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

artsorange 100x100By Staff

January 25th, 2017



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


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



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:

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 –

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: 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



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



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


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.


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


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



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



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


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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Watching a television show in a high school auditorium seemed like a fun thing to do.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

January 10th, 2017



Maybe 150 people came out to basically watch a television program, including the commercials, in a high school auditorium.

They do things like that at Central high school.

There was a place to collect cash donations and food for the Breakfast program at the school.


Catching up. From the right – Dania Thurman and Lynn Crosby and an unidentified male

There was popcorn and coffee that the cleaning staff were able to take advantage of. People milled around, got caught up on what was happening.

The occasion was the showing of the CBC’s latest mini-series – Pure.

Shawn Clement, a film arts teacher at Central high, handled the technical side of things while his dog  “Buddy” roamed around the auditorium as if he owned the place. It looked like he did.


Jessica Clement – plays the part of a Mennonite high school student in Pure

What the promoters of the screening didn’t say was that one of the female performers was none other than Jessica Clement, Shawn’s daughter, who was an absolute delight.

A maybe 20 something with one of those slim as a rail physiques and eyes that convey all kinds of character and depth, plays the part of Tina Funk, who attends a local high school where she wears a full Mennonite attire including the bonnet.

The program was filmed in Halifax, NS

This reporter wasn’t able to stay for the full screening so can’t comment on the quality of the performance other than to say that many of the television reviewers felt CBC was quite bold in the decision to run the six part series.

Jessica Clement tells us that there is enough script material for several 12 show runs – – let’s see how the television program is received.

An Aldershot high school graduate who went on to earn a degree at the University of Guelph, Jessica started her career as an actress at Theatre Aquarius in Hamilton at the age of seven and grew her skill set in that environment. At the age of 12 she began to perform outside Aquarius.

She has done it all: Stage, television, commercials. She was part of a Les Misérables  cast; she performed as Marta in The Sound of Music

And there she was on the large screen at Central high school while her Dad, Shawn, looked after the technical side of the evening and his dog roamed through the aisles. He seemed to know or wanted to get to know everyone.

It was as if you were in a small town movie theatre; that is also a community centre that is a little on the run down side with all kinds of character.

No one made any speeches. It was just a community out for the evening enjoying themselves.

There is some talk about the high school being closed. The Board of Education may find that they have to close a few high schools – Central won’t be one of them. The place has just too much community going for it.


Jessica Clement – Pure cast member.

As for young Ms Clement – she has done a lot of work for someone her age.

Pure (TV Series)
2017 Meza
2013 Paranormal Radio (Short) (completed)
Casey Hopkins
2012 The Time Traveler (Short) (completed)
2015 Hemlock Grove (TV Series)
Damascus (2015) … Cherry
Brian’s Song (2015) … Cherry
2015 How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town
2015 A Christmas Horror Story
2015/I Life
2015 Let Me Down Easy (Short)
2012 Dear Scavengers (Short)
Closer to Free: Part 1 (2012) … Naomi
2010 The Man Who Loved Flowers (Short)
2010 Small Town Murder Songs
2008 The Border (TV Series)
Like just about everyone in theatre in this country Jessica has done Degrassi: The Next Generation (TV Series)getting new - yellow

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Two local politicians have revived the traditional New Year's levy in Burlington - Sunday at the Art Gallery

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

January 6th, 2017



This Sunday the two women who represent the political leadership at the federal and provincial levels will hold their second New Year’s levy.

Levies were once significant municipal events at one end of the political scale and the event put on by the Lieutenant Governor of the province at the other end.

Remembrance McMahon + Gould

MPP Eleanor McMahon and MP Karina Gould at a Remembrance Day ceremony in Burlington.

Karina Gould and Eleanor McMahon decided they would jointly hold the event this year – the Mayor in his six years as the man with the chain of office showed no interest in holding the event.  That left the oppor-tunity for the two woman to revive what looks as if it is going to become a regular annual event.  Good on them.

The civic celebration of a New Year is an oppor-tunity to look at how well the federal government and the provincial government have done in serving the public interest.

Provincially the province struggles with hydro rates – the increases are hurting. The story behind those increases is complex and not all the fault of the current Premier Katherine Wynne. However she is the one wearing this issue.

In the year we are now into the opposition and the third party will beaver away at what they will call the failures of the current provincial government. They failures are easy to point to – but there were some significant positive moves.

