With the horses out of the barn why does Council want to talk about ideas for a different barn design?

By Pepper Parr

January 10th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

Council is going to hear a report this week on the The Waterfront Hotel Planning Study that was undertaken to comprehensively plan the  waterfront site at 2020 Lakeshore Road and guide the landowner in its redevelopment.

Given that the site has been referred to as Ground Zero for Burlington an in-depth study made a lot of sense.

The Waterfront Hotel Planning Study will inform an implementing Official Plan Amendment. Once approved, that amendment will form part of the City’s Official Plan and provide a strategic framework to guide the redevelopment of the subject property.

Notice the space between the southern part of the dotted red line and the edge of the lake. Who owns that property? Is it part of the hotel land or is it controlled by Conservation Halton? That’s an important question.

The Study began in early 2017 and included three public meetings/community workshops (a total of six sessions) and two community surveys. In November 2017, an update on the status and progress of the study was presented to Council at the Planning and Development Committee Meeting. This community and stakeholder engagement phase first explored eight design ideas, which were then refined to three preliminary design concepts, and then two emerging concepts.

As a result of additional community and stakeholder input in early 2018, a staff report was brought to the Planning and Development Committee in June 2018. At that time, a set of key policy directions to guide the development of a final concept were endorsed by City Council. These key policy directions were organized around the design principles of Land Use and Built Form, Public Realm, and Mobility and Access.

In mid-2018 the Study was placed on hold due to other various priorities in the Community Planning Department such as the New Official Plan process and for staff to re-visit the Study workplan while considering the set of key policy directions endorsed by Council in June 2018.

While all the futzing and putzing was going on the developer beavered away at doing the design work and taking part in a pre-consultation meeting required to submit a development application.

The design is world class – the architects have made excellent use of the different views that will be available.

That application was submitted, but deemed to be incomplete by the planning department.

So what is the point of returning to the Study – the developer has wind in his sails and is on his way.

The Staff report makes mention of “height not to exceed three (3) storeys within 20 metres of Brant Street and Lakeshore Road and eleven (11) storeys adjacent to John Street and beyond 20 metres of Brant Street and Lakeshore Road” while the developer presents a plan for two towers that are very close to the southern edge of Lakeshore Road and soar 35 storeys high.  The second tower is just 30 stories high.  Both sit on a five storey podium.

The design of the buildings is superb, these are very smart looking buildings that would be a delight to live in.  The plan puts them in the wrong place. One wag described the development as “out of proportion; out of place and should be outa here”

The northern edge of the site is very close to the edge of Lakeshore Road. The five storey podium will loom over the street – with no view to the lake. The entrance to the east end of Spencer Smith Park will be through an opening in the podium.

The surrounding context of the Waterfront Hotel Planning Study Area including changes to the northeast corner made through the scoped re-examination of the New Official Plan Project, will be considered in the development of the preferred concept for the Subject Property.

This will also include a review of the key policy directions endorsed by Council in June 2018, including the amended key policy direction #8 which was modified by Council to include the following language in bold text:

Enhance the Brant Street view corridor to frame views to the Brant Street Pier, and require a significant building setback from the west property line and define and consider a building setback from the thin red line and maximize the new and enhanced publicly accessible green/open space.

That “thin red line” concept came from the Plan B, a group of citizens that believe something much better can be done with the hotel site.

It was a solid idea but the city planners found a way to get rid of the idea.

At the January 23, 2018 Planning and Development Committee a council motion was carried to modify the block shown at the northeast corner of Brant Street and Lakeshore Road located in the proposed Cannery Precinct (22-storeys) to the Downtown Core Precinct with a maximum building height of 17-storeys including community benefits.

As a result of Council’s modification, the basis for the expanded public realm at the corner and enhanced setback limit was eliminated.

On April 26, 2018 City Council adopted a new Burlington Official Plan. On December 4, 2018, the Region of Halton issued a Notice of Non-Conformity to the City, which had the effect of extending the Region’s review process until such time as the Region determined that the non-conformity was rectified. While collaborating extensively with Regional staff on the issues of non-conformity the City undertook the scoped re-examination of the adopted Official Plan. This process took place while the Waterfront Hotel Planning Study was on hold.

Through the scoped re-examination of the New Official Plan Project in 2019-2020, the adopted Official Plan policies for the Downtown were studied. As part of that work the north-east corner of Brant Street and Lakeshore Road was revisited and was included within the Brant Main Street Precinct. The purpose of this precinct was to serve as a unique retail destination within the Downtown and city-wide.

The precinct provides a wide range of policies to guide development within the precinct. Specifically, related to built form, this precinct requires height not to exceed three (3) storeys within 20 metres of Brant Street and Lakeshore Road and eleven (11) storeys adjacent to John Street and beyond 20 metres of Brant Street and Lakeshore Road. In November 2020 the Region of Halton approved Burlington’s New Official Plan, which is currently under appeal.

The Subject Property was not included in the scoped re-examination of the New Official Plan Project and the new Official Plan did not change the existing land use designation and permitted building height for the Waterfront Hotel property located at 2020 Lakeshore Road.

Former city Councillor John Taylor in discussion with Linda Davies and Dee Dee Davies during one of the six public sessions that were held shortly after this Council was elected.  The Gazette was asked to leave the room, at the instructions of the Mayor, when the conversation between the stakeholders was taking place.

Next Steps
With the re-examination of the New Official Plan (Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown) Project completed, approval of the new Official Plan (under appeal), as well as the Minster of Municipal Affairs and Housing’s approval, with modifications, of the Regional Official Plan Amendment 48 it is the appropriate time to resume the Waterfront Hotel Planning Study.

City staff with support from the project consultant, The Planning Partnership, the group that is leading the consultation process will resume the workplan where it left off in 2018 to complete the study. The work is anticipated to take 16-17 weeks and will be completed within the original project budget. The resumption of the study will build upon and advance the previous work and community input to-date to develop a final preferred concept.

There is a much better solution on what can be done with the hotel site.

A small group is working at building public support for a different look at the waterfront hotel site that includes possible land swaps and building a new city hall on the property; something that would be four or five storeys high and include a purpose built Art Gallery.

Burlington can do better than the application before the Planning department.   There are limits on what developers should be able to do.

This is a story that is going to be around for some time.  It is your city.

Related news stories:

More on Plan B

Some ideas on what is possible

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Some eye popping numbers in a 'satisfaction' survey the city spent $29,000 on

By Pepper Parr

January 10th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

Part 1 of a two part report on how satisfied with citizens are with the services the city provides

Council got off to a fast start this morning. Just as soon as they confirmed that there was a quorum they went into a Closed Session. There were three different matters that had to do with litigation and the public seldom gets to listen to any of that stuff.

Rory Nisan was chairing the CSSRA Standing Committee – he advised that there would be another break in the proceedings for a different closed session later in the day.

The meeting today was virtual virtual. The practice up until this point has been to have the Chair and the Clerk in Council Chambers. This time Nisan got to stay home and run the show from his residence. He was not wearing sweatpants or pyjamas.

On the agenda was a report on how well the city is doing on citizen engagement. A report from MBD consulting, that had a price tag of $29,000 + was presented.

