New look for the ground floor of city hall - what do you think?

By Staff

January 20th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

City hall is getting an upgrade – at least the ground floor is.

Entering city hall from the Brant Street entrance.

Service Burlington, the people that have all the answers to all the questions you have, are moving their desks temporarily to second floor of City Hall starting February 1.

The temporary move of Service Burlington is happening to allow for construction to begin on the main floor of City Hall, as part of the City Hall modernization project.

The project is one of 22 recommendations from the Red Tape Red Carpet Task Force report, and was approved by City Council in September 2019.

Work stations?

In keeping with the City’s focus on customer experience, this project will create a more open, customer-facing area on the first floor of City Hall. Construction on the main floor starts on Tuesday, Feb. 1.

Under modified Step Two of the Province’s Roadmap to Re-open, Service Burlington is currently open for in-person service by appointment only for commissioning services and marriage licences.

Appointment-only services will continue until Feb. 1, and may be extended in response to COVID-19. Residents can visit burlington.ca/onlineservices to access a variety of City services online or contact Service Burlington directly during regular business hours, by phone at 905-335-7777 and email at city@burlington.ca.

The ground floor area will be much more open than it is now. Will the public be able to just hang around and read the paper or is this all going to be strictly business?

During construction, please access City Hall through the Brant Street entrance. The entrances from Locust Street and Elgin Street will be closed.

Once inside the building, please use the elevator in the lobby to access Service Burlington on the second floor, unless otherwise directed.

As with most construction projects, there will be some periodic noise, dust and dirt in the building.

Construction on the main floor of City Hall is expected to finish in the fall of 2022.

The plans for a new city hall look had next to nothing in the way of citizen participation.  Staff put together designs that were presented to council and it was a done deal.

There are changes planned as well for the plaza area outside city hall.  They were put on hold when hoped-for funding failed to come through.

 

 

 

 

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Kearns Ward 2 walking tour - back by popular demand

By Staff

January 20th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Back by popular demand.

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns took more than 50 people on a walking tour of her ward last November.

She is going to do a second tour – people who missed the first tour wanted an opportunity to get a first hand look at what was planned for the ward.

Saturday February 5th – gather at the foot of Brant Street at Lakeshore Road at at 1:00 pm and watch what Lisa Kearns can do with a bull horn!

The November tour had a healthy crowd and decent weather – with Covid social distancing being observed

The map below is of the last November tour – same event in February.

If you want to take part – pop a note along to the Councillor’s office: ward2@burlington.ca

They’d like to get some idea of what to expect. Kearns has a arranged for a microphone so she can be heard this time.

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Two GO-VAXX Indoor Walk-In Clinics coming to Burlington Jan. 22 and Feb. 5

By Staff

January 19th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Both GO-VAXX Indoor Walk-In Clinics will take place at Sherwood Forest Park.  No appointment required.

GO-VAXX Indoor Walk-In Clinic details:

  • Dates: Saturday Jan. 22, 2022 and Saturday Feb. 5, 2022
  • Time: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Location: Sherwood Forest Park at 5270 Fairview St., Burlington

Both GO-VAXX Indoor Clinics are walk-ins. First, second, third and pediatric doses will be administered at the clinics as per the following schedule and guidelines on both days:

10 a.m. –3 p.m. : Moderna for ages 30 years of age and older

3:15 – 4:45 p.m. :  Adult Pfizer for ages 12 to 29 years of age

5 – 6 p.m. : Pediatric Pfizer: ages 5 (on the day of the clinic) to 11 years of age

Each clinic can deliver 320 vaccines in a day.

Additional information is available for getting the COVID-19 vaccine and  Who Can Get Vaccinated from the Province.

There will be approximately 320 vaccine doses administered during each vaccine clinic.

These GO-VAXX Indoor Walk-In Clinics are in addition to the two GO-VAXX Mobile Bus Clinics at Sherwood Forest Park on Monday, Jan. 24 and Monday, Jan. 31.

The City of Burlington actively submitted an application to the Province of Ontario for the Go-VAXX Indoor Walk-In Clinics and the GO-VAXX Mobile Bus Clinics to come to our city. The Province of Ontario operates these vaccination clinics as part of the province’s strategy to get COVID-19 vaccines to Ontarians. The number of available vaccinations at the clinics is determined by the Province of Ontario. The City sought to support vaccination efforts by securing an appropriate local site to host these clinics to share additional vaccine opportunities with Burlington residents. In addition to these opportunities, there are many other ways to receive your COVID-19 vaccine, including at Halton Region clinics, pharmacies, community and pediatric clinics and doctors’ offices. Halton Region Covid-19 vaccination clinic information can be found at Halton – COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics.

Marianne Marianne Meed Ward wearing the Chain of Office while she presides over a council meeting.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward explains how these additional opportunities to get vaccinated came about: “Vaccinations are typically provided by the Province and administered by Halton Region Public Health, local pharmacies or doctors’ offices. So, when we learned of an opportunity recently for the City to work with the Province directly to bring additional clinics to Burlington, we jumped on it.

“These additional clinics provide yet another opportunity to get your first, second or booster shots faster than you otherwise would have been able to, and will help in our collective efforts to slow down the spread and severity of COVID-19. Thank you to all those who are stepping up to get vaccinated, and to everyone who has already done so. If you are still waiting to get vaccinated, please take advantage of this additional opportunity to do so.

“This helps protect you, your family and friends, our whole community and hospital capacities.”

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Rivers on Omicron: the Mild Variant that has re-shaped health care world wide

By Ray Rivers

January 19th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

COVID, since day one of the pandemic, has had a stigma attached to it.  Unless one was a resident in congregate living or a front-line worker at a health centre, school, factory or grocery store, catching COVID was because of carelessness.

