Public meeting dates on school closings and online survey time frames announced.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 23rd, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

REVISED

With the Program Accommodation Review Committee (PARC) having gone through a long and very arduous process that some of them are not suited to they can now rest on their oars for a few weeks and see what the public has to say about the six options they have decided should be looked at seriously.

The vast majority of the members of the PAR committee are doing superb work.

PARC with options on the walls

The 14 members of the Program Accommodation Review Committee are all volunteers who have put in some long hours and exchanged thousands of emails to get to the point where there are six options for the public to review.

The disappointing aspect of the PARC process is that we now have parents from different schools battling with other parents to ensure that their school does not get closed. The process that Burlington has had to follow almost guaranteed this outcome – the PARC members find themselves between a rock and an even harder place – they have not had an opportunity to frame the debate and discussion and have not had the benefit of adequate an accurate information.

Hard working people PARC

The PAR committee members are fully immersed in the process.

For several this is going to be a very dis-satisfying experience. They deserved better treatment. These people volunteered – put in hundreds of hours and their work is not finished yet. There are some very talented people on the PAR committee and for the most part the ideas they have put forward are commendable.

They had hoped to have some input on the on-line survey that is going to be done – no such luck. One PARC member expressed some concern with the survey that is being put together. The one done December 8th was described by Kirk Perris, the man who put it together as “not one of his better efforts”. That wasn’t an understatement.

The public meeting plan explained to the PARC members was for an event that is to be as interactive as these things can be.

There are two parts to the public engagement: an online survey and public meetings where people can look at the details and ask questions. There will be one public meeting in the north end of the city and a second, with identical content in the south of the city.

Kirk Perris - Ipsos Reid

Kirk Perris, the IPSOS Reid facilitator hired by the board is designing the public meting content and the on-line surveys. He and PARC chair Scott Podrebarac are guiding the process.

Perris intends to set up information stations for each of the six options. Board staff will be on hand to explain the details of each option. PARC members will be on hand as well to give their take on how they got to where they are.

The on-line survey will be opened on the 27th of February. It will be sent out to all parents and there will be an on-line version for anyone else who wants to participate.

The first public meeting in the north end of the city is on the 28th – at Hayden high school, the second is on March 7th at the Gary Allan educational centre on New Street. Both start at 7:00 pm

The survey goes off-line on the 131th of March. There will be print versions of the survey available.

It would be advisable for anyone responding to the survey to wait until they have had a chance to attend one of the public meetings.

Perris talked in terms of questions that would be open ended as well as questions that would be closed ended.

He described the meetings as an exercise in public engagement – there are a lot of smart people who are looking very carefully and closely at the process so far and they do not feel engaged.

One PARC member wanted to know how the data collected is going to be used: “is this a popularity contest or are you going after data that is quantitative or qualitative? Why are we doing this?

PARC Feb 9 Reynolds and Grebenc

Burlington trustees Andrea Grebenc, on the left and Leah Reynolds have attended all the PARC meeting. Trustees Papin and Collard’s antecedence has been more sporadic.

There are some serious concerns in the minds of those people who are following this issue as well as members of the PARC.

The trustees who will make the final decision are sitting on the side lines – observing. One cannot envy them for what is coming their way.

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The Herd is in the Barn at the Farm - translation: The baseball team will be playing on the field at the Nelson Stadium.

sportsgold 100x100By Staff

February 22, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Get used to the name The Herd – Burlington’s Inter-County Baseball League entrant. They were the Twins when they first came to town; were re-named the Bandits and are now The Herd.

The name has something to do with our agricultural roots. .

They will be playing in the Barn – what most of us know as the Nelson Stadium.

It’s all about creating a brand.

The new owners are setting out to make attending a baseball game a little more upscale than sitting on am aluminum bench.

herd-logoOver the course of the next four months, the Herd will unveil each part of their scheduled improvements and showcase the new experiences available to fans next season at the Farm (Nelson Park).

They’re going to roll out a series of enhancements and improvements to going to a ball game.

They have created a Home Plate Club, the first part of a plan to enhance various areas within the ballpark. The Home Plate Club will see the addition of five premium tables behind the backstop. Each table will include three patio chairs, an all-inclusive food and beverage package throughout the game with wait staff and a reserved parking spot.

Herd T-shirtProfessional baseball teams across the country are creating areas inside their stadiums that bring not only a unique viewing area, but increase the overall fan experience. The Herd are joining this growing trend with the addition of the Home Plate Club.

The Home Plate Club will provide THE best viewing and fan experience in the entire ballpark and will become the ideal destination for entertaining current and prospective clients along with rewarding employees and their families. Fans will be able to reserve an exclusive table for three every game for only $50.

Each table purchase comes with the best seat in the park and wait staff delivering unlimited food and beverages (non-alcoholic) throughout the entire game.

If you would like more information on the Home Plate Club, including booking and availability, please contact the Burlington Herd front office at 905-630-9036 or email us at info@burlingtonherd.com.

The Herd takes to the field for the first time on Saturday, May 13, 2017 at the Barn (Nelson Park). Season tickets and group packages are now on sale by calling (905) 630-9036 or by visiting the team’s new website, burlingtonherd.com.

The Herd can be followed on social media platforms (“iblherd”), including Facebook.com/iblherd.

Herd, Barn, Farm – get used to it!

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Hamilton Philharmonic members to perform at Central Library

eventspink 100x100By Staff

February 22, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

At the Burlington Public Library! Central Branch

Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra Composer-in-Residence, Abigail Richardson-Schulte will be giving an informative and engaging talk hosted from the piano.

This musical journey takes us through Germany, Russia and Spain from the Romantic period through to the early 20th century.

Tuesday, February 28 at 2pm

Monique HPO

Monique De Margerie

Principal Trumpet Michael Fedyshyn, accompanied by pianist Monique De Margerie will be part of the program.

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Lieutenant Governor of Ontario to visit the city Friday - will be welcomed by the Town Crier.

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 22, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It’s going to be the best photo op the Mayor is going to have this year – unless Joseph Brant is resurrected on Canada Day – than all bets are off.

The Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the Hon. Elizabeth Dowdeswell, will head up a Round Table discussion on seniors’ housing needs in Burlington on Friday.

Lt Gov Ontario

Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the Hon. Elizabeth Dowdeswell

The event is to take place at the Art Gallery of Burlington with the Town Crier leading the welcome to the Lakeshore entrance of the AB.

The Burlington Teen Tour Band will perform foe the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

Burlington has of the largest seniors communities in the province from a percentage of the population aspect.