Since 1998, the City of Burlington has conducted community survey since 1998 to uncover resident satisfaction. The surveys typically happen every 2-4 years, the most recent surveys were in 2008, 2011, 2015, 2019 and 2021. The survey provides the opportunity for bench marking and to monitor progress of community measures over time with the goal of continuous improvement. In addition to resident satisfaction, the last three community surveys (2015, 2019 and 2021) included asking residents questions regarding communications and engagement with the City.

One of the questions asked related to taxes.

 

There are additional graphics further along in this article.

The 2021 community survey was conducted using Computer Aided Telephone

Interviews where respondents were randomly selected from the city’s population using a mix of both residential landlines and cell phone numbers. The goal was to complete 750 interviews/surveys, with 125 completed interviews/surveys per ward. The total reached was 755 completed interviews/surveys with a margin of error of +/-3.6% with a 95% confidence interval.

The interviews/surveys were conducted between September 13 to October 18 and it took on average 18 minutes to complete. Responses were weighted based on the population by age and ward. Two items that are important to note one, that satisfaction of city services results were analyzed using a priority matrix that compares performance, room for improvement and the derived importance of each service (a measure which represents the level to which each service is related to overall satisfaction) and two a combination of both randomly selected Burlington cellular and landlines were included in order to obtain a variety of responses.

These were the issues that people were most concerned about

Levels of satisfaction with the services that are being provided

 

 

 

 

Overall, the results of the survey turned out highly positive across several measures.

 

 

 

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COVID19 outbreak at Joseph Brant Hospital

By Staff

January 7th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Public Health people have said an outbreak of Covid19 has been declared on Unit 6 South 200 (6S200) at Joseph Brant Hospital (JBH) after three patients tested positive.

All appropriate precautions have been taken to ensure the safety of patients, Essential Care Providers (ECPs), staff and physicians.

Joseph Brant Hospital’s Infection Prevention and Control team and Employee Health Services are ensuring all patients on the unit, along with staff and physicians who have been or may have been exposed, are being contacted, monitored, tested as required and self-isolating in keeping with Public Health guidelines. Patients on the unit are in isolation as of January 6 and have been instructed to continue the 10-day self-isolation when discharged from hospital.

A number of enhanced safety measures are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the safety of patients, staff and physicians. This includes closing 6S200 to new patient admissions except for COVID-19 positive patients. In addition, ECPs are no longer permitted to enter the unit except under exceptional circumstances in consultation with the patient’s care team. Patients can still connect with their loved ones by telephone and video – both telephone and WiFi are available at no cost.

JBH is monitoring the situation closely and will continue to work closely with Halton Region Public Health to bring a safe end to the outbreak as soon as possible. Patients or loved ones who have questions or concerns can contact a member of the JBH Patient Relations team at 905-632-3737 ext. 4949 or by email patientrelations@josephbranthospital.ca.

 

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And we thought these things were behind us - Telephone Town Hall on the 19th

By Staff

January 7th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

City will host another COVID-19 Telephone Town Hall on Jan. 19 at 6:30 p.m.


The City of Burlington will host its eleventh COVID-19 telephone town hall event.

The event provides an opportunity for the community to hear how this latest Covid19 variant is impacting us and a chance to ask questions about the on-going COVID-19 pandemic and how it is impacting city programs and services.

The event will be hosted by Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, who will be joined by a panel of local leaders, including representatives from Joseph Brant Hospital, to help answer residents’ questions.

How to Participate

Residents who would like to participate in the town hall can do so in the following ways:
Register in advance: Burlington residential phone numbers will be randomly selected to be part of the telephone town hall. Residents who would like to be added to the telephone call list can email getinvolved@burlington.ca by noon on Jan. 18, 2022.

If you registered for any of the previous town halls, you are not required to register your phone number a second time. If you wish to have your phone number removed from the call list, please email getinvolved@burlington.ca by noon on Jan. 18, 2022.

Join by telephone: Anyone who does not receive a telephone invitation can call 1-800-759-5308 just before 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 19 to join the town hall.

For those individuals calling in, please be advised more than one attempt may be required due to the high volume of traffic on the phone lines. If the first call does not connect, please hang up and dial the 1-800 number again.

Listen to audio: Live audio from the Jan. 19 town hall will be broadcast on YourTV, channel 700 on Cogeco and on the YourTV Halton YouTube page.

Once the call begins, a moderator will provide participants with instructions for how to submit their questions to the leadership panel.

A recording and transcript of the town hall will be posted online after Jan. 19 

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Is Gary Carr leaving the world of politics? Will Tom Adams replace him ?

By Pepper Parr

January 7th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Word from a usually reliable source is that Regional Chair Gary Carr is not going to run for re-election in October.

Gary Carr as a goal tender.

Gary and his wife moved to Burlington recently and are apparently enjoying being in the city. Previously they were living in a semi-rural setting in Milton

Carr has done a good job at the Region. He was a good MPP and an excellent Speaker in the Legislature. He was a pretty good goalie when he played hockey.

The talk amongst the political set is that Tom Adams, an Oakville Councillor is looking at the job. The Region could do a lot worse.

Tom Adams – Oakville and Regional Councillor

He is the longest continuous serving Chair of Halton’s Planning and Public Works Committee as well as the longest serving Chair of Oakville’s Budget Committee. In these positions, Councillor Adams has worked to protect natural lands, build and renew infrastructure and strengthen Oakville’s strong finances.

Adams is young, articulate and well focused when he takes on a task. Good on detail as well

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Pedestrian dies in hospital after Collision in Burlington

By Staff

January 5th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On Tuesday January 4, 2022 at approximately 7:15 PM the Halton Regional Police Service responded to a 66 year old pedestrian who was struck by a motor vehicle on Lakeshore Road near Goodram Road

Paramedics transported the pedestrian to Joseph Brant Hospital for emergency treatment.

Unfortunately the pedestrian succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased by medical staff. The driver remained on scene and is cooperating with the police investigation.

The Collision Reconstruction Unit has taken carriage of the investigation. Any witnesses who have not yet spoken to police are asked to call 905-825-4747 ext: 5065.

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Rivers on Ford: Was he at the cottage or hiding in the basement of Queen's Park?

By Ray Rivers

January 4th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Dog Logic – If you don’t see it, then it doesn’t exist. And Ontario’s Premier Ford figures that’ll work for him. If we stop testing, recording and reporting our cases of COVID infection the pandemic will seem… like it’s gone away.

Ontario is in the midst of the largest COVID wave ever and the government is overwhelmed and over its head. Ontario residents got angry last month when the Premier didn’t show up for a briefing on Omicron just as we were entering the Christmas period. Where was he while this new variant was wreaking havoc everywhere and spreading like wildfire is still unknown. But apparently he has a cottage and there is a basement at Queen’s Park where one could hide.

Is the medium the message? Going to take more than a T shirt to command public trust

Nobody blames Ford for the arrival of Omicron, it’s everywhere. But his inaction in the face of this new public crisis is indefensible/inexcusable. Unfortunately it’s a familiar pattern for this premier. He’s been late to act with every wave of COVID – each delay actually exacerbating the problem.

