Mayor has a plan on how she will attempt to have some boundaries and designations changed.

background 100By Staff

February 20th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Beside the issue of buildings that too many people thought were just too high – the issue of the boundaries for the Urban Growth Centre and the bus terminal on John Street were what irked people.

John Street bus terminal

There was once a proposal to close the terminal and tear it down. Had that happened would the Nautique have ever gotten OMB approval?

Who drew those boundaries and who in their right mind would describe the bus terminal as an MTSA (Major Transportation Service Area)?

A number of well-informed people delegated to city council urging that swift action be taken on both issues.

In a report to her constituents the Mayor recently said:

Meed Ward - tight head shot

Mayor Meed Ward: “Our decision, and one I stand by, was to let evidence and independent study inform our discussions.”

“Council recognized from the beginning of our review of the downtown the need, and the desire in the community, to review the MTSA and UGC designations which have been used to justify overdevelopment. The question was when to initiate that review.

“Our decision, and one I stand by, was to let evidence and independent study inform our discussions.

“To let the community know our process, council passed a staff direction last May to review the appropriateness of downtown’s Major Transit Station Area and Urban Growth Centre designations at the end of the Interim Control Bylaw/Official Plan review studies. The OP review study will be complete after new policies are considered in April, and after that we will be in a position to initiate the review of the MTSA/UGC designations sometime this spring.

Urban growth centre boundary“Those designations are set by provincial and regional governments, and only those levels of government can make any changes. The two consultant reports position us with solid independent planning rationale for these conversations with Halton Region and the Province.

“ We have kept Halton Region planning staff and our local Member of Provincial Parliament Jane McKenna apprised of our studies, timelines and process and all have been involved in and supportive of our work.”

The questions that derive from a very solid position is: So the John Street terminal loses its MTSA status – which would suggest that a developer could no longer rely on that status to justify a high rise development – and there are a few very close to that station which are in the pipe line – they appear to be parked at LPAT hearings.

The Urban Growth Centre boundary was set by the province. They didn’t “impose” it on the city. They set the boundary and the council at the time went along with it. Oakville didn’t go along with the boundary they were given and managed to have theirs changed.
At this point a lot of commercial and development investing has been done based on the boundary – does the city have a hope in ‘hades’ of getting it changed – at this point in time with the current provincial government?

It will be interesting to see how that initiative works out.

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MP reflects on value of listening, even to a small minority, to reach common ground

opinionred 100x100By Staff

February 19th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

AVK stroke

Milton MP Adam van Koeverden in a former occupation.

Adam van Koeverden, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth and to the Minister of Canadian Heritage (Sport,) is the Member of Parliament for Milton, which includes a large part of northern Burlington.

He spoke yesterday in the Emergency Debate related to the Indigenous community protests taking place.

He said:

Madam Speaker, I sat in relative awe of a lot of people today listening to a variety of statements and perspectives. Like a lot of things, that is what makes the House great: a lot of different perspectives and opinions.

However, there is a degree to which this issue and the people involved in the project are being co-opted to reinforce multiple political narratives. One thing that is clear is that this issue severely lacks consensus. I have heard tonight conflicting reports of support from locals as disparate as the opinions in the House.

pipeline protest feb 19

Protests across the country have impacted commercial operations and put in stark relief what the country is going to have to do to recognize and respect the rights of the Indigenous community.

We can certainly all agree, I hope, that a peaceful process and a resolution that results in no violence is in everyone’s best interests. However, the language that we have heard from the Leader of the Opposition is anything but peaceful, as he suggested that indigenous people “check their privilege”. The Leader of the Opposition doubled down on that statement today when he urged haste and force.

I am grateful that my colleagues on this side are able to learn from history and not repeat the mistakes of the past.

My question for my colleague refers to his prior role as parliamentary secretary and his important work on the Indigenous Languages Act. Could he elaborate on the value of listening, even to a small minority, to reach common ground, sometimes in the absence of consensus?

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Spring/Summer Live and Play program registration opens February 22 - online and in person

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 19th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Burlington adults,  aged 19+ and 55+,  will be able to register for Spring/Summer Live and Play programs on Feb. 22 at 9 a.m.

Synchronized swimming

There are a lot of competitive events as well as lap swimming and swimming lessons.

Registrations are accepted online at wwwliveandplay.burlington.ca or in-person on Saturday at the Burlington Seniors’ Centre, City Hall, Brant Hills Community Centre and Tansley Woods Community Centre.

Following Saturday’s launch, in-person registration can be done at any City facility during regular customer service hours. burlington.ca/servicehours.

Lawn Bowling Club is right beside the Seniors Centre. In good weather plenty of opportunity to get out and get some exercise and fresh air. The Library is a very short walk away. Much of wjhat Senirs need in the way of civic services are in the immediate area.

It’s going to be a couple of months before these lawns are used – but you can register now.

The City of Burlington’s Spring/Summer 2020 Live and Play Guide, featuring listings for recreation, sport and culture programs, was originally distributed in January and can now be found in City facilities including recreation centres, Burlington Public Library branches and City Hall, as well as online at burlington.ca/play.

Non-residents aged 19+ and 55+ can register for Spring/Summer Live and Play programs on Friday, Feb. 28 at 9 a.m.

• To receive future copies of the online guide by email, subscribe to the Live and Play e-newsletter at www.burlington.ca/enews.

• For details on how to register for fall/winter programs and events, see page three of the guide or visit www.burlington.ca/play.

The Parks and Recreation department announced earlier this month that the Guide would no longer be published in print form going forward.

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Councillor gets a 'bum steer' from staff as she is learning to do her job.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

February 19th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

During the very difficult meeting at which the Audit Committee discussed the report the auditor had prepared on what wasn’t working with the CRM system the city had decided to install, Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns said she asked staff what she had to do to be a good city councillor.

Lisa Kearns Election Photo

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns. Wanted to be a good Councillor – staff didn’t help.

This was very shortly after she had been sworn in.

Kearns reported that the senior people she spoke with told her she should trust staff and work with them.

Staff mislead the new Councillor; whether knowingly is for them to determine.

What Staff should have said to the new city Councillor was:

Hold us accountable.

That began to happen Wednesday of last week when Lisa Kearns and Paul Sharman asked some very hard and pointed questions about what had gone wrong with the Customer Relations Management system.

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How much risk does the city tolerate? Flooding was never a serious risk before 2014; it is now . There is now a Risk Registry

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 18th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The word risk is creeping into sentences in documents and conversations around city hall.

City Manager Tim Commisso is a big believer in knowing what the risks are and then being as ready as you can for what might be coming your way.

While it isn’t all that clear to many on just what the CRM system is going to do for the public once it is up and running – one of the things it will do is alert staff to risk. When a complaint comes in from a citizen, under the CRM system, it goes into the Knowledge Bank. If there are enough complaints about something that concern could/might work its way into the budget deliberations.

FLOOD red SUV rushing

Flooding wasn’t seen as a really serious risk before 2014 – that changed when several hundred homes were flooded as the result of a flash series of rain storms

Someone can ask: Does this concern we are hearing about mean anything?

An example (totally hypothetical) is the jet fuel line that runs through the downtown core of the city. It is at the top of the parking lot between John and Elizabeth. A number of people who appear to be very knowledgeable on the subject of fuel lines have delegated on this particular line. Is it an issue? How often has it been mentioned? Did Staff catch the concern?

Leah Busetti

Leah Bisutti maintains the Risk Registry – now a critical management document.

As part of the risk management approach to running the city that City manager Tim Commisso brings to the table there is now a “risk registry” that is maintained by a member of his office staff.

When the Registry was being discussed at the Audit Committee meeting there were no questions from council – they had bigger fish to fry.

The document that Leah Bisutti maintains is important – the number of items tagged as high risks is a little on the alarming side.

The creation of the list was quite detailed. In addition to interviewing all members of council as requested by Audit Committee, there were also 30-minute confidential interviews with members of Burlington Leadership Team and a risk workshop to come to a consensus on the top ten risks. Time was also spent to identify probability, impact, and present and future mitigation.

risk registry

Identifying risk and attempting to manage that risk are new city foci.

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Councillor Sharman: 'Not getting answers to my questions. Did we have any guidance on installing CRM from the very beginning?

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

February 18th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

Part two of that awkward Audit Committee meeting last week.