Omicron has changed all that.  The virus has spread so extensively and quickly that probably one in three people you know can now claim to have had symptoms; mostly a mild cold if they had been appropriately vaccinated.  Instead of being ashamed people are beginning to wear COVID, almost, like a badge of honour.

Was the Omicron variant of Covid19 a glimpse of what the public was going to have to face for years ?

And that is sad because the latest variant has filled our hospitals and shut down elective surgery.  As we hit 4000 admissions with 600 in the ICU and 40 people a day dying, it should be clear that the term ‘mild’ is just so inappropriate.   While the new variant seems to be taking aim at younger people, it is still taking a toll on more vulnerable seniors.

4000 admissions a day is a lot of hospital beds.  To that end, the federal government has purchased some $300 million worth of field hospital units, which could be quickly assembled.

Something like this was erected near Burlington’s Jo Brant hospital earlier in the epidemic.  But these kits are mostly still sitting in a warehouse waiting for hospitals to have enough staff to use them.  And that is the problem.  COVID, particularly this latest variant not only has filled beds but it is also emptying the wards of sick and overworked staff who would attend to those beds.

There have been a number of articles published recently querying Canada’s health care system.  Of course, it really is 13 provincial/territorial systems delivering health care under the auspices of the federal government and the Canada Health Act.  The Act gives us universal care and a single insurer.

The bottom line, when all is said and done, is that Canada’s health care compares favourably with other nations, even during COVID.  We’re not the lowest cost per capita, but still operate at a lower cost per capita than Germany, Sweden and a host of other European nations.  And besides enjoying better health outcomes, Canadians spend less than half what our southern neighbours do.

Health care had become a political football

Critics like the Fraser Institute, a right wing think tank, will never be content with a single payer public health system.  Yet they fail to appreciate that the private sector is more involved in delivering health care (30%) here than in many other nations.

We have privatized the delivery of diagnostic, hernia repair, colonoscopy, cardiac care and other aspects – taking these services out of the hospitals and into private clinics, though they are still covered by our single payer insurance.

Politicians seeking election always promise to add more hospital beds, as Mr. Ford did last election.  It’s as if more beds is some kind of panacea – will fix what is wrong with the system.  But beds only work if there is staff to care for the people in those beds.  And that situation has only got worse with this pandemic.  When 20-30% of nursing staff are home sick and unable to work, and many are so burned out they are leaving the profession, we have a real problem.

At the beginning of the epidemic lawn signs seemed to be popping up everywhere thanking our front-line heroes for their tireless efforts to save us.   But not everyone felt that way.  In Alberta, as the second wave was receding, Jason Kenny determined in his mind that it was all over and decided to fire 11,000 health care workers.   Then, as if to add insult to injury, he set out to roll wages back by 3%.

Kenny, buoyed with false optimism, also lifted all public health restrictions, making Alberta a living example of the real wild west.  A crisis of his own making ensued as the virus surged back with a vengeance collapsing Alberta’s health care system and swamping its hospitals with sick and dying.  In the end he had to call in the feds to bail the province out.

Nurses were being pushed to the limit and felt they weren’t getting the support they needed. The burnout rate was very high.

And it wasn’t just Alberta.  The Ford government in Ontario has a philosophical problem with unions, but especially those in the broader public sector.  So Ford introduced Bill 124 to cap all public service salaries at an annual 1% increase, even as inflation has recently climbed to almost 5%.  Is it any wonder that nurses in this province are now in full flight to better paying jobs?

Long term care (LTC) in Ontario, and across much of the country, is an idea badly in need of re-invention.  Ontario is losing Minister Rod Phillips, who some consider the most/only competent minister in Ford’s government, providing we forgive him for breaking COVID rules and flying south in the midst of a nasty wave of COVID in the province.  Still, he had brought in some accountability, such as re-introducing the spot inspections of facilities, which Mr. Ford had cancelled soon after becoming premier.

But it’ll take more than that to fix LTC for our seniors, including facilitating people staying longer in their homes, if at all feasible.  And it will take national standards which the feds have promised.  Indeed a national LTC act with appropriate federal funding would be an excellent companion to what the feds have initiated at the other end of the age scale with child care… and, of course, the Canada Health Act itself.

Canadians overwhelmingly support our universal, single payer health care system, with some surveys running as high as 86% approval.  But it could always be made better.  We could add pharmacare, for example, something the previous provincial government in Ontario had been moving towards.  We could put more effort into reducing wait times for elective surgery, especially in geographically remote places where specialists are difficult to find.

And we could start to treat our health care front-line workers, and especially nursing staff, with the respect they deserve.  We should pay them what they are worth and maybe start putting up those ‘thank you’ signs again.

Ray Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was a candidate for provincial office in Burlington where he ran against Cam Jackson in 1995, the year Mike Harris and the Common Sense Revolution swept the province. He developed the current policy process for the Ontario Liberal Party.

 

Background links”

Health Stats –     The Debate –      More Funding –      Fed Mobile Hospitals

Rod Phillips –     Nurses –     Polling on Health Care –      National LTC Standards

Canada vs USA –      Canada VS USA –    Staff Shortages –    Staff Quitting

 

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Telephone Town Hall on city response to Covid19 pandemic

By Staff

January 19th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

TELEPHONE Town Hall this evening at 6:30 pm – it will run for an hour.

The purpose of the telephone town hall event is to share information and answer resident questions about the on-going COVID-19 pandemic and recent impacts on city programs and services.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward will be on the telephone this evening – directing questions to a panel that will be with her.

The town hall will be hosted by Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, who will be joined by a panel of local leaders, including representatives from Joseph Brant Hospital.