Anybody could have figured out that the viral surge in South Africa, last November, would land on Ontario’s doorstep by December. So what was Ontario’s government waiting for…Christmas? Even the World Health Organization had warned everyone that it was coming. The feds got the message, and Canada banned travellers from seven southern Africa countries as far back as late November.

Mr. Ford referred to the latest variant as spreading like a wildfire. So one would have expected him to have got the water hose out before the flames were already in the living room. But now he acknowledges that it’s too late, and is content to just slow it down. But he’ll use the same tool as always – lockdown restrictions to limit social contact.

No masks required if they are learning at home – question is – are they learning?

He has once again paused in-class education, after a good deal of dithering. Sadly, even as we move into the 3rd calendar year of COVID our schools are still not safe enough to fully resume in-class instruction. And that means there would have been almost certain student-to-student transmission with this highly transmissible variant. So initially the government plan was to hide the statistics – not report cases of infection in schools.

If you don’t see it, then it doesn’t exist. Except parents, teachers and health care professionals were not going to let him get away with that. Rather than suffer a backlash over reporting, Mr. Ford just closed the schools and Ontario is back to remote learning.

And when it comes to transparency, it isn’t just schools. The rules on PCR molecular testing have changed and are now limited only to health professionals and some most vulnerable folks. If you have symptoms and you’re vaccinated, just stay home for 5 days. That is unless you need to show your boss an official positive test result.

The government has suggested people use one of those antigen rapid tests to see if they are positive, as an alternative. But, despite the federal government giving 50 million test kits to Ontario, there are none available. Ontario had been distributing these free rapid test kits in some malls and the odd liquor store – but not apparently anymore. People lined up for hours to get a kit – bearing a close resemblance to characters from the movie ‘Hunger Games’ as they scrambled over one another.

It was pretty much the same sad story when it came to getting a lifesaving booster shot. The province opened up eligibility to non-seniors only after the Omicron wave was on us. People scrambled to make a booking and the booking systems did what they had done before – disappointed or crashed. Even the National Post, a Tory friendly paper couldn’t hold back its disgust.

The government may be right on reporting infection test statistics. What is the point if they are unreliable and unrepresentative? That is a sad admission – so we will be treated to hospital and ICU admissions data from now on instead. Ford’s is not the first government who has wanted to end testing and reporting COVID numbers. Alberta’s Kenny and former US president Trump also tried to trick the public into thinking things were better than they really were by stopping testing.

It’s a new year, but unfortunately it feels even worse that last year, given that we should have learned something from past. The government’s failure to act in a timely fashion is disgraceful. Some experts believe the variant will peak in the next couple weeks and then crash, as it has apparently done in South Africa. But what if it doesn’t? What is Plan B? Dog Logic?

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

Background links:

Ontario Restrictions –   Anger at Premier –  School Case Reporting – 

Stampede for Boosters –    Hospital Surge –    Rapid Tests

Other opinions

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It is a fractious city council unable to work together all that well - the city suffers - there are some very significant decisions to be made

By Pepper Parr

January 4th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The three things the city wants to focus on in 2022

Fractious council

Losing the football

Waterfront Hotel

With nothing but virtual Council meetings for just about two years now it is difficult to read just what is taking place.

Councillor Kearns is missing the Standing Committee Clerk and the City Manager are included

If you know the players a little you can pick up some of the discord – and there is certainly discord but this council works very hard to ensure that very little of it gets seen by the public.

The hope that many Burlingtonians had, including this reporter and the Gazette, when Marianne Meed Ward bent her head forward as the Chain of Office was placed around her neck is not today what it was that December evening in 2018. The hope hasn’t entirely disappeared but there is discord and differences.

Council is split into two factions:  The Mayor who will be supported by Rory Nisan until the day he is no longer in office and Kelvin Galbraith who likes the way the Mayor accepts his – let’s build stuff approach to being a ward Councillor.

One the other side, Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns, Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte and Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman are usually on the same page – and it is seldom the same page as the Mayor.

The factions are not cast in stone with Nisan being the exception.

The swing vote – didn’t see that coming in 2018

The swing vote is ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna (who’d thought this is how things would work out) who has taken to developing his own view on those matters he understands. And while he is frequently with the Mayor – not as much as he used to be.

Five of the seven members of Council have now been in office for three years and are gearing up for re-election. With one exception the expectation is that all seven will seek re-election. And no – I am not prepared to say who the exception is at this point.

The important things is the the newbies have found most of their footing – they have developed a good working relationships with their constituents; feel comfortable with most of the issues and are tiring of the way the Mayor treats them. Lisa Kearns thought she would like to serve on the Police Services Board and chose to put her name forward. The Mayor did not support Kearns – and the seat went to a Council member from Oakville.

Traditionally members of a Council support each other when they have something they want to do outside of Council.  Meed Ward may have had some very good reasons for supporting someone else for the Police Services Board but common courtesy called for her to talk to Kearns and explain her position. Kearns was apparently blind-sided by the Mayor.

Without a doubt the quickest and the fastest mind on Council; a workhorse as well – does her homework

Kearns, by the way, would have been an excellent Police Serve Board member – she does her homework (better than anyone else on Council) she would have kept the Board members on their toes.

Councillor Stolte looking for some clarity.

When Councillor Stolte isn’t asking for additional clarification on a matter she struggles to get around the interference the Mayor pushes in front of her.

If Stolte has an event going on and invites the Mayor – it becomes the Mayor’s event.

The differences in approach and philosophy became glaringly obvious when the Mayor could not find a way to get the tax increase number she felt she needed going into an election in October.

Her thinking had merit – it deserves an explanation and some analysis and in the fullness of time we will get that to you.

Meed Ward had a well thought out position – the other council members just didn’t buy it. This Council came very close to being in a position where they were not able to agree on a budget which would have put the creating of a budget in the hands of staff – which City Manager Tim Commisso advised would “not be a pretty picture”.

There are times when the Mayor bends over backwards to get her colleagues to “collaborate” with her. The city does not have someone serving as Deputy Mayor because the members of Council could not agree on just what the job would entail.

When the Burlington Land Partnership was set up every member of Council wanted to be on it – wasn’t something the city manager wanted so no one sits on the BLP – which by the way is a significant venture that the general public knows very little about.

Transparency became her middle name – she draped it around her like a flag

In 2010 there were three new members on Council. Meed Ward, newly elected had a lot of time in as probably the leading delegate as a citizen knew the ropes. Paul Sharman had a lot of senior executive experience in the private sector and knew his way around process and financial reports. The only really new ember in 2010 was Blair Lancaster. There wasn’t nearly as much learning on the job for the newbies.

And Rick Goldring who had become Mayor had a good feel for what the job was about – which is not the same thing as being able to actually do the job.

Normally wears a winning smile.

Meed Ward is now in a similar situation. She is Mayor but has yet to create the set of skills needed to make it happen. Politics is the art of the possible with grey being the dominant colour – black or white doesn’t work.  Meed Ward doesn’t do grey.