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Can we expect to see parents opposed to the closing of Central high school marching up Brant Street?

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

February 16, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

They don’t call it grass roots organizing for nothing.

It is when you go out into the streets and invite people to a meeting that you hear and learn what the issues really are.

Wednesday evening, Central Strong, the parent group at Central high school, invited people to a meeting to hear what they had to say about how the Program Accommodation Review (PAR) process was going.

Central Strong - Setting up for hundreds

Setting out chairs for a crowd that reached the 100 people level.

Not all that good at this point according to Ward 2 city Councillor Marianne Meed Ward who is one of the two Central high school community reps on the Program Accommodation Review Committee (PARC).

The people putting the meeting together had no idea how many people were going to show up – they set out 50 chairs and hoped for the best. They ended up setting up more than 100 chairs.

The meeting was orderly and a lot of useful and significant information came to the surface. There were people in the room who took part in preventing a closure of the school in 1978 and again in 1998. These were tested and proven community activists.

The mood was upbeat – Ian Farwell, the other Central high representative on the PARC told the audience that this is not a done deal.

Meed Ward said she felt that whatever the decision was it should be a better outcome for the students and added that closing Central where 92% of the students walk to school and bussing them to another school is not a better solution.

Some felt that forcing students to leave their community for an education is a Human Rights matter – that may be a bit of a stretch, but it does reflect the depth of feeling the patents have for the strength of their community and how they feel.

What came through very clearly was that the process is flawed and that the board is not being transparent. New information comes in and it doesn’t get the attention it deserves was a common complaint.

During the meeting at which PARC members were asked to set out which option met the PARC Framework criteria and which ones did not – the meeting was told that it was going to cost approximately $10 million to get the schools up to the AODA standard and how much would be saved if Central and Pearson were closed.

PARC with options on the walls

PARC members with the sheets of paper on the meeting room wall where they would indicate the option that they felt should be recommended to the Director of Education.

Shortly after being given this information, with no opportunity for debate, the PARC members were then asked to put dots on the option they favoured. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if closing Central would save $3 million in AODA costs and several more million in operating costs – why the board recommendation – Option 19 – got more dots than any other option,

Several parents made much of the boards transportation policy – they built Hayden so students would not have to be bussed out of that community and now they want to close two schools in southern Burlington and bus those students out of their community.

“A dumb idea” called out one parent. Very few parents were calling out abusive comments – these were people who came to listen, to have their concerns heard and then to talk through options.

In 1998 when the board wanted to close Central the community held a parade up Brant Street. That was the tipping point in public opinion then said one parent. Look for another parade this third attempt to close Central high school.

Dania Thurman H&S Vg

Dania Thurman, one of the spokes people for Central Strong

Lynn Crosby

Lynne Crosby, one of the spokes people for Central strong.

Lynne Crosby and Dania Thurman, the two spokes people for the Central parents, did a 25 minute interview on CHML during which they were asked where the Mayor of the city stood on all this. “Ask him” the two responded. Burlington is represented in the PARC process by city manager James Ridge who the Mayor said had volunteered to take on the task. Ridge attends as an observer and does not get to vote on anything. So far he has spoken on one occasion when he said all development in Burlington is taking place above the QEW. There is much more current condo development taking place south of the QEW. Few are impressed with Ridge’s comment up to this point.

The Central crowd was even less than impressed with the facilitator working for the board from Ipsos Reid. Some felt the board should have asked for someone else to serve the boards need or cancel the contract.

Kirk Perris handled the December 8th meeting at which a lot of data was captured though a process that most saw as poorly design and badly executed. Perris did say later that it wasn’t one of his better days. No kidding!
Central parents point out that were the board to close Bateman high school and redistribute those students to Nelson and M.M. Robinson 1340 of the 1800 empty seat problem would be resolved.

Station West A sign

Several hundred families could well move into the townhouses being built at the Aldershot Go Station.

Were Central to be closed Aldershot high school would suddenly have a massive problem on its hands. The ADI Station West development is going to add a significant number of students to Aldershot.

Not so says the Board – those are condo’s and family’s don’t choose to live in condo’s. Much of the ADI product is townhouses reply the Aldershot parents who also point to the long delayed Eagles Heights development in the North West corner of the city where 1000 houses are expected to go up.

There is a bigger long term impact on the downtown core that Central parents feel most people aren’t getting.

Meed Ward put it front and center when she said that if Central is closed there will never be another high school in the downtown core – that land will be far too expensive. “If we let this go we will have lost a downtown high school forever.”

The audience was asked how many of them knew people who attended Central lived in condos or apartments – more than 20% of the hands in the room went up in the air. That surprised a lot of people.

One of the parents involved in the 1998 battle pointed out that the parents have a much more compelling argument this time around. The fear Central Strong has is that not enough people are fully aware of just how serious the problem is. “The board is worried” said one parent “they realize this is not going their way and they don’t know what to do about that”.

The two Central PARC members claim that on two occasions when they have raised an issue they were told they were out of order and their issue was dismissed. Ian Farrell is not the kind of person you want to attempt to dismiss lightly.

The process bothers many. Meed Ward complained that the PARC members have not been given a formal opportunity to dialogue – the moderation is terrible; it is a frustrating process; we are in a tough situation, she added.

Many of the PARC members from other schools are breathing a sigh of relief and saying to themselves “at least it is not us” when it is very clear that all, except for Hayden high school, are at risk.

Sharn Picken confering with a parentr at a PARC

Sharon Picken is one of the two Bateman high school PARC members. A very strong advocate for keeping that high school open.

The Bateman people certainly understand that and are putting up fierce arguments about even the idea of closing tat school.
“Rationality has left the room” was a comment heard.
The Ward 1 and 2 school board trustee arrived late – she was king part in one of the board’s regular meetings and left that event early to speak. Asked where do the trustees get their information as they prepare to vote, Leah Reynolds replied that they are waiting to see what comes out of the PARC process.

Reynolds added that the trustees do not see what he PARC members get sent to them or say to each other.

PARC Feb 9 Reynolds and Grebenc

Burlington trustees Grebenc and Reynolds attend every PARC meeting.

Reynolds and the other three Burlington trustee attend the PARC meetings as observers. Grebenc and Reynolds attend every meeting – the other two Collard and Papin are more sporadic in their attendance. Collard will be facing strong pressure to not back a Bateman closing.

Reynolds attended a meeting of Aldershot parents and learned that many did not know the school closing process was even taking place.

