City council is almost mute on the decision to grandfather seven development sites while approving the move of the Urban Growth Centre

By Pepper Parr

November 17th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Information is a little like water: it has its own way of finding the direction in which it wants to flow.

Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing – Steve Clark

We learn a bit more about what took place and how the Minister of Municipal Affairs did the dirty to the city when he announced the Official move of the Urban Growth Centre and the removal of the MTSA designation to the bus terminal and then added that he was grandfathering seven developments that were within the older Urban Growth Boundary.

That kind of takes the wind out of the Mayor’s sails.

But the woman who won public office on the promise to be transparent and accountable hasn’t been able to make use of those skill sets.

And that promise made during her first election in 2010 when she told a group of her supporters that she wanted their votes but more importantly she wanted their trust.

She got the votes – hard to see where she delivered on the trust part.

We have learned that November 10th was when the decision the Minister made became final. That would suggest that there were ongoing conversations – if they were negotiations – what did Burlington get?

Gazette readers are asking what the city is getting other than the Mayor’s spin that, as one reader put it, goes like this: “Look what I have done, oh, by the way it was too late to stop the high-rise development that will destroy the waterfront”

Ward 2 Councillor Kearns told a resident that she “didn’t receive the actual decision until late on the 11th, then needed some clarity, then the weekend, over to Monday to ensure Council had a chance to review before release.

To be fair to Kearns she did make some rather pithy comments that were part of the media release the city put out. She said:

Ward 2 City Councillor Lisa Kearns

“The Minister’s decision may help reduce the long-term development pressure on existing infrastructure and neighbourhoods. On behalf of our residents, I believe there is good reason for concern about the excessive applications already underway. This decision doesn’t fully support the thoughtful and considered conversations we have had to preserve the character of downtown and welcome responsible growth. I understood us to be working towards the same outcome; should the Minister’s decision fail to address this transition issue, it could result in intense pressure for incompatible change.”

Every member of council sat on their hands over this one. How accountable the voters will expect them to be is anyone’s guess.

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The grandfathering given to developments south of Lakeshore Road and east of Brant make Burlington a much different city

By Pepper Parr

November 17th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

We now know a little bit more about the developments that have been grandfathered by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and will proceed through the Ontario Land Tribunal process.  If past appeals are any example, they will be approved at that level.

Five years from now Burlington will be a much different city.

A closer look at what has been grandfathered and what they want to build is now possible even though city hall and the Office of the Mayor haven’t had much to say.

It is a different skyline. The degree to which it will change the small, local feel that many people have of Burlington is something that will work itself out if these two towers go up.

The Waterfront Hotel site, even though not yet at the application stage has been grandfathered.

The Core Development that runs from one side of the football to the other – from Lakeshore Road on the north to Old Lakeshore Road on the south has been grandfathered.

The development planned for the eastern end of the football, one of the Carriage Gate developments has also been grandfathered.

This is the structure that will sit right next to Joe Dogs. How that hospitality operation will operate is something that they are certainly thinking really hard about.

The development that would be next to Joe Dogs on Brant street – put forward as a 30 storey building has been grandfather as has 407 Martha – a building that is very close to Rambo Creek where part of the retaining wall has been described as not all that safe.

2085 Pine, a property that has changed hands a number of times and been before council with different suggestions on just how much height there could be and at the same time preserve a heritage building at the front of the property – that, too, is at the OLT.

The land between Old Lakeshore Road and Lakeshore Road, known as the football because of its shape was at one time described by former Toronto Mayor David Crombie as a jewel we should not let get away on us.

It became a jewel that developers realized needed a bit of polishing up and then sold off as a very desirable high end property that would never have a building put up between it and the lake.

Somewhere in the last ten years the city was never able to come up with a plan that would secure that land and make it more public space.

The CORE Development takes up all the land between Old Lakeshore Road and Lakeshore Road in the centre of the football area. The plan is to keep the popular but expensive restaurant that has been on the site for a long time.

The Carriage Gate people see this development as the eastern gateway into the city. Old Lakeshore Road is to the left with Lakeshore Road to the right.

With the grandfathering in place all the planners are left with is the south side of Old Lakeshore Road:  Top of bank rules limit what can be done on that land.  The heritage designation Emma’s Back Porch has, will limit what can be done with that property.

Once we are out of the pandemic we can expect someone to lease Emma’s and get it back into operation. Not sure how pleasant a local it will be with all the construction that will be taking place.

