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

BURLINGTON, ON

“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.

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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

BURLINGTON, ON

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

BURLINGTON, ON

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?

LAND USE PLANNING:
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.

RURAL LANDS & AGRICULTURE
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.

TRANSPORTATION:
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.

ENERGY:
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.

WATER:
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.

CLIMATE CHANGE:
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.

SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS & DEVELOPMENT:
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

BURLINGTON, ON

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:
www.hdsb.ca/Programs/Pages/FAQUpdatedHealthPhysicalEdCurriculum.aspx

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

News 100 blueBy Staff

June 9, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

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

BURLINGTON, ON

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

BURLINGTON, ON

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.

WHY IS THIS SO SPECIAL?

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 www.canadianchildrensopera.com

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

BURLINGTON, ON

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

BURLINGTON, ON

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

BURLINGTON, ON

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

BURLINGTON, ON

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

BURLINGTON, ON

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

BURLINGTON, ON

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 www.haltonpolice.ca.

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

BURLINGTON, ON

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

BURLINGTON, ON

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

BURLINGTON, ON

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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Changing the Channel on television set made in Korea in a plant whose energy came from a coal fired generator.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

May 28, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

It is easy to become complacent on a sunny spring day in Burlington. It is easy to ignore the cumulative effect that our lifestyle is having on the planet’s climate. But the TV news tell us about the destruction from increasing levels of tornado, storm and flash floods, as we saw recently in B.C. Then there is California experiencing its worst drought ever. It’s all so depressing that you just want to change the channel.

Coal burning plant China

Developing economies use coal because it is available and it is relatively cheap – we eventually all pay the price.

Blame China, Korea and India for their dirty industrialization policies, using cheap dirty coal to fire their economies and take them out of the dark ages and perhaps into a new one. It is ironic and sad that they started burning coal in a big way just as we learned how bad these carbon emission can be for the atmosphere. Of course we in North America, Australia and even Europe still burn coal (though Ontario has eliminated coal power plants). And you can change the channel but that TV was probably made in Korea.

In the last federal budget, Mr. Harper’s election budget, as every other one of his budgets, has ignored our ever increasing contribution to climate change. And we’re not alone. US presidential contenders, Australia’s dinosauric leader and even the leader of once progressive New Zealand have allowed the global commons to slip almost completely off the political page, as they pursue today’s issues without any consideration of tomorrow..

There are people who still think there is a debate about whether climate change is real, a phenomenon psychologists call being in an echo chamber. They have pre-conceived notions that the environment is a conspiracy, constructed by a ’60’s hippie crowd, to take away their freedom… to pollute – so they just listen to themselves. Why shouldn’t we live the way we always did? These folks are watching the ‘Leave it to Beaver’ channel or something on 100 Huntley Street.

Harper - fists

Making a point; speaking for Canadians – is he saying what we want him to say?

Canada’s environment minister pulled some imaginary emissions targets out of the air. But without a hint of a roadmap there is no hope of getting there – though perhaps that is the idea? Just like a New Year’s resolution, they’re soon to be forgotten the next day. So why even bother? And besides, these new numbers pale in comparison to the imaginary numbers the Americans and Europeans have generated.

The 21st annual United Nations Climate Change Conference takes place in Paris this coming December. But you can tune out because all expectations are that we’re looking at another failed conference. The only meaningful attempt at global climate cooperation, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, was critically wounded when GW Bush took the US, it’s chief architect and player, out of the deal only a couple of years later. After all, he has oil in his blood. And Canada’s own wanna-be-oil-man, our PM, whited-out Canada’s signature on Kyoto as soon as he had nailed his majority government.

So this year’s meeting is featuring something called ‘intended nationally determined contributions’ (INDC). These virtually meaningless theoretical voluntary commitments will be offered up by many of the 194 nations in the global climate change game. But since the national targets will be internationally unenforcible, no party will be held to account. So this meeting in the City of Love will not have much to do with love for the environment, or for our children’s children.

It is the ‘tragedy of the commons’ that brings all these nations together once a year, to keep alive the process that requires nothing short of re-genesis. Whether a common pasture, the oceans’ fisheries or the planet’s atmosphere, the ‘tragedy’ can only be abated or avoided through more governance, not less. And that was what Kyoto was all about. Today we have ISIS and an errant Russia gone rogue to add to the mix, so don’t expect any re-runs this year.

