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

BURLINGTON, ON

 

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

BURLINGTON, ON

 

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

BURLINGTON, ON.

 

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.

wer

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

BURLINGTON, ON

 

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

BURLINGTON, ON.

 

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.

Market-water-street-lots-Ziegler-drawing

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

wervbg

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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Downtowners get to hear what developer wants to do at Locust and Elgin across from city hall and the Performing Arts Centre.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 15, 2014

Burlington, ON

 

She does it differently.

We get to many, but not all, of the local meetings Council members hold and while they each have their own style, ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward does do something uniquely different. She listens, she coaxes answers out of people and – yes she still talks too much. But her people – and those that show up are very much her people; like her and they trust her.

Elgin - Locust re-developmentThursday evening the community meeting was about a condominium project basically across the street from the Performing Arts Centre wrapped around what is currently the Melodia restaurant. City hall is across another one of the three streets that border this project.

Zoning for the property is four storeys – and that zoning is specific to the property. The developer wants to add an additional floor and is asking for a change in the zoning and the Official Plan.
Meed Ward tends to personally oppose this kind of change in both zoning and the Official Plan. She argues that it is not the city’s job to make changes in zoning so that a developer can gain additional density and this a higher return on their investment.

Zoning on the property:

Permits high density residential, office & commercial uses
Permits density between 51 & 185 units per hectare
Retail uses required at grade
No surface parking permitted
Min. height 2 storeys – max. 4 storeys
Other Downtown Core sites allow up to 8 storey height through rezoning.
This area has a specific policy restricting height to 4 storeys to maintain compatibility with residential uses to the north and west

Meed Ward tends to look for trade-offs – in return for the additional density she looks for some form of contribution to the city. It can be public art or an amenity from which the public will benefit.

The fifth floor in the design is set back by about three metres on each side so that it doesn’t add to the perceived height of the building. What wasn’t stated at the meeting was that the mechanical equipment will be on top of the fifth floor; adding a bit more height.

The design is both traditional and classic in looks with detailing to be done in stone and brick. There will be bay windows in each unit with balconies built into the side of the structure and not hanging out on the side of the building.

Whenever a developer asks for a change local residents bring up the old setting a “precedent” argument and developers do try to exploit that when they are looking for a change in the rules.

City planner Bruce Krushelnicki tirelessly tells people that a change made in one location does not mean the same change is going to be permitted elsewhere. Planners ask one question: Is this a good plan and if, in their judgement it is good planning , they say so in their staff report. Have they made mistakes in the past? You bet your ‘bippy’ they have – the Ghent Street development was a serious mistake that we predict history will prove to have been wrong.

The re-development would be a fine addition to the downtown part of the city. Some suggested that allowing five stories would put pressure on the single storey and two storey dwellings in the neighbourhood – and it will. Many of the properties on Locust do not make economic use of the land they site on. Some of the properties are historic in nature and have to be preserved and the Heritage Advisory committee will be asked for an opinion on their historic credibility. One of the structures used on the property that was purchased by the developer used to house the Blair Lancaster Spa – while the building is on the Registry it is hard to see much in the way of historic value to the structure. It actually looks a little shabby.

The Core District group which keeps a close eye on development in their immediate neighbourhood and everything in the ward is good at getting the troops out to oppose projects. It would be a large step forward if they moved beyond just opposing and got into some serious thinking about what they want their neighbourhood to look like 5, 10 and 20 years out.

Greenberg Ken

Ken Greenberg told Burlingtonians in 2012 that they could have much more input if development proposals brought to the city if they organized.

Noted planner Ken Greenberg was in Burlington in April of 2012, as part of the Mayor’s Insight series of events – one of the better things the Mayor did in his first term of office. Greenberg explained that it is possible for the residents of a neighbourhood to set out their basic principles and invite any developer with plans to meet with them.

That is a part of what happened Thursday evening but that event was organized by the ward Councillor – the residents themselves need to take control.

The architect and the developer that met with the public Thursday evening appeared to be quite willing to accommodate the audience. They have yet to take an application to the planning department. They were convinced to meet with the residents in the community – about 50 people attended and they listened. They will now go back to their drawing boards, perhaps make some changes and submit their application. They have bought and paid for the property so they have sin in the game.

The developer said that they usually build one bedroom units but that real estate people in Burlington advised them that the market wanted two bedroom size units. One parking space for each unit and ¼ of a parking space for each unit to accommodate visitors.

Burlington aerial of city looking at Locust up

The proposed development is two blocks north of this intersection. Adding a fifth storey to the proposed building is not going to change the texture or feel of the neighbourhood.

When built – the structure will add dignity and grace to the streetscape. There really wasn`t much to complain about with this project. The chatter in the Gazette`s comments section based on a piece we published telling people about the meeting had these words: One said: “I do however like the design and the extra story is stepped back nicely and does not appear to be detrimental. If I’m a resident, I’d rather be near a high-quality 5 story building, than a cheapo 4 story building. Or a parking lot that a developer is sitting on in hopes of building something big for that matter. Hopefully they can get this done whether it happens to be 4 stories or 5 stories is not really the most important issue.”

Peter Rusin, a candidate for Mayor said:  “This site is actually quite suitable for an 8-storey redevelopment. There is no reason for any of the old Meed Ward crazy type of resistance; that negative philosophy increases taxes for everybody, keeps unwanted upward pressure on housing price increases for everyone, and kills downtown businesses that hope to rely on more people living in the core. I just hope the old Meed Ward mentality changes in the new term of council. I hope she does her math homework; this assignment is easy. Go to eight stories and encourage even more intensified projects; The future of Burlington depends on it.”

Another astute observer made this comment: “The main difference between Ms. Meed Ward’s point of view and Mr. Rusin’s is that the electorate supported the former and rejected the latter.
A principle of good planning is that we establish a plan and be extremely prudent about changing it. I don’t believe we owe developers the “right” to make a living.

This is a good development. It will be pricy but there will be quality sticking out of every corner. We will be lucky to get it. At least that is my take.

Related content:

What Ken Greenberg had to say about involving the community.
Initial response to the project was divided.

 

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First Regional Firearms and Weapons Amnesty a Success; 180 weapons turned in + 200 lbs of ammunition.

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 14, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Halton Regional Police have completed their month long firearms and weapons amnesty. It is evident our communities in Halton are that much safer due to the partnership between the community and police.
Between October 15 and November 15, 2014, Halton officers took in approximately 180 firearm were turned in, approximately 40 knives and 200 pounds of ammunition.

Police invited people with a firearm to turn it over to police who would destroy the weapons. When the announcement of the amnesty was made police cautioned anyone asking to have a weapon picked up to:

DO NOT BRING ANY WEAPONS OR FIREARMS TO A POLICE STATION.
DO NOT TRANSPORT FIREARMS OR WEAPONS IN YOUR VEHICLE.
DO NOT GREET OFFICERS AT THE DOOR WITH FIREARMS/WEAPONS.

Officers assigned to pick up the weapons“ said the announcement will provide police identification and will require a signature for destruction. They added that “This Amnesty is an opportunity for everyone to take part in removing these firearms and weapons from the community, reducing the risk of them falling into the hands of criminals.`

Today there are 180 fewer guns in the community.

The police make as much use of photo-ops as the politicians and have invited media to attend a photo opportunity at HRPS Headquarters, 1151 Bronte Rd, in the Town of Oakville on Monday November 17th at 10:00am in the Community Room.

Related story:

Police offer an amnesty to owners of guns and other weapons

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Why war? Part of the reason - Hate, intolerance, envy, authoritarian leadership, political polarization and military zealots.

opinionandcommentBy James Smith

November 13, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON

 

I remember this past Tuesday. I’m standing in my office staring at the framed memento, almost 100 years old. A thing I’ve looked at and read countless times; “In the Service of the Nation”. Standing silently I read the names of the engagements: Chateau Thierry, Soissons, Argonne. Argonne, where he received his Purple Heart. The Purple Heart is framed and kept by one of my brothers, now retired from the American Military.

