Burlington's Windows on the Lake - a sad history.

By Pepper Parr

May 7th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A Gazette reader wrote:

“Hi I’ve been looking down Green Street for more than six years hoping I’ll see a Window to the Lake pop up.

“I know Burlington doesn’t complete projects at the same pace as say Dubai.. But the pace on this project is glacial. I’ve heard all of the reasons high water, Canada 150 funding; I suppose now it’s COVID.

“I’d like to know if my neighbours are getting this long proposed park during our lifetime? Or will we be visiting Sweetgrass park learning about the Medicine wheel first? “

Our reader makes a good point. The Green Street Window on the Lake sort of got lost in the frantic shuffle that saw land along the edge of the lake shift from the hands of the city to three property owners who paid peanuts for the property and enhanced the value of their lots considerable – very considerably.

This is the view the three families bought – it was once public property

The blame for this crime and it was a crime does not rest with the people who bought the property. They saw an opportunity and went for it and out manoeuvred the city’s efforts which were pathetic.

There was a time when the city actually had a Waterfront Advisory Committee. One of the tasks they took on was to survey all the Windows on the Lake to determine just how many there were and what condition were they in.

Gary Scobie, far right, was a member of the Waterfront Access and Protection Advisory Committee which was sunset by the city last December. Scobie went on to sit on the Ad Hoc Waterfront Committee. Nick Leblovic is on the right.

Our reports on that work by a bunch of diligent volunteers appeared in the Gazette.

The Chair of the Advisory Committee at the time was Nicholas Leblovic, a friend of then Mayor Cam Jackson.

A lawyer by profession and said to be an expert in his field which was the leasing and ownership of aircraft and oil rigs.

These assets were often owned by investors and leased to oil drillers or air lines.  Big business done at an international level and very lucrative.

Nick no longer practices law –  he didn’t last all that long as Chair of the Waterfront Advisory Committee.

The Mayor wasn’t happy, some members of Council weren’t happy – a Staff report was ordered up and the conclusion was that the Advisory Committee should be sunset.

Leblovic is a political junkie – he loves the game and always wants to be at the table.  He is reported to be a part of Mayor Meed Ward’s re-election committee.

The St. Paul window above and the Market Street Window on the left.

The work the Advisory Committee did however worked its way into the agenda and in time a report came to council with some commendations on what to do wit two of the Windows on the Lake – they were at the bottom of Market Street and St. Paul

The options were:

Do nothing
Develop the Waterfront Trail a little further or
Sell the property.

It was never clear just who signed off on the report and let the Sell the Property be an option.

All the land inside the yellow border was public. The city sold the piece in the middle and in the process took from the people of Burlington a gem.

The option was just enough for the three property owners along the edge of the property to make an offer which was accepted and the land was then in private hands.  It was owned jointly by the city and a provincial ministry.

Peter Rusin did a superb job for the three property owners who bought up what was going to be part of the Waterfront Trail

The family’s hired Peter Rusin, who went on to run for the office of Mayor, but before that put together a document that set out in considerable detail an argument for selling the property.

All that was sold was the land between the Windows on the Lake.

Today those two windows are publicly accessible and a really nice place to sit and read and while away part of a day.

Our Gazette reader wants to see the same thing happen to the window at the bottom of Green Avenue.

Be careful what you ask for

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Marina will not open as planned - new date cannot be set until insurance issues are resolved.

By Staff

May 6th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

This is an unfortunate situation that could have and should have been looked into some time ago.

City Council and senior staff are working diligently to solve the problem – some comments and background at a later date.

LaSalle Park – these boats might be stuck on the site for some time.

The boat launch which was to take place on the 15th is now delayed – a new date has yet to be determined.

The delay is due to insurance renewal issues. The City is aware of the LaSalle Park Marina Association’s (LPMA) expired liability insurance and difficulties finding a replacement insurer. The City is working closely with the LPMA to find a short-term and a long-term solution to open the marina.

At the May 5 Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services Committee meeting, City Council gave a staff direction which includes doing due diligence to identify and fully address the financial, legal, human resource and operating risk exposures to the City in order to operate the LaSalle Park Community Marina on an interim basis for the 2022 season based on a target date for opening of no later than June 15.

A key component is the interim Marina operation must be at no cost to the taxpayers of Burlington inclusive of City reserve funds. Early in this term of Council they approved taking $4 million out of the hydro reserve fund to pay for the wave break that was desperately needed.

City staff will report back to City Council on May 17, 2022 and at the June 9, 2022 Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services Committee.

The community marina is a key feature that the City values and wants to keep open, as is evident by the $4 million investment in the floating wave break that was installed in 2020. Proper insurance is required for operation and options are being explored. The closure of the marina also means the Burlington Sailing and Boating Club and the Able Sail program cannot operate from the marina and the boat launch will remain closed.

About the LaSalle Park Community Marina
Through an agreement with the City, the marina has been has operated by the LPMA for 41 years. The City owns the wave break and the marina.

The wave break is in place – now insurance issues will keep the boats out of the water.

The Marina is in a decent location.  Parking is an issue and the site could use a decent restaurant. Marina has 219 docking spaces and is protected by a new floating wave break that was installed in 2020.

The Burlington Sailing and Boating Club and the Able Sail program offer sailing programs at the Marina. In addition, the City has a public boat launch at the Marina that is protected by the floating wave break.

Without a solution the marina will not be able to open. As it is many of the boaters will want to look for a new location – and there aren’t many of them in the immediate area.

This could end up being a black day for a lot of people.

Chris Glenn: Director of Parks and Recreation and Culture.

