Burlington City Council moving to hybrid council meetings

By Staff

March 23rd, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Don’t accuse this council of ever rushing into anything.

Plans for the resumption of normal city council business were set out today.  They will move to a hybrid model.  Members of Council, senior City staff and members of the public have the option to participate in Council meetings in-person at Council Chambers in City Hall at 426 Brant St. or remotely.

At least two members of Council have been infected by Covid19, one very mildly, the other quite seriously.

Another member of Council appears to suffer from Mysophobia  a phobia that centers on an extreme and irrational fear of germs, dirt, or contamination.

The move to hybrid Council meetings will be phased in.

The first hybrid meeting will be the Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services Committee (EICS) meeting taking place on April 7, 2022.

This will be for members of Council and senior City staff only.

Following this, the Council meeting on April 19 will have the option for Council, senior staff and delegations, only, to be present in Council Chambers.

Expect to see Ann and David Marsden at the first meeting during which in person delegations will be possible.

Starting in May, the standing committees and Council meetings will be open to Council, senior staff, delegations and the public to attend in person.

All this rests on the Covid19 infection numbers being low – in the three to five hundred level seems to be what they are aiming for.

City Council and committee meetings have been held virtually for the past two years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health and safety
To ensure the health of safety of participants attending hybrid council meetings in person:

  • members of Council will be physically distanced in Council Chambers around the Council desk
  • plexiglass barriers have been installed between participants sitting around the Council desk and in front of the delegate’s podium
  • masking will be encouraged for individuals in Council Chambers when they are not speaking
  • after each meeting, all Council Chambers equipment and surfaces will be disinfected.

Delegations from members of the public
Under the hybrid model, members of the public have the option to delegate in-person in Council Chambers or remotely.

Council Chambers will be configured to ensure all participants have an equitable and seamless meeting experience. Delegates are not required to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to delegate in person. Those wishing to speak at an upcoming meeting must register by noon the business day before the meeting at burlington.ca/delegate.

Will Burlington every see this level of public participation again?

Members of the public can continue to access a live stream of Council and committee meetings from wherever they are by visiting burlington.ca and selecting the “Live Stream” icon.

A strategy for resuming in-person advisory committee meetings will be reviewed at a later date and will be based on findings and lessons learned from the hybrid City Council meetings.

The City will continue to monitor the situation with COVID-19 and follow the guidance provided by public health and the Province of Ontario. In the event of any changes made by the Province of Ontario to current COVID-19 public health measures, changes to the hybrid council meeting model may be introduced.

Residents delegating in person are reminded the main floor of City Hall is currently undergoing construction as part of the City Hall Modernization project. Please use the Brant Street entrance to access City Hall and take the elevator in the lobby to reach the second floor where Council Chambers is located.

 

 

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Why do former Chiefs of Police want to be politicians?

By Pepper Parr

March 23rd, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Former Toronto Chief of Police Mark Saunders plans to run as a PC candidate.

When did the police services become a training ground for people who want to go into politics?

Bill Blair left the Toronto Police Service and is now a Cabinet Minister in the federal Liberal government.

The Ontario Progressive Conservatives announced today that Mark Saunders, a former Chief of Police for Toronto as well, will run for that party in the June election.

Halton Regional Police Chief Stephen Tanner

A ray of sunshine for the Tory’s – to date 18 people who were with Doug Ford when he formed a government will not be with him in June.

Saunders will be running in Don Valley West, which has been held by former Liberal premier Kathleen Wynne since 2003.  She will not be running again.

Does Halton Regional Police Services have any plans for a career shift?

Spokesperson for the Chief  advises us that: “The Chief gets asked this question frequently. He indicates that he finds policing to be the greatest calling, and he still has a few more things he’d like to contribute and accomplish in our sector.”

 

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It is over - we can all hug each other now. State of Emergency and mask bylaw repealed effective immediately

By Pepper Parr

March 22, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It is over!

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward had the power to declare a State of Emergency – she chose to share that decision with the other members of Council

The Mayor along with her council members passed a motion to declare the State of Emergency that was declared two years ago was revoked today – at 4:36 in the afternoon.

Hugs are back said the Mayor.

The masking bylaw was revoked as well.

Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan who voted against the decision to lift the mask bylaw

It was passed on a 5-1 vote with Rory Nisan dissenting. Councillor Kearns was absent.

With the State of Emergency over the Emergency Control Group (ECG) gets dissolved.

We didn’t learn all that much today on just they did on a day to day basis but we did learn that their very first meeting on a Saturday lasted 8 hours – the second meeting on the Sunday lasted just as long.

City manager Tim Commisso explained that they just didn’t know what they were doing or had to do.

Keeping everyone safe was the prime objective – but in the early days it was never completely clear how to go about keeping people safe.

Executive Director Alan Magi served as co-chair of the ECG said it was learning what worked by the hour. All the essential service people had to be moved from their desks at whatever their location was and learn to do their jobs from the kitchen table at home.

Some staff members were able to make the transition while others had serious difficulty.

Commisso added that “we knew so little” but we had to be there to answer the questions.