Remembrance Day wreaths - dozens at cenotaphI remember. I remember being a child, holding the medal in my hand and can still feel how heavy & cold it was. How odd to touch the engraved name, the same name as me. I can now hear the TV downstairs again. Two minutes are up, all over, go back to what you were doing. Except I keep thinking of him, his easy smile, the shock of thick white hair, the soft voice that gave his birthplace away despite decades of life in Hell’s Kitchen. He’d never talk about the war, we kids would press but he’d cloud over and say something like “The park is no place to talk of such things”. The most he would ever say is that it was a quick way to become a REAL American.

I remember his funeral. I was just old enough to know that Vietnam was starting to go badly and my own childhood notion of going to America and joining the US Marines was starting to fade as a real goal. The flag draped coffin and the honour guard suddenly seemed very scary to a ten year old. I almost cried in shock when the rifle volleys sounded. The folded flag presented to my Grandmother made me think of what I had been seeing on the TV and the young men being killed in Vietnam.

I remember looking at the Empire State Building in the distance as we made our way back to the limousine and thinking as sad as I was, what would it be like if this was one of my cousins? What if it was my dad being lowered into the ground? I’ve sometimes thought back to that springtime week in New York as the time when I started to wonder about such things that Edwin Starr would sing about a few years later in his song WAR!

I remember the following November and learning to recite In Flanders Field (I still can by the way). At the Remembrance Day assembly not only did I recite John McCrae’s Poem but I introduced the speaker. A First World War Vet, a kindly and grandfatherly gentleman. He kept me on stage to hold his tin hat after I introduced him. The helmet had an odd slice in the back flange, I put my fingers in the hole as I nervously continued to stand on stage, the slash in the steel felt cold and jagged and I wondered about the hole.

Our guest spoke not about war, but about the peace that he hoped we had gained through the horror of three wars. He told us of his wish that peace would fill our days so us kids would never have to see any of the horror that he, and my late Grandfather did. As he concluded his address he took a piece of metal out of his pocket and said how luck he was to be speaking to us and had me hand him his helmet back. With this nasty chunk of metal in one hand and the helmet in the other, he neatly locked the shrapnel into the hole in the tin hat. The audience gasped. After the assembly at recess I was briefly a cool kid because I had held this army helmet, but I recall being somewhat confused by the experience. I still am.

I remember and honour those who’ve served and those who’ve died and respect those who still continue to wear the uniform. I think all Canadians are a little more mindful and respectful this November after the killing of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, and Corporal Nathan Cirillo. But war should never be an option until every other option has been tried and found wanting. Since the Korean War Canada has a proud history of Peace Keeping, a tradition that some would have us move away from. In fact we have very few remaining Peacekeepers in this world and I don’t like this trend. I think my grandfather and others of his generation would tend to agree with me.

Vimy Ridge it seems is more important than Baldwin and LaFontaine, MacDonald and Cartier, Laurier and the settling of the west or many other achievements. In their book WARRIOR NATION: REBRANDING CANADA IN AN AGE OF ANXIETY, Ian McKay and Jamie Swift talk about the “New Warriors” who are “looking to shift public opinion.” They speak of “zealots” who would “transform postwar Canada’s central myth-symbols. Peaceable kingdom. Just society. Multicultural tolerance. Reasoned public debate.” They would replace these traditions with “A warrior nation. Authoritarian leadership. Permanent political polarization.” Vimy Ridge it seems is more important than Baldwin and LaFontaine, MacDonald and Cartier, Laurier and the settling of the west or many other achievements.

A battle in a useless war is now being spoken of as what “made” Canada. This trend troubles Messrs McKay and Swift enough they’ve written a book, and this trend fills me with an empty feeling. The first world war was a war between Empires that was foolish, brutal, stupid and avoidable. As a colony Canada was involved because we had no choice. That men fought, and fought bravely should be remembered, but so should the fact that it wrecked and bankrupted Europe and set the table for Fascism and Stalinism and the further horror that was the second world war. That we should say our nation “came of age” because brave men killed other brave men in a war that we had no say in seems to me to the acme of jingoistic nostalgia for the good old days of Red Ensigns and Rule Britannia not the foundation of the amazing country we live in today.

I remember an all but forgotten monument on University Avenue in Toronto. You’ve likely seen it, just north of Queen Street, it’s the memorial dedicated to those who died in the Boer War. The monument features two heroic young Canadian lads marching off to do battle. As they look to the middle distance, they march in the direction a young Britannia is pointing to.

Whenever I see this monument it always make me think she’s saying: “Go! Go forth & defend the Empire good lads! Africa must be free of the evil Dutch farmers and safe for gold & diamond mines and to build Apartheid! GO my lads GO!” It is a lonely and sad monument that seems to be forgotten. Many men fought bravely for Queen and Empire, four Victoria Crosses were awarded to Canadians in that war. Given the precedent of this forgotten monument why not dust that off too and say Canada was born on the Veldt at Paardeberg rather than Vimy Ridge? I say it’s just as relevant.

Part of the reason. Hate. Intolerance. Envy. Authoritarian Leadership. Political Polarization. Military Zealots. I remember visiting Sarajevo. Back when it was still Yugoslavia and I stood on the spot where Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were assassinated. The spot where the match was struck that started the Great War, and it seemed so ordinary and almost shabby. How did such a quaint and diverse city, an Olympic host city later become a place of such carnage in the Bosnian war? I bet I know part of the reason. Hate. Intolerance. Envy. Authoritarian Leadership. Political Polarization. Military Zealots.

We need to rid our landscape of such things. That the military will always be a large part of Remembrance day goes without saying. But we need to always ensure that our Remembrance Day ceremonies do not become jingoistic celebrations of conflict. The reason we remember those who served and who have fallen is to also reflect on the Peace and what is left of our Freedoms due to the service and the sacrifice of so many. We lose these freedoms through our complacency and acceptance of what the generals want.

Just to let you in on a teeny weeny secret; since at least the time of the Sumerians, the Generals have never had enough toys, and they always want to play with their toys.

I remember in the 1970’s some wag saying “rather than declare war on a little country, we should declare Peace on all countries”. I’d like to suggest we take this idea up and start a new tradition for our next Canada Day; two minutes of silence while we think about what we can do for Peace in our homes, workplaces, cities, provinces and our country. Perhaps then we can build a world that’s more like what my Grandfather would have liked to think that his service helped to build.

 

 James Smith is an architectural technologist who dabbles in politics and has been described as an essayist. The above is his most recent pondering.

 

 

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Are we ready to put an end to the harrassment of the women we work with?

WERV

By Ray Rivers

November 13, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

 

Maybe it was that melodic voice wafting through my car speakers. Or maybe the sense of command and confidence projected by this smooth talk show host, drilling down to get at the nut of each issue. I loved listening to Jian Ghomeshi and his well-honed ‘Q’ show which had risen to the peak of radio fame just in time for his dramatic tumble into disgrace, having been exposed as a closet misogynist, a woman beater.

Ghomeshi the radio host always seemed such a gentle and sensitive individual. Who would have guessed ‘Norman Bates’ might be lurking somewhere in his imagination. It wasn’t stabbing in a shower, but it was dangerous spontaneous choking and beatings. It is hard to believe that the man who crafted such a passionate and sweet tribute to his father, on his passing, could have been harbouring such a monster within.

And it wasn’t just the dating, but also his overbearing management style, that did him in. He had become the face of CBC radio, he disgraced himself and fell, as Shakespeare would have applauded – by his own devices. In this case it was his own violent hand. Yet there was an upside to this tragic story since it encouraged so many victims to spring forward for an emancipation of sorts, a new freedom to come forward and tell all.

