Burlington Councillor Paul Sharman along with several Oakville Council members bark back at Metrolinx: 'Meet your commitment build the grade separations'

By Staff

March10th, 2022



When Metrolinx advised the Town of Oakville and the city of Burlington that they would  not be able to proceed with the planned construction of grade separations  – they surely didn’t think that was going to be the end of it.

Burlington ward 5 Councillor took the lead on this and, working with Oakville council member issued a statement making it clear that a delay was not on for their communities.

The Town of Oakville and City of Burlington received updates from Metrolinx (the Province’s Agency for coordinating and integration transportation in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area) on the Burloak and Kerr Street Grade Separations.

Life today at the Burloak crossing.



This was the promise – when the price ballooned Metrolinx wanted to back out. The local municipal Councillors aren’t on for that decision.

Metrolinx indicated it could no longer meet its commitment to the costs agreed to by all parties involved for both the Burloak and Kerr Separations and that the Kerr Street underpass would be deferred with no future timeline. ” These changes to our agreements with the Provincial agency are unacceptable to us.”

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman – isn’t prepared to accept the Metrolinx decision.

Grade separations not only ease congestion, they are pivotal to the health and safety of our community for vehicles and pedestrians and ensure rail transportation moves unimpeded across the Lakeshore West Line.  As representatives in areas directly impacted by these railway crossings, we hear daily about delays, safety issues and concerns from our residents.  We are determined to ensure the Province and Metrolinx fulfill their commitments to the residents in our neighbourhoods and the Halton community at large.

The Metrolinx LAkeshore West line is schedule to offer 15 minute service – vehicles will never get to cross the tracks under those conditions.

“We are calling on all Halton MPPs to work to ensure the government’s commitments to the construction of both grade separations move forward and that they do so immediately and at the costs agreed to with the Municipalities in 2018.  Now is not the time to put critical infrastructure on the back burner.  With the Province mandating growth throughout our communities, we in good conscious cannot continue to fulfill the Province’s demands of added population without safety being put firs.” said Sharman

“Movement throughout our Region relies on critically integrated corridors and the infrastructure to move those vehicles, pedestrians and transit safely and quickly.  This is more than a step backwards; the Government has slammed the car in reverse.  We are calling on all residents who have a stake in this infrastructure getting built to contact your MPP and let them know that these delays, deferrals and cost overruns are unacceptable.”

Provincial members:

Stephen Crawford (Oakville) – stephen.crawford@pc.ola.org

Parm Gill (Milton) – parm.gill@pc.ola.org

Jane McKenna (Burlington) – jane.mckenna@pc.ola.org

Effie Triantafilopoulos (Oakville North-Burlington) – effie.triantafilopoulos@pc.ola.org



Sean O’Meara                                                                                           Beth Robertson

Regional & Town Councillor Ward 1                                                         Town Councillor Ward 1

Cathy Duddeck                                                                                         Ray Chisholm

Regional & Town Councillor Ward 2                                                         Town Councillor Ward 2

Paul Sharman

City of Burlington Council Ward 5

There is an interesting omission: Burlington’s Mayor Marianne Meed Ward is not a signatore to the statement.  She was all over television reports in the decision

Return to the Front page

Why were access fees waived - the public didn't see a dime of the savings - money went to telephone company

By Staff

March 7th, 2022



On March 3 a city Standing Committee approved a report that  waived permit fees in the amount of $33,800. for improved internet services for north Burlington.

This is basically how accessible internet access will be.

The improved service in north Burlington is a very important need to those residents. These improvements are being funded by the federal and provincial governments. They did not request municipal assistance or funding.

A Burlington resident has a problem with the decision pointing out that on January 25 2022 the city held an information session for this work. I attended.

The two contractors (Bell Canada and Internet Access Solutions) have not formally requested any financial assistance from the city. The contractors have been working to obtain permits from the City, Region, and Conservation Halton.

Fibre optic cable is being laid all over north Burlington giving the residents much needed internet access.

A  Burlington resident who asks not to be identified thinks “the Mayor/council appear to want some credit for the improved internet access. Must be an election  year.”

“The $33,800 given away is monies that we the taxpayer will have to make up in the 2023 current budget from tax dollars. ( Sounds like Rob Ford and the license plates) This expenditure should have been accounted for in the 2022 current budget if council wanted to participate.

“Sounds like bonusing to me.

“Do not blame the contractors for…. getting something for nothing.”

The question here is:  Why are the taxpayers waiving fees that would have been paid by Bell Canada and Internet Access Solutions, the two companies installing hi-speed broadband service in rural Burlington.



Return to the Front page

Changes in transit schedule - effective March 13th

By Staff

March 7th  2022



Effective Sunday, March 13, 2022, Burlington Transit is

      • Increasing service on routes 6 and 10
      • Improving connections on routes 1, 3 and 12
      • Aligning route 48 to school bell times

Schedule information

Overview of Service

Peak service is between 5:30 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 7 p.m.

