The numbers that were 'all wrong' didn't get the review that was expected - the report that had been referred back to council got zip in the way of debate.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 20th, 2019



Someone on city council made the point: We are a transit friendly council.

How friendly – well they are putting a tonne of your money into new buses and they are boasting about the significant increases in transit use.

The numbers are early: Presto, the people who operate the card system that is replacing tickets, are a little on the slow side on getting data out.

The increase in transit usage was reported to have risen by 10% on a month to month basis for July of 2018 and July of 2019.

The free transit use during the off peak hours for July through to September was reported to have improved by 40%.

Mayor Meed Ward called those number “astounding” and added that “we don’t need a plan to know that we need more buses.”

The Mayor has said that she wants transit to be free for everyone – every day.

She has also said that she thinks transit should be a Regional matter.  She will have to wait until she is Premier of the province before we see anything like that.

This council has got a head lock on the idea of making the transit fleet completely electric. Director of Transit loves that idea theoretically but cautioned council that converting from diesel to electric is not a simple matter – electric buses are complex and a lot has to be learned by the people who are going to drive the electric buses and those who are going to maintain them.

connor and Dennis 2

Sue Connors, Director of Transit, does not appear to be very happy.

Council was discussing transit because a report that had been discussed at a Planning and Development Standing Committee meeting was unhappy with some of the numbers that were contained in a report – unhappy is an understatement.

They decided that rather than make any decisions they would refer the matter to the council meeting – which took place Monday evening.

Sharman on transit

Councillor Paul Sharman

But – there was nothing to discuss – whatever the concern was over the report, which could be fairly described as faulty, no one was going to talk about it Monday evening. Councillor Sharman read a statement into the record – we have asked for a copy of that statement, He added that with the changes in the grid structure and the new buses that have been added to the fleet it would be a little premature to put much stock in numbers that had been generated by the consultant. So hold off for a year.

Fine – but then – why was there a report from the consultant? And when is the public going to see the revised numbers ?

This council is sometimes a little fast and loose with numbers that they deem to be positive.

Related news story:

Councillor Sharman said the numbers were all wrong. He was right

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Leaf collection schedule changed - parts of the city will not get coverage.

News 100 greenBy Staff

November 19th, 2019



We are experiencing the effects of Climate Change.

The city announced earlier today that: “Due to the cold temperatures and the early snow fall, the loose-leaf collection schedule is changing.

• Leaf Collection Zone 2 will resume Wednesday, Nov. 20 to Nov. 29, if weather allows.

• Leaf Collection Zone 3 will run between Nov. 25 and Dec. 6, if weather allows.

• Leaf Collection in Zones 1 and 4 is cancelled. Residents are encouraged to mulch their leaves or bag them for Halton Region’s yard waste pick-up.

Loose leaf Nov 19-3

Loose leaves pick up for districts 1 and 4 are cancelled.

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.

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 playing garbage bags, bins, Blue Boxes or Green Carts on top of loose-leaf piles
• Give crews distance 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.

Mark Adam, Manager of Road Operations said that: “The early snowfall has covered many leaf piles and has interrupted our collection program. The cold temperatures limit the effectiveness of our leaf vacuum units and street sweepers as frozen piles of leaves cannot be swept up or vacuumed. Long-range forecasts show a short period of favourable weather in which crews will do their best to complete Zones 2 and 3.”

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Arrest Made After Theft Of Poppy Donation Boxes In Burlington

Crime 100By Staff

November 19th, 2019



The Halton Regional Police Service has made an arrest after three Royal Canadian Legion Poppy donation boxes were stolen from various locations in the City of Burlington.

poppy boxThe first incident occurred on Monday, November 11, 2019. The female accused attended a grocery store on New Street. During the moment of silence for Remembrance Day, the accused took a Royal Canadian Legion Poppy donation box and concealed it on her person. The accused then stood for the remainder of the moment of silence before leaving the store.

The second incident occurred on Tuesday, November 12, 2019, at a coffee shop on Brant Street in Burlington. While the accused was in the store she took another two Royal Canadian Legion Poppy donation boxes and concealed them on her person before leaving the store.

The accused was quickly identified by Halton Regional Police Service officers and was arrested on November 15, 2019.

Accused: is a 32 year old female who lives in Milton.
Charges: 3 counts of Theft Under $5000

The Gazette normally publishes the names of those accused – we have not done so in this  case.

The accused was later released from custody on a promise to appear.

That the police were able to identify the suspect so quickly suggests she was previously known to the police.

Burlington either has a small petty thief who exploits every opportunity to steal or we have a person who needs help. If it is the latter one would hope that the Legion might choose to be part of providing that help.

No one was born to be a thief.

Tips can be submitted to Crime Stoppers “See Something? Hear Something? Know Something? Contact Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at


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Council clears its agenda in an hour and a quarter: Mayor sets out what has to be done if you want to build in this city.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 19th, 2019



City Council meetings are sort of like a big rubber stamp. The details in Staff reports get discussed at length during the Standing Committee meetings which run rather long. Council meetings are usually under an hour and a half. Former Mayor Rick Goldring once got through one in just over twenty minutes.

One has to listen carefully and watch closely to pick up some of the detail that gets skipped over.

The Council meeting Monday reported that there were 24 hours of meetings between November 4th to the 12 during which there were 34recommendations put forward and 4 bylaws proposed.

City Council has to approve all that to make it the law of the land.

There were two items that we observed during the Standing Committee meetings that were going to get some attention at the Council meeting; those were the stiffing that Councillor Nisan got from the Transportation department over changes in the speed limits in Kilbride and the problem the Director of Transit had with data in a report that was being discussed.

Councillor Sharman had, as is his want, looked at the numbers carefully and came to the conclusion that there was something very wrong with them.

Sharman on transit

Ah – for the love of faulty data: Councillor Paul Sharman

As he put it at the Planning and Development meeting – they were just plain wrong. None of the other members of Council appeared to have the same grip that Sharman had on the numbers; the suspicion was that they either hadn’t fully read the report or failed to see the errors that Sharman identified.

After much discussion the Standing Committee decided to refer the report to City Council, which happened last night.

connor and Dennis 2

Direct of Transit Sue Connor giving a consultant a very hard look. She was not happy.

The problems appear to be more serious than originally realized. Council decided to refer the report back to the Standing Committee during its next round of meetings.

They basically punted the ball up the field where they would deal with it when they get to that point.

How are you liking the Burlington version of transparency so far?

Councillor Nisan said that he still didn’t have the speed limit changes he had promised his Kilbride constituents but he was still working at it. I think we were seeing an example the tail wagging the dog.

There is a process at city meetings whereby a Staff report can get approval if there aren’t any council members who want to say something. These are referred to as Consent items – they just get passed.

Among those that were consented to were: The report on Vision to Focus; the Active Aging Report and the Cootes Escarpment initiatives. Councillor Sharman had learned of an event that takes place in Detroit where more than 1,000 people show up for a community walk. |He was going to bring it up at the Council meeting and had run it by Parks and Recreation Staff who told Sharman that they didn’t need a Staff Direction – they would just do it.

Rory Nisan

Councillor Nisan still doesn’t have the speed limit changes he promised his Kilbride residents.

Now either Councillor Sharman has skills that Councillor Nisan doesn’t have or the Parks and Recreation department fully understand the relationship between Council and administration. Sharman has the community walk idea as a good to go; Nisan might have to stand on the road in Kilbride and wave a sign to slow down the speed of traffic.

Councillor Lisa Kearns chose to make some comments on the mammoth development that CORE Development Group want to build within the football – 27 storeys in a place where eight are possible as of right and up to 15 if there are benefits given to the city.

The Gazette has been advocating for some bold moves in that part of the city. We learned from Mayor Meed Ward that the acceptable benefit is for the developer to buy the land on the south side of Old Lakeshore, deed it to the city and they can have the additional seven floors.

Site south side Old Lakeshore

The Mayor seemed to be saying that all the Core Development Group had to do was buy the land inside the black box, deed it to the city, and they would be allowed to build 15 storeys instead of just the eight permitted. The developer has an application in for 27 storeys. Nothing can be built on the land, there are top of bank issues that would make any development not feasible.

That is the first time we have heard the Mayor be quite that specific. Something to think about.