Listening intently and being able to read the wind as well as the tea leaves in a cup are vital. It is an art with an understanding of the little bit of science that matters.

What a Councillor is made of should be evident by the end of the third year of the term – and with Meed Ward it is evident but it isn’t all that useful.

Expensive but well worth the price – great legal counsel solved a problem for the ADI Group – shovels are in the ground and the cranes are hauling concrete.

There have been some major wins. The Mayor managed to get rid of the Planner in place when she was elected. She did get the Urban Growth Centre moved north and proved that the a bus terminal that is the size of the average kitchen is not an MTSA – despite what sharp legal counsel was able to convince an OMB hearing that it was.  That was a big win for the ADI Group

Meed Ward seems adrift when it comes to solving the football, almost missing in action on the redevelopment plans for the Waterfront Hotel.

She gave Black Lives Matter the coverage it needs and then got totally silly with her drive to put Rainbow Crosswalks in every ward while learning to live with a budget that needed some time in a Weight Watchers class.

In 2018 the Gazette said Meed Ward was the best of the three people running for the job. We expected her to grow into the job – that hasn’t happened and unless she has a horse shoe in her purse that can be put to good use, or knows how to pull a rabbit out of the hat, she is in trouble.

Rick Goldring seldom wore his chain of Office outside Council Chambers

So much so that Rick Goldring is understood to be looking at his chances of once again wearing the Chain of Office.

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman is usually very direct, tends to want to see data that is verifiable and expects to get his way.

Are there other candidates that might want to reach for that brass ring? There are – but they are nowhere near ready to show their hand.

As for the members of Council Meed Ward will have the support of at least two – one of which may not win his seat come October 2020.

The problem with the football and the strange situation with the Waterfront re-development project will follow.

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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Hearing directly from municipal and Regional leadership would be useful at this point

By Staff

January 4th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Support from the leadership at the provincial, regional and municipal levels are going to be given by media release.

The Premier laid down the decision to move back to Stage 2 for a 21 day period.

Mayor Meed Ward on the porch of her home preparing to do a YouTube broadcast during the early days of the pandemic.

Nothing in the way of a message from the Mayor (unless you count the quote at the end of this article) or the Regional Chair. We have a Mayor who will get out on the street to support the front line workers at the hospital but unable to find a way to put together a message on YouTube or work with the City Administration to put something out on the city web site.

Could our Mayor not wear the Chain of Office and sit in the Council Chamber and talk to the public.

In 2018 when she was running as a member of Council she asked people to not just vote for her but to trust her.

Your Worship – the public needs to be able to demonstrate that you have their trust and they will work with you.
Please – work with them.

The impacts on City services as Ontario moves to modified Step Two of the Road map to Re-open are as follows:

The Province of Ontario has announced a return to a modified Step Two of the Road map to Re-open with new public health measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The following temporary changes will be in place from Jan. 5 until at least Jan. 27, 2022.

Recreation Changes
• City of Burlington facilities for indoor sports, recreation and fitness activities will be closed, and the start of all in-person Winter programs will be postponed

• All indoor programming, including recreation courses and drop-ins are cancelled or have transitioned to online. Registered participants and pass holders are being contacted directly, and those who wish to withdraw for a full refund may do so

• Facility rentals at City recreation locations, as well as Halton District School Board and Halton Catholic District School Board are cancelled. Renters are being contacted with details around rental contract adjustments and credits

• Faith-based rentals and renters who provide child care may continue to operate in modified Step 2

• Registered recreational virtual programming will continue, and online registration can be found at burlington.ca/recreation. Options to stay active at home are also available online at burlington.ca/activeathome

There are still opportunities to be active for your physical and mental health, including:

• tobogganing, neighbourhood rinks and parks and open spaces. Please stay off any artificial turf as it can be easily damaged during winter.

One of the places where people can get outdoors, exercise and maintain social distancing. Registration necessary.

• The Burlington Rotary Centennial Pond is open with pre-registration required for outdoor skating. Online registration opens 25-hours in advance of the skate time at burlington.ca/dropinandplay. Please remember to complete COVID-19 screening before arrival for your skate.

• The Play Lending Library has outdoor equipment to borrow. Contactless pick up and drop off is available at Brant Hills Community Centre at 2255 Brant St. and a full listing of equipment is available at burlington.ca/playlending.

Impacts to other city services
Service Burlington
City Hall, located at 426 Brant St., remains open for in-person service by appointment only for commissioning services and marriage licences. Walk-ins are not permitted.

Please visit burlington.ca/commissioning, burlington.ca/marriage or call 905-335-7777 to book your appointment. Residents can also visit burlington.ca/onlineservices to access a variety of City services online.

Service Burlington is available to answer questions by phone during regular business hours, at 905-335-7777 and city@burlington.ca.
Burlington Transit

Burlington Transit will run a COVID-emergency schedule beginning Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022. For schedules and routes, visit burlingtontransit.ca.

Halton Court Services
The Court administration counter services at 4085 Palladium Way will remain open for in-person services from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. Where possible, members of the public are encouraged to access court administration services online by email at burlingtoncourt@burlington.ca or on the Halton Court website at Halton Court Services.

Parking Services
Parking enforcement requests and parking exemptions may be delayed. Urgent parking enforcement requests posing a safety concern will be given priority.

Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

For more information on the City’s COVID-19 response, visit burlington.ca/coronavirus.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said:  “We know how difficult it is to once again face restrictions to slow the spread of Covid-19. These last two years have been so hard and you’ve all made so many sacrifices. Thank you for hanging in and caring for each other. We’ll get through this.

“Our Emergency Control Group has met regularly throughout the holidays to review the impact of recent announcements on City services, so we can respond appropriately to this rapidly changing situation. Our key focus remains delivering the essential services you count on, while keeping staff and residents safe.”

Links and Resources
• Province of Ontario media release: news.ontario.ca/en/release/1001394/ontario-temporarily-moving-to-modified-step-two-of-the-roadmap-to-reopen
COVID-19 Resources

• For information about COVID-19 in Halton Region, including the latest public health guidance and the status of COVID-19 cases, please visit halton.ca/coronavirus

• Community questions and requests regarding City of Burlington services can be directed to Service Burlington by phone at 905-335-7777, by email at city@burlington.ca or online

• Residents can stay informed at burlington.ca/coronavirus as well as on our social media channels: @cityburlington on Twitter and facebook.com/cityburlington

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Consultant's recommendations for GO station area development delivered to council - will be debated next week

By Staff

January 4th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

WE are about to get a first look at what has come out of the meetings that were to determine what the development at the GO stations could look like.

A 250 page report has been released and will be debated at the January 11th Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility Committee Meeting.

Council will consider ‘in-principle’ endorsement of the Recommend Preferred Precinct Plans for Burlington’s Major Transportation Areas.

The time line that is currently in place

Council’s endorsement is a critical check point in the project that will enable staff to move forward to the next stage of the project which involves the creation of area-specific plans and supporting Official Plan Amendments for each of the MTSAs.