We were treated to exposés by Ghomeshi’s former dates, his staff and his bosses at CBC, as they described his tyrannical, obsessive and demanding management style. And those stories, no doubt, seemed to encourage a couple of NDP MP’s to complain to Justin Trudeau presumably about a couple of his Liberal MPs hitting on them – or hitting them – we don’t know. Trudeau immediately suspended them from his caucus pending an investigation, only to be verbally abused by an angry NDP leader Mulcair.

Perhaps Mulcair was annoyed that his caucus members had gone to Trudeau instead of to him. Or maybe he was trying to draw cover for an impending harassment case between one of his own MPs and an office staffer. Then out of the blue Sheila Copps comes forward to tell all about an attempted assault by an MP during her time on the Hill, and adding that she had also been raped some years earlier.

All this coming-out makes one wonder who is next, and when will enough be enough already. And what is wrong with our elected federal representatives that they have to act like mischievous children while pay them to represent us in Ottawa. That is not how I want to be represented, perhaps we need an age limit.

We know that bullying behaviour starts early in life. Some would argue that It is a natural phenomenon, development of a ‘pecking order’ sort of thing – in a dog-eat-dog world where the strong survive and weak just suffer – where the cave man goes out to kill the bear and his favourite squeeze stays home to raise the babies and tend to the fire.

We demand equity, equality of opportunity and respect for human dignity.But that isn’t how our modern great society works. We demand equity, equality of opportunity and respect for human dignity; and we expect personal freedom regardless of gender, physical size or economic endowment. So we have started teaching children not to bully, intimidate, or harass, from an early age. That is the way we want them to behave in a civilized community, even if their parents don’t.

I can recall being at an official function a few years ago when one of my bosses came over and surprised me by squeezing my arm until it hurt. I yelled ‘ouch’ thinking she must have wanted to get my attention – and that sure did the trick. I might have made a formal complaint instead of just brushing off the incident, but like so many others I was a little embarrassed, so let it pass.

I consider myself a tactile person. I believe there are times, especially when grief or joy are upon us, that we humans need the assurance of another’s touch. Life would be so incomplete were society to ban physical contact entirely in the name of preventing potential assault. But touching does have its limits – hurting someone, spontaneously choking or punching them about the head is a whole different kettle of worms.

‘Q’ will stay on the air with a new executive producer and a new host, but for me it’ll never be the same without the brilliant Ghomeshi. I remember back to a time when an extremely hostile guest, Billy Bob Thornton, tore into Jian for the way he was interviewing. Billy Bob backed him into a corner and humbled him into an embarrassing submission. No, it wasn’t violence, but Jian Ghomeshi must have got a good taste of what it was like to be on the receiving end of bullying. Too bad he didn’t learn from that experience.

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 against Cam Jackson in 1995, the year Mike Harris and the Common Sense Revolution swept the province.

Background links:

 

Ghomeshi Ghomeshi Scandal  Trudeau MPs   NDP Staffer 

Sheila Copps  Billy Bob Interview   Sexual Consent 

Bullying   Stop a Bully  What’s Harassment 

Dealing with Sexual Misconduct

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Two of Burlington's best to be recognized for their philanthropy which wasn't limited to donating money. Hard work and open hearts did it.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

November 12, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

 

Can someone really change the world with a giving heart?

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), will tell you people can, through the giving of one’s time, talent or treasure, make a significant difference.

Seven philanthropists and organizations from the AFP Golden Horseshoe Chapter will be recognized for their commitment to supporting and inspiring philanthropy in their communities through the 7th Annual National Philanthropy Day (NPD) awards presentation. Two of these outstanding people are Burlington.

National Philanthropy Day® is set aside to recognize, and pay tribute to the great contributions that philanthropy – and those people active in the philanthropic community – have made to our lives, our communities and our world. Each year, AFP honours individuals and groups who, through their hard work and dedication, have enhanced and inspired philanthropy locally and around the globe.

National Philanthropy Day is officially recognized by the Government of Canada’s National Philanthropy Day Act. This acknowledges the important role philanthropy plays in building strong communities, promoting civic engagement and improving the lives of Canadians through the work of caring individuals and charitable organizations.

“We are celebrating those who have made significant contributions to philanthropy,” explains Roger Ali, President of the AFP Golden Horseshoe Chapter. “Volunteers, donors and fundraisers, and their dedication to doing good works for charities and causes within our regions is an inspiration to all of us,” he adds. “And we are part of something much broader; we share this day with some 50,000 people in more than 100 communities and around the world who are paying tribute to National Philanthropy Day in many distinct ways. I extend congratulations to all the award winners!”

Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser – Susan Busby: Nominated By: Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation
Not only has Susan Busby’s personal giving been instrumental to the success of ensuring state-of-the-art health services for our community, her volunteer contributions are equally inspiring as an active and valued member of the Joseph Brant Hospital and the Foundation’s Boards. She served as Chair of Board of Directors, Volunteer Governor, member of the Ambassadors Council and Campaign Cabinet member, just to name a few.

Busby Susan

Susan Busby; recipient of the 2014 Association of Fundraising Professionals Outstanding Volunteer award.

 

Susan is a true champion of children and youth in need. As a former teacher and principal, Susan recognized the importance of student success and achievement and dedicated her time to build the Halton Learning Foundation. Her involvement with the Nelson Youth Centres provided tremendous leadership as a tireless advocate and fundraiser. Through annual fundraisers she helped raise the profile of the organization in the community to support children’s mental health programs.

Susan exemplifies the true spirit and best qualities of our community. Her leadership and passion for engaging others to give truly represents philanthropy and the positive impact others can make in their community.

Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser – Ron Foxcroft; Nominated by: Hillfield Strathallen College
Affectionately known as “Mr. Hamilton”, Ron Foxcroft is a passionate advocate for causes involving children and a healthy community, as well as a highly successful entrepreneur. In Ron’s words: “Building healthy bodies and minds makes for a stronger community. Recreation leads to a lifetime of better health, self-esteem, leadership and teamwork skills.”

Foxcroft Ron ACP

Ron Foxcroft; recipient of the 2014 Association of Fundraising Professionals Outstanding Volunteer award.

Ron has a steadfast belief that anything is possible with hard work, determination and the support of dedicated volunteers. He has an unwavering commitment to his philanthropy, the Hamilton/Burlington communities, and his untiring volunteerism. Ron never hesitates to use his broad network of connections and relationships to engage others and help him achieve his goals.

Over the years, he has been committed to a broad range of local causes including: McMaster University, St. Joseph’s Healthcare, Hillfield Strathallan College, Mohawk College, Hamilton Community Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters, McMasters Children’s Hospital and City Kidz, just to name a few. Countless individuals and organizations have benefitted from his volunteerism and he is an incredible inspiration and role model for leadership and generosity.

The above is what the Association of Fundraising professionals had to say about Busby and Foxcroft. Here’s the real skinny on those two. Susan Busby will tell you that she has a saint of a husband who has been beside her every step of the way – and then some. Marie, Ron Foxcroft’s wife will tell you that she gave up trying to keep up with Ron. She’s happy when he gets home.

You could not find two people more unlike each other than Foxcroft and Busby. Busby uses her skills as a high school principal to let people understand how something should get done. She has that remarkable ability to let people figure out what she has in mind – and then she helps them get it done.

During her various assignments at the hospital Busby had to deal with people who had very healthy egos; she dealt with those egos very effectively, a testament to her length of service to the hospital and the wider community.

Foxcroft is a little more aggressive. He twists arms – nicely – but you know your arm is being twisted and if you’ve been around Burlington at all – give in when he calls.

Ron is the kind of guy who can keep a secret but he does that a little differently than most of us. He tells you the secret and makes you promise not to pass it on – and then he holds you to that promise.
Mayor Goldring called Ron Foxcroft when he needed help with raising funds for Flood Disaster Relief. Foxcroft had cheques on the table before the end of the week and began going through his Rolodex and making calls.