For more information or to get help, contact BT Customer Service at contactbt@burlington.ca, 905-639-0550

Return to the Front page

A program for seniors who need special care may get really rolling with Covid19 restrictions being eased.

By Pepper Parr

March 7th, 2022


A program for seniors who need special care may get really rolling with Covid19 restrictions being eased.

You know him as the Council member for ward 5; the without a doubt, smartest member of Council – with ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns a very close second smartest council member.

Councillor Sharman has held two public sessions with Senior’s as part of his effort to understand their needs and develop policy that Council can put in place to serve this vital community. At most of the sessions Sharman’s Dad is often in the audience.

Sharman has always had a soft spot for the seniors, it is a sector to which he pays close attention.

During a conversation over what he was going to do next Paul Sharman would not say he was going to run again nor would he offer as much as a hint about possibly challenging to the sitting Mayor come October.

Paul Sharman wanted to talk about PACE, a project on which he has done some work in the past and very much wants to do more on in the future ; he made it clear to me that he was talking about near future.

Last November he explained what PACE (Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) was about to a small group of seniors at the Wellington Tower in downtown Burlington.

Paul’s story was a very personal that resonated with his audience. He first learned about it during a conference he was attending in Detroit. Sharman was invited to visit a charitable organization that created an interesting program.  He and Rick Goldring, Burlington mayor at the time, went down and visited Presbyterian Villages and United Methodist Retirement Communities, that provided thousands of income-geared condo-style homes that were rented to people on limited incomes.

On the ground floor of all of this was a program called PACE. Other communities were served by standalone PACE centres.

The focus was on keeping older adults in their homes longer; Sharman wanted something like this in Burlington and was able to launch a first effort in January 2020 to provide comprehensive care for older adults as an alternative to long-term care facilities.

Paul Sharman’s quest to bring better care to seniors is a very personal story.  It began when his mother had to be moved to a long-term care (LTC) facility from a retirement home after apparently “assaulting” another community member while in distress. His mother was deemed violent even though she was frail.

An Earth Day event, where the lights were turned off for an hour, spooked Sharman’s mother, who was suffering from dementia, resulting in her pushing away the other community member when they approached her.

This unnamed LTC facility also had locked wards for residents who were considered “violent,” where younger residents with mental health and other issues were also located and would allegedly assault other residents.

Paul Sharman with members of his family at a community event.

After much advocacy by Sharman’s sister, their mother was eventually moved out of the locked ward to one mostly occupied by residents who had suffered from strokes. Eventually, she developed pneumonia, was unable to swallow antibiotics, and was then moved to a hospital. By then, her options were limited and she passed away in early 2015.

Paul Sharman: When he puts his mind to an issue he looks for the data and lets that lead him to the decision he makes.

“Long-term care is necessary but insufficient,” said Sharman. Sharman believes that things could have been better for his mother had there been more support services available in the community. His mother inspired him to look for ways to develop support groups for older adults so they could stay in their homes as long as possible and therefore have a better quality of life.

He and others got as far as setting up a non-profit organization that practices in condo towers and other places of congregate living.

The local Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) was very engaged and interested and wanted to give them access to their services kit, meaning they would organize services for those people who needed help at home.

Healthcare system restructuring meant that CCACs were disbanded, which meant those services still existed operating under a different name, the future became unclear without the CCAC, and the program was suspended.

On the way back from Detroit, Goldring and Sharman talked about how the Presbyterian and United Methodist villages were able to pull together so many housing units with limited resources and what exactly made it work.

To help them think it through, Dr. Jennifer Mendez, a Toronto-based professor who taught geriatric care to medical students at Wayne State University in Detroit and an advisor to PACE in Detroit, was brought in to provide support for the Burlington project.  Mendez, now retired, has been involved with the American iteration for more than 25 years, first starting in Milwaukee.  Mendez says collaboration between all of the service providers is essential for the success of the program.

JBH president Eric Vandewall manages well and gets the job done.  The biggest problem he faces is a cultural one.  The problem existed long before Vandewall arrived.

Sharman’s team then presented the idea to a special meeting of 80 Burlington community leaders, including Eric Vandewall, President and CEO of Joseph Brant Hospital, and Dr. Michael Shih of Emshih Developments, who specializes in the development of medical buildings and retirement homes.

When the presentation was over, Sharman asked the assembled leaders if anyone could think of any reason not to pursue this program going forward. The room was silent. People then asked what would be done next.

This resulted in Sharman and Goldring setting up committees to discuss how PACE might be established in Burlington. Vandewall and Shih were brought on to the volunteer committee and after about eight or nine months of talking it through, the program was moved into the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), as they had all the resources and connections necessary for it to work, coupled with Halton Community Housing, which owns and operates large housing properties for older adults.

Residents over 80 years of age in 2016 census it was 5.7% in Burlington and 9.2% over 75. The 2021 census has not provided Burlington yet, but Ontario is 4.6% over 80 and 7.8% over 75.