Chris Glenn, Director of Recreation, Community and Culture said during the Standing Committee earlier this week that: “The City of Burlington is committed to working with the LPMA to find a short-term and a long-term solution to keep the marina open for residents and tourists. We know the marina is a key feature for many people. We are exploring multiple options to get it open for the 2022 boating season and beyond. Until a solution is found, the marina and boat launch will remain closed and further update will be shared with the public as available.”

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Service Burlington counter is closed - too much construction noise - but marriage license appointments are still taking place.

By Staff

May 6th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Service Burlington counter that was on the main floor of city hall was moved to the second floor due to main level construction has now been closed ass of noon today.

Too much noise from the construction work.

The city does have a heart – Service Burlington appointments booked today for marriage licenses will take place. If you have any questions, please call 905-335-7777.

A reminder that many service payments are available online at burlington.ca/onlineservices.

More information about the temporary closure to walk-in customers will be provided early next week.
City Hall Modernization Project

The construction at City Hall is happening 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 will create a more open, customer-facing area on the first floor of City Hall.

 

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Property tax payment dates - and what the taxes amount to

By Staff

May 6th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

After a decent day in a Standing Committee during which the city DID WHAt Council moved into a Special meeting of Council during which they passed a motion setting out the 2022 Tax Levy Bylaw

The bylaw allows the city to bill 2022 property taxes and set payment due dates for final tax bills on June 22 and Sept. 22, 2022.

Final tax bills will be mailed in late May.

The 2022 Tax Levy Bylaw reflects the budget processes of both the city and Halton Region. The province provides the education tax rates. The overall property tax increase is 2.84 per cent or $22.17 for each $100,000 of urban residential assessment.

COVID-19 Property Tax Relief
In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic impact, on Jan. 11, 2022, Council approved a 2022 COVID-19 Property Tax Deferral Payment Plan program to provide relief to residents and businesses that continue to face financial hardship due to the pandemic. The application-based program allows eligible property owners who are unable to pay property taxes by the regularly scheduled tax due dates, to defer taxes under a pre-authorized payment plan.

Eligible property owners may include unpaid balances from March 1, 2020 onward in the deferral plan and they can choose which month they would like to start the monthly payments. The remaining options for start dates are June 1, or July 1.

Equal monthly withdrawals will be made that will allow for the property taxes to be paid in full by Dec. 1, 2022. Property owners enrolled in this payment plan will not be subject to penalty and interest charges as long as payments are made.

Quick Facts
• The City of Burlington collects property taxes for the city, Halton Region and the Halton district school boards. The total combined tax levy for all three entities is approximately $452.3 million. The city’s levy is $191.6 million; the city collects $144.6 million on behalf of Halton Region; and $116.1 million on behalf of the Halton district school boards. The taxes levied for Halton Region and the Halton district school boards are remitted to them.

• Customers who use the drop box at City Hall (426 Brant St.) to drop off their tax payments should note the drop box has moved to 390 Brant St. at the corner of Brant Street and Elgin Street– this is the same building where Coffee Culture is located. Residents can find the blue drop box at the Elgin Street entrance to 390 Brant St. Please see map attached.

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Freeman schedule

By Staff

May 6th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

With life getting back to normal you will want to know what is open and what the hours are.

The Freeman Station on Fairview has become a go to place, especially for parents with children who want to take them to places that are fun.

The display in the basement of the building, called a diorama, tells the story and the roll rail played in the city’s growth.

Parents will learn even more than the kids.

Related articles:
The model set up in the basement of Freeman Station

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STOP the SPRAWL: the growth taking place and what is in the works adds to the climate emergency

By Staff

May 5th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The provincial election that began officially yesterday is about climate change.

Your life and the quality of the life you live in the next three to five years is going to be decided on who you elect on June 2nd.

Stop the Sprawl a group working across the province is doing there best to set out the issues and give you a chance to take part in this vital exercise.   Send them your thoughts: Stop Sprawl Halton – stopsprawlhalton@gmail.com

On April 14th 2022, Bill 109, the More Homes for Everyone Act hurriedly received royal assent a scant two weeks after it was introduced. Bill 109 formalized a provision that would allow the Minister to refer Official Plan Amendments to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) if the Minister is not satisfied with the submission.

Beausoleil, the structure on the left in this rendering was approved at the Ontario Land Tribunal level – city council was not in love with this one.

This is an unacceptable shift from the long-standing process whereby provincial and municipal planning staff work collaboratively to achieve consensus on Official Plan submissions. Simply pitching submissions to an arbitrator that allows a single individual the authority to accept or deny Official Plans converts municipal planning to an adversarial process that will unnecessarily cost municipal taxpayers millions of dollars.
Official Plans and local autonomy threatened

In November 2021, Hamilton City Council voted to accommodate all expected future growth within its current urban boundaries, rather than sprawling outward onto precious farmland, woods and wetlands because the mandated market-driven housing mix CAN be accommodated.

It is unacceptable, therefore, that Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark stated in the legislature that Hamilton’s refusal to expand its urban boundaries was unacceptable to the Ford government, and that he was considering referral of the matter to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) for a decision. Hamilton’s approved plan was in compliance with all provincial policies.

In February 2022, Halton Regional Council also directed their staff to prepare an Official Plan with no urban expansion for the next 20 years, recognizing they have enough vacant land within the current urban boundary to accommodate all mandated growth to 2041. Halton also elected to delay approving its plan for accommodating growth to 2051 until the province reveals its response to the Affordable Housing Task Force Report. Halton fully intends to be compliant with Provincial legislation once the new rules are known.

Many other municipal councils are still completing their Official Plans. Will their deliberations be subject to the Minister’s whims too?

