Art Gallery of Burlington offering courses to aid artists in marketing their work.

News 100 redBy Staff

December 22, 2014



Artists want to be artists – they aren’t bean counters – there is seldom enough money coming in to actually count.

For many – the art should speak for itself – so what’s to market.
Artists are seldom “business people” the really successful artists have managers who take care of that stuff.

Dewey plates

The art work sold at the Art Gallery earlier this month does well when it is displayed – the trick for artists is to get their work shown.

For those artists who are not at that rung on the success ladder the Art Gallery of Burlington is putting on a series of workshops to give artists a bit if a leg up.

If you are an artist looking to promote your work – Check out these AGB workshops to help increase your visibility to potential clients.

Your Digital Projects (4 weeks)
Tues Feb 3 – 24, 1-4 pm OR
Tues Apr 7-28, 1-4 pm

This four-week workshop will provide entrepreneurs a digital design skill set for creating practical documents using Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and maybe even some of your own images and fonts. After an introduction to our Adobe software’s essential design tools and panels we will begin to construct and customize layouts such as greeting cards, advertisements, posters. With the aid of an instructor, a Mac-lab and your creativity let’s digitally stitch your ideas and images together. For beginners or those with some experience. Instructor: Kevin Willson

Art in Action - blue chev

This work was shown during the Art in Action event last November.

Using Social Media (3 weeks)
Sun Feb 1-15, 1-4 pm OR
Wed Apr 1-15, 1-4 pm

This three week workshop provides a summary of the major developments in social media such as Facebook, YouTube, WordPress, and Twitter. We will examine how social media can be used to stay current about art trends and news, as well as how to self-promote and conduct business online. Participants will be introduced to a variety of social media environments and will gain hands-on experience with many of the leading social media applications. *This course requires active participation of students and a willingness to immerse in social media practices. Instructor: K. Jennifer Bedford

ArtinAction 2012 people

Burlington has a number of venues for the sale of art. Local artists are looking for ways to break out of this market.

Photographing Your Merchandise (4 weeks)
Tues Mar 3-31 (no class Mar 17), 1-4 pm

Students will learn and practice photography and lighting techniques of small objects
such as plants or pottery and larger subjects such as paintings or fashion. This is ideal
for crafts people and artisans who wish to expand the photographic portfolio of their
creations or collection for either print or web. Instructor: Jorj Takacs

We are advised by the AGB that there will be a fee for the courses – they were not able to advise us as to what the fee will actually be.

When we get the data we will pass it along to you.


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Nothing wrong with the Broken Hydro petition; the people behind it are the concern.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

December 11, 2014



One of the things the internet does is give those with something they want to say a much bigger megaphone.

Hydro costs have been a bugbear for Ontarians for some time – one of the Harris government’s gifts to us.

The natives are still biting back – another petition. The organizers of this one ask:


Hydro in Ontario has been broken for some time. It is essential that it be fixed – the solution is not yet clear,

“If you have a billing complaint with hydro one, please make sure you file a complaint with the Ombudsman as he begins his investigation into Hydro One. Click here to file your complaint.

“And if you haven’t yet, please make sure you share your concerns about Ontario’s broken hydro system directly with the Premier, the Minister of Energy, the Ontario Energy Board and Hydro One.

The problem with the petition is its source. Randy Hillier was part of the government that created the problem we have today. Is the petition part of his drive to at some point lead the Progressive Conservative party in Ontario? His views and solutions to some of the provinces problems would take Ontario back to where Mike Harris put us and to where Tim Hudak wanted to keep us.

The province is going through a profound change; the core of its economic engine is threatened and in some cases fractured. General Motors is moving its assembly lines to Mexico.

The province faces a huge demographic shift; we are now a much more demographically diversified people and we have a growing seniors’ population that we have to care for at considerable cost.

Adjusting to these changes is going to take political leadership that looks forward and not backwards. Randy Hillier is as backward looking as you can get.

The petition has merit – the guy behind it; questionable.

A Petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario
To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

Whereas, the cost of electricity in Ontario continues to escalate;

And Whereas, other charges associated with electricity, such as delivery, regulatory, global adjustment and debt retirement charges make electricity increasingly unaffordable;

And Whereas, these costs have imposed a significant hardship on ratepayers and driven industry and jobs out of Ontario;

We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

That the Premier and the Minister of Energy reduce the waste and duplication in Ontario’s electricity sector and other necessary steps to lower the cost of electricity so that Ontario’s electricity prices are competitive with other jurisdictions.

Sign here:

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Seniors now have Ambassador Connectors to guide them getting the information they need.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

December 11, 2014



In 2013 the Burlington Age-Friendly Seniors Council created an audit that identified the strengths, gaps and barriers for Burlington being a truly Age-Friendly City. One of the recommendations from the audit was the overwhelming need for seniors to be able to access information in ways that they needed it.

Everything from health services, recreation, nutrition, transportation, volunteer opportunities, tax information and much more. The issues were identified by seniors and caregivers in Burlington and throughout Halton.

What seniors consistently had difficulty with was being put on hold or told to press 1 for more information or 2 for something else. They wanted to be able to talk to someone – have a face to face encounter – and get the information and help they needed.

Senior connectors Volunteer Halton

Heather Thompson, on the far right with the first class of Senior Ambassador Connectors were celebrated earlier this week. Paul Benson and Glenna Cranston are in wheelchairs in the front row,

Heather Thompson, Manager of Corporate and Community Engagement at Community Development Halton thought the Burlington Age-Friendly Council could do something to improve the way information was given to seniors and family members, empowering them to make informed decisions. The need had been clearly identified; Thompson and her team had to find a way to meet it. They discovered a program called Senior Connectors at the Seniors Come Share Society in British Columbia.

They had a program that was delivering a service reaching seniors in a significant way.

Paul WHO in wheel chair - Senior

Paul Benson is a Senior Ambassador Connector because he has something to say and he wanted to learn so that he could help others.

That was all Volunteer Halton needed to established the Senior Ambassador Program, where senior volunteers promote and talk to other seniors about the benefits of volunteering as people age, keeping them active, engaged and connected to their communities while making a difference. The Senior Ambassador Program consists of an Advisory Committee made up of members from each of four municipalities in Halton; Halton Hills, Milton, Oakville and Burlington.

Thompson and her colleagues met on Tuesday to celebrate the accomplishments of 10 volunteers who have completed the education and training component for the Senior Ambassador Connector Program. Volunteer Halton, a program of Community Development Halton, has been the lead on this initiative, with the Burlington Age-Friendly Seniors Council as a collaborative partner, working together to improve communication, information and resources for seniors and their families.

A grant from the Ontario Seniors Secretariat covered the start-up costs.

Glenda Cranston Senior with dog

Glenna Cranston hasn’t let her wheelchair get in the way of being a volunteer who helps other seniors dig out the information they need to live full lives.

Acclaim Health, formerly known as VON, Victorian Order of Nurses, the Alzheimer’s Society, Burlington Public Library, Chartwell Retirement Residence, Community Care Access Centre – HNBH, ESAC – Region of Halton, Halton Geriatric Mental Health Outreach Program, Halton Regional Police Service – Salt, Seniors Help Line, Links2Care and Service Canada were among the organizations that came together to make this happen.

The training included: Mental health and aging, risk factors and where to go for help; Services available to seniors in Halton – housing, long-term care, supports to be able to live at home, volunteer visiting, support for caregivers, bereavement support, day programs for seniors with Alzheimer’s; Elder Abuse; Dementia and the importance of brain health; Eligibility for CPP, Old Age Security; Personal boundaries and volunteer opportunities

Monthly education sessions, case studies, and a continual update on new information will get done in 2015

Joan Gallagher-Bell, Ross Bell, Tracy Angus, Karen Phelps, Florence Riehl, Ellie Tyndall, Glenna Cranston and Carole Ward were part of the first set of Senior Ambassador Connectors.