“I think this is the population that requires the most attention,” said Shih. “Social isolation is a problem.”  “Also because of the seniors living much longer now, in terms of care and [their] financial situation, everything needs more attention,” he added.

A solid strategic thinker who wonders just where the vision for the city is hiding.

Unfortunately, just after the pilot program launched last January, PACE couldn’t offer new services or group programs due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the organizations that were already working with residents were able to continue doing so.

The pandemic shed an extremely negative light on long-term care in the province, giving PACE a chance to stand out and continue to grow.

And with the help of vaccines, the program has been back up and running for about six months and has been granted approval from the Burlington Ontario Health Team (OHT), operating out of Joseph Brant Hospital, to scale up and continue its work.

Halton Community Housing has also committed $1 million for renovations on the ground floor of Wellington Terrace to better house PACE and its programs.

There is a lot more to this story.  The big question is: can Paul Sharman get PACE off the ground and be Mayor at the same time?


Return to the Front page

Mayor really wanted to hear what the Minister of Housing was going to tell the development industry - convinces Committee Chair to recess for a couple of hours.

By Pepper Parr

March 7th, 2022



It was a small item at the very end of the agenda for the Standing Committee meeting last Thursday.

11:40 a.m. (recessed). 2:30 p.m. (reconvened)

Those watching the web cast had been advised that the agenda would be revised – that usually happens when there is a CLOSED Session of Council and the city shifts things around to accommodate any outside people taking part.

We actually slipped up on this one – rather than wait and listen to the Chair read into the record what part of the Municipal Act was being used to go into Closed meeting we logged out expecting to return at 2:30.

As committee Chair Kelvin Galbraith had the authority to recess a meeting – the standard is to get agreement from council members. Mayor Meed Ward and Councillor Galbraith share the Red Carpet Task Force work – they work well together.

Chair Kelvin Galbraith had advised viewers that there would be a break from 11:30 to 2:30

There were two other important items on the agenda: leaf collection and a revision to the Private Tree Bylaw – always contentious issues in Burlington.

Turns out – there was no closed session

Council members switched venues and went to the West End Home Builders Association event at which the Minister of Housing was speaking to the people who give council all kinds of grief.

Was Mayor Marianne Meed Ward blushing when she met with the Premier at a Joseph Brant Hospital event?

No word yet from anyone on just what was said during the event.  Our source said there was some expectation that the Premier might show up.  Doug Ford usually takes every opportunity he can to talk to developers.

We understand that Council Sharman attended as well.

What bothered at least one council member was that even though two members of Council (and possibly three) left the meeting there was still a quorum (4 out of the seven members constitute a quorum) and the meeting could have continued.

Chair Galbraith told the Gazette that anything to do with trees in Burlington should have the attention of every member of Council.  It was his call to make, which he did.



Return to the Front page

Halton District School Board releases findings from Student and Staff Census

By Staff

March 6th, 2022



The Halton District School Board is releasing the findings of the Student and Staff Census conducted in the 2021-2022 school year in a phased approach between March – September 2022.

At this point we know how many students participated.

The release will begin with data on the identities of students and staff including language, ethnicity, race, Indigeneity, religion, gender, sexual orientation and disability.

At the March 2 Board meeting, a presentation of Phase 1 data of the Staff and Student Census was made to Trustees.

The HDSB conducted the voluntary Student Census from January to June 2021, and Staff Census from April to June 2021, as required by the Anti-Racism Act, 2017 and Ontario’s Education Equity Action Plan to gather and report identity-based data. The Student Census was completed by 78 per cent of elementary students and 84 per cent of secondary students. The Staff Census was completed by 75 per cent of staff.


Following the release of identity data, perceptual (how students perceive their school experiences) and disaggregated data showing trends and patterns in special education, academic achievement and student experiences, will be shared between now and September 2022.

“The findings of the Student and Staff Census are intended to support every community to ensure we are meeting the needs of all students and staff in the HDSB,” says David Boag, Associate Director of Education for the Halton District School Board.

“This data provides us with new information about who our students and staff are to fully understand the needs of all staff, students and families. This will help support success and well-being, identify and eliminate discriminatory practices, systemic barriers and bias to provide equitable opportunities and outcomes, and allocate resources to support students and programs where the need is greatest.”

With the findings of the Student and Staff Census, the HDSB will continue to examine disparities and disproportionalities in opportunities and outcomes for students and staff, prepare action plans that align with the HDSB Multi-Year Strategic Plan 2020-2024 and continue to engage with stakeholders.


Return to the Front page

Recommended Preferred Precinct Plans for the Burlington MTSA - means what they plan to build around the GO station

By Staff

March 5th, 2022



The hot development action has always been south of Caroline, clustered along Lakeshore road.

The long term growth of the city is going to be around the GO stations that are now also known as MTSA’s – Major Transit Service Areas – that will have GO service, local transit service, as well as anything else that transports people coming together in the same spot.

The Recommended Preferred Precinct Plans for the Burlington MTSA.