Executive Director Sheila Jones

Executive Director Sheila Jones remarked that on her third month in her new position she had to learn how to manage staff to do something no one had been trained to do and there was no playbook to follow.

When we were putting up fencing in the Beachway area people were asking if that was necessary – “we didn’t really know” he explained.

Director of Finance Joan Ford

There was a real crunch on the revenue side – the city is blessed with a treasurer who has an incredible understand of where the dollar are and where they have to be spent. At one point Joan Ford was running under a Covid19 budget where much of the money came from the province and at the same time running a traditional municipal budget where revenues from just about everything were plummeting.

Chris Glenn, Director Parks, Recreation and Culture

Transit was bleeding, Parks and Recreation learned to pivot and then pivot again as the rules on what people could do and couldn’t do in the playground areas kept changing.

Friday afternoons began to be the time when the province would ship as new bunch of rules and guidance to the municipal sector
Everyone was thanking everyone – what we have yet to learn is who were the really strong people who could keep things calm. Commisso isn’t the kind of guy whose feathers are easily ruffled.

Fire Chief has shown herself to be good at keeping control and issues in context.

What Burlington didn’t have, and both could have had and should have had, was a steady stream of news from the ECG people.

City manager Tim Commisso – dancing in the streets of Itabashi – Japan

What the public got was reports the ECG people made to council once during the Standing Committee cycles. At basically the same time we had a Prime Minister at a lectern outside his home explaining what was being done; where we were on the matter of vaccines

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward outside the hospital telling workers how important they were.

The Mayor resorted to banging pots and pans or standing in front of the hospital with a megaphone in hand telling the essential workers that they were loved.
But as of today – all that is part of the past.

Plans are being made to hold some of the social events that were missed – sounds like an opportunity for one heck of a party.
I want to see Commisso dancing in the street the way he did in Japan.

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Solid Gold opens - no masks at this location

By Pepper Parr

March 22, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Now open – with a masking protocol

A sign that the new normal has taken on life and that there are places where masks will not be worn

Solid Gold, the Adult Entertainment location in Aldershot is now open.

The site, die for re-development at some point. will have a public park. no word on the size of the park, at the rear of the building.

A location with a lot of traffic will evolve and become a two structure development that will tise to 10 to 12 storeys.

The property owner has said he will ensure that the site has a coffee shop and there is a report that there will be a park at the rear of the development.

Time line – nothing in place yet – the item did go to the Ontario Land Tribunal.

The developers application – yet to be approved

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What does a Happy Camper look like? Here he is.

By Pepper Parr

March 22, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Pictures are indeed often worth a thousand words.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau -a very happy camper.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced yesterday that his government had come to an agreement with the New Democrats on the kind of legislation that would be brought forward in the next three years; including pharmacare, dental care, affordable housing and climate change.

The agreement is said to ensure that the Liberals will not have to go to the polls until sometime in 2025 – pretty good job security.

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Some very tough decisions to be made by the people of Ontario

By Pepper Parr

March 22, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

Ontario’s fixed-date election law sets voting day as June 2, 2022, and the formal start of the campaign period as next May 4.

Burlington now has nominated candidates for the three mainline political parties.

NDP candidate Andrew Drummond get a visit from Liberal candidate Mariam Manaa while she was doing her door to door thing.

The New Democrats nominated Andrew Drummond, the Liberals actually made a contest of their nomination and chose Mariam Manaa as their candidate.

The Progressive Conservatives appointed Natalie Pierre as their candidate.

The Greens nominated Kyle Hutton.

There may be others.

While there is all kinds of political maneuvering taking place at the party leadership level, the fight at the ground level will become fierce starting May 4th.

Drummond is well known, he has run before and has acquitted himself quite well.  Were he to be elected he would be a creditable legislator once he has learned the basics of being an MPP.

Andrea Horwath on the campaign trail

The problem with the Ontario New Democrats is their leader – Andrea Horwath isn’t seen as a leader; there isn’t all that much bench strength in the party – she would have difficulty forming a government and the even more difficulty governing.

Bob Rae who brought tonnes of credibility to the job of party leader had difficulty find the talent he needed to appoint solid members to his Cabinet.

Burlington does have a small but solid community of followers – enough to win?  There was a real chance last time out – not sure that chance exists this time around,

Manaa has no experience in government but some knowledge of the way politicians serve their communities having worked as an intern with two federal MP’s.

No one is sure just where her support came from.  If the Muslim community is large enough she could take the seat.; what is not clear is just how many Muslim’s in the riding there are.   The most recent Stats Canada data is not yet available.  The Muslim community will vote for their candidate.

The team teaching Mariam how to campaign is solid.  If she has the capacity to develop into a credible candidate she could surprise a lot of people.

Aldershot resident Greg Woodruff, right,  talking to Stephen Del Duca, provincial Liberal party leader, while he was in Burlington as the then Minister of Transport for the province.

The Liberals have not been blessed with a gifted party leader.  Steve Del Duca comes across as flailing about looking for an issue that he can use to get the foothold he desperately needs.  Not having a seat in the Legislature doesn’t help. .

