Open Letter to Regional Chair, Gary Carr

opinionandcommentBy Halton Residents Against Sewage Backup and Flooding

October 22, 2014



Dear Mr. Carr:

Eleven weeks have passed since the Aug. 4th flood and majority of Burlington residents are still wondering what happened on that day when tens of thousands of liters of raw sewage and overflow from creeks entered into their homes, causing millions of dollars in damages and a plethora of issues from insurance battles to health risks to stolen repair deposits.

Below are questions and concerns from the residents of Burlington which HRASB compiled over the last several weeks. Health and Safety.

As you are well aware, there is a sizeable elderly population in Burlington and many live alone or with their domestic partner of many years. Several of these elderly folks did not have their homes cleaned out within the recommended time frame for a sewage backup. Also, the Ontario Environmental and Safety Network (OESN) mentions that fecal matter trapped in weeping tile and drains can release methane gas, not to mention when affected areas of the home are not adequately cleaned and tested (which OESN found in every case), then bacteria and viruses could grow and overt health effects could occur to otherwise healthy individuals. Why not bring in the Public Health Department to inspect homes?

Follow-up by the Region
We are aware of at least two residents who reported sewage backup flooding to the Region but were not contacted. Of those residents who were contacted by the Region, some reported missed appointments by Regional staff which resulted in delayed reconstruction or pressure from insurance companies for installation of the backwater valve system. Many residents still have storage pods in their driveways.

Burlington Flood Relief Foundation
Why did the representatives from the Burlington Flood Relief Foundation decline two invitations to attend sewer backup meetings thereby missing opportunities to connect with 350+ residents who were directly affected by sewage backup?

Wastewater Capital
Wastewater capital investment for new development in Oakville is 368.4 million dollars from 2012-2016 and a mere 6 million dollars for Burlington in the same time frame. Residents understand that Oakville is experiencing growth; however, Burlington east wastewater pumping stations were identified as ‘poor condition’ and the ‘highest priority’ (in Halton) as per RV Anderson and Associates engineering study provided in 2012 to the Halton Region. Why so little capital investment in Burlington when there are known issues?

Backwater Valve and Subsidy Decisions
Some residents will receive full coverage for the installation of back water valve and sump pump system while others will not. What exactly are the criteria for full subsidy and who oversees the program?

Construction by Year-End
If the Region is waiting for the results of a flood report expected in July of 2015, why are there plans to begin construction by year- end in some neighbourhoods? What knowledge does the Region have currently regarding the sanitary sewer infrastructure which has not been made public?

New Development
Residents feel that developers have ‘no business’ proposing high-rise apartments downtown, at Appleby Mall, or any other area of Burlington significantly impacted by sewer backup/flooding. Until the major infrastructure problems are identified, made public, and ultimately fixed, there will be significant push back by the residents.

We look forward to your response.

Members of the HRASB

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A quiet well run ward with some strong development potential and an Air Park that is a problem that could become an opportunity.

backgrounder 100By Pepper Parr

October 21, 2014



The ward covers the eastern half of rural Burlington and tracts that run from Hwy 407 down to Upper Middle Road and includes the well-established communities of Millcroft and Headon. The newly created Alton community brought much more diversity into the ward and small pockets of development along the 407.

BOUNDARY MAP WARD 6There isn’t much in the way of industry in the ward; The Hanson Brick Works operates at Dundas Street, there are a lot of commercial operations but all are small in nature. Emery Developments decided to build two five storey towers attached to each other with a two storey atrium at Palladium Way. The intention of the developer is to build on speculation. They were confident enough that the market was there for their offering and expected some occupancy in late 2015.

Tremaine-Dundas project  - land

Staff recommended a Mixed Use plan but indicated that if council selects the all Employment option, staff are able to support this, but cannot support an All Residential option

The Krpan Group project at Dundas and Tremaine is stuck at the OMB – residents have heard very little about this project which has a number of features and approaches to development that are worth paying attention to – but they don’t appear to have any traction in the mind of the Council member for the ward

There was to be a new court house for provincial offences in the war but that disappeared just as fast as it appeared when local opposition spring up without the ward Councillor knowing all that much about the plans.

There isn’t a ward council – that kind of citizen involvement doesn’t sit all that well with the Council member; it would mean sharing the power a member of Council has and attracting meaningful input from the community.

Millcroft and Headon are strong communities that with few problems. Snow removal, road repairs – the usual municipal services are what they ask for – just keep our taxes down.

Dundas Street is due for a very significant upgrade and a widening that will make it a much different road than it is today – it isn’t clear yet what kind of development it will attract. The Region expects to run busses along that road as part of an inter-city transit offering at some point. That is years away but the work needed to create an additional east west road has been made at the Regional level – so Dundas get upgraded


Part of the massive gym set up in the Haber Recreation Centre

Part of the massive gym set up in the Haber Recreation Centre

The opening of the Hayden Recreational Centre, the Frank Hayden High School and a new branch of the library system created a community that pulled itself together very quickly and managed to produce three South Asian candidates for the ward seat.

Transit is not yet a significant issue – most of the seniors are at a point in their lives where they still drive their cars. The demographic of that cohort will shift significantly in the next ten years and the need for more in the way of community services geared to seniors and transit service that will let them get to different places in the city will become evident.

Air-Park-construction-site - earlyThe Air Park is both a problem and a significant opportunity but at this point any ideas that are being discussed come from the mind of Vince Rossi who has yet to provide anything in the way of a business. Rossi has been able to get away with dumping land fill without the required permits because no one, including Blair Lancaster, paid much attention – they bought the argument that the air park was federally regulated and no one asked any questions.

There is an opportunity to do something with the 200 acre property that fits in with an Air Park and the rural setting – no one has come up with anything yet. Not the Economic Development Corporation, not the Region, not the city – not even the people who live in the eastern half of rural Burlington.

Background links:

The ward Councillor: an assessment.


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Chair of stop Escarpment Highway Coalition joins the debate - says a New Niagara highway corridor is not needed in Burlington.

backgrounder 100Letter to the Editor
By Geoff Brock
October 20, 2014


A point of clarification. Peter Rusin never said a highway through Burlington was inevitable. He did say a new highway was inevitable and that if Burlington didn’t get proactive with the province and make sure they were at the table where the decisions are going to be made there could be a highway through Burlington.

I’m want to respond to the discussion I’ve seen in the news over the past weekend about a new Niagara Highway coming to Burlington.

I’m very disappointed to see that Peter Rusin, one of the candidates for Mayor in Burlington, is supporting a new Highway through Burlington because he thinks that will end traffic congestion and drive growth

NGTA full study area Juny 4-2012Mr. Rusin’s position ignores the 10+ year study process that was completed by the Provincial Ministry of Transportation in 2013. This study involved multiple municipalities, dozens of Public consultation meetings, and over $10 million in consulting work and transportation planning. The conclusion was that a New Niagara highway corridor is not needed in Burlington. The Stop the Escarpment Highway Coalition was an active participant in this process, along with the City of Burlington and the Halton Region. The conclusion that was reached is a great example of local community groups working with local governments. I don’t know what facts Mr. Rusin is working with other than his own personal opinion.

MidtownOakville mobility hub study

Metrolinx completed the Midtown Oakville Mobility Hub Study in October 2012. The study developed a long-term vision for the Oakville GO Station and surrounding lands, building on the substantial amount of planning work the Town of Oakville has already completed – the May 2011 Livable Oakville Official Plan and the June 2008 Draft Midtown Business and Development Plan. It focuses on the redevelopment of publicly-owned lands around the Oakville GO station, the majority of which is owned by Metrolinx. The study also looks at expanding the GO station to ensure it can best accommodate significant growth planned for the area and future Trafalgar Bus Rapid Transit.

Mr. Rusin seems unaware of the work Metrolinx is doing in the GTHA to get people out of cars and onto transit. Some things Burlington can do alone, and some need Regional and provincial support. GO train electrification will get us GO train service every 15 minutes all day long, all year. That should get some cars off the road and improve air quality! Expanding the Mobility hub around the Burlington GO station could further help reduce congestion and create an employment centre. You only have to look at the great work done in Oakville to define a vision for the Mobility hub around their GO station. Do look.

Getting people out of cars is tough unless they have a viable alternative. Even the MTO’s long term plans show Burlington only moving from less than 5% of trips on transit, to slightly over 10% in the next 15 years. We need politicians and leaders who will ask “What will it take to get 20% of trips on transit?” The answer is better and more convenient service!

NGTA No-highway-here1-285x300There are lots of great policy ideas that Burlington can do on their own. Local trips on transit are not that convenient. It’s still difficult to get from Burlington to Oakville or Hamilton on transit. Working together with sister municipalities, instead of having standalone transit systems, will support the way citizens are living and working in the community. This idea requires regional thinking and cooperation and the vision a municipal mayor can give to the process.

Study after study shows that $1 spent on transit infrastructure returns many times the benefit of one spent on roads. Cars are going to handle the majority of trips for a long time, but the mix is going to change. We need leaders who understand that long term shift is coming and set the course to keep Burlington one of the most livable cities in Canada.

Geoff Brock is the Co- Chair, Stop the Escarpment Highway Coalition


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Loose leaf collection begins November 3rd; start bagging them now - make room for the snow that is coming.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

October 19, 2014



Looseleaf collection 2014A loose leaf collection service is provided to Burlington residents in the fall, typically beginning the first week in November of each year. This program is in addition to the Yard Waste Collection Service provided by Halton Region Waste Services.

Please follow the guidelines below to help ensure a timely and cost-effective leaf collection program:

Please have your loose leaves raked and ready for pickup just prior to the start date for your collection area.

Be mindful of collection dates and avoid raking leaves to the road too early.

Place leaves up to the edge of the curb or roadway (but not on the road) in a loose pile so city equipment can reach them.

Ensure loose leaves are not over catch basins or in the ditches in front of your home .