A shock to the people taking part in the Central strong meeting, which took place at the Lions community hall, was that 60% of the people in the room had children in school at the elementary level – these people were very concerned about where there children were going to spend their high school years

The meeting was told that the argument being put forward by the board is that larger high schools are able to offer a much larger choice of programs than small schools – yet the student survey made it clear that there are more course conflicts at Hayden, the largest high school, than at any other high school.

What parents are finding is that the information they are given just does not square with the on the ground reality they are facing.

Many just don’t have any confidence in the process and don’t believe the board staff are telling them the full story.

The PARC members for Central said that there are far too many walk on pieces of information. Meed Ward said some information is put in front of them without their being any opportunity to discuss or dialogue.

When the PARC is told just how much the AODA changes are going to save and then told a few minutes later how much is going to be saved if option 19 – close two high schools – is chosen and then they are asked to choose the options they like best, of course option 19 us chosen. Meed Ward and her colleague Ian Farwell felt the PARC members were being manipulated.

It was a successful grass roots community meeting – what comes out of it will be seen in the days and weeks ahead.

Meeting dates as of Feb 16The end of all this is May 17th, when the 11 trustees cast their votes. Meed Ward put it well when she said “we are in the valley” right now, “in a trough” that we need to get out of that trough.

Would a march up Brant Street make a difference?

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Family Day events - city hall closed - Conservation Authority wide open.

eventspink 100x100By Staff

February 13th, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Lots of competition for what people decide to do on Family Day – Monday the 20th.

A number of the city’s administrative services will be closed

Parks and Recreation Programs and Facilities: Activities and customer service hours at city pools, arenas and community centres will vary over the holiday weekend.

Handi van

Holiday service on Family Day for the Handi-van service

Burlington Transit and Handi-Van: On Monday, Feb. 20, Burlington Transit will operate a holiday service and the downtown Transit Terminal, Handi-van Dispatch and the administration office will be closed. Regular service resumes Tuesday, Feb. 21.

Roads and Parks Maintenance: The administrative office will be closed on Monday, Feb. 20. Only winter control and emergency services will be provided.

Halton Court Services: Provincial Offences Courts in Milton and Burlington will be closed Monday, Feb. 20.
Parking:

Free parking is available in the downtown core, on the street, municipal lots and the parking garage on weekends and holidays.

The Conservation Authority wants to get you out of the city and into the hinterland north of Dundas.
To embrace the magic of winter, you have to step outside! Beat those winter blahs, and get out to Crawford Lake and Mountsberg Conservation Areas on Family Day Weekend for a couple of fun, family friendly events.

crawford-snowshoeing

Snowshoeing – how to do it right. A Family Day offering at Crawford Lake.

Crawford Lake wants you to enjoy a flurry of outdoor activities during its Snowflakes and Snowsnakes festival, while Mountsberg invites you to enjoy winter in the country at Tales by a Winter’s Fire.

Crawford Lake’s Snowflakes and Snowsnakes event includes, winter themed crafts and games, a marshmallow roast, and an introduction to snowshoeing (weather permitting). During the snowshoe demonstrations, visitors will learn more about the history of this popular sport, proper snowshoeing techniques and the health benefits of snowshoeing. The winter games sessions will include a round of snowsnake (conditions permitting), a traditional Iroquoian sport that challenges you to see how far you can send a wooden “snake” down a snowy path.

Children will love experimenting with snow and ice during the craft sessions and the Iroquoian Village will also be open for exploration daily. Finally, when it is time to get warm, visitors can settle in around a crackling fire to roast their own marshmallow.

Mountsberg’s Tales by a Winter’s Fire features an opportunity to enjoy winter in the country. You can roast hot dogs and marshmallows and share stories around the warmth and crackle of an outdoor bonfire.

All of this and more can be done at the ‘Tales by a Winter’s Fire’ program. Come and enjoy winter puppet shows, wagon rides, live animal encounters and Raptor Presentations. Please note there is an additional fee for rides and the hotdogs. We invite you to join us at Mountsberg for a memorable winter experience for the whole family.

Entrance to Tales by a Winter’s Fire and Snowflakes and Snowsnakes is covered under the regular park admission fees of: Adults $7.50, Children $5.25, Seniors $6.50, while children 4 years of age and under are free. The daily park admission is good for entrance that day into any of Conservation Halton’s parks.

Certainly lots to do.

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Kaarolyn Smardz Frost, author of Steal Away Home to speak at Central library

eventspink 100x100By Staff

February 15th, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

For readers of The Book of Negroes, Bound for Canaan, House Girl and The Illegal comes the story of a fifteen-year-old escaped slave named Cecelia Reynolds, who slips away to freedom in Canada while her Kentucky owners holiday at Niagara Falls.

Kaarolyn Smardz Frost will be talking about her book, Steal Away Home, at Central library on Tues., February 21, 7 p.m.

Kaarolyn Smardz Frost

Kaarolyn Smardz Frost

In this compelling work of narrative non-fiction, Governor General’s Award winner Karolyn Smardz Frost brings Cecelia’s story to life. Cecelia was a teenager when she made her dangerous bid for freedom from the United States, across the Niagara River and into Canada. Escape meant that she would never see her mother or brother again. She would be cut off from the young mistress with whom she grew up, but who also owned her as a slave holder owns the body of a slave. This was a time when people could be property, when a beloved father could be separated from his wife while their children were auctioned off to the highest bidder, and the son of a white master and his black housekeeper could become a slave to his own white half-sister and brother-in-law.

Cecelia found a new life in Toronto’s vibrant African American expatriate community. Her rescuer became her husband, a courageous conductor on the Underground Railroad helping other freedom-seekers reach Canada. Widowed, she braved the Fugitive Slave Law to cross back into the United States, where she again found love, and followed her William into the battlefields of the Civil War. Finally, with a wounded husband and young children in tow, she returned to the Kentucky she had known as a child. But her home had changed: hooded Night Riders roamed the countryside with torches and nooses at the ready. When William disappeared, Cecelia relied on the support and affection of her former mistress—the Southern belle who had owned her as a child.

Book - Kaarolyn Smardz Frost - Steal away homeOnly five of the letters between Cecelia and her former mistress, Fanny Thruston Ballard, have survived. They are testament to the great love and the lifelong friendship that existed between these two very different women. Reunited after years apart, the two lived within a few blocks of each other for the rest of Fanny’s life.

Steal Away Home, is the riveting true story of escaped slave Cecilia Reynolds and her lifelong friendship with her former mistress.