He set an ambitious target and then did a number on the provincial government to ensure that they too came through with the commitment Burlington needed. MPP Ted McMeekin, responsible for the Flamborough to the west of us was also the Minister who would have to sign off on the funding.

McMeekin got the Foxcroft treatment for three solid days – the man may never be the same. But earlier this week the local MPP’s, Indira Nadoor-Harris and Eleanor McMahon announced that the provincial government would provide up to $3 million to Burlington on a two-for-one basis; for every dollar we raised the province would add two dollars.

Ron Foxcroft didn’t start making calls during the media event at which the announcement was made – but he was on the phone while driving home – a hands free phone.

Fund raising ends on Friday, the evening Foxcroft and Busby are to be recognized. Will Ron walk from table to table asking for cheques – and has he put the touch on Susan Busby yet?

Two fine people being recognized for decades of personal philanthropy – kudos to the two of them.

 

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Part 2 - The 38 of Burlington's finest lost in theFirst World War.

backgrounder 100By Mark Gillies

November 10, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

 

The first news about the loss of a soldier who lived in Burlington was a telegram from Ottawa.  That telegram would have come through the railway station that the men board the train to Toronto on.

Simmons standing

Edward Cooper Simmons

My grandfather served in that war.  He wasn’t one of the of the 300 men from Burlington but he was part of that cohort that volunteered to fight in the first Great War.  They believed it was the war that was going to end all wars.

Burlington was a town with a population of less than 2000; it sent more than 10% of its population off to fight a war that was on the other side of the world.  everyone in town knew some of these men.

Simmons form

The Army Death detail document tells us Private Simmons died if influenza and pneumonia in the field. We are given the name of the cemetery his remains were laid to rest in.

One of the those men was Edward Cooper Simmons.  He died in the field of influenza and pneumonia.

Buckingham name on small statue

Buckingham’s name is on a small cenotaph elsewhere. Shown is a closeup of the names. There is the name of a seaman as well.

Robert John Buckingham was killed in action on May 30th, 1918 at a battle south of Sancourt.  The Army death documentation says where he was buried.  That is all that exists in the way of documentation but along with his name there is a tombstone with Robert John Buckingham’s name on it.

Allen - news item

Some detail taken from the Gazette, which at the time was the newspaper for the town. Note the easy, almost colloquial style.

The Allen’s were a very prominent Burlington family.  They owned a hardware store that was on Brant Street – not far from where Burlingtonians will gather on Remembrance Day. Joseph E. Allen was one of the 38 that left for the war and did not return.  As a boy Joe surely walked by the place the cenotaph now stands.  The short news item in the Gazette told of an injury.  Allen later died of that injury.

Reese attetation

The phrase “sign-up” refers to this document which the Militia called an Attestation Paper.

Private Reese was Killed in Action in a battle at St. Julien on April 28, 1915. The documents tell us little more than that.  When men enlisted they completed what was known as an Attestation form that set out the information the government needed.  The department that handled all the paper work was called the Militia Department.

Robert Ray Reese was part of the Canadian Over-seas Expeditionary Force.  He signed an Oath that was then signed by the local magistrate.  His next of kin lived in Toronto.  Reese was single.  There was an Attestation form for every man that “signed-up”

Oaks form

There wasn’t a lot of information available on Private Albert Oakes.

Albert Oakes died in the same action as Private Reese. The battle at St. Julien took at least two men from Burlington.  They died days apart on the same battlefield.  All we have in the way of records is the Army death detail document.

Harry George Bracknell was at first thought to be missing.  The documentation says he was later presumed to be dead while fighting in a battle on Hill 60 in Belgium.  The document was signed by General Murray Maxwell.

Bracknell form

Harry George Bracknell – Very few details, missing, presumed dead.

Thousands of men were blown to piece by shells that landed close to where they were standing.  There were no remains to bury – just a document saying they had been lost.  All we have is a name on a cenotaph in Burlington.

 

 

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Citizens advising government in more than a token way: democracy appears to still have some life left in it.

Event 100By Pepper Parr

November 6, 2014

BURLINGTON. ON.

 

Local government works best when the people in the community play a meaningful role in the determination of what the tax rates should be and what the money raised is to be spent on.

Bureaucrats can`t do it all. In Burlington, many of the senior people don`t live in the city 0- their relationship with citizens is for the most part paper based and interactions at committee or Council meetings.

Burlington has a number of Advisory Committees – some work exceptionally well while others are a mess. This reporter has sat in on two Advisory Committee meetings where members were throwing copies of reports at each other.

 

Leblovic

Nicholas Leblovic. chair of the now sunset Waterfront Advisory committee.  Some Advisory Committees work well – others don’t.

The city has created Advisory Committees and shut them down before they completed a full term; that was the fate of WAPA – the Waterfront Access and Protection Advisory committee that was the starting point for that startling decision of the Council that will end its tem at the end of the month.

There are Advisory Committees that do superb work – better than staff people at city hall. And there are Advisory Committees that are poorly chaired.

Who sits on the Advisory Committees?

The city runs advertisements asking for people to submit an application; they are reviewed, people are interviewed and the selections announced. The decisions of city hall staff who make the recommendations then go to Council where they are approved. There have been occasions when Council decide not to approve a particular person – that kind of a decision gets made in a closed session.
Thus the final word on who sits on those Advisory Committees is made by Council – they want to keep the trouble makers out – or do they want to ensure they will get people who will support what Council wants to see done?

Do Council members put names forward?

There are people in this city that do not agree with some of the policies city Council puts forward and they would like to see some form or organized opposition in place.

While municipal governments do not follow provincial or federal party lines – there are people who would like to see something in the way of an organization that is not specific subject based.

 

Cut line

The Official waterfront advisory committee was shut down by the city – citizens thought it important enough to have a committee and formed something independent of city hall.

The Burlington Library is working with the city this year to put on an event that will let people learn more about the different advisory committees. The event will include committees that are not part of the civic administration.

The event: An Introduction to Boards and Committees, takes place on November 19th at the Central Library – starts at 7:00 pm. Oddly enough it doesn’t appear on the Library calendar and the city hasn’t said a word about it publicly. Disapointing.

The city has since advised that the event is n the city web site and that paid advertising is to appear soon.

While a large part of the city population lives south of the QEW – there are a lot of people north of that stretch of pavement. Why isn’t an event like this held in Alton in the recreational complex up there? This would give the people north of Dundas and those to the immediate south a chance to really participate.

Among the Boards and committees that will have representatives at the event are:

Burlington Accessibility Advisory Committee
Burlington Cycling Advisory Committee
Sustainable Development Advisory Committee
Heritage Burlington Advisory Committee
Senior’s Advisory Committee
Inclusivity Advisory Committee
Mundialization Committee
Committee of Adjustment
Downtown Parking Advisory Committee
Burlington Public Library Board
Burlington Museums Board
Doors Open Volunteer Organizing Committee
Canada Day Committee Organizing Committee
Christmas Parade Committee

Bfast Transit group logo

Bfast is an independent group that is well informed on transit matter. They delegate frequently.

We understand that BFast (Burlington For Accessible Sustainable Transit) will also have a table for people who want to be involved in transit issues.

 

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Greg Sorbara, former Ontario finance minister to speak about his new book at Central Library

Event 100

By Pepper Parr

November 6, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In his day he was one of the heavy hitters at Queen’s Park. He ran the elections that got Dalton McGuinty elected and re-elected. He had his own problems with an inquiry and was totally cleared. He experienced a little too much zealousness on the part of the police.

A new session of Engaging Ideas, proudly hosted by A Different Drummer Books and Burlington Public Library, features a guest renowned for his achievement and experience and for his insight into our political process:

Greg Sorbara in the Legislature

Greg Sorbara in the Legislature – always on his feet with the facts at his finger tips.