The Progressive Conservatives in Burlington have struggled to develop really solid candidates. Cam Jackson served as the MPP for years.  One would be challenged to point to anything significant he achieved while in office.

Jane McKenna was nominated at a meeting where she was the only candidate; zip in the way of political experience and a one of the thinnest public profiles ever seen for a person running for public office.  She was fortunate in having some very savvy political players guiding and directing her.  It was one of Keith Strong’s better initiatives.

There has always been something suspect with PC nomination meetings.

McKenna decided there was an even greener pasture for her at the Regional level and she announced she would not run again as the MPP fr Burlington.

There was no immediate identifiable replacement candidate; we would get notes from people asking if we knew who the PC candidate was going to be.

Natalie Pierre, PC appointed candidate for Burlington

It is not known yet how, when or where the appointed candidate Natalie Pierre was found.

No experience other than having lived in Burlington for 30 years.

The PC party made the appointment on March 4th and informed the public on We were copied on an email in which McKenna appeared to be taking all the credit for finding Pierre.

Since that announcement – not a word.

Burlington has solid deep Conservative roots. As a society it tends to be conservative.

The federal candidate the Conservatives put forward was wrapped in a bubble, said next to nothing and was the poster girl for the gun club lobby.

The challenge for every political party and its candidate is to create profile – get the candidate out in front of people.

To date we have seen nothing on Natalie Pierre.

Are the PC’s going to rely on the strength thay have always has in Burlington. A sort of “she is one of us – vote for her” campaign?

Doug Ford casting a ballot

The problem the PC’s have is with their leader.  He has not exactly proven to be a rock star for the way he handled the pandemic; Ontario has yet to formalize an agreement with the federal government on the new child care program.

It is hard to fathom the PC position on climate change but very easy to grasp what they want to do in terms of building new roads rather that focus on and look for different ways to move people from place to place.

The Bradford Bypass and the Hwy 413 extension are really not needed.

Doug Ford has a small business mentality – he genuinely feels the pain of the small business person who had to close their doors during the lock-downs,

Ford understand the small business community – he genuinely cares about the problems they have had to face.

He is prepared to put at risk the health and welfare on students who would be well served with a masking policy for another two weeks until we learn what WORD are going to be as a result of the Spring Break.

What is proving to be very interesting is the number of parents who have decided they will stay with a masking protocol for the immediate future and wait for new virus infection results.

Doug Ford wants to hope that the reports are minimal and that we may have cleared the mist recent wave.  Let us hope as well that the numbers that do exists don’t get fudged.

Kyle Hutton Green Part candidate

What the province needs at this point in its growth is a well thought out vision – something a bit more than Doug Ford’s Open for Business position.

Burlington now has three candidates; two who are credible – the third too unknown at this point to be able to make a comment.

The Greens have a candidate – thin on real experience but quite a bite of on the ground electing candidates which he learned while working to get Karina Gould elected.

There are tough choices to be made.  A minority Progressive Conservative government would serve the province best,

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

 

 

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Tow trucks get taken out of service - didn't meet the safety requirements. Awe shucks.

By Staff

March 21, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Can you imagine – those tow trucks that were there to help you during your hour of distress; 56 were taken off the road for load security, lighting issues and weight issues

The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) has completed its annual “Towbruary” Tow Enforcement Campaign, and the results were staggering.

Throughout the month of February, the HRPS Traffic Services Unit and our District Response Units conducted a number of tow truck inspection blitzes across Halton. A joint inspection blitz was also carried out with Hamilton Police Service on the border of the two jurisdictions. These enforcement activities resulted in the following:

• 103 inspections were conducted,

• 56 tow trucks were placed Out of Service (54 percent Out of Service rate), and

• 155 charges were laid under the Highway Traffic Act.

Who towed the tow trucks that were taken out of service ?

The top three reasons for failed inspections were load security, lighting issues and weight issues. To ensure the safety of all road users, drivers and operators of commercial vehicles are required to ensure their vehicles and loads are inspected and safe before they are operated on any road.

The HRPS would like to remind motorists that if they are in a collision, they should not give their vehicle to just anyone. Know your rights. Know your tow. As the registered owner and/or driver of a vehicle involved in a motor vehicle collision, you:

• have the right to have your vehicle towed by the towing company of your choice; and
• have the right to have your vehicle towed to the location of your choice.

HRPS officers respond to collisions when the involved vehicle(s) require a tow truck. Motorists have the option to use a tow of their choice or have an officer request a tow from an authorized rotational list.

There is a sense of justice after all.

 

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How do your city Councillors actually engage with you? Each one has a different style and approach - are they effective?

By Pepper Parr

March 20th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Each week the city Communications group publishes a list of events taking place. Members of Council are able to notify their constituents that they are holding a meeting.

Of the seven members of Council three set out their plans for the week ahead.

We found it interesting that in the notices posted – there was nothing on where the meeting was taking place for Councillor Stolte or Councillor Bentivegnia.  We chased down the information

Councillor Stolte looking for a response to a  motion she had put forward.