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Regional government is setting up its Civic reference panel - looking for public input on future direction.

Regional Flag with Canada flagBy Pepper Parr

December 9, 2104



Marketing organizations and local governments want to know what you think.

In the case of the marketing types – we know their game – they want to sell us something.

With local government – the game isn`t the same. As far as they are concerned – you are already a customer and you aren`t going to the competition – because there isn`t any.

Regional aerial

Regional government offices at one end of the complex, Regional police at the other end.

Halton Region creates a panel of 36 people each year and runs a series of questions by the panel,

The Regional government holds a “civic lottery” Lottery to find 36 local residents to form a Citizens’ Reference Panel. Invitations to form the panel were mailed to residents across the Region last week. Panel members will help determine which issues, services and programs matter most to the people who live and work in Halton.

Their insights, along with input from the broader community, will help the newly elected Regional Council develop a strategic work plan and set out priorities for the next four-year term.

Calling the Regional Council now in place “newly elected” is true but a bit of a stretch – of the 21 members of Regional Council only three are new to that level of government.

Same people – they will probably arrive at the same conclusions.

Regional Carr explains how the panel works. “Every four years Council works in consultation with stakeholders to gather feedback on the areas that matter most to Halton residents and businesses.

“Members of the Citizens’ Reference Panel have a unique opportunity to hear directly from Halton staff and local experts. Armed with a solid understanding of Regional services and processes, Panelists play an invaluable role in helping to shape the future of Halton Region.”

A Civic Lottery uses random selection to bring together groups of residents, balanced for age, gender and geographical location, to represent their community. Last week 10,000 letters were delivered to randomly selected households in the City of Burlington, the Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Milton and the Town of Oakville. Eligible candidates who receive the invitation can put their name forward for the Civic Lottery. The invitation can also be transferred to other members of the household. The 36 Panelists will be randomly drawn from among the respondents on January 8, 2015. The deadline for eligible candidates to enter the Civic Lottery is January 7, 2015.

As part of this process, the Region has prepared a draft Strategic Action Plan to serve as a starting point. The Panel will meet over two full Saturdays on January 17 and January 31. The Panel will also meet on the evening of Wednesday, January 21 for a special Public Roundtable Meeting to which all Halton residents are invited.

Together, the Panelists will learn about the trends and pressures facing Halton Region as well as the services and programs the Regional government provides. As part of this process, the Region has prepared a draft Strategic Action Plan to serve as a starting point. The draft document will guide the discussion and assist in the development of specific, measurable actions that can be implemented over the next four years.

At the end of the process, working with expert facilitators, the Panelists will develop a series of informed recommendations to present to Regional Council.

Burlington uses a different approach – they put a survey on line and ask people to tell them what they like and don’t like in terms of the services the city provides for the tax money they pay.

Related article:

Burlington community survey

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Check the address of the email sender - you may find they are not who they say they are.

Crime 100By Pepper Parr

December 8, 2014

Your password has been entered incorrectly three times.

The message was concerning. Was the bank telling me that someone tried to get into my account electronically? It looked that way.

A message regarding “Password Disabled” has been sent to your account inbox

Secure. Click here To Enter Scotia on Line to avoid Access lock.

The moment you click on that link – you may as well have given them your wallet.

How would you know that? Look at the address the email came from. The word scotia is before the @. The words after the @ tell you that the domain name is not that of the bank.

The moment you click on that link – you may as well have given them your wallet.If the bank wants to communicate with you they will telephone or when there is a problem with your card the banking machine will keep the card and instruct you to go to a branch where they will issue another card.

On occasion you may get an email advising you that your withdrawal limit has been set at $1 – yes one dollar. They instruct you to go to a branch and get the problem resolved. It is very awkward when that $1 message shows up late Saturday evening – but it is better than having someone suck all your money out of the account.

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How do we make sense of the pipeline issue and understand why gas prices are now lower?

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

December 9, 2014



Hundreds of lines of news stories get written about pipe lines and the movement of oil across the country.

The National Energy Board sets the rules, the pipeline companies look for ways to make those rules less expensive to meet, the municipalities the pipelines run through worry about what an oil spill will mean to them and the average Joe wonders what it is all going to mean to them and look at the price of gas as they fill the tank.

Emily Ferguson, like most Ontarians, had no idea the pipeline was where it is.  Knowing what she had learned and with a geogrphy background she was motivasted.  Something had to be done.

Route of the 40 year old pipeline that is going to have its flow reversed and used to carry toxic oil instead of natural gas.

Why are oil prices so low now – what’s different? Something to do with supply and demand – so why do we need pipe lines to move oil when we already have enough?

It’s complex, confusing – but we know that if something goes wrong – we are going to have to pick up the tab.

Enbridge, the people who have a 40 year old pipeline that runs across the top of Burlington assures us that shutoff valves are not necessary to protect the creeks. The continuing conflict over more costly conditions being imposed on Line 9 by the National Energy Board is just one example of the push for greater municipal and provincial say about pipeline proposals including a massive cross-country project that would carry nearly four times more bitumen to export markets (video).

TransCanada’s Energy East proposal would convert a natural gas pipeline and extend it to carry 1.1 million barrels a day from the Alberta tar sands across northern and eastern Ontario to new tanker ports on the St Lawrence River and in New Brunswick. Like the two stalled pipeline routes across British Columbia, Energy East is facing a wall of opposition that now includes conditions imposed by Canada’s two largest provinces, and an environmental report that has now forced at least the temporary abandonment of the St Lawrence tanker terminal.

Where can we go to get an explanation we can understand.

Toxic oil was running through the streets of MAyflower Arkansas in a pipeline most people ddn't even know was in place.  Burlington groups want to make sure something like this doesn't happen here.

Toxic oil was running through the streets of Mayflower Arkansas in a pipeline most people didn’t even know was in place. Burlington groups want to make sure something like this doesn’t happen here.

The Council of Canadians has created a video – Energy East 101 – kind of neat and loaded with information that can be verified. Click on this link – give it a listen. It is worth the time.

We know that climate change is already here; understanding how we can best adapt to it is where we need the help.

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What do you want to pay for with your taxes? City hall wants to know.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 9, 2014



The City of Burlington is asking Burlington’s property owners, business owners and renters to complete an anonymous online survey to tell the city what services matter most.

“We have identified all of the services the city provides and have refocused our budgeting to show citizens the investments we are making into each service,” said Joan Ford, the city’s director of finance.

“We are looking to the community for input on the importance and value of services.”

OK - so you did not vote - you can still tell city hall what matters to you.Starting in 2015, the city is using a new system to budget and has 24 public services and 13 internal services to help provide efficient, effective services to the community. Those services include road and sidewalk maintenance, fire protection and transit.

“The City of Burlington must make thoughtful choices among competing priorities to deliver good service for good value,” said Mayor Rick Goldring. “Using our Insight Burlington online community panel, and an anonymous survey connected to that panel, we hope to hear more about the services people in Burlington value.”

The Insight Burlington survey will take from 10 to 15 minutes to complete.

It is available from now until December 19 at

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Trillium funds BurlingtonGreen for the next five years to the tune of $375,000

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

December 8, 2014



Ontario’s Trillium Foundation (OTF) has bailed out Burlington Green to the tune of $375,000 over a five year term.

