Land Tribunal lifts Interim Control Bylaw on everything except properties between Brant and Drury on Fairview

By Pepper Parr

October 18th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Following the proceedings at an Ontario Land Tribunal hearing is not for the faint of heart.

It seems to take forever to get to the point where a hearing actually takes place.

Actually getting to a hearing for development applications in Burlington is complicated by the fact that there are at times more than a dozen developers appealing a city decision or appealing for relief from the OLT because the city has not made a decision before the clock ran out.

Among the issues before the OLT at this time are the Interim Control By Law and the newest Official Plan that has been approved by City Council and Regional Council and awaits the signature of the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs after which it becomes the law of the land.

Controversial from the very beginning, the long term care residence got caught up in the creation of an Interim Control Bylaw

The ICBL was holding up all kinds of development including the AMICA project that will rise on the Northshore Road and the ramp to the QEW.

At the OLT Case Management Conference last Thursday the Commissioner agreed with the lawyers (there were 20+ of them on the call) that the ICBL could be lifted except for several properties along Fairview between Brant and Drury Lane.

Some of the most valuable land in the city with some of the loosest zoning as well.

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Fake Taxi Fraud Occurring in Halton

By Staff

October 18th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) is warning residents of a fake taxi scam that is occurring in the region.

The fraud typically involves two suspects – one acting as taxi driver and the other acting as a customer. The fake taxi driver will refuse to accept cash from the fake customer for a fare. The suspect playing the role of customer will then prey on unsuspecting individuals nearby, asking them to use their debit card to pay the fare in exchange for cash (which will be given to the victim at the time).

The intent is to draw the victim to the taxi, where the fake taxi driver presents a point of sale machine to the victim. The debit card is swiped/inserted into the machine and the PIN number covertly obtained by the suspects. The victim is then distracted by the suspect playing the role of customer, at which point the driver switches the debit card (retaining the victim’s card and giving them a different one back).

The stolen debit card is then used by the suspects to withdraw money and/or make purchases.

The HRPS is investigating three such occurrences that took place in Oakville over the weekend; however this scam has been occurring across the province for some time.

HRPS investigators also issued a similar warning about this scam in November, 2020.

The HRPS would like to remind the public of the following tips:

• Taxis DO and WILL accept cash;
• Never give your debit/credit card to someone else;
• When making a purchase attempt to conceal your PIN;
• Be mindful of the point of sale machine when making a purchase and if you suspect it has been tampered with, choose another payment method; and
• If you believe you are the victim of a scam, contact police immediately.

Anyone with information in regards to these incidents, or anyone who has information about similar incidents, is asked to contact the Fraud Intake Line at 905-825-4777 ext. 8741.

Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers. “See something? Hear something? Know something? Contact Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca.

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Reshaping Aldershot: A Preliminary Vision for the Aldershot GO Major Transit Station Area

By Staff

October 18th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We start with the city of Burlington within which there is the village of Aldershot, within which there is now Aldershot Corners.  The Corners has five precincts.

There is a Preliminary Vision for the Aldershot GO Major Transit Station Area, and Aldershot Corners – a community within a village.

Located minutes from Hamilton at the western edge of Burlington, Aldershot Corners is a visitor’s first impression of Burlington when travelling east from Hamilton and Niagara on the Lakeshore West GO line.

The area is nestled within the Aldershot Village Business Improvement Area and focused at the corners of Plains Road, Waterdown Road and Cooke Boulevard. Part of the Treaty 3 lands, Indigenous People were stewards of the land for thousands of years before settlers arrived. Post-Colonially, this area was a major hub for brick manufacturing, and also has a rich agricultural past rooted in fruit production.

Aldershot Corners will continue to evolve as an urban area with a distinct sense of neighbourhood character, supported by a mix of residential, commercial and employment uses.

The colour coding sets out the precincts – detail elsewhere in this article explains what is planned for each of the precincts.

Taller buildings will be concentrated along the rail line and will decrease in height and intensity closer to Plains Road and the existing residential neighborhoods.

Aldershot Corners will be a vibrant, livable community with urban shopping and dining opportunities serving those living and working close by.

New multi-modal urban streets and active transportation facilities will better connect the existing community, providing enhanced mobility and improved access to the GO Station, leisure and recreation opportunities in urban parks and open spaces, as well the many other amenities Aldershot already offers.

The planners created a number of precincts, which are boundaries within which specified levels of development are permitted.

There are five within the Aldershot Corners part of the Aldershot part of the city.

Mid Rise Residential.

Compact residential communities, with a variety of low-rise and mid-rise building forms up to 11 storeys closer to main streets. This Precinct will provide housing forms at a lower scale and intensity including family oriented and ground oriented housing to support the creation of a wide range of housing options, including affordable housing.

Opportunities for commercial activities at street level on strategic streets may be permitted.  Policies will guide appropriate transitions from low rise residential development to more intensive mixed uses. Policies will guide appropriate transitions from the maximum height (11 storeys) to adjacent low-rise neighbourhood, which may include angular planes, setbacks and/or stepbacks.

 

Aldershot Main Street

This Precinct will advance the Plains Road Village Vision and establish a unique community destination with a focus on a continuous retail frontage and main-street pedestrian experience along the frequent transit corridors (Waterdown Road and Plains Road E.) Policies will introduce a requirement for buildings to have a “lower building” design to create a pedestrian scaled environment at the street level.  Policies will guide appropriate transition from the 11 storey maximum height to existing low-rise neighbourhoods, which may include angular planes, setbacks and/or stepbacks.  Precinct lands that are adjacent to existing low rise neighbourhoods, will have a maximum height of 6 storeys. To ensure functional retail and commercial spaces are created, a wide range of approaches will be considered, including but not limited to establishing minimum floor height for the ground floor of buildings, and considering a minimum retail unit size.  Opportunities for affordable housing will be considered in the Aldershot Main Precinct.

Cooke Commons

Serves as a unique retail and dining destination creating a comfortable and vibrant pedestrian environment with active uses at the street level and increased emphasis on pedestrian and multi-modal movement.  A flexible street is being considered to provide opportunity for a community gathering space and potential to close for special events.

Mixed-use buildings throughout the Precinct contribute towards the creation of lively, vibrant and people-oriented places.  Along the west side of the street, heights range up to 19 storeys maximum adjacent to the GO Central Precinct and up to 11 storeys maximum generally along Cooke Boulevard. On the east side, there will be up to 11 storeys maximum generally along Cooke Boulevard which gradually steps down to 6 storeys with appropriate transitions, which may include angular planes, setbacks and/or stepbacks, to the adjacent low-rise residential  neighbourhood.  Policies will introduce a requirement for buildings to include a “lower building” design to create a pedestrian scaled environment at the street level.  Direction to support the function of these areas to accommodate  loading and services and support a wide range of retail use will be investigated and imbedded in policy.

Opportunities for affordable housing will be considered in the Cooke Commons Precinct.

 

Emery Commons

This precinct will accommodate a concentration of residential, retail, employment and commercial uses.

Opportunity exists for a higher concentration of high density residential due to its proximity to an existing public park, a potential new major public park and the GO Central precinct.  Mixed-use buildings, of varying heights to a maximum of 19 storeys, contribute towards the creation of lively, vibrant and people-oriented places.  Opportunities for affordable housing will be considered in the Emery Commons Precinct.

 

Aldershot GO Central

The preeminent destination for Major Office, affordable housing and urban format retail in this MTSA focusing the tallest buildings (maximum 30 stories) close to the GO station.  Where Aldershot GO Central abuts Waterdown Road and Masonry Court policies will require pedestrian orientation development, including an emphasis enhanced public realm and enhanced spaces for waiting for transit. There is particular emphasis on the need to design a functional, safe and accessible transit plaza.  Polices will ensure that the MTSA will accommodate a proportional mix of residential and employment opportunities and ensure that the Aldershot GO Central precinct will be planned to accommodate major office employment.

This map provides additional detail on what is planned for the different parts of what is being called Aldershot Corners.

What is it that is driving these changes?

KEY CHANGES – A number of things have changed since the Draft Precinct Plans were presented to the public and Burlington City Council in 2018.   The following highlights the key changes that have been made or are being considered and the drivers for these changes.

Aldershot GO MTSA –

MTSA Designation and Boundary – Identified in Provincial Policy, the Regional Official Plan must first delineate and assign density targets to Major Transit Station Areas.  Regional Official Plan Amendment (ROPA) 48 delineated the boundary for the Aldershot GO MTSA which identified the removal of existing parks (Hidden Valley Park, Grove Park and Aldershot Park), areas north of the rail line, and established neighbourhoods from the 2018 Aldershot GO Mobility Hub boundary.