Canada’s excuse is that, despite being one of the highest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting nations per capita, we are still a relatively small part of the global GHG contribution. That is our echo chamber and we’re sticking to it. Canada rationalizes that doing almost nothing is just OK. Inertia has become our climate change strategy. And business as usual, despite occasional lip service to the contrary, prevails, at least at the federal level.

In fairness, the previous Liberal government did little more than sign onto Kyoto with its ambitious targets, which even they would have had trouble to attain – though the Ontario and Quebec governments did. So maybe targets are important. I’ve always believed that it is better to shoot for a high goal and fail, than to have never shot at all. I mean what kind of hockey player goes out on the ice without the prospect of scoring a slap shot on his/her mind?

Climate change - polar bears on flowsBut Canada’s hockey-author, our PM, is just not into the game when it comes to protecting the atmosphere. He was an ardent climate change denier in his opposition days. And his government has stayed pretty true to form on that count. So even if individual Canadians wanted to contribute to the fight against climate change they are leaderless.

If your national leader is missing in action on this matter, how does a nation mobilize? My New Zealand friend refers to sic critical lost years. We in Canada will have recorded a lost decade, perhaps it is time to change to change the channel.

Background links:

Climate Change Canada

World’s natural Disasters      More Disasters      Climate Change Echo     More Echo

100 Huntley Street      Conference      Tragedy of the Commons      New Zealand

 

Rivers-direct-into-camera1-173x300Ray 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.

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Ontario plans to increasing protections for Condo Owners; little late for the $4 million that was taken from a number of Burlington condo corporations

News 100 redBy Staff

May 27, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

Ontario is introducing new legislation to increase protections for condominium owners, improve how condo corporations are run, and ensure that condo boards are governed professionally.

Four stoey buildings are what Stephen Chen thought the Official Plan was all about - he reads about 17 and 22 stoey builldings and asks if this is the kind of "high rise jungle" citizens want.

One of the many condominiums in Burlington. The rental unit market is, to a large degree, made up of condo’s bought as investments and rented out.

The proposed Protecting Condominium Owners Act marks the first major overhaul of the province’s condominium laws in more than 16 years. It is based on more than 2,200 consultation submissions from condo owners, developers, managers and industry experts during a public review of the Condominium Act.

If passed, the proposed legislation would establish:

Clearer, more comprehensive rules to prevent owners from being surprised by unexpected costs after buying a newly-built condo
• A new Condominium Authority to provide quicker, lower-cost dispute resolution and help prevent common disputes
• Strong financial management rules for condo corporations to help prevent financial and organizational mismanagement
• Better governance requirements for condo boards, including training for condo directors
• Mandatory licensing and education requirements for condominium managers.

Brock Condo

The Brock, controversial when it was proposed, now fits nicely into its neighbourhood.

More than 1.3 million Ontarians live in condos – a number greater than the populations of Saskatchewan or Manitoba.
More than 50 per cent of new homes being built in Ontario are condos.
There are currently 700,000 condo units in Ontario, up from 270,000 units in 2001.  –  51,000 units are currently under construction.
The government received about 200 recommendations for updating the Condominium Act through its public consultation process.

Related story:

Condo management operator arrested for bilking condo corporations of $4 million

 

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School board doesn't give the city the answer it was looking for: Can schools hold PD days when elections are taking place?

News 100 redBy Walter Byj

May 27, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

For reasons that few journalists understand bureaucrats frequently put difficult or contentious items at the end of their agendas. Haltion Public School Director of Education Euale discussed with the board a resolution that was passed by the City of Burlington directing the Mayor to begin corresponding with Ted McMeekin, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to look into options for amendments to the Municipal Elections Act that allow the use of schools for election purposes while ensuring compliance with the Safe Schools Act.

The City of Burlington offered two options;

Moving Election Day to the last Saturday in October
Mandate all school boards to hold a professional development day on Election Day.

Every politician within a stone’s throw was brought into the picture.  And the trustees had comments as well.

Halton District School Board logoVice-Chair Amy Collard(Burlington) initiated the discussion by stating that PD days timing are a huge undertaking and suggested that if this was also applied to provincial and federal elections there could be chaos.
She was not a fan of Saturday voting as it would have a lower turnout and expressed safety concerns with the public walking thru schools in order to vote. She would not endorse the letter.

Andrea Grebenc (Burlington) followed by stating that Saturday might be a good day as Burlington has many who work outside the city and this would allow them time to vote.

Trustee Harvey-Hope (Oakville) followed by stating that the next municipal election would be Monday October 22nd and with the current lead time a PD day could be scheduled around that time. She did state that this would not solve a provincial/federal Election Day issue. Trustee Oliver (Oakville) followed by concurring with Harvey Hope and she expressed concerns on having provincial/federal elections on a Saturday.