Councillors Kearns reacted to a comment in the Gazette where we wondered why she had not moved the motion to receive and file the report on the development that was to have retirement apartment units in one tower of a two 11 storey tower development on New Street and nursing home care that would include what were referred to as “memory units” intended for people with dementia, in the other.

Lisa excited

Excited – this is as good as it gets.

Councillor Kearns told her colleagues that it is not her practice to “get too excited” in public nor does she “get upset” in public. She said that what Council was hearing was the extent of her public comment.

Meed ward election night 1

To the victor go the spoils.

Both Councillor Kearns and the Mayor commented positively on the development with the Mayor saying that “Burlington was open for business” and that Council wanted to “shape where it goes and the use it is put to.”

“Take note” she added: “Do it right and you get a thumbs up”.

Those comments will stick in the craw of the development community but it is what she said she would do when she ran for the Office of Mayor – and she is doing what she said she would do.

Related news stories:

Transit Director gets sloppy data – Sharman spots the errors

Nisan credibility takes a hit


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Festival of Trees returns to Performing Arts Centre.

eventsred 100x100By Staff

November 18th, 2019



The 3rd Annual Festival of Trees will be on display in the lobby and mezzanine of the Performing Arts Centre from November 20 – December 21, 2019.

Festival of treesThe pre-lit trees, donated by the Canadian Tire Burlington store, will be available to the public by auction. The proceeds go to Performing Arts Centre’s ‘Live & Local Artist Development Initiative’, which provides performance opportunities and support for Burlington-based artists.

Over 10,000 patrons are expected to visit the Centre during the Festival of Trees which will run from November 20th to December 21st from noon – 4pm, seven days a week.

Each tree is individually sponsored and decorated by a local business in Burlington. Patrons and visitors to BPAC will have the opportunity to take one of these trees home by silent auction.

“The Festival of Trees has quickly become a holiday tradition at BPAC, and a great opportunity to bring the joy of the season to our many visitors,” said Tammy Fox, Executive Director.

Festival trees - lobby

The look of the Family Lobby last year.

The silent auction will close with the lucky winners announced during The Andy Kim Christmas.

The full schedule of BPAC Events during the season is here:

Sponsor a Tree!
Promote your local business or organization to over 10,000 local visitors, while supporting BPAC, by sponsoring a tree!

The Sponsorship Commitment:

$250 Tree Sponsorship

Decorate your tree at BPAC on November 18th or 19th (9am – 7pm)

You provide the decorations and ‘gifts’ – have fun making your tree a spectacular and seasonal reflection of your business!

Your Sponsorship Benefits:
Promotional Signage in the BPAC Family Lobby beneath your tree for over 4 weeks, seen by over 10,000 visitors to BPAC!

Recognition in 14 ‘BPAC Presents’ house programs (8,000 programs!)

Recognition in all Festival of Trees advertising and promotions, include activation on BPAC’s social media channels!

Recognition on BPAC’s website, with a direct link to your website (22,000+ visitors per month)

Recognition in a promotional eblast – sent to 28,000+ patrons! (a $200 value)

2 complimentary tickets to The Andy Kim Christmas on Dec. 21st ($139 value)

Opportunity to draw and announce your tree winner’s name on Dec. 21st

All proceeds support The Burlington Performing Arts Centre’s ‘Live & Local Artist Development Initiative’, which provides performance opportunities and support for Burlington-based artists.

Related news stories:

Twenty five pre-lit trees auctioned in 2018

Festival of trees supports the arts


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Mayor listens to a report that kept adding dollars to the budget she and her council were going to have to pass in a couple of months: she wanted staff to plan and act at the same time.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 18th, 2019



The 2018-2022 Vision to Focus Financial Plan is complex, expensive and a different approach for Burlington.

The meeting was to receive  the Financial Plan for the implementation of the strategic initiatives as defined in the 2018-2022 Burlington’s Plan: From Vision to Focus (V2F).

The portions of that vision that were to be tackled by council and Staff were:

Promoting Economic Growth
Focused Population Growth
Increased Transportation Flows and Connectivity
Healthy Lifestyles
Environmental and Energy Leadership
Good Governance
Community Building through Arts and Culture via Community Activities

On April 11, 2016 Council approved the city’s 2015-2040 Strategic Plan; transforming the Strategic plan into a central policy document and guiding the community’s key activities, investments and actions.  Realize that the city council we had in 2016 is not the city council we have today.  Nevertheless the Strategic Plan created then is still in place.

What city council has done is approve the creation of a Business Plan that has been named Vision to Focus (V2F) which sets out what Council and the Burlington Leadership team have identified as the key priorities for the balance of this term of office.  This document establishes the strategic actions and initiatives that will focus the city’s efforts over the next four years.

The V2F work plan intends to deliver on five focus areas, with a total of 75 initiatives which are aligned to the 25-year Strategic plan.
The five focus areas are as follows:

• Focus Area 1 – Increasing Economic Prosperity and Community Responsive Growth Management
• Focus Area 2 – Improving Integrated City Mobility
• Focus Area 3 – Supporting Sustainable Infrastructure and a Resilient Environment
• Focus Area 4 – Building more Citizen Engagement, Community Health and Culture
• Focus Area 5 – Delivering Customer Centric Services with a Focus on Efficiency and Technology Transformation

V2F timeline

It’s a solid plan – can the city deliver on council’s expectations? And do enough of the city Councillors fully understand what it is about? They are at phase two and have hit some speed bumps.

The trick is to ensure that the five focus areas and the initiatives within them are aligned with the budget – that translates into – are we sure the money to do all these things is going to be in the bank.

Phase 1 of the Financial Plan for the 2015-2040 Strategic Plan was approved in July 2016 and provided a long-term financial plan to build for the long-term implications that would be realized with a 25-year vision.

None of this is going to be cheap.

A Strategic Plan Reserve Fund was established to hold funds to administer and deliver the initiatives laid out in the plan. Any unspent dollars from the annual strategic plan base budget funding is allocated to the reserve fund.

Retained Savings: Minimum of $500,000 towards the Strategic Plan reserve fund provided the city’s retained savings is $1 million or greater.  Retained Savings is what most of us know as the surplus – money that was budgeted but not spent or revenue projections that turned out to be better than expected.

Base Budget Funding: The following is a list of annual base budget funding that will be used for strategic plan implementation;

Strategic plan implementation $150,000
Policy initiatives reserve fund for planning initiatives $100,000
Culture reserve fund for cultural initiatives $50,000
Community Investment reserve fund for community engagement and empowerment initiatives $80,000

That’s a cumulative total of $380,000 – before any goodies that might come from Burlington Hydro.  Policy is to allocate future special dividends received from Burlington Hydro towards the strategic plan

The following financial plan was approved by Council to meet the funding requirements at that time and plan for future requirements.

This is to cover “much of the core planning and policy work associated with achieving the implementation of the 25-year vision of the city’s Strategic plan. Also, there are certain distinct initiatives that begin to directly deliver some of the plan commitments. Incorporated within the Focus Areas are references to many other important documents, such as the

Official Plan,

Zoning By-Law Review,

Integrated Mobility Plan,

Transit Business Plan, and Mobility Hub Plans, to name a few.

These documents will represent a holistic approach to planning ahead and form the foundation for the future success of many of the initiatives laid out in the V2F work plan and the overall strategic plan.

V2F focus areas

Type is small – if you can read it – is this what you want your city to do for you?

All this planning got Mayor Meed Ward “fussed” as she put it.

The Urban Forestry Management Plan has her asking why trees could not be planted while the planning was being done. We know we are going to be planting trees – so let’s start doing just that, said the Mayor.

With the Staff report read into the record the meeting moved on to asking questions of Satff

Meed Ward H&S profile

The Mayor was not impressed – she describes council as nimble and agile and wants that reflected in the work that gets delivered to them.

Meed Ward had had enough.

She said that what we have here are plans to develop plans.

We will be spending a lot of money without seeing any change happen.

This council has shown itself to be very action oriented

Can we not reduce the time frame or the cost for all this – preferably both.

Can we not go outside and get some of the help we need?

Meed Ward said she understood that Planning and implementation are joined at the hip but we need to see changes on the ground.

So what can we do she asked.

City manager Tim Commisso responded saying he understood and that the report was a snapshot of where we are.

We are starting so that we have something to measure; we want to be able to nail down the numbers.  Meed Ward still wasn’t happy.