Employment – Regional direction through Regional Official Plan Amendment 48 is to include employment within MTSAs.  While Aldershot GO MTSA does not have an employment only precinct, Major Office employment type uses will be required in the Aldershot GO Precinct and it will be outlined through policy.  Other employment types, such as retail, institutional and personal services is broadly encouraged throughout a number of the mixed-use precincts. Specific targets for Major Office will be established.

Comments made by the developer suggested there would be some retail – a Starbucks Coffee shop – but no mention of a supermarket – something the ward Councillor is anxious to see.

Retail – The Aldershot MTSA will provide two unique pedestrian focused retail experiences.  The Aldershot Main Street Precinct provides ground floor retail with a main-street pedestrian experience.  Policies will be considered for ground floor heights and minimum retail unit sizes to ensure functional spaces are provided. The Cooke Commons Precinct will serve as a unique retail and dining destination leading to the GO Station, with a focus on creating a comfortable and vibrant pedestrian environment with active uses at the street level and increased emphasis on pedestrian and multi-modal movement.  In addition to those unique areas the opportunity to require, or in some cases encourage retail in every other precinct to support the day to day needs of existing and future residents.

The only decent park is LaSalle Park; a 15 minute hike that will be stressed once all the residential development is completed. Great park with splash pads and a wading pool. Upgrades will be needed at some point.

Public Parks and Linear Parks – As noted in the Provincial Policy Statement publicly accessible built and natural settings including parklands are important ways to promote healthy, active communities.  Potential locations for parks are identified with a green tree symbol.  The City is considering other opportunities for wider corridors along streets to act as linear parks to provide valuable open space/park space and facilitate connections.  A linear park along Masonry Court connecting Hidden Valley Park with Grove Park will connect residents, employees and visitors to existing green spaces. A new linear park extending along Cooke Boulevard from Plains Road East to new development north of Masonry Court will focus on providing opportunities to linger and to support safe, comfortable pedestrian access to the station.  Enhanced connections, linear parks, new parks and other connections are required throughout the MTSA in order to facilitate safe and more direct pedestrian and active transportation routes to and from the GO station.

Public Service – As noted in the Provincial Policy Statement, public services such as healthcare, education, emergency and protective services, cultural activities and civic administration are necessary to sustain healthy, liveable and safe communities.  Key precincts will provide community spaces, alongside new residential and retail development in key locations. In addition to that new focus in key precincts the “PS” icon remains in key locations where the consideration of the incorporation of public service facilities is critical.  Public services will be located strategically throughout the MTSA and policies will be developed to ensure that these services are located strategically to support population and employment growth in coordination will be coordinated with future development.

Integrated Mobility – In 2019, the City launched its Integrated Mobility Plan (IMP). This plan establishes a vision of safe, accessible, sustainable, balanced and livable mobility for the City of Burlington.  The goals of this plan represent a shift from a focus on cars to more choice in transportation options; with a target of 20+% of trips in urban areas to shift towards transportation choices other than personal vehicles. A Transportation Assessment is being undertaken to identify the local street network for each MTSA (see technical studies below) which will integrate the vision and goals of the city-wide IMP.

Newly built part of Station West – not much in the way of a complete street or parkland for that matter.

Complete Streets (formerly referred to as Green Streets in the 2018 Draft Precinct Plans) – The City’s new Official Plan identifies the need for complete streets strategy for all future street and road projects (new construction, reconstruction, resurfacing and rehabilitation). The OP also states that MTSA primary and secondary connectors (Plains Road East and Waterdown Road) shall be complete streets.  With a long-term view, the City is proposing that all existing and proposed streets in the MTSA allow for inclusion of some complete street elements over time which could include space for pedestrians, cyclists, transit, and streetscaping in addition to travel lanes for cars.

Active Transportation – The City is committed to implementing active transportation corridors to improve connections and transportation choice.  Planned active transportation corridors have been updated to be consistent with the 2021 Cycling Master Plan and the 2015 Community Trails Strategy.  Active transportation corridors and connections proposed through consultation are also shown in the MTSA.

Climate Change & Sustainability – The City’s Climate Action Plan establishes a net carbon neutral goal by 2050 for community emissions.  Work continues to identify ways for the City of Burlington to address the impacts of climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  In addition to the transit and active transportation focus of the Aldershot GO MTSA consideration will be given to other ways future development of this MTSA could address climate change including encourage building energy efficiency, urban design policies to address heat and tree cover, and opportunities to consider district energy.

Public Art at the intersection of Waterdown and Plains Road

Frequent Transit Corridors – Plains Road E. and Waterdown Road are identified as Frequent Transit Corridors in the City’s new Official Plan.  Pedestrian-oriented development is desired along these corridors to support the frequent transit service.  Policies will be identified to encourage pedestrian-oriented development along these corridors including consideration of lower heights at street level, urban design and public realm requirements.  Urban design and public realm can also improve the experience for those waiting for transit along these corridors.

Technical Studies Underway – The following technical studies are currently being undertaken and may result in the need for further revision of the Precincts.

  • Land Use Compatibility – There are some major facilities in and around the Aldershot MTSA which may require separation from sensitive land uses like residences, day care centres and education and health facilities. Work is being completed to confirm the potential for land use compatibility issues within the MTSA and to develop a framework for technical assessments to be completed as part of future development proposals.  This work may result in changes to the precincts or area specific policies in the Plan to guide land use change and minimize the potential for land use compatibility issues over time.
  • Transportation Assessment – The current Aldershot GO MTSA shows the planned South Service Road and Masonry Court as shown in the new Official Plan as well as the proposed new streets included in the 2018 Mobility Hub. Traffic congestion has been regularly raised as a concern by the public and a transportation assessment is being undertaken to determine the potential impact of adding the new people and jobs to this area.  In keeping with the vision of the IMP, it is anticipated that the Transportation Assessment results will focus on non-auto infrastructure and ways to shift people to other transportation choices. One of the key outcomes of the Transportation Assessment will be to confirm the need and location for any new local streets to support safe, efficient movement throughout the area.
  • Inclusionary Zoning – As part of the City’s Housing Strategy, an assessment of options to implement Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) is being undertaken. IZ is a tool to integrate affordable housing into future development.  IZ can only be applied to MTSAs identified as protected by the Province and Regional Official Plan Amendment 48 which requires the City to establish affordable housing targets for its Major Transit Station Areas. Should IZ be recommended for Aldershot GO, there will be a need for the appropriate guidance on how the tool will be applied.
  • Environmental & Hazard Lands –Studies are underway to identify areas that may be prone to flooding. Completed Flood studies for Aldershot are currently being reviewed by Conservation Halton. Identified areas may need to be protected through policies within some of the Aldershot GO MTSA Precincts.  A Provincially Significant Wetland has been identified to the northeast of the MTSA and any potential policy requirements are being assessed through updates to an Environmental Impact Study being undertaken as part of the background technical work.

Heights and Transition – The maximum heights in the Aldershot GO Precincts generally remain as presented in 2018.  There have been some minor changes including changing lands just east of Cooke Boulevard from Emery/Cooke Commons Precinct with a maximum height of 19 storeys to a new Cooke Common Precinct with a maximum height of 11 storeys.  Policies will be included to guide transition from the maximum height, typically closer to the main streets, to lower rise buildings adjacent to existing low-rise neighbourhoods.

There will be an in depth look at the Plans for the Burlington GO station area on October 19th and a similar event for the area around the Appleby GO station on October 26th.  On November 4th there will be a review of the plans for all three MTSA’s.

All will be virtual events.

There is a WORKBOOK for those who want to pass their views and opinions along to the planners.  The link to the WORKBOOK is HERE

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Planning the new Aldershot - time for public input - there is a workbook to help

By Staff

October 18th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Burlington has embarked on a huge city building project.

When completed the city will have three distinct neighbourhoods; the eastern part of the city will have a new neighbourhood centered on the Aldershot GO station.

This is the western boundary of the Station West Development built by the ADI Group.

A significant part of the community building has already taken place in Aldershot.  The Station West development by the Adi Group is well underway with three more towers to be built on the south west corner of the property that edges onto Masonry Road.

The other two new neighbourhoods will be centered on the Burlington and Appleby GO stations.

The city Planning Department is now working to get feedback from the people who will be impacted by these very significant changes.

A public meeting was held to explain what is planned.  To get feedback from the public the Planners have devised a WORKBOOK that they say will take 30 to 45 minutes to complete.

