given for Burlington – there won’t be any new schools built here.

The residential development charge was increased from $3,380 to $3,969 per residence and from 87 cents to $1.02 per square foot in non residential development.  This represents a 17% increase for both residential and non residential.

The land increases were 15% for Oakville, 11% for Milton and 52% for Halton Hills.

The 2015-16 Capital and Operating Budget were two issuers that could easily lead to long and laborious session of questions and answers. That was not the case. The trustees took the board of education staff at their word and passed the $685.7 million operating budget for 2015-2016 as well as the $62.6 million capital budget faster than you could say Bob’s your uncle”. Burlington’s city council wishes it could get off as easily.

Along with two budgets the Operational Plan Goals for 2015-16 and Special Education Plan were also quickly passed – unanimously.

As the meeting was nearing conclusion, Director Euale announced that the School Board will be supportive of the revised Health and Physical Education Curriculum. In his remarks he pointed out that the HDSB website now has a Q & A section on the new curriculum.

The site is:

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Elder abuse - it happens in our community - how do we deal with it?

News 100 blueBy Staff

June 9, 2015


We know it happens and we are surprised when it happens in families we knew. Nearly one in 10 Ontario seniors will experience some form of elder abuse, this is believed to be just a fraction of the cases reported.

Elder abuse

The elderly are at times completely at risk; there are signs that indicate an elderly person is at risk. There are people who can help.

To help bring this important issue to light, Halton Region Police, registered nurses, and community organizations are hosting an event for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 18.

The event will be held at the Halton Region Auditorium 1151 Bronte Road in Oakville – starts at 5:30 pm

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is recognized around the globe every June to raise the visibility of elder abuse and related issues. This local event is being jointly presented by Halton Regional Police Service, the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario’s (RNAO) Halton chapter, Elder Abuse Ontario, and the Elder Abuse Prevention Committee of Halton.

“Elder abuse is like a big elephant in the room, and not many people want to talk about it,” says Karimah Alidina, president of RNAO’s Halton chapter, adding that elder abuse can have a major impact on the health and wellbeing of seniors. “We need to hold an open and honest dialogue so that we can better address elder abuse, and protect Halton Region’s older population.”

Between 2010 and 2014, Halton police received more than 400 reports of elder abuse. About 60 per cent of these reports were related to assault, but older adults are vulnerable to many forms of abuse – including physical, emotional, financial, sexual, and neglect.

“Our elders deserve our respect, love and appreciation. They are our parents, grandparents and cornerstones of our community,” says Stephen Tanner, Chief of Halton Regional Police Service.

“Our police force works closely with our community partners to educate the public, prevent abuse and neglect and provide support to our elders.”

Four out of five instances of elder abuse go undetected. Often, seniors are reluctant to report incidents because of fear or shame. That’s why raising awareness of elder abuse is so important, says Rochella Vassell of Elder Abuse Ontario.

Elder abuse - black eyes

Sometimes the abuse is physical, sometimes it is financial – at other times it is emotional – all take their tole.

“This local event will heighten awareness that elder abuse is a local issue that must be addressed and taken seriously,” Vassell says. “Every person in our community is encouraged to promote seniors’ rights and ensure they are treated with respect and dignity.”

More than 13 community organizations are participating in the event, as well as Oakville MPP Kevin Flynn. Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon had a conflict and was not able to take part in what for her is a core constituency.

The agenda for the event is as follows:

5:30 p.m.: Registration and networking (refreshments provided)
6:00 p.m.: Welcome
6:10 p.m.: Remarks from MPP Kevin Flynn
6:25 p.m.: Presentation from Dr. Veronique Boscart
6:50 p.m.: Panel discussion
• Nadine Clarke, Halton Regional Police Service
• Keith Jim, Behavioural Supports Ontario Community Outreach Team
• Paul Proteau, Crime Stoppers
• Rochella Vassell, Elder Abuse Ontario
7:20 p.m.: Question and answer period
7:30 p.m.: Poster viewing

To register CLICK HERE  or call the Halton Seniors Helpline at 1-866-457-8252.