Burlington Green Youth Network BEST

Burlington has led the effort to involve youth in environmental responsibility. The group is about to plant a couple of hundred trees.

BurlingtonGreen, a volunteer driven organization striving to make Burlington a healthier more environmentally responsible city, has achieved numerous goals. The OTF grant will support current programming and provide funding to introduce two innovative community-based environmental initiatives.

The grant will fund approximately 50 per cent of the costs to provide a wide range of important environmental programs, services and events.

“Investing in effective, solution focused organizations like BurlingtonGreen is an investment in our collective future. Since their inception in 2007, the agency has engaged thousands of youth, citizens and groups in environmental learning while providing an array of rewarding and impactful volunteer opportunities that have benefited the health of the local environment,” said Eleanor McMahon, MPP for Burlington.

BurlingtonGreen’s Board President Paul Haskins commented on how vital the funding support is in strengthening the agency’s capacity to plan more effectively and strategically for a more sustainable future.

“It has become an increasing challenge for our agency to keep up with the wide range of demands that come our way as pressures on the environment continue to escalate and the implications of climate change become more evident at the local level,” said Haskins.

BurlingtonGreen Executive Director Amy Schnur with the bike that was donated by the Mountain Equipment Co-op as art of the drive to increase votes for the Call of the Wild $100,000 contest.

BurlingtonGreen Executive Director Amy Schnur with the bike that was donated by the Mountain Equipment Co-op as art of the drive to increase votes for the Call of the Wild $100,000 contest.

Grant funds will be used to support the delivery of children and youth programming, to co-ordinate the biennial Youth Eco-Summit and Eco-Awards Celebration, continue their innovative Grow to Give food donation service, to continue to conduct the popular city-wide Clean Up event and habitat restoration project work.

New initiatives include collaborations to create a Burlington focused eco-footprint calculator to help citizens, schools, community groups, and businesses understand their current impacts on the environment, highlighting opportunities to realize positive measurable change as well as efforts to establish a Green Building Demonstration Project.

Burlington took a huge environmental hit in August when rain storms flooded parts of the city and significantly damaged hundreds of homes. Everyone involved in policy in this city now uses the phrase “not if but when” the next environmental disaster strikes but we don’t seem to get much beyond that phrase.

BurlingtonGreen has done a brilliant job of attracting environmental stars to the city and developing a sense of environmental responsibility in the hearts and minds of high school students. Is there a place, an opportunity for BurlingtonGreen to begin the conversation within the community as to how we might protect ourselves and prepare ourselves for that next disaster?

A tireless advocate for the environment - Amy Schnurr puts out the word every chance she gets - this time she wants your vote - and she isn't running for public office.  Why doesn't she run for city council.  Ward 6 would love her.

Amy Schnur, current executive director of BurlingtonGreen now has an opportunity to go further with the development of policy proposal and provide some much needed intellectual leadership.

Picking up the waste and planting new trees are a major part of being more environmentally responsible and BurlingtonGreen does this well. Now that they have funding in place for the next five years, something very few non-profit organizations are fortunate enough to get; the community can rightfully ask them to step up their game and provide some policy leadership – because it isn`t going to come from city hall, the region or the Conservation Authority.

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There are options to retirement homes or long term care when you can no longer live by yourself.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

December 5, 2014



Shelley Raymond had a problem – both her parents were at that point in their lives when they needed a level of care she had not had to provide in the past.

Her Mother’s Alzheimer’s was advanced and her Father’s dementia while stable, made life demanding for her.

Where do they live when they can no longer care for themselves? There is nothing comfortable about the choices people like Shelley Raymond have to make.

Co housing Seniors population

Seniors will represent more than 25% of the population of Burlington in the not too distant future.

More than 14% of Canada’s population is over 65 and that number is going to grow – the Baby Boomers are moving into retirement.

Long term care is one option. According the Ms Raymond, a senior today has a 7% chance of getting a long term care bed,

Cohousing Seniors population 2

Will Burlington be properly prepared for the growth in the seniors population?

Staying home, alone is the choice many make – but it doesn’t work. The isolation leads to depression; memory loss creates all kinds of problems – medication isn’t taken; repairs on the house just don’t get done; there are challenges with food preparation and falling down stairs or tripping over objects is very common.

Many, including Shelley Raymond believe the province faces a long term care crisis.

Seniors need some level of support for daily living activities – cooking, cleaning, shopping, transportation and medication reminders. Most seniors want to remain independent as long as possible; many try to remain independent and do themselves considerable harm both emotionally and financially.

Cohousing -  Family finances - have + last

A vital and pressing problem for a lot of families in Burlington.

Finding the level of care parents need is just one part of the problem – being able to pay for that care is the second part. The over-riding question is – how long will the money last?

What’s available in terms of care? Long term care facilities: $78 a day – $2400 a month for a private room; $56 a day for basic care – $1707 a month.

Cohousing -Chances of getting LT care bed

Depressing and scary – is this the best the province is going to be able to do?

Retirement homes come in at $3500 a month and can run up to $8000 a month with advanced services. These are now growth businesses. The Pearl at Pine is preparing to open seen, the six floor residence on Upper Middle Road next to the Tansley Woods community centre has been open for more than a year and Aldershot has a new retirement community.

The other options are staying in your home or moving in with family.

For those who choose to stay in their homes there is an additional issue and that is home care offered by the province’s Community Care Access Centre (CCAC). There are limits to the number of people they can handle – the number of senior’s that will need care is not as limited. There is a crunch coming.

There are literally tens of thousands of seniors facing this problem – and they are beginning to realize that the government is not going to solve their problem for them. People are coming up with good ideas – that’s what Shelly Raymond had to do when her parents needed care.

Remember that television program The Golden Girls – they are on the way back. Sharing accommodation was an entertaining idea – Shelley Raymond took it a couple of steps further and developed the idea of what she calls “co-housing”.

Cohousing Renovate or purpose build

Top house was renovated to become a cohouse. Bottom was purpose built to be a cohouse.

She created an organization called Solterra that works with people who want to be part of a co-housing property.  She looks for properties that can be used, works with architects to build the homes, markets them and then works with owners to get them set up with the services they want and need.  Much more information on their web site.  Tell Shelly you read about her in the Burlington Gazette.

People share the ownership of a building. Each resident has their own private space and share common space – kitchens, living room and perhaps gardens.

Co housing six unit set up

Floor plan for a six unit cohouse.

Typical “co-houses” have four to six owners. Each owner has title to their portion of the house which can be sold on the open market. They share the taxes, the heating and electricity, maintenance.

Cohousing Kitchen - purpose built - Brechin ON

The kitchen area of a cohouse in Brechin Ontario

There is also the potential to share household services as well – which many of the cohousing operations do. Someone comes in and does the cleaning; some have a person who comes in and does the cooking and meal preparation. There are various levels of service that are possible. The owners decide what they want and can afford.

Most of the units have small walk outs to a private yard in some cases or a common area in others. Parking, transportation – and what about pets.
The basic rule is usually no pets but the owners of the units are the “board of directors” and they can make any decision they like.  “One cohousing operation voted to try a pet for a short period of time” explained Raymond. Sally, the dog is now the star of that house and has put in twenty pounds.

The biggest part of co-housing is the “co” part – decisions are made in common and people fashion the kind of community they want.

Cohousing - Sample set up

Owners bring their own furniture and set up their home the way they want.

How does one know that cohousing will work for them? Most of the cohousing organizations have a three month trial period. You move in – you pay “rent” and try it out. If you find that the people are your kind of people and the level of service is what you need – then you can buy your share of the house.