Completing the WORKBOOK is voluntary and the information people provide is confidential (even to city staff).

The Planners recommend you complete the workbook on a laptop, tablet or PC to view the images in a larger format and keep a copy of the Preliminary Preferred Precinct Plan open in another tab or browser window to assist you in answering the questions and as a point of reference.

The link to the WORKBOOK is HERE.  It is a little complicated.  Just scroll through the pages, click on the images and then return to the page.  There is enough instruction to get you through it.

The workbook is available in other languages. To request, e-mail getinvolved@burlington.ca.  You may also use the “Select Language” translate button found on the project page to translate both the page and workbook.

An MTSA (Major Transit Service Area) is the area within 500 to 800-metres of a higher order transit station (these are the three GO stations) that are expected to be about a 10-minute walk from the GO station.

These are seen as the three most critical locations within the urban area expected to accommodate the majority of the City’s forecasted growth to 2031 and beyond.

Through the preparation of the new Official Plan, new policies were developed to guide development and change in the Downtown and Uptown (at Appleby Line and Upper Middle Road). The MTSAs are now the remaining priority locations for which detailed planning must be completed to establish the vision for growth, to guide development, investments in transit, infrastructure and public service facilities, including parks, and to support significant future population and employment growth.

To some this project may feel familiar.  From 2017 to 2019 the City worked on developing area-specific plans (ASPs) for the three GO Station areas, then called the Mobility Hubs Study.  The MTSA ASP project will build upon, and advance, the work done through the Mobility Hubs Study.

The objective of this project is to plan to accommodate new residents and jobs by setting a vision for three unique, complete communities that are centered around the City’s three GO Stations along the Lakeshore West rail line.  These communities will be environmentally friendly, infrastructure-efficient, walkable, bikeable, and will support local and regional transit with a diverse mix of employment, housing, recreation, and shopping features.

What have we heard so far?

Engagement was a key element of the previous Mobility Hub Study work. From the feedback received through 2017 and 2018, a number of key themes emerged to provide guidance in planning for these areas:

Increase, Improve and Support…

Public spaces by supporting existing and new open spaces, parks and other community spaces that are safe, usable, inclusive and interactive, and incorporate public art, landscape features etc. to enhance placemaking.

Community amenities by encouraging an increased scale and mix of commercial/retail uses at grade, including grocery stores, coffee shops, community and recreational space etc.

Mobility by designing a well-connected, safe and accessible public realm with active animated streets and robust cycling and pedestrian networks, focused on direct connections to and from GO Stations.

Housing options by planning for a diverse range of different and affordable housing choices to cater to all ages and abilities.

Private Spaces by encouraging sustainable design and variety of architectural styles to create distinct buildings and enhance neighbourhood character, and by reinforcing midrise corridors.

Public engagement by providing residents with enough time to engage and increase resident engagement and clearly explaining the required growth targets for Burlington.

Parkland by planning for park and public spaces that consider the needs of the entire area including developing fair approaches to meet that objective.

Traffic congestion by supporting the public transportation network and investing in additional facilities for walking and cycling.

Solid Gold site as it exists today.

Building height and transition concerns by clearly explaining planning rationale for where height is being located, ensuring and explaining how height will be regulated, and by reducing losses of sunlight and privacy through appropriate building height transitions.

Speaking of height limitations – this rendering represents what the owners of Solid Gold want to build on a site that currently has a single story structure.

Protect…

Established residential neighbourhoods by ensuring built form, height and transition support and respect existing character, and providing clear policies for heritage protection.

The planners learned that:

Beyond the broad themes highlighted above, a number of key themes specific to the Aldershot GO MTSA also emerged, including the consideration of:

– opportunities for new bike paths, including through Aldershot Park;

– opportunities for amenities to support residents and employees;

– opportunities for complete streets, including Cooke Boulevard;

– ways to manage the impacts of increased traffic along Plains Road;

– opportunities to incorporate mid-rise development along Plains Road and Waterdown Road; and

– excluding the low-density residential properties located on Clearview Avenue and a portion of St. Matthew’s Avenue.

 

A little more detail on what might go where

Now the planners need your feedback. The input you provide may inform:

– Refinements to the vision (i.e. land uses, building heights, urban design considerations etc.);

– Precinct changes (i.e. policy directions, boundaries, built form directions, etc.);

– The preparation of the area-specific plans or the development of policy.

There are more specific details about all of the work that has informed the preliminary preferred precinct plan, including technical studies, can be found at getinvolvedburlington.ca/mtsa.

 

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Mayor shows it can be done - people can meet in a live, real people in the room situation - she just doesn't want to do it for you

By Pepper Parr

October 15th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There they were.  Three Mayors: ours, the Mayor from Barrie and the Mayor from Mississauga.

Talking to the media and voicing their complaints.

No masks, sitting at what looked like a safe Covid19 social distance, not much different than the way they would sit in a non-pandemic environment.

The complaints about the province were the same – the only thing different was that we currently have a Premier who now knows he can do whatever he wants – and has a court decision to back him up.

Cutting the size of a city council down to about half of what it was “during” an election lets you know that Doug Ford isn’t going to listen all that closely to complaints from municipal politicians.

Mayor Meed Ward had a venue to die for; the set up at the Pearle Hotel and Spa was something to experience.  Being the politician she is Meed Ward would make the best of it all.

What most people don’t understand is – why can the Mayor hold an event and talk to the media the way she would in normal times but people in Burlington cannot delegate to their council in a similar live setting.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward – doesn’t appear to be prepared to meet her constituents in conditions that allow for real engagement.

Basically because she can.  She has said on any number of occasions that holding council meetings in a virtual setting works for her and it appears to work for a majority of city council.

It is less than a pleasant experience for those delegating virtually, fumbling their way through the technology that works – sort of.

The human interaction is missing.  The buzz that exists in a room when people can talk to each other and exchange opinions; support each other as they ask questions.

Gary Scobie with his eyes focused on members of Council as he delegates to the elected. Democracy right in front of your eyes

Jim Young reminding council that the power they have was given to them by the people who elected them.

Much is lost when people like Gary Scobie, Jim Young or Tom Muir arrive at the podium putting fact after fact on the table.  This city misses the likes of Vanessa xxx standing at the podium and setting the record straight.

It is time for Burlington’s city council to put at least put a toe in the water and begin to loosen its pandemic bonds.

Related news story:

Mayor takes off the masks and meets with media with looser social contact rules

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Police in Burlington Make 3 Arrests and Seize Shotgun and other Weapons

By Staff

October 15th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Investigators with the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) Street Crime Unit in Burlington have made three arrests and seized multiple weapons including a shotgun.

Several of those weapons could do some very serious damage.

On October 13, 2021, officers executed a search warrant at a residence near downtown Burlington. As a result of this search, the following items have been seized (see attached photo):

  • 1 12 Gauge Shotgun
  • 24 shotgun shells and 1 small calibre pistol round
  • 1 machete
  • 1 hatchet
  • 1 flick knife
  • 5 grams of methamphetamine
  • Drug trafficking paraphernalia (scales, phones, packaging)
  • $890.00 Canadian currency
  • 1 stolen licence plate
  • 1 motorcycle

Police have also made three arrests in connection with this drug investigation.

A 40 year old male from Burlington has been arrested and charged with:

  • Unauthorized Possession of a Firearm
  • Tampering with a Serial Number of Firearm
  • Knowledge of Unauthorized Possession of Firearm
  • Careless Use/ Storage of a Firearm
  • Careless Use/ Storage of Ammunition
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime (x2)
  • Possession of a Weapon for a Dangerous Purpose (x4)
  • Possession of a Prohibited Weapon
  • Possession of a Controlled Substance: Methamphetamine (x2)
  • Breach Firearm Prohibition Order (x2)

A 38 year old female of Burlington has been arrested and charged with:

  • Unauthorized Possession of a Firearm
  • Tampering with a Serial Number of Firearm
  • Knowledge of Unauthorized Possession of Firearm
  • Careless Use/ Storage of a Firearm
  • Careless Use/ Storage of Ammunition
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime
  • Possession of a Weapon for a Dangerous Purpose (x4)
  • Possession of a Prohibited Weapon
  • Possession of a Controlled Substance: Methamphetamine

A 33 year old male of Burlington has been arrested and charged with:

  • Unauthorized Possession of a Firearm
  • Tampering with a Serial Number of Firearm
  • Knowledge of Unauthorized Possession of Firearm
  • Careless Use/ Storage of a Firearm
  • Careless Use/ Storage of Ammunition
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime
  • Possession of a Weapon for a Dangerous Purpose (x2)
  • Fail to comply – Being on an Undertaking Form

All three accused were held in custody pending a bail hearing on October 14, 2021.