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Takes place in two cities - Burlington is one of them; happens on three different days.

News 100 redBy Staff

June 8, 2015


It takes place in two cities – Burlington is one of them,

The site covers several thousand acres – 2700 to be exact.

The event will take place on three different days

It has the rather pedestrian name of Panorama – however it can turn out to be quite an experience.

Called the Panorama Adventure Challenge Sport it is a run that cover either a 3 km or 5 km distance designed to teach team building and problem solving.

It is intended for any age and can be done at any pace.

Dates are July 11th; 18th and 25th.

Get the full picture:

Get more from the Royal Botanical Garden


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Opera during the Sound of Music - great talent will be in town at Knox Presbyterian Church - not to be missed .

News 100 greenBy Don Graves

June 8, 2015


Opera and the Sound of Music? It’s going to happen – not out in Spencer Smith Park but inside the Knox Presbyterian Church, 461 Elizabeth St.

COCC Magic Flute Opera

The Magic Flute was performed by the Canadian Children Opera Company. Burlington will hear a cabaret of their work June 13th

The performance is being put on by the Canadian Children’s Opera Company, (CCOC) an opera company for young people, unique in North America, dedicated to the training of young singers with an annual commissioned opera for young people from ages 5 – 20.

The CCOC’s youth chorus will present Opera Cabaret at Knox Presbyterian on June 13th conducted by two of Canada’s most treasured music educators, Ann Cooper Gay and composer, Errol Gay. CCOC members are regularly seen on stage at COC productions and is supported by various organizations including the Ontario Arts Council.

The 30 voice strong, Youth Chorus performs Opera Cabaret which marks the first performance of the CCOC in Burlington and will feature excerpts from Alice in Wonderland.


The CCOC is a major training ground for Canada’s future opera singers. And one of them is year is Burlington’s Lori Lewis, currently a student at Aldershot High School, a brilliant young talent whose musical roots are right here in our city and who will join an opera training programme this summer in Italy before he returns to this final year with the CCOC.

COCC The Hobbit Opera

The Hobbit – a Canadian Children’s Opera Company production.

Having spent over 30 years as a singer and conductor, it was a rare treat to hear and see this young man in Alice. The voice is a tenor’s treat, warm and rich with high notes beyond what one might expect for a tenor this young. But today’s opera and music theatre world demands more than a voice and Lori Lewis has the timing of a comic, the awareness of an actor and the gift of moving his audiences. As the Mad Hatter in Alice, Lori’s performance still lingers in my memory.

This year’s sell-out event was a Canadian composed, written and staged opera, Alice in Wonderland that premiered at the Enwave Theatre at Harbour Front in Toronto to 12, sold-out, standing ovation audiences.

More details at

Please forward this email to anyone you think would enjoy a taste of tomorrow’s Canadian musical stars.

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Regional police just bursting with pride - will show their SUV in the Toronto Pride Parade.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

June 6, 2015


Just two weeks away from PRIDE week in Toronto, the Halton Regional Police are jumping the gun and declared they are proud to celebrate our diverse LGBTQ+ community and are excited to support and participate in the Pride Parade with a newly decorated police SUV.

The Halton Regional Police Service has built strong partnerships with our LGBTQ+ communities within Halton and in particular, with Marcus Logan, Supervisor, LGBTQ+ Education and Support Services for the Positive Space Network in Halton as well as the Reach Out Centre for Kids (R.O.C.K.)

HRPS cruieser with rainbow stripesOn Sunday June 28, 2015, a significant number of service members will be attending the PRIDE parade to march alongside our decorated cruiser. We look forward to joining many other police and emergency services, coming together to support, encourage and promote inclusivity for our LGBTQ+ community.