Referral to the OLT: double jeopardy for Councils and taxpayers

The problem in the Region of Halton is the same problem Hamilton is fighting.

The threat of referral to the OLT, with its significant price tag, will surely influence decision- making as councils struggle with the cost of a potential OLT court case. Councils understand that there is always the threat of going to the OLT to defend their decisions from challenges from land speculators. But they should not have the province also threatening the same challenge. What, in effect has happened is that the challenges expected from speculators will now be paid for by the people of Ontario via the Province’s intervention.

It is an affront to democracy to reject the planning decisions made by elected councils, when they have followed provincial legislation and made their decisions following due process, consistent with local priorities.

Ontario’s Stop Sprawl Coalition calls on the Province of Ontario to repeal sections of Bill 109 that deal with referrals to the OLT.

We have a climate emergency: plan for it!

The climate has changed – the sudden floods in 2014 caused this flooding in Burlington

Ontario’s Stop Sprawl Coalition supports:

• Ending exclusionary zoning to allow for gentle density in existing neighbourhoods
• Growth through sustainable, more efficient use of land
• Ending sprawl as a means of accommodating new population
• Designing complete, walkable, transit-supportive mixed-use communities
• Saving farming, not just farmland
• Rethinking employment areas for efficiency of land use
• Protection of natural assets, including watersheds, water sources, sensitive lands and biodiversity
• Broad community consultation including Indigenous voices

The Places to Grow Act (PGA) was introduced in the Province of Ontario in 2005. This provincial legislation provided new guidance for how municipalities accommodate growth. It was introduced specifically to address the alarming loss of prime agricultural farmland in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) and the negative consequences of sprawl such as increased commute times, traffic congestion on provincial highways, loss of productivity, increased greenhouse gas emissions and the unsustainable increasing costs to the taxpayers for servicing sprawling growth.

The PGA for the first time forced all municipalities in the GGH to reduce their reliance on converting farmland to subdivisions and introduced mandatory intensification targets within built- up areas of the communities.

The Ford government updated the legislation in 2019 by walking back the intensification targets and by introducing a goal that would effectively require municipalities to approve more sprawl to accommodate growth. The key new requirement was to accommodate the future market for single family dwellings.

Since late last year, Stop Sprawl organizations have sprung up across the GGH in response to these changes which move the province in a backward direction. Municipalities have other priorities that will be thwarted if they simply comply by approving sprawl.

How we must grow during climate breakdown

The Green space we have left. In Burlington the Escarpment is protected – will a second term PC government keep that protection in place.

Ontario’s remaining green spaces are precious. They mitigate climate change and provide future food security. We applaud municipal councils that have chosen to accommodate growth within their existing urban areas and are diligently working on policies that will increase the supply of single-family dwellings without an urban expansion. They have chosen to grow by focusing intensification along higher order transit corridors and in commercial nodes. They have chosen to provide more opportunities for affordable housing to be built near services. They have chosen to plan for growing vibrant walkable, less car-dependent neighbourhoods. They have chosen to grow in a more financially viable way in contrast to accepting the escalating cost of growth through continuing expansion of their urban boundaries.

Stop Sprawl Ontario supports sustainable growth that integrates responsible land management , more efficient use of land, and focuses on creating walkable, livable, healthy communities for all residents in harmony with nature.

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Anne Marsden: 'never been so excited about something in a long time'

By Pepper Parr

May 4th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There are some things that were meant to be shared.

This came to us from Anne Marsden, who is an yet to be nominated for the Office of Mayor.

She want to delegate at Council in person tomorrow and is waiting for a response from the City Clerk.

Anne and Dave Marsden

Mr. Arjoon, a very pleasant clerk who I have never met or talked to before told me I would receive a confirmation of my inhouse delegation tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. at around 11:30 a.m. today. I have never been so excited about something in a long time.

H said first she would be checking it to see if there were any questions. Have not received confirmation yet at 4:30 p.m. Wondering if it is the old excuse of you put two dd’s in our email address which you promised to correct years ago now. In case you did please confirm to anneandave@gmail.com that the Marsdens are delegating inhouse tomorrow at 9:30 am and let us know how we get into city hall with Anne’s mobility scooter as we understand there is construction underway. Thank you for a prompt reply before 6:00 pm if possible as we don’t want to prepare for a delegation we do not have.

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City decides to challenge an appeal to the OLT in the proposed development for the eastern end of the football

By Pepper Parr

May 4th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

While it may be that the battle for saving the land that the Waterfront Hotel sits on the area that is known as the “football” is still very much at risk.

Nick Carnicelli put together plans for a structure that is nice enough from an architectural point of view – some just thought it was inappropriate for that space.

The site is at the eastern end of the football and would become the entrance to the downtown core – not something this council is prepared to do at this point.

The city doesn’t feel design is appropriate for the location and they have not had a chance to prepare a staff report. Good arguments but will they be heard at the OLT

The Carnicelli development went to the Ontario Land Tribunal for lack of a decision from the city.  At the time the Urban Growth centre was put under an Interim Control bylaw which put a halt to all development in the UGC.

Council went into a Closed Session this afternoon to discuss this and then came out and delivered not only the address of the property they were talking about but what some of the issues were.

After that some of the council members chose to clap themselves on the back for making the change in the way they report out on Closed sessions.

The big big issue on how this development is treated at the OLT is the impact it will have on the football.

Ignore the subject site notation. The development in question is at the right hand side of that football shape – where Old Lakeshore Road and Lakeshore Road meet.