Please make sure leaves do not contain branches or other debris. Leaves mixed with other waste cannot be collected.

Avoid placing leaves on sidewalks and walkways.

Remove basketball nets, parked vehicles and other obstructions from the road to allow city crews clear access to leaf piles.

Do not place garbage bags, garbage bins, Blue Boxes or GreenCarts on top of loose-leaf piles.

Bagged Leaf and Yard Waste Collection
Halton Region continues to provide collection of bagged leaves and yard waste on the same day as your garbage pick-up. This program is a separate program from Burlington’s Loose Leaf Collection.
Leaf Disposal Alternatives.

• Mulch leaves to use in gardens, flowerbeds, or leave them on your yard.
• Compost leaves in your backyard composter.
• Deliver leaves to the to the Halton Waste Management Site in paper bags or in bulk for composting

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Gazette to put election results on-line - available seconds after count is completed. We will be as current as the CBC - and local, local, local.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr, Publisher, Burlington Gazette

October 19th, 2014



Early next week all of the homes south of Dundas in Burlington will see a small flyer in their mail boxes. It will be the first piece of direct promotion the Gazette has done since its inception four years ago.

The flyer announces the posting of real time election results on the front page of the Gazette on October 27th just as soon as the polls close.

Election flyer side 1 Results

Gazette’s first piece of promotional material.

Burlingtonians will be able to go to the Gazette web site and see what the most recent results are for the office of Mayor and the six council members.

We will not be posting the results for the Regional chair – while there are other people running for that office – it is evident that Gary Carr will be returned.

We will not be posting the results of the trustees for either the Halton District School Board or the Halton Catholic District School Board.

The Gazette is a not for profit organization – w do not have a revenue stream. The expenses to date have come out of our pockets and there is only so much time and financial resources available to us.
We will be doing on going news coverage and the results will be available once the school board trustee winners are known.

Our flyer – which measures 6 x 9 inches has, like every other piece of paper, two sides. We didn’t need both sides of the flyer – so we sold side two. Because our part of the flyer is about election results we had no problem with an individual running for office using side two.

Election flyer sid2 2 Rusin

Sharing the space on a piece of promotional material should not be seen as an endorsement of the candidate.

Our accepting an advertisement from a candidate for the office of Mayor is certainly not an endorsement. If Peter Rusin should win the mayors chair it will be because he did it on merit.

Rusin needed name exposure – the flyer is going to get to every home south of Dundas – that’s exposure.

Why not north of Dundas? There wasn’t enough time to get the flyers into production and into the hands of the distribution company in time for the scheduled delivery.

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Sale of waterfront land hasn't become a major issue - but at least one candidate wants to keep it alive.

backgrounder 100By Pepper Parr

October 17, 2014



Why didn’t council stop the sale of public waterfront land?
Council votes 6-1 to sell waterfront land.

Market - water street lots Ziegler-drawing

Many people want a public path along the edge of the lake between Market and St. Paul streets; the property owners want nothing of that idea.

Jennifer Hlusko, a candidate for the ward six seat on city council uses social media to communicate. A day isn’t complete without at least one, usually several links that she passes along. We never get to hear what Hlusko’s view is on the issue she is covering – she is just passing along good information.

Hlusko is a very intelligent woman; a little on the brittle side at times but this woman is on top of the facts.

She recently did a piece on the decision city council made to sell a small strip of land on the waterfront which, if completed, will put an end for a long, long time to any hope for a waterfront trail that this city could have.

We wondered just what kind of coverage this story had been given by the print media and are grateful to Hlusko for pulling all the local coverage together.


Will the average Tom, Dick or Harry keep the right to walk this piece of land. City owns part of it – but have decided to sell it.

Other print media

• Oct 16, 2013: Burlington Post: Burlington council decides to sell waterfront property
• Oct 3, 2013: Burlington Post: Burlington considering selling public waterfront land to private hands
• Oct 24, 2013: Hamilton Spectator: Little: Waterfront public land up for sale

Burlington Gazette

• Jul 28, 2014: Waterfront Property for Public Use – it can happen if the public makes enough noise
• May 26, 2014: The sale of that waterfront land isn’t a done deal yet – a citizens group will be delegating against any extension at council this week
• Nov 2, 2013: Citizens speak – hundreds of them. Not all disagree with Council – but majority do. Was Council wrong?
• Oct 16, 2013: City Council votes 6:1 to sell waterfront. Public may never know what the selling price will be
• Oct 8, 2013: How city council managed to vote to sell waterfront lands and what some people want to do about that
• Oct 7, 2013: Part II Why does your City Council want to sell waterfront property rather than create a stunning lake front parkette?
• Oct 5, 2013: Part I Is your city council about to sell your birthright? Waterfront land just east of the downtown core may be sold
• Jan 1, 2013: Waterfront Advisory Committee sinks slowly into the setting sun
• Jun 6, 2011: Access to the Waterfront? Not everything you might think it is

The deal to actually sell the land has not closed. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources is involved in this as is one of the candidates for the office of Mayor.


Janice Connell spoke for herself and her neighbours at the council committee meeting last week.  The neighbours are seated behind Ms Connell

Janice Connell spoke for herself and her neighbours at the council committee meeting where the sale of the land was discusses. The neighbours are seated behind Ms Connell

Peter Rusin served as an adviser to one of the property owners – there are three of them with Janice Connell serving as the public face at city council meetings. It was her husband, Mike Swartz who issued a veiled threat to council about a law suit. Statements like that always send a chill up the spines of council members who see a large legal bill that they have to explain to voters.

Rusin has said he served as an advisor to Swartz and that the file is closed.  If Rusin is to serve as Mayor – he will have to be much more transparent than that.

The Mayor`s decision to sell the property doesn`t square with the concept of a waterfront that is accessible to the public or as a resource to be shared by the public.  Burlington is still of the view that wealthy private interests can get what they want from this Council.

It is a very complicated matter but the people of Burlington aren’t stupid – tell them the whole story and they will let you know what they want you to do on their behalf.



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City clerk has the final word when it comes to local election rules and their interpretation - but she has to comply with the Municipal election Act.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 17, 2014



The only thing I am worried about” said city Clerk Angela Morgan “is possible line ups at the polling stations on election day”.


City Clerk Angela Morgan

City Clerk Angela Morgan signing the 2010 election returns.

Morgan is the staff member who oversees the running of the election. She has an experienced staff but when push comes to shove it is Morgan who calls the shots. She has had a couple of awkward calls to make but because her role is close to judicial – her word is the last word.

In 2010 there were five or six places where the line ups were far too long and people had to wait’ said Morgan. We found that a poll should not have more than 3500 people in it – 4000 tops.

In 2010 the voter turn out was 35.6% of those eligible to vote – one of the highest Burlington has had for a municipal election. If that turnout were to reach the 50% + level there would be line-ups

“So we revised many of the polling boundaries and added polling clerks at several of the polling stations – so I am pretty sure we are OK” said Morgan.

Advance polls opened yesterday and will close on Saturday.

Internet voting has been open for a few days – that too closes on Saturday.

Two interesting piece of information. Internet voting is up substantially over last year. Advance polls are up as well.

Internet voting is up substantially over last year. Why, many people have asked, does internet voting and advance polls end on the 18th? Because the city then has to prepare the voters list for the election on the 27th. All those people who voted at the Advance poll and on-line have their names taken out of the list that the polling clerks work from.

Could the amount of time be shorter so that more people get to vote on line; perhaps and there are a number of work arounds that can be put in place but on-line voting is new to Burlington and the one thing about what the Clerk’s office does is this – they are cautious because when they rush things and things go wrong – they go really wrong.

Angela Morgan is a cautious woman who gets a lot of complaints about what candidates are doing. “The election starts far too early: said Morgan “but there is nothing we can do about that – the Municipal Act sets out when a person can file papers to be a candidate” and for those who want to create a profile and name recognition – they have close to a year to do that



Will these seven become lame ducks on October 27th? If just one of them loses their seat – we have a lame duck council.

As city Clerk everything Council does has to be signed by her before it is legal. Morgan plays a critical role in the administration of the work council does. On the morning of October 28th she will know what kind of a Council she has for the month of November. Six of the seven members of the current council have to be returned to office or the Clerk is faced with a “lame duck” council that cannot spend more than $50,000 that is not already budgeted for nor can Council hire or fire any of the senior staff.

That lame duck status holds for just a month – when the new Council is sworn in. Is it reasonable to assume that the significant seven will not all be returned? There are two council members who are at risk and a third that is in trouble.

Determining what a candidate can do with what are known as city resources is a problem the clerk has to contend with. “Some are more decent than others” Morgan explained. Some see the rules as something that have to be strictly adhered to – others will stretch the rules as far as they can.

During the campaign a Save the Planet event took place with more than 2,500 cities around the world holding demonstrations. New York city had more than 175,000 people out on the streets. Burlington had about 40 people waving their signs and placards.

The organization that held the event invited the Mayor, a known environmentalist to speak. The original intention was to start the event at the Gazebo in Spencer Smith Park but that is city owned property and Mayor Goldring was not going to speak at that location during an election.

Flood Goldring with chain of office

Mayor Goldring has taken to wearing his chain of office outside the Council chamber recently.

That we think was making too literal an interpretation of the rules. Goldring should have put on his chain of office – talked about the environment and what global warming means to all of us and not say a word about the election and the city’s Energy Management Plan.

Ward 2 Councillor Marie Anne Meed Ward rented the Shoreline Room at the Art Gallery of Burlington for her campaign kick-off. The AGB is an arm’s length operation with its own board and while the city owns the building it is run by the AGB board.

BAC aerial

No photo ops for election candidates on this site.

Morgan had a conversation with then AGB president Ian Ross but as Morgan put it “I always struggle with situations like this.” Another candidate running against Meed Ward wanted to film some footage at the entrance to the AGB and was told they could not do that; where does one draw the line?