How to Participate
Residents who would like to participate in the town hall can do so in the following ways:

1. Register in advance: Burlington residential phone numbers will be randomly selected to be part of the telephone town hall. Residents who would like to be added to the telephone call list can email getinvolved@burlington.ca by noon on Jan. 18, 2022. Please note: if you registered for any of the previous town halls, you are not required to register your phone number a second time. If you wish to have your phone number removed from the call list, please email getinvolved@burlington.ca by noon on Jan. 18, 2022.

2. Join by telephone: Anyone who does not receive a telephone invitation can call 1-800-759-5308 just before 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 19 to join the town hall. For those individuals calling in, please be advised more than one attempt may be required due to the high volume of traffic on the phone lines. If the first call does not connect, please hang up and dial the 1-800 number again.

3. Listen to audio: Live audio from the Jan. 19 town hall will be broadcast on YourTV, channel 700 on Cogeco and on the YourTV Halton YouTube page.

Once the call begins, a moderator will provide participants with instructions for how to submit their questions to the leadership panel.

A recording and transcript of the town hall will be posted online after Jan. 19 at burlington.ca/townhall.

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Catholic school board reverses its decision and will now fly the Pride flag

By Pepper Parr

January 19th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

After hours of rancorous debate the Halton District Catholic School Board voted 5-3 to allow the flying of a Pride flag outside schools in Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills during the month of June – Pride month.

The inability of many of those taking part in the debate to follow rules of procedure and the attempt to revise the agenda was a sad example of how adults resolve their differences.

Those opposed to the flying of the Pride flag were argumentative, petty, and disruptive but failed in their effort to keep the flag off the flag poles.

The students were very good in making their point.

It was not a debate for the board to be proud of – the beliefs might have been strongly held but that does not excuse the behaviour seen last night.  It was most unfortunate.

The 5-3 vote in favour of flying the Pride flag was necessary.

Voting for the motion: Trustees Brenda Agnew, Patrick Murphy, Nancy Guzzo, Peter DeRosa and Janet O’Hearn-Czarnota.  Trustees Tim O’Brien, Helena Karabela and Vincent Iantomasi voted against.

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Blanchard street residents find several feet of snow at the end of a driveway they shoveled out the night before

By Staff

January 18th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

This is a problem that has plagued seniors for some time.

When packed down this is very hard snow to remove

After shoveling for hours yesterday, a Blanchard resident was faced with a four foot bank of snow across the driveway this morning. The other side of the street had nothing. This wall is down the entire South side of the street. The resident cannot remove this hardened wall of compacted snow and is unable to leave the driveway should the need arise.

A disappointing scene after shoveling out the driveway.

This has been an ongoing issue over the years but none as bad as this.

They have sent off emails and pictures to the mayor, and public works.

“I want the city to clean this up! Now!”

The solution might be to turn to your neighbours for the needed help.

 

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Metrolinx is adding reinforcements to its fleet of mobile vaccine buses to help push back against the spread of COVID-19.

By Staff

January 18TH, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Metrolinx has partnered with the Government of Ontario to operate a fleet of mobile COVID vaccine clinics to get more needles into arms at a critical time in the pandemic.

The popular mobile clinics – known as GO-VAXX buses – are retrofitted GO Transit buses and there are now five of them on the road. This is up from the original three buses.

The GO-VAXX buses go all over Ontario loaded with trained medical staff that can deliver about 250 to 300 COVID-19 vaccine doses per day. The mobile clinics make it easier for many people to get their first, second, third or child doses.

The easy-to-spot buses have been so sought after especially once Omicron began to rapidly spread, appointments are now required. This prevents people waiting in long lines during the winter.

GO VAXX bus
One of five GO-VAXX buses ready to hit the road. (Metrolinx photo)

Just how popular have the GO-VAXX buses been?

Since last summer, more than 30,000 doses have been administered. Most importantly, the buses help get into rural areas and other hard to reach communities that might not have nearby clinics.  This includes communities outside the Greater Golden Horseshoe, including eastern and western Ontario. They are also fully accessible.

The plan is to expand the GO-VAXX fleet even more in the coming weeks and months.

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COVID-19 Outbreak Expanded to Additional Inpatient Unit at Joseph Brant Hospital  

By Staff

January 18th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The COVID-19 outbreak that was declared on Unit 4 North 700 (4N700) on January 12 has extended to an additional unit, 5 North 400 (5N400), as of January 17.

Prior to that there was an outbreak on the 6th floor.

Three additional patients and four healthcare workers have now tested positive for COVID-19. These new infections are associated with the original outbreak on 4N700 that infected five patients.

Joseph Brant Hospital’s Infection Prevention and Control team and Employee Health Services are ensuring all patients on the unit, along with staff and physicians who have been or may have been exposed, are being contacted, monitored, tested as required and self-isolating in keeping with Public Health guidelines.

Patients on the unit are in isolation as of January 17 and will receive instructions on home self-isolation requirements when being discharged from the hospital. 5N400 is closed to new patient admissions. In addition, Essential Care Providers (ECPs) and visitors are not permitted in the unit, with limited exceptions as determined by the nurse manager. ECPs are asked to speak to the care team with questions around access to the unit. Patients can still connect with their loved ones by telephone and video – both telephone and WiFi are available at JBH at no cost.

Joseph Brant Hospital is advising anyone who may have recently visited 5N400 to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. Please consult the Halton Region website for more information if you are experiencing symptoms or had exposure to someone who is COVID-19 positive or experiencing symptoms.