She said she wanted to see “expedited” and added that she gets a little jaded about plans and added to that that in her time on council she has seen four or five different master plans.

Trees are something we can measure while we plant.

We want to be a nimble, agile council; can we act and plan at the same time ?

City manager Commisso said “yes we can”.

That was the best the Mayor was going to get out of staff that evening.

The report was moved as received and filed.

But a message had been delivered.

Council was told that “Following the quick wins and initiatives that are transitioned to operations, 51 initiatives remain.

Of these, 19 initiatives are well defined, financial resources are clearly identified and the target for completion is within the four-year time-frame.

The other 32 initiatives are multi-faceted. Multi-faceted initiatives have a foundational and an implementation component. The foundational aspect of the initiatives represents comprehensive planning that needs to occur in order to lay the foundation for future work and decision making. This planning period will occur over a four-year time-frame (2019-2022) and the resulting documents will collectively assist in guiding the City through critical decision points on executing the completion of the initiatives. The implementation component will extend beyond the four-year time frame and the required costing and timing will become available once the planning work associated with it is complete.

The following plans/ reports (not a comprehensive list) are scheduled for completion and/or initiated within the next four years;
• Adopted Official Plan
• Audit and Accountability Report

• Mobility Hub Plans
• Transit Business Plan
• Integrated Mobility Plan
• Climate Change Action Plan
• Green Fleet Strategy
• Fire Master Plan

It was close to mind boggling.  The challenge is to determine if the Staff are available to do the work and if the funds are there to pay for the consulting that is going to be needed.

There will be more on this file in the months ahead.



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Organizationally - this is part of what city hall is going to look like.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 15th, 2019



Along with the decision to move Angela Morgan out of the Clerk’s office and have her head up a new Customer Service initiative the city manager released a new organization chart and a new configuration for the Clerk’s Office once a new Clerk has been hired.

The organization chart set out below:

Corporate structure Nov 2109

Heather_MacDonald COB planner

Heather MacDonald: probably the most effective front line staffer the city has. She came into a department that was in rough shape facing a work load that was beyond anything the city had ever seen.

Heather MacDonald will serve as the Executive Director of Planning, Regulation and Mobility; Allan Magi will serve as Executive Director of Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services while Angela Morgan will serve as the Executive Lead of the Customer Experience.

Commisso alone

Tim Commisso sits at his space in council where he observes and speaks when the direction of the discussion needs a bit of a reset or course direction. Said to be a “nice guy” – but he is no pussy cat.

Tim Commisso explains that the executive lead will have strategic management and operational decision making within their direct the scope of  responsibilities.   Their authority however is still at a staff level and they all report to me directly.  The EDs will be part of a New Strategy and Risk Senior Management Team that will regularly report to Council on matters related to corporate strategy and risk management;  the Vision to Focus Work-plan will be one of their major focal points.

The title Executive Lead is used for the Customer Experience initiative as it involves leading both both a major corporate project  (CRM implementation) and well as ongoing functional responsibilities including Service Burlington.  The position is new, will be in place for next three years and is a result of redeployment of an existing staff complement position.

The Executive Director of Strategy, Risk and Accountability is currently being advertised.

Every city manager puts their thumb print on the way they think the administrative and service delivery side of the things should be managed.

Tim Commisso recently told the Gazette that he will not be a front line hands on manager.  He will work at the strategic level and give staff every opportunity to strut their stuff and show what they can do.

City manager Jeff Fielding: About to put his stamp on the way the city has to be run.

Former City manager Jeff Fielding: certainly put his stamp on the way the city has to be run. But he left before the glue on the stamp took hold.

It’s certainly a different approach that Jeff Fielding brought to Burlington and radically different than what James Ridge saw as the way to get things done.  Fielding left for greener pastures and served as the City Manager in Calgary for five years and returned to Ontario where he serves as Chief of Staff for Toronto city manager Chris Murray, who was prior to moving to Toronto the city manager for Hamilton.

In the municipal world it is a game of musical chairs – except in the municipal world everyone gets a chair.

Developing a career in the municipal sector has been a challenge for those who work in Burlington.  The significantly different leadership styles that have existed for the past five years is unsettling at best.  The lower salary rates doesn’t keep people in Burlington for long and the cost of housing doesn’t help either.



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Resident questions data in a transit report; finds that City Councillor agrees with him. Watch for some sparks at the Monday Council meeting.

opinionviolet 100x100By Tom Muir

November 15th, 2019



At a November 4 meeting of Committee of the Whole, transportation staff was giving Council Committee an overview of their five year business plan for Transit.

Councilor Sharman had read the report carefully and he had major problems with some of the numbers. He didn’t like the math, and he had some very challenging words to staff on what he thought.

Subsequently, he made a motion to forward the staff report to the Council meeting Agenda of Monday, November 18 for further scrutiny and discussion. This motion was carried 5-2.

Table 5

The disputed Table 5

It will be interesting to see what happens at this meeting and how Council responds to his concerns and position. This analysis and startling assessment of a staff report, by a Councilor, is very unusual in my experience and is what motivated me to write this opinion piece.

“The numbers are all completely wrong, and there are a number of things where they don’t make sense”; “Table 5 is completely wrong”; are the gist of what he was reported to say in a story by the Burlington Gazette.

Muir with pen in hand

Tom Muir – if there is a flaw in your data – he will find it.

Since I was a citizen member of the City Development Charges Consultation Committee that considered the transportation and transit service plans, and I had expressed serious concerns of my own to this Committee on the transit plans and unfunded costs to 2031, and Councilor Sharman was the Committee Chair, I reached out to him to ask what was behind his serious concerns and the words he chose.
I found we had a lot in common in our views of what is really a complicated situation that is a big deal in its own right, but in particular, for laterals to the City Budget, which happens to be under review right now.

Significantly, the stated focus on Table 5 of the 5 year business plan report goes to the heart of his discontent as the Table summarizes the finances of the 5 year business plan – Planned Operating Costs and Revenue, wherein you can see the bottom line Net Operating Costs, dollars that need to be mostly funded from somewhere in the Budget, going from about $13.5 million to almost $20 million annually from 2020 to 2024.

Sharman July 2016

Councillor Paul Sharman

And peering a little closer into some line items you can see another possible alarm bell in the fact that the Operating Costs are comparatively “hard”, if implemented, but the Revenue estimates, which are based on the assumed ridership associated with the services provided by the costs, are decidedly “soft”, and to the both of us, not believable.

As far as I can discern, neither Mr. Sharman nor I have any idea where this growth is going to come from, and this was also discussed at the DC Committee meetings. This is also being pushed by the Halton Region in their DC study to increase the modal split by assuming it can be done.

In our discussion I think the crux of the matter is shared – the lack of a rationale to show how the transit system configuration proposed will work to provide real results. Remember, this is a Business Plan, and it seems obvious that such a thing should have a firm evidentiary foundation in support of an expectation that it will work.

Mr. Sharman put it this way; I summarize

Sharman at transit

Councillor Paul Sharman explaining what was wrong with some of the data in a transit report.

1. There was no assessment of the Burlington market, economic factors, routes (maybe 80% of ridership is all routes 1 and 101), long term history of transit numbers, forecast City demographic change and ridership mix impact.

2. Burlington ridership and routes are not much different than they were 20 years ago i.e. primarily between Burlington and Hamilton south of the QEW. The report has no analysis of ridership split between handivan and regular buses routes. Presumably, since we have been adding handivan buses and drivers, and with the increasing elder population % ridership growth the projected growth would be worth knowing.

3. The numbers in the report are entirely unrepresentative of anything to do with Burlington. The report is entirely premised on Region of Halton Modal Split targets for the next 5 years and from there calculating what ridership numbers would have to be in order to meet the 5 year target, which is 23% average growth per year.

4. The consultant then used Canadian Urban Transit Association standards to determine what that meant in terms of how many more buses, drivers, maintenance staff, overhead staff and facilities would need to be added to the budget in each year going forward. CUTA standards are aspirational goals that have been demonstrated to not actually represent any Burlington peer municipality (Jeff Casell, Waterloo University 2012). They are more representative of highly intensified big city circumstances.

5. So when you look at the numbers in the table provided, it shows that the 23% average will be highly front end loaded with a 36.5% growth in year 1 of the plan, i.e. from 2,000,000 riders in 2019 to 2,730,000 in 2020. When Mr. Sharman challenged the consultant on the number he was unable to explain the distribution.