Names of the arrested were not released by police – unusual

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact Detective Scott Heyerman of the 3 District Street Crime Unit at 905-825-4777 ext. 2342.

Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers. “See something? Hear something? Know something? Contact Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca.

 

 

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Mayor hosts Mayors from 29 big cities - shows them what we have going for us

By Ryan O’Dowd: Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

October 15th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Ontario’s Big City Mayor(OBCM) caucus met in Burlington for the first time since the pandemic began yesterday. The housing crisis, municipal finances, COVID-19, and what the OBCM will ask of provincial candidates this election featured on the agenda. Rocked by the pandemic the OBCM issued a stern call to action for long-term stable funding for municipalities from the federal and provincial governments.

Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward with Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman and Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie.

Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, and Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie joined Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward to speak to the media about the meeting’s content.

The OBCM presented a united front on the lifting of pandemic restrictions, agreeing decisions on this matter should be made uniformly across the province citing citizen movement between regions under different levels of lockdown as a primary concern. They reiterated that lifting restrictions must be based on science rather than political pressure.

Mayor Guthrie wanted to see more action from the federal and provincial government to assist municipalities through pandemic recovery, accusing them of finger-pointing responsibility to each other. Guthrie pointed out the municipal government is the only sector of government legally not allowed to run a deficit. Guthrie felt municipalities have had to ask the government for assistance too often without action.

“Municipalities are ready, we already know what our impacts are from the pandemic, and we know what we need. So we ask respectfully the provincial and federal government to put the fingerprinting away and get to work on trying to help to make sure municipalities are made full, especially when it comes to the impacts financially, the deficits that we’re all facing. We thought we would only have those deficits within the 2020 year and here we are in the 2021 year.

“Our budgets are staring us in the face the next couple of months,” said Guthrie.

Mayor Crombie brought up a request for a new model of funding for municipalities, saying “we’re still asked to build 21st-century cities with 19th-century tools.” She pointed to municipalities as the only sector of government that had to lay off staff as among the reasons long term sustainable funding is required. The OBCM members in attendance voiced their support for this request, a request Mayor Guthrie said has been discussed for some time.

Facing public transit ridership slashed by over 50% Mayor Lehman lamented the difficult decisions facing municipalities under the current funding model in deciding what services to cut.

“Ridership numbers are a big gap from where we were two years ago, and that’s going to require some changes to be made faster and that’s the kind of support that we will need now, it’s less about emergency funding week by week now it’s about how we recover strong; that will be addressing deficits that make cities make critical choices in terms of cutting services,” said Lehman.

Mayor Meed Ward put the figures of the municipal deficit strain in sobering terms for Burlington residents.

“In Burlington, the combination of lost revenues and added expenses for us is close to $5 million. If we had to make that up just through taxes, that is close to a quarter percent tax increase before we do anything else that is just to dig ourselves out of a hole. So when we look at all the other needs that we have in the community and inflationary pressures, we would be looking at outrageously high taxes – close to 10, or 15%, if we had to make it ourselves and clearly that it’s not palatable or acceptable or sustainable for anyone,” said Meed Ward.

Ontario’s Big City Mayor caucus features mayors of Ontario’s 29 cities with a population over 100,000 which means they represent nearly 80 percent of the province’s population.

Housing crisis considerations were discussed ranging from homelessness to the middle class, with what was labeled an increasingly clear gap between supply and demand in Southern Ontario. Rental costs were included in the discussion, where Burlington ranks the fifth most expensive city in Canada to rent, one-bedroom apartments averaging over $1800, as per the latest available data from realtor.com. The kind of policy-based action used to combat the housing crisis will grow clearer with requests put to provincial candidates this upcoming election.

Few municipalities have the breath taking views.

Discussions were had about bail reform and addressing what OBCM called the catch and release policy which has seen repeat offenders commit violent acts. It was a topic brought up in the meeting by former provincial leader of the opposition Mayor Patrick Brown, who did not appear for media availability, the present members voiced support for change.

The meeting was hosted at the new Pearle Hotel and Spa, an impressive venue at the waterfront.

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Early readership survey results show some surprises on how well the five new Councillors are thought to be doing in their first term

By Pepper Parr

October 14th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We are in the final ten days of running a readership survey.

Some interesting responses.

A few days ago we published a piece on what people thought about the size of the current city council.

Today – we want to show what readers thought when we asked which Council members had shown the most growth.

Those numbers might have a few council members re-thinking their chances of being elected Mayor going forward. At least two the Gazette knows have said they like the look of the Chain of Office.

 

The choices surprised us. We will need to match up which wards the responses came from to make the data more relevant. The Gazette’s view, garnered from more than four years of watching these people was quite a bit different.

The data we are showing here is from survey results collected in the first few days of the survey.

It will be interesting to see what there is in the way of changes once the survey is closed.

It would be very difficult for any one person to respond to the servery more than once – unless they used a different computer each time

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Community organizations can now submit applications for Regional funding

By Staff

October 14th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Community organizations can now submit applications to the Halton Region Community Investment Fund (HRCIF) for non-profit human service programs and initiatives that enhance the health, safety and well-being of Halton residents.

Applicants must describe how they will incorporate the latest COVID-19 public health guidance and how their program or initiative aligns with Halton’s overall approach to community safety and well-being.

“We are pleased to support the important work of local non-profits through the Halton Region Community Investment Fund,” said Regional Chair Gary Carr. “I would like to thank these organizations for delivering vital services to some of our most vulnerable residents and working alongside us to keep Halton a safe and healthy community.”

Funding is available in single year and multi-year grants through two categories:

Category One: Provides up to one year of funding, to a maximum of $30,000. Non-profit, charitable or unincorporated community organizations can apply to fund short-term, small capital and/or innovative projects.
Category Two: Provides up to three years of funding to registered charities for programs and initiatives.

Organizations that meet eligibility criteria may submit one application in each funding category. The initial application deadline for both categories is Monday, November 1, 2021 at 2 p.m.

Additional opportunities to apply for HRCIF funding will be available in 2022 for programs and initiatives that help respond to emerging community needs.

For more information about HRCIF guidelines, upcoming virtual information sessions and the application process, please visit the HRCIF webpage on halton.ca or call 311.

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Molinaro Group lets the public see what they want to take to city planners for the Brant - Ghent intersection.

By Pepper Parr

October 14th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Molinaro Group spent years assembling the 13 properties at the Brant and Ghent intersection.

Now they are ready to develop.

The proposed development spans three of the dour corners at Brant and Ghent

They have broken the development into three sites which they refer to as Parcel 1, 2 and 3

It will be the biggest development the Molinaro’s have taken on in Burlington and will be, in their words, a Gateway to the downtown core.

Looking south at the Brant – Ghent intersection

The development does not fully comply with the in force Official Plan but does comply with the approved but not yet in force Official Plan.

The proposal is for a Multi-phase, mixed-use development, comprised of a 25-storey tower and a 14-storey tower 425 residential units in Parcel A;

a 25-storey tower (328 residential units) in Parcel B and an

8-storey mid-rise building with 128 residential units in Parcel C.

Ground floor commercial area is proposed for Parcel A and B. Underground parking (including bicycle parking) and limited surface parking area is proposed.

None of the traffic will exit onto Brant – the intention is to have the traffic exit and enter from Ghent.

The design is considerable different than what the public was shown during a pre-application earlier in the year.

At that time the two towers on either side of Brant were mirrors of each other. It looked good at the time but the architects took a different approach at the Statutory meeting.

A park is proposed for the east end of the the development. The park would be owned by the Condominium Corporation that would be formed when the development is complete.

One of the most interesting aspects of the development was the inclusion of a park on the east end of Parcel 2. The park was to be a Privately owned with Public Access Space, known in the planning world as a POPS.
The really interesting comment that came from Ed Fothergill, planning consultant for the Molinaro Group was that the park would be owned by the Condominium Corporation.

Some renderings of what the park night look like – it would be accessible to anyone in the city.

To imagine that a condominium corporation is going to operate and maintain space that is open to the public is a stretch.

There were a few delegations.  The one delivered by Jeff Bienhaus didn’t pull any punches. Working from a document he called: Stick With the Plan Burlington, Bienhaus said the plan should be dismissed.