Residential development will be significant with clusters that include, 5, 6, 7 or even 8 high rise towers and all the social amenities.  Get used to a new one: linear parks which is another phrase for a path with some grass.

The Recommended Preferred Precinct Plans for the Burlington GO station set out above identify the name of the precinct they are in but provide no detail on what the zoning is for each precinct. Presumably that will follow.  What you get at this point is a pretty graphic.

A rendering of what the Burlington GO station now looks like. The housing that will be built in the immediate area will be in the 3500+ population range

The Recommended Preferred Precinct Plans for Aldershot and Appleby Line will be separate articles



Return to the Front page

Police Officer injured during arrest attempt

By Staff

March 2nd, 2022



The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) is appealing for witnesses or dash cam footage of an arrest attempt that took place in Burlington.

On Monday February 28, 2022, at approximately 2:45 pm an officer attended a parking lot located at 963 Francis Road in Burlington (in the area of Plains Road East and the QEW).

The officer began an investigation into a stolen vehicle parked at that location, and attempted to make an arrest of a suspect inside the stolen brown pickup truck. The suspect resisted and set the truck in motion dragging the police officer a short distance. The officer suffered minor injuries. The suspect’s truck also struck a cruiser and an uninvolved parked car during its escape. Police did not pursue the pickup after it fled the parking lot.

Through further investigation police identified and arrested the suspect.

Timothy Burt (35) of Milton has been charged with the following:

  • Dangerous Operation
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Over $5000
  • Failure to stop after accident
  • Assaulting peace officer with weapon or cause bodily harm

Any witnesses, persons with dash cam footage of the occurrence or anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact Constable Jason Lin at 905-825-4777 ext. 7355.

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.

Return to the Front page

Council meets for three hours on an item about election rules - with no public participation

By Pepper Parr

March 2nd, 2022



They spent something more than two hours going through, in detail, what the rules were gong to be for anyone who planned to run in the October municipal election.

The Staff report, which didn’t appear to be part of the information package that was on the agenda, had a number of amendments.  Some were staff reported – others were not.

The documents that appeared on the screen certainly weren’t in the information package.

One of nine amendments that Mayor Meed Ward brought forward suggesting changes to municipal election rules Burlington has in place.

The item was not in the original agenda – it was described as a “walk on report” which meant that there was basically no notice to the public.

Quite how the seven members of council can decide to devote close to three hours of their time and not permit any delegations, is unknown.

Every member of council mouthed the words that they wanted to ensure there was a level playing field for people running for office who were not members of Council.

They are still at it – once they finished this item, they go into a Closed Session – yes another one!

We will provide a link to the item – disgraceful, shameful – the elected determining what the rules will be with no opportunity for new candidates to delegate.

There could have been delegations – if people had known about the meeting.  But they didn’t know – because they were not informed.

Walk on items are usually done to cover exceptional situations.

The office of the Clerk has known for a couple of years that there was going to be an election and that some changes needed to be made in the rules.

Anne Marsden has announced her plans to run for Mayor – she would have wanted to be aware of this meeting. Did she even know about it?

Anyone out there who is thinking about running for public office wants to howl with real anger over the meeting taking place.

Throughout the meeting changes were being made to the rules – line by line.  For the average person – it is of little importance – for those that want to run for office – they have a major complaint.

Can’t wait to hear what Anne Marsden has to say on this one.

Return to the Front page

Transit is about to lose the best Director they ever had

By Pepper Parr

March 2nd, 2022



Director of Transit – Sue Connor – plans to retire – no date set yet.

She was the best Director of Transit the city ever had.

She was one of the best transit people in the province.

For a short period of time she took on one of the Executive Director roles for someone who wanted to spend less time at city hall.

Sue Connor decided to retire and has advised the city manager that her time has come

It is going to be a challenge to replace her.  She ran a good shop; staff loved her and she supported them consistently.

There was a city staffer who worked at city hall; smart guy but not all that happy with the job and the environment.

He got himself a transfer to transit.  A number of months later I bumped into him – huge smile on his face – clearly enjoying the new position.

Sue Connor was very good in public settings – she explained what was likely to happen – people trusted her.

I mention this to Sue – didn’t want to identify the person but after explaining what the man was doing Sue Connor smiled and said.  I know who you are talking about – yes he is happy at transit and I’m glad he is with us.

Sue Connor knew her people and her people knew her.  She showed the city that transit could be made to be effective and a good choice for getting around town.

She understood as well the challenge in moving from diesel to electricity – she just won’t be here to make it happen.

Our loss

Return to the Front page

Government shuffling the deck; dealing themselves a better hand

By Pepper Parr

March 2, 2022



Three months from now we will be marking our ballots and choosing who we want to lead us in Ontario going forward.

The Ford government is sitting at Queen’s Park passing legislation.  Yesterday we learned that there was a section in a piece of legislation that forgave a significant fine the Premier was required to pay for not getting a budget before the public by a specific date.

The government has delayed publishing the budget which was due March 31st.  The new date is sometime in late April

We learn today that the government announced an advertising program that will focus on how well the economy is doing.