That land has not had the benefit of any really progressive thinking – the developers spotted the opportunity six years ago – bought up the land and came back with incredible developments.  That use of the word incredible was not meant as a positive statement.

This is a model of what the CORE Development Group wanted to build. There development is to the immediate west of the Carnicelli site – which is not shown in this model.

Meed Ward based her first campaign on saving the waterfront. She hasn’t done all that well with Spencer Smith Park and the Waterfront Hotel site – perhaps she will pivot to the football and set out to save that.

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The public person and the real person - which version of Rory Nisan do you like?

By Pepper Parr

May 4th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

The one thing a politician cannot and should not even try to do is position themselves as an open, honest person and then do things that do not measure up to the image they set out.

Rory Nisan described himself as a diplomat during his campaign. He was not a diplomat. He was around diplomatic events and worked with very senior members of the government setting up meetings that involved senior people from other counties.

He had a good blue suit, took order and was polite.

The blue suit might still exist but the rest of the traits aren’t being seen these days.

Nisan decided that the health of his new child was at some risk if he attended council meetings.

He has chosen to work from home.

I personally disagree with the position he took – the Council Chamber is probably the safest place in town to be – but – if Rory Nisan thinks his child might be at risk he has the right to work from home – and to be fair, as a responsible parent he is doing the right thing.

What wasn’t so right however was an event that took place on May 2nd.

Nisan used some of the time to meet with his campaign team in an outdoor setting

Rory Nisan with his campaign team on May 2nd, 2022  The optics don’t fit the image.

Most of his team is unmasked, as is Nisan.

That picture just does not jibe with the way Nisan has worked to portray himself.

Going to be interesting to hear what he has to say on some of the positions he has taken on matter of city business.

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 is now hearing delegations in an in person format - not all members of Council are in the Chamber to listen

By Pepper Parr

May 4th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

City Council is now meeting in a hybrid format – for the first time in years real people are able to appear in person to delegate.

This is what a hybrid meeting of Council looks like. The delegator is shown in the upper left, the chair of the meeting in the lower left and the members of Council shown in the two panels on the right. Awkward – but it works.

While the public can be in Chambers – not all members of Council make a point of showing up.

They choose to work from home – why?  Except  for ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan, none of the Councillor s have made a point of explaining why they were not at work.

Councillor Nisan manages to chair a Standing Committee meeting from the comfort of home.

Nisan’s issue is the health safety of his child – who is not yet a year old and cannot be vaccinated.  He isn’t prepared to take what he sees as a significant risk.

They will say they are at work even if they are not in Council Chambers.

Delegations expect to be able to speak to the members of Council – doing so via the equivalent of Zoom is like getting a kiss without a hug.

It just isn’t the same.

 

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Mountainside is going to get some public art to brighten up the pool. The facility has undergone significant upgrades - a long time dream of former Councillor John Taylor

By Staff

May 3rd, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Community members needed to join the Mountainside Pool Revitalization Public Art Steering Committee

The city’s public art program is looking for community members to join the Steering Committee for the Mountainside Pool Revitalization Project public art mural.

Rendering of what the pool and the shade area would look like

The Steering Committee will provide input into project goals and themes, create a shortlist from the applicants and the winning artist.

The public art program is commissioning a professional artist to paint a mural as part of this project. This revitalization will create a new attractive, fun and welcoming multi-use outdoor swimming pool. The goal is to revitalize the Mountainside Pool so it is inviting and encourages participation through swimming and water play while fostering an active and healthy lifestyle.

Three artists will be shortlisted to create preliminary design concepts for the public review and comment. The community Steering Committee will evaluate the public feedback plus the technical proposal to select the winning artist.

The pool is heavily used.

Steering Committee Roles & Responsibilities
• Attend a project start-up meeting (online) to brainstorm project goals and themes
• Review and score artist proposals to select a shortlist of three artists
• Review design proposals and public feedback of three short-listed artists to select winning artist
• All scoring can be done remotely using an online submission system. Jury meetings will be held via videoconference

Honorarium
Steering Committee members will be given an honorarium of $200 as a token of appreciation for their time commitment and participation in the project.

Time Commitment
• Three meetings via videoconference
o Project Start-up: one hour
o Select Shortlist: two hours
o Select Winning Proposal: two hours
• Review and score artist submissions: this task can be done remotely using an online review system (approximately five hours)

Project Timeline
Deadline Activity

May/June 2022 Meeting #1: project start-up meeting (videoconference)
September 2022 Review and score artist proposals (online)
October 2022 Meeting #2: Select shortlist (videoconference)
January 2023 Public consultation
February 2023 Review and score shortlisted design proposals and public feedback (online)
March 2023 Meeting #3: Select winning artist (videoconference)
May/June 2023 Artwork installation and unveiling

Some art work would certainly help this entrance

How to Apply

Interested applicants should send:

1. Their name
2. Contact Information
1. address
2. phone
3. email
3. And a brief statement outlining why they are interested in joining the Steering Committee (250 words maximum)

Applications should be submitted to Kim Selman at kim@cobaltconnects.ca or at burlingtonpublicart.com/get-involved/jury-roster/ before Friday, May 6.

For more information, please visit www.burlington.ca/publicart.

Councillor Sharman speaking to Angela Paparazzo

Angela Paparizo, Manager of Arts and Culture explains what this initiative is all about.

“Not only is this a great opportunity for an artist to design and create a beautiful mural for the revitalized Mountainside Pool, it is also an exciting opportunity for residents to join the steering committee to help us select the right artist for this project. I welcome anyone who is thinking about applying to contact us with any questions.

Residents are encouraged to submit their applications before May 6. It is my hope that Burlington residents will get involved in this opportunity to choose an artist and evaluate the mural submissions for Mountainside.”