In addition, our PRIDE cruiser will also be featured at the Halton pride event that is scheduled to take place on Saturday August 15, 2015 at Central Park in the City of Burlington.

“My long standing partnership and collaborative relationship with the Halton Regional Police Service is one that I am sincerely proud of. The PRIDE cruiser is more than a gesture of inclusion; this is a visible commitment to the ongoing diversity and inclusion work both our agencies are doing together in Halton.” says Logan. “I remember the first time we saw the pride flags flying across Halton, it was such a hopeful and moving sight. The PRIDE cruiser has evoked those feelings in me once again and I am sure that our LGBTQ+ youth and families and allies will experience the same when they see the PRIDE cruiser in their community.” – Logan

I always thought Burlington didn’t want to be like Toronto.  At least now we know where some of our tax dollars go,

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City purchases five acres near Snake Point and adds it to Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark system

News 100 blueBy Staff

June 6, 2015


Wildlife in Aldershot have more protected land to call home thanks to the City of Burlington which purchased 5 acres of natural lands on Snake Road, in the middle of the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System.

Cootes - walkway boardwalkThe property is adjacent to the Clappison Escarpment Woods Environmentally Sensitive Area and builds on this important east-west corridor of natural greenspace along the Niagara Escarpment. Last fall other Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System partners purchased 25 acres along this same corridor.

This 1.3km long corridor of greenspace provides unusual forested talus slopes and deeply incised sheltered creek valleys creating unique microclimates for a diversity of plants and animals. The Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System is one of Canada’s biodiversity hotspots, home to more than 1,500 species of plants and animals, including nearly one quarter of Canada’s wild plants. The ecopark system lands are owned and managed by ten local government and non-profit partners who have committed to work together to protect, connect and restore the extraordinary natural heritage in the ecopark system area.

Cootes Map May 2015“The protection of natural lands is an example of what can be achieved when we work together. It exemplifies the mission of the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System: to work together to protect, connect and restore natural lands between the Harbour and the Escarpment,” said Deborah Herbert, Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System Coordinator. “We are delighted at the progress made so far in permanently protecting natural lands in the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System and look forward to continuing this momentum.”

With this property acquisition, partners in the ecopark system have permanently protected more than 120 acres of ecologically significant land in the past two years, through purchase, donation and conservation easement.

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56 car/cyclist collisions in an 18 month period - police will be watching for poor driving and cycling habits.

News 100 redBy Staff

June 4, 2015


It’s bicycle season! Children and adults alike are out enjoying the Spring and Summer weather and the hard-core cyclists are populating the beautiful rural roads in Halton.

Those roads have not been accident free.

Cycling in Burlington

Burlington has created car free Sundays – occasions when the roads are blocked off to vehicular traffic.

Since January 2014, there have been 127 reports of Motor Vehicle Collisions involving bicycles in the Region of Halton, 56 of those collisions occurred in  Burlington. The vast majority of collisions involving cyclists are intersection related, followed by cyclists struck from behind when passing motorists fail to provide them enough room.

Bicycles are considered vehicles under the Highway Traffic Act and cyclists must abide by the same rules and regulations and drivers. Sharing the road is a responsibility we all must learn to make a priority.

Officers working in the City of Burlington will be making efforts from now until October, to reduce the number of collisions involving bicycles through awareness, education and enforcement.

Burlington is the only municipality in the Region that allows cyclists of any age to ride on most sidewalks throughout the City.

The City of Burlington allows cyclists of any age to ride on most sidewalks throughout the City. The exceptions to this are:

• Bicycle riding is prohibited on the sidewalks of both sides of Brant Street between Caroline Street and Lakeshore Road.
• Bicycle riding is also not permitted where there is an alternative off road pathway, Multi-Use Pathway or Bike path available that is adjacent to the sidewalk.
• Bicycle riders on a sidewalk must yield the right of way to any pedestrian and shall operate their bicycle in a safe manner.