For Angela Morgan – it is all about both enforcing and interpreting the rules – she seems to get it right most of the time.

Morgan, who lives in Hamilton has voted – online

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If the arts and culture in Burlington matter to you - then this is for you: candidate positions on the arts.

council 100x100By Staff

October 17, 2014




Angela Paparizo and Trevor Copp.  He got the ball rolling in the arts world – she now coordinates arts and cultural events for the city.


It was in 2012 I think when Trevor Copp appeared before city council saying as an artist he wanted to be able to ply his trade in the city he lived in.  That was the shot across the bow that resulted in the creation of the Arts and Culture Collective of Burlington (ACCOB) and the hiring of a cultural co-coordinator.

It led to the holding of the critically acclaimed No Vacancy in 2013 and the follow up event at the Village Square that showed the public how vibrant the place could be.

Art and culture got out of the shadows of the newly branded Art Gallery of Burlington and placed artists we had never heard of on the public agenda.  Members of Council took a new interest in the arts and were prepared to push some taxpayer dollars  in that direction. Burlington has come a long way since the last election

It is useful therefore to know what the candidates had to say about how they see the arts and culture in Burlington.  The material comes from the ACCOB.

The mission of the Arts and Culture Collective of Burlington is to advocate for the arts and culture of Burlington, ON and to increase appreciation, support and involvement with arts and culture in the community.

Our organization was founded to bring the voices of the Arts and Culture in our city to be heard in City Hall. We are aiming to help shape the Cultural Action Plan, and receive budgets and execute the ‘Action’ in the Plan. In order to keep moving forward with this plan, we requested responses to these four questions from all registered candidates. They had the opportunity to respond and responses were published to our Collective. Their replies were distributed throughout the contacts and social media membership of the Arts & Culture Collective (over 360 local members).

1. What is your platform on Arts & Culture in Burlington?
2. The Cultural Action Planned passed unanimously in Council in 2013, yet the first new budget item called for by the plan – establishing a City Cultural Manager – was defeated. Please comment on this vote and state your intention moving into the next term on the role of a City Cultural Manager.
3. A funded external body (for example, an Arts Council) is the second item called for in the approved Cultural Action Plan. If such an organization is properly researched and consulted on, would you vote to fund this external body in the next term?
4. Grants is the third major budget item in the Cultural Action Plan. Would y…

Flood Goldring with chain of office1. I want to continue with the arts and culture investments that the city currently makes. The Art Gallery of Burlington, Burlington Performing Arts Centre, the Museums, Student Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre, Theatre Burlington, the Teen Tour Band along with investment in the Sound of Music Festival and our twinning relationships with Appledorn, The Netherlands and Itabashi, Japan all contribute to making Burlington a culturally vibrant city. We need to leverage our investment with the objective of broadening the reach of our various cultural programs and proceed with thoughtful implementation of the Cultural Action Plan.

2. I did not support the Cultural Manager as I want to see how we make out this year now that we have a full time cultural planner. Council will revisit this during the 2015 budget discussion.

3. I am definitely interested in exploring the idea of an Arts Council type of structure. We need to be very clear about the purpose and how the organization will fill its mandate.

4. I know Oakville has a granting program. I need to understand more how a granting program would work. What type of artists would be eligible? What is the objective of the grants program? Would the grants be for new artists or emerging artists?

Rusin walking dog1. Arts and culture are an integral part of any strong and diverse community. Enhanced quality of life for the people of Burlington is the reason I am running for Mayor, and underlies all elements of my platform. With smart growth comes enhanced arts and culture opportunities. When we build upon our already diverse and rich community, when we attract new revenue, when we recognize the importance of arts and culture and fund it accordingly, we further enrich our city and the people who call it home. We can and should capitalize on Section 37 to provide arts and culture funding within a defined radius of any new development, together with council input and desired priorities.

2. I don’t understand the defeat for a cultural manager position after having conducted all that consultation and study work, but,
I would have to review the job description and how that position would fit into the overall organizational structure at the city before committing to
supporting a full time staff position. Also, it may be that more than one position would be required to satisfy the intent of the cultural action
plan. However, if the city was managed in a more fiscally responsible fashion, then perhaps the funding of such a position and/or department would not be such an issue. Overall, I support the continued efforts at raising the relevance of Arts and Culture in this city.

3. My support would depend on the role of an Arts Council relative to the roles and responsibilities of a City Cultural Manager. It depends on what the funding demands would be, who would be made accountable for the management of the arts and culture department. It would be ideal if there was a plan that could make the department self sustainable with the support of the city. It would also be helpful if the Performing Arts Centre which is a big part of the issue, an entity that could generate profit to assist in further funding the arts and culture initiatives in this city. This city needs to stop spending money on further studies and simply get on with letting arts and culture flourish.

4. This city has a lot of urgent need priorities dealing with pressing issues like healthcare, poverty, and housing, that may promote stronger
justification for funding allocations from the community than for arts and culture. I would like to provide grants, but, it may require a stronger
relationship working with private sector funding sources. There are many provincial and federal grants available to artists; the city may be better focused helping to direct local artists to existing grants.

RICK CRAVEN (incumbent)

Rick Craven: Best committee chair the city has; not big on the warm fuzzy stuff through.  Needs a hug badly.

Rick Craven: Best committee chair the city has; not big on the warm fuzzy stuff through. Needs a hug badly.

1. I support proper funding and implementation of the Cultural Action Plan.

2. I was the only member of Council to vote in favour of the Cultural Manager as part of the 2014 budget and will do so again when the issues comes forward in 2015.
3. Yes.
4. I accept that we need a lot more discussion about how this will work, but in theory I agree we must move in this direction.

To the Arts and Culture Collective of Burlington
As an artist myself I have a strong interest in supporting and promoting arts and culture in Burlington. Art and culture enhance our lives on many levels and a strong arts community helps to make Burlington a more enjoyable place to live. We cannot however be blind to reality. This past year has shown us that we have some major challenges ahead, particularly with infrastructure. The way we handle arts and culture needs to be done in the most fiscally responsible way possible. What I would like to see is an easily accessible website that lists all arts, culture, recreation and leisure groups in one place so people can find groups they are interested in quickly and easily.
Before I could agree on a paid General Manager I would need to look carefully at what supports are already in place at city hall and to make sure we are not duplicating services.
While a paid arts council would be nice I think we would be better served right now by a volunteer arts advisory committee such as we have for other interests such as heritage. The money saved on salaries could then be put towards grants which would directly help those in the arts.
I do believe in grants in particular towards helping groups become self-sustaining.

Jason B pointing finger1. I believe that the City has some valuable Artistic and Cultural physical assets (ie: drama centre, Art Centre, Performing Arts Centre) The City is also blessed with some wonderful groups (Teen Tour Band, various Guilds and Performance organizations etc.), I think that these groups are best left to manage themselves without interference or oversight from the City. I would also like to see them be as self sufficient as possible.
2. I assume that there was a reason for this, without knowing the behind the scenes efforts on both sides I have no idea why it was defeated. At first blush it would seem that if the Plan was approved, then funding considerations should have been part and parcel in the decision making process.
3. The previous question sounds like it puts the entire CAP on hold. If the Plan is in place but the funding is being defeated by the current City Council, the question is what is wrong with the overall picture ? Logic suggests that if there is a problem getting funding for the first item then the same problem will exist for subsequent items.
4. See answer to item #3

1. Arts & Culture is an essential part of the health & vibrancy of this city. The development and implementation of a viable, sustainable Arts & Culture community is something I fully support and would encourage all council members to support vigorously.

2. A. I couldn’t comment on what motivated people to vote one way or another. I think that sometimes council may make decisions based on their personal choices rather than the evidence in front of them or what their constituents may
want. My intention would be to support the hiring of a person who could deliver on the objectives through a variety of means. All I would ask for is to see several viable options on the table prior to casting a vote.

b. There are several comparisons made throughout the documentation to other cities. Other cities have 4,5 6, 12 employees and X amount of funding. This sounds like a Rick Goldring thing. Lets think outside the box and collaborate on an idea or ideas that will have an impact that is visible. I want to support a proposition that is different than other cities, one where something unique is happening. Wouldn’t it be great to be known as the Arts & Culture centre of Canada?

3. Again, with a variety of options presented that are sound, viable, sustainable, I could get behind the project. Perhaps a graduated pilot project might be the answer to the negative council vote. Show me something different that doesn’t take tax dollars away from essential services. We are a rich community and need the Arts but we also need to be able to generate revenue for the city on a cost recovery basis through these activities.
4.. Government grants are great and I would be looking to the province or the federal government for those grants. Endowments, scholarships, small business initiatives are all great ways to support the Arts. My voting would support some sort of creative initiative in terms of funding; one where the taxpayer does not carry the full load.

Marianne Meed Ward (incumbent)

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward.  Unbeatable?  Some Tory's seem to think so.

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward. Unbeatable? Some Tory’s seem to think so.

1. Vibrant local arts and culture contributes to our city’s quality of life, economic prosperity, social inclusion and vibrancy. The majority of the city’s cultural investment has been in buildings; we need now to focus on people who provide culture. I support a citizen’s committee on culture to foster collaboration and oversee grants; expanded criteria for facility grants; and single oversight of grants for festivals and events with clear criteria. The downtown has a unique role to play in culture, and as the councillor for downtown I’m committed to exploring a cultural district downtown, as recommended by the Downtown Task Group.

2. The Plan did not call for the manager position in the first year. Staff advised council that through staff realignment they can find the additional cultural manager position within the existing staff complement. I support that approach as council’s goal city-wide has been to find new positions by staff realignment. I did support the increase in cultural staffing from half to full time. My first priority for additional cultural investment is directly to artists to defray performance space cost (See item 4).