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Ontario Parks is expanding the Advanced Daily Vehicle Permit Service

By Staff

May 3rd, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

While we think Burlington has everything one could ever want in terms of places to go to get out and get some fresh air – there are parks scattered about the province that would love to see you.

Setting up the tent – now you know you are camping.

Advance day use reservations will be available at 33 parks this summer.  The booking service will allow visitors to guarantee a day-use spot up to 5 days ahead of their trip. Permits can be obtained online using the reservation service.

Paddling across the still water of a large lake – pure Ontario

Building on last year’s offering at 17 provincial parks, visitors will be able to reserve day use permits at an additional 16 provincial parks starting on May 16 for arrivals on May 20.

Ontario Park visitors loved this service last year. Expanding it to additional parks now gives visitors even more opportunities to book a stress-free visit to a provincial park and spend more time in nature.

 

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Nominations for city council opened today 7 have signed up.

By Pepper Parr

May 2nd, 2022

BURLINGTON.

 

Beginning to get interesting.

The following trotted along to the office of the City Clerk and put the passport on the table and handed over the filing fee.

 

Tony Brecknock, centre: video expert

Some interesting new names.  Tony Brecknock hasn’t seen the inside of the Council Chamber in a decade.  He was a major player in the school closing issue and he ran a candidate as a school board trustee.

Robert Radway

Robert Radway, a high school teacher (20 years in) teaches history.  Wasn’t sure he would resign as a teacher – he wants to clear up that issue very quickly.

Councillor Paul Sharman: Thinking it over very carefully

The other are current members of Council.  Sharman has his nomination papers ready for filing.  He was soliciting people at the Chamber of Commerce event recently.  Expect Paul to be very cautious – there is a brass ring for the taking if he is careful.

Needs to build a credible organization to pull this one off.  He should be looking for a cracker jack campaign manager that he will listen to.

Stick around – this crowd is not going to wait for the election of a new Premier get in the way of raising funds and building a team.

A report that has some credibility was the ward that even if she is acclaimed – Mayor Meed Ward will still run a campaign.  Has she not learned that Ann Marsden is planning on running.  Expect her name to appear on the list soon.

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HDSB to focus on one of the five focus areas each day that make up the 2020-2024 Multi-Year Plan to show the importance of schools, staff, families and the community working together

By Staff

May 2, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

HDSB to focus on one of the five focus areas each day that make up the 2020-2024 Multi-Year Plan to show the importance of schools, staff, families and the community working together

Everyone has an opinion on education and everyone pays taxes to support the system we have in Ontario.

There is a lot to be learned about how our children are educated.  The week of May 2nd is your opportunity to learn how the Halton District School Board does that educating.

The Halton District School Board joins school boards across Ontario in celebrating Education Week from May 2-6, 2022. This year’s theme from the Ministry of Education is, Moving Forward. The HDSB will celebrate Education Week by focusing each day on one of the five areas of focus in the 2020-2024 Multi-Year Plan (MYP) to show the importance of schools, staff, families and the community working together to support the well-being and success of students.

Curtis Ennis, Director of Education for the HDSB. – seeing more interaction with the public than previous Directors.

Education Week provides an opportunity to demonstrate the deep and enriched learning that is taking place across the Halton District School Board,” says Curtis Ennis, Director of Education for the HDSB. “The week also allows us to reflect on the importance of a strong and vibrant education system. Learning is most successful when we create equitable conditions that support excellent outcomes for all students. We are excited to profile how engaged our schools and students have been this year and we look forward to continuing to focus on learning, engagement and success for all.”

Throughout the week, we will be sharing examples of how each of the five areas of focus in our Multi-Year Plan guide student and staff learning in classrooms and throughout the Board.

As a lead off to Education Week, the HDSB is also proud to be hosting a groundbreaking ceremony tomorrow (April 29) to celebrate the beginning of a new elementary school in Milton expected to open in the Fall of 2023. The school will accommodate 788 Kindergarten to Grade 8 students and will offer English and French Immersion.

Monday, May 2 – Equity and Inclusion: This area of focus shows how schools champion supportive and inclusive practices to ensure equitable access to positive opportunities and outcomes for all.

They arrive full of energy and enthusiasm – how different are they when they leave school ?

Tuesday, May 3 – Mental Health & Well-Being: This area of focus highlights how students strengthen safe and caring school environments that promote well-being, and enhance relationships and positive learning and working climates where everyone belongs and feels safe. May 2-8 is also Mental Health Week, as designated by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), which promotes mental health awareness, decreasing stigma and helpful resources.

Wednesday, May 4 – Environmental Leadership: This area shows how students and staff take action to help create a sustainable world and will be showcased to demonstrate how HDSB schools are providing opportunities to learn about connections between ecosystems, social justice and climate, as well as elevate local environmental initiatives and practices.

Thursday, May 5 – Learning & Achievement: Examples will be shared of how the HDSB strives to create learning environments to elevate student achievement, foster a culture of high expectations to maximize student and staff achievement and promote innovative strategies.

Also on May 5, the Board is proud to recognize the success of students through its annual Celebration of Student Excellence event. This virtual event will start at 7 p.m. Each year, one student per school is honoured for their excellence in self-improvement, enhancing the school and/or local community, citizenship, student leadership, academics, vocational studies and specialized programs or extra-curricular activities. A link to view the ceremony will be on the HDSB website (www.hdsb.ca) on Thursday, May 5 at 7 p.m. 