What are the advantages of cohousing? Financially they are incredible. Heating, electricity, taxes, maintenance are all shared by the people living in the home. And those people are not residents – they are the owners. The difference is that they share the ownership of the property. The house is not a nursing home – it belongs to the people who live in it.

They are purchasing a percentage interest in a home, freehold that is individually saleable on the open market, registered on title as Tenants in Common. It is a private residence in which you maintain your privacy and control

The Burlington Community Foundation recently published their third Vital Signs report in which they said “There will be greater emphasis on shifting care to the community and supporting aging in place. Home Care and Community Support Service agencies will support more elderly people with complex and often inter-related health and social care needs to remain in or return to their homes, especially after a hospitalization.

The report suggested Coordinated Care as an approach that will bring together patients, teams of health professionals including specialists, community partners, to ensure not only a positive health outcome but also a quality of life outcome for patients.

If current trends persist, there will continue to be a shortage of long-term care beds and this will result in more seniors staying in their homes out of necessity rather than personal choice and need. The hope is that substantially more spaces in long-term care homes will be created so that waiting lists and wait durations get smaller rather than larger.

Co housing - Two house on one property

The layout, scope and size of a cohouse is limited only by the imagination of the developers ad the people who want to live in these homes.

Neighbourhood planning and building design will take into account the accessibility needs of seniors both in terms of mobility and to reduce the isolation of seniors. This will continue as part of the movement to develop age-friendly communities; something we have not heard very much from the Planning Department.

Co housing - The sales pitch

This is what cohousing is all about. It is one of the more imaginative and financially viable ideas to come along in some time.

And that is exactly where Shelly Raymond is going with her Solterra concept.

When she spoke recently in Burlington there were a number of women in the room who met with her after and asked – “How can we do this now?”

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Burlington Fire department does not want to visit your home during the Christmas holidays.

News 100 blueBy Staff

December 4, 2104



A house ablaze Christmas Day is terrifying – and it happens all too frequently. People are careless, the electrical system is overloaded or something gets bumped off the stove and there is a sudden fire.

The Burlington Fire Department is offering residents some simple fire and life safety tips that will keep families safe during the winter holiday season.

Fire - blazing

This is not where fire fighters want to be anytime – and certainly not during the holidays.

“This is the time of year when we see an increase in fire-related risks. Many people don’t realize that some decorating materials can be extremely flammable,” said Joe Wintar, chief fire prevention officer. “Consider opting for safer alternatives for lighting like battery operated candles.”

With the arrival of winter weather, residents are reminded to help keep homes and workplaces clear of snow.

“Having unrestricted access to your home in the event of an emergency is very important,” said Wintar. “Clearing snow buildup away from hydrants, house numbers as well as vents on the outside of your home are a just few ways to stay safe during heavy snowfall.”

A fire hydrant in front of one home may protect properties on either side of the street. Wintar says neighbours should consider sharing the responsibility of clearing the hydrant. Residents are also encouraged to ensure house numbers are visible, especially in the rural areas where there can be blowing snow. It’s always advisable to check in on elderly or disabled neighbours to help with snow removal.

Here are few simple tips to follow to keep your home winter-safe:

Ensure the fire hydrant is clearly visible for approaching emergency vehicles and maintain a one metre clearance for firefighter access.
Clear snow away from exterior doors and stairways to allow for a quick and safe emergency exit
Prevent snow and ice from gathering on outside meters to give access for emergency and utility workers.

High and medium-efficiency furnaces and water heaters have vents that exit the building through outside walls rather than through the roof. Keep vents clear, as carbon monoxide can build up inside your home if the vents are blocked.

A house on fire on christmas Day - a true tragedy.

A house on fire on Christmas Day – a true tragedy.

Note quite the Twelve Days of Christmas but certainly 12 Days of Holiday Fire Safety tips:

1. Water fresh trees daily.
2. Check all lights before decorating for wear and compatibility.
3. Make sure you have working smoke alarms.
4. Make sure you have working carbon monoxide (CO) alarms; As of Nov. 1, it’s the law.
5. Have, and practice, a fire escape plan so everyone knows how to get out safely.
6. Use extension cords wisely.
7. Give space heaters space, and keep them away from surfaces and anything that could catch fire.
8. Go flameless and use flameless candles.
9. Keep matches and lighters away from children.
10. Keep an eye on your cooking. Stay in the kitchen and pay attention.
11. Ask smokers to smoke outside.
12. Alcohol and fire don’t mix. If you’ve been drinking, avoid smoking and cooking.

The Burlington Fire department wants you and your family to have a happy, safe holiday. They expect Santa to be visiting your home – they do not want to have to visit your home.

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Government tightens day care over-sight - adds more funding as well.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 4, 2014



For those parents that use day care – the decisions that have to be made are both emotional and financial.

For many – the cost of day care is close to prohibitive – and then there is the quality of the day care.

News reports of children in day care actually dying – and it does happen – frighten parents. For those with limited incomes the choices are not all that good.

Day care - girl in pink

The joy of watching a child figuring something out – in a safe environment.

The province of Ontario has introduced legislation that will provide over sight for unlicensed day care.
The legislation will strengthen oversight of the province’s unlicensed child care sector and increase access to licensed child care options for families. In addition, it will allow the province to immediately shut down a child care provider when a child’s safety is at risk.

The Child Care Modernization Act also:

Gives the province the authority to issue administrative penalties of up to $100,000 per infraction by a child care provider.

Increases the maximum penalty for illegal offences under the act from $2,000 to $250,000.

Increases the number of children a licensed home-based child care provider can care for from five to six.

Clarifies what programs and activities are exempt from licensing requirements, including care provided by relatives, babysitters, nannies and camps that provide programs for school-age children.

Requires all private schools that care for more than five children under the age of four to be licensed as a child care centre.

Amends the Education Act to ensure school boards offer before- and after-school programs for 6 to12 year-olds where there is sufficient demand.

Day care - kids at table

Activities that keep them busy and learning at the same time. Is this the first step to getting into poker games?

The legislation builds on steps that Ontario has already taken to improve oversight of child care. This includes the creation of a dedicated enforcement team to investigate complaints against unlicensed providers, as well as an online searchable registry – paired with a toll-free number – to inquire about unlicensed child care violations.

It is another layer of government that will have to be paid for by the government. There was a time when there was pressure to create a Canada wide day care service with subsidies. The province has a service that started out costing $5 per day per child. Ontario has never flirted with that kind of an idea.

Ontario has 5,069 licensed child care centres in the province with a total capacity of 317,868 spaces; 166,429 of those spaces are in publicly funded schools.

Day care - kids out walking with rope

Keeping them safe and ensuring that they can be outside getting fresh air and exercise is the objective. Keeping the costs bearable is the challenge.

Starting in 2014-15, the government is investing an additional $33.6 million, over three years, to support the ongoing operation and modernization of the child care system –protecting the gains made through the previously announced investment of $346 million over four years.

Additional information:

Four steps to finding the right child care

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Master ice sculptor to be at Royal Botanical Gardens - not to be missed.

Event 100By Staff

December 2, 2014



Watch sculpting master Michael Muli use various techniques to transform ice into art at the Royal Botanical Gardens.

Ice sculptor - Muli - head art

A master ice sculptor will be at the Royal Botanical Gardens December 6thand 7th. No to be missed.

Michael is creating an enormous 3D tribute to the RBG Train Show for kids to climb aboard. You can drop by and get your picture taken with the kids.

Be sure to stop by and get your photo taken with the final piece before it disappears!

Event takes place from December 6 (1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.); December 7 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)


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Get a close look at how the police do their jobs and consider a career in policing.