Audit Tim 1 more vocal

City manager Tim Commisso defending staff and the serious problems with the CRM system.

Commisso kept coming back to the statement that being a city that understands, accepts and embraces change is where we need to be – adding that “we are not there yet”.

The Mayor said she will want to see regular reporting back on where Change Management is working – she wanted to see that come from the CSRRA committee.

Councillor Sharman then asked what the Customer Service Strategy actually was. Jones said she couldn’t answer that question – she was the Auditor and handed it off to Angela Morgan who was implementing the Customer Service Strategy when the city first committed to CRM.

Morgan explained that the city had hired AtFocus to help create a Customer Service Strategy for the city. With that report in hand the city then went looking for a software solution that would make the strategy a living service.

The City chose a solution developed by Rock Solid Technologies (RSTI), which is specifically designed to address customer relations management within small to medium-sized municipalities and is integrated with Microsoft Dynamics. The solution, containing Customer Relation Management (“CRM”) and Knowledge Base (“KB”) components, is branded as RESPOND and is designed to centralize the City’s customer contact centre.

The city then re-engaged Rock Solid to do the tactical plan for the implementation of a CRM service adding that they will be reporting back to staff on that early in March.

Sharman folded

Councillor Sharman wanted to know ‘who was providing guidance to our team?’

This wasn’t giving Councillor Sharman the comfort he was looking for. He wanted to know who was providing “guidance to our team” saying he wasn’t at all sure there was a Project Management Plan. He didn’t ask Morgan what the difference was between the Tactical Plan she had coming to her and the Project Management Plan that Sharman believed was essential.

Who was guiding the design and the implementation of the design? asks Sharman

Commisso cuts in and explains that “we did have a vendor and we also had some lady working with us.

Fabi Karimullah explained the structure that was used to handle design and implementation issues when they cropped up that involved Business Process Management and Business Process Reviews – all in collaboration with the vendor

Sharman came back with. “I’m still not getting the answers to my questions and asked: Did we have any guidance from the very beginning; seasoned CRM specialists who have done this dozens of times before and would help staff through or did we just make it up?

Jones added that the city had engaged the vendor as an implementer.

Sharman cut in and said: Who would do that?

The room got very quiet.

Audit Morgan and FAbi

From the left: Project Manager Fabi Karimullah and Executive lead for Customer Experiences Angela Morgan

Angela Morgan then said there wasn’t the needed buy in at every level – it is a change management situation and we are dealing with it.

She added that there are people in Service Burlington who are really excited and love working with it.

The pause that is taking place is because there was some background foundational work to get done – she didn’t elaborate on just what that work was.

Audit Kearns 5

Lisa Kearns told the Audit Committee that this was a very awkward meeting.

Kearns wanted to know: How are we going to untangle the buy in problem and the Change Management problems?

As Councillors we were told that we were going to use the system and that people would email us at ward2@burlington.ca in my case and everything would flow from there. The email sent to ward2 never got to me it went somewhere else to be resolved.

“I went along with that. But the experience didn’t feel like the experiences I had when I was procuring CRM services and when I was involved in implementing them.

“I want the city to help me untangle this mess.”

City manager Commisso said he would untangle it for her admitting that it was a mistake to put city Councillors at the front end of the roll out – without all the city departments involved there was going to be a disconnect.

That there was.

Commisso then added that the relationship with the vendor was that of a partner which was supposed to make it all right.

Partners have skin in the game. There is an upside reward for performance and penalties when targets and expectations are not met. No mention made of rewards or penalties for the vendor.

Commisso did say that the city could have put more into it.

The tough part for Commisso is that this wasn’t a situation he created but it is on his desk and he is going to have to work hard to clean up the mess. He thinks he is going to need as much as 18 months to achieve that.

The mess was former city manager James Ridge’s parting gift to the city. He was ushered out the door the day after the new city council was sworn in.

Kearns wasn’t a part of the city council that approved the project – she was a Councillor who had to deal with it and was looking for a level of agility to become part of the corporate culture with no gotchas or looking for people to blame but instead looking for possible positive outcomes.

“We are having a very uncomfortable conversation” she said – “we need to pivot to a more positive place.”

Councillor Sharman was going to close out the meeting with some very tough words for Staff. He wanted to know where the Project Management Plan was, where were the Gantt charts, the time lines. He wanted to see the “who does what when list created by people who have done this sort of implementation more than a dozen times.”

“Change management is part of this but Project management is the core; identifying the roles and responsibilities along with the implementation methodology.

“Where is the Project Management Plan?”  asked Sharman. “Where was it, can we see it; was it that complex or did we just start off down a path and stayed on that path?”

Audit Jones - said no

Sheila Jones had just told Councillor Sharman that it would be inappropriate to give him the Project Management plan he wanted. He suggested there may not even be a Project Management report.

Sheila Jones was not going to give Sharman what he wanted saying that the transition and the turn over was a part of the problem adding that “it was unreasonable for an Audit committee to hand out a Project Management plan – that would be a “fingers in” approach when what Council should be doing is a “noses in” approach.

Giving the Committee a copy of a Project Management Plan wouldn’t be appropriate or helpful.

“Management has taken the Audit report and taken action” said Jones.

Councillor Sharman’s response was direct and close to brutal: “Ok, so I understand you to be saying it is none of my business.”

The room went suddenly quiet

Mayor Meed Ward moved the report – it was to be received and file.

Council comments followed with Kearns asking: “What is Customer Service to us. People don’t like be treated as a ticket number. Customer Service has to have a community lens and we don’t have that now adding that she has little comfort with where things are now.”

This all comes back to city Council on the 24th. Will council buy the argument that it is a Change Management issue or will they look for deeper systemic problems and hope that with Sheila Jones at the helm and Tim Commisso riding herd on the work Angela Morgan has to get done the problems will get resolved.  He wants 18 months to do all that.will resolve the problems. Council will be in the third year of its first four year term.  Is this an election issue?

The Audit committee does not include every member of Council; several that we talked to had not watched the web cast.

They have work to do.

An observation:  Throughout the two hour Audit Committee meting there was never an occasion when Councillor Sharman, the committee chair was directly in front of the web service cameras.  It was difficult to capture decent images of him as he made strong arguments for a different approach.  Is the Councillor camera shy?  And has he asked the audio visual specialist not to zoom in on him with the cameras?

Related news story.

Part 1 of the Audit Committee meeting on the CRM system.

Below: Sharman at work in council meetings.  He can be very effective.

Sharman hand upSharman confusedSharman pickingSharman hand to head

 

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Are city staff both 'excited and dealing with internal terror' asks the Mayor and is there an answer to the Customer Relations Management problem?

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

February 18th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

The Audit Committee heard the report from the Auditor on the problems with the Customer Relations Management (CRM) system that is long, involved and at times confusing.  It is broken into two parts.  This is part 1.

It started out quietly enough – there were those awkward moments when Council members know they are going to ask some tough questions and staff sit at their spots and wait for the questions about a situation they know is a real mess. Councillor Sharman who is the Chair of the Audit Committee with Councillor Lisa Kearns serving as the vice chair, were facing off with Sheila Jones, the auditor who produced the report. Jones is now the Executive Director, Strategy, Risk and Accountability.

Audit Sharman and Kearns

Councillor Sharman as Chair of the Audit Committee and Councillor Kearns put some tough questions to the city auditor and the city manager.

Sharman opened the meeting by saying to Sheila Jones: “I expect you want to speak.” He certainly wanted to ask questions.

Kearns asked Sheila Jones: What promoted the audit?
Jones replied: “The Business lead approached her asking her if she would consider doing an audit.
“I jumped on it” said Jones

During the discussion about the status of the CRM and the audit that was done by Jones the names of other staff were rarely, if ever, mentioned. It appears to be bad practice in Burlington, to actually name the people who did work in the past.
Kearns then wanted to know: What did we learn?

Jones: We looked at the Project Management activities to learn what had been done.

Angelo Bentivegna asked Jones to: Take me through what CRM does.  Bentivegna’s understanding of the technical IT side of the municipal sector has always been limited.

Audit Jones - said no

Auditor Jones: CRM is going to help us get to know our customers.

Jones explained that CRM was the best way to “get to know our customers”

The program administration started out in the Clerk’s office then he went to a Project management office. There were no timelines in the Auditor’s report making it difficult to pinpoint just when the CRM system configuration went off the tracks.