6. The critical concern in this is not so much the report per se, but that that the 2020 budget for the City of Burlington includes funding to purchase 4 new buses and hire 8 new drivers. The report proposes that the City should do that in each of the following four years at a cost of $millions each year. Keep in mind that 1% increase in the City of Burlington budget equals $1.6m. Further, that transit revenue, presently, represents less than 25% of operating cost.

The risk is that that the City is about to pour all sorts of real hard dollars into a plan that is completely devoid of any substantive analysis, ridership projections or realistic plan.

Muir making a point

Looking for a Plan B.

We want to see a Plan based on a modal split that is realistic, and will work to service the needs and wants of residents without forcing people onto buses, or blithely assuming they will walk or bike (doubling from 5 to 10%; remember winter?)), and there will be fewer cars.

Is there a Plan B, and what form does it take? What rational criteria or indicators are being used to stage or trigger additional service supply, and when do you stop or lag additions? What constitutes success?

What about “failure”? – remember the biking trial project failure (New Street Road Diet) ; and stagnant transit ridership, at a 2% modal split, that must be completely reversed and exponentially energized upward continuously by 600% by 2029-2031 or so?

For most of my needs, the bus doesn’t go there. Walk, and bike and bus all you want, but most people basically have to drive to survive in Burlington and surrounds. It’s called needs, and work, and distance, and time, and family and so on in reality.
How to get to Costco, Walmart, Longos, Fortinos, Sobeys, Clappisons Corners, Terra Landscape, Connons Garden Center, Canadian Tire, and so on.

The bus doesn’t go there. I need a case of beer, a lawnmower, lumber, groceries for a week, hockey for the kids, music lessons, all of this on Saturday, etc. etc. Try walking, biking or busing this stuff there and home.

For most commuters, except as noted for route 1 and 101, the bus doesn’t go there I believe.

I have never sensed a significant latent demand for such a transit service on the part of the majority of residents.

These are big decisions you have to make that are interrelated and not explained.

Have you done financial risk assessment for all costs? When do you stop the experiment? Do you have a fail-safe mechanism?

Remember, Burlington cannot fund transit from Development Charges (DC)  – the transit plans to add services are considered to be largely “benefits to existing” residents. So there are large cost additions to be funded, and very small contributions for transit from developers as part of the ever-growing need for transportation services due to growth in Burlington and Halton Region. Also remember the provincial policy drivers that are forcing a renewed Grow Bold, at higher cost to the city.

Muir with pen in hand

Tom Muir – uses a sharp pencil when looking at numbers.

It’s time that this transit cost burden on the city, and not the development responsible, be reconsidered or the transit plans will not be sustainable and fully funded, which is what the transportation staff have said is needed and the goal.

In conclusion, If staff are going to direct the city to implement the transit and transportation quantitative plan identified, and Council agrees to approve this, with all the costs identified with no visible tracking of results, and triggering of rational incremental system steps based on results, and financial risk assessment and management controls in place, then they must be held transparent and accountable for showing how it is realistic and founded on evidence, visible trends, and realistic/rational possibilities for changing the behavior of city residents in the substantive way described.

I was told that this issues set identifies an area where we have to improve and that’s communication. I believe we’re looking for the same things and that’s a sustainable, funded transportation system that moves us (likely slowly) away from total auto dependency over the long run while keeping in mind that the auto is still the primary mode of travel.

Burlington Transit getting new buses - to deliver less service.

Couple of million in high priced talent welcoming a new bus into the fleet.

You can buy and supply all the buses you want, but getting people to demand and use these is an entirely different matter, conceptually and practically. I don’t think it legitimate to try and force people into acceptance of a rejigging of their lives.

I see nothing presently, or moving forward from this, that shows awareness of what the actual problem is other than attributing it to people not liking it or the change. The change is not the problem. It’s the change based on impossible levels of different behaviors people are expected to manifest for no reason.

I see no fact-based explanation for why people should or could use a significant and costly increase in transit and pay the estimated large cost share, as calculated. I support some transit increase, but I see no demonstration and evidence-based reasoning to support what I see here, never mind the DC Plan to 2031.

This needs evidence, and not just rationalization, to show how the transit system configuration proposed will work to provide real results.

All I have seen so far are assumptions that people will somehow and magically change.

Finally, remember a basic principle governing any planning exercise is; “that everything that starts with a faulty premise is bound to fail”

Editor’s note: Mayor Meed Ward has said she wants transit to be free for everyone. Factor that into the Muir comment and the Sharman point of view.

Related new story:

The numbers didn’t add up.

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A sensible development that meets a pressing need gets approval at a Standing Committee meeting.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 13th, 2019



Easterbrook on New Street

Easterbrooks will be missed – it represents an age that was. Was it a barn that fronted on a country road?

It used to be a site where people would walk to New Street at Guelph line to buy an ice cream cone or a hot dog. It was one of the two Easterbrooks establishments that had been there for years. The building looked like a barn and probably was a long time ago.

This evening the site got approval in principle for a development that will consist of two towers that will reach 11 storeys; one will be a retirement home with 197 retirement home units to include 33 memory care units, and 145 apartment units.

TRG clean renderiing

The design is unique – the need the development fills is real.

The two towers will be joined by a passageway at the sixth and seventh floors.

The existing commercial on the site will disappear.
The approval of the development was significant in that it is the first development that acknowledges the need for both residential and retirement care space for a seniors’ population that is growing at the rate of 2% a year and will not top out for thirty years.

Councillor Paul Sharman has been both a persistent and insistent advocate for more in the way of accommodation and care for the aging population.

The original application went through numerous changes.

There was going to be commercial at grade – that was changed into space that would be a recreation/community amenity for the residents and the wider community.

The location is close to perfect for seniors who want to remain active. The library is a short walk away, the Seniors’ Centre is just as close and there is the Centennial Walkway five minutes to the south and a very very short block away a plaza that has all kinds of retail. The Dutch Confectionary shop is going to love the new business from this development.

The Tim Hortons in the Roseland Plaza is reported to be looking for a new location.

The Standing Committee approved a modified application for official plan and zoning by-law amendments made by TRG (New-Guelph) Inc. to permit the development of two joined 11-storey buildings on the site consisting of a retirement home building and a residential apartment building.

All the boxes that have to be checked off were covered. Staff did ask for some changes which for the most part were approved.

The Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility, Heather MacDonald will hold discussions with the applicant to secure community benefits in accordance with Section 37 of the Planning Act.

The modified approval consisted of additional front and side of building step-backs as well as increased setback of the underground parking structure from the front lot line.

The application went to the Planning department on February 2, 2018. On February 22, 2018 Planning Staff acknowledged that the application submitted was complete.  That’s a very decent turn-around time.

On June 19, 2019 the applicant submitted a complete re submission for review; this had to do with the change of plans for a Road Diet that had been proposed for New Street.


Lisa Kearns: The ward Councillor didn’t move the report – didn’t sound all the excited about a development that makes sense.

This development is exactly what Burlington needs.  It meets an immediate need for rental residential and it meets a need coming straight at us – places for seniors who need some care.

What was disconcerting was that the ward Councillor wasn’t up on her feet to move the report.  The Mayor took on that task.

The buildings are proposed to be joined on the 6th and 7th floor, with the 7th floor being exclusively used for the care of residents with dementia and are referred to as memory care units.

Both buildings are proposed to be terraced down to 6 storeys at the back. The development proposes a combination of underground and surface parking, with the majority of spaces being provided in an underground parking structure. Vehicles are proposed to enter the site from a single driveway off New Street between the two proposed buildings. There are no dwelling units proposed on the ground floor of either building.

The revised submission will have 197 retirement home units to include 33 memory care units, an increase in the number of apartment units to 145, and an increase in the on-site parking to 360 spaces.

The property is known to be affected by groundwater contamination from an off-site source. Prior to any development occurring on the site, the applicant will need to demonstrate that the contamination can be mitigated, to the satisfaction of the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MOECP); a Holding Zone will be applied to the property.


Current City of Burlington Official Plan has for the most part been met.
i) Compatibility is achieved with the existing neighbourhood character in terms of scale, massing, height, siting, setbacks, coverage, parking and amenity area so that a transition between existing and proposed buildings is provided.