All cyclists under the age of sixteen (18) years are required by law to wear a helmet while riding or operating a bicycle, and the chinstrap of the helmet must be securely fastened under the chin. (According to the Highway Traffic Act, 104 (2.1)

Dennison entering Burlington GWTA

Councillor Jack Dennison is a regular bike rider – known to take part in long trips.

Under the Highway Traffic Act, a police officer who finds any person contravening this Act or any municipal by-law regulating traffic while in charge of a bicycle may require that person to stop and identify themselves, just as drivers must do during a traffic stop.
There are rules of the road that apply to everyone – let’s make it safe for everyone.

That’s important now that the Mayor is riding his bike to work

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Call for public art ideas for a condominium project on Plains Road - $50,000 budget

News 100 greenBy Staff

June 4, 2015


There is $50,000 available to an Ontario based artist who thinks s/he can come up with a winning entry for a piece of public art that will be erected beside the new Jazz condominium project on Plains Road.

Jazz on Plains Road

To be known as the Jazz – the four storey condominium will have a piece of public art put in place.

The art will between the condominium and Maplehurst  school.

Deadline for filing an Expressions of Interest is Monday, July 13, 2015

The city is inviting artists to submit Expressions of Interest to create a permanent public artwork for the development site.

An artwork proposal is not requested at this time. Artist applications will be reviewed on the basis of artistic merit, professional qualifications and experience. Short-listed artists may be required to participate in an interview with staff and members of the community steering committee (in person or via teleconference).

The funds for the project came from the city: $25,000; $20,000 from BrantHaven the developer and $25,000 raised by the community.

Click here to view the full Expression of Interest document in a pdf format

Additional information about this project can be found on the Aldershot Village page

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Waterfront Trail gets a workout from Carpenter House supporters while the Greens plant new saplings.

News 100 greenBy Staff

June 1, 2015


Everyone was out on Saturday – we all stayed in on Sunday. Summer isn’’t ready to show its face yet.

Carpenter House exercise warm up

It was warm up time for the several hundred Carpenter Hospice volunteers and supporters before the took a long leisurely walk along the Waterfront Trail to the canal and back.

Carpentr House - walking the trail

The weather was as good as it gets – the Carpenter House supporters in the blue T-shirts were out in force.

The waterfront was the place to be on Saturday. The hundreds that support Carpenter House were out exercising and then walking the Waterfront Trail.

BG tree planting volunteers

While hundreds walked the Waterfront \Trail an additional 100 + planted new saplings in the environmentally fragile sand dunes.

BG tree planter

Carefully tamping down a new sapling one of the hundred + people who put in half a day ensures the roots have a chance to growth into the sand.

Close by just over 100 people dug away in the environmentally fragile sand dunes that make up a large part of the Beachway Park.

They were out there on their hands and knees making sure new saplings were firmly bedded. The Sunday gave them a solid soaking.

In the past residents in the park would be out with their pamphlets and petitions looking for support. None of that in site this Saturday. It seems as if they are resigned to what is going to eventually happen – or they are saving their energy for another day. For some the fight to keep their homes in the park will never end.

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Police hold contest for elementary school students - asking them to help name the new canine recruit.

News 100 blueBy Staff

June 1, 2015


Halton Police Getting Help from Halton Elementary Students to Name our New Canine Recruit

Halton Regional Police is looking forward to the addition of a sixth Canine team; this new four-legged recruit is due to join us in late summer.

Police service dog

Regional police are asking all the elementary students in Halton to take part in a contest to give this police pup a name.

The new Police Service Dog will join PSD Tracker, PSD Storm, PSD Parker, PSD Bishop and PSD Nero in their efforts to protect and serve the communities in Halton.

The retired Police Service Dogs are: Chase, Kingston, Sniper, Justice, Honour, Gage, Kruz, Baron, Titan, Juno and Valour.