JBH is monitoring the situation closely and will continue to work with Halton Region Public Health to bring a safe end to the outbreak as soon as possible. Patients or loved ones who have questions or concerns can contact a member of the care team or JBH Patient Relations team at 905-632-3737 ext. 4949 or by email patientrelations@josephbranthospital.ca.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Letter from Halton MPs to Catholic Trustees was inappropriate

By Pepper Parr

January 18th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

Opinion

Last Friday, the four members of Parliament who represent the people of Halton sent an open letter to the Trustees of the Halton District Catholic School Board.

Cabinet Ministers Karina Gould (Burlington); Anita Anand, (Oakville) along with Pam Damoff (Oakville North Burlington) and Adam VanKoeverden, MP, (Milton) wrote about a matter that is not something in which the federal government is involved.

Education is a provincial matter with trustees elected at the local level to represent parents with children in the school system.

The Gazette wonders if it is appropriate for Members of Parliament to meddle in a provincial matter that is being fiercely debated at the local level.

Emotions are running high; views are strongly held. What value does the opinion of someone from a senior level of government add?

The concerns of the four Members of Parliament are legitimate enough but one has to wonder what the upside is for the MPs. Have they brought any clarity to the issue?

Do any of them have children in Catholic schools?

Karina Gould has a mandate as Minister of Families, Children and Social Development but that mandate does not reach into issues that are local.

The differences between the Catholic communities are philosophical and political and they will be resolved politically.

The parents who are opposed to the flying of the Pride flag in front of schools support their children; love their country and believe they are serving at their level of political leadership.

If the federal Liberals had anything of value to add perhaps a comment would be appropriate.

They add nothing other than their opinions.

The Gazette feels the letter was inappropriate and that the members of the Catholic community have to work this out on their own.

Related content:

Letter to the trustees

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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Council gets lauded for being leaders at community engagement - then goes mute when the biggest development the city has seen in some time is in front of them

By Pepper Parr

January 17th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

Council has been holding a number of Closed session meetings – all kinds of litigation taking place.

What perplexes a number of people is the way the City Clerk words the motions that are used to make holding a Closed session legal. That is shown in the agenda as:  “Confidential update on a litigation matter”; a polite question would be – which litigation matter? – the public has no idea which matter they are talking about.

Providing the address of the property isn’t giving away any secrets and the public at least knows something is taking place.

All the public learns is that: Pursuant to section 239(2)(e) of the Municipal Act, litigation or potential litigation, including matters before administrative tribunals, affecting the municipality or local board.

This is what you have now …..

Of current concern are the plans for the redevelopment of the Waterfront Hotel site,  2020 Lakeshore Road.  This is a very contentious development – quite why the members of city council go along with the city legal Counsel and the Clerk holding their cards so close to their chest, at the same time telling the world that they have the best community engagement record in the country, is what is referred to as talking out of both sides of your mouth.  This of course gets done with the blessing of the city manager who appears to like things that way.

The practice is for Council to come out of Closed session and announce a Staff Direction which goes something like this: the Executive Director of Legal Services is directed to do what was agreed upon in the closed session.

Sometimes, rarely, Council will then go into Open session and there will be discussion about what took place in the Closed session.

…this is what the developer has in mind. They have submitted their development application – city planners say it isn’t complete.

As a reporter, I’ve always wondered why the Chairs of the Standing Committees don’t have the courage to  stand up and report to the public what took place.

Last week, after lengthy Closed session (it started at 1:00 pm and ended at 6:35 pm) Council reverted to an Open session and for a moment it looked as if they were going to say something publicly about what had taken place.  Mayor Meed Ward certainly expected something would be made public and something to the effect that the motion was written to allow something to be said.

Councillor Galbraith and the Committee Clerk didn’t have the same understanding – the Mayor said she would let it go to the Council meeting later in the month.

So we will hear what is happening to the development application for 2020 Lakeshore Road, the Waterfront Hotel Development site, that has been sent to the Planning department, at the next council meeting.

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking on the amount of time the city has to respond to the development application. If they don’t do so within the required time-frame the matter goes to the Ontario Land Tribunal – and we all know what happens there.

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Snow Event declared for Jan. 17, 2022 – On-street parking cancelled

By Staff

January 17th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

To allow snow removal equipment room to clear roads safely and quickly, all on-street parking has been suspended.

During a Snow Event when accumulation is more than 7.5 cm, road clearing updates can be found by visiting Burlington.ca/snow.

It is important for people to know that a declared Snow Event does not automatically mean all City facilities are closed or programs are cancelled.

On occasion a program may be cancelled when facilities remain open. For instance, if staff are unable to travel safety to the program location. When this occurs, all efforts will be made to contact the participants in advance when possible.

Snow Clearing Service Levels

Snow Event declared

Primary and Secondary roads are addressed as soon as snow starts to accumulate.

Residential roads are cleared after snow reaches 7.5 cm of accumulation. Residential roads are not maintained to bare pavement but are sanded as required at intersections, hills and sharp curves to enhance traction.

All sidewalks are plowed after 5 cm of accumulation and salted or sanded as required.

Heavy snowfalls or successive storms can sometimes extend road clearing to longer than 24 hours. Please be patient as our crews work to clear the busiest streets first.

The City is not responsible for clearing windrows left on driveways when the plow passes. If you think you will need help clearing the windrow, please make arrangements such as speaking with your neighbours, family members or hire a contractor.
Parking During the Winter

When a Snow Event is declared, there is no parking on any city streets until the Snow Event has been declared over. The City thanks residents for their cooperation to move their vehicles off city streets to help with snow clearing operations. Residents who park their cars on streets blocking snow removal could be faced with a $120 parking ticket or be towed.

All existing parking exemptions are also invalid during Snow Events.

Snow Events and parking restrictions are announced through the City’s social media.