3. I am open to exploring options for an external granting body, for example a citizen’s committee on culture, with budget and staffing support. This committee could do for culture what Heritage Burlington has done for heritage – overseeing grants, loans and rebates to heritage owners, fostering heritage appreciation and awards, collaborating with heritage owners on preservation and more. This group is citizen-led with staff support and a budget over $100,000. This model could work for culture, bringing all the city’s grants to groups and events under single oversight with transparent criteria and budget, and fostering cultural collaboration.

4. Yes, subject to further definition of eligibility. The focus should be on venue space for local groups and events. Culture is already happening in Burlington, but artists have told me it’s difficult to find affordable, appropriate space, whether it’s a venue for a play or film festival, space to display art, or a venue for modern art. The Burlington Performing Art Centre is cost-prohibitive for some local groups. The city’s existing facility fee waiver program excludes city buildings operated by an independent board, like the BPAC, Art Gallery of Burlington or libraries/museums. Facility grants must change to include these buildings.

Philip Papadopoulos
1. I am a whole-hearted supporter of the arts and have been my entire life. The arts are a core building block of any community and like all special interest groups in the city, it deserves a fair share of attention.

2. As with any issue faced by council, there are a number of factors that determine whether a plan is moved forward in a timely manner. These factors need to be carefully considered at the proper time. Just because a budget item is defeated does not mean that it will not surface again in the future to be looked at. If the conditions are right, a motion will pass. I cannot comment on specifics as to why each councillor voted the way they did and their reasoning.

3. The prudent thing to do would be to see what the results of the research are before making a decision on this. Proper research and consultation does not equal a positive result. The research may find a positive result but it also may find a negative or indifferent result. What the city needs are leaders who are open minded and willing to listen before making an informed, responsible decision about how taxpayer’s money will be spent. Recklessly agreeing to something without considering the ramifications would be irresponsible.

4. As with the second and third questions, there is more to consider about an issue before lending your support to it. I am willing to listen to what people have to say, I will meet with them to discuss issues and try my best to educate myself on each topic to make an informed decision.

Kelly Arnott



1. Arts and culture is more than a “nice to have”. A vibrant arts scene contributes to the quality of life of all residents, helps to retain our youth, and bring people and businesses here. Evidence of creative expression throughout a city is one of the indicators of a healthy, thriving community. Fostering an environment that allows arts and culture to thrive is especially important in our downtown. A lot of time, research, and expertise has been put into the Cultural Action Plan, and it’s time to start implementing and funding some of the recommendations, on a gradual basis.

2. Burlington’s investment in human resources specific to culture is lower than other municipalities, so the recommendation that we hire a Cultural Manager is not unreasonable. I will support it. I would however, due to budget constraints, consider the possibility of the position being something less than full-time, especially since a position for an Arts Coordinator has also just been posted with the City. If an external body is formed and funded, I think a Cultural Manager and Planner working together with this arts council would be most effective, in helping our arts community to move forward.

3. Yes. I think this is important. From what I understand the Arts Council in Hamilton is very effective and would be a great example to follow. I’d like to see a variety of funding sources though—not only the City of Burlington. The Province and the Ontario Arts Council should also contribute to funding.

4. Yes, although we’d still need to discuss how this will work and how much the City can afford. If and when an arts council is created, it would seem to make the most sense for that council to include someone who is experienced and qualified in applying for grants from various levels of government. If there are opportunities to work with the business community, those should be explored. (i.e. funding of arts scholarships, sponsorships of special events like Cirque etc).

Andy Porecki
I have been a strong advocate for arts and culture in Burlington as a direct participant as well as a supporter. Volunteering for the Sound of Music Festival for more than 7 years, (currently I am the festival President), has given me a greater appreciation and understanding for the need and value of arts and culture.

 1.I believe that Arts & Culture in Burlington helps to form the bedrock of a vibrant community. It’s through Arts & Culture initiative that Burlington has become known for it’s community feel. With new arts organizations choosing Burlington as a home, I intend to foster and grow these relationships.
2. As I was not a sitting council member during these deliberations I cannot comment in detail on why this motion was defeated. However, moving forward I would support a critically considered arts council or cultural manager. This is not a simple process, and as was mentioned in public articles previously, the decision cannot be made lightly. The right person, and the right volunteers would need to come together in harmony to create a sustainable future for this aspect of our city.
3. A question in broad terms is difficult to answer simply yes or no. Based on a viable fiscal plan, involving the right people, and sensible budgets, I would absolutely support such a committee. However I will not support it without a diligent plan to create something that’s sustainable, and garners a viable return to our city.
4. Again, based on research and a plan, I will always support the artists of our city. Whether that involves granting, or other potential incentives, I’m willing to work with my fellow council members to promote and foster arts in our community.

John Taylor (incumbent)


Ward 3 Councillor John Taylor will want to have his mitts all over who is on the committee that selects the artist chosen to do the public art for the Mountainside recreational centre.

Ward 3 Councillor John Taylor will want to have his mitts all over who is on the committee that selects the artist chosen to do the public art for the Mountainside recreational centre.

While infrastructure repair and renewal and economic development are the two top needs in Burlington, I believe it is important to start to implement the City’s Cultural Plan. Therefore I am committed to establishing the position of Cultural Manager and an Arts Council in the next term. However, a substantive business case would have to be presented before I would consider grants to individual artists. The City has many financial challenges due to declining development plus commitments to a new 20 year infrastructure repair and renewal programme and a renewed emphasis on economic development. Not all needs can be met by our present financial plan, so they must be prioritized and partially funded from corporate restructuring savings and redeployments.

Jack Dennison (incumbent)

"I don't want to hear anymore delegations" said Councillor Jack Dennison.

“I don’t want to hear anymore delegations” said Councillor Jack Dennison.

1.I certainly attend arts and culture events in Burlington on a regular basis, including the recently completed Sound of Music Festival, AGB and the BPAC (a favourite is the Burlington Concert Band) and Drury Lane Theatre (where I have been an advertiser for decades).
Burlington is a community with significant infrastructure needs; in particular, road, sidewalk and curb repairs and as long as that is the case, then I will continue to not support arts expenditures like $100,000 for the orchids on Upper Middle Road, the artists benches on the Centennial Bike Path at approximately $10,000 each in comparison to standard benches for $1,000 each, the artists bike racks instead of standard racks that hold more bicycles more securely.
2. The 2014 budget was a challenging budget trying to balance all of our community needs and wants and still maintain a budget increase even close to inflation which is what the majority of our constituents want us to maintain as an upset limit.
The manager of Cultural Services proposed position included an expense of $136,000. I believe that having the current cultural planner in Parks & Recreation is an appropriate start to improving our Arts & Culture program and that we should reevaluate as part of the 2015 budget, the need for the addition of Manager of Cultural Services. I am supportive of such a position as long as it can be funded within the existing staff complement.
3. Assuming in 2015 Budget we are again struggling with a realistic budget increase, I would be looking for budget reductions in other areas in order to have funds available for this incentive. Council’s history shows that new programs get added in but underutilized programs do not get dropped. There are activities that are included in the city budget that are not required. I will continue to look to balance demonstrated needs versus underutilized wants.
4. I think we should be going through a logical, balanced and sustainable progression. First the dedicated staff position approved in 2014 followed by the cultural Manager, followed by a funded Arts Council and finally by a grant program while always coming forward with a responsible budget that balances our community needs and wants with fair, taxation.

Doug Wilcox
1. I have always supported the Arts and Cultural community. When I was on Municipal Council in Orangeville I secured a $750,000 Provincial grant to fully restore the 100 year old upstairs theatre in the Town Hall, we hired Jim Bettes to start up and run what is now known as Theatre Orangeville, I sat on the board for many years.
2.As mentioned above Orangeville Council hired a full time person to run Theatre Orangeville.
3.Yes I would.
4. Yes I would.

Carol Gottlob
Gottlob smile tighter croppingWhen I moved to Burlington in 1995, I wasn’t entirely familiar with the arts and cultural scene, and to be honest, I wasn’t even expecting it. What a pleasant surprise! At the first opportunity I became a volunteer at the Burlington Art Centre. Art and culture are the hallmarks of a living city. Why else would I be visiting New York City right now, if not to take in a Broadway show, visit the museums and galleries, stop in at a jazz club and delight in the street life? I think over the years, Burlington has quietly demonstrated that art lives here. The Burlington Art Centre (now the Art Gallery of Burlington), the Sound of Music Festival, the Teen Tour Band are all hallmarks of this community. Therefore, they deserve to be supported by patrons, business and the C.O.B. alike.
Historically, I believe the community artists and historians took care of the “business” of art and culture, and did so in a very fine way with very little government support. It is now, only after being widely recognized as a creative centre in the province of Ontario that we need to look for ways to sustain the success of Burlington art and culture.
So, in answer to the second part, regarding the position of City Cultural Manager, it is my belief that perhaps the time for that is yet to come. It is apparent that other cities such as Kingston and Mississauga spend considerably more on support of the arts and culture in their communities, but again, this begs the question, if we have been doing so well, why do we need a City Cultural Manager? The answer is in the ever increasing expansion of the art world in the city. Not only that, but the nature of art is changing by virtue of technology. So, a City Cultural Manager? Yes. When? Not sure, but in the not too distant future. In the meantime, we have existing people in place to look after the needs of the city, so we are not abandoning the cause.
Meanwhile, an Arts Council makes a lot of sense to me. I also very much like the idea of a spokesperson for each ward. It is important that the activities across the city be coordinated, and a spokesperson in each ward would guarantee that no party is left out. I would vote in favour of a grants program, as long as it is monitored to evaluate the success/failure, and limited to a period of assessment.
So, in closing, I would say that art/culture is equally important to the life of a community as business is, and that they are not mutually exclusive. If there are programs in place to support business, there should be programs in place to support Art/Culture in whatever way possible because human expression through music, dance, film, theatre and visual art has proven itself unstoppable.
I thrive on change. It is essentially the reason I am running for office. I don’t believe in change simply for the sake of change, but change as a channel for improvement and development. The question I ask myself when considering changes to existing policies, programs or delivery of programs is this: “Is this
progress?” If so, let’s give it our support. If not, let’s reconsider. Which is why I’m hoping the people of Ward 4 will chose to change the existing leadership, and explore other possibilities with me.