A senior figure in Ontario’s governance, as long-serving MPP, as Liberal Party president and as Minister of Finance, Greg Sorbara will take his audience through the many colourful challenges of his long and extraordinary career, and share the startling facts and opinions newly revealed in his candid and provocative memoir.

“This is a lovely, insightful book from one of modern Ontario’s most influential figures. It provides deep insight and personal reflections on both the policy process and the real-world of politics from a man who has shaped the evolution of Ontario as much as anyone in the past three decades.”: that’s how Matthew Mendelsohn, a former senior federal and provincial civil servant describes the book.

The Battlefield of Ontario Politics on November 17 at 7pm at Centennial Hall, Burlington Central Library, 2331 New Street.  Tickets are $10, available at A Different Drummer Books and at the Third Floor Information Desk at the Library.

Sorbara has been a member of the Ontario Liberal Party, and served as a member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1985 until 1995, and then from 2001 until 2012, most recently representing the riding of Vaughan. Sorbara served as the Minister of Finance in the Liberal government of Premier Dalton McGuinty from 2003 to 2007.

He differed with Premier David Petersen on the calling of the 200xx election – won his seat but the Liberals lost that election. He ran for the leadership of the party; lost to Lynn McLeod.
He was a supporter of Dalton McGuinty and did all the backroom thinking for each of the McGuinty elections.

He resigned on October 11, 2005, following a police investigation involving his family’s real estate development firm and was reinstated on May 23, 2006 after a judge ruled that there was no cause for including Sorbara’s name on a search warrant.

Greg-Sorbara

Greg Sorbara during the public investigation days. He was totally cleared of any wrong doing.

Sorbara chaired the party’s successful 2007 election campaign but announced on October 26, 2007 that he was leaving the cabinet to spend more time with his family but would continue as a backbench MPP.
On August 1, 2012, Sorbara announced that he was retiring from the legislature but would stay on as chair of the Liberal’s election campaign.

He will be at the Central Library on November 19th – should be a fine evening. The man has a great story to tell.

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Tell five people and ask them to also tell five people: Town Hall meeting for flood victims.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 3, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There are believed to be between 500 and 250 homes in Burlington that were damaged by that August 4th flood that were either uninsured or under insured.

The citizens of Burlington have pulled together and raised $800,000 to date with the expectation that the amount will grow to $1 million by the end of the fund raising campaign.

Now – time to begin putting that money to good use and helping the people whose homes were damaged.

BCF Town Hall meeting

 

The Burlington Community Foundation (BCF) is holding a Town Hall meeting on Tuesday November 4th to explain the process that is being used to take care of those who need financial help.

To some the forms and the process might be confusing. The BCF will be explaining the process and will also have people on hand to work directly with those who need help,

The BCF believes there are at least more than 100 people who need and are entitled to help. It is vital that these people be in touch with the BCF and if at all possible that they attend the Tuesday meeting.

When you read this , please tell at least five other people and ask those five people to tell five other people.

If you were flooded and are either uninsured or under insured please attend the November 4th meeting.

There are people who can help – but they need to be able to talk to you.

The meeting is taking place at the Seniors’ Centre on New Street between 7:00 and 9:00 pm.

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Halton Regional police ask: Keep your Thumbs Up and off the cell phone; keep your head up and on the road and Be Alert.

News 100 redBy Staff

November 1, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

 

The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) hold an Annual Crime Prevention Week campaign. This year, the Halton Regional Police Service is focusing on the increasing issue of Distracted Driving.

One only has to drive around to see the number of distracted drivers either talking on their cell phones or with their heads down, texting in their laps.

In 2013, distracted driving caused more deaths than impaired driving in Ontario. It is also a direct cause of 30-50 percent of collisions, yet people continue to ignore the warnings and choose to drive distracted putting not only their lives at risk but everyone around them.

Texting map

The markers on the map will show how many people in each community actually signed the pledge on line – were you one of them?

Halton Regional Police issued a total of 6,857 distracted driving tickets in 2013. From January through to October 2014, 6,916 tickets have been issued. Drivers are not getting the point.

Our “Thumbs Up Against Distracted Driving” campaign is an educational initiative that serves to create awareness and encourage dialogue between drivers of all ages in hopes of getting people to take the pledge to put the phone down.

High School Liaison officers will be engaging youths in high schools around the Region to break the habit and put their phones down while driving. A thumb band with the reminder “W82TXT” will be handed out to be worn.

The Regional police are going close to all out on this educational initiative and have set up a section of their web site where people can “take the pledge” not to text while driving.

They have created a map showing how many people in each community within the Region have taken the pledge.

thumb-bands1“We encourage people to go to our website and take the pledge. A friendly challenge between municipalities can be followed on the map. Take the HRPS Pledge and watch the numbers in your municipality grow” suggest the police.  Click here to take that pledge.

Let’s all help make Canada’s, more specifically, Halton’s roads the safest in the world!

Follow @HaltonPolice on Twitter and join the conversation using the following hashtags: #HRPSPledge and #W82TXT.

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Hamilton artist Simon Frank to design art installation for Mountainside Recreation Centre

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 31, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

 

Burlington, through its Public Art Program, has selected artist Simon Frank to install a public art piece at Mountainside Recreation Centre.

Frank was chosen by a community jury through the Public Art Program after the call for proposals produced a list of 32 submissions. The list was shortened to four artists: Karl Ciesluk from Ottawa, Ont., Simon Frank from Hamilton, Ont., Andrew Owen from Toronto, Ont. and Teresa Seaton from Burlington, Ont.

werc

werc

“Frank has a well-established, contemporary art practice that examines the relationship between people and the natural environment,” said the jury’s statement. “He was able to clearly communicate his understanding of the community that the public art will exist in.”

Frank, a poet, artist and rustic furniture-maker, will use community input, the design of Mountainside and the natural area to create his final plan. He will be on site this fall to explore the area and consult with the community as he begins the $25,000 project. Dates, times and locations for public input will be announced.

The public art piece will complement the Mountainside Recreation Centre revitalization project.
Simon Frank was born in 1968 in Glasgow, Scotland, but grew up in Dundas, Ont. Over the past 18 years, Frank has participated in solo and group exhibitions across Ontario, as well as exhibiting in special projects in Saskatoon, Italy and South Korea. He has received grants from both the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.

Simon Frank art Island

“Island” at the Dominic Agostino Centre

Frank has installed two permanent, public art works in Hamilton: “Island” at the Dominic Agostino Centre (2003) and “Concrete Poetry” on Locke Street (2011). He has also been a finalist in public art competitions in Waterloo and Surrey BC. Frank is a member of the Hamilton-based collective TH&B, which has produced site-specific projects in Hamilton, Kingston, Buffalo and New York.

Over the past eighteen years, Frank has participated in solo and group exhibitions across Ontario, as well as exhibiting in special projects in Saskatoon, Italy and South Korea. He has received grants from both the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council. Selected exhibitions and offsite projects include: “Take on Me”, Luminato Festival, Toronto (2014); “Romancing the Anthropocene”, Nuit Blanche, Toronto (2013); “View (from the escarpment)”, Art Gallery of Hamilton (2012); “The Tree Project”, McMichael Gallery, Kleinburg (2012); “Terra Incognito”, Rodman Hall, St Catharines (2009); “Earth Art”, Royal Botanical Gardens, Hamilton (2008); “Sketch for New Forest”, The Koffler Gallery, simon Frank - ConcretePoetryToronto (2007); “Wild Wood” Haliburton Forest Preserve, Haliburton (2007); “The Forest for the Trees” Galleria di Arte Contemporanea, La Spezia, Italy (2007); “Ice Follies 2006”, WKP Kennedy Gallery, North Bay (2006); “Gold Leaf” (performance), Art Gallery of Ontario (2005); “Shorelines”, MacLaren Art Centre, Barrie (2005); “Exchange-Changing the Landscape”, The Tree Museum (2004); “SPASM II”, Saskatoon (2004); “The Geumgang Nature Art Project”, Korea (2002); “CAFKA/Power to the People”, Kitchener (2002); “Zone 6B: Art in the Environment”, Hamilton (2000). Frank is also a member of the Hamilton-based collective TH&B, which has produced site-specific projects in Hamilton, Kingston, Toronto, Banff, Buffalo and New York.