The Interim Report prepared by Dillon Consulting provides:

  • The project background and context
  • The policy and legislative context for MTSAs
  • The work underpinning the MTSA ASP Project and the Preliminary Preferred Precinct Plans including key growth assumptions and complete community elements
  • A discussion about how public engagement informed the Preliminary Preferred Precinct Plans
  • A summary of the technical work required to support the project and a status update on each
  • An outline of the changes made to the Preliminary Preferred Precinct Plans resulting in the Recommended Preferred Precinct Plans and the underlying policy directions to support them and the future area specific planning process
  • Next steps and conclusions

The staff-prepared Fall 2021 Feedback Report outlines each of the tactics undertaken during October and November to engage with the public around the Preliminary Preferred Precinct Plans and includes the methodologies used, the results of the engagement or feedback received as well as some of the lessons learned.

The steps that have to be taken to arrive ast an Area Specif Plan. There will be one for each of the GO Station MTSA’s

Further changes to the Recommended Preferred Precinct Plans are expected and will be required as a result of technical studies underway, as well as other inputs including Council and stakeholder feedback and further project work.

The very unfortunate part of the process is the severe limitations COVID19 will put on genuine public participation and serious delegation.

The number of delegations that have been heard has been reduced significantly.

Alison Enns watching a group of participants on a walking tour.

Also – the opportunity to read a 250 page report a week before it is debated at council isn’t being fair to the public that is going to live with whatever is decided upon for decades.

The Gazette will read the document and report on its contents and provide some analysis.

This is difficult for staff as well.  They have worked very hard on this project; they know how significant the final decision will be and everyone on the team would love to hear some sound community response.

 

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City announces Arts and Culture Funding for 2022: $75,000 will be distributed

By Pepper Parr

January 4th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It is one of the more imaginative programs to come out of Parks, Recreation and Culture.

For those who have applied and been given a grant – it has allowed them to put together some really nice community programming.

For those who weren’t even aware – they got to benefit from some imaginative entertainment.

The city is inviting artists to apply for the 2022 Burlington Arts and Culture Fund (BACF), an annual grant program that provides $75,000 of total available funding to local artists, multicultural groups and arts and culture organizations to foster creativity and enrich how Burlington residents experience and engage with arts and culture.

Fencing was repaired and upgraded at a community ball park with funding.

Applications will be accepted until noon on Friday, Feb. 4, 2022 and will fund projects from April 2022 to March 2023. Successful grant applicants will be announced at the beginning of April 2022.

To be eligible for BACF funding, applicants must be located in Burlington and must be:

  • An incorporated not-for-profit arts and culture organization or a charitable arts and culture organization;
  • An individual artist or arts and cultural collective (defined as three or more individuals) that exhibit high achievement in arts and culture programming;
  • A multicultural group that fulfills a significant role in the Burlington community through the arts and culture.

Grants will be evaluated in part by a peer assessment jury for artistic merit and by City staff for program merit and strategic initiative, citywide and community impact and economic impact.

To learn more about this fund, the jury opportunity and the application process join City staff and arts and culture professionals for a virtual information session on:

Date:               Monday, Jan. 17, 2022

Time:               7 to 8 p.m.

Location:        Microsoft Teams

Applications can be completed and submitted online at burlington.ca/artsandculturefund.

Angela Paparizo, Manager of Arts and Culture in conversation with ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman.

For more information, contact Angela Paparizo, Manager of Arts and Culture, 905-335-7600, ext. 7352 or email angela.paparizo@burlington.ca.  She comments on the program and the impact it has had on the community.  “The  Arts and Culture Fund grant program has successfully supported many amazing arts and cultural projects across the City since its inception in 2019. The wonderful thing about the projects that evolve through this process is the wide range of benefits to our community.

“We continue to see the program nurture the capacity of the arts and culture sector in Burlington, while fostering creativity, encouraging social cohesion and stimulating cultural and economic advancements. To find out more, I invite anyone who is interested in applying for a grant to attend our virtual information session on Jan. 17. We look forward to hearing from Burlington artists and to receiving their applications.”

 

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Temporary closure of exhibitions and studio spaces effective immediately

By Staff

January 3rd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Administration at the Art Gallery announced this afternoon that “In response to the Government of Ontario’s announcement regarding a return to a modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen, the Art Gallery of Burlington will close for a period of at least 21 days, effective immediately. This closure includes all exhibitions and studio spaces.

At least three weeks before we see anything like this at the AGB

The health and safety of the community are always our top priority and, at this time, we are working to review and revise our programs, courses, and services planned in the upcoming weeks. Here’s a look at a couple of important updates regarding the closure:

Winter 2022 In-Studio Courses

If there are any changes to our Winter 2022 in-studio courses, registrants will be notified by AGB staff in advance.

Shop the AGB

This lovely piece of jewellery is available – you just drop by and pick it up.

The AGB Shop will remain open for curbside pick up only. Click here to browse the AGB Shop online.

Stay Connected to the AGB Virtually

The best way to check for announcements and updates is to visit our website, here. Here are other ways to engage with the AGB digitally:

Visit us on Instagram to view our IGTV videos for a series of fun, family-friendly activities you can try out using items from around your home.

·    Learn more about past and upcoming AGB exhibitions by visiting our website. Take a look at exclusive content including, exhibition text, artist interviews, audio clips.. Click on any of the underlined hyperlinks to visit an exhibition page on our website!

All of us at the AGB thank you for the support and encouragement you have provided us during these times, and we are so proud to be part of this extraordinary community. We look forward to the time when we can open our doors and welcome you again!

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Communications people at city hall are limiting what they choose to say

By Pepper Parr

January 3rd, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

A report from City Hall on how the Emergency Control Group was looking forward and beginning to think about when the State of Emergency could be lifted had a couple of bits of data that raised some questions.

The report mentioned that a “few” staff members described themselves as reacting from “suspected workplace transmissions”.  Not quite sure what that means – but with a positivity rate of more than 40% in the overall provincial population and the Premier talking about hundreds of thousands of people flooding the hospital system and the folks at Joseph Brant saying don’t come to the hospital – self diagnose – that few (five people) doesn’t resonate all that positively.

We also asked if there were any members of Council, members of the Emergency Control Group and the Burlington Leadership Team had reported symptoms or gone into self isolation.

We were told that information wasn’t available due to privacy and confidentiality protocols.

That’s equivalent to what the ostrich does with its head.

City Manager Tim Commisso, above and Sheila Jones are the core strength of the administrative side at city hall. Were both to be ill at the same time – things would be difficult.

Were Tim Commisso, the City Manager and Sheila Jones the best Executive Director the city has to both be coping with the Omicron variant at the same time the city would be in close to dire straights.

There are a lot of people referred to as leaders – Burlington has precious few who bring to bear the experience, skill set and command know how that Jones and Commisso – with the exception perhaps of the Fire Chief.

Several of the other bright Executive lights at city hall know their jobs exceptionally well – Joan Ford leads at that level, but that doesn’t quite equate will tested, proven leadership.

A touch of transparency would go quite well about now.

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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Premier address the province: Here is the gist of what he had to say.

By Staff

January 3rd, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In response, the province will return to the modified version of Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen effective Wednesday, January 5, 2022 at 12:01 a.m. for at least 21 days (until January 26, 2022), subject to trends in public health and health system indicators.