The Regional police have invited all the elementary schools in Halton to take part in this name the K9 contest. They have until Friday June 5, 2015 to submit their chosen name.

The police are encouraging the children to be original and imaginative and to come up with one name entry for each school. A single syllable is preferred; however a maximum of two is accepted. A gender neutral name is also suggested.

How the community can get involved:

Beginning June 10, 2015, the community will have two ways in which to vote for their favorite name.

A hashtag campaign will be run on the @HaltonPolice and @HRPSK9 Twitter accounts and non-Twitter users can go to our website at

The name that collects the most hashtags and online votes will be the winning name which will be revealed on Monday June 22, 2015.

The school who nominated the winning name will receive a visit from Chief Tanner, the new K9 handler and new Police Service Dog when its training is completed in the Fall.

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What Burlingtonians told market researchers they liked and did not like about living here - what's not to like?

element_strategic_planBy Pepper Parr

June 1, 2015


Part 1 of a series.

Public opinion polling is an important tool used by politicians at every level to determine what people think and feel about an issue.
A critical issue for Burlingtonians, besides saying how well they feel they are serviced by the various city departments, – is how involved they feel they are in the decisions made by city council.

The data produced by the polling and the way it is being interpreted by city hall and the different members of council was significant enough for the Gazette to cover that story separately

As city council prepares to begin debating what the strategic Plan should be for the next four years they gather together as much data as they can.
One of the major research projects is polling the public for their opinions on how well their government is doing.

The good stuff will get trumpeted and the not so good gets a quick look – maybe a nod and then they move on.

Some of the questions asked of the public are so self-serving as to be painful – others elicit a lot of very useful information

Let’s take a detailed look at what the city learned about itself.

Forum Research interviewed 771 people. The same firm did the public research polling in 2011.
In a preface to the report Forum said:

With a population nearing 180,000, it is cherished for its small town feel, green city heritage, and a high quality of life. As well, its economic strength and sustainable growth has made it one of the most thriving City’s in Southern Ontario. Committed to open and transparent governance that delivers quality services to its residents, the City of Burlington hired Forum Research to conduct a Community Satisfaction survey to gather resident input for various topics and issues.
Specifically, the purpose of the 2015 Community Satisfaction survey was to:

1: Measure resident satisfaction and importance toward various services offered by the City of Burlington;
2: Measure perceptions toward quality of life improvement;
3: Determine key sources that respondents are using when seeking information about programs / events / festivals happening in the City; and
4: Determine awareness and attitude toward citizen engagement opportunities in Burlington.

The report produced was extensive and we will take you through as much as we can.

The crunch point for a number of people is how well the city is doing on community engagement – the numbers were not good but the current Mayor and a number of members of council somehow found a silver lining in the data.

This research was conducted via live agent Computer-Assisted-Telephone-Interviewing (CATI) of randomly selected residents in the City of Burlington. Respondents were called between 5:00pm and 9:00pm from February 5th to February 12th, 2015. A total of 771 interviews were completed, each approximately 18 minutes in length. The margin of error was +/-3.5, at the 95% confidence interval level.

Place to liveOverall Impression of Burlington as a Place to Live
When respondents were asked to rate the City of Burlington as a place to live, nearly all respondents (96%) said it was at least ‘good’. However, the majority of respondents (86%) said it was either ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’ (48% and 38%, respectively). Just over 1% of respondents said ‘very poor’. The overall impression of Burlington as a place to live amongst respondents was very positive, and consistent with findings in 2011, as well as in 2008.

Has quality of life in the City of Burlington changed in the past four years? Although the majority of respondents (54%) said quality of life has stayed the same in Burlington, 28% said that it has improved. Less than 10% of respondents said quality of life has worsened.