The massing of the proposed buildings is appropriate at the rear of the property in the 6-storey building form. The lowest and narrowest profiles of the proposed buildings are located closest to the lot line abutting the low- density residential uses to the north; the proposed buildings fit within the 45-degree angular plane to the property line abutting the low- density residential uses, subject to the minor modifications recommended by Planning Staff.

The proposed building height represents a substantial increase to what is permitted as-of-right by the current Official Plan designation of Neighbourhood Commercial (which permits 3-storeys). However, the siting of the proposed building and general building massing has resulted in an 11- storey building that will fit within a 45-degree angular plane to the lot line abutting the low-density residential uses to the north, subject to the modifications to the 6th floor building setback and 7th floor rooftop terrace setback recommended by Planning Staff. At the front of the building, facing New Street, the lower building section closely aligns with the height of the adjacent 6-storey building to the west.

The proposed buildings have been sited so that a 45-degree angular plane can be achieved from the property line abutting the low-density residential properties to the north. The proposed buildings have been sited closer to the front of the property to generally align with the established building setbacks along the north side of New Street on this block. The longer building faces are located along the side property lines, resulting in narrower building components at the rear yard interface. The siting has resulted in a generous rear yard amenity area for the future residents of the buildings. With regard to building siting, Planning Staff consider the proposed buildings to be compatible with the existing neighbourhood character.

TRG retirement site plan

The development is well situated on thee site – lots of pathways and good open space at the rear of the property.

The proposed building setbacks of the lower building form (floors 1-5) are acceptable to Planning Staff. Likewise, the reduction of the building massing to 6-storeys and proposed rear yard setback assists in providing compatibility with the adjacent low-density residential properties to the north. The proposed setbacks of the upper portion of the building require adjustment to ensure compatibility with the streetscape of New Street and adjacent properties on either side of the development. As noted previously in this report, Planning Staff are recommending modified approval to require a 3m building stepback at the front of the building starting at the 6th floor, as opposed to the 1.5m stepback proposed by the applicant. The additional building stepback recommended by Planning Staff assists in reducing the upper building scale and massing along the New Street frontage. This building face stepback aligns with the recommendations of the City’s Mid-Rise Design Guidelines.

The building design proposed by the applicant provided one 7.5m building wall setback (6.0m to the balcony) for the 11-storey building. Planning Staff have recommended that a 2.5m building stepback be provided along the building sides starting at the 6th floor. The additional side of building stepback will assist in providing adequate separation of taller building elements, should adjacent properties develop with a taller mid-rise building form. Subject to the modifications recommended by Planning Staff, the building setbacks can be considered to be compatible with the surrounding neighbourhood character.

TRG North elevation

Elevation from the north – the floors above the sixth are set back considerably.

The applicant has proposed buildings which take up approximately 35% of the site area at grade. The remainder of the site is developed with landscaped and hardscaped area and a limited area for parking (10 spaces), driving and drop-off. The proposed building setbacks and site design allow for a large landscaped open space area at the back of the property and amenity area at the sides of the buildings. The proposed rear yard amenity area abuts the rear yard amenity space of the two low-density dwellings to the north. The applicant has amended their below grade building area to ensure the long- term protection of the cedar trees along the rear property line. Planning Staff feel that the proposed building coverage is appropriate in terms of compatibility with the surrounding neighbourhood character.

Amenity Area
The proposal includes outdoor common amenity area at-grade at the rear of the property, as well as along walking paths at the sides of the building.

TRG west elevation

Elevation from the west showing the setback for the top five floors.

Outdoor amenity area is also proposed as a rooftop terrace at the back of the building on the 7th floor. This rear terrace space is proposed only for use by the residents and staff of the memory care suites. A rooftop terrace on the 8th floor is provided as additional amenity space for the residents of the apartment building. All units in both buildings (with the exception of the memory care suites) are provided with private outdoor amenity space in the form of a balcony. Indoor amenity area is provided on the ground floors of each building and is also provided on the 7th floor exclusively for the residents of the memory care suites. A total of approximately 10,000 square metres of amenity area is provided throughout the site to support the 342 units proposed. Units in the residential building are proposed to be provided with approximately 27 square metres of amenity area per unit. Units in the retirement home building are provided with approximately 29 square metres of amenity area per unit. Memory care residents are proposed to have approximately 37 square metres of amenity area per unit.

TRG view from north

View of the development skyline from the north.

There are two properties which share the rear lot line with the subject lands. The proposed rear yard common amenity area at grade abuts the rear yard amenity areas of the low-density residential dwellings on Karen Drive. The interface is appropriate as the uses at-grade in the amenity area on the site are passive and informal, and the amenity area is primarily landscaped with soft landscaping elements up to 8 metres from the rear property line.

Conclusion: As modified by Staff, compatibility is achieved with the existing neighbourhood character and represents an appropriate transition between lower density and higher density residential uses.

City of Burlington Adopted Official Plan, 2018
The intersection of Guelph Line and New Street is identified as a Neighbourhood Centre in the adopted Official Plan. Halton Region has identified areas of non-conformity, and as such, the adopted Official Plan will be subject to additional review prior to its approval. Further, City Council has directed a new staff review and public engagement process to consider potential modifications to the adopted Official Plan in the area of the Downtown.

Burlington Hydro has commented that capacity is not available on the existing overhead power lines along New Street to accommodate the hydro services required for the proposed development. The developer will need to upgrade the hydro service from the northwest corner of Mayzel Road and New Street to make adequate servicing available. The system upgrades will be at the expense of the developer. The building will need to provide an electrical room along the south wall of the underground parking structure, accessible to Burlington Hydro staff. Burlington Hydro will be consulted on the specifications of the electrical room requirements at the Site Plan stage.

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Rivers: A Thought on Some of the Cabinet seats Trudeau has to Fill.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

November 14th, 2019


“The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us I say we will never forgive you. We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.” (Greta Thunberg)

For a minority government to survive it will need support from one or more of the other parties – each has their own priorities.

For the NDP, Greens and BQ a top priority is for the federal government to do more about reducing Canada’s carbon footprint. And that is exactly the opposite of what the opposition Tories are looking for.

Canada’s environmental performance among G7 nations has been graded a big fat failure. Along with the USA and Japan, we would push the world’s thermometer up 4 C, almost three times the Paris agreement goal of 1.5 C.

Pipeline -Transmountain

Canada is the fourth largest oil producer in the world and fourth largest oil exporter.

Alberta is the largest source of Canada’s carbon emissions. And despite all the noise about how the oil industry is dying, Canada is the fourth largest oil producer in the world and fourth largest oil exporter, even without any more pipelines. In fact Canada exports even more oil than we use domestically.

Jason Kenney arrives for a cabinet shuffle at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Wednesday, May 18, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.

And while investment in new oil development has petered-off since the oil price crash back in 2015, Alberta is still the wealthiest province in the federation with the highest per capita incomes. So when Jason Kenney says that the rest of Canada doesn’t understand the west, he means that we don’t get that he wants even more… money. He’ll tell you that Alberta’s oil contributes to our high standard of living, and he’s right though that would be less the case were he to be successful in dismantling Canada’s income equalization program.

On that note, it wasn’t even ‘Albert’s oil’ before the federal government deeded natural resources to the prairie province in the 1930’s. Not that we should expect a thank you, but recall how former premier Lougheed beat up Justin’s father when he introduced a plan to share those national resources for the benefit of the rest of the country, and wean us off foreign oil in the process. The irony clearly escapes Albertans when they demand more pipelines, because Pierre’s government would have built them all under that program.

And today, there is monumental disconnect in vision between the oil producing provinces and the rest of us Canadians. After all, two thirds of us voted for a political party whose main policy was to reduce Canada’s carbon footprint, not increase it.

Western Canada republic

An unhealthy similarity to the southern United States.

So using the ‘best defence is an offence’ argument, Mr. Kenney and Mr. Moe have declared a kind of civil war. Yes, their demand for the provincial right to unimpeded oil patch development has an unhealthy similarity to the southern US states once demanding their right to maintain slavery.

How is a prime minister supposed to govern a nation so badly divided? Mr. Scheer has counseled appeasement. Cancel the carbon tax and ram through pipelines everywhere to allow the western provinces to reinvigorate investment in the oil sector. That is exactly what he would have tried to do had he been elected.