These measures include:

• Reducing social gathering limits to five people indoors and 10 people outdoors.

• Limiting capacity at organized public events to five people indoors.

• Requiring businesses and organizations to ensure employees work remotely unless the nature of their work requires them to be on-site.

• Limiting capacity at indoor weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites and ceremonies to 50 per cent capacity of the particular room. Outdoor services are limited to the number of people that can maintain 2 metres of physical distance. Social gatherings associated with these services must adhere to the social gathering limits.

• Retail settings, including shopping malls, permitted at 50 per cent capacity. For shopping malls physical distancing will be required in line-ups, loitering will not be permitted and food courts will be required to close.

• Personal care services permitted at 50 per cent capacity and other restrictions. Saunas, steam rooms, and oxygen bars closed.

• Closing indoor meeting and event spaces with limited exceptions but permitting outdoor spaces to remain open with restrictions.

• Public libraries limited to 50 per cent capacity.

• Closing indoor dining at restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments. Outdoor dining with restrictions, takeout, drive through and delivery is permitted.

• Restricting the sale of alcohol after 10 p.m. and the consumption of alcohol on-premise in businesses or settings after 11 p.m. with delivery and takeout, grocery/convenience stores and other liquor stores exempted.

• Closing indoor concert venues, theatres, cinemas, rehearsals and recorded performances permitted with restrictions.

• Closing museums, galleries, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions, amusement parks and waterparks, tour and guide services and fairs, rural exhibitions, and festivals. Outdoor establishments permitted to open with restrictions and with spectator occupancy, where applicable, limited to 50 per cent capacity.

• Closing indoor horse racing tracks, car racing tracks and other similar venues. Outdoor establishments permitted to open with restrictions and with spectator occupancy limited to 50 per cent capacity. Boat tours permitted at 50 per cent capacity.

• Closing indoor sport and recreational fitness facilities including gyms, except for athletes training for the Olympics and Paralympics and select professional and elite amateur sport leagues. Outdoor facilities are permitted to operate but with the number of spectators not to exceed 50 per cent occupancy and other requirements.

• All publicly funded and private schools will move to remote learning starting January 5 until at least January 17, subject to public health trends and operational considerations.

• School buildings would be permitted to open for child care operations, including emergency child care, to provide in-person instruction for students with special education needs who cannot be accommodated remotely and for staff who are unable to deliver quality instruction from home.

• During this period of remote learning, free emergency child care will be provided for school-aged children of health care and other eligible frontline workers

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Premier missing in action - not a peep during the holiday - expected to make announcement soon

By Pepper Parr

January 2nd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Have you noticed what is different this time?

When the Delta variant was hospitalizing hundreds and scores were dying daily the Prime Minister was before the public almost daily.

When the Delta variant of Covid19 was running rampant the Prime Minister stood at a lectern outside the front door of his house, almost every day of the week, reporting on what was happening.

He left the country with the sense that someone had their finger on the pulse of what we were dealing with.

During the Omicron wave the Premier was hard to find.

The Omicron variant, while not as devastating in terms of the reaction most people experience, this variant moves from person to person faster than anything seen or experienced before.

Cabinet met on the weekend and we are to expect an announcement – when?  No one is able to say.

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore

The sense over the holiday weekend is that people were on their own.  Stay home, hunker down and wear the mask. The Provincial Medical Officer of Health did say this wave could be with us for six to eight weeks and that there was more information coming.

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Waterfront development: likely to be the top story in 2022

By Pepper Parr

January 1st, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

Sticky bit of news came out the last few weeks of last year.  It will probably be the top story between now and the municipal election this October.

The hotel is set back from the street, does not loom over the road, gives a clear line of site to the Pier

On a site referred to by the planner for the developer as Burlington’s Ground Zero, there are plans to demolish the existing Waterfront Hotel and build two towers: one 35 storeys, the other 30 storeys.

What makes it sticky is some of the politics.  The city has created a new Official Plan that still has a few steps to go before it is THE Official Plan.

There were changes in where growth was to take place in the plan.  More than 40 organizations have filed appeals against different parts of the Official Plan – which is not all that unusual.

The podium will butt up against the street and have the two towers on top

What was unusual is the grandfathering of a development application that city council has said is not complete.

For the average Burlingtonian all this politicking doesn’t get much attention – however the eventual results will have a very significant impact on Spencer Smith Park which is seen as the jewel in the crown that is the city’s waterfront.

A small group of people formed Plan B – which sets out what the downtown lake edge and the core of the city could look like – if only there were real citizen input.

Plan B really wants your help.

They are arguing that it is your city and you deserve the right to have input on decisions made.

On the political side the provincial Minister of Housing announced that the incomplete application to redevelop the Waterfront Hotel site would be grandfathered, that it will come under the old Urban Growth centre.

From this – the site as it is today…

 

... to this. The planning proposal currently before the city.

You may have heard that the application for the Waterfront Hotel redevelopment was submitted to Steve Clark, Ontario Minister Of Municipal Affairs & Housing, on November 10th, effectively eliminating two intensification arguments (MTSA & UGC designations) used by developers trying to justify increasingly high condo developments downtown.

That’s all true… but did you know that the City in a 7-0 unanimous vote of Council supported the Planning Department’s recommendation to deem the application incomplete.

It seemed logical to the PLAN B group that this application should be re-submitted when it was complete.

For those who care about how the downtown core of the city is developed and what happens to Spencer Smith Park the Plan B people ask you to “Stay tuned, because things have just gotten a lot more interesting!”

Follow what they are up to on their Facebook page. Click HERE

Related news stories:

There are other options

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Hospital under pressure - asks that only the really ill attend

By Pepper Parr

January 1st, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Joseph Brant Hospital put the following on their web site:

Hospital visits

This wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has placed Joseph Brant Hospital’s Emergency Department under pressure.

Joseph Brant Hospital – under pressure.

If you have mild COVID-19 symptoms, you do not need to come to the ED. Coming to the ED risks exposing vulnerable people to the virus. Call your primary care provider or TeleHealth Ontario for advice on managing mild COVID-19 symptoms at home.

We understand the challenges involved in obtaining PCR testing, but our ED cannot administer COVID-19 tests upon request. If you are eligible under new provincial guidelines, you may book your COVID-19 test at halton.ca

If you visit the ED, you will be seen based on the severity of your illness. Because of the high volume of patients, many of whom arrive by ambulance, please expect longer than normal waiting times to be seen by a physician.

The JBH Emergency Department is safe and our nurses and doctors are ready to care for those patients who need our help the most. Please help us by saving the ED for emergencies.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

It’s not the most reassuring statement.  A comment from a reader:  “Right now my friend we are all on the same ship and at the mercy of the winds because I don’t think there is anyone at the wheel and if there is he or she does not know how to read a compass and they don’t have any charts to guide them.”

The province no longer has access to the raw data – they have stopped counting the new infections and are instead counting the people who have been admitted to hospital and those in an ICU beds.

Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario Medical Officer of Health

Dr. Kieran Moore, the Provincial Medical Officer of Health spoke to the public yesterday (Friday) and did his best to assure people that while things were tough everyone is going to have to tough it out while we all deal with a very very contagious virus that does not appear to be as damaging as the Delta version of Covid19.

There will be all kinds of misinformation out there – go to original sources and listen to the details carefully.  We have not faced anything like this before..

The medical people are telling us to wear masks, be with people who are fully vaccinated – get fully vaccinated and stay six feet away from people when you can.

Related news stories.

Medical Officer of Health updates public

Current rules on how the pandemic in Ontario is being managed.   Who gets what and where do they go

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COVID19 testing_ who gets what and where do they go.

By Staff

December 31st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In response to the rapidly spreading and highly transmissible Omicron variant, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is updating its COVID-19 testing and isolation guidelines. Key changes include the following:

  • Symptomatic testing will be available for high-risk individuals, and individuals who work in high-risk settings.
  • Individuals with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 are presumed positive and they should follow isolation and/or self-monitoring guidelines.
  • Testing for asymptomatic contacts of cases is generally no longer recommended, except for high-risk contacts/individuals that are part of confirmed or suspected outbreaks in high-risk settings, as recommended by public health.
  • Positive rapid antigen tests will no longer require PCR confirmation.
  • Based on the latest scientific evidence, individuals with COVID-19 should isolate for five days if they are fully vaccinated or under the age of 12, and if their symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours.

Eligible Groups for PCR Testing

Effective December 31, 2021, PCR testing will only be recommended for individuals if they belong to the following groups:

  • Symptomatic people who fall into one of the following groups:
    • Hospitalized patients
    • Patients in Emergency Departments, at the discretion of the treating clinician
    • Patient-facing health care workers
    • Staff, residents, essential care providers, and visitors in hospitals and congregate living settings, including long-term care, retirement homes, First Nation elder care lodges, group homes, shelters, hospices, temporary foreign worker settings, and correctional institutions
    • Outpatients for whom COVID-19 treatment is being considered
    • Underhoused or homeless
  • People who are from First Nation, Inuit, and Métis communities and individuals travelling into these communities for work
  • Symptomatic elementary and secondary students and education staff who have received a PCR self-collection kit through their school
  • People on admission/transfer to or from hospital or congregate living setting
  • High-risk contacts and asymptomatic/symptomatic people in the context of confirmed or suspected outbreaks in high-risk settings, including hospitals, long-term care, retirement homes, other congregate living settings and institutions, and other settings as directed by the local public health unit
  • Individuals, and one accompanying caregiver, with written prior approval for out-of-country medical services from the General Manager, OHIP
  • Asymptomatic testing in hospital, long-term care, retirement homes and other congregate living settings and Institutions as per provincial guidance and/or Directives

If you have symptoms of COVID-19

Individuals who are vaccinated, as well as children under 12 who have symptoms of COVID-19 will be required to isolate for five days following the onset of symptoms. These individuals can end isolation after five days if their symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours, and all public health and safety measures, such as masking and physical distancing, are followed

Individuals who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or immunocompromised will be required to isolate for 10 days.

If you are someone who works or lives in a high risk-health care setting (i.e., hospitals, long-term care, retirement homes, congregate living settings) you must notify your employer. Individuals who work or live in these settings should not attend work for 10 days from their symptom onset, or from their date of diagnosis. To ensure sufficient staffing levels, workers in these settings may have the opportunity to return to work early on day seven of their isolation, with a negative PCR test, or two negative rapid antigen tests on day six and seven. Speak with your employer or occupational health and safety department for more information.

All household contacts must also isolate for the same duration as the person with symptoms, regardless of their vaccination status. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should also consider informing close contacts beyond your household contacts by providing them with the link to Ontario.ca/exposed. Individuals who are eligible for a lab-based PCR test are encouraged to get tested.

If you have concerns about your symptoms, contact your doctor, health care provider or Telehealth for more information and guidance. If you develop severe symptoms requiring medical attention, such as shortness of breath or chest pain, call 911.

If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19 but are feeling unwell, isolate until symptoms have improved for at least 24 hours.

If you’ve been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19

If you are fully vaccinated and you have no symptoms, and do not live with the positive case, you are advised to:

  • Self-monitor for symptoms for 10 days since you last interacted with the positive case
  • Maintain masking, physical distancing and adherence to all other public health measures if leaving home
  • Do not visit any high-risk settings or individuals who may be at higher risk of illness (e.g., seniors) for 10 days from your last exposure.

If you are not fully vaccinated, or are immunocompromised, you must isolate immediately for 10 days following your last contact. If you live with the positive case, you must isolate for the length of their isolation period.

Individuals who are eligible for testing are encouraged to get tested.

If you live, work, attend, volunteer, or have been admitted in a high-risk health care setting, you must notify your employer and should not visit the high-risk setting for 10 days since your last exposure or symptom onset, or from your date of diagnosis. To ensure sufficient staffing levels, workers in these settings will have the opportunity to return to work early on day seven of their isolation with a negative PCR test, or two negative rapid antigen tests on day six and seven. If you live in a high-risk setting, you should isolate regardless of vaccination status.

If you have COVID-19 based on a positive test result

If you test positive from a PCR, rapid molecular or a rapid antigen test and you are fully vaccinated or under 12 years of age, you must isolate for five days from the positive test result if you have no symptoms or from symptom onset and until their symptoms are improving for 24 hours (or 48 hours if gastrointestinal symptoms).

If you are partially vaccinated, unvaccinated or immunocompromised, you should self-isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms, or from the date of your test (whichever came sooner).

In addition, household contacts of individuals who have tested positive must also self-isolate during this time. Individuals must isolate regardless of their vaccination status.

You should also notify your close contacts. A close contact is anyone you were less than two metres away from for at least 15 minutes, or multiple shorter lengths of time, without personal protective equipment in the 48 hours before your symptoms began or your positive test result, whichever came first.

Appropriate Use of Rapid Antigen Testing

Ontario currently has a limited supply of rapid antigen tests that are being prioritized for health care and highest risk settings. This includes rapid antigen test use for “test-to-work” in which asymptomatic staff in these sectors can return to work when they would otherwise be on isolation at home.

Focusing the use of rapid antigen tests for these sectors will help keep hospitals, long-term care and retirement homes and congregate settings operating as safely as possible. As of December 20, a total of 50 million rapid antigen tests have been deployed across more than 49,000 sites since the beginning of the pandemic, with the vast majority (approximately 41 million) deployed to these priority sectors.

Rapid antigen testing may be used to confirm if a symptomatic individual has COVID-19, with no requirement for a confirmatory PCR or rapid molecular test.

In addition to Ontario directly procuring additional rapid tests where possible, the province is continuing to urge the federal government to make more rapid tests available to provinces as quickly as possible.

How to Access Supports While Isolating

If you require assistance while isolating, visit COVID-19: Support for people. People can also contact their public health unit for many isolation supports including:

  • Use of isolation facilities;
  • Referral to community supports and agencies;
  • Mental health supports;
  • Courier and delivery supports for food and necessities;
  • Additional resources available to support isolation through the High Priority Communities strategy.