In a document that was included in his delegation Bienhaus wrote: “I would appreciate the support of our council to STICK TO THE PLAN of development as it was originally presented at the corners of “Brant and Ghent” with low rise development. The low rise is in keeping with our community and neighbourhoods in check with healthy growth and minimizing traffic congestion, noise and density.

I am opposed to the requested changes that are being proposed by the developer in
building  25 storey towers. This pace of building is overwhelming for this already busy
area.

I do hope that Mayor’s Meed-Ward original platform that she ran in stopping the
density will be kept and she does stand up for us …. PLEASE STICK TO THE PLAN

Pointing to the 2018 election results Bienhaus said the people he is working with want:

A clear message on what Burlington thinks about developer lead densification

A clear message that the Official plan for densification was not in the interests of residents.

A clear message that residents not developers will say how provincial targets will be met.

He added:

This is not what existing residents signed up for

Proposed 25 story ask is not even close to the current zoning of 2.5 and 6 story zoning

Extreme heights are not justified

Developers win, residents lose, who do you represent?

And closed with:

We call for a complete and full dismissal of this ridiculous zoning proposal on these and other grounds shared by similarly concerned residents

The Mayor didn’t offer much in the way of clear statements other than pointing out that the development proposed did comply with the approved but not yet in force Official Plan.

 

 

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Mayor will be showing off one of the smartest locations in town.

By Pepper Parr

October 14th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

She is back – we missed those regular updates.

The Mayor does her version of a tell all – see it for yourself right here:

Later today she will be holding a media event at one of the smartest locations in the city -The Pearle Hotel and Spa on Elizabeth street.

The sweeping staircase is spectacular.  And the outdoor space is something you have to experience.

 

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Conservation Halton doing a virtual event on flood planes: if you are near one of the major creeks this is for you

By Pepper Parr

October 13th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Burlington certainly knows something about floods – that downpour in 2014 was not forgotten.

Conservation Halton (CH) really wasn’t  prepared for the amount of rain that fell but they learned what was needed and there is now a solid set of protocols in place to measure the flows and to get warnings out to people,

The Conservation people are updating floodplain mapping for the Tuck, Shoreacres, Appleby and Sheldon Creek watersheds of Burlington and Oakville.

A significant amount of work has been done on several of the creeks but there is still a concern; given the vagaries of climate change that concern is very real.

 

 

Floodplain mapping is used by CH and its municipal partners to identify areas that may be susceptible to riverine or shoreline flooding and to inform flood forecasting, emergency response, community planning, infrastructure upgrades, and other flood prevention efforts.

A floodplain is an area of land that is flooded by a nearby creek or lake during large storms.

There will be a virtual public engagement session on October 14, 2021 at 7:00pm to learn more about the work being done and an opportunity to ask questions.

To register, please visit https://lnkd.in/e9BhEpaV

For those who cannot join live, a recording will be posted online after the session.

 

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Burlington does OK on a Municipal Democracy Index; Oakville does better

By Staff

October 13th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We count our calories, watch our pounds and measure our blood pressure. But who’s measuring our democratic health? Is our political heart pumping smoothly or are we heading for the ICU?

The inaugural Municipal Democracy Index measures the political health of Ontario’s 32 largest municipalities.

The results are sobering and reveal a democratic deficiency, particularly in the areas of public participation and diverse representation.

Burlington was just a whisker short of being in the top ranking.

The full report can be found HERE.

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Rivers: A Halloween Scary Story - All Trick and No Treat

By Ray Rivers

October 13th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

City Council passed resolutions to phase out natural gas

Burlington is one of over 30 municipalities, comprising 60% of Ontario’s population, which have passed resolutions for Ontario to phase out natural gas electrical production by 2030. They get it. Fires, floods, droughts, insects, storms – climate change will affect us all. This week, Canada has been accused of being one of the top 10 countries by most responsible for bringing climate destruction upon the world. On a per capita basis, we rank No. 1.

Nature Climate Change, has published a new scientific report examining 100,000 events and concluding that 80% of our global land mass and 85% of the world’s population has already been affected by global climate change. The World Health Organization, the UN and health care practitioners have pointed out that air pollution from burning fossil fuels, which also drives climate change, is causing more than seven million premature deaths each year, that’s 13 deaths every minute – and almost twice what we have seen with the COVID pandemic.

Ontario was the first jurisdiction in North America to ban burning coal for electricity production, in part to clear the air of smog pollution, but also to reduce the province’s carbon footprint. By 2014, the government had shuttered the largest greenhouse gas (GHG) point source on the continent, reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the province by the equivalent of removing seven million cars off the road.

To replace coal, the province began the process of developing wind and solar energy projects to complement its nuclear and hydro resources. Gas powered electricity was included only as a transitional source while the province fully developed its renewable sources, and to assist with peak power demands

He marches to his own drummer – to a tune that sounds out of key.

That all came to a stop with the election of a new government to Queen’s Park in 2018. Premier Ford did everything he could to reverse Ontario’s transition away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy. He fought the imposition of a federal carbon tax; shut down Ontario’s emissions trading system at a cost of billions; more recently he has acquired new gas plants at a cost of $3 billion; and he has expanded natural gas infrastructure committing thousands more to the continued use of that fossil fuel.

Almost on day one Ford killed every single new renewable project he could, and even stopped those in process – some 700 in total at a cost of hundreds of millions to Ontario ratepayers. His intention was clearly to cripple the province’s renewable energy systems so that when the nukes go down, as they eventually will, natural gas powered electricity will be the only way to keep the lights on.

Natural gas is misnomer. Methane, its real name, is just another fossil fuel, and no more natural than coal or oil. However coal or oil don’t impact our climate unless they are burned. Methane, is a powerful greenhouse gas (GHG) on it’s own, as much as 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide. And methane is released at all stages of its lifecycle, from the well head to the home consumer.

As this is being written Canada is joining other nations in promising to reduce domestic methane emissions by 30%. But what are the chances of that if gas consumption is increased? Ontario will fail to meet the premier’s 30% emissions reduction target if fossil fuel use is expanded. And that would imperil’s Canada’s Paris commitment of a 40% GHG emissions reduction.

When the lights went out.

So when all those municipal resolutions requesting the province phase out gas production started arriving on his desk, Mr. Ford turned to the province’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), which manages the overall provincial supply of electricity. However the IESO is not as independent as their name implies and answered the premier’s call with the exact answer he was looking for. They scribbled two phrases on the back of their provincial pay packets. Phasing out gas by 2030 might mean power shortages and it might mean higher costs.

But this impact assessment, as they called it, is a sham. Real experts, people like Prof. Mark Jacobson of Stanford University, considered the world’s leading climate technology expert, tells us that gas power plants now cost twice as much as solar power. He should know, his team of engineering scientists and PhDs have been advising governments on renewable energy in over 140 countries, including the White House. And Canada’s ever increasing carbon tax will make the gas alternative even less competitive by 2030.

This is not the first time an arm of government, even one which calls itself independent, has let the government politicos hold the pen. And scary stories of lights flickering out and hydro bills leaving us without bread on the table could never be more timely with Halloween just around the corner. But this is very much a trick and no treat.

Wind farm in Eastern Ontario

2030 is only about a decade away. According to the Canadian Wind Energy Association, more wind energy had been built in Canada between 2009 and 2019 than any other form of electricity generation. Over that period wind energy alone went from scratch to meeting the needs of over three million Canadian homes. Does anyone really believe that only gas can keep the lights on? And the cost of wind energy has fallen 70 per cent in the last nine years,

That this IESO report lacks vision is undeniable. And it is shameful that the body which manages energy supply in Canada’s largest province could produce such a rubbish projection. That is what’s really scary – that the folks in charge of our energy supply haven’t a clue about all the technological progress occurring in renewable sources of energy and energy storage systems. And that the IESO has apparently never heard of global warming.

And even when they decide – or are told to – proclaim gas as Ontario’s future energy source, the IESO picked the wrong gas. They barely mention hydrogen gas, particularly for energy storage to back up wind and solar when the weather is uncooperative. The federal government and the oil and gas industry is pouring vast sums of research money into developing green, and even blue, hydrogen resources. And work is progressing on how to adapt existing pipelines for its safe transmission.

Smog

Burlington and the other municipalities deserve better than the slam dunk, shut down they have been handed by the IESO and the premier. Under the IESO plan, methane to produce electricity will skyrocket from 7% to 30% by 2030. The City of Ottawa has rejected the IESO report and demanded they go back to the drawing board. This will also impact the air quality of people living everywhere in the province, since methane burning also yields significant amounts of smog pollution.