The triangle shaped property will be where Carriage Gate puts up their 25+ tower – they see it as the eastern gateway to the city. The property to the immediate left is where the CORE development will be built. To the left of that is parking across from Emma’s Back Porch which is owned by 2084 Lakeshore Holdings Ltd.   They also own the small parking lot to the east of Emma’s. On the western tip of the football the property is owned by a trust – we’ve yet to learn who the beneficiary is of that trust.

What does all this leave the city with?  Is there nothing more in the way of options?

The pandemic has changed the way citizens can communicate with the elected leadership and that elected leadership hasn’t done all that much to find ways to hear what citizens have to say.

The Office of the Mayor has seen this as an opportunity to put her spin on what has taken place.

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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A 609 day roller coaster ride - and it isn't over yet

By Pepper Parr

November 17th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Taking a long look at the bigger picture and looking back at what the city has gone through in, as Executive Director Sheila Jones put it – a 609 day Journey – calls for a pause and the question – what’s next?

While we all seem to think that “normal” might be returning no one is set yet to bet real money on a date.

Once a month Council gets taken through a report the Emergency Coordination Group (ECG) uses to advise on what has been done, where the city is financially – tax collections are good and revenue losses as a result of the pandemic are stabilizing.

The city is still in a State of Emergency and no one is certain just when that is going to come to an end and what the process will be to get back to the normal we once knew.

A graphic was put up on the screen – this is where we have been.

Just ups and then down – city hall has managed to keep the wheels on the wagon and on balance has done a good job. The wear and tear on staff has been significant.

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Minister of Municipal Affairs finally gives Burlington the decision it needed six months ago

By Staff

November 16th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Update from the City of Burlington on Minister Clark’s decision on Burlington’s Downtown Growth

On Nov. 10, 2021, the City of Burlington received official notification of the boundary adjustment of the City’s Urban Growth Centre (UGC) designation from the Hon. Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. The Minister also confirmed the removal of the Major Transit Station Area (MTSA) designation in the downtown.

This marks an important step in Burlington’s effort to stop the over-development of its historic downtown. The removal of the MTSA designation and boundary adjustment of the UGC takes effect immediately and applies to all new applications. This will help control overdevelopment moving forward.

A 3D rendering of some of the development planned, some approved and under construction in and around the the two Lakeshore Roads.

However, the Minister chose to grandfather seven applications that were submitted prior to November 10, 2021 from the UGC boundary adjustment and the City is seeking additional clarification on how to proceed.

The changes announced by the Minister were the result of City Council asking the Minister to adjust the UGC boundary and remove the MTSA designation based on Council’s vision for the downtown. As part of the process, the City was required to work with the Region of Halton to make these changes through a Regional Official Plan Amendment (ROPA). The ROPA process involved extensive work and collaboration between the City and Region and consultation with the public.

The immediate adjustment of the UGC boundary and the removal of the MTSA designation will complement provincial transit investments and contribute to the development of sustainable, transit-oriented complete communities in Burlington. These provincial actions also send a clear signal that the scale and intensity of recent development activity in Burlington’s historic downtown was driven by misuse and reliance on the UGC and MTSA and was not sustainable given on-the-ground realities of physical and social infrastructure.

The football is the land between Lakeshore Road and Old Lakeshore Road where intensive development is planned.

Five of the seven applications located in Burlington’s downtown are before the Ontario Lands Tribunal and the City will strongly advocate that the tribunal take into account the City’s vision for the downtown and the new changes brought in by the Provincial Government.

This is the development Carriage Gate wants to build on the eastern end of the football properties

The City will defend at every opportunity the vision that this Council has set out and worked tirelessly to have included in the Region’s official plan amendment (ROPA 48). We will encourage proponents of those applications to revaluate their projects given the updated provincial policies.

City of Burlington Council and staff will continue to work with the Hon. Jane McKenna and Minister Clark to see that the pace and scale of development in downtown Burlington is appropriate given the wishes of residents and the availability of infrastructure needed to support it.

This progress is the result of City Council and staff working over the last three years to define the vision for the downtown and see it enshrined in local, regional, and provincial planning policy; this work was done by engaging residents and local businesses who provided clear feedback to Council that the downtown is not the place for large-scale development.