Paul Sharman (incumbent)

Paul Sharman served on the Shape Burlington Committee along with Lancaster.  He was a bit of  a "bull in a china shop" with that organization and brought the trait along with him when he got electd to Council.

Paul Sharman served on the Shape Burlington Committee along with Lancaster. He was a bit of a “bull in a china shop” with that organization and brought the trait along with him when he got electd to Council.


James Smith
jamessmith1. – “Challenging” is a tired and cliche expression too often used in contemporary art & culture. I want the Arts & Culture in Burlington to “Challenge” us with BBFD projects
(Bold, Beautiful, Fun, Delightful) so more members of the community actively support Arts and Culture
– As a Design Consultant, I want Burlington to mean something to the wider world or Art, Design and Culture – when I tell clients this where I’m based I want this to
mean something so I want to see the more accessible, BBFD Arts and Cultural events and we need to tell the region, the province and the world Burlington is a place practice, show
and learn about the arts and culture
– The cultural Action Plan (I participated in one of the sessions at the Art Gallery) is a baby step in the right direction; my one criticism is it’s too general and the call to action needs to be bigger – ie More Action, less Plan
– Arts Community needs to get out and connect more and directly with everyone in Burlington
– Arts & Culture Pitch night in February – think TED Talk meets Dragon’s den – 3 minutes to pitch one’s Arts and Culture ideas; here are my five pitches:
– A kid’s chalk art festival
– Self playing Musical devices (Singing Roads, Whistling Break Wall, Pedestrian Carillon Steps)
– Art Installations on the Bike Paths
– A prize to make the Hydro Towers on the beach COOL
– Tens of Thousands of people will be coming to the GTHA for PAN AM. We are on the main route from the USA to Toronto,
we are also on the main route to one of the largest tourist attractions in the world, Niagara Falls, the Arts & Cultural community
in Burlington should promote temporary Art & Cultural installations in time for PAN AM this will take some quick action by the city of Burlington For Burlington to attract the best and brightest citizens and businesses we have to have cultural activities throughout the city and not just centred in the downtown. My Vision East idea would encourage those involved in the cultural community to spread the wealth in our East End neighbourhoods.
2. – While I support the creation of a CEO or Cultural Pooh-bah position I don’t think this should be a city staff position but be head of an arms length organization with a board and funded (in part) by the city
– Rejecting the position is a far too typical technique at Burlington City Hall; agree on a direction, then don’t act when the resources are asked for. If I support a direction, like the Cultural Action Plan, then I’ll support the recommendations, and in this case the creation of a Cultural Manager
– If elected, I’ll work with the Arts & Cultural community to put to city council a more focused plan with more clear goals and objectives to prove to council the benefits for the city of a Cultural Pooh-bah.
-This position should be willing and able to work with, and help co-ordinate efforts with the CEO’s of the Museums, Art Gallery, Festivals, and Performing Arts Centre
3. – This should be the first priority for Arts & Culture – set up the council – it should be a citizens committee or not for profit, run under a Joint Venture Agreement with the city (City Staff can assist in setting this organization up & should help fund it)
– In principal, I support this, however; I see an Arts Council having a marketing, management and evangelizing function for Arts and Culture
– Not just a cheque writers we need cool kids shaking you and me & my neighbours up and out of our work-a-day malaise
4. – Again, in principal yes, perhaps a hybrid model is called for say a cross between the Toronto Arts Council The Burlington Community Foundation and ARTSCAPE so it is partially self funding


Blair Lancaster (incumbent)

A delightful work of art - but you may never see it - sitting as it does in the middle of Upper Middle Road yards away from a railway underpass.

A delightful work of art – but you may never see it – sitting as it does in the middle of Upper Middle Road yards away from a railway underpass.

1. During my term on Council I have been excited to participate in the successful projects that have been approved so far. I am actively involved in engaging Ward 6 in the creation of the Mural at Haber and was very proud to find a home at Haber for the Art that I located at Hansen Brick. Arts and Culture is extremely important to me as I feel it contributes greatly to the vibrancy of our community. I would like to develop a program that not only celebrates arts but promotes the Artist.
2. A solution to advancing arts and culture in our community is not as simple as hiring someone. We have been down this road before with little to show for it. I would prefer to spend the money on projects that would provide visual results and net community benefits. The proposal to hire for this position left a lot to be desired as there was no money allotted for projects. We need a more comprehensive solution to advancing the Arts.
3. In our discussions regarding the Cultural Manager Position, I clearly articulated that a committee could easily manage a plan to promote Arts and Culture in our community. I would prefer to see funding going to actual projects rather than to a salary. Allowing Artists to participate in this funding would offer an opportunity for them to perform, showcase their Art and help them build their portfolios and therefore promote their artist talent.
4. In my view we must find a way to overcome prohibitive legislation that currently prevents us from limiting fund participation to local groups. Currently when a request for proposal is issued, it must be extended to anyone in the World and cannot be exclusive to Burlington. I would like to enter into discussions with staff, legal and the Arts community to find funding solutions that will promote local artists.

Angelo Bentivegna



Thanks for the opportunity to have my voice heard on the Cultural Action Plan and my vision on the future planning and management of this very important program that will give our City distinct character and attitude.
1-As a 30 year resident of Burlington and a local business owner here in our city for over 25 years, I believe it is time to move forward to create and implement a unique and dynamic Cultural plan in our City. I have raised four children, all of whom have had many positive experiences with the arts, theater, at local events, and sports. We now have grandchildren…and the time has come to step it up.
2-I completely support a position of a City Cultural Manager. Our neighbourhoods are all maturing and we need to take a leadership role in molding the approved Cultural Action Plan. Our goal is to keep our residents connected in our City, wanting more and having fun in our City.
3-I support the need to hire a qualified consultant to explore and guide us with the knowledge and help us drive this bus. Staff and Council can then take appropriate action and direct energies to bring this plan to fruition.
4- I will collaborate with my council colleagues to solicit all levels of government, including our municipality,as well as local industry and build partnerships to generate granting funds. I would also suggest creating an annual awards program/evening (gala) to highlight accomplishments of Burlington’s most creative achievers and acknowledge excellence. Scholarships can be awarded to young local artists or contributors to the Cultural environment with funds going toward continuing their education in their field.

Jennifer Hlusko
Hlusko H&S1. Cultural development has been a top priority for me, as evidenced by all the years of music lessons, rehearsals, summer camps, and the musical instruments etc we have had has gone towards the cultural development of my children. Chamber music, ballet, opera, symphony, these are the ways my family spent time together, but these events were nearly always found outside of Burlington. I really believe that the future of the arts is dependent on building an audience. I understand first hand that if you don’t build the audience with children, by making it accessible to families, you lose the arts. There are so many opportunities for more arts here, but people have to be exposed to it. It is so disappointing that Burlington institutions have been so negligent in hiring and highlighting local talent. As soon as you involve local residents, you instantly have access to their network of audience. People are less likely to invest in something they have had no exposure to. Additionally, as the owner and restorer of a heritage home, I value the cultural heritage of Burlington architecture. I am also passionate about the horticultural arts. My gardens are a celebration of Ontario’s diversity with a focus on less common native plants and trees. I have invested myself fully in designing and growing my gardens and I view them as my art.
I believe that I am the perfect advocate for Arts & Culture in Burlington, as I have seen the lasting impact the arts have had on my family. The Cultural Action Plan report is very well written and logical. I completely support the strategy.

2. Having thoroughly read the Cultural Action Plan, I do not feel like the roll out needs to include a Manager at this time. Had the City staff made a more compelling business case for the strategic need for the role this year, I would have supported it. The cost benefit needs to ensure that a large salary, such as the one indicated in the budget proposal, has concrete and measurable deliverables in year one. Going forward, I would support a Manager role that is phased in at the recommendation of the Cultural Plan. I think the money would have been better spent on initiating a granting program. Spreading that money amongst 20 arts groups would create more art experiences and develop a greater audience.

3. Yes, there has to be a council. I would look to municipalities that have done it well, to see how they run it. Certainly in music, a performing musician would not have the time or necessarily the strengths required to carry out the critical administrative duties required to access the grant dollars and keep the organization running smoothly. There are lots of great arts lovers and advocates, many of whom have been artists themselves, who would have the skills required to run such a council.

4. Yes. Without a grant, there isn’t any point following a Cultural Action Plan. Grants are how you support the local little guy. There are so many exciting ways to build and develop the arts in Burlington that need grants to execute. Imagine funding a group of world-class local musicians to do unique ensemble music for ten year olds, pairing unusual instruments, like the guitar, the harp, and the piccolo! Grants are essential to creation and experimentation. I would vote to fund a grants program, especially with a strategic focus of offering grants aimed at building an arts appreciative Burlington audience.

Jim Curran
Curran with candidate manualBurlington has a rich and diverse arts and cultural community. All three of my children are involved in the Arts in one way or another. Even my five year old takes classes at AGB throughout the year.
As an elected Councillor for Ward 6 I will Endeavour to assist in sustaining worthy initiatives within a framework of fiscal responsibility.


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Miriam Toews and four other Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize nominees to be in Burlington.

theartsBy Staff

October 12, 2014



For the book lovers in town it will be an evening to remember.


Carrie Snyder

Five renowned authors will gather at the Art Gallery of Burlington on October 28th.


Miriam Toews

The five are all finalists in the 2014 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize . Hosted locally by A Different Drummer Books, in partnership with the International Festival of Authors and The Writers’ Trust of Canada the evening will feature: Andre  Alexis, Steven Galloway, K.D. Miller, Carrie Snyder and Miriam Toews .