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Pride flag issues bedevil the Catholic School Board - federal MP's write an Open Letter

By Pepper Parr

January 16th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Tuesday of this week the Halton District Catholic School (HDCSB) Board will hear delegations related to raising a Pride flag and a Student Senate survey.

The Catholic school board has consistently resisted requests for a Pride flag outside any of their schools whereas the public school boar raises the Pride flag outside every school.  City Hall also raises the Pride flag outside city hall on appropriate occasions.

Burlington city council has allocated up to $10,000 per instantiation for Rainbow Crosswalks in every ward of the city.

The Catholic Student Senate is made up of three or four students from each high school plus the three student Trustees.

In their delegation the student senate asks that:

Our vision has been particularly informed by a desire to fight for equity and inclusion of all students in our schools. In times of increasing isolation, we recognize the importance of ensuring that all students feel welcome in our schools.

Our vision is to ensure that through the affirmation of the human dignity that our schools become a place where all students feel like they can achieve, believe, and belong.

We wish to not only highlight the voices of students that have historically been marginalized in our communities but ensure that we model Christlike leadership in our efforts to create an environment of compassion, kindness, humility, and faith at the HCDSB.

In a survey done by the Student Senate 70% of students responding want the Pride flag to be raised;

How strongly do you support the flying of pride flag in schools? (1 being strongly opposed, 5 being strongly in favour)

Approx. 6% of students responded strongly opposed

Approx. 8% of students responded opposed

Approx.
4% of students responded neither opposed nor in favour
Approx. 15% of students responded in
favour
Approx. 70% of students responded strongly in
favour

As for the motion to raise the Pride flag – 11 delegations – 9 in favour.

This is an issue that is not going to go away.

Adding to what is a school board issue is the releasing of an Open Letter on Friday from the four area Members of Parliament (all Liberals) asking the Trustees to consider supporting the motion from the students.

In part, the four Members of Parliament wrote:

Next week, you can act to show the 37,000 students that you teach that the Halton Catholic District School Board embraces diversity, celebrates love, and recognizes the community’s desire to officially embrace the 2SLGBTQ+ members of your schools.

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Ford loses a key Minister: Phillips resigns - didn't want to run for re-election in June

By Pepper Parr

January 14th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Is this the beginning of the downfall of a provincial government?

In a major pre-election setback for Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives, Long-Term Care Minister Rod Phillips is retiring from politics.

Phillips, a key cabinet minister who has represented Ajax since 2018, announced Friday he would not be running in the June 2 election.

“I have spoken with Premier Ford and with Brian Patterson, president of the Ontario PC Party, to inform them of my decision not to seek re-election and to step down next month as the MPP for Ajax,” Phillips, 56, said in a written statement.

Phillips was a big hitter who many thought would return to a more senior Ministry after his trip to the wood shed after returning from that trip to the sunny south.

Some will conclude that Phillips became fed up with a Premier that doesn’t appear to be able to lead.

Are there others?

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Changes in the Downtown Terminal opening hours

By Staff

January 14th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Starting Monday, Jan. 17, 2022, the Downtown Terminal opening hours will be

  • 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday
  • 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursdays and
  • 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on the last Saturday of the month

Customer service can be reached in person at the Downtown Terminal, 430 John St., by phone at 905-639-0550 or by email at contactbt@burlington.ca.

This service level follow policies and protocols in place to prioritize the health and safety of our staff and our residents.  We ask for your patience and understanding.

 

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Ward 5 Councillor speaks out on the Regional Growth projections

By Paul Sharman

January 14th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

The following response to residents of Burlington who have emailed City Council members regarding the potential increase in urban boundaries in Milton and Halton Hills.

Thank you for your email regarding release of land for housing in the new Region Official Plan leading to 2051. I respect and understand your concerns. I and my Burlington Council colleagues have received hundreds of emails from Halton residents in response to the campaign initiated concerned residents. I am only addressing this subject from the perspective of Burlington in this response.

Nothing in the Region will be able to open up – maybe next week.

Both Region and City members of Council are committed to maintain rural Burlington as it is. There are no plans to allow housing in our rural lands other than as is currently permitted. Release of land is proposed by the Region in Milton and the Halton Hills only, not Burlington.

Official Plans (OP) have extensive analysis and regulations to ensure existing protection remains in place. You will find OP details for Burlington here https://www.burlington.ca/en/services-for-you/Official-Plan.asp

This is a challenging issue for us all. There are a number of factors that have to be considered:

The first is that the Region of Halton is obliged to craft a plan that satisfies the province’s 1.1m population requirement by 2051.

The second is that the Region must provide substantiation that the plan will satisfy market demand. Scenarios 3a and 3b, which have been considered, provided for significantly greater % of apartment units and very few ground oriented homes than other scenarios and could not satisfy the market test. Indeed, the recent preferred scenario is barely representative of anticipated demand. Keep in mind that Canadian dream is to live in a house with a garage and a yard, as you will understand. The preferred solution is a compromise.

Hwy 407 and Dundas Street are the northern boundaries for development in Burlington. The Alton community would never have come into being were it not for the building of the 407 highway. That decision opened up land that was part of rural Burlington. Alton Village is bounded by the 407, Walkers Line on the west and Appleby Line on the east with Dundas making up the southern boundary.

The third is that because Burlington is essentially built out, we receive all residual population growth that cannot be accommodated in Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills in what ever scenario is selected. In scenario 3a and 3b, that would mean in excess of 80,000 new residents moving into Burlington by 2051, like it or not.

Because Burlington is essentially already built out, under scenario 3b, Burlington will have no other choice but to to accommodate about 90% of new residents in 200/300 mid to high rise apartment buildings.