While important, critically important the province is slowly coming out of pandemic driven restrictions that has ticket sales of Raptors games at the Scotiabank Arena  close to sold out.

People need some relief.

World news is horrific; we are in the middle of something that doesn’t impact on most of us – but the news we read about what is happening in Ukraine is going to impact every one of us in the very near future.

Premier Ford in the Legislature

Inflation is beginning to play havoc on what happens to us daily.   Have you been to the supermarket; have you looked at the price of a good steak ?

Supply chain issues are still not resolved

With all this going on we have a provincial government shuffling the cards and dealing themselves a stronger hand.

Keep an eye on the rascals.

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.


Return to the Front page

Joseph Brant announces Changes to Designated Essential Care Partner Policy

By Staff

March 1st, 2020



Joseph Brant Hospital recognizes the need to continue protecting the health and safety of its patients and healthcare workers as the province of Ontario enters into the next phase of its re-opening plan. While the opportunity to enter public spaces such as restaurants or sports venues is a welcome change, COVID-19 remains transmissible to vulnerable individuals receiving care in healthcare settings.

Effective March 1, Joseph Brant Hospital will be easing limits on Essential Care Partners (ECPs); however, the hospital’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement for ECPs will remain unchanged, with very limited exceptions.

We have made the following changes to the limits on ECPs in hospital, understanding the important role they play in a patient’s care, wellness and recovery:

  • Ambulatory care: One (1) ECP may attend with a patient.
  • Emergency care: The patient may identify up to two (2) ECPs. Only one (1) ECP can be at patient’s side at any time.
  • In-patient care: Two (2) ECPs are allowed at the bedside at the same time.
  • Person in labour: Two (2) ECPs are permitted including a Doula, if applicable.
  • In-patient end of life: Patients expected to pass within 72 hours are permitted up to four one-time, two-hour visits. Additional ECPs are permitted above those originally identified. Only two (2) ECPs may be at the bedside at a time.
  • Patients under 18 years of age: Two (2) parents/legal guardians are permitted to accompany the patient or attend the bedside at the same time.

All ECPs must complete a COVID-19 screening before coming to the hospital. Those who fail screening due to vaccination status will not be permitted entry with very limited exceptions. Existing personal protective equipment (PPE) policies, including masking, also remain in effect.

“As we gradually plan for the resumption of surgical care in the coming months, we will continue to place the highest priority on the safety of our patients and healthcare workers, who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic,” said Eric Vandewall, President and CEO. “We look forward to seeing a further downward trend in the numbers of COVID-19 cases in our community, and will continue to re-evaluate our policies accordingly, with input from our patients, their families and our staff. We appreciate the understanding of our community.”

Wherever possible, patients are encouraged to connect with their loved ones by email, telephone or by video. To help keep them connected, we are offering free in-room phone and Wi-Fi.

Return to the Front page

City manager explains what he has been up to in his annual report to Council. He ticked off a lot of boxes.

By Pepper Parr

February 28th, 2022



City Council hires one person – the City Manager.

They direct the City Manager to hire people – just not who.

The City Manager sets the agenda for the administrative side of the corporation and in turn hires people for specific jobs.

Every City Manager brings a style and an approach to the job.  Tim Commisso had worked for Burlington back in the late 1900’s and left Burlington to return to his home town, Thunder Bay where he was City Manager for seven years – 2008-2015.

Delegates well – and has built a stronger leadership team – that job isn’t done yet.

One of the first things Marianne Meed Ward did once she had the Chain of Office around her neck was to fire the then City Manager James Ridge and bring Tim Commisso in to serve as Interim City Manager and eventually made it a full time job.

For Commisso it must have been nice to return to a city he worked in for 20 years serving as General Manager positions in Community Services and Development and Infrastructure, Director of Parks and Recreation and Deputy City Treasurer.

There isn’t a lot of detail on just how Meed Ward decided that Tim was to be her City Manager other than that she invited him for coffee.

Commisso had no idea what he had let himself in for.  It soon became evident that there were very serious Human Resources problems and that there were a number of senior positions that needed better qualified people.

The current Director of Human Resources delivered Commisso a whopper of a report in which she set out how deep and how serious the problems are in HR.

A big list of promises.

Two years later and Commisso reports that the HR issues are still his # 1 task.

A number of people have been brought in from other municipalities to head up departments: Planning got a re-org with Mark Simeoni being brought in from Oakville to get head up what is called Community Planning.

In the several news reports that will follow we want to focus on the problems that Commisso sets as serious:  HR is not his only concern.

The length of the contract Commisso signed was never revealed; they are usually for terms that run between five to sometimes seven years.

We will see a new Council in November – they aren’t all going to be re-elected.  Will Commisso stay on?  Is he happy?  How tired is he?  The pandemic has taken a lot out of him.

Human Resources – has Commisso got a grip on the critical changes he has to make?  And then where is he on delivering the V2F (Vision to Focus) part of the Strategic Plan ?