March 26 2022, 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM Ward 4 Coffee Chat with Councillor Shawna Stolte
Ward 4 resident – You are invited!

I would like to invite Ward 4 residents to join me for a coffee chat. Come ask questions, give feedback, pick up safety items or just stop by to chat about all things Ward 4.

The City of Burlington will follow the direction from the Provincial government and will no longer require visitors to City recreational facilities to show proof of vaccination as of March 1.

Masks, physical distancing and passive screening are still required until further notice.

The meet up takes place in the coffee shop section of Denningers on Guelph Line in the Burlington Centre

 

Bentivegna – the complexity is beyond him at times.

March 28 2022, 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM Ward 6 Drop-in Session
Ward 6 Drop-In Sessions….What’s on your mind?
I invite Ward 6 residents to drop by for a chat and let me know what is on your mind. I welcome your input and feedback on what is important to you in your community.These are one on one sessions. No appointment is necessary.

March 30 2022, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM Ward 2 Community Update with Councillor Lisa Kearns
Let’s connect on what’s important to you!

The owner of the best brain on this council – now if she can build up the confidence she would be untouchable.

It’s important to both hear from residents directly and have conversation together. That’s why I am so pleased to be able to return to hosting hybrid meetings. Using Zoom webinar technology, you can join from home and ask your questions, while hearing from those in person that are attending live.

There are two options to participate:
1. Virtual using Zoom technology to live stream the Community Update as a webinar. REGISTER here

2. In-Person at the Art Gallery of Burlington (AGB) where we are required to strictly adhere to public health protocols, including face coverings and social distancing.

As per Provincial Government Orders, Proof of Vaccination and Photo I.D. must be shown upon entry to the AGB. Register for in-person attendance at Ward2@burlington.ca
Agenda:
• Planning + Development
• Ward 2 Updates
• City Hall News
• Our Community
• COVID-19 Update
• Q&A Session
Questions/concerns? Email Ward2@burlington.ca

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward: She loves the public platform – can be very effective on occasion.

The Mayor meets with people, sometimes as a group, often one on one but she has yet to hold an event where she is on stage, front and centre answering questions.  As a city councillor she was THE active voice for transparency and accountable; the job description changed and the manner in which she communicates has clearly changed as well.

For Mayor Meed Ward communication is a one way street – from her to you.  She once said that she had 17 different channels to reach people – difficult to keep up with all of them.

Councillor Galbraith isn’t that much of a public meeting kind of guy.  He does meet with people at a coffee shop and seems to get back to people that have problems that need to be resolved.  He did not hold any kind of meeting during the pandemic – he did send out regular news letters.

Councillor Sharman holds community meetings, he’s accessible and he has gotten much better at paying attention to the constituents.  He is the most informed member of this Council.  Besides being a Councillor he gets involved in issues that have a wide application – he has staff that handle much of hos ward issues – his is usually a bigger picture.  He shudders when you ask him just what the vision for the city is with this Council.

Rory Nisan: Has yet to find his groove – chose to be the strongest supporter the Mayor has on Council

Councillor Nisan has yet to find a community meeting method that works for him and that he is comfortable with.  There was a dual ward meeting for the rural people in wards 3and 6 that Nisan and Bentivegna shared.  Angelo knew how to work a room – he has this natural ability to approach people – he likes people and an opportunity to help out brings out the best in him.

He is challenged by the scope and scale of many of the issues – the complexity is beyond him at times. But in a one on one format – he is perhaps the best of the bunch.  He loves his job – can he hold his seat?  Only time will tell

 

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Regional mask By-law will be rescinded effective 12:01 a.m. on March 21' city of Burlington bylaw also expected to be rescinded.

By Staff

March 19th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On Saturday, March 19, 2022, Halton Regional Council approved an amendment to Halton Region’s Consolidated Mask By-law 47-20 to rescind the by-law effective 12:01 a.m. on March 21, 2022. The amendment was approved at a Special Meeting of Halton Regional Council in order to update Halton’s by-law in alignment with the removal of the Provincial requirements related to the wearing of a mask or face covering in most settings.

Halton’s mask by-law was originally adopted by Regional Council on July 15, 2020, as an important measure to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus and keep the Halton community safe. While the mask by-law is being rescinded in Halton, some Provincial and Federal masking requirements will remain in place.

Are these days behind us?

As of March 21, masking will continue to be required in select settings such as public transit, long-term care homes, retirement homes, and other health care settings, shelters, jails and congregate care and living settings, including homes for individuals with developmental disabilities.

In addition to the settings above, masks will also be required in the following circumstances:

  • Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 are required to wear a mask until day 10 following a positive test result or the onset of symptoms (whichever occurred first).
  • Close contacts and household contacts of individuals with COVID-19 are required to wear a mask for 10 days after exposure.
  • Individuals who have recently traveled outside of Canada, have to wear a mask for 14 days upon return.