A Premier that was once close to being addicted to the cash for access practice managed to shut down the practice and hardly a word has been heard about hat issue in a number of months.

Levee - McMahon at loom - I did that

During the 2016 New Year levy held at the Art Gallery of Burlington, MPP Eleanor McMahon took a turn at a weaving loom – that led to her becoming a member of the provincial cabinet.

The province has some serious infrastructure deficits and getting us out of our cars without providing an acceptable and convenient alternative is proving very difficult.

What comes across however, is a Premier who is going to do whatever it takes to bring about the changes needed to accept the fact that our climate has changed and we need to change if we are going to continue to exist on this planet.

Much ado was made about the Premier’s attempt to create a provincial pension program – which was shut down once the federal government decided to make changes in the pension program at that level. The federal changes would not have come about had Wynne not had the courage of her convictions to force the federal government to change. Don’t thank Justin Trudeau for the improvements in the federal pension program – than Wynne for pushing him into it.

When the next provincial election rolls around the provincial Liberals will have been in office for 15 years – they are being called a tired, worn out government.

Trite comment from the political pundits. How many years were John Robarts and Bill Davis in office – and were they tired and worn out? The Conservatives in this province let Mike Harris in the hen house – he turned out to be a wolf not a fox.

Wynne has her hands full – when one looks at what is out there to replace her – one feels confident with her hands on the wheel. Perfect she isn’t but better than the alternative she certainly is.

Levee Gould welcoming a new Canadian

Burlington member of parliament Karina Gould celebrating with a couple expecting a child during the 2017 levy.

Federally – the bloom has managed to stay on the rose that Justin’s father used to wear in his lapel. We love the guy, the world loves the guy. But there are serious issues that are not getting the kind of attention they need.

We are fortunate in Burlington to have a woman who is not yet 30 serving as our Member of Parliament. She has a lot of growing to do but there appears to be little doubt that she will go through those growth curves in fine fashion.

Now if we had a finance minister who would stop growing the deficit and spending like a drunken sailor there would be reason for an optimistic financial future.

We have young people for whom the opportunities in the work of work required the creation of a new word: precarious employment. They deserve better than that.

We talk in terms of those under 30 never being able to buy a home. Who then is going to buy those outrageously expensive bungalows north of the QEW when the current owners want to move on?

We have newspaper headlines that report on federal “deficits that will run into 2050”.

If there is a phrase that described financial irresponsibility that just about covers it.

As popular as he is – the Prime Minister sets the tones and those he is currently using are tone deaf but they are not falling on deaf ears.

We are going to spend $1 billion on sesquicentennial celebrations this year. What’s to celebrate? Fiscal imprudence?

We just may need the time between this anniversary and the second centennial – assuming we dodge the climate change bullet heading our way, to get out of the deficits that are being accumulated. The money we borrow does have to be paid back

What Burlington has going for it is a remarkable young woman doing a fine job at the federal level and a well-seasoned woman serving at the provincial level who happens to be one of the best campaigners this reporter has seen in some time. Her campaign ability and her genuine empathy for her constituents serve both her and the community well.

There were solid reasons for making her a Minister and a member of the Treasury Board.

Now if she can spend a little less time in the “golly, gee-whiz local booster” mode she frequently falls into she will be with us after the next provincial election.

Salt with Pepper is an opinion piece.  The Gazette invites others with opinions they feel will advance the level of civility in the city to be in touch with the publisher. getting new - yellow

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Lowville school house seeing more in the way of students - adults this time around. Film and poetry to be featured.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

January 6th, 2017



It’s one of those old one-room school houses that so many of our grand-parents went to. They had pot belly stoves and an outhouse back behind the building.

Built in the 1870’s the school was closed in 1952.


The Lowville school house – Built in the 1870’s the school was closed in 1952.

Few of them survived but the one in Lowville is still standing, structurally in pretty good shape actually but sort of languishing as a venue. It doesn’t get used all that often.

That appears to be changing.

The Lowville Festival has used the building for each of its events the past two years and plans on using it again this year.

ThinkSpot, a small consulting form that located in Lowville a number of years ago, works at “shifting the way people think and the way they work together. They connect all the various intricate pieces of the puzzle – the people, the process, and the place and create a place where people collaborate, think creatively, and find solutions to complex problems.

Debra Pickfield, the ThinkSpot principle, entered into a lease with the city that allows her to use the space when her own premises are not large enough to handle the size of the group she is working with.