Background

  • On Aug. 24, 2020, Burlington City Council unanimously approved requesting the Region of Halton through its Municipal Comprehensive Review of the Regional Official Plan (MCR), to adjust the boundary of the Downtown Urban Growth Centre (UGC) to generally align with the lands in proximity to the Burlington GO Station, and to remove the Major Transit Station Area (MTSA) designation from the Downtown.
  • In 2020, the City of Burlington received a joint letter from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and Ministry of Transportation stating that the Region of Halton, working together with the City of Burlington, can remove the identification of a mobility hub and the MTSA designation in Downtown Burlington.
  • The Interim Control By-law Land Use Study focused on assessing the role and function of the downtown bus terminal and the Burlington GO station as MTSAs, and scoped re-examination of Official Plan policies that focused on the Downtown.
  • The Mobility Hubs Study started in 2017-2018 and focused on area-specific planning work for the three GO Station areas: the Aldershot GO, Burlington GO and Appleby GO Major Transit Station Areas (MTSAs). At that time, the City gathered feedback through visioning, public engagement and technical studies. From there, precinct plans were drafted for each study area around the Aldershot, Burlington and Appleby GO Stations.

Mayor speaking at an event from Spencer Smith Park: How much of the waterfront area is she going to be able to salvage from the Minister’s statement?

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward siad in a prepared statement that:  “Burlington’s Council was elected with a clear mandate to stop overdevelopment, and we will continue to do everything within our power to do so. The adjustment of the boundaries of the UGC and the MTSA are a victory for good planning in Burlington. However, implementation issues still remain to be resolved. The Minister’s decision that the policies apply only to new applications presents a greater challenge to achieving our vision for downtown with the applications already in. But we remain undaunted in our efforts to keep advocating for the best planning outcome for our community.  We thank the Minister and our MPP, Hon. Jane McKenna, for their support on this important work to date, and look forward to their continued support as we seek to achieve the community’s vision for development downtown on all applications before us.”

Lisa Kearns: Is the Councillor for the ward that is facing just about all of the contentious development on the same page as the Mayor

Councillor Lisa Kearns, Ward 2 added to the Mayor’s statement with one of her own, saying:  “The Minister’s decision may help reduce the long-term development pressure on existing infrastructure and neighbourhoods. On behalf of our residents, I believe there is good reason for concern about the excessive applications already underway. This decision doesn’t fully support the thoughtful and considered conversations we have had to preserve the character of downtown and welcome responsible growth. I understood us to be working towards the same outcome; should the Minister’s decision fail to address this transition issue, it could result in intense pressure for incompatible change.”

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Pride benches part of city bench program: some interesting choices for those who want to use a bench to honour and celebrate someone

By Staff

November 16th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Recommendation:
Receive and file engineering services report regarding an overview of all bench programs offered by the city; and

Authorize the Director of Engineering Services to incorporate the inclusion of Pride (rainbow) themed benches as an option in the Council Bench Program; and

Authorize the Director of Engineering Services to implement a revised Recognition Celebration Program utilizing the amendments included in Appendix C of engineering services report ES-40-21.

Standard issue – one size and style is supposed to fit all.

PURPOSE:
The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of the various bench programs offered by the City and to introduce the inclusion of Pride (rainbow) themed benches as part of the Council Bench Program. This report will also serve as an opportunity to recommend minor amendments to the current Recognition Celebration Program (Memorial Bench Program) and to deliver recommendations on a preferred approach to implementing future bench requests at city parks, trails, sidewalks and facilities.

Background and Discussion:
Benches are an important asset in and along our parks, trails, sidewalks and facilities. A public bench is a welcoming and inclusive space for everyone to use. In many cases they provide more than just a place to rest. They are popular ways to pay tribute to honouring memories and can serve as a symbol, like the Pride (rainbow) bench which means welcoming, friendship and community.

It is described as “Millionaires Row” -what a place to sit and just gaze out over the lake or meet with a friend. Does it get better than this. The location is the Burloak Lakeside Park

This section will provide an overview of the existing programs related to building new benches in the City and introduce a new style of bench; the Pride (rainbow) themed bench.

1. Pride (rainbow) Benches
2. Council Bench Program
3. Recognition Celebration Program (Memorial Bench Program)
4. Capital Program
5. Public Art Program
6. Maple Park Rotary Memorial Forest

Pride (rainbow) Benches
In recognition and support of Burlington’s 2SLGBTQIA+ (Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual) Community, staff reviewed options for the inclusion of Pride (rainbow) themed benches. Staff have reviewed the procurement requirements, bench model types with respect to cost, durability, maintenance and funding needs based on estimated useful life and full lifecycle costs.