Halton Region Public Health is also reminding residents that wearing a mask continues to be an effective public health measure for reducing the spread of COVID-19 and to be kind to those who choose to continue wearing a mask to protect themselves and others.

Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health.

“There is still risk of transmission in Halton and we need to be mindful that the risk of infection and severe disease is greater for some individuals than others, including those who are immunocompromised or have underlying health conditions, and older adults,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health.

“Some individuals may choose to keep wearing masks in places where they are not required, and others, such as those who are close contacts of COVID-19 cases, will be required to wear masks for a period of time. Businesses and organizations may also continue to require or encourage mask use based on the risk in their workplaces and to their patrons. I encourage all Halton residents to continue to be kind and respectful to everyone, regardless of their decision to wear a mask or not.”

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Burlington now has an engineering company working on nuclear solutions to climate change

By Pepper Parr

March 19th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There was a time when they made refrigerators – not anymore

Westinghouse Electric in Canada now wants to make a device that will fit into three shipping containers and heat up to 4000 homes.

The device is a Small Modular Reactor (SMR) that Westinghouse believes is going to play a large part of helping the world meet the Climate Change challenge.  The device has been branded as an “eDavinci”

They expect to have it commercialized by 2027 – they are weeks away from announcing the first sale to a Saskatchewan corporation.

So – what is a SMR and why is it in the news?

Earlier this week the federal government announced a $27.2 million funding contribution that has Westinghouse contributing $57.2 million.

Member of Parliament and |Cabinet Minister Karina Gould

Hon. Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

The event brought two Cabinet Ministers plus two Members of Parliament to Westinghouse operation where some details on the on the objective of the program were set out.

Hon. Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry who made the announcement was joined by Karina Gould Minister of Families, Children and Social Development .

The “eDavinci” is basically a very small nuclear reactor that provides clean, low cost energy to almost any community.  It fits into three shipping contains and can stay in place for eight years providing a constant flow of energy.  One SMR can provide the power needs of 4000 homes.

Pam Damoff, MP for |Oakville North Burlington

MP Pam Damoff told of a community she visited when she was on Oakville Town Council that ran everything off diesel generators.  When there was a rupture in the diesel fuel lines the oil spill meant the local school had to be closed.

Her point was that with an “eVince” in place there would be no diesel fuel spill and no C02 being pumped into the environment.

While the funding announcement was important the underlying message from everyone was that the climate change target cannot be met relying on just the sustainables – solar and wind – nuclear has to be part of the solution.

Eddie Saab, President of Westinghouse Electric Canasda

That statement is a significant shift on the part of the federal government; nuclear and radiation concerns appear to have been set aside – saving the planet is the priority.

How the “eVinci” works and the difference it is going to make is an interesting story which we will tell you when we have the graphics needed to make it all understandable.

The Westinghouse operation in Burlington has 230 employees which they expect to grow to over 300.

 

 

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Regional Council to debate an amendment to the mask bylaw in a rare Saturday meeting

By Staff

March 18th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Halton Regional Council will meet in a rare Saturday meeting to discuss an amendment to the bylaw relating to the Non-Medical Masks/Face Coverings in Certain Enclosed Public Places.

Notice of Amendment from Mayor Rick Bonnette and Councillor Clark Somerville re:  LPS26-22 – Update 5: Mandatory Non-Medical Masks/Face Coverings in Certain Enclosed Public Places in Halton Region

 

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Muir: Too early to change the masking rules - what's the rush?

 

By Tom Muir

March 17th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It isn’t popular to talk about masks and social distancing these days.

Everyone wants to see the pandemic declared over and get us to the point where we are dealing with an endemic and those are a piece of cake.

Tom Muir who contributes to the Gazette frequently focuses on just what it is we are dealing with and where the leadership is falling short.

I’m afraid I see too many cooks in the kitchen regarding Covid mandates, and too many splits of who has authority to decide.

Is this the time for the Medical Officer of Health to weight in with some comment?

I am particularly concerned about schools and the educational system, and have repeatedly expressed that concern. Now I find out from your message here that the City bylaw does not apply to schools. And also that the Regional Office of Health has authority, and could issue a Section 22 order, which could mandate masking in schools. Then, as well, you tell me the Medical Officers of Health at the Region is recommending lifting the mask bylaw.

So who has the responsibility to protect the children and the school system in this messy division of power? Regional Health has a conflict of interest between following orders that are “legal”, and the fact that something that is “legal” is not necessarily permissible, or morally justified in an ethical society, especially when the possible consequences for the most vulnerable in our society are known and are grave.

This conflict is very concerning as it raises questions of responsibility and accountability for a decision about children and schools – Who will be called to account for the decision and the consequences? Is the Board of Education responsible for this fiduciary duty of trust? If not, then why not?

I say again, it is just too soon to stop masking and other Covid controls in the school system right after all the interactions and mingling, and therefore increased virus transmission opportunities that will occur during school break. Several weeks are needed to see what happens. In addition, the City and Regional masking and other Covid bylaws, as you say, and I repeat –

“requires the wearing of masks or other face coverings within enclosed spaces open to the public, including:

  • City Hall and City facilities open to the public;
  • Burlington Transit;
  • Public areas of offices, retail outlets and malls; and
  • Inside common areas of apartment and condominium buildings.”