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Family day deal: Wear red and white - $1.50 entry fee; picture of a flag in your window - you get in Free.

eventspink 100x100By Staff

February 6th, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

If skating isn’t your thing – then you might want to try swimming – you get to do both on Family Day – when the Red and White Fun Swim and Public Skate takes place: Monday February 20, 2017

The city has decided to “market” the event and play up the sesquicentennial year we are now in. Show your Canadian pride; wear red and white and pay an admission of just $1.50/person.

Goldring 2 January 2017

Mayor Rick Goldring with his red and white attire. Will hundreds show up at Appleby to skate and swimming pools with red and white ?

Bonus…wear red and white AND show a photo of a Canadian flag posted in your window at home and your admission is FREE!

Don’t have a flag? Download one under “Resources” at burlington.ca/canada150.

They might want to offer an additional bonus for all those who can spell sesquicentennial and also tell you what it means.

They clearly want you to have a Canadian flag in your window. With this kind of hype in February one can only imagine the size of the blow out on Canada Day in July.

Fun Swim:
Angela Coughlan noon to 2 .pm.
Aldershot pool 10 a.m. to noon

Public Skate
Appleby pad 1 noon to 2 p.m.
Appleby pad 2 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

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Alton residents have a classic Canadian back yard ice rink - they take care of what the city installed.

sportsgold 100x100By Pepper Parr

February 6th, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It was late in the day, slightly overcast and cold. Nevertheless there were two boys and their Dad on the ice; the boys practicing their shot on the empty net.

Alton skating - two boys + dad

The only thing missing from this picture is a goalie in the net. The rink was put up in the Alton community.

The rink was set up by residents in the community; there has been tremendous local business support but not enough “labour” support. The few people who take care of the rink spend a lot of nights out there.

It’s a decent 50 x 64 size rink that has suffered some damage to the liner. Folks have been waiting for it to get repaired.

There are no lights the community decided lights would mean kid on the ice late into the evening that might result in a lot of noise.

Alton community rink

That one went where it was supposed to go. A goalie would have made it a lot harder.

The Alton rink is a pure community effort – the city created a local rink program that called for residents to look after a rink that the city would set up.

The following communities qualified for a rink because there was water access.

There are now 14 community rinks throughout the city – which is higher than last year.

It’s a program that works – and with decent weather the water actually gets to freeze.  There was a point at which some people thought they were going to end up with splash pads.

Ken White and Mike Collins are spending a lot of their time on that rink -and they aren’t skating.

They rented a pump and draw in water from the creek.

“The task has been frustrating since the children have caused some inadvertent holes in the liner allowing water to leak out before it gets fully filled.”

Among the communities that qualified for a community rink are:

• Brant Hills Park (2 rinks possible)
• LaSalle Park
• Sherwood Park
• Bridgeview Park
• Nelson Park
• Tansley Woods Park
• Central Park
• Orchard Park
• Ireland Park
• Sheldon Park

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Burlington library recognized as a leader by the Ontario Public Library Service.

News 100 redBy Staff

February 3rd, 2107

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Last night, Eleanor McMahon, MPP for Burlington and Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, presented the Burlington Public Library with the Angus Mowat Award of Excellence at the Ontario Public Library Service Awards in Toronto, Ontario.

The Ontario Public Library Service Awards identify and promote creative public library service ideas. There are two types of awards: The Minister’s Award for Innovation and the Angus Mowat Award of Excellence, which recognizes a commitment to excellence in the delivery of public library services.

Library - Mowat award winners

(L-R) Burlington Public Library staff members Amanda Wilk, Shelley Archibald, Minister McMahon, and BPL CEO Maureen Barry at the Ontario Public Library Service Awards.

Angus Mowat was a Canadian librarian who initiated and contributed to the continuing improvement of the library systems in Saskatoon and Ontario, from the 1920s through to the 1960s.

He was the Inspector of Public Libraries for the province of Ontario and remained head of the provincial library office – a part of the Ministry of Education – until his retirement in 1960.

Throughout his career he encouraged better quality collections for adults and children, professional staffing and library training, the necessity for improved finances, more efficient management by trustees and librarians, and upgraded or new buildings. He believed strongly that the ‘personal touch’ was essential for library service and that local effort, supplemented by provincial assistance, was the key ingredient in advancing local library development.

One wonders if he ever said hush in his life.

The Burlington Public Library received the Angus Mowat Award in recognition of the library’s community led youth service model, which provides empowering leadership and growth opportunities for teens.

“Libraries, librarians and the staff who run them”, said Minister McMahon, “are at the heart of our communities. I’m proud of the work that these incredible institutions do for everyone across the province, and I’m particularly proud that the Burlington Public Library’s achievements were recognized last night at the Ontario Public Library Service Awards.”

Burlington’s MPP brought one home to a library system that deserved this award

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Mainway Arena Temporarily Closed for Scheduled Maintenance February 14 to 17, 2017

notices100x100By Staff

February 3rd, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

Mainway Arena will be closed for maintenance between Feb. 14 to 17, 2017.

Plans to accommodate ice users at other city arenas are being made.

Residents with questions about ice rentals at Mainway Arena should call 905-331-7465.

For information about public skating at other locations around the city, please visit www.burlington.ca/play.

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Vigil this evening at Civic Square for those murdered in a Quebec mosque.

News 100 redBy Staff

January 30th, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

A vigil is being organized for the victims of the terrorist attacks in Quebec City.

A candle-lighting will occur at 6pm, followed by a minute of silence. There will also be a book of condolences.

All are welcome.

Vigil for those killed in quebec

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Fibre art exhibition hosted at the AGB to tour three Ontario communities.

artsorange 100x100By Staff

January 25th, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

One of the success signs of an art show is when parts of the show are sent on a tour to other galleries.

doll-on-wall

Fibre art

Last September the Art Gallery of Burlington hosted an exhibition of “quilted art” that was very well received.

For the first time since its inception in 2012, the third biennial Fibre Content Show of fibre art has been condensed into a collection of 38 pieces, travelling to three locations in Ontario:

OMAH, Orillia January 21-April 23
Gibson Gallery, Amherstburg May 18-June 18
Simcoe County Museum, Minesing September 19-November 11

 

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2641 names on a petition to kill the idea of bike lanes on New Street

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 23rd, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The New Street road diet is one of those stories that just does not want to go away.

Each day we see new information dribble in while two woman continue to collect names for their on-line petition that now has 2141 names plus 500 signatures on a paper based petition.

The petition is at: bit.ly/newstreetroaddiet

Ruth Langdon, one of the two retired teachers behind the online petition, said one of her concerns is that this road diet will be continued onto Burloak Drive.