But that will not fly with the rest of the country, especially not in Quebec or B.C. which are opposed to more pipelines and have their own carbon pricing systems in place. Mr. Moe left his meeting with Trudeau complaining that Justin wasn’t listening. But it’s not so much about listening as about the message.

Catherine McKenna

Catherine McKenna: Minister of the Environment.

So when Trudeau fashions his new Cabinet he will need to make reconciling those western secessionist voters a priority. At a minimum that will require some fresh faces in the key area of national dispute, climate change. Catherine McKenna has been a great voice for the fight against climate change, leading the introduction of some 50 measures to reduce Canada’s carbon footprint, including the carbon tax.

McKenna has been passionate, and even combative, on the environment in dealing with premiers like Mr. Ford. And In return she has been ridiculed by the ultra-right media and been the victim of personal threats to herself and her family. It would be a surprise were she to stay in that portfolio when the PM announces his new cabinet next week. But second guessing the making of a Cabinet is a fool’s game – only the PM knows.


Chrystia Freeland – kept the NAFTA negotiations on the table and moving.

Though there is brilliant and talented Chrystia Freeland. She’s this rock star and skilled negotiator who kept the NAFTA file together, despite an unpredictable US President Trump. An Alberta native herself, she is also a Rhodes scholar and former writer with a number of journals including the business oriented Economist. She is also widely admired by most Canadians, some even suggesting she should be our next PM.

Changing the channel in the oil patch provinces would be a challenge deserving of her skills. It is a tall order and failure is not an option. History will show that it was mainly Pierre Trudeau who kept Quebec in Canada during those early seventies. And now it’s up to his son to make sure we shore up the west.

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes regularly on both federal and provincial politics, 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:

Greta–     Climate Standoff –     No Help From Quebec

Emissions by Province –     Oil Industry

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Angela Morgan to leave job as City Clerk - takes on Customer Service.

Newsflash 100By Pepper Parr

November 14th, 2019



In September we saw a new organizational design which, according to the City Manager, positions the City to meet its strategic goals over the balance of this term of Council and beyond.

The initial change also signaled the City’s continued attention to the customer experience; one of those changes was the creation of a new Customer Experience Manager-Business Development.

City Clerk Angela Morgan fails to ensure media alerted to Special Council meeting. Her communications people dropped the ball as well.

The first time the Gazette worked with City Clerk Angela Morgan was when she signed the documents confirming the results of the 2010 municipal election.

The big news is that Angela Morgan has been named Executive Lead-Customer Service; she will also continue in her role as City Clerk until a new person is hired. There will be eyebrows raised on that decision.

The intention is to strengthen the customer experience. Council’s approval of the new organizational structure and strategy was to provide an excellent end-to-end experience for the City’s customers. Among the key responsibilities of the Executive Lead-Customer Experience will be to develop and implement an updated customer experience strategy, including the full implementation of an advanced Customer Relationship Management software, and establishing service standards through a “Customer Experience Commitment” for each department/service area.

“Our new strategy to meet our customers needs will also mean establishing a new Service Burlington customer service centre on the main floor lobby of City Hall for customer interactions; and establishing a physical “one window” for development customers as result of Red Tape Red Carpet also on the main floor lobby of City Hall.”

Highlights of the organizational design changes include:


Angela Morgan at a city council meeting in 2019

• Angela Morgan will fill the Executive Lead-Customer Service; she will also continue in her role as City Clerk until a new person is hired.
• A public recruitment process will begin in the near future for a new City Clerk
• A new Manager of Customer Experience will be created
• The new positions will be managed within the existing staff complement

Meed Ward H&S

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, who has had more than her share of unacceptable customer service experiences with the Clerk said: “These changes are part of the City of Burlington’s continued evolution to a more customer-centric organization, and set us up to better deliver on our Vision to Focus 4-year plan. I look forward to seeing the positive impact this new structure will have on our goal to consistently provide exceptional customer service to the community.”

Tim Commisso, City Manager added to that saying: “Moving forward with this new structure allows the City to provide a more robust, coordinated and seamless customer experience to our residents and businesses. Customer experience to me means the experience our customers have during all points of contact with the City.

“From walking through the door to a welcoming environment, to receiving service at the counter, to going online and seamlessly accessing an online service. Our residents and businesses expect fast and convenient service and cities always have to evolve to meet those needs.”
Perhaps the desk with the word SECURITY glaring at anyone who walks into city hall will get a heave–ho as well.

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Liberal leadership candidate with no legislative experience offers a progressive approach to serving the public.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 13th, 2019



It is a continuing process – no sooner have you elected one level of government than you have to consider who you want to lead you at another level.

The provincial Liberals who were almost wiped off the map in the provincial election of June 2018 are now in the process of determining who the next leader of that political party will be.

At this point there are five people running for that job.

Mitzie Hunter

Mitzie Hunter, former Wynne government Cabinet Minister re-elected in June of 2018.

Kate Graham, a candidate for a seat in the legislature during the 2018 election. She did not win the seat but wants to be selected by the party membership as their leader.

Alvin Tedjo, also a candidate in the June 2018 election – he was defeated.

Steven Del Luca

Steven Del Duca, a member of the Wynne government Cabinet. Del Luca was not re-elected in June 2018.

Mitzie Hunter, a member of the Wynne government cabinet is after the job. She was re-elected in the June 2018 election.

Michael Coteau was re-elected as a member of the legislature in June 2018. He was a Cabinet Minister in the Wynne government.

Steven Del Duca was a member of the Wynne government cabinet who was not re-elected in June of 2018

Alvin Tedjo is the focus of this story. He ran in Oakville North Burlington and was soundly defeated by the Conservative candidate – she got almost twice the number of votes as Tedjo.

That has not deterred him from wanting to lead the Liberal Party.

Tedjo BEST

Home for the Tedjo family is Burlington.

He is the father of three children who are all attending Catholic schools. Alvin and his wife are both practicing Catholics who believe that the two educational organizations should be merged.

His plan is to create one English language school board and one French language school board.

“For students, this change means the convenience of attending their closest school, less time on the bus and access to an optional religious curriculum. For teachers and early childhood educators, it means smaller class sizes, availability of more resources and the freedom to teach in any publicly funded school,” said Tedjo.

Charles Pascal, a former Ontario Deputy Minister of Education and professor at OISE*/University of Toronto has previously said, “When it comes to publicly funded education in Ontario, it’s time to let go of our “separate ways” so we can come together. Providing Catholic education with public money is an anachronism waiting to be brought to an end by a courageous Queen’s Park legislature.”

From a fiscal standpoint, Tedjo argues that his plan to merge the school boards will result in substantial savings to the province. This figure is an estimated $1.6B dollars per year that would be reinvested back into public education for ongoing improvement.

“Quebec, Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador have already done this. It’s time for Ontario to make a change and stop spending precious education dollars to maintain twice as many school boards as we actually need,” said Tedjo.

“Under the current system, the government is quite literally wasting billions of dollars to keep children apart. I firmly believe that a better solution is to have all of our kids – Catholic and non-Catholic – Learning Together,” said Tedjo.

Tedjo talking

The Tedjo family grew to three children in four years, which meant that they had two of them in childcare at a time for four consecutive years.

Tedjo wants to see massive changes to our child care system.
He tells the story of how when he and his wife Rebecca started having children they worried about things most first-time parents worry about: are we ready, will we be good parents, how are we going to survive?

“We also knew that we had to try and get a spot at a daycare as soon as possible, enough friends and family had told us that. Living in Toronto at the time we went on the city’s waitlist. We eventually gave up and found a different solution that made sense. We did eventually get a call back, only it was two years later while we were expecting our second child.

The Tedjo family grew to three children in four years, which meant that we had two of them in childcare at a time for four consecutive years. “Between our reduced income during parental leave, and the cost of childcare at $17,000 per child ($34,000 per year), those years were tough. We calculated that we were better off financially with Rebecca going back to work as a registered nurse full-time than we would be if she stayed home, but not by much.”

We only stopped paying for daycare last year when our youngest started full-day kindergarten, and we couldn’t help but feel like it was a bit late for the government to start supporting children, where childcare before that magic age of four cost us as much as sending an 18-year old off to college or university.