Is masking necessary for these children?

My point here is that enclosed public spaces are the areas of maximum transmission, and the masking is the first line of defence, then distancing, and this is an historical practice of public health infection protection.

Further, I say we need more time in general to consider lifting the masking bylaw because there is a lag in time to show what the health indicators are doing after the break, and in general.

I read this below in the Washington Post today, and it would do us well to heed the warning about the failure to be cautious in decisions with very serious consequences that we already know about very well. The whole article is worth a read in terms of what is going on with the virus.

“A surge in coronavirus infections in Western Europe has experts and health authorities on alert for another wave of the pandemic in the United States even as most of the country has done away with restrictions after a sharp decline in cases.”

“Infectious-disease experts are closely watching the subvariant of omicron known as BA.2, which appears to be more transmissible than the original strain, BA.1, and is fueling the outbreak overseas.”

My bottom line is that someone has to be called to be responsible to fulfill the Board of Education duty as Trustees – with root of Trust – to protect the children and the schools from the risk of this inherent policy harm, as stated by many independent experts, and by the known ways of how the virus acts. This is not safe policy for children, teachers, schools, or parents. It is not stated by Ford to be a safe policy, but a personal choice about risk tolerance.

The children themselves do not have the wherewithal to make such an independent choice for themselves, and are at the mercy of the politics, and what you decide to do. The rest of us will be collateral damage.

In my view, whoever gets to decide, whether it is the Board or not, will be guilty of negligence of fiduciary duty if they just obey Premier Ford’s orders.

Tom Muir is a retired federal civil servant who writes frequently on public issues

 

 

 

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Electric Mobility Surveys Now Available 

By Staff

March 15th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Surveys are available for residents to complete to identify opportunities and barriers for supporting and encouraging electric mobility in Burlington. Participants have the opportunity to complete one or more surveys on:

The survey starts with a few general questions and then you will be given the option to select which survey you would like to answer. At the end of each survey you can choose to complete another or answer some optional questions before you submit. Thank you for your feedback.

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Milton, Oakville and the Region end their State of Emergency - Burlington still hanging in there

By Staff

March 15th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Town of Milton has ended its state of emergency for Covid-19. The state of emergency was first declared at the onset of the pandemic, on March 24, 2020.

The ending of the state of emergency follows the same announcements from Milton’s municipal partners – Halton Region and the Town of Oakville.

With the end of the state of emergency,  all residents are thanked for their resilience and commitment to keep our community safe. Residents are asked to remain kind, considerate ,and respectful toward those who continue to practice public health measures for their own well-being.

Residents are also encouraged to remain vigilant and practice what we have learned over the last two years. This includes staying home when sick and most importantly, getting vaccinated and boosted.

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Natalie Pierre, chosen by current MPP Jane McKenna to be the Progressive Conservative candidate for Burlington in 2022 election

By Pepper Parr

March 14th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Natalie Pierre

For over 30 years, Natalie Pierre and her husband Paul have made Burlington their home. Natalie is a human resources and finance professional with experience in the public and private sector. For the past 13 years, she has led hiring and recruitment at Sheridan College.

As a mentor and coach, Natalie has worked with high school, college and university students, to overcome the challenges they face in entering the workforce.

A determined problem solver, Natalie has worked tirelessly with all levels of government to advocate for improved mental health supports. Natalie and her husband have two children, Katie (25) and Mike who would have been 22 this year. Natalie has, and will continue to be, a strong voice at Queen’s Park.

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The Mayor amends Election procedures while council sits quietly

By Pepper Parr

March 14th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

During the debate on March 2nd about the use of city facilities when elections are taking place, I sent the following to the City Clerk:

“There were two documents on the screen that did not appear to be in the agenda.
I have attached two screen shots to help you identify what I am talking about.
Would you have both documents sent to me – and would you explain why the documents were not in the agenda pkg.

I did not get a response from the City Clerk but I did get a response from the city communications department – the City Clerk doesn’t appear to answer email sent to him – a matter we will cover in some detail on another occasion.

We wanted a copy of a document that Mayor Meed Ward introduced to Council as a “walk on” agenda item. Walk on means the item was not on the agenda. The Procedural bylaw requires that the Chair of the meeting seek the approval of a majority of Council to permit the “walk on” item.  It was the Clerk’s job to catch the error and bring it to the attention of the Chair.

That didn’t happen either.

City Clerk Kevin Arjoon had nothing to say

When a report is being introduced to a Standing Committee meeting there is usually an introduction or comments from Staff on why the report is before Council.  City Clerk Kevin Arjoon had nothing to say – so the Mayor moved the report which allowed her to then talk about the nine amendment she had plus a Staff Direction.

Some Gazette readers took exception with our concern over the documents not being available to the public  – they are usually available five or six days before a meeting – giving those interested an opportunity to delegate.  That is another matter that will also be covered at another time.

Two of the nine amendment were not staff supported; the others were supported by Staff.