And from there it sort of grew.


Gillian Anderson – known to most as “Scully” – the female lead in the X files. Her film performance as Lily Bart in the film House of Mirth was a surprise to many. That film will be the premiere of the Lowville School House film series.

This winter there is going to be a small Lowville Schoolhouse film series – seating is limited to 40 people. That series of events starts in early February.


Robbie Burns

More immediate is the salute to poetry on the occasion of Robbie Burns’ birthday featuring Canada’s finest spoken word poet, Robert Priest. That event takes place Saturday January 21st. Nothing yet on whether or not there will be a piper and if the haggis will be shared.

The Lowville Festival people are now pretty sure they have an event they can grow and are looking at some long term plans that will see the Lowville Park location used more.

These two events, the film series and the poetry reading are events that came out of the minds of the people in the community – they usually know what works best.

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Burlington's Best nominations - an opportunity for the community to recognize those who have served.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

January 1st, 2017



As a concept it is a really good idea.

Nominations for Burlington’s Best Awards come from the community and there have been some much deserved awards given in the past. There have some unfortunate choices when a husband nominated a wife or a Mother a son. The purpose was to have a community nominate one of their own.

For the most part the awards have been free from any political influence but there are political influencers on the committee that makes the choices. In the past there have been categories that didn’t draw much in the way of nominations.


The recipient of an award gets a unique plaque from the city along with a piece of art.

What the nominations committee has not done in our experience was decide not to make an award in a category and we don’t recall them ever retiring a category.  Accessibility was added as a category this year.

The ticket price could be a little lower; if not then give value for money and don’t let the buffet tables empty quite as quickly.

This is a social event where people who quietly serve their fellow citizens are recognized. There have been some who in the past were thickening their resumes for political purposes.

Nominations opened December 1 in eight award categories, including the new Accessibility Award. The winners in all categories are revealed at a celebration held in May each year.

There are eight award categories:

burlingtonbest-logoCitizen of the Year: A person whose volunteer activity has made a significant and sustained contribution to the vibrancy and wellbeing of the Burlington community.

Junior Citizen of the year: A high school student 18 years or younger who has made a significant contribution to the Burlington community.

Senior Person of the year: A person 55 years or older who has advocated on behalf of seniors and/or made a significant contribution to the Burlington community.

Environmental Award: An individual or group that improved and/or protects Burlington’s environment.

Arts Person of the Year: An individual who has contributed to the arts in Burlington as an artist, patron or advocate including but not limited to, visual arts, media arts, musical arts, performing arts and literary arts.

Community Service Award: An individual or group whose volunteer activity has contributed to the betterment of the Burlington community.

Heritage Award: An individual who has demonstrated a commitment to the preservation of Burlington’s heritage, and has volunteered their time in an effort to support the preservation of Burlington’s heritage.

Accessibility Award (new category): An individual, organization or business that has made significant contributions to increase access and participation of people with disabilities in the Burlington community.


Winners of the 2015 Burlington Best awards

Nominations will be accepted until Feb. 17, 2017.

Nomination forms can be completed online at or by picking up a form at the clerks department at City Hall, 426 Brant St.


Mary Kay Aird, Chair; Burlington Best.

Members of the committee that evaluate the nominations are: Mary Kay Aird, Chair; Calah Brooks, vice chair; Keith Strong; Victor Lesnicki; Adam Smith; Ann Coburn; Matthew Cocklin; Sarah Dunsford and Vicki Singh.

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Three years ago - do you remember? The ice storm - that was in 2013 - the flood was in 2014

backgrounder 100By Staff

December 29th, 2016



Three years ago – do you remember?

The snow storm that turned into an ice storm hit the city a few days before Christmas 2013 and just wouldn’t stop.

ICE STORM Millar road closed

This was a public road. The ice storm closed Millar |Road along with driveways throughout North Burlington

The weather people at the time were predicting winds of 20 kmh – which in the world Gerry Smallegange, President of Burlington Hydro was not good news

The temperature hadn’t risen enough for enough of the ice on the trees in north Burlington to melt. If those tree branches start swaying in the wind they could come down on all those hydro lines he has had to re-build.

It was close to impossible to keep up with the demand for help Smallegange knew that he had thousands of homes in the city without power. Situations like this are not new to the people who supply homes with electricity – it was the sheer volume that came close to crippling the hydro people.