That would happen in 5 strategic growth areas of Appleby GO, Burlington GO, Aldershot GO, Up Town (Upper Middle Road and Appleby Line) and Downtown Burlington.  We do not know what the distribution of those apartment buildings will be yet, but it certainly means significant densification of all five locations. It creates a tenuous outlook for all five, including downtown, by the standards of most Burlington residents.

The preferred scenario; 1) satisfies Provincial tests to accommodate foreseeable market demand, providing homes for a small number of families who wish to live in a home with a backyard and a garage. That means the Province will likely approve the plan, but not 3a or 3b; 2) increases the number of people who will live in newly constructed apartments representing about 60% across the Region, but more like 90% in the City of Burlington, which is essentially what you are advocating for. Reducing the Burlington allocation to 70,200 population lowers the number of apartment buildings by 25 to 37.5 buildings,  providing a bit of a breather to the community. Please take a moment to visualize what the Burlington skyline, living conditions and congestion is likely to become, even under the preferred scenario.

Keep in mind, this plan follows the 2018 election when the people of Burlington spoke out clearly that they do not wish to see “over intensification” of their hometown. It is not what anyone wanted.

In any event, the City will experience increasing numbers of apartments not only between now and 2051 but even more for years too come. The same will be true for the other Halton municipalities. The preferred scenario simply delays inevitable further densification of Halton.

I will be pleased to discuss this with you if that will help.

 

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Sweetgrass to be the name of the former Ryerson Park

By Pepper Parr

January 14th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

Ryerson Park was to be renamed.

Egerton Ryerson was no longer in fashion and the Mayor saw merit in renaming the park, which was adjacent to the elementary school of the same name.

Based on a Motion brought to the Standing committee, the recommendation was to approve Sweetgrass Park as the new name for the park formally called Ryerson.

In July of 2021 council supported a Motion Memorandum from the Mayor which included the following staff direction:

Direct the Director of Recreation, Community and Culture to initiate the renaming process for Ryerson Park in keeping with our naming policies, ensuring equity, diversity and inclusion is reflected in the new name, and report back to committee with a recommendation for a new name by November 2021.

Staff completed a three-phase engagement process with the Community and worked with a small group comprised of the Chair of the Inclusivity Committee,

Stephen Paquette

Stephen Paquette, resident and Indigenous elder, ward Councillor Shawna Stolte, and Denise Beard, Manager of Community Development were named to the committee to review community suggestions.  The Trustee for the ward also attended the meeting to observe the process.

Using the Naming of Corporate Assets Policy, the small group reviewed the policy to determine which criteria would be weighted higher than other items. For example, the group felt that a name that reflected a sense of place and supports diversity and inclusivity, was more significant than honoring a person, persons, a family group living or deceased who have made a significant contribution to the community.

A field of sweetgrass

After coming to consensus of the evaluation matrix, and streamlining the list of names to remove duplications, or names that violated the policy, each member of the small team completed an individual rating and ranking of the suggested names.

At a consensus meeting the small group supported the following themes

Head of the Lake Park

Unity Park

Truth and Reconciliation Park

It was through that discussion that Stephen suggested a pause to consult with an Indigenous linguist to see if there was an appropriate Indigenous word that might best reflect the theme.  Also, during the same discussion, Paquette educated the group on “Sweetgrass”, one of the sacred medicines to many First Nations. It is used as a purification medicine in ceremony to purify ourselves and to heal.

Single strands are not very strong but when woven together the grass is very strong.

Many indigenous communities weave baskets out of sweetgrass

The planting and use of sweetgrass is widespread by most Indigenous cultures in this area. This transcendence and the use of sweetgrass resonated with the group.

After the meeting Stephen sought the advice of an Indigenous linguist to find the right word.  Sweetgrass was added to the list of names.

Community voting took place through the Get Involved page on the city web site. Over 1,600 votes were cast by Burlington residents.

The results are:

Heat map showing where the cotes for the new park name came from.

Name Percentage of Votes

Head of the Lake Park 16.1%

Unity Park 39%

Truth and Reconciliation Park 5%

Sweetgrass Park 40%

Committee had many options to consider:

  1. Use the most voted name by the community which supports the community engagement process.
  2. Combine the most popular names for example – Sweetgrass Unity Park.
  3. Give the park the same as the recently announced re-named school

Ryerson Public school has been renamed Makwendam Public School.

Makwendam Public School. Pronounced muck-kwen-dum, the Indigenous word for “to remember” in the Anishinaabemowin language.” This would provide consistency between the two properties but did not honour the public engagement process.

Replacement signage reflective of the truth and reconciliation – speaking about the past and why the name change and the City’s aspirations for Truth and Reconciliation by re-naming the park – would cost about $5,000.

Despite creating the system of publication education in Ontario Egerton Ryerson has been set aside to make room for a much needed change in the public acceptance to the damage done at residential schools operated for the most part by Christian churches

Staff are also looking at the installation of a medicine wheel or healing circle in the park as well as sweetgrass plantings. Staff have had some preliminary discussions with a potential donor to support the capital investment for the medicine wheel or healing circle. The donor would look for their donation to be matched by the City.

More than 500 suggestions were submitted; once whittled down to four names, the community cast over 1,600 votes

 

 

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Second COVID19 outbreak at Joseph Brant Hospital

By Staff

January 13th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

An outbreak has been declared on Unit 4 North 700 (4N700) at Joseph Brant Hospital (JBH) after five patients tested positive for COVID-19.

All appropriate precautions have been taken to ensure the safety of patients, Essential Care Providers (ECPs), staff and physicians.

This is the second Covid19 outbreak announced by the hospital in the past ten days.