What is really scary about this IESO report is that while most countries are trying to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels, the Ontario government is planning a major expansion of its carbon footprint – possibly expanding GHG pollution from the gas plants by more than 300% by 2030.

Even as global leaders sit down to discuss how they can further reduce GHG emissions, Ontario’s premier is thumbing his nose at those efforts. He is swimming against the tide to defy world opinion and federal climate policies. And he is ignoring the will of all the people he claims to represent in this province who, who unlike him, seem to care about the future of this planet.

Ray Rivers, a Gazette Contributing Editor,  writes regularly applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was once a candidate for provincial office in Burlington.  He was the founder of the Burlington citizen committee on sustainability at a time when climate warming was a hotly debated subject.   Ray has a post graduate degree in economics that he earned at the University of Ottawa.  Tweet @rayzrivers

Background links:

Ontario Coal Phase Out –   Methane Emissions –   IESO Study

Ontario Energy Policies –   Wind Power Cost –  Australia Battery Storage

Climate Change Impacts –   Canada Methane Commitment –  7 Million Deaths

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4-Week Loose-Leaf Collection Program Begins Monday, November 8th

By Pepper Parr

October 12th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The City of Burlington’s loose-leaf collection program starts on Monday, Nov. 8. Residents are encouraged to check the leaf collection schedule and zone map and rake leaves to the curb, or edge of pavement if there are no curbs, before their pickup date.

Each collection zone will have only one pick-up.

Collection Schedule:
• Zone 1: begins Nov. 8 (1 week)
• Zone 2: begins Nov. 15 (1 week)
• Zone 3: begins Nov. 22 (2 weeks)

Map of loose leaf collection zones.

This crew will probably not be clearing the leaves from your property. They were working along New Street when this picture was taken.

Residents planning on using the service are reminded that this program is weather dependent. Freezing rain or snow can cause delays or even cancel the program. Always be prepared to bag your leaves for Halton Region’s Yard Waste Pick-up or mulch them to help your lawns and gardens grow.

If the collection is delayed or cancelled due to weather or other circumstances, residents can call 905-335-7777 for updated information. Updates will also be posted on burlington.ca/leafcollection as well as the City’s social media channels.

To ensure the safety of collection crews and avoid damaging equipment, please keep the loose-leaf piles free of debris and sticks. Leaves mixed with debris and waste will not be collected. Please help prevent flooding by keeping catch basins and ditches clear of leaves.

The time frames for getting all the leaves off the streets is tight. They want to wait until all the leaves are down and the snow hasn’t started.

To ensure a successful pick-up, residents can:

• Rake leaves to the edge of the curb or roadway in a loose pile
• Remove basketball nets, cars and other obstructions from the road during pick-up dates
• Clear leaves from sidewalks and walkways
• Avoid placing garbage bags, bins, blue boxes or green carts on top of loose-leaf piles
• Give crews room to remove the leaves when driving

After the collection program is complete, any remaining leaves should be placed in yard-waste bags for curb side collection by Halton Region.

As a greener alternative, residents can mulch their leaves with their lawn mower to help feed the soil for the spring.

Related news story:

The evolution of leaf collecting in Burlington

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The size of city council and the level at which they serve

By Pepper Parr

October 12th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

What kind of representation does the public get from the current City Council?

The merits of the current members of council is not the issue – that gets decided during elections.

In a reader survey the Gazette is currently running we asked two questions:

1:   Is a seven member council the right size for the City of Burlington?

2:   Burlington Council members are also Regional Council members. Should there be two classes of Council members: 7 Regional and 7 City?

The responses were interesting, however the number of responses were too low to be considered statistically reliable.

When Burlington elected five people who had never served as elected officials in 2018 the five faced a steep learning curve and in their first six months relied heavily on the City Manager for support and direction, which was a little awkward because they were the City Manager’s boss.

Learning just what their new jobs as City Councillors was  took time and it was hard work, particularly for two of them.

Getting a handle on what was expected of them at the Regional level made it doubly hard.  At least two don’t see a lot of use for them being at the Regional level and would be quite happy if they could cover the Regional meetings virtually.

Some council members find city council on the small side and a little too “clubby” for their liking.  There aren’t enough voices and the tendency is to agree on everything.  If one listens to council meetings often enough you see some jostling for position but there isn’t much in the way of innovative thinking. They often appear to be a cheering section for senior staff who are described as “awesome”.

The focus at the Region is the “bigger picture” where the objective is to make decisions that impact the four municipalities that make up the Region.

There are roads that are a Regional responsibility that reach into all the municipalities.  Waste management and water services along with Social Services and Public Health are dealt with at the Regional level.  To be an effective Regional Councillor one has to have a deep understanding of the needs of the municipality they represent.  That kind of expertise takes years to accumulate.

There are some who believe there should be limits on how long a person should serve with two terms being the average.  It is at that point that a Councillor, if they prove to be good at the job of serving the public, has a solid understanding and some experience he or she can rely on to make decisions.

It also means that they are around to be held accountable when the decisions they made ten years ago have proven to be less than the great idea when it was first floated and millions were spent.

The number of city Councillors who get to become Regional Councillors is determined by the Region. Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills figured out how to comply with the Regional seat allocation by having two classes of Councilors: those who were Regional and Municipal and those that were just Municipal.

The difference in the amount they are paid is considerable.  Burlington Councillors draw pay cheques from both the Region and the municipality.  You won’t hear much about a change in the makeup of the Burlington Council – they individually have too much to lose.

Oakville has a council set up where there are those who are just city Councillors – they don’t attend Regional Council meetings.  The remuneration for council members is drawn from two sources – basically half of what they are paid comes from the municipality and the other half from the Region.

Milton and Halton Hills have the same set up.

In Burlington members of Council get an office, an administrative assistant, a cell phone and an iPad

Oakville Councillors get a cell phone.

In the past people have shown up for meetings at which the budget is presented and staff are on hand to ask question. Very little that comes out of these meetings makes its way into the budget; they are more of a ‘keep the natives happy’ type of event.

In the not too distant future Burlington is going to want to look at the number of wards and the size of the population in some of those wards.  There is the suggestion that the city might want to add a ward or two.

That will raise howls from those who think being a city Councillor should be a part time job and that they should be paid less.  Anyone who has looked at the size of the agenda that gets placed in the hands of Council – they run to several hundred pages on many occasions, would think twice about taking on the job part time.  It is a full time job and and calls for people who are well educated and widely read.

Burlington strikes a committee every four years that is independent and tasked with reviewing what Council members are paid and what they are allowed in the way of expenses.  Their report goes to Council and is usually accepted just as it was presented.

It will be interesting to see if that Committee is asked to comment on the size of city council.

 

 

 

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Clear cutting in rural Burlington destroys parts of an Eco-system.

By Pepper Parr

October 12th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It was a tough tough weekend for Hope Woodcock and her family.

They live in the rural part of Burlington on Bell School Line. On Thursday morning of last week she heard a lot of noise coming from the property next to her and was mortified when she saw a huge backhoe ripping trees out of the ground and cutting others.

The view before the clear cutting started.

They call the Regional Forestry department just after the noon hour when they realized the backhoe operator wasn’t going to stop cutting after just a few trees.

It became clear he was going to do some serious clearing.

Woodcock was told by the Regional people that there wasn’t a forester on staff; that the Region had a contract with a company to handle tree cutting issues.

The best they were going to be able to do was get someone out on the 18th.

Backhoe ripping trees out of the ground – included cutting a 100 year old oak that didn’t appear to have any problems.

When a 100 year old Oak that looked to be in fine shape was being taken down Woodcock called the Region again and got in touch with the ward councillor.

Woodcock called the city forestry department and was told that everything above the 407 was handled by the Region.

Meanwhile the trees kept coming down.

On Friday Woodcock’s husband went to the Regional office and was told “they’d send someone over” No help. Destruction continued.

The Woodcocks fear that with the trees gone they will experience some flooding because the trees are no longer there to absorb the water. “A whole ecosystem has been destroyed.”

The land is owned by an absentee landlord who was denied a permit to build a house on the property some time ago.

The new view from the Woodcock back yard

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Charges Laid Against Burlington Man in Relation to Lengthy Fraud Investigation

By Staff

October 12th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) has arrested a male in relation to a lengthy fraud investigation dating back to 2019.

The accused solicited loans and promised victims that their investments would yield significantly high returns in a short period of time, which never materialized.

Eight victims provided the accused with over $600,000.00, however they were never refunded.