The 2023-2027 Council will be reviewing and revising the Strategic Plan – that 25 year document the city creates to set out where and how they are going to grow.  Given the huge influence the province has on growth decisions it is getting increasingly difficult to craft a Strategic Plan with the Ontario Land Tribunal (OTL) making most of the decisions.

In his report, it is on the Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability  agenda, Commisso said: “In addition to the existing City Manager led objectives that are embedded in V2F, (Vision to Focus) I am personally committed to the following overriding strategic objectives:

Improving Workplace Culture including Staff Engagement and Positive Attitudes

Achieving Job Market Wage and Salary Competitiveness

Improving Employee Retention and Attraction

Advancing Employee Health and Safety Program

Implementing an updated Performance Management Framework

NEW – Ongoing refinement and execution of Council’s 2040 Strategic Plan and 2018-2022 Vision to Focus Strategic Action Plan (V2F)

That is a lot of boxes with tick marks.

Tim Commisso on the streets of Itabasi in Japan. Following the Mayor’s lead

The concept of risk in a municipal setting is one that Commisso focused on almost from the day he started working.

He is well on his way to developing a top line management team.  There are still a few senior positions that need new blood.

Right now the focus is on creating a different working environment at city hall and ensuring that the people needed are in place to handle the onslaught of development applications that have overtaken the Planning department.

Return to the Front page

What did we pay our City Councillors last year - they earned every penny of it.

By Staff

February 28th, 2022



We pay them reasonably well.

Few people understand just how hard the job of being a City Councillor is, unfortunately some don’t deliver what is required.

The seven people who lead the city have two jobs for which they are paid.  The city pays them a salary and benefits and the Region pays a salary.

They are all provided with cell phone and iPads.  The Mayor is provided with a car.

The graph below sets out what the city paid.  The Regional stipend is in the $50,000 annually range.

The General Expenses for the Mayor look high – especially given that there was no travel due to the pandemic. The members of Council are certainly not overpaid

Return to the Front page

The world opens up for us on Tuesday - do we fully understand what we have to deal with day in and day out?

By Staff

February 27th, 2022



Ontario is reporting 842 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 281 in ICU on Sunday. We have broken that 1000 hospitalizations barrier – which is a good sign.

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns – isolating

Burlington Member of Parliament Karina Gould – isolating.

At the same time Burlington’s ward 2 Councillor reported that she had COVID19 and was isolating. There is a report that MP Karina Gould has COVID19.

The province notes that not all hospitals report on weekends. There are also at least 2,001 new cases of COVID-19.

So it is out there and it is being transferred from people to people.

Gould and Kearns are committed mask wearers and are also in the public sphere.

On Tuesday March 1st, the province opens things up.

Another really important concern is the number of people who still believe this is all hokum and there is nothing to worry about.

Return to the Front page

Councillor Kearns advised her colleagues on February 22nd, that she tested positive for Covid 19 - a video glitch kept the news away from the public.

By Pepper Parr

February 25th, 2022



Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns is recovering from Covid19.

There was a bit of a glitch in the web cast of the February 22nd, Standing Committee meeting at which there was a meeting on the resumption of the Waterfront Study.

What was available to the public did not include the first six to eight minutes of the meeting during which ward 2 Councillor Kearns announced she had contracted Covid 19 and was isolating at home.

She stayed on the web cast during which we did hear a bit from Councillor Kearns but not the usual robust on top of an issue Lisa.

A polite mention from the Mayor at the end of the web cast wishing Kearns a speedy recovery would have been nice.

Kearns advises us that the first few days were difficult but she is on her way to a full recovery.

Return to the Front page

Parts of city web site to be down March 3rd for scheduled maintenance

By Staff

February 25th, 2022



Some City web applications and online forms temporarily unavailable for scheduled maintenance March 3

On Thursday, March 3, 2022, the following applications and forms will not be available starting at 10 p.m. until Friday, March 4 at 2 a.m.:

  • Burlington calendar
  • Application to search for City parks and facilities
  • The City’s online job application platform

This maintenance work has been scheduled in the evening hours to limit the disruption.

Return to the Front page

Time for the taxpayers to speak up on the Waterfront hotel site development; several Councillors appear to have lost their tongues

By Pepper Parr

February 25th, 2020



Quiet, quaint, downtown Burlington may become a thing of the past.

The owners of the Waterfront Hotel have filed a development application to build two towers on the site; one at 35 storeys, the other at 30 storeys with both sitting on a five storey podium.

This is what we have. Some development can be justified – but it has to be the right development for the city.

There is a public that is opposed to a development of this size.  Disturbingly there is also a city council that has been less than vocal in its views on the development.

During the Statutory meeting held earlier in the month the Mayor, the ward Councillor and one other member of council spoke out not totally against the development but certainly against the height the developer was asking for.

The developer would like to make Lakeshore |Road 6 m narrower; they want to put up towers that will rise 40 storeys.

This is what the developer want to build. It is very good design, it could well win awards – it is the location that is wrong.