Joseph Brant Hospital’s Infection Prevention and Control team and Employee Health Services are ensuring all patients on the unit, along with staff and physicians who have been or may have been exposed, are being contacted, monitored, tested as required and self-isolating in keeping with Public Health guidelines. Patients on the unit are in isolation as of January 11 and have been instructed to continue the 10-day self-isolation when discharged from hospital.

A number of enhanced safety measures are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the safety of patients, staff and physicians. This includes closing 4N700 to new patient admissions. In addition, ECPs are no longer permitted to enter the unit except under exceptional circumstances in consultation with the patient’s care team. Patients can still connect with their loved ones by telephone and video – both telephone and WiFi are available at no cost.

JBH is monitoring the situation closely and will continue to work closely with Halton Region Public Health to bring a safe end to the outbreak as soon as possible. Patients or loved ones who have questions or concerns can contact a member of the JBH Patient Relations team at 905-632-3737 ext. 4949 or by email patientrelations@josephbranthospital.ca.

Related news story

Covid19 outbreak on unit 6 SOUTH at JBH

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Home Builders Association looks forward to working with city on inclusionary zoning - making homes available to all income levels

By Mike Collins-Williams

January 13th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The West End Home Builders’ Association is very pleased to participate in the City’s Housing Strategy Working Group. I’ve been very encouraged by the discussions from this diverse group who bring different life and professional experience to the table.

I want to open my comments by acknowledging the housing challenges we face not just in Burlington, but across this entire metropolitan region that is the fastest growing area in North America. In fact – numbers were just released that Canada grew by over 400,000 people in 2021 and for the first time in Canadian history – Canada’s population growth exceeded that of the United States – a country 9 times larger.
Understandably, most of the new growth is coming to Vancouver and the GTA – and we here in Burlington are experiencing the pressures of this growth and the escalating cost of housing due to the inability of housing supply to keep up with demand.

There is no silver bullet solution to the housing crisis. We all need to work together – The private sector, the non-profit sector and all three levels of government. I strongly believe that this is the most important opportunity to develop the effective partnerships we all need to successfully address the housing crisis.

I am happy to be here today to talk about one planning tool that is available to us – and that is inclusionary zoning.

I’m happy to see the time and energy Burlington is investing to analyze housing options intended to promote much needed public policy adjustments through the Housing Strategy. I am here to say to you today as the CEO of the West End Home Builders’ Association that we support the development of mixed income communities, and we are supportive of the use of inclusionary zoning as a planning tool – but we need to make sure it’s done right and within the context of a comprehensive and achievable housing strategy.

There are over 800 examples of inclusionary zoning across North America – some jurisdictions have well designed policy frameworks that support the construction of new affordable units without placing the burden of costs onto the other buyers or renters through cross subsidization… while other jurisdiction have models that don’t effectively generate much of any affordable housing, and others thrust the entire cost of the program onto other purchasers

If Burlington’s Housing Strategy cares about providing housing in Burlington for all income levels, then we as a society have an undeniable role to play. We must collectively pay the costs of constructing affordable or subsidized housing options. This burden should not just be on new home buyers, but on everyone from a shared tax pool which can support the costs of an IZ program.

New first-time buyers of entry level condos near Burlington’s 3 GO Stations and renters absolutely should not be burdened with the entire cost of building affordable housing. Prices are already too high and asking first time home buyers to cover the cost of an affordable housing program is unequitable, unfair and socially irresponsible.

Our members have the knowledge, experience and capacity to build more housing – especially more transit-oriented and energy efficient multi-unit mid-and-high rise buildings in mixed income communities

surrounding Burlington’s GO Stations. This is a huge opportunity for the City of Burlington to partner with the private sector to provide affordable housing units that would otherwise not be built.

Here are a few suggestions for Council to consider as it researches and develops policy options:

Consider early in the policy development stage who will own, manage and maintain affordable units and administer an inclusionary zoning program. We recognize and appreciate that this was identified in Appendix A of the staff report.

As we are still in the earlier stages – we want to ensure that we don’t end up with an overly complex program with overwhelming administrative challenges. This is a particularly important consideration for the City of Burlington due to its size and the quantum of new affordable units that can reasonably be achieved.

I also want to highlight what type of housing inclusionary zoning can effectively deliver – I like to use the British term “workforce housing” – inclusionary zoning is not a silver bullet that can deliver either deeply affordable housing or supportive housing where additional services and financial support are required.

What inclusionary zoning can deliver, if designed properly, is key “workforce housing” within an affordability band just below where the market is today to provide a helping hand to folks that are struggling to get into the market.

As part of the Municipal Comprehensive Review currently underway and to assist the City’s efforts to satisfy its future growth requirements, the city also needs to consider and facilitate and environment that enables the City of Burlington to maximize the growth potential of its 3 PMTSAs.

Given the limited amount of MTSAs in the City, and the amount of growth likely to be allocated to the City, it is especially important to ensure that IZ units are “additive” to the supply that the market would provide in the absence of IZ.

Therefore – we need to ensure that an emphasis is placed on economic viability for those transit station areas under consideration in Burlington.

A poorly designed program won’t actually yield any affordable units and will increase the cost of entry level market-housing for first time buyers and renters.

A poorly designed program also runs the risk of causing Burlington to miss those targets and displace projected growth to other communities in other Burlington neighbourhoods or to adjacent communities that do not have the infrastructure necessary to support growth.

Any inclusionary zoning policy must be built as a true partnership and paired with offsets necessary to ensure the success of the program.

The industry is not seeking direct subsidies – but rather an intuitive partnership where the City of Burlington is not levying tens of thousands of dollars of costs through development charges, cash-in-lieu of parkland fees, underground parking requirements etc – on units that we are trying to ensure are affordable.