North Burlington wasn’t being ignored by any stretch – the scope and scale of the problem up there was brutal. Smallegange knew that he had a very significant problem on his hands and needed all the help he could get. He also needed a break in the weather – and that wasn’t happening.


A hydro wire down – waiting for crews to discover it and get it restrung. This was one of many that hydro had to deal with.

The ice that had built upon the hydro wires needed to melt – and the temperatures were staying at a stubborn six to ten degrees below zero.

The city’s Emergency Coordinating Committee was almost in constant session and doing their best to maintain a constant flow of information to city residents. The difficulty was that with no power radio and television were useless as was the internet and social media.

What worked best was neighbour telling neighbour and in the north – community meetings. The city held its first community meeting in Kilbride where hundreds showed up with questions. The city did its best – but at times that wasn’t good enough.

ICE storm 2 - room crowd

Hydro president Gerry Smallegange explaining to Kilbride residents where the crews were and when he hoped power could be returned to the community.

The lack of information was frustrating for the residents without power. Information, like energy, has to have lines it can flow through – and the available lines weren’t working all that well when it came to keeping people informed.

For reasons that are not clear at the time, the city’s communications department didn’t seem to have strong working relationships with the radio stations – which meant the people needing the information weren’t getting it from the radio stations – apparently because information wasn’t getting from the city to that media.

It all happened three years ago – we survived.

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The paths students heading for high school can take; which high schools will be open is a different question.

News 100 blueBy Staff

December 28th, 2016



While parents with students in high schools worry about just which high schools are going to be open in the years ahead – those parents with children getting ready to move on to high schools have to begin having the conversation with their children about which educational path they want to take.

The Halton District School Board is hosting several Pathways Planning Information Evenings in January that will allow parents and Grades 7-12 students to explore program opportunities that high schools have to offer in Halton.

hdsb-pathways-all_programsPathways is a collaborative program between the Halton District school Board and the Halton Catholic District School Board and was created by the Ministry of Education as one of the four pillars of the Student Success Initiative

Literacy, Numeracy and Community, Culture and Caring are the other pillars. The primary purpose of Pathways is to develop learning opportunities and programs and to re-culture our education system to value all learners, all choices, and all destinations.

The goal of Pathways K-12 is to provide learners with a variety of engaging learning opportunities (including Pathways Programs, contextualized learning experiences that incorporate real world situations, curriculum integration, and cross-curricular literacy and numeracy) and to facilitate the development of learners who know themselves (including the ability to identify strengths, accomplishments, and competencies) and are able to create a Pathways Plan to work towards their goals and future education and career opportunities.

Pathways Planning

Through Pathways we encourage students to take advantage of the opportunities provided in elementary and secondary school to know themselves, identify strengths, set educational and career goals and create a Pathways Plan to achieve them.

hdsb-oyap_programsThe Board offers more than 70 programs geared to meet individual needs, helping more students succeed in their chosen pathway after high school, whether they are pursuing apprenticeship, college, community, university or the workplace. The meetings provide information on how to better prepare students for a rapidly changing world, at the same time receiving a relevant and engaging education.

Registration to attend is not required and all are welcome.

The 6-8 p.m. meetings will be held at the following locations:

• Thursday January 12, 2017: Abbey Park High School, 1455 Glen Abbey Gate, Oakville
• Tuesday January 17, 2017: Georgetown District High School, 70 Guelph Street, Georgetown
• Thursday January 19, 2017: Milton District High School, 396 Williams Avenue, Milton
• Tuesday January 24, 2017: M.M. Robinson High School, 2425 Upper Middle Road, Burlington

Pathways programs include the

Specialist High Skills Major programs,

Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Programs,

Specialty School to Career programs,

the Employ-ability Skills Certificate program,

Dual Credit college programs,

Grade 8-9 Transition programs.

Agenda for each night:

6:00-6:30 p.m. – Pathways displays and meet the Pathways Program teachers
6:30-7:15 p.m. – Pathways presentation (Programs & planning for post-secondary)
7:15-8 p.m. – Pathways displays and specific workshops.


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The bike lane debate really can wait.

News 100 greenBy Staff

December 26th, 2016



It has come to this:

On Dec 24, 2016, at 11:06 AM, philip waggett wrote:
Mr. Goldring & Mr. Dennison,

Back in August, I commented that the data collection along New Street was a “sham”, this was not a “test” but a fait accompli in which the bike lanes were now permanent. In fact two comments from the recent minutes of the Cycling Committee support this view.