WEhat they like best about living in BurlingtonWhat Respondents Like Best about BurlQuality of life improvementington
Respondents were asked what they like best about living in the City of Burlington. Top mentions were: access to amenities and services / has everything we need (15%), sense of community / small town feel (13%), it’s safe / low crime rate (11%) and easy access to Toronto / central location (10%).

Agree with the visionRespondents’ Vision of Burlington
This question reads as if it was written to pull a positive response; what was there not to like in the question which asked: whether or not they agreed that the following statement is a good reflection of what the vision for Burlington should be: “A place where people, nature and businesses thrive”. Nearly all respondents (96%) agreed.  How could you disagree with it?

The politicians will be pulling the answer to this out of their bag of tricks for the next six months.

Part two of this series will focus on the delivery of specific services and the public satisfaction.

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It is going to cost $686 million to educate 62,000 students in the public school system - they might have to get by with fewer French language teachers.

News 100 redBy Walter Byj

May 29, 2105


Lucy Veerman (Superintendent of Business Services) presented, for approval on June 3rd, the 2015/16 Capital and Operating Budget.
Revenue was projected to be $686,712,959 and expenses of $674,843,009 which represent an increase of $8 million in revenue and $7 million in expenses over the current fiscal year.

In the upcoming year, the Halton board will have approximately 62,000 student which will represent a 1.2% increase overall which is being driven by increases in Oakville and Milton.

Burlington will experience a decrease of approximately 50 students next year. The 50 page long report will be voted on June 3rd. In the meantime the trustees have some homework to do.

With the budget discussions on the back burner until the trustees have digested all the data the board began to look at French Second Language Teacher Recruitment Primary Core French Update.

The Halton region is facing an uphill battle in hiring proficient French teachers for the French programs being offered in Halton. There continues to be an uptake in French Immersion enrolment and with the success of the Core French program, demand for qualified French teachers, in Halton and Ontario, continues to grow while the supply is limited.

While all the politicians will tell you that Halton area is a great place to live, new teachers face the high cost of living (housing) along with our current traffic that results in a number of them choosing other locations. Jeff Blackwell (Interim EO, Human Resources) did express some concern that despite their recruitment efforts, there might not be sufficient French teachers for the upcoming school year.

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Board of education wants to boost development charges by an additional $500 - residential growth in Milton and Oakville means more schools needed.

News 100 blueBy Walter Byj

May 28, 2014


The Halton District School Board wants to boost the development charge by an additional $500; explains that growth in Oakville and Mississauga will require additional school facilities.

The Board of Education 2014/2015 Long Term Accommodation Plan (LTAP) data that covers new capital initiatives from 2016/2017 to 2019/2020 indicates there are going to be more students than the current schools can handle.

The board administrators seen the need and are disappointed at the public response. Domenico Renzella (Manager of Planning), said there were a total of 1100 hits on the LTAP page on the board’s website which resulted in a 104 survey responses. This seems like a low number for the whole of Halton and begs the question, was the method of advising the community adequate?

Housing Alton community

Halton District School Board wants to add $500 to the development charge it levies for new home construction

Perhaps it was and the community is satisfied with the board. If not, then the communication needs to improve. The LTAP is a solid document and is the result of hard work by the staff and will proceed to the next stage, but the lingering question is, did the public have adequate input.

In part, due to high residential growth in Oakville and Milton and the need for additional schools, the board will be asked to pass an amendment to the current Education Development Charge; the board is being asked to increase the residential charge from $3380.00 per residential unit to $3969.00. For non-residential units, the proposed increase is from $.87 per square foot to $1.02.

Notice has been sent out that public input is requested at a June 3rd meeting to be held at the Halton District School Board at 7:00pm.

The Halton board, along with other boards in the province are legislated to have strategies that cover at least four years. 2015/2016 represents the final year for the current board strategy and Stuart Miller (Associate Director of Education) presented to the board for approval the 2015/2016 strategy. The strategy which encompasses students, staff and systems provided for a thoughtful discussion between Mr. Miller and the trustees.

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