We need a partner to make this work – and we believe that with your help we can make this work to build more inclusive communities.

We are also hopeful that we can work together with the City of Burlington to leverage and potentially stack benefits through any provincial programs or through funds or low-interest CMHC loans that may be available from the Federal Government through the National Housing Strategy.

The more coordinated we are in our approach – the more benefits we can deliver.

I encourage Council members to review the case studies that are being generated. We should all have a good understanding of unsuccessful inclusionary zoning programs to understand the pitfalls of poorly designed programs.

We also need to pay attention to the case studies for comparable cities – Burlington is not Toronto, New York or San Francisco – we are not producing tens of thousands of units per year – nor do we have State programs like the 421A in New York where property taxes are waived entirely in rental buildings with affordable units or National programs like to Low Income Housing Tax Credit offered in the States – there are more senior level of government programs down there that can be combined into Inclusionary Zoning programs to support economic viability… I hope that is acknowledged as we move forward in Burlington to make sure we are working together to design an effective program.

I want to close by saying that in 2021, WE HBA has been pleased to see renewed collaboration between ourselves and the City. I sincerely appreciate my appointment to Burlington’s Housing Strategy Task Force and believe we are making positive progress. I am hopeful to continue in that positive direction and spirit of collaboration in any future work on Inclusionary Zoning.

Mike Collins-Williams is the CEO of West End Home Builders Association (WEHBA) .  He is a Registered Professional Planner and is a member of the  Burlington’s Housing Strategy Task Force

WEHBA is the organization that represents the interests of the construction and developer interests.

Related news story:

What is inclusionary zoning.

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Plan B fears the city might have missed the boat on keeping view to Spencer Smith Park as part of the public domain

By Don Fletcher

January 13th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

An earlier version of this article included illustration that were out-dated.  The illustrations have been revised.

We are pleased to learn from this update that Phase 4 of this study has restarted, and to understand somewhat why the study was placed on hold in mid-2018. Given that we’ve suffered through a pandemic over the last few years, it’s understandable why it wasn’t resumed earlier.

A study on the best way to develop this area began in 2015.

The delay in completing the Waterfront Hotel Planning Study as originally planned is still potentially problematic. In Section 3.3 of Bousfields’ Planning & Urban Design Rationale that was part of the Burlington 2020 Lakeshore Inc.’s development application submitted on October 26th, 2021, their rationale for requesting the removal of Policy 5.5.9.2(l) of the in-force Burlington OP, as amended, was that this study had an “indeterminate deadline” with a further characterization that it “has never been completed, indefinitely sterilizes the subject site from redevelopment and from achieving its highest and best use potential”. It is not clear to us whether the property owner ultimately plans to ignore the guidance of the Waterfront Hotel Planning Study, but it is clear that completing it on a highly accelerated basis must be a top priority.

Citizens’ PLAN B remains committed to the extension of Spencer Smith Park and the enhancement of the Brant Street gateway to Lake Ontario, through the application of the ‘Thin Red Line’ design principle related to the Waterfront Hotel Redevelopment. Yes, we understand the changing context of the NE corner of Brant Street & Lakeshore Road with respect to the origins of the ‘Thin Red Line’, but it still has great utility in its’ application to achieve what most residents want in the redevelopment of the Waterfront Hotel property and remains a simple concept that resonates with everyone.

A citizens group – Plan B – introduced the concept of a thin red line. Will it be enough and will it ever be adhered to?

We understand that City staff with support of project consultant, The Planning Partnership, will resume the work plan where it left off in 2018. This update references Section 3 of Report PB-23-18, which contains 16 key policy directions, as one of those milestones that can be built upon.

PLAN B fully supports PB-23-18.

Application of the ‘Thin Red Line’ will help fulfill Public Realm policy directions 5a, 7, 8 and 9, which in our opinion are not achieved in the current development application.

One deliverable that was not mentioned in this report but should also serve to expedite completion of the project is Emerging Preferred Concept #3. I have attached a Planning Partnership Jan/ Feb 2018 Overview/ Snapshot of its’ evolution for your reference, with some of the rationale for selecting EPC #3 noted there re-iterated below:

Achieves the Urban Design objectives for the Downtown

Achieves a Floor Area Ratio (FAR) that balances the base permissions of 5.0 with the Developer’s Current Concept of 7.5 FAR

Buildings located east of the ‘Thin Red Line’, representing the view corridor south of Lakeshore Road, proposed by the Downtown Mobility Hub Study.  A new significant open space defined by the ‘Thin Red Line’ located on the west portion of the property, contiguous with the waterfront park

Buildings that provide a clear landmark visible from the park, Brant Street, John Street, Lakeshore Road & Lake Ontario

A potential development yield that is viable and provides some incentives for redevelopment.

Panel 1 is what the developer originally proposed, panel 2 is what is permitted on the site, panel 3 is one of the alternatives that didn’t include any resident input panel 4 is the last iteration of concepts being considered in the planning study.

This was the last iteration of conceptual designs that we were party to, and while we fundamentally supported it, we through Ramsay Planning Inc. submitted a few minor improvement suggestions. We are unaware of Vrancor’s feedback.

We acknowledge and respect the current property owner’s right to profit from his investment, and that this will necessitate a “reasonable” amount of massing and building height. We also believe passionately that the impact of this development will be felt by many future generations of Burlington residents & visitors, and collectively we must get it right. Citizens’ PLAN B is completely open to work with all stakeholders to help make this a “win-win” scenario.

Follow Plan B at: www.planbwaterfrontredevelopment.ca

Related news stories:

What about a land swap?

Plan B has been pressing city council for years

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