Steven Galloway

The event begins at 7:00 pm in the Shoreline Room.8 7pm ~ Art Gallery of Burlington, Shoreline Room. Tickets are $10, available at A Different Drummer Books. To reserve, please contact us at (905) 639 0925 or


K.D. Miller

The finalists for the 2014 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize will present their works, just days before the recipient of the $25,000 award is announced.


Andre Alexis

The authors and their books: Andre  Alexis, Pastoral, Steven  Galloway, The Confabulist, K.D. Miller,  All Saints, Carrie Snyder, Girl Runner and Miriam Toews, All My Puny Sorrows

More information about the prize and the nominees can be found at this link:


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Regional police create a registry for the autistic - allowing for access to vital information should an autistic person go missing.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

October 11, 2014



For those families that have children who are autistic – everyday life is different. One of the fears is that as the child grows he or she may begin to wander and suddenly be lost. The fear and the dread in the hearts of the parents is palpable: where is my child?

The Halton Regional Police have launched a new Autism Registry.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life: it is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain. It is believed that over 100,000 people in Ontario are diagnosed with some form of ASD.

This voluntary registry is designed to provide a better system of service delivery to community members by ensuring that front line officers have access to vital information when responding to occurrences involving people with ASD.

The registry system provides a proactive means to gather information voluntarily provided by the person registering in the program, or the parent or guardian of the registrant. This information would include the description and photograph of a registered person, behaviours, routines, communication abilities, expected locations of travel, as well as other detailed information.

This registry is entirely voluntary and operates under the basis that families willingly provide police with critical information in relation to a person living with ASD which will help officers in their overall response. By gathering this data in advance of any potential occurrences, police will be entering into a situation with more information, allowing them to have a more specific understanding of what they are responding to.

This registry was developed in conjunction with Autism Ontario – Halton Chapter as well as with information provided by other police services with similar registries. Participating in the registry simply requires access to the internet and visiting the Halton Police web site. Link here.

Information on the Registry web site includes:

What is the Autism Registry?
Can individuals with other special needs participate in the registry? Or is it restricted to those who fall within the Autism Spectrum?
If I don’t live in Halton Region, can I still register my child/dependent adult in the Registry?
Will the information be immediately available to police officers as soon as I register?
Will I need to quote my confirmation occurrence number when I call police?
Who has access to the Autism Registry?
Can I update my profile more than every year if there are changes? How do I do that?
Will I be notified when the annual renewal is required?
How will this registry help if my child/dependent adult goes missing?
How do I contact Autism Ontario?

The Halton Regional Police continue to promote advocacy, support and education for families who are affected by the challenges of ASD and do so both internally and with our community partners.

Autism directly affects several members of the Halton Regional Police Service.

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What if the way the ballots are counted was changed? Would anything be different? Some surprises.

backgrounder 100By Pepper Parr

October 8, 2014



During the debate in ward four Tuesday evening Mayor Goldring brought out an interest he has been nurturing for some time. The current method of determining who the winner is in an election is the person who gets the most votes. They call that First Past the Post – it has its own acronym FPP.
Many people, including the Mayor see the FPP as unfair.


The ward four debate gave Rick Goldring a lot to think about - he was never challenged like this when he ran for the office of Mayor in 2010

During the ward four debate  Rick Goldring said he was in favour of  a Ranked Ballot approach to municipal elections.  Would he be Mayor today if that approach had been in place in 2006? l

Mayor Goldring would like to see that changed. In 2006 Goldring won the ward 5 council seat with just 28% of the votes cast.

The alternative that is being talked up – more than talked up actually – the Premier has mandated Ted McMeekin Minister of Community and Social Services to begin “a review of the Municipal Elections Act after the 2014 municipal elections”.

“You will ensure that the act meets the needs of communities, and that it provides municipalities with the option of using ranked ballots in future elections, starting in 2018, as an alternative to first-past-the-post,”

What is Ranked Voting ?

Mayor Goldring was well briefed on the concept of Ranked voting – although he didn’t explain exactly what it was all that well.

In a ranked-ballot system, voters cast ballots for preferred candidates — they mark their first choice; their second choice and third choice.

If a candidate does not get more than 50% of the votes on the first count – there is an immediate recount and the second choice votes are added in. If that gives on candidate 50% of the votes that candidate is declared the winner. If there was no candidate with 50% the third choice votes are added in.
There is no mention in the explanation as to how far out this goes – one would hope that three runs at this would find a winner.

So how would this have worked in the 2006 and 2010 elections?

In 2006 the results for Mayor were:

Cam JACKSON 14941
Joan LOUGHEED 13687
Rick BURGESS 12658
Stephen KOLCUN 147


Cam Jackson: Election night 2010

Cam Jackson: Election night 2010

Where would the Burgess, Papadopolous and Kolcun votes have gone if the Ranked balloting approach had been used. There are a lot of reasons to believe Burlington would not have had that four year Cam Jackson experience.
In Ward 4 the results were:

Jack DENNISON 3364
Frank McKEOWN 2517
John VERSLUIS 2085
Jeff ROTTAR 1010
Ross HICKS 915

It would be a stretch to think that the three lowest vote getters would split evenly between McKeown and Dennison. Would McKeown have won? Had he – he would not have been available to serve as Goldring’s Chief of Staff for the first half of the 2010-2014 term – and that would have made for a much different form of leadership from Goldring.

In 2006 the count was:

Rick GOLDRING 1848
Casey COSGROVE 1368
Fred SUTER 1185
Sam SARRAF 647
Bill BASTIEN 503
Marnie MELLISH 305
David ABBOTT 253
Stephen BAULD 243

Casey Cosgrove believes that he would have beaten Rick Goldring which suggests Goldring would never have become Mayor.


Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster thinking through the answer to a question.  Tends to be cautious.

Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster thinking through the answer to a question. Tends to be cautious.

In 2010 the cliff hanger was the race for ward 6 where Mark Carr gave Blair Lancaster a really good run. Had he lived in the ward he might have taken it. Doubtful if ranked voting would have given the seat in 2010.

Mark CARR 2,449
Christopher MULHERN 575
Robb HERRIOT 248
Phil BUCK 176

The process continues until a candidate wins a simple majority of 50 per cent plus one.

Proponents argue it is more democratic, curbs vote-splitting, and leads to less polarizing politics because candidates run less negative campaigns over fears of alienating potential second-choice supporters.

Those opposed to the change warn ranked ballots can be confusing for voters — even though under the current “first-past-the-post” system, candidate routinely win with far less than 50 per cent of the vote.

Many think the municipal electoral system needs an overhaul. A ranked ballot system, for example, would make municipal elections less polarizing and produce a more accurate picture of what voters want.
In ranked-ballot voting, a candidate must secure a majority and wins if he or she has the most first-place votes; if the vote does not produce a true majority, an instant run-off would determine the winner.


Councillors Sharman and Lancaster: both part of the Shape Burlington committee who seem to have forgotten what the report was all about - civic engagement

Would Councillors Sharman and Lancaster have been elected in 2010 has Ranked Balloting been in place?

Currently, the “first past the post” system dictates the candidate with the highest number of votes wins.

When members of the Legislature are appointed to Cabinet they receive a “mandate” letter from the Premier in which what is expected of the minister is set out. These are usually confidential documents but Premier Wynne released them this time.

Mandate letters are the marching orders; “There aren’t too many surprises in them,” said Wynne.
In her mandate letter to Ted McMeekin, Wynne spells out the importance of leading “from the activist centre” with democratic reforms.

“We will place emphasis on partnerships with businesses, communities and people to help foster continued economic growth and make a positive impact on the lives of every Ontarian,” the premier wrote.

“This collaborative approach will shape all the work we do. It will ensure we engage people on the issues that matter the most to them, and that we implement meaningful solutions to our shared challenges.”

Ranked voting will challenge the way some municipal politicians have held their seats for so long.


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That increase in honoraria for school board trustees - just went down the drain

News 100 redBy Staff

October 3, 2014



You might have heard the howls at some kitchen tables this morning when the 11 men and woman running for a seat on the Halton District Public School Board (HDPS) read in the Globe and Mail that the province had ordered all the school boards in the province to forget any plans they had to increase the honorarium paid to school board trustees.

Burlington has 11 school board trustees who are paid x$13,158. . That was to increase to $16,770.
At a school board meeting on September 3rd, the Trustees approved a new rate for trustee honoraria that takes effect December 1, 2014 when the 2014-2018 Board begins its term. Trustees will receive annual honoraria of $16,770.35 while the Chair will receive a total of $24,738.95 and the Vice-chair a total of $20,754.65.

And that was the picture until yesterday when the Premier, Kathleen Wynne told her Minister of Education that any increases in honoraria to trustees that were to take effect in December 2014 were to be cancelled.

Running as school board trustees are: Mary Dilly, Leah Reynolds, Andrea Grebenc, Michael Kukhta, Denise Nacev, Timothy Timar, Kristen Lockhead, Richelle Papin, Margo Shuttleworth and Amy Collard. Ms Collard was acclaimed.

So trustees that get elected on October 27 will get the old rate of Honoraria which is made up of a base amount $5,900 and an enrollment amount of $7285 for a total of $13,158 each year. There are no benefits nor is there a pension plan for trustees – teachers apparently don’t want to share a good thing.


The job of a school board trustee.



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Rivers takes in Venice; finds they too want to seperate - misses out on Clooney wedding.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

October 2, 2014



It seems everybody wants to have a referendum these days. I’m in Italy visiting Venice this week and it turns out the folks out here are planning a ‘Scotland-style’ plebiscite for independence from Italy.

Some separation enthusiasts ran an on-line poll last March and claimed that an overwhelming number of respondents wanted to separate from Italy. Interestingly, like the Scots, they still wanted to stay in the EU and be a part of NATO.


Gazette columnist cover Venetian plans to secede from Italy.