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 28, 2014



Are you a teen in the Halton Region who would like to understand more about the Police, Ethnicity and Culture (PEACE) in our communities?

Are you interested in a career in policing?

Have you ever wondered what the police do, how they prevent and investigate crimes and what the different units within the service are responsible for?

Would you like to have hands-on practical experience of what it’s like to be a police officer?

HRPS crestIf you are 15 – 18 years old and the answers to these questions are yes, maybe you’d like to check out the Halton Regional Police PEACE program!

There are still spots available for the Winter Police Ethnic and Cultural Education (PEACE) program, which runs from 6:30 – 9:00 pm every Tuesday night for twelve weeks, starting January 20, 2015 and April 7, 2015.

Each week, students will be given presentations by the different units and bureaus within the police service, with the emphasis being on practical demonstration and involvement. As well, students will learn about cultural awareness and inclusion, how the police service strives to provide equitable service for all communities within our Region and how we are educating new Canadians and recent immigrants about policing in Canada.

You can find out more about this free, voluntary program by visiting our website and clicking on Diversity.

Just complete the application form on line and Email it to the Diversity Coordinator at the contact information on the form.


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Writers workshop to take place at Tansley Wood library.

Event 100By Staff

November 25, 2014



HiWire posterBring your pen and pad, come with some ideas or just ready to write.

Prompts will be provided, sharing is requested, but not mandatory.

All writing styles welcome, ages 12 and up.

This workshop is provided for FREE, but donations are accepted.

Thursday – Tansley Woods Library 7-9

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Anniversary of the death of Joseph Brant; died in 1807. Plans for a new museum should die before we celebrate the 210th anniversary of Brant's death.

News 100 blackBy Pepper Parr

November 24, 2014



He left us on this day in 1807. Sometime after his community transported his remains to Brantford where he is celebrated and revered.

Burlington was the location of the land grant Joseph Brant was given for his service to the British Army during the American Revolutionary wars.

Brant was always pretty good at getting grants from the British, but this Council probably isn’t going to hear his argument.

Joseph Brant was a part of making Canada what it is today – he just isn’t adequately recognized for his contribution.

The city is littered with the history of the land transfers that piece by piece transferred every acre from Joseph Brant to other people in Burlington. The Kerns family was the first to buy property from Brant – 200 acres on the east side of Brant Street.

Each August the city holds an event at the LaSalle Park and Joseph Brant does get a mention.

The Board of the Brant Museum on Lakeshore Road has elaborate plans for a modern display telling the Brant story and the copy of the original Brant home will be part of the structure but the public won’t be able to actually go into the building – that will be used for “administrative” purposes.

Brant Museum rendering

Architect’s rendering of what a “new” Joseph Brant Museum might look like. It would be built on an intersection that will become one of the busiest in the city when the re-developed hospital opens in 2018/19

Poor Joseph Brant – we keep short selling the man and his exceptionally significant achievements.

There is hope. Rick Wilson, the man who corrected a major error in historical fact when he pointed out that an historical sign on the Burlington Heights side of Burlington Bay was incorrect when it described a War of 1812 battle.

That error got corrected and there is now a piece of signage that sets that story straight. Wilson has some thoughts that he hopes will result in the creation and erection of a suitable statue of Brant.

There is hope.

Related stories:

Citizen finally gets the province to recognize their error.

Signage goes up telling the true story of the Burlington Races.



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Four exhibitions opened at the Art Gallery of Burlington; former pottery student named as winner of a prestigous award

theartsBy Pepper Parr

November 24, 2014



It was a four event opening at the Art Gallery of Burlington as well as the announcement that Christopher Reid Flock had won the very prestigious Winnifred Shantz ceramics award for his recent ceramic work.

Flock sculpture

Christopher Reid Flock’s award winning ceramic.

Flock has been reinterpreting the root of functional objects, focusing on aesthetic contrasts and parallels between Japanese and Canadian cultural history. By exploring scale, colour and the integration of mixed media, his works have evolved into free-form shapes and sculptural constructions that evoke recognizable and classic references of traditional Japanese Ikebana arrangements and kimono-wrapping while combining aspects of western industrialization.

The Clay & Glass presents these awards to practicing early career artists who have worked professionally for fewer than 10 years prior to the date of application. The Award is intended to allow the artists to undertake a period of independent research or other activities with the goal of advancing their artistic and professional practice at a key moment in the artist’s career.

Flock began working with clay when he was 23 at the then Burlington Arts Centre. He began his career as a student studying violin and came to the realization that clay was his medium and the violin became a thing of the past.
Denis Longchamps, Director of Program for the AGB was like a proud parent when he made the announcement at the opening Sunday afternoon.

The piece that won the award is on display at the former Fireside Gallery.

AGB skunk - Kuzyk

Debra Kuzyk’s ceramic skunk

The four openings included Scavengers, Scoundrels and Urban Vermin; a collection of Debra Kuzyk’s ceramic work; the photography of Janusz Wrobel; the monochromatic watercolour abstractions of Warren Hoyano and the display of the award winning Flock ceramic.

Janusz Wrobel was once loaned a camera and given a couple of rolls of film, the current state of that journey was on the walls of the AGB and called “An Aqueous State”

Wrobel Sweet water sea

Janusz Wrobel : “Sweet Water Sea”

Wrobel said he wasn’t trying to communicate anything specific with this exhibit but adds that he “came to believe that in our civilization, environmental predicaments could be effectively addressed only by a change of mindset by a vast majority of us.”

The locale for the photographs in this exhibit is Georgian Bay; the work of Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven are an admitted influence.

Warren Hoyano is on the other side of the Lee Chin Family Gallery.

The decision to put the two artists in the same gallery was a curatorial stretch on the part of AGB Director of Program, Dennis Longchamps and yet it works. Moving from the side of the room where Wrobel’s “Evening Amber” is displayed and crossing over – some 30 feet, to where Hoyano’s “Ache” is displayed is certainly a jump.

Not a startling one – but not one you expected to make. It isn’t jarring – but it does stretch you and that is part of what art is supposed to do for us.

In the “This Pocket of Deeds”, Hoyano, a self-taught artists, explores a known shape, the heart and overlaps it with script and gestural marks.

Hoyano - couple looking at wrap it up

One piece from the Warren Hoyano, “This Pocket of Deeds exhibit at the Art Gallery of Burlington

While love is often associated with the heart shape, Hoyano chose “Void” to engage the viewer on a different trajectory.

Both artists are on display at the AGB until January 25th.

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Valuable cost-saving tips to make homes more energy-efficient to be shared at sustainability event.

Event 100By Staff

November 19, 2014



No one ever went wrong talking about energy saving – especially when the temperature outside was double digit below and when our friends in Buffalo were getting more than two feet of snow.

Burlington’s Sustainable Development Committee will host a free event on Nov. 25 for homeowners to help reduce home energy costs.

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

Lynn Robichaud, the city’s senior sustainability coordinator takes part in almost every environmental event in the city – heading up the energy efficiency seminar later this month.

Takes place Tuesday, Nov. 25 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Burlington Public Library, Central Branch, at 2331 New St.

“Homeowners can learn valuable cost-saving tips to make their home more energy-efficient,” said Lynn Robichaud, the city’s senior sustainability coordinator. “Industry experts will be on hand to answer questions.”

Participating organizations include: Burlington Hydro, GreenVenture, Halton Region, Philips Lighting and Union Gas.

In 1990, the City of Burlington declared itself a Sustainable Development Community and set up the Sustainable Development Committee as an advisory body to City Council.