There are several different styles of rainbow benches currently on the market. For consistency with the City’s bench standard, the preference is to implement the same bench type except with custom colours. The City’s standard bench model is a black metal bench. The exceptions to this include areas of the City that are associated with specific design plans such as the Downtown Streetscape Guidelines and Plains Road Corridor Urban Design Guidelines. The procurement for the vendor and bench model will follow the City’s procurement process.

Council Bench Program
As part of the Council Bench Program, each council member can select one bench each year to be installed at a qualifying location of their choice based on constituent requests. It will be each member of Council’s responsibly to provide Engineering Services with their preferred location for a bench by March 30th of each year to allow enough time to site verify that the proposed locations meet the design criteria and to allow for public engagement on the site selection. Once the site selection has been confirmed, Engineering staff will look for the best opportunity for implementation.

Appendix A outlines the guidelines for bench placements and Appendix B itemizes the specific process for implementation for the Council Bench Program.

The bench model chosen here is to match the standard or approved bench style for that area of the City. Currently there are standard styles set for the Downtown area, Aldershot area, Alton Village and most parks. As a new addition to this program, Council members may now request that a Pride (rainbow) themed bench be adopted in lieu of the standard or approved style.

It should be noted that any new Council bench will not have a recognition plaque attached to it. City staff will work with each Council member to select their preferred site by June 30th of each year. Council members may wish to communicate with their constituents on this program. This consultation is to be done through the Mayor’s and Councillor’s office. Once this step is complete, staff will incorporate the installation of the benches into their work plan for installation in fall of the current year.

Recognition Celebration Program (often known as Memorial Bench Program)
The 2008 council approved Recognition Celebration Program, through PR 3/08 (2008) and PR-17-11 (2011), includes guidelines for the process and implementation of the program. This program is an opportunity for a resident to donate a park amenity with a personalized plaque to honour a special person(s) or to celebrate an important occasion. A bench is the most popular asset for this program. Here, the donation is for the lifespan of the bench which is typically 15 years. After this time, the bench is removed from inventory.

The program details are made available online: https://www.burlington.ca/en/your- city/Donations-in-Honour-and-Memory.asp

The bench model chosen here is to match the standard or approved bench style for that area of the City. Pride (rainbow) themed benches are not included under this program. As requests come in, they are evaluated based on their appropriateness of the requested site. As part of continuous improvement, there are lessons learned and an opportunity to improve the process and consistency with implementation. Appendix C outlines the amended process and implementation guidelines. Highlights include a new flat fee of $5,000 per bench (which includes the inclusion of a memorial plaque), the ability to adopt a pre-existing bench at a reduced fee and offer Donors an opportunity to change out the plaque if requested.

Maple Park Rotary Memorial Forest
The Rotary Club of Burlington Central operates a memorial tree program at Maple Park, under agreement with the City. Although the focus of this program is the donation of trees, the agreement allows for up to ten memorial benches within the Rotary Memorial Forest area. The City charges Rotary the same amount as charged under the Celebration program to cover the cost of the bench. Rotary provides the coordination with the donor, and the City manages the installation of the bench on behalf of Rotary. Under this program, at the recent request of a donor, a Pride (rainbow) themed bench will be installed in the Rotary Memorial Forest this fall.

Capital Program
The City’s Capital Program for infrastructure projects is an opportunity to add new or replace older benches on city properties. Examples of these capital projects include new park developments, the creation of recreational multi-use trails, renewal of park infrastructure, road re-construction and improvements to facilities.

Increasing the opportunities for seating is generally a design criterion in most capital improvement projects. Adding new or replacing benches as part of a larger capital project is the preferred and most economical way to include benches throughout the city. Based on community need and suitability of the site, staff determine the quantity and location placement of benches.

Public engagement does influence decisions related to need. Upon approval, these benches can be added to construction contracts for installation.

Outside of capital project engagement process, staff regularly receive requests for individual benches at specific locations, e.g. beside a trail or at a street corner. Each request is evaluated by staff to determine the need and ability to accommodate. Where a planned capital project does not exist, staff will look for an opportunity to bundle or add to other capital improvements as a cost and time saving measure if applicable.

The bench model chosen under this program is to match the standard or approved bench style for that area of the City.