Each amendment was introduced to the Standing Committee. There was stiff debate on some of the amendments.

The agenda item was: Use of Corporate Resources During an Election Policy.

In previous municipal elections then Councillors Meed Ward and Bentivegnia had significant issues with the Clerk’s department as to what was permitted and what was not permitted.  There were some pretty silly decisions made by the Clerk at the time.

Marianne Meed Ward had some direct experience with city staff, the Clerk’s Office to be specific, on how election rules should be administered. She was making sure that the same things didn’t happen in 2022

Mayor Meed Ward started her presentation setting out “Principles” and adding a :However to those Principles.

 

 

The Mayor then took council through each of the amendments – one by one.

 

What Meed Ward wanted to ensure was that members of Council would still be able to do their jobs while the election campaign is taking place. There were portions of the policy document that could be interpreted to suggest that a Councillor seeking re-election had an advantage.  All members of those currentlt on council were consistent in wanting a level playing field.

During the meeting the Committee Clerk was able to make changes in the document that was before Council.  In the illustration below you can see where items have been revised.

 

Most of the rules related to city space and  would not apply to independent bodies like the Performing Arts Centre, the Art Gallery and the Libraries. The independent bodies were expected to create policies of their own.  Councillor Bentivegnia argued that it was still city property – and it is – but it is city property that is governed by an independent Board. It took Bentivegnia a couple of conversations to fully understand that one.

 

 

Council members and many Staff people use their own phone for city business.  The city pays a person who uses their own phone about $35 a month

 

The use of city business cards during an election was prohibited – but what does a candidate do if while talking to a voter at the door step the voter asks about a specific problem. Can the candidate give them a copy of the Council members business card and ask the voter to call the office and get the help they need?

The point being made was that while you are electioneering you are a candidate and not a Councillor.  Councillor Nisan suggested that they all take part in a bonfire at which they would all burn their city provided business cards.

Incumbents are seen to have advantages new candidates don’t have in terms of media.  This council was going to great lengths to ensure that their names and pictures did not appear in documents coming out of city hall.

Social media was a challenge.  Some things on social media cannot be changed.  An entry on LinkedIn cannot be changed was an example Meed Ward gave.

A lot of time was spent figuring out how Council members could talk about city business and not cross the line into working as a candidate.  Several Councillors wanted the city communications department to monitor what the Councillors sent out – the Communications department took a pass on that one.

 

 

Meed Ward argued that during the period between May 2, when candidates can file their nominations through to the last Council meeting in September, there was still a lot of serious council business to take care of.  There had to be a way for Council members to communicate with their constituents and at the same time campaign.  Removing any name identification and photographs (the Councillor would be identified as Councillor for Ward X) from communications material the city issues was determined to be the best approach

 

Meeting with constituents at a ward meeting called by the Councillor had all kinds of possible red flags.  Councillors saw it as unreasonable for a Councillor to say nothing about running for office at a meeting to discuss an issue.

Burlington is now very much into branding.  There is a project that focuses on creating and promoting One Burlington, to ensure that the city as a corporation gets the visibility and attention it feels it deserves and needs.

During the last election Mayor Meed Ward arm wrestled with the City Clerk at the time over the placing of small magnetic fridge cards on the bumpers of cards.  Councillor delegated to Council on his right to put signage on his vehicle.  The Clerk at the time argued that part of the vehicle was paid for by the city.  It was a different Clerk and a different time.

All these amendments had merit.  Councillor Kearns added an amendment of her own asking that Spencer Smith Park be kept campaign free.  That lost – however Civic Square was defined as campaign free.

The issue for the Gazette was the absence of any public input.  While this Council would love to believe they are all going to be acclaimed – that is as certain as that Irish rainbow that is going to direct us all to that mythical pot of gold.

It was at the end of the meeting that those monitoring the web cast heard the City Clerk apologize for the walk on report – he said it was better to do it now rather than wait until April.

That raised a serious – why wasn’t this done months ago?

We all knew what the date of the election was going to be.  A city that can’t stop itself from touting how engaged it is – manages to find a way to issue a report that is the very foundation of the way we choose our leaders.  The Clerk’s incompetence should have been noticed by the City Manager.   How did he manage to be asleep at the switch while the Clerk fumbled with the file?

 

 

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Progressive Conservatives still searching for a candidate to run in the June election

By Pepper Parr

March 14th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

UPDATE

Jane McKennasai: I’m happy to report, that on my recommendation, yesterday the Ontario PC Party named long-time Burlington resident Natalie Pierre as our candidate.  To learn more about Natalie, request a lawn sign, make a donation or volunteer on the campaign please visit www.nataliepierrepc.ca.

So much for a democratic nomination

 

Have the Progressive Conservatives in Burlington decided to concede the seat in the Provincial Legislature?

No word yet on who their candidate is going to be.

Jane McKenna gave is giving up the provincial seat to run as Chair for the Region of Halton.

Jane McKenna has announced that she will be running for the Chair of Halton Regional Council in October.