The mission of the City of Burlington’s Public Art Program is to enhance the quality of life in Burlington through art. The program strives to bring artwork by both established and emerging artists throughout Burlington.

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Devil’s Night at Edy Roy Glass Gallery.

theartsBy Lana Kamarić 

October 28, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

Thursday evening, at the Edy Roy Glass Gallery on Spring Garden Road, just in behind the Royal Botanical Gardens, True Visage, a specialty show for Devil’s Night will take place.

True Visage will be featuring a new body of work from Salt, a glass artist from Austin Texas, which will include his glass pipe work as well as a series of masks – appropriate for the occasion.

In these new pieces, Salt examines the masks we wear through the faces we put on for the world. He plays with the concept in both a literal and figurative sense, postulating that while we do not necessarily cover our faces with a latex shield we do tend to smile even when we are not happy.

Kim Zii glass + Edy Roy Gallery

Latex masks with removable glass eyeballs are part of the True Visage exhibit at the Edy Roy Faller this Thursday

Salt has collaborated with special effects artist Kim Zii to create latex masks with removable glass eyeballs. Zii is also an experienced glass and make-up artist from Philadelphia.

In addition to the masks Salt will also be displaying a series of glass pipes. As a functional piece he raises the question of whether the pipe is disguised as art or if the art is disguised as a pipe. Salt describes the pipe as a product of its environment – much like the faces we wear for the world.

Salt’s work often resembles monsters and strange creatures. True Visage was created specifically for this Halloween geared show. Edy Roy Glass Gallery strives to promote original and unique pieces. Creative director, Kyle Brooke, focuses on pieces from “artists that have something to say and have a voice.”

While the gallery does display traditional soft glass work, they also work to showcase the contemporary glass movement that involves borosilicate glass work, which tends to be more functional. Brooke provided some insight into this movement, specifically that of glass pipe art. She describes this art form as a subculture much like graffiti and tattoo art.

Kim Zii glass pipes

Kim Zit’s glass pipes are a subculture much like graffiti and tattoo art

Brooke also mentioned how this art form has become its own industry and gathered many followers. Artists do events all over the world and are often regarded as “rockstars” in their field. Brooke discovered this movement in the US and is working to bring more of it to Canadian audiences.

The opening night will be this Thursday October 30th. A private showing will take place for the sponsors on the opening night, however the show will be open to the public from 6 – 10pm.

The Edy Roy Glass Gallery exhibits are very popular and draw a lot of people for their specialty shows.  Line ups are not uncommon – it is expected to be quite the event. In the spirit of Halloween the event will be a masquerade, so bring your mask.

Kamaric H&S 1Lana Kamarić is a contemporary surrealist artist and a self-taught painter. Born in Sarajevo, Bosnia Lana arrived in Canada at the age of five. After moving to Burlington she attended Robert Bateman High school and graduated from York University with a degree in Art History. Lana has worked with the Museums of Burlington, the Art Gallery of Burlington and is currently working as a full-time artist. Lana was a participant in Cirque, the 2014 No Vacancy installation event in the Village Square. Her last show was Art in the Workplace at McMaster Innovation Park.

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Citizen wants city hall staff to help flood victims fill in forms that are complex and confusing

opinionandcommentBy James Smith

October 24, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Red Cross identified more than 200 homes that were severely damaged.  The city asked the Burlington Community Foundation to take on the task of raising funds from within the community and handle the processing of flood relief applications.  Aid is available only to the people who had no insurance or were under insured.  Many of those who did not have insurance were unable to buy insurance because of past flood claims. To date there are something in the order of 40 applications received by the Community Foundation.  James Smith knows of at least five people who do not understand the forms and believes there are others.  He wants the city to lend a hand.

Open Letter

Mr. Patrick Moyle, Interim City Manager, The City of Burlington

As you may know I am a candidate for Burlington’s Ward 5 in Monday’s municipal election but this is not a political message. Rather this is an urgent request to the civic administration, on behalf of the many people who have had their lives and property damaged by the storm of August 4th.

The City of Burlington needs to help, advise and offer direction on the process of how to make claim through the Ontario Disaster Relief Plan (ODRAP) that the Burlington Community Foundation (BCF) is managing.

The process is almost unknown to a large number of residents who had their homes damaged by the events of August 4th. The form, as developed by the BCF may be thorough, but is only readily available from the BCF’s website, and many seniors do not readily have access to the internet, the form is also 13 pages long and fairly complex. Add to these hurdles, the process is not well understood by many.

Here’s what thousands of residents of Burlington’s South East need, and need right away:

Train a handful of City Staff, (15-25) from any department, and familiarized these City Staff members with the ODRAP process, the forms produced by the Burlington Community Foundation (BCF) and how to fill out the forms and how to deal with questions from those who will apply.

Organize staff into teams to hold small scale meetings in a large number of locations across the South East of the City, in City facilities but also in non traditional locations such as: Places of Worship, Stores, Restaurants, Work Places and even private residences.

Use whatever means possible to let those who’ve been damaged know about when and where meeting will take place. Do not simply rely on Advertising in local media and city websites and social media. Old school methods should include flyers, door-to door canvas, mobile signs and posters on utility poles.

Organize meetings that are part information and part working meetings with greeters directing the public to either information or intake workers.

These meetings need to be working meetings that focus on having these members of city staff to assist residents fill out & and accept forms and documentation, and follow-up with those who apply or who need further information.

As a city, I feel we owe this kind of effort, at the very least, to those in our community who have been damaged by the events of August 4th.

I trust you agree with me and will find the resources to accomplish this without delay or direction from council because; it is the right thing to do.

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Transit gets discussed at community meeting: Hlusko and Brown didn't like what they heard

News 100 redBy Staff

October 23, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

 

Burlington Transit held a community meeting on proposed changes to Route 6 at Tansley Woods Community Centre Tuesday evening. It was not a smash hit.

Two seasoned observers, one, the best mind on transit matters the city has and Jennifer Hlusko, a current school board trustee running for the ward six council seat who always has a command of the numbers on anything she talks about,  comment on the event.

Hlusko had this to say:

“I attended the City’s presentation last night about the options that City Staff are considering to response to the complaints received from Headon Forest Drive residents. I had attended the Council meetings last May to listen to the residents’ delegations.

Hlusko H&S

Jennifer Hlusko

I was astounded by what I witnessed last night. The City hired a Consultant to handle this transit complaint. Dennis Fletcher, of Steer Davies Gleave, told the audience that over the past few months he has read every email and complaint received from the public. Mr. Fletcher said he was “brought in by the City to be an objective third party”.

In addition to the Consultant, I counted 8 City staff members, 23 residents, 3 Ward 6 Councillor candidates and 1 Ward 6 trustee candidate. Significantly, in the room was Mike Spicer, Director of Burlington Transit. John Duncan, Burlington Transit, was quick to tell me staff weren’t being paid overtime. That wasn’t my objection (although I expect they’ll be given lieu time).

My objection was that the City once again hired a Consultant to handle a file that staff should handle. There was nothing that Mr. Fletcher provided last night that staff couldn’t have handled themselves. Halton District School Board staff frequently lead very contentious public meetings dealing with boundary reviews and school closures.

Mr. Fletcher presented the 3 options (that were already available online), took questions from the audience then invited them to review the charts up close. Neither he nor staff would provide ridership data. To me, that is the crux of the matter. Mr. Fletcher did take the opportunity to diss the school board for downloading the problem of transporting Notre Dame Catholic SS students onto the City of Burlington. How many students ride the bus? If the route is changed to Option #1, has the administration at Notre Dame been asked how that would likely impact ridership? Does the City project that changing to Option #1 will increase ridership by providing direct access to the Supercentre mall, MMRobinson HS, the No Frills plaza, etc.? Can these projections be shared with the public?