In October, the Cycling Committee minutes reported “…Phase Two will look at the possibility of physcial separation of the bike lanes and car lanes…”; in November, the minutes reported, “Report that New Street will be going next fall”. Both of these comments indicate that the Cycling Committee believe that the New Street Bike Lanes are a permanent fixture–despite the widespread opposition of thousands of residents!!!!!

Further, the October minutes of this special interest lobby group reveal that $1800 of valuable taxpayers money was approved to buy “free(?) giveaways” at the inspire burlington event in November. The giveaways apparently promoted that “cycling is delightful”.

Why are valuable taxpayers resources being used for this purpose?

At 7:14 am Christmas Day Ward 4 city Councillor |Jack Dennison wrote

We will get input from Dan Ozimkovic traffic engineering when he returns from Christmas break. He has the details.

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.

Phil, Merry Christmas and Happy New year to you and yours

Our hope is that Jack was up at that hour with those that matter in his life. The bike lanes on New Street can just wait until the New Year,

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Lowville crowd celebrate the Winter Solstice

eventspink 100x100By Staff

December 24th, 2016



Before there can be a Christmas – there has to be a Winter Solstice; the day with the shortest number of daylight hours… or the longest number of darkness hours – totally your preference.

For the past four years Debra Pickfield’s Thinkspot in Lowville has celebrated both the Winter and Summer Solstice.


Getting ready to launch a sky lantern

On Wednesday, a surprisingly large crowd of 150+ gathered for a meal together, some activities for children, or simply decorating a sky lantern which they released at just after 8:30pm as a way of honouring what they were grateful for in 2016 and also what they wanted to release from 2016.


Launching the sky lanterns to celebrate the Winter Solstice

Watching those sky lanterns fill with warm air from a candle and they ascended majestically into the night sky was something to watch.


A sky lantern reaching for the winter sky.

People were asked to bring a donation of new socks and underwear that will be provided to individuals experiencing homelessness at shelters in our communities.

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Hours for city administrative, recreational and transit services.

News 100 redBy Staff

December 22, 2016



Most of us are rushing to get tasks done that just have to be done before we ease up for a few days away from what usually occupies us Monday to Friday,

City of Burlington administrative services will be closed from Monday, Dec. 26, 2016 until Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017.

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

For a complete listing of program times visit

For a complete listing of  service hours and customer service locations visit

Burlington Transit and Handi-Van Service Hours:

The Downtown Transit Terminal will be closed Dec. 25 and 26, 2016 as well as Jan. 1, 2017. It will be closed early (2 p.m.) on Dec. 24 and 31.

Date Service schedule/hours

Dec. 24 Service ends early at approximately 8 p.m.

Dec. 25 No service

Dec. 26 Saturday service hours

Dec. 27 to Dec. 30 Regular service

Dec. 31 Saturday service extended until approximately 2 a.m.

Jan. 1 No service

Roads and Parks Maintenance: The administrative office will be closed on Monday, Dec. 26, 2016 and will reopen on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017. Only winter control and emergency services will be provided.
Halton Court Services: Provincial Offences Courts in Milton and Burlington will be closed Monday, Dec. 26, 2016 and will reopen on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017.

Parking: Free parking is available in the downtown core at all meters, municipal lots and the parking garage during the month of December and on Jan. 1, 2017.

NOTE: The Waterfront parking lots (east and west) do not provide free parking on statutory holidays.

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Free contemporary dance workshop - January - mark it down.

artsblue 100x100By Pepper Parr

December 21, 2016



We need to get through Christmas – but when that is done – and if you have an appreciation for modern dance and would like to take part in a class – mark the date Tuesday, January 3 from 5:30pm – 7:00pm at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre

form-danceFORM Contemporary Dance is putting on a free workshop that will flow through various exercises to find avenues to access confidence, explore and express creative range and physicality.

Tuning awareness to the sensations, feelings, emotions and ideas that are naturally present and allowing them to blossom into breathtaking movement.

The people at FORM are remarkably creative – if dance is your thing they are as good as it gets.

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Residential construction just roaring ahead - commercial not as good.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 17, 2106



Call it intensification.

Call it developers knowing what a hot market looks like.

Call it money looking for a place to grow.