Public Art Benches – Public Art Program
Public art benches may be commissioned as part of the Council approved Public Art Program. The Public Art Program guides how artwork is commissioned, acquired and managed. Selected public art projects are planned a year in advance and included in the annual workplan approved by PADIT (Public Art Development Implementation Team). The inclusion of public art benches is subject to needs, trends and budget.

Public art benches are original works of art that are functional, aesthetic and created with the intention of reflecting and/or engaging the community. They are typically in city- maintained areas that are publicly accessible and frequented by many visitors.

The City’s Capital Program identify locations for upcoming improvement. These are preferred candidates for public art bench locations as it negates the need to include site works which reduces the overall cost of the art bench installation work. A Councilor may also request planning and implementation of public art benches via Section 37 negotiations and contributions for a specific area when opportunities arise. PADIT will work with various city service owners to determine potential public art bench sites. These are then identified and prioritized by the Public Art Master Plan and a scoring matrix.

Financial Matters:
Funding to support the various bench-related programs is financed through the capital budget process. The following provides a further breakdown of financial impact specific to each bench program.

Council Bench Program
As part of the annual capital budget process, $40,000 is allocated each year to support this program. This funding is an all-inclusive cost supply and installation of seven benches and does not include replacement or maintenance costs. The total installation cost of a standard black metal bench is approximately $4,700 as it includes a large concrete pad for accessibility, locates, shipping, labour and taxes. The total cost for a Pride (rainbow) bench is $5,700 because they are considered custom because of the various colours.

Based on historic maintenance records and current data provided by manufacturers, the anticipated service life of a bench is typically 15 years. This life expectancy is based on benches being supported by prescribed maintenance throughout its years of service. Using a 15-year horizon, the Council Bench Program will yield 105 new benches at total average lifecycle cost of $550,440. The operating impact is estimated at $12,000 over the same period.

Recognition Celebration Program (often known as Memorial Bench Program)
The program fee paid by the Donor is intended to cover all costs associated with the purchase and installation of the bench or amenity. The fee does not account for operating costs related such things as graffiti removal. The donation is not perpetual; the bench will be removed after the 15-year period and the plaque returned to the Donor.

Capital Program
This section addresses supporting and funding individual bench requests from the Community. When staff receive a request for a new bench, the first order of business is to confirm if there is a planned capital improvement project in that specific location in the city, if there is available funding in the project budget to accommodate and if the proposed location meets the placement criteria. For benches that cannot be accommodated here, submitting a formal request through the Councillor’s office for consideration is another option.

As a new step related to City bench programs, both the Council Bench Program and the Memorial Bench Program will now require locations to be finalized by June 30th of each year. By bundling the procurement of bench programs, it could yield cost savings by reducing shipping costs and unit cost per bench. There may be additional savings if a concrete pad is not required because there is an existing sidewalk or concrete surface that can be used to accommodate the bench and accessibility requirements. These savings may provide an avenue to fund an individual bench request(s) that cannot be accommodated as part of a larger capital improvement project or through the Council Bench Program. The cost savings will vary year by year.

Public Art Benches – Public Art Program
Financing for a public art bench may be a combination Park Dedication Reserve, Capital from Current and/or Public Art Reserve Funds. Benches may also be 100% funded from the Public Art Reserve Fund. These benches have the same estimated useful life of 15 years; however, the initial capital costs are higher at $10,000 to $15,000 per bench. Once installed, the artwork becomes part of the public art inventory. The Public Art Reserve Fund supports costs associated with insurance, maintenance and/or de-installation of the artwork.

Other Funding Opportunities
As part of Site Plan Approval applications, developers are responsible to make good the streetscape beside their new build as per the City standards and guidelines. This means the developer is responsible for the initial capital costs for new street furniture. Once these assets are assumed by the City, they become the capital and maintenance responsibility of the City (but only if they are installed on the public road allowance). Benches built on private property remain the capital and maintenance responsibly of the land owner. Also, as part of development process, currently Section 37 is an eligible funding source to build new publicly accessible benches. Section 37 will be replaced by a Community Benefits Charge in Q4 of 2022.

The intent of the report is to provide an overview and clarity related to the various City programs that present the opportunity to build benches throughout the City, including the introduction of Pride (rainbow) themed benches as part of the Council Bench Program. It is recognized that the future installation of Pride (rainbow) themed benches in different areas of the city act as symbols of diversity and inclusion and the City’s on-going commitment the 2SLGBTQ+ community.

The report was part of the Consent Agenda and did not generate any interest or discussion.