The role of this volunteer citizens’ committee, which includes members of the public and the business community, is to get people talking about sustainable development and to integrate economic and environmental planning at the municipal level.

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What will council set out to do during its next term of office? How soon will the public learn just how much the August flood is going to cost? Will it take a tax increase to get anything done?

backgrounder 100By Pepper Parr

November 18, 2014



We did elect them – well 34. 14 % of us did. In twelve days the newly elected council will get sworn in and determine what they want to achieve in the next four years.


Full team was returned to office.  Now they need to get down to work.  Long list of tasks and opportunities.

Now that the significant seven have all been returned to office – what do they have on their plates for the immediate future and perhaps for the length of their term of office which officially starts December 1 when they are all sworn in. A stronger sense of enthusiasm and drive would be nice

Mayor Goldring explained to us during the election campaign that his first term was a “cleanup/setup” operation. He didn’t explain what he had cleaned up and he hasn’t clarified yet what he means by “set up”. We wait to hear that story.
A partial list of the issues facing this Council includes:

Airpark aerial used by the city

The city now has a site plan application. Will they approve what has been submitted and provide a permit?

Air Park – what does the city want to do with it? The city now has a site plan application in hand.  Once it is reviewed they will decide if a permit should be issued.  Bu what is the long term plan for the air park and is the city going to be able to get the cooperation it needs from Rossi?

Beachway – while the homes in that part of the city – just to the west of Spencer Smith Park are not about to be expropriated – city hall is reported to be beavering away at plans and designs that will come forward at some point in this term of office. One wonders when the public will be invited to the planning

Downtown development: Always an issue in Burlington – which in itself is telling. When we get a downtown one wonders if we will recognize it.

Football from Norh end - both streets

Major development opportunity in the Old LAkeshore precinct. Huge developments underway. How will it all play out during this term of office.

Old Lakeshore precinct – sometime this year work will start on the Bridgewater project that is to consist of a 22 storey condo, a seven story condo and an eight storey hotel. The hotel was to be open for the Pan Am Games but that won’t happen. Is there any thinking being done as to what the long term vision is for the properties between Lakeshore Road and Old Lakeshore Road and that part of the waterfront?

Ranked voting: Mayor Goldring kind of liked that idea. Let’s see when he moves to bring it forward now that the province has said it is to be permitted. The only member of the current Council who would have been impacted by Ranked Voting would have been Blair Lancaster – but if you look at who placed second and third – Lancaster suddenly doesn’t look all that bad.

Size of Council. Sometime during this term of office the Regional government will realign its seats and probably give more to Milton. That “might” mean a change in the number of seats Burlington has on the Regional Council. Right now Burlington has seven regional seats which makes every City Council member a Regional Council member as well. Half of a Council member’s income is paid by the Region

Governance: The Council whose term ends the morning of December 1st developed a good approach to Governance and devoted one meeting every quarter to looking and talking about the way they were running the city. There was some very productive work done at those meetings – let’s hope they are continued.


City General Manager scott Stewart doesn't take this smile to hospital meetings.

Does current  City General Manager Scott Stewart have a change in the title on his business card in the works – or will the moving trucks be getting a call.  Scott has kept the city running for the past six months.


A new city manager and an overhaul of the senior ranks. The task of hiring a new city manager is underway. Burlington is seen as one of the better city’s to run and we will be a popular choice for some of the better people out there. The last time this city hired a new City Manager they brought in Jeff Fielding from London who was energetic and had more new projects going than staff could keep up with. His decision to head for what he thought were greener pastures in Calgary put a lot of new ideas into a tail spin and staff had to scramble to work without the drive and focus Fielding brought to everything he did.

He fortunately had Scott Stewart beside him to execute on most of the ideas. Stewart was in the running for the job of City Manager last time and has his hat in the ring this time around as well. If Stewart doesn’t get the nod this time – you can expect him to be making an appointment with a moving company. The guy has been holding the city together for the past three months.

Citizen Engagement. Engaging the community is theoretically what every city hall is supposed to do. Burlington didn’t do all that well on that level. When Cam Jackson asked the late John Boich and former Mayor Walter Mulkewich to lead research into just what was needed to better engage the people who pick up the tab, few expected the report that was produced. Shape Burlington shook up many at city hall who felt they were unfairly picked on which was quite telling.

Some of the senior staff at the time felt they knew what the public needed and that the public didn’t need to be engaged all that much.

When the Shape Burlington report was released there was some hope – but a closer look at the people who served on that committee was revealing – Paul Sharman and Blair Lancaster were on the Shape Burlington Committee and withdrew when they decided to run for office. They were certainly not champions of involving the public during their first term of office but both got re-elected.

Code of conduct: While the Mayor likes to talk about how well this Council functions – in truth it doesn’t function all that well. The Councillors for wards 1 and 2 can’t stand each other – which makes it awkward for them because they sit beside each other.
Councillor Taylor, because of his experience, has a vision of the city and where he thinks it should go that is quite different than that of his colleague ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison who has served more than 20 years on Council.

These two old timers (that’s intended as a compliment) never did share a common view of the city and the direction it should take. Taylor tends to work from strongly held principles – for Dennison its all about business.

One would like to think they would serve as the institutional memory for Council and while they both know where all the skeletons are buried they seldom put forward much in the way of long term thinking for the city. Councillor Taylor has done some excellent work with his Mt Nemo initiative but that has yet to bear any fruit. The city is spending $200,000 to determine if a heritage district is worthwhile.

Water Street property. This Council is going to have to make a decision soon on just what they will actually do with that stretch of property between St. Paul and Market Streets. They did vote in principal to sell the property subject to the price to be paid and some legal questions that have to be resolved.

Mike Swartz, spokesperson for the other two property owners, commissioned a report on the evolution of the property including the arrangements that were made for the building of the breakwater and the infill that was put in place to prevent natural erosion.
The report includes the Swartz version of the legal arguments that hound this issue. A concern for many is that the report Swartz commissioned will be used by Council to justify their original decision but because it is legal in nature the city’s solicitor might advise that it be kept under wraps. It would appear that the document is certainly germane to the issue – it should be made public if it informs the debate.

The citizen based Waterfront Committee has taken issue with how this matter has been handled and asked for an investigation on the way the city handled this issue. The Municipal Act allows for any person to request that an investigation be undertaken respecting whether a municipality, local board, or a committee of either, has complied with the closed meeting rules contained within section 239 of the Act. Municipalities are able to appoint an Investigator for the purpose of examining these closed meeting complaints.

A request was made last June – at this point the city Clerk’s office said they have yet to get the report. Might be a can of worms with this one

Taylor with Black smiling

Georgina Black got Burlington to the point where it produced the best Strategic Plan possible under the circumstances. Will Council now move forward with a plan that has both a vision and drive?

Strategic Plan. The city put together a pretty good Strategic Plan in 2011. It was limited mostly because of the inexperience of the Council at that time. Given that it will be the same tribe creating the Strategic Plan for the next four years we can expect a shorter time frame to get the document done and a better final document.

Georgina Black of KPMG led Council through the 11 half day exercise. She realized part way through the second session with a group that consisted of both senior staff and council that there wasn’t what she called a BHAG – a big hairy audacious goal – something the city wanted to do.

Burlington doesn’t have a vision; it doesn’t have a goal – what it does have is many groups with goals of their own but nothing that the city can get a grip on and work towards.

Mayor Goldring did make an effort in the first half of his first mandate to pull people together and figure out what we wanted to be when we grew up. That event was as close to a disaster as you can get without being called a failure. The Mayor never produced a report for an event that came in at $50,000. It was all private sector money.