Do you measure

The idea was to share the road – motorists were taught to respect the signals painted on the road.

“The plan seems to already be completed for bike lanes on New Street from Guelph Line to Burloak Drive.” She adds that she believes “the city has started working on a road diet for Maple Avenue from Lakeshore Road to just south of Mapleview Mall – pilot project for next spring.

“And that they have started working on a road diet for Lakeshore Road from water treatment plant to Eastport Drive. Are these really pilot projects or done deals?

One of the problems is the city hasn’t provided the level of information people need.

New Street bike lanes - long pic

The city did hold an information night at Robert Bateman high school with a number of impressive aerial photographs that set out what city staff thought was possible in terms of a road diet. There were almost as many photographs as there were people.

The city did hold a public meeting at Bateman high school where they had impressive drawings laid out showing some of the options that were being considered for New Street. The meeting was poorly attended.

This all began when the Regional government announced they were going to upgrade the water mains along New Street – which meant re-paving the road. The work between Martha and Guelph line was done last summer.

The balance of the water main work, from Guelph Line to Burloak was to be done at a later date. The city has a commitment to a better modal split between cars, transit, cycling and walking and saw this as an opportunity to put dedicated bike lanes in just a portion of New Street and measure data they would collect. Were cycling accidents reduced? Was traffic relay slowed down? What differences in the flow of traffic were observed?

The cycling lanes on that part of Lakeshore Road that begins at Maple and runs along the edge of the lake to Eastport is a part of the redevelopment of the Beachway Park.

Cycling lanes on Maple was not much more than a thought.

The city did a very poor job of getting the long range story out to a public that was concerned about traffic congestion.

New street north side at Bateman Hs

Many think that if there is going to be a cycle lane it could be on the median between the sidewalk and the road. One staff engineer told the Gazette one of the reasons for the medians was for possible bike lanes.

Members of council who voted for the New Street road diet (all did except for Councillor Sharman) didn’t do much better. There is a confused public out there – they want answers and they aren’t getting them.

The New Street plan was to be a one year pilot project that got off to a poor start and didn’t get any better as the public began to learn more about the plans.

The understanding is that in a Phase 2 the city will look at physical separation between the bike lanes and vehicle lane – cement barriers

Ruth Langdon wants to know if barriers are going to be put in to protect cyclists from traffic whizzing by at 60km – how much will barriers cost? Will they be removed in winter, if so how much will that cost? If not removed how will plows work around them? Where will the bus stop, how will handicap vans function? How do they sweep debris from the curb lanes, do they need to buy another machine for that?

All reasonable questions – just no answers.

Langdon has arrived at the conclusion that “intensification plus implementation of bike lanes = more congestion.”

Alternatives to putting bike lanes on main roads is to improve existing bike paths(multiuse) and , pavement beside sidewalk-boulevards.

Chris Ariens, an avid cyclist and a member of the city’s Cycling Advisory committee said he wonders how many people on the on-line petition are non-residents. He said he had heard in conversation that some of the petition comments were from non-residents, but can’t say how many. He said he did read the petition a couple of weeks ago. “No indication of how many were from neighbouring municipalities but I did see Philip Waggett’s name there 3 times.

Ariens added that: “I understand that many people are upset about the situation, and there is a feeling of there being nothing in it for the 1/3 of the public who have zero interest in cycling and focused on getting where they need to go quickly.

“The payoff for them is many years away, which explains some of the negative feeling towards the project. The road diet is mainly a scapegoat for the larger issue of congestion – particularly on the QEW / 403 that plagues our city’s commuting experience.

What's wrong with this picture?

Is the New Street road diet a scapegoat for the larger issue of congestion – particularly on the QEW / 403 that plagues our city’s commuting experience asks a Gazette reader.

“That congestion is the root cause, which providing more convenient multi-modal options should help address in the long run. That is why the data from this project is so important. But we can’t ignore the feelings either, because as we have seen, it is feelings that drive action at the ballot box, not data.

Ariens has said previously that he isn’t committed to bike lanes on New Street – he just wants to see data that supports any decision made.

The public does get bits and pieces of information from Dan Ozimkovic, Transportation Planning Technologist through his online communications. Nothing with any consistent detail from the city which is causing much of the angst. There is a sort of ‘if they aren’t telling us – then there is something wrong’ attitude prevailing.

Ozimkovic is pretty clear when he says: “The new street bike lanes are absolutely not a done deal, it will depend on if there is a reduction in accidents in that stretch and not a significant increase in travel times, all of which will be reported on.

Bike lanes - New street

Existing traffic lane set up on the left. Pattern during th road diet for New Street. The drawing suggests there is some form of barrier between the cars and the cyclists – there isn’t – at least not during the trial phase.

Ozimkovic is as strong with his words when he tells a resident that “I can guarantee you that New Street isn’t a done deal. This is a pilot project and staff will write a report to Council Fall 2017.

This report will include all of the feedback received regarding this pilot project as well as the traffic data that we collected prior to the start of this pilot project and during the pilot project.

In another email to a resident Ozimkovic reports that: “We have 3 months’ worth of data. You are absolutely correct, we aren’t able to collect any data now for the reasons you stated below (less sunlight to power the batteries that run the data collection equipment) but we will start collecting data once again as soon as the nice weather rolls around. From that point, we will collect data until the end of this pilot project.

“We recorded close to 53,000 travel time trips. This includes prior to pilot project and during the pilot project. We recorded these trips using the Bluetooth technology. The only other way to record travel time trips is by going out there with a stop watch and driving on New Street. We would never be able to get that sample size if we chose to record travel times that way.

Ozimkovic reports that all of this info is available on our project website www.burlington.ca/newstreetpilot –

Eva Amos, the other retired teacher who organized the on-line and the paper based petitions with Ruth Langdon asks: “Why not reverse this decision now based on 2141 signatures on an online petition opposing the New Street Diet, plus 500 signatures on a hard copy of the petition, add the many comments councillors have received directly from residents?

“Drivers do not feel safer, cyclists tell us repeatedly they will never ride their bikes in these bike lanes. They prefer Spruce Avenue, Lakeshore Rd or the Centennial Path. Residents on the feeder streets say traffic and speed have increased on these once quiet residential streets.

“The short merge lane is a major concern. Emissions from idling cars now sitting in the backlog at Walkers and New Street at peak times is also a concern. Trying to get onto New Street from Pinecove especially is a problem.

“At the beginning of this diet we were told data was being collected by the city transportation Dept and we could get updates there. Trouble is, this data has never been updated. The technology being used cannot collect data now in the winter months, the days are too short and the batteries are not charging properly. Data will again be collected once the nicer weather is upon us. So at best we will have data for a portion of this trial and none in winter?