Mr. Fletcher said that City Staff will prepare a report that will go to Council in December. If I am elected to be the Ward 6 Councillor, rest assured that I will advocate for data based decisions. Furthermore, that data is shared with the public. I will highlight for the public every time the City considers hiring a Consultant and how much it will cost taxpayers.

I invite residents to attend the repeat performance on Thu Oct 23rd at Tansley Woods. While the notice states the meeting start time is 6pm, the presentation does not begin until 6:30pm.

Here are the three options. Please note they did not include an option along Upland Drive that meets the criteria of providing transit to the Burlington Supercentre mall, but would consider it if the public requested it. Then when an audience member asked if they would consider Deer Run, Mr. Fletcher said, “We are not looking for streets to put a bus on or to take a bus off. We are trying to provide a service to meet GO times.”

The Hlusko comments were published by Hlusko on “blog” she writes almost daily

Doug Brown and Susan Lewis look over a 1982 copy of the city's bus schedule.

Doug Brown and Susan Lewis look over a 1982 copy of the city’s bus schedule.

Doug Brown, chair of Bfast a transit advocacy group based in Burlington made the following comments about the meeting.

Residents do not have the right to remove service from transit users. Not wanting a bus or bus stop near your home is not a reasonable request. It is strange that Council has been so receptive to moving bus stops and bus routes away from complaining homeowners, while showing no interest in the hundreds of complaints from bus users who have lost service during the arbitrary changes resulting from the “Interim Plan” of September 2012, and the wholesale route and schedule changes of November 3, 2013. Does Council have a bias against transit using citizens?

Transit routes should be determined by user needs and through a long-term, comprehensive transit plan. The November 03, 2013 changes did not meet these criteria.

Any changes made to Route 6 should be based on user needs and views – not on unreasonable requests from non-users to remove service.

Further transit changes should be based on a long-term well researched transit plan. Since the 2010-11 Transit Master Plan was aborted by the City in January 2011, there has been no long-term transit plan. The current Transportation Master Plan would have been a good opportunity to develop a long-term integrated transportation plan that would have included a balanced strategy for moving people via car, transit, cycling, or on foot. This opportunity is being missed.

In an interview the day after the meeting Doug Brown said: “To put it mildly, not a good public meeting.
The meeting had a number of non-transit using residents of lower Headon Forest and Pine Meadow. There were some transit users there, even though the Tansley Woods meeting site has hourly bus service – not great accessibility if you can’t drive there.

The meeting began with a talk by a paid facilitator who spent 25 minutes describing the three options that Burlington Transit has developed for the north end of Route 6.

I was the first person to speak from the audience, but was stopped half a minute into my statement by the facilitator and Mike Spicer on the grounds that only comments on the posted three options were allowed. Before being cut-off, I was interrupted several times by some rude residents with comments such as “have you heard the buses.”

I did at least get my first point out that no resident had the right to prevent transit from using their street, and that streets were public right of ways.

Empty buses was the theme of most of the non-transit using residents. Four transit users did speak, but it was very apparent that the NIMBY-minded residents had created a very anti-transit mood. The first transit user to speak felt compelled to apologize for his comments since they contradicted the presented empty bus claims.

Nonetheless, there were several good observations from the few transit users there. One lady recommended going back to the old #6 route which serviced Burlington Mall as well as the Fortinos plaza.

Anyway, back to my comments which I was prevented from delivering. My first point was that residents did not have the right to remove bus stops or buses from their streets. The second issue is that Transit routes should be determined by user needs and through a long-term, comprehensive transit plan. Good transit planning cannot be achieved by the ad hoc and time constrained options presented at the meeting.

My third point was that any changes made to Route 6 should be based on user needs and views – not on unreasonable requests from non-users to remove service. This is a key issue as staff and council seem to pay much more attention to non-transit users views than the needs of transit users.

And my fourth point was that further transit changes should be based on a long-term well researched transit plan. I noted that the City’s 2014 Capital Budget document shows no funding allocation for a transit plan until 2018 meaning that for the next 4 years, any transit measures will be ad hoc and not based on a sound long-term plan.

The three options presented by the City were far too limited as they ignored the central issue of lack of funding and poor service levels (one- hour headways on the north east routes). Staff has apparently ruled out any alternative that would cost more money – which rules out many potential options for better service.

A final comment – I have been attending many public meetings over a very long time. Last night was the first time I was stopped from speaking.

 

 

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Flood victims struggle to get the information and help they need - bureaucrats talk a lot, politicians get caught in the middle.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

October 22, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A second citizens group has been set up to deal with the flooding problems that resulted from that August 4th flood. This group, known as Halton Residents Against Sewage Backup and Flooding (HRASBF) has been a little more active at the social media level and expects at some point that it will join forces with Burlington Sewer Back-up Victims Coalition (BSBVC)

Differentiating between the two groups can be confusing so we will call them the “Victims” and the “Advocates”.

Flood rally Oct  25-14The “advocates” once met with ward five council member Paul Sharman at what he wanted to call a private meeting held in a church. It was clear at that meeting that the residents had more information than the council member who admitted that his problem was getting information out of the Regional level of government.

The “advocates have called a public meeting for Friday, October 24th – from 4:30 to 6:30 at Fortino’s Plaza

Sharman, to his credit, got the Region to do a study of flooding in July – before the August storm because there had been persistent flooding in his ward.
The flooding issue has come close to defining Sharman’s re-election campaign.
Jack Dennison, who is running for re-election in ward four claimed he had inspected more than 1000 basements.

Peter Rusin, who is running for the office of Mayor said Mayor Goldring’s absence from last night’s meeting was less than encouraging. If I was elected Mayor, it would not be resident groups requesting meetings or pressuring for solutions. I would set up a series of workshops involving Regional Engineers, City Engineers, the Conservation Authority and possibly include representatives from both the federal government and the insurance industry.

“My goal” said Rusin, ” would be to fast track and prioritize future remediation measures such as capital projects for new storm water ponds, greater erosion control, flow capacity consideration and emergency plan measures.”

This is a difficult time for those involved in the politics of wards four and five – there are some terribly painful human tragedies going on in hundreds of households but there isn’t all that much a candidate can actually do.

The need for the flood victims is financial but unless a home owner was uninsured or under insured they will not benefit from the funds being raised by citizens through the Burlington Community Foundation.

The frustration in the community comes through in the email chatter – some of which we set out below.

The email chatter:

Christine Thorpe

Christina Thorpe, spokesperson for the Halton Residents Against Sewage Backup and Flooding (HRASBF) speaking at a community meeting at Glad Tidings church on Guelph Line.

From: Harnum, Jim [mailto:Jim.Harnum@halton.ca]
Sent: October 21, 2014 9:25 AM
To: ‘Christina Thorpe’
Subject: RE: Flood
Hi Christina,
Sorry for the delay in responding, I was out at an offsite meeting yesterday. The magnitude of this storm was unprecedented in Halton Region, in the past we had only experienced 20 to 30 flood claims per year vs 3000 in one week. We did not have this pamphlet prepared until after we received feedback from the community, that more information was required.
With respect to your second point, please accept my apologies for the impression that I was downplaying the impact or magnitude. I was merely stating the facts concerning the dilution factor of the water in basements. I recognize that this has been a terrible event for thousands of individuals and by no means was I downplaying the impacts. A storm of this magnitude would have overwhelmed any system in Canada as sanitary sewers are not designed to handle rain water, especially at these magnitudes.
Jim Harnum, CET, MBA Commissioner, Public Works

Thorpe responds:

From: Christina Thorpe [mailto:christinaathorpe@gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, October 19, 2014 10:16 PM
To: Harnum, Jim
Subject: Re: Flood
Hello Jim,
With all due respect, hard copies should have been mailed or hand delivered to each resident within a few days of the backups/flooding with the ex-gratia grants. Does the region realize how many residents were blindsided by restoration companies and contractors? These restoration companies charged exorbitant fees and did not do proper clean up and residents were none the wiser, and according to the Ontario Environment Safety Network (OESN), every home they visited in Burlington was inadequately cleaned and tested.
I, personally, don’t appreciate your downplay of the situation. My children have unexplained rashes on their legs and face. I have seen exhaustion in elderly folks and those who are not well. The region should be holding information sessions for residents in this aftermath in conjunction with the public health department.
Christina

Jim gets back to Christina:

Jeff Brooks - hand to head

Jeff Brooks, candidate for the ward three council seat speaks at the Glad Tidings meeting.