Official Plan: A critical document for the city. Frequently a bit of a yawn – not this time. Burlingtonians are demanding that we have a plan that we stick to and not change at every developers whim
Outstanding Development: Eagle Heights in Aldershot; Tremaine and Dundas in the north east end and Upper Middle Road at Burloak in the east centre part of town. All three are major development opportunities.

Economic Development: Where are we on this file? What defines us? Have we created a niche – something are better at than others and are thus attractive to corporations looking for a new location. Have we gotten beyond that tired phrase: the best mid-sized city in Canada?

This is a lot to get done in a four year term. Does this Council have the drive, vision and fortitude to achieve any of it?


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Walter Mulkewich reviews Greg Sorbara's autobiography: a pragmatic practitioner of the political arts.

Comment 100By Walter Mulkewich

November 18th, 2014



Greg Sorbara, “The Battlefield of Ontario Politics, An Autobiography”, Dundurn Publishers, Toronto, 2014

Greg Sorbara was one of Ontario’s most influential provincial politicians for 27 years from 1985 to 2012: He was a significant cabinet minister in the governments of David Peterson and Dalton McGuinty, including Minster of Finance in the McGuinty government. As President of the Liberal Party of Ontario and Chair of three consecutive Liberal Party election campaign victories, he helped build a successful political machine in Ontario.

Sorbara-book-coverHe was in Burlington Monday night as part of his book tour and demonstrated with his straight and candid talk why he was successful and progressive politician.

Sorbara’s autobiography provides a useful summary of Ontario provincial political issues in the past quarter century. But, most significantly this book gives a candid view of how politicians play the political game to actually get things done.

It’s a good read for aspiring politicians, those who want to understated what happens in the back rooms of political parties, and for all of us to understand how politics works.

He gives an understandable account of how the Ontario Health Premium was developed even though his party campaigned on a promise of no tax increase. He explains the kind of deal making that made possible the York Subway expansion. He shows the kind of collaboration that was needed to develop a progressive Ontario Child benefit.

Sorbara deals with the reality of politics as team sport: His candidacy for the Ontario Liberal Party leadership in 1992 in which he came third. His private views on issues such as the harmonized HST and Meech Lake. An honest account of his resignation from the Cabinet over allegations with respect to the Royal Technologies affair, he was exonerated and returned to cabinet. Some interesting stories about candidate recruitment and how campaigns are organized

Perhaps his most controversial chapter is about the gas plant issues in Oakville and Mississauga that he calls “the gas plant myths”, which were “impervious to evidence”. He devoted much of his talk in Burlington to this topic and makes a convincing case, but his is a point of view some might challenge.

His last chapter is the most interesting. He reflects on the future. He expresses his concern about income inequality and he makes a strong case for a national Income Support System and tax reform, as well as federal investment in cities. He talks about the need to grow the economies of smaller cities outside the GTA.

Perhaps Sorbara’s most interesting and controversial suggestion is that, while the Catholic School system has served its purpose, Ontario is changing, and we should have one publicly funded educational system. But, this is a position he never championed in his time at Queens Park.

As the pragmatic practitioner of the political arts, he does not indicate how we might move the political system to accomplish a single public educational system or his other ideas in his last chapter. Maybe that is the point of his book, that there is a time and place for taking on issues.

waltermulkewichWalter Mulkewich is former Mayor of Burlington. He served from 1991 to 1997.  Prior to that he was a member of city Council in Burlington and Halton Regional Council.


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City delivers 25 different services; spent $134 million - which was up $2.1 million from previous year.

burlbudgetBy Pepper Parr

November 15, 2014



The 2015 budget will take a significantly different approach in the way it is presented to the public.  There will be a focus on Results Based Accountability with the service delivered more easily identified and understood.  Tax payers will see the service; its cost and who is responsible for delivering that service efficiently and effectively.  The first step in getting to that point was to create an inventory of services delivered to the public and to place them in categories for administrative purposes.  What the city actually does for you is set out below.

 What has city hall done for you lately? How about changing that to – what does city hall do for you anyway? And for that there is an answer.

City Hall BEST aerial

Just under 1000 people working full and part time deliver 25 different services to the public. The building they work in can no longer hold them all.

They call it their Portfolio of Services – which is a list of all the things the city does for you.  Burlington has what city hall calls an Insight Panel – which is a group of people who answer questions the city poses on the development of a service or a policy. It is a relatively small group of people but it does serve as a good sampling – it includes the balance needed to include gender, location, income, education, home owner or renter. The important part is the city doesn’t know and never will know who you are – they just know what you are.

The city used the Insight Panel to ask some questions about the portfolio of services. It wanted to know how well people understood the names given to the service and the description of the service.

The information being gathered is the first step towards Service Based Budgeting and Results Based Accountability.

The city will assign responsibility for the efficient and within budget delivery of each service and in time will ask the public if they want to continue spending a specific percentage of the budget and a set dollar amount on a specific service.

The following is a list of the services the city delivers.

Building Code Permit & Inspection Service
Development Review Service
Parks & Open Space Design & Development Service
Cultural Service
Organized Sport Support Service
Recreation Service
Council & Citizen Committee Service
Service Burlington
Cemetery Service
Parks & Open Space Maintenance Service
Roads & Sidewalk Maintenance Service
Street Lighting Service
Surface Water Drainage Service
Tree Management Service
Animal Control Service
By-Law Enforcement Service
Emergency Management Service
Fire Protection Service
Halton Court Service
Roads & Structures – Design & Construction Service
Parking Management Service
Traffic Operations Service
Transit Service
Transportation Planning Service
Winter Control Service

Each of these services will be put into a category – the city wanted to know what the panel thought about the six categories they had created and if a specific service should be in a particular category.

674 people were invited to take part in the survey; 385 started and 252 completed what was a long and at times complex survey.

In the report summary staff reported:

What We Learned
• Providing a visual reference, such as a picture, helps the public identify with a service; however, it is important the pictures truly represent the service to avoid confusion.
• The word “service” is over used and redundant.
• Descriptions must be clear and use easy-to-understand language.
• Categories must be well defined and their use must be clear.

What We Will Do
• Work with our service owners and communications partners to identify the appropriate pictures to associate with the service.
• Eliminate the word “service” from the service name.
• Work with our service owners to ensure clear and use easy-to-understand language is used in the descriptions and in other information related to the services.
• Use the comments from the panel to prompt discussion with service owners to refine our services.
• Revisit the category names and the categorization to refine based on feedback.

Of those who completed the survey the city wanted them to comment on the following:

Clarity: There were more favourable comments than unfavourable comments; that is, 70% were favourable and 30% were unfavourable. Of the favourable comments, 42% referred to the overall view being easy to follow.

Of the 30% unfavourable comments, the majority of these comments reflected the redundant use of the word “service” and the lack of clarity in the category names representing the services.

Format: There were more unfavourable comments than favourable comments; that is, 73% were unfavourable and 27% were favourable. Of the unfavourable comments, 28% related to the font size (e.g. being too small) and 20% referred to the need for the visual to be more appealing.

Completeness: There were only unfavourable comments related to completeness. The majority of the comments related to the catalogue not being complete with all services including reference to services provided by the Region of Halton.

Six categories were created with like services clustered together in a single category.
1) Design and Build; 2)Maintenance; 3)Roads and Transportation; 4)Leisure; 5)Local government support; 6) Public Safety and asked if a service belonged in a specific category.

Design & Build Category
Building Code Permit & Inspection Service: Over 70% of the respondents indicated the name and description were suitable. When asked to place the service into a category, over 75% of respondents selected the Design & Build category.