On October 7, 2021, members of the HRPS Regional Fraud Unit made an arrest in relation to the investigation.

Brian Kumar (48) of Burlington has been charged with:

• Fraud Over $5000 (8 counts)

Kumar was released on an Undertaking.

He was arrested in March for similar offences

Anyone with information in regards to this investigation is asked to contact the Fraud Intake office at 905-465-8741.

Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers. “See something? Hear something? Know something? Contact Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca.

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City of Burlington seeks input on Major Transit Station Areas

By Staff

October 12th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Burlington you know today is going to be a lot different in a decade – the major development will take place around the GO Stations.

Concept drawing for the development proposed on Fairview at Drury Lane – next to the Burlington GO station

The City of Burlington is continuing to seek input from the community about the Aldershot, Appleby and Burlington GO Major Transit Station Areas (MTSAs) through upcoming virtual meetings hosted by City planning staff.

The City is developing Area-Specific Plans (ASPs) for Burlington’s three Major Transit Station Areas to create a vision for future growth. The goal is to build complete communities close to transit, services and amenities by locating more people and jobs within about a ten-minute walk of the GO stations.

This will allow more people to live, connect, work and play in Burlington’s existing urban area, while protecting the city’s natural heritage and agricultural systems from urban expansion. The focus on development near transit will also help the City respond to climate change by providing more sustainable options for travel.

Building on work that was started with the Mobility Hubs Study in 2017-19, preliminary preferred precinct plans, policy and zoning directions for Burlington’s MTSAs have been developed for public input. Public feedback, findings from technical studies, and planning analysis will be used to develop recommended preferred precinct plans for endorsement by City council.

Once endorsed, the preferred precinct plans will be used to develop Area-Specific Plans (ASPs), which will define the City’s vision for guiding future development in the MTSAs based on land use, building heights and urban design considerations. Once approved by Halton Region, the ASPs will be implemented through the City’s Official Plan and Zoning By-law.

Residents and stakeholders can attend one or all four virtual Public Information Centres to get more information and learn about the project:

  • Aldershot GO MTSA
    Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021, 7 to 9 p.m.
  • Burlington GO MTSA
    Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021, 7 to 9 p.m.
  • Appleby GO MTSA
    Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021, 7 to 9 p.m.
  • All MTSAs
    Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021, 7 to 9 p.m.

The survey will close in the near future

Zoom links and call in numbers to join the meetings, visit getinvolvedburlington.ca/mtsa.

This page also contains project Background Report and detailed study area boundary maps, an online workbook to share feedback and an option to subscribe for project updates. Residents can connect with MTSA staff at mtsa@burlington.ca or 905-335-7642.

Heather MacDonald, Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility said:  “Burlington is in a new phase of city-building with future growth occurring mainly through intensification within the existing urban area. We are reaching out to residents to hear their thoughts on Area-Specific Plans (ASPs) for our city’s three Major Transit Station Areas (MTSAs) while we work to prepare them. This feedback is integral to create a vision for future growth with complete communities close to GO Stations. We want more people to be able to live, connect, work and play in Burlington, while making sure we protect the city’s natural heritage and agricultural systems from urban expansion.”

Links and Resources

getinvolvedburlington.ca/mtsa

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Adding 18 people to the Planning staff to handle the development applications in the pipeline: there are 47 of them

By Pepper Parr

October 11th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Jeremy Tellier is one of the more entertaining members of the Planning Department in Burlington.  That isn’t to suggest there is no depth to the man – he has his facts down solid and understands the short, intermediate and long term impact of decisions that are being made.   His client relationship skills are second to none.  It is his delivery that makes him special.

Thus it was one day last week that Jeremy was taking Council through an ask to hire more than a dozen new staff members for the planning department.

The budget impact? None basically.

Tellier set the scene when he put up a graphic that set out what the city is heading into.

Jamie Tellier started his Staff report to Council last week with a stunner of a document.

“The technical issues and complexities are beyond anything that we’ve seen before, and that leads to increased time and effort to process those applications” said Tellier.

“I apologize for repeating myself because I know you’ve heard it before, but I’m gonna say it again, greenfield development is effectively over, our growth is going to occur from within, through intensification.”

The delivery of development services, depends on people power; … “the report before you lists the services that are needed to increase our capacity in critical areas, and enable staff to meet the legislative timelines that we have to deal with, as well as deliver on Council’s Land Use objectives and customer experience expectations.

We were already taking into account phasing and timelines of major projects, we really tried to just focus on those projects that we’re likely to obtain building permits in the short term. “What we’re going to do is take a more granular look at the extent of development that is in the planning pipeline, regardless of phasing and timelines. We think this is everything that we’ve got,

“This is a slide that’s gives you the snapshot of all the development activity in the planning pipeline for active major applications for residential development. Site plan applications that have not yet been received, meaning they are in pre-consultation or about to come in for pre- consultation. You can see site plans that are currently in the review process.

All in all we have 47 active applications in the planning pipeline that amount to approximately 19,100 residential units.

Now the table on the bottom we broke up that total units into building typology just to help understand some of the distribution.

We don’t expect 19,100 units to be built in the next couple of years, this, is everything we know of that is in our planning pipeline at various, various stages of planning approvals, we expect to spend the next decade on this working from a true planning and building to occupancy perspective.

This is easily a decade of construction activity in the city.

This slide is a snapshot of the planning pipeline for active major applications for employment development. the point of this slide is to show that more jobs are coming to Burlington.

None of this work has even made its way into building permits yet.

This slide shows building permit activity and construction costs over the past few years.  The number of permits issued is still less than what we’ve seen in previous years.  While we may have less applications coming in than we’ve seen in previous years. They are increasingly large and complex, hence these high construction values that you’re seeing on a chart, and this is a great reflection of the capacity issues that we’re experiencing across all of development services.

The previous slides were just the planning pipeline, none of that has made its way into building permits and none of that is even reflected in these charts because this is just what what is happening right now on the building permit side of things.

Staff anticipate this sustained development activity is going to require the following needed staff positions:

  • Community Planning:
    • (1) Coordinator of Business Services and Committee of Adjustment
    • (1) Coordinator of Urban Design and Special Projects
    • (1) Zoning Reviewer
    • (3) Planner II
    • (2) Senior Planners
  • Engineering Services:
    • (2) Senior Technician (Site Engineering)
  • Transportation Services:
    • (1) Supervisor of Planning (Transportation Planning)
  • Building Permit Services:
    • (2) Policy & Regulatory Services Clerks
    • (1) Policy & Regulatory Services Supervisor
    • (1) Building Permit Technologist
    • (1) Coordinator of Building Permits (reallocated)
    • (2) Senior Building Inspectors (reallocated)

Should Council approve the recommendation of this report, it is expected that all positions will be immediately posted for recruitment with a priority for Engineering Services to resolve urgent capacity issues on the Site Engineering team. It is noted that the Engineering Services Department intends to use consulting services in the interim to address the capacity issues in Site Engineering until the recruitment is complete.

To ensure cost recovery for development services, a planning application fee review is currently underway; we’re targeting completion by the end of this year. The last time we did this type of deep dive into our planning fees, was in 2012.

This was one of the last greenfield developments in the city. There isn’t any more space in the Urban Boundary which is basically at Dundas Street

Burlington has effectively built out to its edges, we now have to grow from within, and development is almost entirely in an infill context and development applications and an infill context are increasingly complex and require more staff effort, which then affects our cost to deliver our services. So full cost recovery for development services is critical for long term fiscal sustainability. In other words, we need to minimize our dependence on the tax base for the operating costs of development services.

Tellier used a couple of case studies to help understand the order of magnitude of revenues and fees that get collected through development services.

“On the Molinaro property, the phase one development, consisted of two 20 storey towers and one 24 storey tower with 559 residential units. When you look at the table on the slide, what’s interesting is this development only required site plan approval.

“And you can see if we were processing the site plan under our current fee schedule like as of today, the fees would would come out to a little over $81,000 Just for the site plan application, and then the three building permits for the three towers – those permits worked out to over a million dollars in building permit revenues. Development Charges worked out to over $11 million, and in development charges Park dedication – over $3 million. And then lastly, the condominium application, a little over $3,000.