Whichever, the city is just a hustle and a bustle with residential building.


First of the five towers going up on Fairview next to the GO station and across the driveway from Walmart. This building is sold out.

There is the Paradigm on Fairview next to the GO station and across a driveway from Walmart that will definitely undergo an upgrade once the Paradigm condo owners start moving in. Expect to see Sushi in the coolers.


The Berkeley – first of three phase project.


Back hoes deepening the site for concrete pouring.

Just a bit south at the intersection of John and Caroline the first phase of the Berkeley has broken ground.

The 20 storey condominium is digging the hole in the ground and will begin pouring concrete doping the form work to be able to pour concrete.

This project consists of three buildings – the upscale 20 storey structure made up of three storey columned stone and precast podium from which will rise a 17-storey glass tower condominium. The residential building will front on to Pine Street. On Caroline, the northern boundary of the development plans are for a multi-storey building to be known as MedicaOne. In between the two here will be an eight floor parking garage that will have a grass roof.

It has taken some time to get this project to the point where construction could begin. One of the issues was getting hydro to the site. The developer was expected to pay for the full cost of hauling the necessary power lines from the substation on Lakeshore Road up to the project. Anyone building between the development at John and Caroline and Lakeshore was going to be able to tap into the lines the Carriage Gate people had paid for – which wasn’t quite the way Nick Carnacelli saw it. He stood his ground.


Parking levels for the Bridgewater are being completed – a single garage will serve all three buildings with the entrance off the bottom of Elizabeth street.

Moving further south – the parking levels that will serve the three buildings that will make up the Bridgewater development are now well under way. The parking levels will be four at the north end and three closer to the lake.

Bridgewater from lake on the east

An architect’s rendering of the Bridgewater project – seen from the lake.

Bridgewater is another three structure development all attached to each other with a shared underground parking arrangement.

The 22 story condominium that will set a record for height in this city. It was defied as a “legacy” site when it was approved in the mid 90’s. No one has ever explained what it means to be a legacy; some think it was the crack that opens the door to really high – high rise.

All this got done when then Mayor Walter Mulkewich wore the chain of office.

The assembly of the land with the related zoning changes began in 1985. One needs to be patient to develop in Burlington.

Bridgewater Aerial-rendering-1024x758

The public portion of the Bridgewater project seen in the center

There will be an eight storey Marriott hotel and a seven storey condominium south of the hotel. The entrance to the hotel will be on Elizabeth Street.

There will be an opening on Lakeshore Road between the hotel and the condominium that will give the public access to open space that will lead right to the water’s edge.

The 22 storey’s did catch the attention of other developers who are pushing for 26 storeys across the street and other developers who talk privately about 40 storey structures along Lakeshore – there are after all those wonderful views of the Lake. How high up do they have to go to be able to see Niagara Falls?


On a cold Friday the only people working on construction sites were those doing back hoe work. Here shale is being broken up on the Saxony site.

Head west where the Saxony is also digging away. They are chipping through shale for the three levels of parking that will be put in for the five storey structure.

Saxony early version - classical

The Saxony was one of those project that went through with hardly a hitch – and sold out without even opening up a sales office.

To get a sense as to just how hot the Burlington market is – the Saxony rented space in the Sims building – kitty corner from the construction site, for a sales office. They didn’t even have to open up a sales office – the units were sold out before they could get any furniture in.

The Saxony has done a superb job of creating a high end property that includes a small theatre. Residents will be able to reserve the theatre to show a recent release movie to friends. Can’t you just see a bunch of the guys gathering to watch the Montreal Canadiens beat the Toronto Maple Leafs – again, in what will be a private theatre?

This is probably not one of the measure s used to make Burlington the Best mid-sized city in the country. It is a hop skip and a small jump from the Pier that we paid twice the price that we expected to pay.

With the city well into the first week of winter, which doesn’t begin officially until Wednesday of next week – there wasn’t any concrete pouring being done on any of the sites.

Just too darn cold.


It was a Friday and it was cold. The men who build the forms and direct the pouring of concrete didn’t want to work – so they didn’t. The Paradigm has sold out on two of the first three towers going up on this five tower site.

The city is probably ahead of the intensification target it was given – what we aren’t seeing are office towers where people who live in the city can work.

Construction is going great guns – economic development – not nearly as well. Has the Economic Development Corporation got any announcements in the pipeline?