Development Review Service: Less than 50% of respondents indicated the name was suitable and slightly more than 55% of respondents indicated the description was suitable. When asked to place the service into a category, over 75% of respondents selected the Design & Build category.


This is a little park that the public may never see – staff thought the city should lease the land on the edge of the lake between Market and St. Paul streets – council has decided to sell it – but that’s not a done deal yet.

Parks & Open Space Design & Development Service: More than 60% of respondents indicated the name was suitable and slightly more than 55% of respondents indicated the description was suitable. When asked to place the service into a category, over 60% of respondents selected the Design & Build category.

Leisure Category
Cultural Service: Less than 50% of respondents indicated the name was suitable and less than 60% of respondents indicated the description was suitable. When asked to place the service into a category, over 75% of respondents selected the Leisure category. Seven respondents made specific comments that the Cultural Service name was too vague.

Organized Sport Support Service: Slightly less than 65% of respondents indicated the name was suitable and slightly more than 65% of respondents indicated the description was suitable. When asked to place the service into a category, over 90% of respondents selected the Leisure category.

Recreation Service: 75% of respondents indicated the name was suitable and more than 70% of respondents indicated the description was suitable. When asked to place the service into a category, over 80% of respondents selected the Leisure category.

Local Government Support Category
Council & Citizen Committee Service: Slightly less than 60% of respondents indicated the name was suitable and slightly less than 65% of respondents indicated the description was suitable. When asked to


Residents gather to review a budget that the city has basically already made up their mind about. Some want a more open, transparent budget process. Results Based Accountability could be a first step towards this happening.

place the service into a category, over 90% of respondents selected the Local Government Support category. Six respondents made comments indicating the service description should highlight citizen committees.

Service Burlington: Slightly less than 55% of respondents indicated the name was suitable and only 40% of respondents indicated the description was suitable. When asked to place the service into a category, over 75% of respondents selected the Local Government Support category. Thirteen respondents made specific comments indicating the name and description were too vague.

Maintenance Category
Cemetery Service: Over 70% of respondents indicated the name and description were suitable. When asked to place the service into a category, fewer than 40% of respondents selected the Maintenance category and almost 35% indicated that it did not fit into a category. Five respondents made comments indicating Cemetery Service does not fit well into a category.

Parks & Open Space Maintenance Service: Over 75% of respondents indicated the name and description were suitable. When asked to place the service into a category, over 75% of respondents selected the Maintenance category.


This is what we need to avoid.  If you clear the catch basin a couple of times the next few days we can avoid problems like this.

That’s certainly surface water drainage.

Roads & Sidewalk Maintenance Service: Over 75% of respondents indicated the name and description were suitable. When asked to place the service into a category, 60% of respondents selected the Maintenance category, while over 30% selected the Roads & Transportation category.

Street Lighting Service: Over 80% of respondents indicated the name and description were suitable. When asked to place the service into a category, 50% of respondents selected the Maintenance category while over 35% of respondents selected the Roads & Transportation category.

Surface Water Drainage Service: 75% of respondents indicated the name was suitable and over 70% of respondents indicated the description was suitable. When asked to place the service into a category, over 70% of respondents selected the Maintenance category. Three respondents made specific comments indicating the description was unclear.

Tree Management Service: Over 75% of respondents indicated the name and description were suitable. When asked to place the service into a category, over 85% of respondents selected the Maintenance category. Three respondents made specific comments indicating the name should be more descriptive and include the loose leaf pick-up program.

Public Safety Category:
Animal Control Service: Over 80% of respondents indicated the name was suitable and over 70% of respondents indicated the description was suitable. When asked to place the service into a category, approximately 50% of respondents selected the Public Safety category, while 25% of respondents felt it did not fit into a category and another 20% of respondents selected the Local Government Support category. Two respondents comments indicated the description was unclear and should be expanded and three respondents’ comments indicated it did not fit into a category.

Rain damage Applyby Line south of air park south gate

Barbara Sheldon look at 32 feet of landfill less than 50 feet from her kitchen window.  All dumped without any permits because an airport is federally regulated.  The city is not done with this issue.

That hill of land fill that no one really knows where it came from was done without an approved site plan.  The city had to go to court to force the Air Park owners to comply.  They have yet to do so.

By-Law Enforcement Service: Over 75% of respondents indicated the name was suitable and slightly less than 70% of respondents indicated the description was suitable. When asked to place the service into a category, less than 50% of respondents selected the Public Safety category, while over 25% of respondents selected the Local Government Support category. Three respondents’ comments indicated this service should be merged with Parking Management Service.

Emergency Management Service: Close to 75% of respondents indicated the name and description were suitable. When asked to place the service into a category, more than 70% of respondents selected the Public Safety category. Two respondents’ comments indicated the name was unclear.

Fire Protection Service: Over 85% of respondents indicated the name was suitable and almost 75% of respondents indicated that the description was suitable. When asked to place the service into a category, more than 90% of respondents selected the Public Safety category. Two respondents’ comments indicated the description was unclear.

Halton Court Service: Over 65% of respondents indicated the name and over 70% of respondents indicated the description was suitable. When asked to place the service into a category, less than 55% of respondents selected the Local Government Support category, while over 20% selected the Public Safety category and another 20% of respondents indicated it did not fit into a category. Two respondents’ comments indicated Halton Court Service did not fit into a category and three respondents’ comments indicated the name was vague.

Roads & Transportation Category:
Roads and Structures Design & Construction Service: Less than 70% of respondents indicated the name and description were suitable. When asked to place the service into a category, slightly less than 60% of respondents selected the Roads & Transportation category, while approximately 35% selected the Design & Build category.

Parking Management Service: Slightly over 80% of respondents indicated the name was suitable and slightly over 75% indicated the description was suitable. When asked to place the service into a category, over 60% of respondents selected the Roads & Transportation category. Three respondents’ comments indicated this service should be merged with By-Law & Enforcement Service.


Traffic barriers in place on LAkeshore for the Car Free Sunday last year were expensive and not really used.  The event was poorly attended.

Traffic barriers in place on LAkeshore for the Car Free Sunday last year were expensive and not really used. The event was poorly attended.  An opportunity for better traffic management.

Traffic Operations Service: Over 60% of respondents indicated the name and over 65% of respondents indicated the description was suitable. When asked to place the service into a category, over 65% of respondents selected the Roads & Transportation category, while 20% selected Public Safety category. Five respondents’ comments indicated the name was unclear.

Transit Service: Over 80% of respondents indicated the name and over 75% of respondents indicated the description was suitable. When asked to place the service into a category, slightly less than 85% of respondents selected the Roads & Transportation category.

Transportation Planning Service: Slightly less than 65% of respondents indicated the name and slightly less than 60% of respondents indicated the description was suitable. When asked to place the service into a category, more than 65% of respondents selected the Roads & Transportation category, while over 20% of respondents selected the Design & Build category. Four respondents’ comments indicated the description was unclear.

One of the more than 25 pieces of equipment out clearing the primary roads - today they were out at 3 am.

One of the more than 25 pieces of equipment out clearing the primary roads – on this day they were out at at 3 am.

Winter Control Service: Over 70% of respondents indicated the name and over 80% of respondents indicated the description was suitable. When asked to place the service into a category, less than 50% of respondents selected the Roads & Transportation category, while over 30% of respondents selected the Maintenance category. Seventeen respondent comments specifically indicated winter cannot be controlled.

This is what your city does for you. In a couple of months they will tell you how much of your money they want to pay for these services.

The budget that is presented for 2015 will be quite a bit different than what the public saw for 2014. The Gazette will report on all the changes.


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