That survey has encouraged Veneto, the regional entity of five million people, which includes the cities of Venice and Verona, to hold a more formal referendum. In fact a referendum was the basis for this north-eastern region to join Italy in the first place. Veneto has a colourful history. It was occupied by, among others, Attila the Hun, the Romans, the French and the Austrians. And as we know from reading Shakespeare, there was also a long period of self-government as well.

I wasn’t the only one visiting Venice. Besides the usual early autumn tourist hordes, it turns out that George Clooney, the actor, chose Venice for his wedding with British human-rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin last weekend. No, I wasn’t invited to the wedding, but I still admire Clooney as an actor, and I like the way he speaks out on the things he stands for, especially global climate change.

The city of Venice had been sinking for ages, partly from all the building on the islands and partly from the depression caused by pumping out too much ground water. Government has taken measures to eliminate that sinking feeling, but its still going to be a wet future for this ‘city of bridges’. Global climate change has already raised water levels and the future will see the Adriatic blanketing a wide swath of coastal north-eastern Italy. Fish will swim where mankind used to walk.

Climate march New York

New Yorkers march in the streets to save the planet. Burlington had a smaller crowd.

A huge crowd demonstrated in New York last week, as world leaders met to decide what to do about climate change. Over three hundred thousand people came out to demand action, but all they got from the government leaders present, were the usual well-intentioned but meaningless speeches. President Obama got up to the podium to tell the rest of the world that it should do as he says – not as he does (or doesn’t). But at least his sentiments sounded sincere.

Canada, on the other hand, ganged up with Australia and Japan to make sure that the Kyoto Treaty was dead and could never be used to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, our Harper, who was in New York at the time of the climate change meeting, didn’t even show his face. And that was probably just as well, since the last thing anybody needs to hear is another speech with more promises that his government has no intention of keeping.

China, now the world’s largest polluter did promise to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions a tad – but not nearly enough. And Russia is too busy selling its vast fossil fuel reserves, or threatening its neighbours, to even think about reducing its carbon footprint. Europe is still optimistic that it can make progress. Munich, for example, is promising to eventually become carbon-free, but their biggest worry today is ensuring a good supply of Russian natural gas.

It was Peter Drucker who characterized management as the science of doing things right – and leadership, the art of doing the right thing. Many world leaders came to New York last week to talk about mitigating an ever-worsening global climate change. Sadly, there was little evidence of good management and no sign of leadership whatsoever.

The locals in Venice told me that the worst floods come in November and December. I was in Venice at the end of November a few years back, while attending one of those climate change conference. Water, water everywhere, and raised wooden platforms set on top of the sidewalks to avoid getting one’s feet too wet. It does really kind of takes away from the romance of it all.

Clooney wedding

George Clooney marries in Venice. Gazette columnist wasn’t invited.

But there was a lot of romance at the Clooney wedding party, I heard. A hundred people, movie stars and other friends, added their weight onto the sunken ground of Venice. George Clooney, Willie Nelson, Neil Young have been outspoken on climate change and they have been attacked in return. But the way I look at it – if not them, then who will take the moral high ground – certainly not Canada’s PM.

Heading back to the train to take me from Venice to Florence, I took the Vaporetto (ferry service) and couldn’t help wondering about the amount of carbon emissions pouring out of the stacks of these boats as thy feverishly criss-crossed the canals. And I couldn’t help feeling guilty at having come here and adding to the carbon footprint of Venice and Italy. But then it is good that I am aware, at least, and I suppose I’m going to have to get used to that feeling or do something about it.

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.

Venice Referendum   Veneto Issues     Venice 

Clooney Wedding    Clooney 

Obama climate Change    Harper and the Climate Conference  Climate Change Demonstration 

Canada and Climate Change   Renewable Energy    Optimistic Energy 

Peter Drucker

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Trustees take the pledge agree to act with the highest level of integrity. Really!

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 30, 2014



Here’s a rich one for you.

Three candidates for the public school board have signed a “pledge: to: “act with the highest level of integrity”.

Doesn’t one just do that when they run for public office?

Trustees - OLiver, Dilly, Shuttleworth

School board trustee candidates Joanne Oliver, Mary Dilly and Margo Shuttleworth hold a copy of the pledge they signed.

It sounds like a groom saying to his bride at the altar that he won’t cheat on her.
Joanna Oliver, Mary Dilly and Margo Shuttleworth are all running for seats on the school board where the honorarium is at the $15,000 range. Dilly who has been a school board trustee in the past is using election signs asking people to “re-elect” her – a tactic which some see as miWe’re hoping everyone keeps the best interests of kids in mind, and not their own agendas.sleading.

To sign a pledge to be transparent and act with integrity while demonstrating the opposite in their campaign does not set a good example to the students they are vying to represent.

“We’re hoping everyone keeps the best interests of kids in mind, and not their own agendas,” said Mary Dilly, a former trustee who is running again in Burlington. She created the Halton version of the pledge with Joanna Oliver, running in Oakville, and Margo Shuttleworth, vying for a seat to represent a different Burlington ward.

“We wanted to make the type of pledge that anyone who is running to be a trustee would want to sign, something open and transparent,” added Shuttleworth.

Looks like an advertising gimmick. Why not talk about the way you will represent the students and their parents should you get elected as a trustee.

There is a reason for calling these people trustees – you are supposed to be able to trust them.


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Food4kids gets the nod from 100 women who care

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 25, 2014



The cheque books came out and in less than half an hour the 100 Women Who Care Burlington voted to support Food 4 Kids, an organization that works with our schools who have identified children/families living in poverty situations and discreetly provide the child (it goes in their backpacks) with food on weekends.

Food4kids - bag + appleThe Gazette wrote about this group a few months ago. We told of those 100 Women as well. If it’s something you might be interested in – touch base with them. It’s amazing what women with a cheque book can do – some might put the word “amazing” in big bold black letters.

There are currently 76 members of the Burlington Chapter of 100 Women – room for more of you.  At $100 each Food4kids could be looking at $7,600 which is a lot of lunches.

You can reach then at

The other organizations nominated were Burlington Breast Cancer Support Services and the Seat Yourself Campaign @ Aldershot School.


In and out in less than an hour – Humane Society benefits.

The teachers knew who they were – Food4Kids fed them


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Applefest will have goodie bags for those who visit Ireland House on Sunday.

Event 100By Staff

September 26, 2014



The city is calling the weekend Cultural Days and has a long list of events planned for the public. The Rocca Sisters, no slouches when it comes to promotion, decided to do their own cultural thing and are sponsoring Applefest at Ireland House at Oakridge Farm, 2168 Guelph Line in Burlington to celebrate the best the fall season has to offer.

Ireland House

Ireland House – an original Burlington farm house that once stretched for acres on the northern edge of the city will be the location for Applefest – an occasion when the city remembers when it was the food garden for a large part of the world.

This Sunday, September 28 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the “sisters” invite you to join them to celebrate the best the fall season has to offer.

Admission to the event is free compliments of the Rocca Sisters as a way to say thank you to the community for all the support it has shown.

Rocca sisters at ApplefestAll children will receive a free goodie bag and a special surprise from the Rocca Sisters. Stop by their tent and table to say “Hi!” and help celebrate Applefest.

Funds raised at Applefest go towards Museums of Burlington’s educational programs and preservation of the historic collection.

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Begins with R ends with D has four letters in between; Mayor of Oakville and Chief of police want to eradicate the word using yellow cards.

Event 100By Pepper Parr

September 25,2014



There aren’t many opportunities to say that you don’t like something without going to a lot of effort or offending someone.

There is a word out there that is offensive but it is still in use. The moment I write the word I give it currency and I’m reluctant to do that – so let me say it begins with R end in D and has four letters in between.

Yellow card

In the soccer world the yellow card is a caution – it is being used to caution people who choose to use a really repugnant word.

It’s a repugnant word, filled with hurt and harm and not in the least bit funny.
There is a group that wants to extinguish the word and they’ve come up with a program to get us to the point where the word isn’t used.

They call it they yellow card program and it is tied into the Special Olympics Canada and Canadians living with intellectual disabilities.

Motionball is a national charity that raises funds and awareness for Special Olympics Canada year-round. There is #nogoodway to use the “R-word,” and Canadians are asked to take the pledge to stop using the “R-word” and raise a proverbial yellow card when others use it socially.

In soccer, a yellow card is shown to offending players as a warning that they have crossed a line; in the same way, the Yellow Card Campaign aims to inform Canadians that using the “R-word” is offensive to those living with intellectual disabilities even if used in a way that seems harmless.

By informing and engaging without being punitive or threatening, the Yellow Card Campaign hopes to invite and inspire change, not force it.

The campaign hopes to see 36,000 Canadians take the pledge online to stop using the “R-word” – a figure that reflects the number of registered Special Olympics athletes across Canada.

In addition to the social change the campaign hopes to inspire, the Yellow Card Campaign’s corporate sponsors and private donors have come together to donate $1 to motionball for each supporter who takes the pledge online at on Yellow CardDay which will be recognized in Halton when Regional Police Chief Stephen Tanner and Oakville Mayor Rob Burton will be taking the pledge and helping to kick off the event in the Rotunda at the Halton Regional offices on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 10:00am

By taking the pledge on behalf of the almost one million Canadians living with an intellectual disability, supporters not only promise to stop using the “R-word”, but also to raise a proverbial yellow card when others use it casually.

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Ian Ross and the Art Gallery mutually agreed to part ways. Really?

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

September 24, 2014



The spin at the Art Gallery of Burlington has begun.

The announcement that he had left the Art Gallery was made by Ian Ross on his Facebook page.

Sandra Edrup, Chair of the AGB said this morning that Ian Ross and the board met last week and mutually agreed that Ian Ross’s 20 years at the gallery would come to an end.

That was last week – but there was no announcement until the Gazette broke the story earlier this morning.