Employers cannot threaten, fire, or penalize an employee in any other way because the employee took or plans on taking job-protected leave due to COVID-19, and doctors notes are not required for employees to use the leave. You can learn more about job-protected leave here.

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Province’s GO-VAXX Bus coming to Burlington Jan. 24 and Jan. 31 – Appointments Required

By Staff

December 31st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The GO-VAXX Mobile Bus Clinic will be coming to Burlington in the new year on Monday, Jan. 24 and Monday, Jan. 31. Both mobile vaccine clinics will take place at Sherwood Forest Park.

The clinic at Sherwood Forest Park will administer an Mrna COVID-19 vaccine, such as Pfizer or Moderna, for first, second, and booster doses, as well as the paediatric Pfizer vaccine for children aged five to 11. Approximately 320 vaccines will be administered during each mobile bus clinic.

Please note that GO-VAXX mobile bus clinics are now by appointment only. Walk-ins will not be accepted.

To book an appointment:
Visit the COVID-19 vaccination portal or call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900.
Appointments will be available for booking at 8 a.m. the day before the clinic. Once appointments are full, the GO-VAXX location will be removed as an option from the provincial booking site. Please note that appointments usually fill up within one hour.

GO-VAXX Mobile Bus Clinic details:

• Dates: Monday, Jan. 24, 2022 and Monday, Jan. 31, 2022
• Time: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
• Location: Sherwood Forest Park at 5270 Fairview St., Burlington
• Eligibility: Who Can Get Vaccinated

Appointments are required.

The City of Burlington actively submitted an application to the Province of Ontario for the GO-VAXX bus to come to Burlington. The Province of Ontario operates the GO-VAXX mobile vaccination clinics as part of the province’s strategy to get COVID-19 vaccines to Ontarians. The number of available vaccinations at the mobile clinics is determined by the Province of Ontario.

The City sought to support vaccination efforts by securing an appropriate local site to host the mobile clinics and share this additional vaccine opportunity with Burlington residents. The mobile clinics are one more opportunity to get vaccinated, but there are many other ways to do so, including Halton Region clinics, pharmacies, community and paediatric clinics and doctors’ offices. Halton Region Covid-19 vaccination clinic information can be found at Halton – COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics.

The City is also working with the Province to bring two walk-in indoor clinics to our city early in 2022.

Further details will be communicated with the public once confirmed.

 

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City continues emergency response to ensure business continuity and prepares for COVID-19 impacts in 2022

By Staff

December 31st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In a lengthy media release put out by the city administration they said  “The number one priority continues to be the health and safety of residents and staff.

The key focus for the City right now is continuity of operations, given rising infections in the community and subsequently among City staff.

To date, there remain few instances of City workplace transmission in City facilities. City staff continue to monitor COVID-19 impacts to ensure robust health and safety procedures are in place in our facilities and are working to ensure essential services are delivered for Burlington residents.

Throughout the holidays, the City’s Emergency Control Group continues to meet to review City service programs and impacts. The City will continue to communicate updates to residents as we all continue to live through this evolving pandemic.

Pandemic response and updates

 The City wants to ensure the people of Burlington that the City continues to monitor the COVID-19 impacts and prepare. This is a dynamic situation and City staff are monitoring daily for any federal, provincial, or regional announcements that would impact City operations. Burlington City Council is provided regular briefings and are ready to take action if a City Council meeting should be required over the holidays. Verbal updates on the COVID-19 emergency response will continue to be provided to City Council in the new year at the Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services Committee.

The next COVID-19 emergency response verbal update is planned for Jan. 13, 2022.

City of Burlington Emergency Control Group

The City’s Emergency Control Group has been regularly meeting over the holidays. This group has decision-making responsibility related to time-sensitive and immediate actions to address the emergency at hand, including operations and crisis communications. The Emergency Control group includes the Mayor, City Manager and senior City leadership from all service areas, Burlington Fire leadership, Health and Safety staff and a Burlington Hydro representative. City Council continues to be responsible for overall governance of the City and strategic decisions.

Protecting City staff and our community

Throughout the pandemic, the City has taken proactive steps to reduce the risk of transmission in the workplace. This includes implementing a staff COVID-19 vaccination policy, adjustments to building ventilation, occupancy limits, daily wellness screening, mandatory masks and a variety of personal protection equipment. Respiratory protection (N95 or KN95 respirators) were offered early on in the pandemic to staff that were deemed an elevated risk to protect them and Burlington residents. To address the highly transmissible Omicron variant, the City has taken additional steps, including making medical masks and tight-fitting respirators (N95, KN95, etc.), available to all staff working on-site.

For higher risk settings, the City is using rapid antigen tests to ensure safety and operational continuity. The City continues to conduct case and contact management for the workplace, regularly updating isolation and testing protocols based on evolving Public Health requirements and to mitigate risk. City staff are advised to work from home and not attend the workplace if they are feeling unwell.

For part-time staff, the City has re-introduced up to 10 paid shifts for approved absences related to COVID-19 to help take care of our people.

The City is acutely aware that the infectious rate of the Omicron variant has the ability to impact City delivery of services and continues to monitor carefully to take steps as needed. Even though hospitalizations currently remain lower with the Omicron variant, the need for people to self-isolate if they get Omicron creates an elevated risk for staffing levels and continuity of services. It remains critical for people to continue to follow all health measures to reduce opportunity for spread and get vaccinated. All requirements for proof of vaccination, screening, masking and physical distancing remain in place at City facilities. The City is working to limit service disruptions to essential public safety services for the community.

Outdoor and active at home recreation options

Residents are encouraged to get outside and enjoy the outdoors responsibly, continuing to follow the advice from public health. There are a number of opportunities to remain active such as the Burlington Rotary Centennial Pond, 15 neighbourhood rink locations, six City designated tobogganing areas and walking/biking on trails. Visiting parks and open spaces is another outdoor recreation opportunity. For a list of parks, playgrounds and trails, visit burlington.ca/outdoorplay. Options to stay active at home are also available online at burlington.ca/activeathome.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward added that: “Your City Council and staff are taking all actions necessary to ensure you continue to receive the services you rely on. We also regularly connect with our partners at the federal, provincial and regional levels to offer our help as needed, and advocate for our community where necessary. We will get through this together as we have so far. Thank you for continuing to do your part, follow health measures, and get vaccinated. We know the last 22 months haven’t been easy for anyone, and you’ve made many sacrifices. Your compassion for each other, your resilience and creativity to find new ways to safely come together, has been a shining light through these difficult days.”

City Manager Tim Commisso

City Manager Tim Commisso

“It is important the City continues to deliver essential services to our community and we want to assure the public we are working to help us all get through this wave as safely as possible. The City’s Emergency Control Group continues to meet regularly throughout the holiday closure and City staff are at work delivering City programs and services and responding to COVID-19. This is a dynamic situation.

Although there remain few instances of City workplace transmission in City facilities, we know 51 per cent of all City staff COVID-19 infections have occurred in the last two weeks since the pandemic began. The Omicron variant is highly infectious and we continue to review plans for business continuity and essential delivery of services for our community.”

 

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