Angelo asks: The pause now then is to regroup?

How long before we know what happens next?

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward chimed in saying she was a huge believer in customer service and was fine with technology being used but “the challenge with this one” is the way it has been rolled out and that it doesn’t give us what we need, which begs the questions “is this the solution for us”?

Mention was made of the institutional database that would get created and the issues with employee transition.

Do we need to go back to square one, she asked?

At this point city manager Tim Commisso spoke; not something he does all that often and rarely does he speak at length or with all that much passion.

We saw a different city manager last Wednesday, who said at the time that the software the city had chosen was “functionally rich; a platform you can build on”.

He added that he had considerable experience with CRM systems. “They do work” he said and the one we have chosen is amongst the top three on the market.

There will be a portal that people can look in on and self-serve themselves for information he said.

Tim Commisso - finger up hard eyes

CRM systems: They do work said the city manager

The people behind the CRM service decided that a staggered roll out was best; that meant that for those who were part of the early phase would be working with somewhat limited service.

The decision to make members of city council part of that roll out is one that the Clerk has admitted was a mistake. City Councillors find that they are stuck in the middle of a problem they didn’t create; didn’t have much input on either. They were new to the job of being a city Councillor and then were saddled with a system that didn’t meet their critical needs; that the Clerk’s office chose to use Councillors first is yet another example of the dysfunction of that office.

One of the reasons for the staggered roll out appears to be that the CRM project was not properly resourced and didn’t appear to have strong leadership at the top.

One Gazette reader wrote the city saying:

Ridge shilling for the developer

James Ridge – former city manager.

“It is evident that the senior leadership team and the then city manager James Ridge were not invested in the process from day one. FTE were never fully deployed from the respective departments from what is (sic) sounds like. Like any large scale enterprise change, if there is resistance at the top there is inevitably failure. I am sure the project team had a good rollout strategy that did not include the mayor and council being on the forefront of the bleeding edge of a pilot. That blame will need to sit on the lap of the politicians. They should have been late adopters after process gaps were identified and corrected. But here we are getting Lisa Kearns to tell us all that the staff didn’t get it right. It is a corporate system built for staff to handle the operations of the city through a public lens. There is certainly lots of bashing going around. In a nutshell, overworked staff, a pathetic budget, a non-strategic senior leadership team and a champion now retired and writing books.”

City manager Tim Commisso admits that “we are not there yet and suggested it might be as much as a year to a year and a half before the city is getting what it believes the CRM service can deliver”.

Audit Tim 1 more vocal

The CRM mess is something that was well along before city manager Commisso arrived. But it is now his problem to resolve.

To be fair to Commisso – the project was in really bad shape before he was brought in as an interim city manager.

He was hired in January of 2019; Sheila Jones produced her report in November of 2019. Commisso was stuck in the middle of a mess that he had nothing to do with – to his credit he is soldiering through it.

Mayor Meed Ward is completely onside with the technology, which she admits she doesn’t understand all that well – she has chosen to trust the man council hired to make things work at the administrative level.

Her question to Commisso, Jones and the rest of the people involved was: “What do you need from council? And how do you help us help you?”

Fabi Karimullah told the Audit committee that the software is not difficult to operate. Previously Commisso had explained that staff do not have to write any code to get the benefit of what a CRM system will do. It does however have to be configured properly. Poor execution on the configuration, no independent support on doing that configuration along with very poor buy in from a number of departments combined, led to the mess staff are now working their way through.

No one appears to have understood just how big an impact the creating of a CRM system was going to have on staff – it meant that a lot of things were going to be done differently but no one did anything to bring staff onside.

Change management just wasn’t something that anyone gave any thought to. Sheila Jones told council that to the best of her knowledge there is just one person on staff who had any training in Change Management.

Jones admitted the subject wasn’t anything she had any experience with other than being aware of the discipline. Jones was the auditor and was doing that job very well. She had succeeded in bringing a higher level of discipline into processes.

When the Business Review process was put in place back in 2014  when Jeff  Fielding  was the city manager, Sheila Jones spearheaded the introduction of the service and did a fine job of explaining what it would do.

The job she did then didn’t get done with the CRM program -as that became evident during the meeting Councillor Sharman began probing – he had some idea as to what had taken place and how serious the mess was.

Audit swerner not taking the heat 1

Christine Swenor, the Chief Information Officer, realizes now that her staff are going to be more embedded in working out the CRM problems.

Councillors Sharman and Kearns were almost like a wrestling tag team in the way they stick handled the questions they put to staff.

The Information Technology (IT) people realize now that they should have been embedded in the CRM process. They did take part in determining which vendor would provide the service. Christine Swenor said that IT was not responsible for the implementing of any Change Management; she did agree that IT should have been more embedded in the process that was taking place.

One wonders just what the Burlington Leadership Team (BLT) was doing while the problems were getting more and more serious. The BLT is the organization that has representation from every department, usually from the Director level.  Apparently there were no red flags raised at that level.

So, a pause is in place. For how long? And what is it going to cost? No one asked that question.

One resident asked the Clerk:

“Did it ever occur to anyone in 2015 when you engaged “citizens, council members, staff and citizen advisory groups” that the public would not want the City to have “their personal information” on record, no matter how “committed the City is to protecting our personal information confidential and secure”. We are well aware that nothing is “secure” on the internet.

“As for the staff who are currently using the new CRM System they seem not to know just what is expected of them. When I go to the Service Burlington desk with my case number after two weeks of hearing nothing and I am told that I have to contact the Mayor’s office, with no attempt at even checking to see if the email ever was received in the Mayor’s Office there is a problem.

“When Councillors indicate that they haven’t been receiving any emails that is a problem. Please explain how this new system is going to streamline engaging with residents “to better serve and respond to customer information and service requests?

“I hope that the Mayor and Council take a very good look at this system and how it impacts communicating with residents, especially since most residents have no idea that their personal information is being kept on file.”

City manager Tim Commisso said “we can see the big picture but we are not there yet.

The resources needed are in place and the Executive lead, Angela Morgan, reports to the city manager. Commisso said: “We are in a good place now and I am comfortable.

Fabi Karimullah, the current project manager, explained that the CRM is more than just the software – we had to determine what the software was going to do and how it would be configured, and also to determine if we were ready for the change.

There were customer relations people in departments whose role was going to change.

Commisso said on more than one occasion that what was needed was stability, focus and execution – none of which appeared to be in place. “We have to explain to people what the service is going to do and then to deliver on that explanation.

Kearns wanted to know what was different now; Commisso responded that the product and the vendor are what is needed to do the job and that there is now a dedicated project management person in place.

Karimullah added that there are still a number of steps to be taken before everyone is truly talking to each other.

The scope of the project has to be determined, she said. Asked if the CRM service will be integrated with other systems Fabi said “if you throw enough money at a program it can be integrated with anything but that may not really serve the customer’.

Christine Swenor added that process efficiency was another serious consideration; there had to be a single source for the data.

Audit Kearns 5

Kearns: Was a Staff Direction needed?

Kearns asked if a Staff Direction was needed.

Commisso didn’t think so but suggested that CRM could issue reports that were similar to what the ERP project is delivering.

Audit MAyor commenting

Mayors wonders if “internal terror has taken over city hall.

The Mayor added that city hall is “both excited and dealing with internal terror”. How are we going to manage that?

Angelo Bentivegna asked about the risk involved: Will we lose everything we have done so far?

Commisso admitted that there is a risk – and that is in developing a culture at city hall that accepts and embraces change.

Sheila Jones added that she was working with Prosci (the Change Management consultants) and that different departments were at different stages of getting on board the need for change. Her immediate target was a state of “structured discipline that is fully understood and embedded in everything that is done.”

So – up to this point we know the planned CRM system is a mess and no one is sure just how the mess is going to get cleaned up.

The report that was “received and filed” goes to city council at the end of the month.

In part two we learn just how deep the problem is and we learn that Staff want council to be “noses in and fingers out”. Sheila Jones basically refuses to give Councillor Sharman what he wants.

The question that hangs in the air is:  Is this really a Change Management problem or was it a monumental screw up with no one prepared to take responsibility.

Part two follows;

Related news story:

How Results Based Accountability was introduced in 2014.

Councillor Kearns raises the first red flag the public saw on the CRM problem.