Tedjo claims that childcare has become so unaffordable that 80 per cent of Ontario families with children under four years old cannot afford the cost of licensed child care. He adds that there are only enough licensed spaces to accommodate 23 per cent of kids under the age of four. This is just not good enough. Many families are paying mortgage-level fees to access licensed childcare, and many more families can’t afford childcare at all.

The solution to this problem is right in front of us. High-quality universal licenced childcare can support better education outcomes for school aged children, improve social cohesion, take pressure off the family budget, and above all else, boost Ontario’s economy by giving families, and particularly women, the option of returning to the workplace sooner, leading to increased economic productivity as well as additional tax revenues for the government.

Tedjo in red jacket

Tedjo: The solution to the child care problem is right in front of us.

The plan will take time — it’s a big project with no quick fix. After the review, we will start to deliver universal childcare in phases. As we implement phase 1 and build out the capacity to support and provide preschool aged children with childcare, we will work with our partners on expanding universal childcare to toddlers (age 1 ½–2 ½ years old).

In the short term, this expansion will require investments. In the long run, increased employment for parents, particularly for mothers, will contribute to the growth of Ontario’s economy. The taxes associated with their spending power, improved educational outcomes for children, and decreased costs to social programs will provide a return that makes this plan an economic winner, as well as the right thing to do.

The consensus among experts and economists is that for every dollar invested in quality early childhood education, there is a $2.40 return to the economy.

A study by Deloitte estimates that by addressing the wage gap, Ontario government revenues from personal and sales tax could increase by $2.6 billion. The same study also estimates that government spending on social assistance, tax credits, and child benefits could decrease by $103 million, due to the projected increase in families’ income.

Electoral reform is a big issue for Tedjo as well but he wasn’t prepared to talk about that at this point.

Transit has to be changed radically if we are going to get people out of their cars. Policy position on this objective are to follow.

Tedjo plans to implement the Basic Income pilot program that was in place when the Liberal government was defeated.

Tedjo believes our social safety net; ensuring our elderly don’t live in poverty, and making sure our children have the basic necessities of life, is something Canadians are proud of. This is where the Universal Basic Income (UBI) comes in.

Fighting poverty isn’t a partisan issue, at least it shouldn’t be. And it’s not an idea owned by progressives either. There have been nearly 500 studies on basic income, including pilots in Ontario and around the world.

Ontario’s Universal Basic Income would add over $10 billion to Ontario’s economy, create up to 80,000 jobs, and save the Ontario government hundreds of millions of dollars in administration costs and red tape. UBI grows the economy and unlocks opportunity for those stuck in the poverty cycle.

Basic income

The early end of the pilot Basic Income Guarantee program in Ontario was ended months after the Ford government took office.

This basic income would replace programs more difficult and expensive to administer, like Ontario Works and ODSP, while retaining additional benefits and supports for people with disabilities. This brings dignity to our system, so people don’t need to justify the need for food, clothing, or shelter every two weeks.

The benefits of a universal basic income are well established. It provides a safety net for workers who lost their jobs that is less expensive to administer and easier to access than our current system.

And, like every other politician, Climate Change is right up there at the top for Tedjo.  He would bring an immediate end to all the time and money he thinks is being wasted on court battels and go along with what the federal government Climate Change policy. Tedjo did not say if he would create model for Ontario. “It is too early to make that decision” he said.

In the game of politics endorsements can mean something – but not always. Frequently a candidate can get an endorsement from someone who is either a member of the legislature or planning on running and would like to be considered for a Cabinet position.

Hugh Segal, an intellectual giant within the Progressive Conservative movement, has endorsed Alvin Tedjo.  Segal, the former senator and chief of staff to Progressive Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Premier Bill Davis, has fought for a universal basic income in Canada for over 40 years. THAT is an endorsement well worth having and speaks volumes about what Tedjo is setting out to do.

Tedjo wants change at just about every level. Not change for the sake of change but change to bring about a society that meets the needs of everyday people.

The Liberal government that was defeated in June of 2018 was not in touch with what people needed and not keeping in touch cost xxx

Tedjo in sweater

Tedjo: “People are feeling uncertain about their future. For many, the cost of living is going up, but their salary isn’t keeping pace. We also face a rapidly changing economy where artificial intelligence, automation entrepreneurship and clean technology will be increasingly important.

Tedjo believes that “People are feeling uncertain about their future. For many, the cost of living is going up, but their salary isn’t keeping pace. We also face a rapidly changing economy where artificial intelligence, automation entrepreneurship and clean technology will be increasingly important. Even so, the current government is making short-sighted decisions to cut the programs that will help us prepare for what’s coming.”

The Liberal Party will choose a new leader in March of 2020. Then they have to rebuild and put their vision out there and prepare for the 2022 provincial election. The Doug Ford government isn’t all that popular today but they have shown some capacity to change.

Three years in the world of politics is the equivalent to a century. Alvin Tedjo is the local lad who is after the brass ring – we shall watch his progress.

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Public Board of Education holding a partnership opportunities meeting in December - need for a new administrative building on the list.

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 12th, 2019



Each year the Halton District School Board holds a meeting to which community organizations and members of the public are invited to discuss potential planning and partnership opportunities.

Partnership opportunities in existing schools and co-build opportunities in proposed new schools, as well as a new Board Administrative Centre, will be discussed at the J.W. Singleton Education Centre, 2050 Guelph Line, Burlington on December 11th at 7:00 pm

Potential partners are requested to bring relevant planning information such as population projections, growth plans, community needs, land use and greenspace/park requirements to the meeting.

The big one on this list is the critical need for a new administrative building on the Upper Middle Road – Guelph Line site. The existing structure is bursting at the seams. Much of the senior staff has to located at the Gary Allan High School on New Street which results in hours of wasted time in travel between the two locations.

A number of the trustees were hoping that any new administrative building would be located closer to the center of the Region; that probably won’t happen because the Board currently owns the land on which the administrative building is located where there is a lot of space for a new building.

HDSB location

The Board owns the land right up to the NW intersection of Upper Middle and Guelph line.

There is some background information, policy and the procedures the Boards are required to follow.

You will find that HERE

The key contact at the Board of Education is Domenico Renzella, Senior Manager, Planning. 905-335-3663 | Toll-free 1-877-618-3456


Related news stories:

New Admin building will cost $23 million.

Not all trustees like the idea of a new Admin building in Burlington.

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Falling snow took precedence over fallen leaves.

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 12th, 2019



Leaf collection has been suspended until the snow has been cleared.

Schedule adjustments, if any, will be posted on the city web site and in the Gazette

Clearing the snow of the streets has those heavy trucks pushing a snow plow.

Snow plows - tandem on Fairview

Depending on the need heavy duty trucks can be used to plow snow.

The city’s snow fighting team was ready for the forecasted early blast of winter and snow. Once that snow is no longer an issue and the temperatures warm up to seasonal norms the leaves will get any attention they need.

The forecast was for 15 cm of snow for Burlington.  It came in at closer to 20+; as a result, the City is declaring a significant snow event as of 6 p.m. this evening. All parking exemptions are cancelled and there is no on-street parking after 6 p.m. tonight and until the city declares the significant snow event has ended.

Many of the leaves on the streets might get taken up with the snow – a possible savings for the leaf collection budget.

Leaf collection 2017 truck

Now it is used for leaf collection.

Residents wanting to remove their leaves can either use them as mulch on their lawn or garden or bag them for Halton Region’s yard waste pick-up.

During the winter season, the City of Burlington maintains 1,900 lane kilometres of roads and 850 kilometres of sidewalks.

• If a snow event is announced, all parking exemptions are cancelled and there is no on-street parking until the snow event has been cancelled.

‘• Do not leave vehicles parked over the sidewalk while in your driveway as this can prevent the sidewalk plow from completing its work.

• Do not shovel, plow or blow snow from residential or commercial properties onto the road. This poses a hazard to motorists and is prohibited by the Ontario Highway Traffic Act and City bylaw.

• Snow plows need room to clear the ice and snow. Please stay back 70 feet as sand and salt may be dropping from the trucks. This also gives you room to stop safely.

• Give snow plows plenty of space at intersections. The snow plow may need two or more lanes to turn or to get through the intersection. If a snow plow is waiting to turn left at an intersection, do not pull up and stop underneath or in front of the wing plow (the plow attached to the right side of the truck). Your vehicle could be struck by the plow when the truck pulls forward.