“Here’s another example of a Carriage Gate Berkeley Medical One development this project consists of a 17 storey tower with 120 residential units, an eight storey office building, with a little over 10,000 square meters of retail and office area, a six story parking garage with 226 parking spaces. There are some section 37 benefits as a result of the rezoning. This development did require an official plan amendment and Zoning Bylaw Amendment – if we were processing this today, you would see the fees would be over $109,000 in revenues, just for the Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw Amendment. And then you can see for site plan that if we were receiving that application and processing that today it would be a little over $43,000.  What’s interesting here is the only part of this development, the apartment building, has been constructed. The parking garage, and the office building have not yet come in for building permits, and so that’s reflected in the building permit fees of $314,000, which have been collected,

“Same thing with development charges, a little over $2 million, and park dedication that’s $660,000, and the condominium application – a little over $3,000. The Official Plan Amendment and the site plan approval approved the entire development so the developer doesn’t need to come back to planning, if they wish to build what was previously approved on that site.

“In order to handle this flood of development application and stay within the time frames the planners have to work with everything is dependent on improving staff capacity across development services.”

That concluded the Staff presentation; it was on to questions from Council members.

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman

Councillor Sharman was the first out the gate saying “You know, I’ve been trying to figure out how many applications we have in the pipeline, for a few years. We used to have a monthly development activity report by ward that was extremely insightful, we stopped doing that now my assumption was we stopped doing that because we had similar information on the Planning and Development website under development, or applications by ward… can we please get back to having a report?

Sharman added that “we also need the operations review meeting every month. What can we do to get that information, please?

Mark Simione responded: “Yes, we’re absolutely in agreement someone will provide that information. It’s simply a matter of acquiring the data that’s repeatable, verifiable and accurate. There’s no disagreement from staff we completely agree that this is a worthwhile project.

Councillor Bentivegna had a question around the “new staff that we need for the next phase of our growth. I think the numbers when you add them up come to $1,000,007 per year needed  to carry on. And from your case study, numbers, just using the Molinaro project on Fairview we’re looking at $15 million in terms of revenues from that one project.

“Are those dollars we’re receiving as part of the permit fees, will they be distributed to some of those departments or how are we going to deal with those extra expenses. If they’re not included into this, and maybe the city managers are willing to answer that or someone in financing. That’s my first question.

City Manager Tim Commisso spoke: I’ll be real brief.  It’s of significant concern in terms of making sure that all the departments have the capacity so the reality is, that we are limited in terms of what we can collect fees for – I just want to acknowledge that that is on our radar.

Tellier added: “First and foremost is to recover the direct costs for development services, but understanding that there’s so much support from other departments, those indirect supports and development services from the departments I had mentioned in my presentation and I think they’re also identified in the staff report.

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns

Councillor Kearns asked if: “This readjustment of the organizational design is based on what’s coming down the pipe, in terms of the mega projects for all intents and purposes. What about the smaller projects. The, you know, the trending areas in our city where it’s a knock down and build one home. The permits and so on. We’re doing this to speed up this service to improve the quality of the service all of all of the right things. When will we see the effects of increased or reduced times to get things approved, both for large operations, and for the little person who’s redoing their home, because right now it’s stressful. These are the sort of emails we’re getting at this point where it’s taken quite a long time, so can we comment on that please?

Heather MacDonald explained: “We’re not just looking at the big projects, we are definitely looking at infill projects as well, which are very complicated, often what I find more complicated than in dealing with Greenfield applications, because they are in established areas, and we are, you know, concerned about impact on the surrounding area. And also, sometimes dealing with applicants that are not the big developers are experienced developers so they that requires a lot more time and effort to work through the process.

“We have been through a couple of the pain points in the process for smaller applications, those being forestry and zoning, and in those two areas we’ve seen great improvement in how quickly we can process a couple of other pain points in the process that we need to, to address more fully, one being site engineering and that is definitely in this recommendation before you today for assistance in that area.”

You may recall, explained Tellier “that the first couple milestones was just trying to establish the structure and some stability in our department, we had a lot of staff that we had contracts upon contracts; it was a structure that didn’t quite align with the type of established work that occurs in established neighborhoods.

“We’ve reorganized the department into teams. We’ve re-arranged our structure and created stability. Now we’re at that third milestone of improving our capacity.

“That’s where we’re gonna start seeing the difference across all of development services exactly as Heather mentioned, when we think about forestry and site engineering and zoning and all the work to date that they do. In addition to that as we start thinking about the ability for us to work with our IT department so we can start improving our technology and our customer portals to empower customers, we’ll find some efficiencies there to help our customers succeed beyond what we can do right now.

“This is self financed within the system.”

Councillor Kearns had a final question: ” I just want to understand how we are working in two parallel tracks between designing and evolving the organization and then working within the actual budget process that does allocate FTP, some of which are revenue supported from tax and some of which are supported through the tax base.

“I’m just looking for that differentiation because what I’m not quite seeing now, and I’ll ask staff this separately is there an additional service level that’s being met, or is this to satisfy baseline so first? Why, designing and evolving the organization and not budget, and second baseline versus enhanced service.

Treasurer Joan Ford responded: “It’s all one. For purposes of this report there was a sense of urgency to try to get this in place. You are responsible for approving staff complement. So the HR positions, the complement falls with you. You can do it either at budget time or you can do it at any time .

“As has been indicated these  positions are fee funded. And so, what we would do is we would include the HR costs in the budget, and we would increase the revenues to support those staff that have been approved. Once you approve this report.

“With anything there is risk. And one of the risks, is that the revenues may not be there in a given year to support the staff. We do have a reserve fund for both development application processing and building permit fees. As long as the revenues are there to sustain it. There shouldn’t need to be a huge draw from the reserve funds, but it is there, should we need it.”

Asked to move the report Councillor Kearns had one more question. “… back to planning staff and does this simply support baseline operations to meet all of the Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) that are in place, or is this providing an elevated level of service?

The answer was: “This will assist us in meeting legislated timelines that we are required to meet, and also to better meet customer expectations. This will also position us to be able to handle the increased activity that we expect. So it’s both. Really, we need the assistance and the increased capacity right now.”

Kearns again: “I do have a third question. I’m just wondering if it’s possible to put together a bit of a media release or a news release. I can say that my office has been inundated with requests around permit processing times, things of that nature and I’d like to have something available to respond to our community members that have reached out, letting them know that we’ve made this really insightful analysis and carried through with the request of staff to increase a compliment from, you know, what should be a revenue neutral perspective, and if not, we do have a backup plan through those reserves. Just wondering if it’s possible to have a bit of a communication put together for internal and external use.”

City Manager Commisso assured Kearns that they will work with communications and get something out – following Council.

Mayor Meed Ward closed adding: “Let’s get on with processing the applications, everyone wants to be in Burlington and why not, it’s the best city in the country, in the world, and you have a lot of work ahead of you, so we obviously need to help resource you to do that well and happy to do that.

“I’d say this is really critical to everybody. Like everybody on council we’ve all been getting emails and phone calls and, you know anxiety over timelines that have extended for sometimes many many many months. This is really important. Any comments I’d leave with you were similar to the ones I left at the budget meetings the last two weeks. That is with respect to new software, and improving processes, and recognizing the new software by definition requires us to redesign our processes. And the question is how quickly can we get into all that? My last comment is remember the Customer.

Councillor Galbraith ward 1

Councillor Galbraith: “I’ll be quick. This is great. Anytime that we have revenue funded positions, I want to see it as soon as possible. I didn’t mention this, going back last year that if there’s a streamlined process for this, to bring it through us faster even, you know, skip some of the typical reporting cycles. I’m in for that, In principle, so perhaps that’s something that Sheila might be able to think about if that would be feasible or the planning team. And the other thing that I see from this report is how we are certainly open for business in Burlington construction value forecasted is going back up to new heights, and I’m good with that – it’s going to help the city. Overall, obviously we are shaping that growth as a council. So, thank you very much for the report very well prepared and looking forward to having the positions.”

 

Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan

Councillor Nisan added: “I just have a couple of comments as well. I’m very happy to see this report and obviously funded positions are much easier decision for council to to make, I know my office has certainly been inundated. There is a lot of construction activity at the moment, and projects that are in the engineering department and all departments within the city and I would like to receive less calls if I can, so happy to see that there will be more positions.  I don’t think the construction activity is going to be less than any in the future. I think this is the right decision and the fact that it doesn’t require budget decisions is, a fairly easy one for me to make.

Counselor Kearns then commented: “Just a quick one and I just want to highlight that what we’re doing here is also improving safety within our community. The building department is responsible for all of those inspections to make sure that the Building Code inspections are carried out to the highest regard.  I really look forward to getting this compliment up to full whack because we don’t want to miss those timelines and we want to make sure that we give that very very high level customer service.”

And that was it – no more questions; no more comments.  The Chair called the vote – it carried and goes to Council on the 19th where it will be approved.

 

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