The vinyl record pressing operation that is about to be fully operational certainly wasn’t impressed with what the city did for them.

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Burchill: growing strong relationships takes time so relax, take a deep breath and smile.

marketingmoneymojoBBy James Burchill

December 16, 2016



As odd as it sounds, some people would rather die than walk into a room of strangers and talk to them! It makes no logical sense to me, but deep in the shadow of my childhood fears, I can still hear my mother’s warning, “Don’t talk to strangers!”

Decades later that modern “monster under the bed” still grabs our feet making us recoil horrified at the prospect of speaking to a room full of strangers. Instead we slip quietly into the room. Avoiding eye-contact, we slink toward the back of the room, anywhere but out in the open where the people are!

We fiddle with our phones, we pretend we’re busy. We distract ourselves, all the while feeling frustrated at our weakness. Our lack of courage. Our inaction. If we’re not careful that feeling will chase us from the room, once again confirming our belief “networking isn’t for us.” It’s a vicious cycle and something to avoid.

Firstly you need to give your head a shake. People don’t bite – unless you’re at a “special party” and the bartender is wearing rubber … in which case you’ve lost me and I suggest you move along – there’s nothing to see here.


When the finish with their texting – they might manage to network.

But if you’re at a B2B networking event where people are clothed in business attire, chatting in small groups to other people of similar dress, then you’re definitely in the right place and there are some things you need to remember.

(1) People go to networking events to talk to other people. They want to connect. They want to know each other. They want to discover commonalities – that’s how it works.

(2) Everyone gets nervous. It’s normal, it means you give a damn – you care. You want to do good, to make a positive impression. You don’t want to waste your time or theirs. That’s good. Just don’t let the “nerves” stop you. Slowly take a deep breath, hold it for a few seconds and then slowly exhale. Smile as you do it. Now put one foot in front of the other and walk into the room.

(3) Its’ NOT about selling. People get too hung up on the idea you’re supposed to be some super salesman. That’s all wrong, it’s about connecting not convincing. It’s about finding common ground, not working the room. When you meet people you simply smile, extend your hand and say, “Hello, my name is James, what do you do?” Of course I recommend you use your own name …

(4) You’re not interrupting. When you walk up to a small group of people pay attention to their body language and facial expressions. If the group seems ‘open,’ stand at the edge and listen. Smile. Wait for it … Someone will invite you in. Then you do the whole ‘stick out your hand, smile and say “Hello, my name is …”‘ and take if from there. If the group is closed or it’s only two people with their feet pointing toward each other then smile and move on. Basically it’s all about manners – don’t intrude and don’t be rude. Simple.

(5) Make it about them. If you forget everything else, remember this: MAKE IT ABOUT THEM. Because soon enough they’ll make it about you if you ask good questions. Be curious. Find out what they do. Listen. Pay a genuine compliment when you can. Avoid the touchy topics like looks, clothing, sex, politics and religion. Try to compliment their work. For instance, I love it when people figure out how much time I spend writing and say something nice about how I make it look easy.


It’s about making the connections – there is a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it.

Remember, at the end of the day networking isn’t about working the room, it’s about turning a roomful of strangers into friends … one person at a time. And be patient, growing strong relationships takes time so relax, take a deep breath and smile.

Oh, and one parting thought for you … I’m not an extrovert, I’m introverted. Introverts aren’t incapable of networking – we just do it differently. It’s not all about the wow, it’s about the now – being present and truly connecting with people. Many extroverts draw their energy and enthusiasm from the room (which is often why it’s not as hard for them to network.) Most introverts draw their energy from within – which is why it’s often so draining afterwards but equally rewarding.


Some of the best small business networking done in Burlington is at the SFN – Social Fusion Networking that Gazette columnist James Burchill sponsors. He packs a pretty good crowd in the Performing Arts Centre

I guess what I want you take away is that you’ve probably been thinking about networking in the wrong way. Forget the sales pitches. Make friends. Take is easy. Take a breath. Smile. Whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert doesn’t matter … I’m a Gemini – so what right? Precisely. Have some fun and for the umpteenth time … SMILE, they won’t bite … unless the bartender is wearing rubber in which case you’re own your own bucko!

burchill-jamesJames Burchill is the founder of Social Fusion Network – an organization that helps local business connect and network.  He also writes about digital marketing, entrepreneurship and technology and when he’s not consulting, he teaches people to start their own ‘side hustle.’

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