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City is now recruiting new people for the Advisory Committees

By Staff

November 16th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The City of Burlington is looking for community members to volunteer on a city committee or board.

These volunteers play a key role in providing advice and feedback to City Council and staff on a variety of city issues.

Applications are now being accepted online at burlington.ca/committees until Nov. 26.

Multiple efforts have been made to create a system of Advisory Committees with little lasting success. There is something dysfunctional about just about everything city hall has tried. There have been a number of meetings that were attended by well meaning, smart and committed people who want to be involved. Lift off has yet to be achieved.

Residents over 18 years of age, representing the diverse backgrounds of our community are encouraged to apply. Participating on a city committee provides a unique opportunity to:

• Lend your voice and expertise to help shape decisions and services that impact our community

• Expand your network and meet new people

• Gain a broader understanding of how municipal government works.

• The City of Burlington has more than 18 boards and committees that play a key role in providing advice and feedback to City Council and staff on a variety of issues, including heritage, accessibility, diversity and the environment.

• On Nov. 10, 2021, City Council approved a new Public Appointment Policy for Burlington

• The new policy provides an outline for the process of public appointments to advisory committees and local boards at the City and introduces provisions for diversity and inclusion.

City Clerk Kevin Arjoon

View the new Public Appointment Policy.

• To learn more about the city’s boards and committees and to access the online application form, please visit burlington.ca/committees.

 

Kevin Arjoon, City Clerk said:  “Sitting on a local board or committee provides a unique opportunity to directly impact the future of your city. We are looking for volunteers who represent the diversity in our community to lend us their expertise and ideas to help make a difference in our community.”

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Three year olds being recruited to sign on for kindergarten - the start of a 12 year journey

By Staff

November 16th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It has come to this.

Three year olds getting their first look at what kindergarten has to offer them in a virtual Zoom setting.
Is this the best that creative minds can do?

Appears not.

In a media release the Halton District School Board said:

Starting school is a big step for children and parents/guardians, and the Halton District School Board wants to make that transition as smooth as possible. This fall, the HDSB is welcoming future students and their families to a virtual Kindergarten experience at kindergarten.hdsb.ca to learn more about making the first school experience a happy one.

Clip from a video introducing three year olds to kindergarten. Where is the grass? This is a muddy yard.

Is the correct answer to every question: Why?

Due to current public health restrictions, traditional in-person Kindergarten Open Houses are not possible this year. Instead, we have created a virtual experience for three-year olds and their families.

At kindergarten.hdsb.ca, three-year olds can explore a Kindergarten classroom to see what their future classroom might look like next September. There are videos to watch, pictures to view and fun activities for kids.

Parents/guardians can learn about the Kindergarten program at the HDSB, play-based learning, community resources in Halton and before-and-after school care. Families can also sign-up to receive a welcome package from the HDSB including a free children’s book.

Registration for Kindergarten begins in January 2022 and will be by appointment only (in-person and/or virtual) through the school your child will attend.

Further information will be shared in the new year.

To begin Kindergarten in September 2022, children must be four years old by Dec. 31, 2022 for Year 1 Kindergarten and must be five years old by Dec. 31, 2022 for Year 2 Kindergarten.

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How much damage has been done to the Regional Economy - Survey underway

By Staff

November 15th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

From Halton Region:

Halton has supported businesses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and there’s more to do as we rebuild together. We know that many of you have adjusted services and adapted your business models due to the changing circumstances. As our local economy recovers, Halton Region and the Local Municipalities want to understand how we can best support you.

We have put together a short survey for local business owners and operators to complete by November 19, 2021.

Click HERE to access the survey.

All responses will be kept anonymous. This joint survey is being conducted by Halton Region Economic Development, in partnership with the Economic Development Divisions of the City of Burlington and the Towns of Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville.

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Decision on what will be done with Bateman HS property closer to being determined.

By Pepper Parr

November 15th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Bateman High School looks like it is going to have a much different tenant make up in the near future.

Staff will be making a presentation to Council on Monday that has the Brock University Faculty of Education in the space as well as Tech Place and a branch of the Public Library.

A much different tenant mix will result if the plans under discussion actually work out.

The plans, which will get a fulsome discussion on Monday, include space the Board of Education will rent or retain and space for a community hub of some form.

The pool has always been city property.

The decision to close the school in 2017  was a blow to the community; the outcome has some pluses for a number of organizations.