Friday, May 6 – Indigenous Perspectives & Awareness: On the final day of Education Week, the HDSB will highlight the many learning opportunities for students and staff that help promote knowledge and understanding of Indigenous perspectives and realities.

 

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Progressive Conservatives open their campaign office and put their candidate on display. Strong start.

By Pepper Parr

May 2nd, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

I had a rough idea of what Natalie Pierre would look like.

The picture the Progressive Conservative (PC) party provided was all I had to go on and very little information. When I walked into the campaign office at the intersection of Fairview and Appleby line I walked right past the woman.

I met her husband before I met her.

It took a bit too actually be able to sit down with the candidate and ask some questions. They offered to set up an interview at a later date – those offers seldom come to fruition.

Natalie Pierre on the right with one of the volunteers.

Natalie was born and raised in Hamilton, went to high school there and then on to McMaster where she earned a degree in Commerce.

She and her husband live in downtown Burlington.

Natalie worked at Sheridan College in the Human Resources sector for a number of years before that she was an auditor for the federal tax collector.

I tend to use first interviews to get a sense of the candidate. Do they have a direct eye contact look, are the stiff and anxious. Are they friendly?  Do they do more spinning than actually answering questions.

She came across to me as pretty solid

All the thoughts I had of Natalie Pierre faded away as we talked about her growing up and her experience in the work world.

I did learn that her appointment as the PC candidate for Burlington came from the head of the party who was permitted to make 10 appointments: Natalie was the third party appointment.

The Burlington Conservatives have had nomination problem for as long as I can remember.  The direct appointment looks as if it was a solid choice.  This woman is cut from a different kind of cloth than the incumbent.

She is smart and has this habit of reaching out and touching – she doesn’t actually reach out – but you are aware that she has touched you – ever so slightly and lightly. She communicates that way.

We didn’t talk about her views on PC policy and where she stood on climate change and the building of more highways. She is new to the game and if she didn’t support the party and its policies she would not have accepted the appointment as a candidate.

She will learn, if she is elected, how things work in the legislature and that if you have concerns they come out at caucus meetings.

PC campaign office at Fairview and Appleby Line

While the mental health of young people is a very big concern for Natalie Pierre this is not a one woman candidate.  Long term care, the funding of our hospitals and the huge surge in mental health needs are a natural focus.

At first I didn’t recognize Natalie while she going over a map of the riding with other woman. I saw someone with the capacity to absorb data and analyze what she was looking at.

Natalie Pierre with a front desk volunteer getting ready to do some door knocking.

The initial interview didn’t last all that long – she was getting ready to get out and do some door knocking.

We will watch how she does in the debates during the election that starts on Wednesday

The Progressive Conservatives in Burlington just might have gotten lucky and come up with a candidate that is not going to embarrass them and could well become a candidate that people will genuinely like and come to respect and admire.

Too early to say much more but Natalie Pierre is someone to watch.

It does not appear that the campaign team is going to wrap her in a bubble and keep her away from people and those pesky issued based questions

One last impression – I think she is a Habs fan

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Many people are not even aware that an election is to take place June 2nd.

By Jason Octavo

April 30th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A lot of people haven’t put their attention yet on the provincial election

I looked people who were out shopping and asked them about the provincial election. Public interest has yet to grow. It is going to be a short election

My assignment was to interview at least twenty people and ask if they knew about the provincial election that is expected to start next Wednesday with the ballots being counted on June 2nd.

Eleven out of the 20 people that I interviewed on the street said they did not know there was going to be a provincial election starting on Wednesday of next week.

Half said they are going to vote.

Only three out of 20 indicated who they were going to vote for.

One person said he knew there was going to be a provincial election, but didn’t know it was starting this coming Wednesday.

Five out of 20 said they are ineligible to vote (Four said they haven’t been in Canada long enough, one said she is underage). Seven out of 20 haven’t decided yet who they are going to vote for.

 

 

 

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Who should lead the province? A minority Progressive Conservative government looks like the best choice

By Pepper Parr

April 30th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

The players in the provincial election that will begin on Wednesday are moving into the campaign offices during the weekend.

Burlington is caught up in the mini scandal over a Council member giving away information discussed in a Closed Session of Council and being sanctioned for her behaviour.

The attention being given the Integrity Commission report is going to have to be directed to the election of the next provincial government – where there are very real and very critical decisions to be made.

The manner in which the province has handled the pandemic and the approach they are taking to climate change are troubling.  In the past, Conservative parties have hidden their candidates and relied on their membership base to keep them in office.

Natalie Pierre – appointed not nominated but the Progressive Conservative candidate nevertheless.

This time around Natalie Pierre will be seen and heard today as the Progressive Conservatives open their campaign office.  How much the public sees and hears from her after that is questionable.

The same gang that managed the campaign of Emily Brown, is running the Natalie Pierre campaign.

In Brown they had a candidate who could have given Karina Gould a much more serious run – but the campaign directors wouldn’t let the public see or hear her – other than at political party events and the Chamber of Commerce debate.

Mariam Manaa – the Liberal candidate who won the nomination race to be the candidate.

However, there is a change taking place in Burlington that may well put Mariam Manaa, the Liberal candidate into a seat in the Legislature.

What is not yet clear is just how many Muslims there are in Burlington.

Manaa defeated Andrea Grebenc for the nomination to the surprise of many.  The number of votes the winner of a nomination receives is never made public so we don’t know just how many more votes Manaa got.

Statistics Canada has released new population numbers.  I expect that they will show a significant increase in the number of Muslims – those will all be Manaa votes.

Burlington has for a long time been a Conservative and a conservative city.  That day may be gone.  Karina Gould showed that Liberals can win and get re-elected as well.