With something close to 75 days of campaigning left before ballots are cast June 2nd, one has to wonder what’s going on with the Burlington Progressive Conservative Association.

To date 18 of the people who went to the Legislature with Doug Ford 18 have decided they don’t want to return.

Mariam Manaa met Andrew Drummond on his door step while she was out campaigning.

To date the candidates are Mariam Manaa the Liberal Party and Andrew Drummond running for the New Democratic Party.

 

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Former school board trustee official challenges current trustees to do what is right or follow a 'lame duck' Premier

By Peggy Russell

March 13th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Public School Board Trustees in the Province of Ontario have less than a week to make a very big decision regarding their responsibility to the students and staff and, by extension, the welfare of their communities, with the responsibility they were charged with when elected.

Peggy Russell

Do they follow the direction of the Premier of this Province or do they follow the advice of the experts represented through the Ontario Children’s Health Coalition’s Statement of March 9, 2022?

The Ontario Children’s Health Coalition states: “Masks remain an important layer of protection as the pandemic continues and may be needed in communities with low vaccination rates and where there is a surge in cases. Masks also protect those most vulnerable, including high-risk, immunocompromised and fragile children.”

Trustees in the Province of Ontario have a definitive Role in which, “they must weigh what is in the best interests of the whole education system” which they are duly elected to represent.
This will be the true test of elected Trustees relevancy; there is no hedging around this one.

Either they listen to the experts from the Ontario Children’s Health Coalition or, if they do not, they should be prepared for the potential legal ramifications, not just as a Board, but as individuals who could be named in Legal Actions for not following the advice of the experts from the Ontario Children’s Health Coalition.

Currently Trustees have been advised that legally, they must abide by Public Health Orders. My question is: Are those Orders in the best interest of our collective society or that of special interest groups and some sectors of industry?

Then there is the moral obligation to the children, families/guardians, of the students they serve: to ensure that each and every student, no matter their health status, is provided the same opportunity to learn in a safe classroom environment.

Do Trustees understand that this indeed is their Alamo?

Either they listen to the experts from the Ontario Children’s Health Coalition and do what is right or they follow a “lame duck” Premier who is seeking re-election and the Orders of Ontario Public Health Units who serve at the pleasure of the Premier and their government. Which will it be?

Trustees in Ontario must be prepared to legally challenge the Province, Ministry of Education and, where applicable, Ontario Public Health Units. Trustees need to understand what is truly at stake at this moment or they risk becoming irrelevant.

 

Peggy Russell is a past Vice-Chair of the Halton District School Board. and was a Director of the Ontario Public School Board Association for eight years.

 

 

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Waterfront study and the development application - no recent news on either.

By Pepper Parr

March 12th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The deadline for responses to the survey put out after the Waterfront Study virtual meeting that took place on February 22nd, was March 1st the last date they would be accepted.

There are two things taking place with the area outlined in blue. The oldest activity is a study of the area outlined in blue which the city says has been ongoing since 2018 – it actually started way back in 2015 when the city had a Staff member doing some work on what would be possible and fit in with the Promenade and Spencer Smith Park when the owners of the Waterfront Hotel decided they were ready to redevelop the property. The area within the red boundary is the property owned by Darko Vranich . In August of 2021 he began the process of providing the City Planning department the information it would need to prepare a report for City Council which would decide to Approve the development, Not approve the development or approve a development with required changes. hotel site was ready. The report from the Planning department has to be before City Council and approved no later than April 17th of 2022

It was a very short survey; two questions – what did you think and where do you live.

The X’s mark the land the city would take as permitted park land allowance.

Shouldn’t have taken all that long to sift through the responses, pass them along to the consultants overseeing the study and share both the results of the survey and whatever the next step was going to be.

There was some interesting news shared during the DATE meeting – the most significant being that the city planned on taking a 20 metre wide piece of land from the west side of the site. The width would run from Lakeshore Road to the southern and of  the the property line.

There doesn’t appear to be any sense of urgency about a study that is intended to “inform” the long term development that will take place.  Wouldn’t the Hotel site development application, if approved, set the pattern for any development in the immediate area.  No?

 

Related news stories:

A time line that didn’t work for the citizens.

What about a land swap

The Statutory meeting

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15 bus shelters in Burlington have been vandalized.

By Staff

March 10th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In the past the damage was graffiti. It isn’t public art by any stretch of the imagination. It’s kids with too much free time on their hands and parents not fully aware of what their children are doing.

15 bus shelters in Burlington have been vandalized.

The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) is investigating an ongoing string of damage targeting bus shelters.

Between February 23 and March 7, 2022, 15 bus shelters in Burlington have been vandalized. On several occasions, the city completed repairs only to have the glass on the same shelter smashed again overnight.

The majority of the shelters targeted were on New Street however police are also investigating occurrences on Lakeshore Road, Harvester Road, Brant Street and Guelph Line.

The HRPS is conducting extra patrols in these areas and request residents report any suspicious activity to police. Police have not made any arrests and do not have any suspect descriptions to provide.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact the 3 District Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4777 ext. 2316

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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