Ian Ross in better days at the Art Gallery of Burlington

Ian Ross in better days at the Art Gallery of Burlington

Kim Varian, Doug Niven and Denis Longchamps are serving as a sort of triumvirate to run the gallery on a day to day basis while Anne Swarbrick serves as a volunteer temporary Executive Director.

A search team will be put together said Ms. Edrup that will be inclusive and include all the stake holders and the wider community to find a new President and CEO

The phrase “support for success” has entered the language the senior AGB people are using and there was mention of confidentiality and Ian’s career future.

Was the parting of ways the result of philosophical differences over how the new branding was to be put into play? Or was there a clash of wills between some of the newly appointed senior staff?

Ross has not been available for comment.

The AGB is an important part of the cultural tapestry of Burlington – it matters and the public that pays a large part of the tab deserves as much transparency as possible. They didn’t get it today.


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Public school board trustees vote in a healthy bump in remuneration; will they work any harder or were they always underpaid?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 24, 2014



Burlington is going to elect four school board trustees to the 11 member Halton District School Board. Of the four, incumbent Jennifer Hlusko has decided to run as a city Councillor and Diane Bower has retired.

Amy Collard was acclaimed and Kristen Lockhead is running for re-election.

There will be a trustee that will represent wards 1 and 2
Mary Dilly, Leah Reynolds and Judy Worsley are going after that seat. Dilly has been a candidate for public office in the past; Leah Reynolds got a very strong endorsement from Ward two Councillor Marianne Meed Ward.

There will be a trustee that will represent wards 3 and 6
Andrea Grebenc, Michael Kukhta, Denise Nacev and Timothy Timar are in the race for the trustee seat for wards three and six.

There will be a trustee that will represent ward 4, Kristen Lockhead is seeking re-election, Richelle Papin and Margo Shuttleworth are challenging the incumbent.

The trustee that will represent ward 5 was acclaimed. Amy Collard was also acclaimed in 2010. She has served as Chair of the Board in the past


A full stop - and no using the cell phone.

Getting students to school safely is a major task; the Burlington schools still need crossing guards.

Current chair Kelly Amos informs us that the Trustees of the HDSB are responsible for the public school system covering all of Halton (Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills), which is made up of 103 schools, over 60,000 students and approximately 5,500 employees. Those numbers increase every year. One of the responsibilities of Trustees is the approval and making sure of the compliance of the operating and capital budgets. The 2014 -15 operating budget for the HDSB totals $664.3 million and the capital budget totals just over $50 million.

She adds: As a basis of comparison, from their respective websites, the City of Burlington whose capital and operating budgets combined are $204.8 Million. The Councillors’ salaries are $51,000 for local and $48,700 for regional, for a combined salary of $99,700 and the mayor’s is a combined salary of $122,594. The Town of Oakville’s combined capital and operating budget is $264.1 million and for salary the local councillor’s is $45,737, the local regional Councillors is $88,514 and the Mayor’s is $116,693. Milton’s combined budgets are $162.2 million and the salaries for the members of council are $28,966 each and for the mayor is $69,954. The Town of Halton Hills combined budgets are $112.4 million and the councillors’ salaries for the next term will be $29,995 each and the mayor’s will be $73,008.

As a bit of history, courtesy of Ms Amos;  in March 2006 the Liberal Government issued a paper Ontario Excellence for All – Respect for Ontario School Trustees and in it states;

AVPS school bldg

The Alton Village public school is a recent addition to the more than 100 schools in the public system.

“School board trustees are the oldest forms of elected representation in Ontario. Since 1807, generations of community-minded citizens have made decisions on behalf of local publicly funded schools, building the foundation of the system we have today. Despite this longevity and contribution, the trustee role is widely under-appreciated and misunderstood.” As well it said “While many trustees volunteer considerable amounts of their time, the importance of informed participation requires a more realistic honorarium to ensure sufficient time is available. Since 1997, the honorarium has been limited to $5000 per year, with chairs and vice-chairs eligible to receive up to $5000 more per year.”

An Ontario Regulation required the formation of a Citizens’ Advisory Committee, which was to recommend to the Board a base amount as well as an attendance amount and distance amount for each member of the Board of Trustees for each year of their term of office. This committee was comprised of parents from all across Halton and decided;
For the period starting December 1, 2006 and ending November 2010, trustee honoraria would be:

Base Amount, Enrolment Amount, Total Amount
Member $ 5,900.00 $ 7,285,59 $ 13,158.59
Chair 10,900.00 9,575.35 20,475.35
Vice-Chair 8,400.00 8,430.27 16,830.47

The current motion that is before the Board to be voted on in September WAS THIS PASSED? is dealing with an amount that was set in 2006 and there has been no increase since then. This motion if approved by the Board will come into effect at the beginning of the next elected Board of Trustees effective December 1, 2014.

Base Amount, Enrolment Amount, Attendance Total  Amount
Member $ 6,324.80 $ 9,445.55 1,000.00 $ 16,770.35
Chair 11,324.80 12,414.15 1,000.00 24,738.95
Vice-Chair 8,824.80 10,929.85 1,000.00 20,754.65

At a school board meeting on September 3rd, the Trustees approved a new rate for trustee honoraria that takes effect December 1, 2014 when the 2014-2018 Board begins its term. Trustees will receive an annual honoraria of $16,770.35 while the Chair will receive a total of $24,738.95 and the Vice-chair a total of $20,754.65.

The base amounts have been increased by the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for the period between July 1, 2010 and April 30, 2014 and the enrollment amounts are based on the 2013/2014 ADE (Average Daily Enrolment) of the Halton District School Board.


Amy Collard has been acclaimed for the ward five public school board seat

Trustees’ salaries come from an enveloped amount of money from the Ministry which is designated for Board Administration and Governance. This means this money is only used for Board Administration and Governance and cannot be used for anything else, and does not take away from any funding for students or program use.

Hlusko H&S

Jennifer Hlusko will be giving up her public school board seat – she is running for the ward six municipal council seat – running against incumbent Blair Lancaster.

Each Trustee can spend a different amount of time on being a trustee. Current Chair Kelly Amos said she typically puts in a 30 – 40 hour week depending on what is going on and what needs to be done.

In the weeks ahead the Gazette will endeavour to interview all the candidates for the public school board. Time just doesn’t permit our covering the Catholic school board.


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Cirque at Village Square drew capacity crowds - expect this to be a fixture for the next few years.

Event 100By Pepper Parr

September 21, 2014



She pulled it off. With the help of her husband Dean and one of the most impressive collections of volunteers we have ever seen in this city, Selina Jane Eckersall held her second No Vacancy event, this time at the Village Square.

Jack Friedman, the man who built the Village Square, must have smiled when he learned that the space he created was being used the way he wanted it to be used.

Eckersall held her first No Vacancy at the Waterfront Hotel in 2013. It was a critical success and drove her to growing the concept and worked out an arrangement with the property owners at the Village Square to use the empty space.

Eckersall estimates there were between 2,000 and 5,000 people at the event – that is too wide a spread – the real number was somewhere above 3,500 based on what we observed.

Eckersall wasn’t prepared to say which was the best of the 30 installation but she did say that Appollonia Vanova and the Grand Connection were very popular.

Cirque - belly dancer

Lovely colours

Cirque - volunteers

The volunteers were superb.

The volunteers were exceptional. If you had a question – they had an answer or they got you an answer quite quickly.

There were times when the space around the gazebo was packed so tightly you could hardly move. It was a friendly crowd – not a hooligan in sight.

In a city the size of Burlington most people know someone and the chance to meet up was just fun. Patrick Bermingham one of the artists, decided to rent one of the empty spaces for his own purposes and held a private party. He was able to invite all his friends, offer them a drink and have people get out to see some of the installations and come back to chat about what they had seen. Expect to see more of that next year.

Cirque - Dreamcatchers

Dream catchers.

And there will be a next year. Eckersall was going through what worked and what didn’t work. The installations at the Gym on Pearl didn’t get the traffic they should have gotten; the beer garden didn’t produce the revenue that was expected and Eckersall isn’t sure that she will use a portion of Pine Street next year.

Eckersall knows now that she needs to tweak the business model. The event cost about $10,000 to put on – revenue didn’t quite reach that level.

Cirque - juggler

The Juggler

Sponsorship was good – but ways have to be found to increase the revenue. Selena Eckersall and her husband spent more than six months on this project and are not likely to see as much as a dime personally for their efforts. They might even have to dip into the cookie jar to make up the loss.

Cirque - Student Theatre mannequins

Student Theatre mannequins

It was an exciting event; it left all those who attended fully appreciating their community and the sense of community that was created in the Village Square.

It was a delight to see Angelo Bentivegna working the crowd and chatting with his friends. He was in full election mode and it seemed perfectly natural.

When asked: What was the biggest thrill for you? Eckersall didn’t need a second to respond – “Seeing all those people – the excitement of the artists and how inspired they were.”

What was the biggest disappointment?

Beer sales were much lower than we expected. We need to re-think the beer garden”, said Eckersall. All the activity was inside the Village.

Despite the low beer sales “the city is hungry for this kind of stuff and that was certainly evident” Eckersall added. The challenge now is to keep the content fresh and relevant.

The Cirque was different, it wasn’t as “scrappy” as the Art Crawl in Hamilton. There was more money in the space – Burlington is a wealthier city and that was clearly evident in the traffic – no one was wearing furs but there was a sense of satisfaction in the crowds – a crowd doesn’t seem to be the right word. There were a lot of people but it was more like a community getting together.

The mannequins located throughout the Village were all courtesy of the Student Theatre. The make up on a few was close to astounding.

Cirque - hippy girls

This took all the seniors back to the 60’s

The juggler was close to a carnival pitchman – she moved beautifully and talked about her art. The belly dancers had nice costumes.

Cirque - Lana

Suspended illusions

Eckersall is now looking for operational funding and working on writing for a Trillium grant. She might want to have lunch with Kelly Arnott of the Chilly Half Marathon fame, and talk about how one finds long term sponsors.



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