Putting a Liberal in at Queen’s Park is the first step to getting Ontario the government it needs.

Don’t take that to mean that the province needs a Liberal government.  My view is that Stephen Del Duca would have difficulty putting together a government – is he going to win his own seat? and Andrea Horwath would not know how to lead a government.

Andrew Drummond – NDP candidate running for the third time.

Andrew Drummond, the NDP candidate in Burlington would be a fine MPP.

The choice for Ontario in my view is a minority Progressive Conservative government.  Doug Ford is his own worst enemy.  With a hobble on his ankle his government will get the province through two to three years during which the New Democrats can find the leader they need and the public can get a look at what kind of talent the Liberals were able to get elected.

It is going to be a short campaign, probably pretty rough as well.  Power is not easily taken away from those who hold it and there are a lot of wealthy vested interests that will do whatever they think is necessary to keep what they have.

We are in a time when huge changes are taking place.  Covid has whacked our economy; the hospitality sector came close to being wiped out.  The way organizations and corporations manage their employees is going through a change and the most recent climate change prediction talked in terms of years not decades.

How different Ontario looks on the morning of June 3rd is something that will get decided by the people in the province who think about what we are up against and then get out and vote.

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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Roland Tanner lets it rip: council is more toxic, more dysfunctional and more vile than the council that went before it.

By Pepper Parr

April 29th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Ten years ago, as a result of the Shape Burlington Report – the Gazette was born.

Since that time a number of “alternative” media have been created.

The Gazette was the first on-line newspaper to be accepted as a member of the Ontario Press Council which is now the National Newsmedia Council.

Roland Tanner as a candidate

Roland Tanner, a failed 2018 election candidate and his friend Joel McLeod created the 905er, a podcast that sees the 905 as its market – which is major undertaking.

Earlier this week Tanner got himself all wound up over the Statement Mayor Marianne Meed Ward issued – the result was a rant of staggering proportions.

We have excerpted parts of the 30 minute rant – click HERE if you want the full Monty.

“ It’s obviously down to councils to agree or disagree with the recommendations for the Integrity Commissioner” said Tanner who went on to say:

The issue I really took exception to was statement that that it took courage for the two councillors Rory Nisan and Kelven Galbraith to request an investigation. And I cannot see that; you know, if there is an example of punching down by the strong side of council on the weaker side, this is it.

Shawna Stolte was on her own; she has the sympathy of at least one other counsellor but she was basically alone in this campaign for increased openness and against what she claims is the overuse of closed session meetings.

And here we have the gang; the rest of council to a large extent, using every tool that they can to shut her up and ultimately to force her out of what would certainly be quite an easy re-election campaign.

What I find to primly ironic is that Meed Ward, who for the best part of a decade, was a one person outsider on Council, who put up with some really atrocious behaviour from other counsellors.

There is an issue here with openness and transparency, which was a core tenant of what this council was supposed to be about.

We’re going to in camera, we don’t know necessarily why, we have a vague idea. We don’t know what was discussed what was decided.

The Mayor doesn’t address that at all in her statement. She doesn’t go to say yeah, you know what, she’s right (meaning Stolte). We should be more open about these things. But we aren’t we’re going to address that but we are going to stick to the rules: and she has to be penalized for it.

Shawna Stolte – Councillor for ward 4.

No, it was How dare she? How dare she? The meeting was supposed to be a secret.

I found it a bit sanctimonious her praising Counsellors Rory Nissan and Kevin Galbraith. I’m going to quote directly from the statement

“It took courage for Counsellors Rory Nissan and Kevin Galbraith to request an investigation. They knew the report and their identities would be public. They’ve received unwarranted criticism for doing exactly what the code requires of all members of council to hold each other accountable to our obligations under the code and the legislative provisions of the Ontario Municipal act that all members of council swear an oath of office to uphold.”

So my question is Why was her name not on the complaint that was made? Where was her leadership on this?

You know, this idea that there’s been a breach of public trust and that the city has been harmed by this.

No, it hasn’t remotely been harmed by anything that was revealed by Shawna Stolte – what was revealed was so piddling and inconsequential – basically Stolte gave the address of a house to a constituent – everybody knew, and a number that is not actually a number. It was a number of a much bigger thing. And the whole point of that number is that there is a number that has to be secret, and that is quite rightly protected,

Marianne Meed Ward as Mayor

The Mayor comes into to say there’s a breach of public trust, because counsel can no longer be confident that what they bring forward in a confidential session will remain so that compromises their ability to have robust discussions, or to make the best decisions for the community a community loses.

At this point Joel McLeod cuts in and said: Now I have an issue with this because we don’t know that they were talking about. It’s this arrogance that council knows what’s best. So therefore the council can just do what it wants.

Tanner returns saying “People are rightfully upset with how Stolte was treated. She is a she is very much a beloved counsellor, a counsellor that people respect and people say she’s in it for the right reasons. She’s in it to make the community better for her neighbours. She just wants to make them better. And a lot of people are viewing her as one of the good guys.

Counsel is being viewed as bullies in the story. And I would argue that the rest of council has breached public trust because people understand what they say.

Why is the purchase of Bateman so secretive? Why is it that everything has to be done behind closed doors? The simple question of why do we need to buy this building has not been satisfied to the public satisfaction

 

An impressive piece of land, lots of ideas on how it can be used – not much in the way of information on what it is going to cost. Removing the asbestos from the buildings is going to expensive

 

The is the conceptual plan show who will be using what part of the Bateman high school site. Council, the City manager and the city solicitor have taken the position that all of this has to be discussed in a Closed session of Council.