Mark Adam, Manager of Road Operations said: “Snow removal will always take priority over loose leaf removal. When the snow comes, all available resources are focused on making the roads and sidewalks safe. The cold weather is expected to last several days. We will be watching the weather and will announce when the loose leaf collection will resume.”

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Public School Board Wants Input on their Next Multi-Year Plan

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 11th, 2019



The Halton District School Board (HDSB) is asking students, families, staff and the community to share views and identify areas of focus for the Board’s next Multi-Year Plan 2020-2024.

HDSB multi yearOpportunities to provide input include community roundtable discussions, focus group sessions, and online surveys, available from Nov. 4 to Dec. 2, 2019.

The Multi-Year Plan (MYP) is the roadmap that informs the Board’s decisions and allocation of resources, while guiding collective actions for ongoing improvement over the next four years. It sets the direction to ensure the Board’s efforts support all students, staff and families across the HDSB.

The current MYP 2016-2020 can be found here.

All parents/guardians, staff, students and community members are invited to complete a survey to assess the Board’s current MYP and provide input on areas of priority in the next MYP. The surveys are open from Nov. 4 – Dec. 2, 2019.

All parents/guardians, staff, students and community members are invited to discuss and provide face-to-face input on the development of the Board’s next MYP at two community roundtable discussions held in the north and south areas of Halton.

Two separate identical sessions will be held from 7 – 9 p.m. on the following dates:

• Monday, Nov. 18: Milton Staff Learning Centre (215 Ontario St S, Milton) – Register here

• Thursday, Nov. 21: Garth Webb Secondary School (2820 West Oak Trails Blvd, Oakville) –
Register here

Stuart Miller

Director of Education Stuart Miller

“The Multi-Year Plan is strengthened by the experience and input of students, staff, families and community members,” says Stuart Miller, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board. “Your voice is critical to getting the plan right and setting the direction for the HDSB. We look forward to your participation in helping to shape the next four years in the Halton District School Board.”

Consultations will take place until December 2, 2019. The feedback and insights received from stakeholders through the online surveys, community roundtable discussions and other forums will inform the development of the new MYP over the next three to four months. The MYP 2020-2024 will take effect in September 2020.


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High school information nights - schedule dates.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

November 11th, 2019



High school information nights are scheduled during the month of November to provide an opportunity for students, parents and guardians to learn about Grade 9 programs, services for students and diploma requirements.

Each high school in the Halton District School Board will host an information evening. Families should attend the information night at the school designated for their community.

Dates and locations for each information night are set out below:

Aldershot High School
November 28, 2019 at 6:30 p.m.

Burlington Central High School
November 14, 2019 at 6:30 p.m.

Dr. Frank J. Hayden Secondary School
November 14, 2019 – from 6:00 pm – 9:00 p.m.

M.M. Robinson High School
November 14, 2019 from 7:00 p.m to 8:30 p.m., (includes a French Program info session)

Nelson High School
November 20, 2019, from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m

HDSB grade 9 intro

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Lest we forget

Remembered, respected

Remembered, respected


The memorial was put in place after WWI when the citizens of Burlington wanted to do something to remember the fallen.  It was paid for by citizens and then turned over to the city to maintain.

The bronze plaque on the front was put in place to commemorate those lost in WW II – beneath that plaque are the following words:

“To teach that he who serves is lost,
To bear in silence, though our hearts may bleed,
To spend ourselves, and never count the cost,
For others greater need.”

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Bridgewater struggles to keep up with the published completion and occupancy schedule.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 8th, 2019



During a walking tour led by staff from the Planning department one of the group asked what was happening to the Bridgewater development.

The small crowd of 40 people were at the foot of Elizabeth Street at Lakeshore; it was evident there wasn’t anything going on at the site.

The planners leading the tour said “you can get an update on the city web site.

The Gazette had been told earlier in October that there had been an HVAC worked strike which slowed things down and also that the hotel operation that was going to go into the north west building had asked for a design change with the windows.

We went to the city web site and copied the information posted there on what the current schedule is supposed to be.

Bridgewater schedule

Then we arranged for a photograph to be taken from the condo directly across the street.


The opening between where the hotel is to be on the right and the 22 story tower on the left is the passageway that will allow the public to walk through to the lake.

The data provided and the picture don’t appear to tell the same story.

Construction lives by the weather – and is managed by people who understand the demands of the markets.

The path to the public area is said to be ready in October – it is now November.  The pictures were taken on the 5th of November.

People who bought into the development and sold their homes expecting the builder to meet the schedule are more than disappointed.

Bridgewater from the west - higher elevation

It was supposed to be a dream development – for early buyers iit has turned into a nightmare.

When approved the development was referred to as The Legacy building.  It was at one point going to soar 30 storeys into the sky.  The hotel was going to be ready for the 2015 Pan Am Games.

Riviera from front

The Riviera motel was torn down to make way for the Bridgewater.

There were issues before New Horizons took over the construction of the development site which at one point was home for a small motel.

At this rate the Adi brothers will have the Nautique built and occupied before people will be able to walk though the dream that the Bridgewater was supposed to be.



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Was making private property a public park like space a way to get around parkland dedicated?

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 8th, 2019



When I first heard the word POPS at a Standing Committee this week, I thought the speaker was talking about a pop up stand or an event that takes place for a short period of time – like a couple of hours.

The tower

The 27 storey tower seen from Old Lakeshore Road. The view to the lake would be unobstructed.

City council was listening to the Statutory presentation being made by the Urban Design Group on behalf of CORE developments who are proposing a 27 storey tower with a heritage building kept on the site that is in the “football” opposite the bottom of Martha Street..

One of the features of the development is a piece of property on the west side that was described as a POPS which stands for Privately Owned Public Space.

POPS property

The space shown as green would be private property that the public could use. The called it POPS

The developers plan was to open up the space to the public who would be able to walk around and enjoy the ambience.

The POPS space lined up with the foot of Martha Street and would allow a clean line of sight from Lakeshore at Martha through to the lake.

No mention was made of Emmas Back Porch sitting in the south side of Old Lakeshore Road.
Park space in that part of the city is going to be limited. Spencer Park is in the area but it is a bit of a walk.

Every development has to provide the city with 5% of the land as park dedicated land. Developers can choose to give cash in lieu of the land.

The cash that is given goes into the Park Reserve fund and can be used elsewhere.

POPS north to Martha

The POPS looking north to Martha

POPS south to lake

The POPS looking south to the lake.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward saw what looked like a bit of an opportunity to apply some leverage to a development that no one seems to want; she asked how much area would the POPS take up – would it amount to 5% of the overall land.

Turns out the 5% Park dedication would equal just 15% of the POPS space. The Mayor might not give up on that angle.

Martha street opening

If you were standing on Martha Street, half a block up from LAkeshore Road – this is what your view would look like.

There are several concerns with the POPS concept. The owners of the development will eventually be the condominium corporation that takes over once the development is completed and at least one very vocal condominium resident pointed out that a public space is 24/7; condominium owners would really have no privacy.

With ownership of the property comes the right to do whatever they want with it as long as they stay within the rules. And that might well be the end of the “public space” part of the POPS.

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Jumanne Salmon charged with Exercise Control over a prostitute and seven other offenses.

Crime 100By Staff

November 8th, 2019



In October 2019, members of the Halton Police Service – Human Trafficking Unit initiated an investigation pertaining to Jumanne Salmon (36) of Pickering, who is alleged to have been involved in human trafficking.

HRPS crestSalmon is alleged to have forced, exploited and transported the female victim (adult) from hotel to hotel to work in the sex trade across several jurisdictions including Burlington, Mississauga, Brampton, and Kitchener. The offences are alleged to have occurred between the years 2012 to 2017.

At the time of the investigation, investigators learned that Salmon was already in custody at the Hamilton Wentworth Detention Centre for an unrelated matter. The Halton Regional Police Service obtained a Judge’s Order to have Salmon brought to the Ontario Court of Justice, Milton, in order to answer to the following charges:

• Trafficking in Persons
• Receive Material Benefit from trafficking in persons
• Exercise Control over a prostitute
• Living off the avails of prostitution
• Procuring – Exercise control, direction or influence
• Receive a material benefit from sexual services
• Assault
• Uttering threats to cause death

Anyone with questions or information about these events is asked to contact Det. Dan Ciardullo of the Human Trafficking Unit at 905 825-4747 ext. 4973.

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

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