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Has the Mayor returned to a classroom? Good move for the city if she has.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 17th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Has the Mayor returned to the classroom to learn more about governance which is now a hot topic for members of corporate Boards of Directors?

A number of Universities offer these short but very intense courses that are pricey. The DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University offers two different courses.

Innovation Governance for Directors
Imperatives of Good Governance

Meed Ward style

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward – listening carefully to what is being said at a council meeting.

While the Mayor has a busy schedule – she is the kind of person who would make the time to improve her skill set – she has the kind of personality that would make her an excellent student as well.

During the discussion over the problems with the CRM system that has hit nothing but snags, Mayor Meed Ward made a passing mention of some training she had or was taking on governance.

Mayor Meed Ward has been an advocate of stronger governance for some time.

Assuming for the moment that the Mayor has returned to the classroom and the course fees, which are pretty steep (a 2 ¼ day course comes in at a bit under $5000 – it would be money well spent.

There are far too many people who want to jump right into political service with a really poor background on governance matters and, for some, precious little depth or experience to do the job.

We’ve sent out a query to her office – we’ll let you know what comes back.

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Another survey - this one is on a values issue: think in terms of opium dens

News 100 redBy Staff

February 14th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The City of Burlington is asking residents to share their thoughts about whether cafes and lounges serving and allowing the consumption of cannabis should be allowed to operate in the city.

This survey will help inform the discussion at Burlington City Council on February 24th, to respond to the Ontario Government’s online consultation for potential cannabis business opportunity additions.

The City’s survey will also ask residents their feedback on potential extension of Special Occasion Permits (SOPs) identified in the Ontario Government’s online consultation. SOPs would allow cannabis to be served and consumed at festivals and events in public places and spaces.

To help gather the community’s input, the City has also launched an online survey at www.getinvolvedburlington.ca open to Burlington residents until Sunday, Feb. 23.

To complete the brief survey, residents must first register or be a member of Get Involved Burlington.

cannabis yes no logo

Your opinion on lounges where cannabis flavored products can be sold.

The city of Burlington city council voted to permit the sale of cannabis in locations that were not close to schools.  It was a split vote with Councillors Stolte and Bentivegna opposed and Mayor Meed Ward, Councillors Galbraith, Kearns, Nisan, Sharman voting to approve.

There are currently at least five retail cannabis locations operating in Burlington.

The Ontario Government’s public consultation was announced on Monday, Feb. 10, 2020 and the province will accept feedback until Tuesday, March 10, 2020.

Visit www.getinvolvedburlington.ca/cannabissurvey to register and take the survey about cannabis lounges and at events in Burlington. CLICK HERE to start.

The registration process is a little tricky – pay attention; the city will be using the Get Involved site as its primary way of gathering information.

Quick Facts
• On Oct. 17, 2018, recreational cannabis was legalized by the federal government of Canada.

• On Jan. 14, 2019, Burlington City Council voted to allow the operation of retail cannabis stores in Burlington

• On Apr. 1, 2019, the first round of brick and mortar, privately-operated retail cannabis stores opened across the province

• The AGCO is licensing and enforcing regulations related to retail cannabis stores in Ontario

• On June 26, 2019, Health Canada published regulations for the production and sale of three new classes of cannabis products:

o cannabis edibles – cannabis products that can be consumed in the same manner as food (e.g. food or beverage)

o cannabis extracts – cannabis products that are produced using extraction processing methods or by synthesizing phytocannabinoids (e.g., oils, capsules, hash, wax)

o cannabis topicals – cannabis products that can be used on a body surface (e.g. lotion)

• These new federal regulations came into force on Oct. 17, 2019 and the new classes of cannabis products became available for sale in Ontario on Jan. 6, 2020.

• The Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 (SFOA, 2017) and the regulations under that Act prohibit the smoking of cannabis and the use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) to vape any substance (including cannabis) in enclosed workplaces and enclosed public places, as well as other prescribed places (e.g., restaurant and bar patios or within nine metres of these patios).

Links and Resources
• Provincial online consultation – comments due March 10

• For more information about legal cannabis and the City of Burlington, visit www.burlington.ca/cannabis.

• Visit Halton Region for more information about Smoke Free Ontario

• For more information about legal cannabis in Ontario, visit Ontario.ca/cannabis

• For more information, on an open market for retail cannabis sales in Ontario please visit https://news.ontario.ca/mag/en/2019/12/ontario-opening-cannabis-retail-market.html

• Visit, Health Canada for their rules for edibles, extracts and topicals

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That plastic bottle that ends up in the ocean is ending up in the fish we eat.

News 100 greenBy Ray Rivers

February 14th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The baby boom generation has a lot to answer for. How many boomers can recall that epic 1967 movie, ‘The Graduate’. A young Dustin Hoffman was the dazed and aimless anti-hero stuck in a fractured picture of an overabundant American civilization looking for its next drug. And there it was, on the strength of advice from a well-intentioned guest. “Plastics… There’s a great future in plastics”.

plastic bio-degrading

Sifting through debris at a plastic bottle recycling plant has led to the unearthing of a plastic-munching microorganism that can break down polyethylene terephthalate (PET). The researchers who discovered the bacterium hope that it will provide a new way to recycle PET plastics by breaking them down into their building blocks.

Watching the news today it is hard to get beyond the threat to all of us posed by the Coronavirus, recently named COVID-19. A pandemic is an immediate, and acute threat and we are pretty sure that it will peak and then pass. Contrast that with the chronic challenges of global warming and something we’ve heard less about until recently, plastic pollution.

Micro plastic particles are omnipresent in our environment, the air we breathe and the food we ingest. We may not fully comprehend what that means, but it’s not good. Even in the most remote reaches of our oceans, fish now contain significant amounts of plastic in their bodies… and so do we when we eat them. And unlike the nasty COVID-9 virus, which will eventually be gone, the plastic pollution we have created will be with us for a very long time.

Who could have envisioned the potential impact of such a seemingly benign and inert product, developed to improve the state of our lives. Little more than a half century after our young graduate was turned-on to plastic we learn that there is now an island of plastic waste floating in the Pacific Ocean, three hundred kilometres wide and three times the size of France.

Back when they were filming the Graduate the biggest threat to our survival was the bomb and the Soviets. Whoever had thought of this bigger risk to our survival – big fossil fuel? Yes, the very people who are delivering rising sea levels, acidification and warming of the oceans, melting of the polar ice caps, and increased storms are also the same culprits who have given us plastics.

plastic in ocean

A huge belt of plastic photographed floating off the coast of the Caribbean island of Roatan, Honduras.

Plastic takes more than 400 years to degrade, and its production has doubled every 15 years. So unless we do something radical, by 2050 the oceans will contain more plastic waste than fish, ton for ton. Of the billions of metric tonnes of plastic that have been produced, fully 80% goes in the waste bins and over a third of that is ‘single use’ – used once and discarded.

Industry’s claim that plastic can be recycled is largely a myth, since less than 10% is actually recycled. In fact, half of all plastic manufactured becomes trash in less than a year. And eight million tonnes ends up in the ocean every year – the equivalent of five grocery bags of plastic trash for every foot of the planet’s ocean coastline.

The prime minister promised that if re-elected he would ban single use plastic starting next year, but the devil is in the details. To that end the government has just released a scientific assessment of the plastics problem. Besides the potential of government regulations, there is already some action afoot to deal with the problem.

Clearly the place to start is to avoid the use of plastic. To that end many grocery stores are no longer offering plastic bags at cash outs, though a good deal of everything in the stores still comes wrapped in layers of plastic film and sits on trays of single use styrofoam. Many restaurants have switched to paper rather than plastic straws, or just eliminated them entirely. And many customers are refusing to accept plastic bags, when offered, for the products they buy.

Then there are a number of environmental non-profit organizations taking the plastic in their own hands by starting to clean it up. One of these is a Vancouver outfit called Ocean Legacy Foundation. Started in 2014, this organization claims about 25 staff, most of whom are volunteers to clean up the plastic refuse which gets washed ashore on the west coast every day. Since 2015 Ocean Legacy has collected 170,000 pounds of waste plastic from Canada’s western shorelines.

Though not presently operational in the Great Lakes, Ocean Legacy is active in Costa Rica, Mexico and Panama. In addition to hands-on clean ups, the organization has structured a program of information, education and advocacy which they offer to help communities get involved on their own and on their own shorelines. They have received some funding from governments as well private entities, and they do accept online donations.