Trustee Gray (Halton Hills) asked if there have been any major problems with voting taking place in schools; she also felt showcasing the voting process in the schools would a positive sign for our students.

Small click here - blackBoth Director Eaule and Assistant Director Miller stated that there were some concerns, but nothing major. Vice- Chair once again reiterated her concern for the safety of our students with strangers in our schools during this process.

This brought on further discussion of using other facilities such as church halls before using school property. Once again the issue of federal/provincial elections surfaced. And on it went. Chair Amos (Oakville) suggested the board put some thought behind this resolution and discuss at the next meeting. Not good enough for Vice-Chair Collard as it does not address the issue.

werv

Burlington Board of Education trustee Amy Collard isn’t keen on the idea of PD days being held so that schools can be used for election purposes.

So the board passed a motion (unanimously) directing the chair to meet with all the recipients of this letter to meet and discuss the options and concerns regarding polling stations at schools.

A letter from the city offering the Ministry some solution to avoid voting at schools during the school hours during municipal elections quickly escalated to federal/provincial elections, school safety and budgeting for security. And meetings with dozens of people.

What was odd is that the people who will be in the schools voting or often the parents on the children in the schools – has the matter of safety been blown out of proportion?

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Strategic Plan team listens to stakeholders - culture seemed to be the common thread in their thinking. No one asked for better roads.

Strategic Plan WorkbookBy Pepper Parr

May 26, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

It is starting out as a different Strategic Plan review exercise.

Each term of office city council reviews the Strategic Plan and fine tunes the document to determine if any changes are needed.

In the past – prior to 2010 – the Strategic Plan was a collection of pretty pictures and bland statements. The current Mayor had at that time a Chief of Staff who thought the Strategic Plan should actually mean something and after more than eleven half days of meetings the city came out with a strategic Plan that set out three priorities:

Vibrant Neighbourhoods
Prosperity
Excellence in government

StPlan flip charts

Ideas and points made floated around the room like confetti at a wedding when the 2011 Strategic Plan was crafted – expect this next team to be as active with the flip charts.

Those three, as limited as they were, amounted to the best council could do at that time. They were led by one of the best Strategic Plan facilitators in the country who asked them at their first meeting what they had as a BHAG – the room was silent.

BHAG – a Big Hairy Audacious Goal – the city didn’t have one and the best the team that was crafting the Strategic Plan could do was talk about the things they wanted the city they ran to be able to do and achieve.

Magi McKeowen Lancaster look at day's poster work

Making sense of all the notes and the different ideas left a lot on the table – crafting a strategic plan of this scale was a first time event for several members of council.

Be friendly, be prosperous and have decent government. At the session Tuesday the staff and members of council talking part in crafting the 2015-2018 plan heard that we aren’t as friendly as we would like to be and that the prosperity isn’t all that well distributed.

How good a government are they? They all got re-elected – that must mean something – that the majority of the people surveyed did not think their government listens to them says something else.

This Council now has a full term under their belts and they know a lot more about civic government than when they started crafting the 2011 – 2014 Strategic Plan.

The Tuesday session was listening to numerous stakeholders – all the way from the Cycling Committee to the Art Gallery of Burlington and more than a handful in between.

The trend in most of the thinking is that being a “smart” community making use of technology and ensuring there was a strong cultural base was the best way to reach the goal that everyone wanted – even though that goal was never spelled out.

Noack interview - city culture days 014

Culture was the brightest thread seen during the Strategic Plan session that listened to the Stakeholders.

The “automobile” and good roads and lower taxes didn’t get very many mentions. The tone was that if we can become more diverse, have a strong sense of cultural well-being people will want to move to Burlington and corporations will want to locate here – and if those two things can happen – we will be a prosperous community.

The delegations made were for the most part very solid. There were a few that said they got very short notice which suggests there are some snags to be worked out in the flow of things – but they crew setting out the Strategy for the next three years is off to a good start.

Taylor with Black smiling

Georgina Black of KPMG facilitated the 2011 Strategic Plan workshops and grew this council much more than they expected. Bringing her back would be a smart corporate move.

The delegations need some thought before they can be reported on in any depth – we will get back to you with that.

No BHAG yet – and this |Council may not yet have one on them. Time will tell that part of the story.

As yet there is no facilitator in place – staff report that they are negotiating with someone – they said that more than a month ago.

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