“I also have trouble with the technology being used. It may be the best we have at capturing most cars but it does not capture every car. How many are missed. We have no way of knowing. As I understand it, a mobile device has to be turned on in the car in order for it to be captured and counted. I for one drive with my phone on. My husband turns his off when in the car, as does my neighbour.

New Street traffic data Jan 23-17

Time to travel between Guelph Line and Walkers Line with the road diet in place on New Street. A lot of people are going to experience heart burn when they see those times. Data comes from the city web site.

“I find it almost insulting to the many drivers and residents of south Burlington trying to get from the east end to downtown or simply get home after a day’s work in a timely, safe fashion to tell them it only takes 72 seconds longer now to travel the distance between Walkers Line and Guelph Line.

“Based on resident’s daily experience it should read, after waiting in gridlock at Walkers and New Street or after waiting several minutes to make a turn onto New Street, it now takes 72 seconds longer to travel the distance.

“I don’t think we would have so many signatures on the petitions if it simply took 72 seconds longer to travel the distance as reported on the city website.

“Burlington is a bedroom community. People out of necessity have to drive to work or to the GO station. Burlington was never built as a pedestrian or cycling friendly city. Distances are too far between, shopping, services, appointments, sports activities. When I go to Toronto I take the GO train, and subway or buses to get around or walk. There is no comparison between the ease of getting around Toronto to Burlington on public transit.”

Eva Amos and Ruth Langdon have each lived in Burlington for more than 40 years. They are the epitome of decent people who expect decent services from their municipal government and straight answers to their questions.

Both were school teachers who met each other at the curling rink and now play golf together.

“New Street was a functional east/west road for years. Now with the population growing, Councillors decide to narrow this major east/west roadway.  “I fail to see the logic. It seems I am not alone” – there are at least 2641 people who share that view.

This story isn’t over yet.

The online petition is still open and can be found at: bit.ly/newstreetroaddietgetting new - yellow

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City web site getting a fix up - won't be accessible early early on Monday.

notices100x100By Staff

January 20, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

If your practice is to log into the city’s web site early in the morning – you might want to take a pass on that next Monday.

The IT people will be doing a scheduled maintenance on Monday, Jan. 23, 2017 from 5 a.m. until 7 a.m.
During that time, there may be temporary service disruptions. As a result, we recommend you not use these forms during that time.

City Hall BEST aerial

Deep in the bowels of city hall the IT people will be doing maintenance work on the city’s web site. Those upgrades usually go smoothly.

• Parking Exemption
• Parking Ticket payment
• Dog License
• Accessible Document Request
• Advertising Request
• Event Application
• Rec Express Information Changes to my Account
• Rental Request Form
• Corporate Complaint Form
• Request to Appear as a Delegate

Council meets Monday to put the stamp of approval on the 2017 budget – so get your delegation notice in before then.

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Get married at city hall - and be forced to make a right hand turn on Lakeshore - two goodies for you from your city council

Budget 2017 ICON aaBy Staff

January 20th, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Some of the budget goodies that you get for your tax dollars.

You will be able to get married at city hall – sometime this year.

It wasn’t clear in the budget deliberations whether this service is being offered by the Parks and Recreation department or the Clerk’s department.

No word on what the costs are going to be and if there is going to be a room spiffed up for the weddings.

Flood Goldring with chain of office

The Mayor could, if he chose to, perform wedding ceremonies, now that city hall has decided to allow them to take place at city hall. some people just might like the “bling”: the Mayor gets to wear.

The Mayor is known as the Chief Magistrate of the city and would have the authority to perform a wedding ceremony – sort of like the Captain on a cruise ship. He will need to get a license from the province to make the ceremony legal.

Great photo op – and this Mayor did say sometime ago that he finally gets it – it is all about getting your picture taken.

Cam Jackson would have been all over this one.

A limited market but the sign of a progressive city; the LGBTQ community may find it convenient.

The other goody is one that will please many who use Lakeshore Road frequently.

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

Traffic barriers in place on Lakeshore for a Car Free Sunday a number of years ago. Councillor Dennison wants all those right hand lanes to be forced to take a right hand turn. Wants to see the same thing done on Maple and Lakeshore Road as well. He is tired of watching cars rush up the right hand lane and then cut in to traffic.

Ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison who lives on Lakeshore Road complained of the people who move into the right hand lane and speed up past all the cars on the left and then cut into the traffic later on.

Dennison wants all those right hand lanes to be right hand turn lanes – forcing drivers to make the right hand turn.

That should make for much fun. All part of an Operating budget that came in at more than $152 million plus – representing a 4.56% increase over the tax rate last year.

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Muir analyzes the data collected at a December public meeting and reports a lot of consistency in the responses.

opinionandcommentBy Tom Muir

January 20th, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

Part 5 of a series

Tom Muir, an Aldershot resident, has been an active participant in civic affairs or more than 25 years. He has been described as “acerbic”, a fair term for Tom.
He has outlined, in considerable length, a large part of why the parents at Central and Pearson high schools are in the mess they are in as a result of the recommendation to close their schools. In this article, one of a series Muir suggest what he feels are obvious solutions to the problem the Board of Education believes it has. There is a lot of material; it gets dense at times. Living in a democracy means you have to accept the responsibility of citizenship and stay informed.

The Gazette published the results of the 25 questions put to residents at the public meeting held by the Board on December 8.

There has been some concern expressed that the responses may be biased because of the representation by school is not even.

This is because all of the schools are not explicitly named as the primary option for closures, so there is a selection bias built right into the sampling frame itself, used by the Board consultant.

This sample of the resident/parent/student populations reflects the selection of schools that are directly named for closure or other changes – Central, Pearson, and Hayden. It is expected that the population of these schools would self-select to participate.

The low turnout from the other schools is also expected on similar grounds as not being in the selected schools directly affected.

parc-crowd-dec-8-16

These are the parents that answered the 25 questions put to them by the Ipsos facilitator the Board of education hired to collect and analyze the data. The vast majority of them were from Central high school.

In my opinion, the selection of schools is biased, so the turnout population sample reflects this bias – in effect the net bias balances out.

This is my summary of the details of the responses. The opposite views and votes are found by subtraction from 100%.

When you consider these closely, you can see what parents think about what they were asked, and what they want.

We have set out all 25 questions and the responses to each question – they are shown in red.