Principal-effects-of-microplastics-on-fish

The damage plastics in ocean water are doing to the fish we eat.

As important as these voluntary clean up actions are, runaway plastic pollution is a problem that drastically needs government regulation. Some of the larger manufacturers of plastic film and other packaging would have you believe they maintain a cradle-to-grave responsible corporate policy, something which was in vogue a few years ago. Yet they are missing in action when it comes to cleaning up the mess they have inadvertently created, since virtually all plastic is created as a product of oil and gas mining.  So why are big oil and the plastic manufacturers missing in action when it comes to cleaning up the mess they are responsible for?

Canada has become a highly divided nation. There are those who live in oil producing provinces and then there are the rest of us. That was made evident in the last federal election. The only political party promoting big oil won almost every seat in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

There is a simmering conflict and an emerging political crisis at our doorstep. The political leaders of those oil producing provinces may not personally be in the pockets of the oil companies but they are there to do their bidding as the industry endeavors to extract that very last barrel of bitumen.

The fight will be between the legitimate right of a federal government to protect the health of its citizens and the right of the oil companies and their sub-national political allies to monetize that last grain of bitumen laden sand. And the consequences of failure may well be the kind of protest action we are seeing among indigenous folks today over pipelines.

Plastics may have played a big role in our economic lives over the last sixty years but it has left us with a poisonous legacy. And its future is no longer great, given the unintended consequences of its widespread adoption.

Background links

Draft Science Assessment –     Great PacificGarbage Patch –     Fish to Humans

Plastic Waste –    PM’s Promise –   Swimming Through Pacific Garbage

Ocean Legacy

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City wants your help in naming three new trails.

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 13th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Time to take part and be engaged in the way your city works.

There are three distinct trails in Burlington that need a name. Below, you will see the three areas where the trails are located. The actual trail is shown by the red line.

You might want to consider the history of the area, location of the trail, important people in the city past or present. Use your imagination and suggest your three best ideas.

Trails - first

This trail is along the Hydro corridor north of the QEW, between the North Service Road at Roly Bird Park and Berwick Drive.

Trails Maple - Fairview

This trail is part of the downtown hydro corridor, east of Maple Avenue, between Ontario Street and Graham’s Lane.

Trail Upper and Mainway

This trail is east of Centennial Drive, between Upper Middle Road and Heathfield Drive (extending in the future to Mainway.)

Click here to get to the survey.

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Audit committee to hear a tough report on what has gone wrong with the CRM service.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

February 12th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Earlier this week we wrote about problems with the CRM Customer Relations Management (CRM) service that was reviewed by the Auditors – their report didn’t hand out many gold stars.

We weren’t able to cover everything in the 36 page report yesterday.

The report said there are a few areas where private information could be compromised because access procedures were not clear.

What becomes very clear is that there were problems with this project from the get-go. There was no effective leadership and people with the skill set and experience were not part of the team.

CRM brilliance logo

It was a project that didn’t seem to have a leader; the staff turn over made it difficult to get any momentum.

In mid-August 2019, the CRM project steering committee considered issues raised by the project manager and made the decision to pause the implementation of the CRM application for 3 months. This pause is intended to provide the opportunity to:

Define and approve long term Customer Service delivery model including staffing strategy

Expedite Business Process Management, reporting and statistical analysis to estimate departmental staffing and service impacts
Confirm the project and operational teams required for CRM and Service Burlington implementation

Plan a coordinated approach for online customer experience to rationalize the number of tools used.

The decision to ‘pause’ was made because the “current implementation point, CRM Phase 1 has not delivered the intended benefits and advanced the Service Brilliance Strategy. The technology and processes have not been embraced by all current users. The steering committee has paused the implementation to address the on-going operational model and how CRM aligns with other initiatives to achieve the Service Brilliance Strategy.”

Getting rid of the ‘Service Brilliance” name might help. For some reason Burlington bureaucrats choose names for projects that create an expectation that doesn’t get met. Grow Bold was an example.

1 CRM graphic implementation“The people side of change for the CRM implementation was not sufficiently developed to realize the benefits that this system was expected to deliver. As such, more time and resources have been, and will likely continue to be, required to re- work the solution and re-train the staff all within an environment that will be implementing more large-scale and complex changes

“CRM is a high impact project with long term impacts and benefits for the City. The Steering Committee supports a pause in the project to address lessons learned during the Phase 1 implementation in Clerks and Transportation and incorporate a broader approach, beyond software implementation, to support the Customer Service Strategy and align with corporate strategic goals. An external consultant has been engaged to address key areas of focus to strategically reposition the project for success. Findings and recommendations will be delivered at the end of January 2020. Action items arising from this audit will be addressed in a timely manner and may be influenced by the outcomes of this engagement.

“The management team recognizes that there has been significant staff turnover during the course of the project on the project team which has presented challenges in managing project risk, deliverables and timelines. The audit represents an opportunity to address gaps and reposition the project and governance structure to ensure an effective project outcome and achievement of project goals.”

That’s putting a positive spin on an awkward situation.

The concept of going the CRM route to create lines of communication between the elected, the staff and the people paying the tab has been in the works for a long time. Does it work well anywhere else? No mention of that in the Auditor’s report.

CRM graphic meetings“Since its February 2018 inception, the CRM project steering committee met 7 times in 2018 and 6 times in 2019. In these meetings, member participation was as low as 50% in 3 meetings and as high as 80% in 3 meetings.”

This is not an attendance record to brag about.

Something had to be done.

Prosci Canada is the Canadian operations of Prosci Inc., a world leader in change management best practice research and provider of change management methods, tools and certification. Prosci Canada were engaged to perform a best practice audit to assess the effectiveness of the change management practices within the CRM project.

The summary of the Prosci findings indicates that the people side of change for the CRM implementation was not sufficiently developed to realize the benefits that this system was expected to deliver. As such, more time and resources have been, and will likely continue to be, required to re-work the solution and re-train the staff all within an environment that will be implementing more large-scale and complex changes.

“The CRM project charter identifies critical success factors; specifically, “Staff buy-in achieved through a robust change management strategy resulting in system acceptance, comprehensive training and end user understanding.”

“From responses to the risk management practices survey, the most problematic area is that of People risks – resource, adaptation and change. Across the steering committee, working group and project team, the level of confidence is very low regarding how this risk is being managed.

CRM graphic 100 adoption“The people side of change for the CRM implementation was not sufficiently developed to realize the benefits that this system was expected to deliver. As such, more time and resources have been and will likely continue to be required to re-work the solution and re-train the staff all within an environment that will be implementing more large- scale and complex changes.”

“The successful outcome of the CRM implementation depends on 100% adoption, usage, and proficiency in the new system. Each of these human factors have a direct correlation to the expected benefits from this project.”

“As part of the preliminary assessment and contractual arrangements with the vendor, a third-party audit report was reviewed for security control issues that may affect the vendor’s environment. The report was not reviewed for operational issues. This review was the only review performed; a formal process to have the external third- party audit report requested and reviewed on a regular basis has not been implemented.

The high-level summary of the recommendations is for the City of Burlington to provide:

1. Active and visible executive sponsorship
2. Dedicated change management resources and funding
3. Structured change management approach
4. Employee engagement and participation
5. Frequent and open communication about the change and the need for change
6. Engagement and integration with project management
7. Engagement with and support from middle management.

Prosci research shows that when the organization understands “why we need to change”, “why the change is necessary now”, and “what the risks are if we do not change”, the impacted people are more open and willing to go through the change process.

“Sponsors did not understand their role in engaging with the organization to build awareness, supporting change management and the need to be active and visible.

“There were no resources to develop change management plans and no one to guide to a structured change management process.

“Stakeholders were not identified for the end- to-end solution.

“No real understanding of how the system would fully impact the internal and external stakeholders, therefore, the awareness building activities were not effective.

“Communication was limited to the users in Phase 1A and did not extend to the rest of the participants in a customer inquiry.

“In the end, the Phase 1A group was disappointed with the final version of the system as they did not feel that their feedback was incorporated.

“The Phase 1A negative experience has caused a shift from what would have been change cheerleaders to the voice of dissent.

“When phase 1B was asked to provide feedback to the ADKAR assessment, however, only 2 of 24 responded, which indicates a lack of desire to participate in the change.