Of the limited number of delegations (there were six) the one that drove home just what the issue is came from Plan B, a group that has 500 supporters and 5000 people following them on the Facebook page – which you can find right HERE

There are two processes being handled at the same time which to many seems awkwardly odd.  The city is processing a development application while at the same time the city is working its way through a Waterfront Study that will “inform” and guide the development of the area.

Part of the study is a survey that is asking people how they feel about some of the ideas that were put out during the Statutory meeting last week.

Confusing – true – the developers, their legal counsel and their planning consultants are quite comfortable with the confusion – they understand the issues and they have a tonne of money invested in the process.

For parents dealing with the fallout from Covid19, stressed and struggling to run households – finding time to respond to a survey about an issue of which they may not be fully informed, is a stretch.

Two processes – out of which there will be only one result and it may not be made by the city council you elected.


The survey isn’t the easiest to navigate.  They appear to be looking for responses from people who live in specific parts of the city.  When you are asked to enter your postal code, you have to know what it is – you get a thank you for taking part.

We live in a time when there are serious decisions to be made – don’t leave it up to the people you elected unless they are fully transparent and prepared to be accountable for the decisions they make.

Are these three now mute?  Do they not have a view of how the city should grow?

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte

Angelo Bentivegna ward 6. While members of Council are elected by the people in a specific ward the have a responsibility for the growth of the city as a single entity.

Kelvin Galbraith, ward 1.

Based on the Statutory meeting last week Councillors Bentivegna, Stolte, and Galbraith have some explaining to do.  And one might ask – where is the most experienced Councillor on this issue – other than his remarks on the failure to come up with a vision, Councillor Sharman hasn’t had much to say.

Return to the Front page

Every person has the right to feel safe in our community.

By Staff

February 24th, 2022



The Ontario Ministry of the Solicitor General’s has awarded the Halton Regional Police Service a Victim Support Grant

The $200,000 in funding, to be issued over a two-year period, will facilitate an expansion of supports offered to victims and survivors of intimate partner violence in Halton region through a multi-pronged strategy.

Collectively, these complementary, victim-centric strategies focus on enhanced partnerships between police and non-police partners to better respond to the complex needs of survivors and help create safe places across our region for survivors to report violence and coercive and controlling behaviour.

A portion of the grant will be used to embed a dedicated violence against women (VAW) support worker from Halton Women’s Place* within the HRPS Intimate Partner Violence Offender Management Unit (IPV-OMU). As a result, the IPV-OMU will be better positioned to provide survivors safety support, community referrals, crisis, group and individual counseling, and advocacy, which will help mitigate risks to survivors.

Halton Regional Police Service Deputy Chief Jeff Hill

To better meet the needs of our diverse community, the VAW worker will also work closely with the IPV-OMU and the Victim Services Unit of the HRPS to access their volunteer crisis workers who amongst them, speak 15 languages. Additionally, HMC Connections** would also provide consultation and support in terms of strategies for providing services and supports that are culturally appropriate and address the complexities faced by newcomers to Canada.

A portion of the grant will be used to provide enhanced intimate partner violence risk assessment training to Halton Women’s Place staff and HMC Connections staff.

Recognizing that victims and survivors of intimate partner violence may have more comfort accessing support through non-police agencies, this training will ensure that non-police partners who are dealing directly with survivors of intimate partner violence have access to the same risk assessment tools as police. This training will bolster their ability to identify and mitigate risk for their clients.

Intimate partner violence is an ever-present secret carried by far too many in our community. The HRPS, and our community partners, know and see the toll of violence on families.  In 2020, the HRPS responded, on average, to more than ten intimate partner violence incidents a day in the community.

The true incidence of intimate partner violence may never be known, as we recognize that much of it goes unreported to police. While the complexities of survivors are unique, the commonality they share is the need for a safe place to report intimate partner violence. The strategies funded through this grant will provide a safer pathway forward for survivors, including through reporting.

The HRPS, Halton Women’s Place, and HMC Connections extend their gratitude to the Solicitor General for granting this funding for new intimate partner violence victim supports. These initiatives will support our steadfast commitment to ensure that Halton region is a place where every person can safely live, work and play without fear of violence.

“The Halton Regional Police Service believes it is the fundamental right of every person to live free from the threat of violence and to feel safe in our community,” says Halton Regional Police Service Deputy Chief Jeff Hill. “This grant will help expand the reach of our collective efforts to ensure survivors know that they are not alone, that support is available, and ultimately help them begin their journey of healing.”

“Halton Women’s Place is thrilled to expand on our partnership with the HRPS through this new initiative, which will provide women who have experienced violence with greater support and safety options,” says Laurie Hepburn, Executive Director of Halton Women’s Place. “This integrated approach with the placement of a VAW counsellor at the HRPS and support from HMC Connections will help build capacity and capabilities to best serve our community.”