On Sun, Oct 19, 2014 at 9:16 PM, Harnum, Jim <Jim.Harnum@halton.ca> wrote:
Hi Christina,
Residents can get hard copies at Region offices or they can call 311 and we will mail them out one. ‎During the Aug 4 flood, the ratio of rainwater to sewage was very high, in other words the majority of water in basements was rainwater mixed with a very small volume of sewage. Therefore the threat to health was very small. As far as fecal mater in weeping tiles, most plumbing would be thoroughly flushed after another heavy rainfall, which we have had several since the flood. If a homeowner did still have a concern they could enlist the services of a plumber to send a camera into weeping tiles to review the condition. I hope this helps and answers your questions.
Jim Harnum, CET, MBA, Commissioner of Public Works

 

Christina responds again:

From: Christina Thorpe
Sent: Sunday, October 19, 2014 8:48 PM
To: Harnum, Jim
Subject: Re: Flood
Hi Jim,
Where can the hard copies of the guide be found? Did elderly home owners who do not have access to computers, those who lost their computers or those who no longer drive receive copies from the region?
Also, you have not answered the question of fecal matter stuck in the weeping tile and drains. How is the region responding to this?
Christina Thorpe
On 2014-10-19, at 6:17 PM, Harnum, Jim wrote:

 

Derek Johnston joins the chatter and gets a response:

Hello Mr. Johnston,
> Thank you for the information, I will review the situation that occurred on Mcraney Avenue in the past to see if there are similarities. As far as the health and wellbeing of homeowners, Halton has also been very proactive in this area. Although we cannot go into residences to review the presence of mold or other contaminants, we have worked closely with our Public Health Department and developed very comprehensive material on our website to help homeowners understand the issues.

We have also developed a very detailed guide titled “A guide to Flooding Prevention and Recovery”. This guide has all of the information that homeowners in Halton would need to help protect themselves from future flooding events and how to ensure that their homes are safe if they do experience flooding. The website link is below and the guide is located here as well. The guide is also produced in hardcopy for those who do not have access to a computer.

https://www.halton.ca/cms/One.aspx?portalId=8310&pageId=114218
Jim Harnum, CET, MBA, > Commissioner, Public Works
> —–Original Message—–
Johnston sends a polite response:

From: Derek Johnston [mailto:derek@soundmaskcanada.com]
> Sent: Sunday, October 19, 2014 4:44 PM
> To: Harnum, Jim
> Cc: Paul Sharman; Phil Cavanagh; Christina Thorpe; Bob Vrenjak; Carr, Gary; matt johnston; Linda Johnston; peterrusin@royallepage.ca
> Subject: Flood
>
> Thank you Jim

Nicole Dunn HRASB

Nicole Dunn, part of the (HRASBF) talked about the health issues related to the flooding. She thinks they are serious and being overlooked by the Regional bureaucrats.

> We are not done yet but i am impressed by the quality of your response and by the fact that it came out so promptly on a Sunday afternoon,.
> You might want to take a look at what happened on Mcraney avenue 20 years back it was remarkably similar to the Tuck Creek overflow . The City of Oakville picked up the tab for all repairs to a large number of flooded homes My serious concern at this point is the most vulnerable flood damaged people. There are a lot of elderly people in our neighbourhood. I am concerned that sewage damage which is not immeadiately apparent might be missed leaving a festering disease and mold Infested condition with possible deadly ramifications. Is there any way we can make sure that all houses are safe. Please be advised i am aware of several homes where damage to the piping did not become apparent until weeks after the flood , Sewer gas smell and backed up sewage pipes were discovered. i want to be sure that all flood victims are safe from disease and illness.
>
> Best Regards Derek Johnston

Jim Harnum responds to Johnston again:

On 2014-10-19, at 11:16 AM, Harnum, Jim wrote:
>
Hello Mr. Johnston,

Thank you for your e-mail, I understand your concerns and assure you that the Region is taking this issue seriously and we have been very active in assisting residents and looking for short and long term solutions.

The Region has received over 6000 flood related inquiries since August 4th. All calls received by 311 (Access Halton) by phone or e-mail that require follow up are logged and tracked. Staff has responded to calls received by connecting directly with residents or by leaving a message with relevant information. We have encouraged all residents impacted by flooding to contact 311. This message was communicated to over 30,000 Burlington residents using the Community Emergency Notification System as well as by the Red Cross when they visited 10,979 homes at the request of the City and the Region following the flooding. There has also been communication through the media and social media.

I would also like to provide you the following additional information highlighting the Region’s response to the August 4th storm.

Over 3000 homes have been visited by Regional staff and almost $2 million in ex-gratia grants provided to assist residents. The Region also initiated a special program for residents in high priority areas where homes have been impacted by repeat flooding, covering 100% of the costs of basement flooding prevention measures. It is expected this program will cost an additional $1 million.

The regular Basement Flooding Prevention Subsidy program is available to all residents covering up to 50% of the cost to install basement flooding prevention measures. The demand for this program increased significantly after the August 4th storm. It is estimated that the Basement Flooding Prevention Subsidy program will cost the Region over $1 million.

Since the August 4th storm, the Region has also provided enhanced waste collection services in Burlington to assist residents clean up following the flooding. The cost of the enhanced services is expected to cost approximately $500,000.

Halton Region has supported the City’s request for Provincial assistance through the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program (ODRAP) and the fundraising efforts by the Burlington Community Foundation to provide financial assistance to residents impacted by the flood.

Halton Region has not previously experienced a storm with the intensity of the August 4th storm. It is clear that weather patterns throughout the world have changed. The City and the Region have initiated reviews of the storm water and sanitary sewer systems to identify actions that can be taken to reduce the risk of future flooding given the new realities of climate change. The review will consider changes in infrastructure, programs to disconnect private downspouts and updates to the Basement Flooding Prevention Subsidy program. Public Information Centres will be scheduled to update residents as the study proceeds.

Taylor with Sharman

Councillors Sharman and Taylor attended the community meeting but neither was asked to speak. Shaman’s ward was seriously damaged by the flooding. One would think the residents would want to hear from him. Taylor who has been around longer than any other council member knows more about how the Region works than anyone else on Council could have added some very useful information.

Residents with questions or concerns related to basement flooding are encouraged to call 311 or visit the Region’s website at Halton.ca/flood. In addition, the Region has recently published a “Guide to Flooding Prevention & Recovery” which is available online at Halton.ca/flood, or by calling 311 for a print copy.
Jim Harnum, CET, MBA, Commissioner, Public Works
—–Original Message—–

 

Regional Chair Gary Carr jumps in:

From: Carr, Gary
Sent: Saturday, October 18, 2014 5:30 PM
To: Derek Johnston; Harnum, Jim; MacCaskill, Jane
Subject: Re:

Thank you
Jim will give you a detailed update

Regards
Gary

On Oct 18, 2014, at 5:28 PM, Derek Johnston <derek@soundmaskcanada.com> wrote:

You quick response on a Saturday afternoon is noted and appreciated.
Thank you Derek Johnston

 

 

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