“Training was inadequate and poorly executed.

“Initial training was by PowerPoint and difficult to absorb.

“Focus was limited to technical side of how to use system.

“The business processes were not understood and incorporated in the training.

“Middle management is the closest to where changes actually occur. Their relationships, trust, knowledge and proximity make them crucial allies.

“Managers and supervisors who become change champions and act as early adopters and vocal advocates of the change to direct reports and other impacted groups play a critical role in the adoption of the change.

“When the technical and people sides of change are integrated, projects are more successful and more likely to deliver intended results. Integration of change management and project management allows for more effective sequencing of work and enables the delivery of a “unified value proposition” for creating successful and sustained change”

Sheila Jones

Sheila Jones: Executive Director of Strategy, Risk & Accountability. The report is both transparent and wondering just where the accountability was with the CRM program.

It is a tough report. That’s what Auditors are supposed to do. The then Auditor Sheila Jones is not known for equivocating. She was recently promoted to Executive Director of Strategy, Risk & Accountability.

The news itself is not good – what is good about it is that it is now on the table and corrective action can be taken.

The Auditor can be commended for making the information public – letting people know that there are problems and then making sure that the right people are in place; that professional change management procedures are in place and that the problems will be resolved.

Hopefully staff will take part in the Audit committee meeting and be encouraged to speak up.

Sharman hand up

Will Councillor Sharman have sharp questions about this report?

Audit committee meetings are as boring as watching paint dry. Let that not be the case on Wednesday.

The two sharpest minds on this city council are Lisa Kearns, who is the Chair of the Standing Committing hearing the report and her vice chair, Paul Sharman. Let their tongues be as sharp as they have been known to be in the past.

Before Council votes to receive and file this report let there be some very clear directions and the outcomes that are required.

Related news stories.

Is it a service or a system?

Kearns expresses concern with CRM service

First look at the Auditors report

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Halton District School Board joins nine others in an agreement with Mohawk college to focus on students and climate change

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 11th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton District School Board announced an historic agreement today with Mohawk College and nine Ontario school boards for a voluntary agreement establishing a large-scale learning partnership offering students opportunities for new skills, curriculum connections and research, as they learn first-hand how to reduce the carbon footprints in their schools.

istem Cafeteria-crowd-Nov-2018-768x371

Parents listening to how the iStem program at Aldershot was going to work. The second grade 9 class will start in September.

The initiative, called Climate Change Leaders, has a potential audience of 270,000 students in the participating school boards, giving young people a more active role in reducing carbon emissions in their schools while helping Canada move one step closer to meeting its obligation to the Paris accord.

In addition, Mohawk College will introduce micro-credits in Climate Change and related topics for students, teachers and staff.

This exciting partnership is exploring enhanced experiential learning opportunities for students and teachers in the areas of science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM), offering new pathways for students toward co-op placements, apprenticeships and new jobs in a low carbon, circular economy.

To transform schools to lower carbon will require school boards to examine deep building system retrofits for mechanical and electrical building systems. Once most of the energy waste is removed, the next phase is to develop on-site renewable energy systems such as solar, geothermal and battery storage. The investment funding aspiration is to use energy saved from retrofits and energy produced from renewable technologies to fund capital investment. Financially, this will have no impact on taxpayers, while exploring the creation of many new jobs, apprenticeships and student co-ops.

Stuart Miller

Stuart Miller, HDSB Director of Education

Today, the partners gathered to sign a non-binding, collaborative memorandum of understanding, agreeing that the climate crisis is well documented and the path is clear: we must dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transition to a low-carbon economy. Working together, they commit to increase their efforts to help solve the climate crisis and explore opportunities to combine technology demonstrations with experiential learning, while building the capabilities and capacity to transform to a low-carbon community.

Stuart Miller, who was interviewed on CBC Radio earlier on Tuesday said that the MOU between Mohawk College and a number of School Boards in this area is a wonderful opportunity and an example of educational bodies collaborating to address the challenges of climate change.

The school boards represent 250,000 students and it is the synergy of us all working together that will do much to address our environmental issues in this part of Ontario.

 

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Art work for the new pavilion at City View Park

artsorange 100x100By Staff

February 10th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The City of Burlington is inviting residents to provide feedback on three design concepts for a sculpture for City View Park.

Pre game training City view Park

Pre-game warm up field is just one part of the facilities at City View Park a location in the western part of the city on Dundas.

City View Park has been going through lots of changes and has three artificial turf fields, creative playground, parking, pond/wetland, trails, natural restoration and a park maintenance facility. In the next phase, the City will add a pavilion in 2020. The sculpture will complement the park building.

The artwork concepts can be seen Feb. 10 to 23 at Brant Hills Community Centre and at Burlington Public Library – Central Branch. The concepts will also be available online at www.getinvolvedburlington.ca .

Residents are invited to take a look at the three proposed designs and share their thoughts. These comments, along with the technical and design proposals will help with the jury’s final selection.

City View Park pavillion

The art work will be kept at the pavilion.

Artwork Location
The artwork will be in front of the pavilion. This area will be a connection point in City View, linking pathways from the future parking lot to the entrance of the pavilion and central roadway. You will also be able to see the artwork from inside the pavilion’s main lobby glass walls.

Artist Selection
Last fall, the City asked for artists to let us know if they were interested in creating a sculpture to go with the new pavilion. Over 50 artists responded and the community jury made up of residents, local artists and project stakeholders reviewed these submissions and selected three finalists to develop preliminary artwork concepts.

The jury will consider public feedback when they select the winning proposal.
The selected artists are:

Ludovic Boney
Edwin and Veronica Dam de Nogales
Hooman Mehdizadehjafari
Ludovic Boney – Fragment

Fragment is a sculpture made of assembled aluminum plates which form layers over its entire height. Its roughness and irregular composition are reminiscent of the layers of stratified stone. The irregular angles and triangular shapes that make up Fragment are inspired by the angular architecture of the pavilion and the landscaping around it

Edwin and Veronica Dam de Nogales – Un(HERD)
Un(HERD) is meant to be a reminder of Burlington´s natural beauty and its relationship with nature, as an important necessity for “healthy living.” With nine heads raised and nine pairs of ears piqued and alert, the team of the females of the species Un(HERD) finds a natural home here. This piece is meant to echo Burlington´s commitment to nature, preservation, and coexistence.

Hooman Mehdizadehjafari – Soar
Inspired by the oldest living creature in Eastern North America, the public art design Soar inherited its form from the Eastern White Cedar. The 17-foot-tall metal sculpture reflects the rich natural heritage of the region, in particular the Niagara Escarpment. The diversity of materials used creates a play of colours that can often be seen in nature and alludes to the diverse and united community of Burlington.

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Live & Play to go out of print: digital from this point forward.

eventspink 100x100By Staff

February 11th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

L&P top

Adult Registration

Spring/Summer Registration for Adults begins Saturday, Feb. 22 at 9 a.m.

The online Live & Play Guide allows you to view and share program information as well as register directly from any computer or mobile device. View the Spring/Summer Online Live & Play Guide.

L&P IvanThe current edition of  Live & Ply is the last that will be seen in print.  From this point forward there will be just the digital edition.  It will all be at: www.burlington.ca/play

When registering for a program do ask us about:

• Deferred payment for summer programs
• Recreation Fee Assistance

Summer Camp Registration
L&P campRegister today for Summer Camps. Choose from:
• Summer Neighbourhood Activity Camps (SNAP)
• Theatre Camp
• Music Camp
• Camps for children with disabilities
Learn more: burlington.ca/camps

Winter Play at Tyandaga
L&P winte at Ty

Come to Tyandaga Golf Course between 2 and 4 p.m. on Feb. 16 to enjoy a variety of activities for the whole family, including winter walks, outdoor games and crafts. Then, head inside and cozy up with warm drinks and food. Register and reserve your spot ($3/person. Children under one are free).

“(F)Empower – a panel on women in politics”
L&P women

With three strong women on city council this will be an event to take in.

The Burlington Youth Student Council is hosting a free, special event on Feb. 25 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Central Arena with Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and other inspiring female elected officials to who will share their personal experiences, journey, inspiration and how they navigate the political environment as women.