The Questions and the responses:

Question 1: Which high school are your representing tonight?  The number beside the school was the number people in the audience would key in.  The screen displayed a number that indicated how many devices had been handed out and another number showing how many people had responded.

7. Aldershot    7

6. Dr. Frank J. Hayden   43
5. Lester B. Pearson     43
4. Nelson Public           6
3. Robert Bateman       5
2. Burlington Central     150
1. M.M. Robinson     2

Question 2: How important is the availability of mandatory / core courses for your child(ren) within your home school?

3. Very Important              187
3. Somewhat Important      58
2. Not Very Important           12
1. Not at all Important          3

Question 3: How acceptable is it to attend a school outside of a home school for mandatory / core programming for your child(ren)?

4. Very Acceptable   22
3. Somewhat Acceptable   42
2. Not Very Acceptable   64
1. Not at all Acceptable   135

Question 4: How important is the availability of optional / elective courses within your home school for your child(ren)?

4. Very Important     94
3. Somewhat Important      117
2. Not Very Important         38
1. Not at all Important       14

Question 5: How acceptable is it for your child(ren) to attend a school outside of a home school for optional/elective courses?

4. Very Acceptable             37
3. Somewhat Acceptable    92
2. Not Very Acceptable       70
1. Not at all Acceptable     62

Question 6: How willing are you to have your child(ren) take a mandatory/core course in an alternative method (e.g., summer school, night school, e-learning or attend another school?

4. Very Willing  55
3. Somewhat Willing  54
2. Not Very Willing  57
1. Not at all Willing  96

Question 7: How willing are you to have your child(ren) take a optional/elective course in an alternative method (e.g., summer school, night school, e-learning or attend another school?

4. Very Willing  90
3. Somewhat Willing  74
2. Not Very Willing  46
1. Not at all Willing  49

Question 8: How important is it for you high school to offer a full range of pathway programming (e.g., workplace, college, university)?

4. Very Important   120
3. Somewhat Important   89
2. Not Very Important  33
1. Not at all Important   15

Question 9: How concerned are you that your child(ren) has access to appropriate learning facilities (e.g., kitchens, science labs, gyms, libraries)?

4. Very Concerned  165
3. Somewhat Concerned   58
2. Not Very Concerned  16
1. Not at all Concerned  19

Question 10: How concerned are you that some high schools have large amounts of specialized learning spaces that remain underutilized?

4. Very Concerned  18
3. Somewhat Concerned   56
2. Not Very Concerned  92
1. Not at all Concerned  92

Question 11: How important is it for your home school to have a full range of extracurricular activities (e.g., drama, arts, athletics, clubs) for your child(ren)?

4. Very Important   121
3. Somewhat Important  92
2. Not Very Important  35
1. Not at all Important   13

Question 12: How likely are you to support your child(ren) participating in extracurricular activities at another school?

4. Very Likely  72
3. Somewhat Likely  69
2. Not Very Likely  49
1. Not at all Likely  68

Question 13: How important is it for your child to have access to the highest level of competition in athletics?

4. Very Important   19
3. Somewhat Important   30
2. Not Very Important   170
1. Not at all Important   141

Question 14: How important is the physical condition of your existing school to you (e.g., environmental sustainability, energy consumption, safety)?

4. Very Important  75
3. Somewhat Important  37
2. Not Very Important  32
1. Not at all Important  95

Question 15: How important is it to you that the board ensures schools have an up-to-date, fully-accessible learning environment (e.g., elevators, air conditioning)?

4. Very Important   56
3. Somewhat Important   38
2. Not Very Important   32
1. Not at all Important   116

Question 16: How important is it you to preserve existing community partnerships at your child(ren)’s current school (e.g., swimming pool, library, community centre)?

4. Very Important   97
3. Somewhat Important   36
2. Not Very Important   49
1. Not at all Important   69

Question 17: How important is it you to minimize the use of portable classrooms?

4. Very Important   159  
3. Somewhat Important   27
2. Not Very Important    27
1. Not at all Important   39

 Question 18: The Board’s current walk distance is a maximum of 3.2 km. How important is it that your child(ren) are within the Board mandated walking distance to reach school?

4. Very Important     198
3. Somewhat Important   22
2. Not Very Important     21
1. Not at all Important    12

Question 19: Which of the following is your child(ren)’s most common form of travel to school currently? (list methods)

6. School Bus  37
5. Car (drive or drop off)  32
4. Public Transit  0
3. Walk  176
2. Bike   17
1. Other   4

Question 20: How important is it to you that the Board be fiscally responsible by reducing transportation to reach school?

4. Very Important   151
3. Somewhat Important   44
2. Not Very Important      22
1. Not at all Important    30

Question 21: How important is it for your child(ren) to spend their secondary school years in one school community?

4. Very Important   238
3. Somewhat Important  14
2. Not Very Important   6
1. Not at all Important   0

Question 22: The Ministry does not fund empty pupil places. To what extent do you agree that the Board should reallocate its limited budget to fund these spaces?

4. Strongly Agree   122
3. Somewhat Agree   50
2. Somewhat Disagree  32
1. Strongly Disagree   28

Question 23: The Board’s MYP states it will maintain a minimum overall average of 90% building capacity. To what extent to do you agree with this goal around future sustainability of Burlington secondary schools?

4. Strongly Agree   20
3. Somewhat Agree  34
2. Somewhat Disagree   53
1. Strongly Disagree   134

Question 24: The goal in the current MYP is to use innovative approaches to student learning spaces (e.g., classrooms, gymnasiums). To what extent do you feel the current situation of Burlington high schools is sustainable?

4. Very Sustainable   91
3. Somewhat Sustainable   55
2. Not very Sustainable   20
1. Not at all Sustainable   25

At this point people began walking out.  Answers for the 25th question were not collected.

Question 25: Of the four themes, which is most important to you?

4. Programming and enrollment   0
3. Physical state of existing schools   0
2. Geographical and transportation Issues   0
1. Fiscal responsibility and future planning   0

parc-quickie-dec-8-16

Very little is known about the parents who are members of the Program Accommodation Review Committee other than that they have a tremendous amount of work ahead of them. There is no remuneration for the members of the committee.

Tom Muir’s analysis of the answers that were given to the questions asked.

Readers are going to have to shift up and down the pages to read the question and all the responses Muir has analyzed.  Awkward – but it was the only way to set the data out for readers.

1) It is apparently important there be no school closures:

– the Board allocate the budget to fund empty spaces (Q22, 74%);

– present empty spaces are sustainable (Q24, 76%) – question also said MYP goal is to use innovative approaches to learning space use;

– response disagrees with Board 90% utilization goal (Q23, 78%);

– response not concerned about empty spaces being underutilized (Q10, 71%).