Nobody knows what are we going to do with it? Why do we need this in our inventory as a city and why are we going to go into city reserves to get it? And that’s something that probably, may not the best way to do it. But someone has a valid point say that people deserve to know this. And if people say, Well, I don’t care if it’s a Brock University, Brock gets a teacher’s college. Library gets another branch.

You know, it suits the ward five Councillor because it’s in his ward, suits the city because they get to say, hey, we’ve got a university in our city.

And if you want to build a legacy project, the best way to do that is to try not to talk about the money that’s involved because legacy projects are always expensive.

They have to answer to the public for the decisions they’re making. Decisions that are made in private are not in the best interest of the public.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward during the session of council at which the Integrity Commission report was received.

In her closing statement the Mayor said I stand by all the decisions we have made in closed session and look forward to in the details of the two matters that led to the breach of confidentiality can be made public, that time will come in a matter of months for both I welcome the opportunity to provide my take and explain my vote to the community.

Here’s my issue with this in camera.

They say yeah, we’re gonna buy Robert Bateman for this price. Except here’s the thing everyone’s gonna say, really? Is this a good deal? Is this going to last longer than the pride sidewalks outside of the Halton Catholic school board because, you know we dipped into reserve funds for that and that didn’t even last a year.

This patronizing tone of just wait, see, we’ll talk we’ll tell you later. What will tell you eventually? No, we’re adults, we’re supposed to be informed citizens here. You don’t make the decisions for you. We get to tell you how we want you to vote.

This is where you get to with a culture of secrecy at City Halls. And it’s not just counsellors and mentors who are part of that; staff are part of it too. Because very often, the interests of counsellors keeping things quiet and the interest of staff keeping things quiet, come together.
We are reliant on counsellors like Shawna Stolte who are willing to lose a career over it because they want to serve the public to stand up for us for years and years and years.

Roland Tanner delegating at city council

So God dammit in Burlington, you shape up; you have made a fool of yourself. You have damaged public trust, but not because of the actions Shawna Stolte took but because of the disgraceful way you’ve treated a decent counsellor who is nobody’s rebel, who is nobody’s troublemaker, but who will certainly put the interests of what she feels the public interest ahead of her career and ahead of the careers of people who are just trying to build legacies so that they can point election time to look what a nice thing we bought, you will give me your vote.

If we’re talking about a new type of council after 2018, with a new tone, my God, that’s gone.

This council is more toxic, more dysfunctional and more vile than the council that went before it. And boy, is that saying something?

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Donated formal wear is available for students to choose from on May 9 and 17

By Staff

April 29th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

This is a really neat program.

Donated formal wear is available for students to choose from on May 9 and 17

Dresses, suits, shirts, ties available for students to browse at drop-in sessions

The Halton District School Board will host open houses in May for students to select, at no cost, donated formal wear for upcoming prom or graduation events.

Called Fashion Forward, students will have the opportunity to view and try on formal wear in a friendly and welcoming environment. Students may select from a variety of new and gently-used attire that has been donated for proms, graduations and other special events.

There are many different styles, colours and sizes of formal dresses available as well as suits, shirts, ties and shoes.

The dates to browse for formal wear are Monday, May 9 and Tuesday, May 17. Each open house runs from 2:30 – 6:30 p.m. and will be held at Elsie MacGill Secondary School (1410 Bronte St S, Milton).

It would have been nice if the selection opportunities were held in each municipality – maybe next year.

Students are required to bring student identification to the open house they attend.

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A chance to play a part in Re-Imagining Education - right here in the Region of Halton

By Pepper Parr

April 28th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton District School Board trustees came to the realization that the classroom level experience during the past two years was something that had to be looked at – in a positive manner.

Five of the 24 trustees formed a planning group and wrote the Minister of Education in February of 2021 – they didn’t get an answer and decided rather than wait on the Minister to respond to their idea they broke out on their own.

The Planning Group consists of:

  • Tracey Ehl Harrison (Chair & Site Admin)
  • Andrea Grebenc (Site Admin)
  • Joanna Oliver
  • Leah Reynolds
  • Margo Shuttleworth

The result is an imaginative and bold for trustees initiative that could produce some interesting ideas – it is now up to the community to respond.  Everyone has an opinion on education – let us see if those with opinions have any original ideas or social imagination.

Through a new initiative called Reimagine Forward, Trustees of the Halton District School Board are asking the Halton community and beyond to reimagine education by sharing ideas and stories to develop big-picture, innovative opportunities about how the publicly-funded school system in Ontario can evolve. Parents/guardians, students, staff, community and education partners are invited to provide their ideas and stories at engagehdsb.ca starting today until May 28.

Here’s the question:

“What are the big moves needed to reimagine public education?”

This is the singular focus of Reimagine.  Think big. Think positive. Be innovative. The secret sauce is here among us.

HDSB Chair Margo Shuttleworth

Reimagine is a grassroots project initiated and led by the HDSB Trustees. Submitted ideas will be reviewed by Trustees to influence local policy making and will be shared with participants, the Minister of Education and other Ontario school boards and education organizations in June.

We promise to:

read all of your ideas and stories and let them influence local policy making.

package up all of the ideas and stories in early June and share them with you, the Minister of Education, Boards from across the province and education organizations. You can share the findings too. We’ll share them here and at the Board table.

Please spread the word by inviting your friends, family, neighbours, and colleagues to this site and by tagging @HaltonDSB

Register and participate anytime until May 28TH.

Positive change starts with thinking about and reimagining public education. Let’s work together to share stories and ideas. Please add yours. And, stay for a while to check out all of the contributions.

You are Invited! Let’s Reimagine -Together.

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