Learn more:www. burlington.ca/communityconnections

Hockey Hair, Don’t Care
L&P hockey hair

Calling all Women Hockey players in Burlington. Come and join us at Appleby Ice Centre, Rink 3. Open to women ages 16 and over.
• Monday 8 to 9:30 p.m.
• Tuesday and Thursday 10:30 a.m. to noon
Learn more: www.burlington.ca/skating

Neighbourhood Community Matching Fund
L&P funding

Do you have an idea for a small project that will bring your neighbourhood together and make Burlington a better place to live and play? Need funding to help you? Check out the Neighbourhood Community Matching Fund. Up to $10,000 per project is available. Application deadline is Monday, Feb. 24, 2020.

Learn more: www.burlington.ca/matchingfund

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Online Forms Unavailable Feb. 14 - 18, for Scheduled Maintenance

News 100 redBy Staff

February 10th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Between Friday, Feb. 14 at 4:30 p.m. and Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 8:30 a.m., the City will perform some scheduled maintenance that will result in the following online forms being unavailable during this period:

• Business Licence Renewal
• Property Information Requests
• Marriage License application
• Senior Rebates application
• Dog License application/renewal
• Tax Assessment Lookup
• My Festival and Events applications

The techies apologize for the disruption.

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Impaired Driving Offences Within Halton Region

Crime 100By Staff

February 10th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

If you have been named in a police report and after going through the judicial procedure and were found not guilty of what you were charged with, or the police dropped the charge, be in touch with the Publisher of the Gazette and we will pull the original report and publish the results of the trial if you wish.

police trafficHeader

This doesn’t have to happen; take a cab home.

On February 7, 2020, just after 3:30 pm, Halton Police officers conducted a traffic stop in the area of 7 Highway and Sixth Nassagaweya Line in Milton. As a result of an investigation, Frank McCormack (26) of Halton Hills was charged with blood alcohol concentration 80mgs or more, within two hours.

On February 8, 2020, just after 2:00 am, Halton Police officers responded to a citizen-initiated complaint in the area of Glenashton Drive and N Ridge Trail in Oakville. As a result of an investigation, Gaetano Boncore (21) of Oakville was charged with operation while impaired and failure or refusal to comply with demand.

On February 8, 2020, just before 9:00 pm, Halton Police officers responded to a citizen-initiated complaint in the area of Walkers Line and Mainway in Burlington. As a result of an investigation, Mary Crupi (24) of Burlington was charged with operation while impaired.

On February 9, 2020 just after 1:00 am, Halton Police officers responded to a collision in the area of the 407 Highway and Derry Road in Milton. As a result of an investigation, Zaharija Panizovski (45) of Woodbridge was charged with operation while impaired and blood alcohol concentration 80mgs or more, within two hours.

On February 9, 2020, just after 1:30 am, Halton Police officers conducted a traffic stop in the area of Donegal Drive and Kerry Drive in Burlington. As a result of an investigation, Cole Wegener (22) of Burlington was charged with operation while impaired and blood alcohol concentration 80mgs or more, within two hours.

On February 9, 2020 just before 2:00 am, Halton Police officers responded to a collision in the area of Trafalgar Road and McCraney Street in Oakville. As a result of an investigation, Kenneth Boyd (29) of Alton was charged with operation while impaired and blood alcohol concentration 80mgs or more, within two hours.

The Halton Regional Police Service remains committed to road safety through prevention, education and enforcement initiatives.

Members of the public are reminded that driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol is a crime in progress and to call 9-1-1 immediately to report a suspected impaired driver.

The Service’s Twitter and Facebook accounts should not be used for this purpose as they are not monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Please be reminded that all persons charged are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

 

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Accessibility and Heritage Advisory Committees looking for new members..

News 100 redBy Staff

February 10th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The City of Burlington is currently recruiting volunteers to be members of the Heritage Burlington Advisory Committee and the Burlington Accessibility Advisory Committee.

Heritage locations

The blue markers indicate heritage properties – a citizen’s committee makes recommendation to city council on what happens to them as developments take place.

These two advisory committees are legislated and report to Burlington City Council to provide advice and promote issues related to the conservation of Burlington’s built and cultural heritage, and to identify, remove and prevent barriers to people with disabilities in the municipality’s bylaws, policies, programs and services.

Applications can be submitted online or are available at City facilities. The deadline to apply is Friday, Feb. 28, 2020.

Is this house a Heritage property? The owners don't think so and they made a very compelling case to have it removed from the list. Not as simple as it seems

Is this house a Heritage property? The owners don’t think so and they made a very compelling case to have it removed from the list.

These are important committees that need people with a genuine interest in the welfare of people in Burlington and the preservation of its heritage.

Be prepared to learn, work hard and speak truth to power when you report to city council.

Background
• In May 2019, the City of Burlington sought online and in-person feedback from current citizen committee members and members of the public to explore how citizen committees might provide advice to Council and staff.

• A working team of residents are writing a report of their findings from these engagements that will be presented at a Council Workshop on Feb. 25, 2020.

• The Heritage Burlington and Burlington Accessibility committees are legislated and are the only two committees currently recruiting.

• To learn more about the review of Burlington City Council appointed advisory committees, visit getinvolvedburlington.ca

• To apply to become a member of the Heritage Burlington Advisory Committee or the Burlington Accessibility Advisory Committee, visit burlington.ca/committees

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The city now has the authority to actually barricade the party house on Lakeshore Road if that is what it takes to bring an end to the noisy parties

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 7th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

As court cases go – this one went pretty quickly.

The city filed their application for an injunction on December 11, 2019 and they had a Judgement on January 23rd, 2020.

The reason for the speedy resolution to what was an unconscionable behavior by a property owner was that the property owner didn’t show up and didn’t file a defence.

Five citizens, two were city staff, provided affidavits setting out what the problem was and how it impacted their lives. City staff were providing critical data.

Doug Bishop, Warren Walker, Mary Alice St. James, Silvina Kade and Ibrahim Darjaj Sohebur Rehman Sheikh and Sadia Soheb were the defendants and the owners of the property who had caused so much grief and disruption to the residents in the Lakeshore at Goodram Drive part of the city.

Lakeshore party house

At one Rave party there were a reported 200 young people in the house – police needed three hours to clear them out.

The city wanted an Interim, Interlocutory and Permanent Order restraining the Respondents Sohebur Rehman Sheikh and Sadia Soheb from using the land and building at 4319 Lakeshore Road, Burlington, Ontario in any manner except in accordance with the provisions of Part 2 of By-law 2020.

They also wanted an Order granting permission to Burlington to block or otherwise restrict access to the property at 4319 Lakeshore Road, Burlington, Ontario by any means deemed necessary and reasonable by Burlington or its authorized representatives, including the use of barricades or vehicles to block or restrict access to the property at 4319 Lakeshore Road, Burlington, Ontario, for the purpose of stopping any non-­permitted use of the property which may be occurring at the property.

By law enforcement officer, Ibrahim Darbaj, said in an affidavit that he was able to get in touch with the person serving as a wedding co-ordinator who put him in touch with the couple marrying and learned that the Air BnB fee for a wedding that took place in August was reported at $2588.80

Darbaj also identified the property owners as Sohebur Rehman Sheikh and Sadia Soheb from provincial property records.

Neither Sohebur Rehman Sheikh nor Sadia Soheb submitted a defence. They basically walked away from the legal proceedings.

One of the parties involved in the matter reported that there were 200 rentals of the property over two and a half years and that one of the events, basically a Rave, brought the police to the house who proceeded to remove everyone – estimated to be 200 young people in a house with just the one exit in a major room.

Darbaj had a chance meeting with the wedding coordinator who gave him contact information for the couple being married on August 31st. He spoke to the groom and learned what the rental fee was.

Doug Walker, a resident in the immediate area said in his affidavit that he observed non-residential activities being conducted at 4319 Lakeshore Road, Burlington.

Walker said that “for at least the last 18 months, the Property has been used frequently for various events, including weddings, and which events have had many people in attendance, liquor being served and loud music being played. “On August 29, 2019, I wrote to the Mayor of Burlington complaining about the activities occurring at the Property. A large event on August 28th caused me to write my letter to the Mayor.

“There were many people in attendance on this occasion. I heard and observed a loud and large party. Music was being played outside at this event until well past midnight.