2. The importance of the home schools for core/mandatory subjects, and even optional/elective, is quite emphatic (Q2, 94%; Q3, 76%; Q4 80%; Q6, 58%; Q5, 51%), and consistent;

– Q7 indicates some support (63%, but only 35% are very willing), for optional/elective in alternatives like summer school, night school, e-learning, another school.

– do not agree with the Board 90% utilization goal (Q23,78%);
– and again, want the Board to allocate the budget to fund empty spaces (Q22, 74%);
– see being within 3.2 km, or 2 mile, Board mandated walking distance to home schools as important (Q18, 86%) – 69% already walk, 14.5% ride bus (Q19);
– see reduction in bus transportation to each school as important (Q20, 79%);
– see spending secondary years in one school as important (Q21, 98%);
– are concerned that appropriate learning facilities be accessible (Q9, 86%);
– want a full range of pathway programs (Q8, 81.3%);
– feel current situation is sustainable – as above in 1. (Q24, 76%);
– see it as important to minimize the use of portables (Q17, 74%).

4. Suggesting further support for retaining all schools are the following:

– a full range of extra-curricular activities (e.g., drama, arts, athletics, clubs) is important (Q11, 82%) – in my view, this implies more schools with more space for fewer students, means more opportunities;
– parental support to help students do extracurricular at another school is not at all likely, or not very likely, for 45% of respondents, compared to 55% at somewhat or very likely (Q12);
– the importance of the highest level of competition in athletics is not important (Q13, 81%) – in my view, this implies the larger top tier schools with large student populations are not important in this regard.

5. Other parent/resident views reflect a small majority percent expressing that:

– the physical condition of the school as not at all or very important (Q14, 53%);
– that the importance of the school as up-to-date and fully accessible, with elevators and air conditioning, is not at all or not very important (Q15, 61%);
– preserving existing community partnerships at current school (pools, libraries, community center) is very to somewhat important (Q16, 53%).

Again, the opposite views and percent support can be derived by subtraction with regard to response preference bracket.

I believe my analysis is accurate.  It is unbiased and done in good faith.

Muir making a pointTom Muir is a resident of Aldershot who has been a persistent critic of decisions made by city council. He turns his attention to the current school board mess. He recently suggested to Burlington city council that “If you are so tired of and frustrated by, listening to the views of the people that elected you, then maybe you have been doing this job too long and should quit.

Muir explains that the PARC will only get what people send in, what they come up with from their own efforts, and what they ask/demand from the board. They have to decide what they want and go after it ruthlessly. They will have to fight with tooth and claw and take no prisoners.

Previous articles in this multi part series

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

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What's happening NOW on the QEW - a way to see everything. Check it out.

News 100 redBy Staff

January 14th, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There is a neat little service the city has – you can go to a map and see which streets have been plowed.

Looking at a map to learn which streets have been plowed is nice – I guess.

What this map has though is something else – that is really useful.

QEW signThere are small symbols along the line that is the QEW – each of those symbols is one of the cameras that broadcast what the traffic load is like in real time.

You might want to book mark this one – really useful.

Click to check it out.

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4,350 families benefited from the $248,810 raised during the Toys for Tots drive.

News 100 redBy Staff

January 13th, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) is pleased to announce that its annual Toys for Tots holiday fundraising campaign raised $248,810 in toys, gift cards, cash and food for local families in Halton. All told, more than 4,350 Christmases were made brighter because of the generosity of area citizens, businesses, schools and sports teams.

Police - Toys for Tots3

Not sure if that little girl returned the hat to the police officer.

In its sixteenth year, this latest drive ran from November 15 until December 24, 2016.
“Once again, the people of Halton have gone above and beyond,” said Stephen Tanner, Chief of Police. “Residents, businesses and groups not only exemplified the spirit of Christmas; they gave us all another reason to be proud to call our Region home.”

For the past eight years, the Service has partnered with the Burlington Lions Optimist Minor Hockey Association (BLOMHA). This year, the organization raised more than $60,000, bringing their grand total to over $275,000. Their efforts are spearheaded by parent representative, Shari Carruthers.

Meanwhile, a local corporation, that wished to remain anonymous, donated $21,000 worth of toys.
Other community partners who made significant contributions include Budds Subaru, Burlington Cougars, Canadian Tire, East Side’s Auto Group, Halton Catholic District School Board, Halton District School Board, Georgetown Raiders, G.E. Water, Halton Honda, Longo’s Fruit Market, Mandarin Restaurants, Rotherglen School, Royal Bank, TD Canada Trust, Tiger Jeet Singh Foundation, True Mentality, and Woodbine Entertainment Group.

Sworn (uniform), civilian, Auxiliary and other volunteer Service members donated their time to support collection efforts at Canadian Tire locations region-wide, at each city/town Santa Claus Parade, at three Cram-a-Cruiser challenges, and at numerous other community events.

HRPS members raised more than $6,400 of their own funds through individual initiatives and platoon challenges. Service volunteers were also responsible for packaging and delivering toys to area families in their homes and in hospital.

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Who decides if the school buses are going to be running - the top dog who gets the first report at 5:30 in the morning.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

January 12th, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

The nightmare is” said Halton District School Board Director of Education Stuart Miller, “for me to decide that the school buses should not run and then see a significant change in the weather hours later.”

Miller was explaining to school board trustees last night how the decision to cancel school bus service when the weather is bad.

Stuart Miller

Stuart takes those 5:30 am weather report phone calls.

“I got a phone call at around 5:30 (my wife remembers exactly what time the call came in) telling me that the weather reports were not good.

Miller then makes a number of call to other school board’s in the area to see what they have planned. He has to make a decision by 6:30 am and prefers to have made up his mind by 6:00 am.

“There is freezing rain in Toronto but the local spotters report nothing in Oakville or Burlington – but the reports have the weather heading west.

“So I decide that the roads are not good enough for safe passage and I cancel the service.

“And sure enough – it is close to balmy sunshine weather in the southern part of the region and blizzard like weather in the rural areas.”

Miller explained that his decision is based on what he determines to be in the best interests of the students and the men and women who have to drive those school buses.

school bus in snow fall

Winter weather means slower bus service and at times a decision to cancel the service.

Many of the buses he explained have several runs – and if they are late completing one run the students are left standing in the cold for as much as half an hour while the bus drivers work with difficult roads.

So now you know – the decision gets made at the very top – and he gets that first call at about 5:30 in the morning.

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