“The risk assessment training is going to give our Settlement Specialists tools to identify people at risk and to make sure they now where and how to reach out for support,” says Kim Jenkinson, Executive Director of HMC Connections. “It is critical to get information to people early – they need to know they are not alone and there are people and systems that can help them. Being able to identify people at higher risk will also allow us to customize and tailor the information provided to the cultural needs of the client.”



Return to the Front page

Mayor of Milton lets the province know that he isn't happy with a Regional decision on farmland in his town

By Staff

February 23rd, 2022



The Mayor of Milton is not happy.

The Regional government made a decision earlier in the month related to the Preferred Growth Concept that impacts all four municipalities in the Region.

Mayor Krantz wants to be able to expand the urban boundary for Milton and use some farmland to handle the growth that has to take place.

Citizens told the Regional Council that farm land had to be saved. A majority of Regional Council agreed

The 58 people who delegated at the Regional meeting took the position that climate change was far too important and that to have a chance of meeting the reduction in C02 gasses being pumped into the environment farm land had to be saved.

Thus the letter to the Minister;

The Hon. Steve Clark
Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing 777 Bay Street, 17th Floor
Toronto, ON M7A 2J3
RE: Halton Region Official Plan Review

Dear Minister Clark,

As you are aware, Halton Region Council and Councils in municipalities across Ontario are engaged in ongoing discussions to finalize their Official Plans. As you know from your time as Mayor, determining a community’s Official Plan is a very important decision and one that cannot be taken lightly.

Gord Krantz – longest serving Mayor in the province.

I appreciate the opportunity I have had to connect with you, your staff, as well as with
the Hon. Parm Gill, Milton’s Member of Provincial Parliament, regarding this issue over the past few months. We appreciate your ongoing attention and interest.

On behalf of the Town of Milton, I am writing to continue to ensure you are aware of our position with respect to Halton Region’s Official Plan review. As we have previously communicated, it is critical for Milton – and indeed for the financial health of Halton Region – that an Urban Boundary expansion is contemplated. Based on recent discussions at Halton Regional Council, we are concerned the Preferred Growth Concept that will be approved will not allow for the expansion required to strategically and appropriately manage the coming growth.

As per the provincial policy and mandates, Milton is committed to intensification and densification of our existing urban structure. To better serve our citizens and to align with A Place to Grow – The Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, Milton is building complete communities and A Place of Possibility. We are intensifying, developing, and creating 15-minute walkable, accessible, integrated neighbourhoods with jobs, schools, transportation, community services, parks and recreation facilities and a variety of homes that are easily accessed with multi-modal – walking, cycling, bus and GO Transit rail – connections.

As you know, Halton Region municipalities are maturing at different stages. Milton is at a different stage of development from both Burlington and Oakville. Both of these municipalities were granted urban boundary expansions over a decade ago and as a result, have already developed to their outer edge. Milton is seeking the same opportunity and consideration to grow in the right places, with the right uses. We have a strategic growth plan capable of responding to a variety of residential and employment market demands including and especially transit-oriented development.

Increased population across Halton Region is unavoidable and must be strategically planned. Milton Council continues to demonstrate its commitment to intensify and densify our community and to allocating growth – residential, commercial, mixed-use and industrial to ensure the development of complete communities. For Milton, an urban boundary expansion will ensure the ability to strategically manage anticipated growth pressures and the proper use and allocation of land from now until 2051, while continuing to protect the over 71 per cent of Milton’s community that consists of the Greenbelt, Natural Heritage Systems and farmland.

We continue to communicate to our Halton Region Council colleagues that we are concerned that establishing a hard, urban boundary will create a number of unnecessary and avoidable risks to Milton and to Halton Region including:

• Removal of Milton’s ability to direct growth to the appropriate location, for example, designating industrial/warehousing and logistics abutting the 400 series highways
• Incompatibility within employment lands
• By 2031, stalled assessment growth creating fiscal instability for Halton Region and Milton
• Increased pressure on the residential tax base resulting in increases to property taxes
• Disruption to Milton’s ability to create compatible, complementary and complete communities
• Elimination of Milton’s ability to create desirable mixed-use, complete communities with local amenities
• Increased risk of actual urban sprawl

Four decades as a politician – Gord Krantz is still at it.

On February 16, 2022, Halton Region Council will discuss a Notice of Motion (NOM) which contemplates no urban boundary expansion until 2041. Should that NOM be approved, this will mean that Milton will experience a 10 year gap in our available employment lands as our current supply will be at capacity by 2031. Further, it will mean disruption to the appropriate balance between residential intensification and new greenfield development to 2051.

Milton’s members of Halton Regional Council and I will continue to work with our colleagues to find an amenable solution. However, in advance of Halton Region Council’s decision regarding the Preferred Growth Concept, I felt it critically important that Milton’s position be clearly communicated to and understood by you.

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration of Milton’s position. If you or your staff have any questions or require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Mayor Gordon Krantz Town of Milton

The decision made at the Region will go to the public again, sometime in April as a Statutory meeting.

The province requires a commitment from the Region as to what it is doing to comply with the need to grow requirement the province has put in place.

Return to the Front page