“As a result of this event, cars were parked along Oak Crescent, meaning that people leaving the event had to come back to their parked vehicles. As these people returned to their cars later in the evening, I was subjected to persons shouting; I observed vehicles being driven away at high speeds; and I witnessed a male person urinating on my neighbour’s front lawn.

“Ultimately, later that evening, I contacted the police and the police did arrive subsequently to investigate this situation.

“On August 31, 2019 I witnessed a large wedding taking place on the front lawn and inside the Property.

“I would estimate the number of attendees at this wedding to be approximately 100 people.

“On this occasion, I observed liquor being served inside and outside the house on the Property.

“From my residence, I could hear the music being played from the Property at a very loud volume.

“On that date, I again observed that the police arrived at the Property to investigate this situation.

Mary Alice 2

Mary Alice St.James with her notes and documentation.

“On one other occasion, both Mary-Alice St. James and I saw large amounts of liquor being brought onto the Property for an event that was to happen that particular weekend. She and I talked with the person delivering the liquor and he advised Ms. St. James and me that it was for an event at the Property. I do not recall what kind of event for which it was being brought onto the Property.

“I have from time to time approached persons parking their cars on Oak Crescent by my house, and inquired of them the purpose of their attendance at the Property. I was advised by them that they were attending weddings at the Property. I did this on at least three occasions, meaning that there were at least three weddings being held at the Property between approximately June and August, 2019.

“I have observed many events occurring at the property and it is my understanding that persons get access to this Property through internet booking services. Particularly, for the past year or so, many events for the Property were reserved through AirBnB.

“Recently, AirBnB has dropped this Property from its site. However, this Property is now being advertised through AMG Properties and on Instagram and VRBO.”

Mary Alice St James who also lives in the immediate area said in her affidavit much the same, adding that “For well over a year, I have observed the Property being used frequently for various events, including weddings, proms, reunions and parties with many people in attendance, liquor being served and music being played.

“The Property does not have the parking capacity on it for all of the cars that arrive for the event.

“On November 2, 2019, I observed a Hallowe’en party taking place at the Property. On this occasion, I observed many of the party-goers being dropped off at the Property by what I observed to be older adults, whom I believe were their parents or guardians. Given the number of persons at this party and its raucous nature, I had concerns for the young party goers, and telephoned the police around 11:30 pm that night. I learned that the police were already at the Property and over the next two hours, under the direction of the police, the party-goers disbursed onto the streets in the neighbourhood, waiting for their rides, be it from Uber, taxis or parents. Those persons who had cars drove away, honking their car horns.

“On another occasion, I saw so many people at the Property attending an event at the Property that I was truly fearful for my own safety. On that occasion, I telephoned the police and the police subsequently attended to deal with the situation.

Mary Alice

Mary Alice St. James in full flight – delegating to city council

“I have experienced noise well beyond midnight on many occasions, and during this past summer this occurred generally on both week-end nights and occasionally on week-nights.

“In conjunction with the events that I have observed, I have seen an open fire pit on the Property on at least one occasion, and I have seen fireworks set off from the Property, with such fireworks being set off on dates that were not associated with Victoria Day or Canada Day.

“From my observations, the people attending at the Property are different people on each occasion. Different people are attending different events at the Property.”

Area residents delegated at city council meetings pleading with council to do something. At the time both bylaw enforcement people and legal services didn’t offer all that much in the way of support.

The bylaw enforcement staff seemed to be taking the position that their hands were tied and the police weren’t seen as being all that pro-active.

By law person

City bylaw enforcement officer.

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte worked diligently behind the scenes to get someone to do something. She appears to have prevailed. On December 12 the owners of the property were served with notice that an application was being made to prevent them from renting the premises to people who were holding noisy parties.

On January 23rd Justice Gibson signed an order that was draconian in what the city, with the help of the police will be able to do.

THIS COURT ORDERS that the Respondents Sohebur Rehman Sheikh and Sadia Soheb be restrained from using the land and building at 4319 Lakeshore Road, Burlington, Ontario in any manner except in accordance with the provisions of Part 2 of By-law 2020.

THIS COURT ORDERS that the Respondents Sohebur Rehman Sheikh and Sadia Soheb be restrained from using or causing or permitting to be used the land and building at 4319 Lakeshore Road, Burlington, Ontario for the purpose of a non-permitted use, namely a commercial premises, in breach of the provisions of Part 2 of By-law 2020, as amended, being the Zoning By law of Burlington.

THIS COURT ORDERS that all expenses incurred by Burlington in relation to the implementation and enforcement of any Order granted herein, inclusive, but not limited to, the cost of Burlington staff and authorized representatives retained by Burlington to block or otherwise restrict access to the property at 4319 Lakeshore Road, Burlington, Ontario, be added to the Tax Roll for 4319 Lakeshore Road, Burlington, Ontario, with such charges to be collected in a like manner as realty taxes

Snow plow city hall sq

Park this puppy in the driveway and see what happens.

THIS COURT ORDERS that the Applicant be granted permission to block or otherwise restrict access to the property at 4319 Lakeshore Road, Burlington, Ontario by any means deemed necessary and reasonable by Burlington or its authorized representatives, including the use of barricades or vehicles to block or restrict access to the property at 4319 Lakeshore Road, Burlington, Ontario) for the purpose of stopping any non-permitted use of the property which may be occurring at the property,

THIS COURT ORDERS that the Sheriff for the Regional Municipality of Halton (the “Sheriff”) shall do all things reasonably able to be done, with such force and assistance as is required in the circumstances, to prevent or stop breaches of1his Judgment.

THIS COURT ORDERS that in the event that the Sheriff believes that the execution of this Judgment may give rise to a breach of the peace, he or she may require a police officer to accompany him or her and assist in the execution of this Judgment.

THIS COURT ORDERS that the Respondents Sohebur Rehman Sheikh and Sadia Soheb pay to The Corporation of the City of Burlington costs on a partial indemnity basis fixed in the sum of $9,500.

The Court decision sends out a really clear message to the Air BnB community – you can’t do that here anymore.

Shawna Stolte hand to mouth

Shawna Stolte asked a lot of questions and pushed people who weren’t used to a Councillor working this hard for their constituents

Burlington has done not only the province but the whole country a favour by taking a risk and petitioning the courts.

Mary Alice St. James said she was proud of the way her community fought back and pushed the city to take some action.  Two years of abusive neighbors was enough.

The ward 4 Councillor worked all the angles and did what had to be done to get some serious action – she is becoming a rock star.

Related news story

Immediate action decided upon in October – by January they had a decision.

Residents keep the pressure up – but action is slow in coming – and the noise prevails.

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Japanese garden, designed to highlight the city's twinning with Itabashi Japan, wins significant award.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

February 7th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Itabashi Garden at the Tansley Community Centre has won the Parks and Recreation Ontario 2020 Award of Excellence for Recreational Facility or (non-aquatic) Park Design.

Itabashi-Garden-Photo-by-Richard-Mandelkorn-web 1

The stone pagoda and the quiet little, what we would call a gazebo, give visitors a place to sit and just enjoy it all. Photo by Richard-Mandelkorn

Itabashi Stone pagoda

A Stone Pagoda is part of the garden setting.

The Japanese garden, designed by Virginia Burt Designs, opened on Canada Day 2019 with the official delegation from Itabashi, Japan, members of Burlington City Council, and the Consul-General of Japan in Toronto, Takako Ito.

Burlington and Itabashi, Japan have been twin cities for 30 years.

The Japanese garden’s design was inspired by gardens of the Itabashi area and the local Burlington landscape, including the escarpment and local plants.

Allan Magi, Executive Director, Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services, whose team handled the oversight of the garden ‘construction’ said: “We are very excited about this Award of Excellence. The success of the Itabashi Garden is a result of the collaborative efforts of City staff with Burlington Mundialization Sub-Committee members, Landscape Architect Virginia Burt and the quality construction of the garden by Environmental Design Group.

Itabashi rocks

The garden is Japanese in design and purpose that chose to use rocks from the Escarpment to give it a Canadian flavour. Here rocks are being put in place.

The Burlington team worked closely with the team in Itabashi, Japan which shows in the authenticity of the new Japanese garden. I encourage everyone to go see it for themselves. It truly is a beautiful garden.”

Winter isn’t the best time to appreciate what has been done with the space. When the weather is better we will do a full photo feature of a garden that is tucked away and perhaps not as appreciated as it should be.

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