More once the presentation is complete.

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Did Mayor Meed Ward miss a much needed opportunity or did the Minister of Municipal Affairs take a pass on meeting with her?

By Pepper Parr

November 13th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

In the world of politics – getting the right people in the right room at the right time is an art.

Our Mayor may have missed some of those art classes.

Mayor Meed Ward invited all the members of the OBCM –  Ontario Big City Mayors to hold their October 15th meeting in Burlington at the Pearle Hotel and Spa.

The Gazette didn’t have a lot of information on how that meeting was put together. Neither the Mayor or her staff talk to us.   We’ve not been BFF for sometime. But that is another story that will unfold in the fullness of time.

All we knew was that there was a lot for the Mayor to brag about – the locale of the Pearle and its stunning grand stairway and the wide open space overlooking the lake and the Pier would be the envy of any Mayor.

Parts of the meeting were held via Zoom.

Mayor Meed Ward has needed a one-on-one conversation with Steve Clarke, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing for some time.  The OBCM event was a perfect opportunity.

The Minister is reported to have said publicly on June 15th of this year that he was on for having the Urban Growth Boundary moved from the location that was agreed upon by the 2014-2018 City Council to something further north and closer to the Burlington GO station.

Meed Ward argued strenuously during the 2018 election that the boundary should have been much closer to the Burlington GO Station to begin with.

Once she was elected as Mayor the first thing she did was fire the City Manager and then began the process of revising the city’s Official Plan that had the Urban Growth Centre moved north.

Minister of Municipal Affairs Steve Clarke: Mayor hasn’t been able to connect with the Minister – maybe the Minister doesn’t want to talk to her.

One of the problems was that there were a number of significant developments that were banking on being part of the UGC – should that be moved they would lose part of their development argument.

All that was needed to make the City and Regional decisions real was the signature from Minister Clarke.

But that signature wasn’t forth coming.

The press conference at which the Minister is reported to have said he was on side for moving the boundary was seriously questioned by a member of the Ontario Land Tribunal who would not accept it into evidence.

One would have thought that a political operative of Meed Ward’s stature would have found a way to set up a one-on-one with Minister Clarke. The OBCM event taking place in Burlington with the group meeting at the spanking new Pearle Hotel and Spa (it is understood that some of the Mayors taking part stayed over at the Hotel) was a perfect place for a conversation.

Having Minister Clarke taking part in the meetings was a natural thing for him to do. He is the Minister of Municipal Affairs and all the biggie municipal Mayors were either attending personally or taking part via Zoom.

But Minister Steve Clarke did not make it to the city on October 15th.

One has to wonder – why a connection wasn’t made. Is Burlington too small for the Minster to pay attention to or is the Mayor just too small a fish for the Minister to make time for?

Or did the Minister realize that there were serious problems with his Ministry and the City and it was better to step around that one.  His political advisers would have advised him on that one.

The public is in the dark on just what is going to happen next.  Other than blowing off some steam the Mayor didn’t really say all that much. “This is a devastating and shocking decision imposed on our community, which completely disregards the vision of residents, council and staff for this area.

She might have been a little contrite and admit that she really blew this one.

She did add that “Council will be examining all of our options for a review of this OLT decision.

Transparency was a big word when she was a candidate – it didn’t make it into her bag of tricks when she was elected Mayor. How come?

Mayor Meed Ward speaks frequently about her experience as a journalist.  This would be a good time for her to make herself available to media and be both transparent and accountable and lay all the facts on the table.

Mayor Meed Ward gets in front of the Cogeco cameras as well as the CHCH cameras on a regular basis.  They are seen by the Mayor as friendly folk – not the kind of people who ask her tough questions.

Ahmed Hussen, Federal Minister for Housing and Diversity was able to attend Ontario Big City Mayors event.

Why not Minister Clarke?

Related news stories:

The Minister is reputed to have said something about the UGC but there doesn’t appear to be anything in writing

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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GO Lakeshore West Line - construction issues: Going to Leafs or Argos Friday night, additional westbound trip making all stops to West Harbour GO that will depart Union Station at 10:30 p.m. and Exhibition GO at 10:37 p.m.

By Staff

November 12th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Important construction work is happening this weekend (Nov. 12-14) on the Lakeshore West Line. The work means there will be no Lakeshore West train service for the majority of the weekend. Metrolinx News is giving GO customers a heads up about the temporary schedule changes and explaining why this work is needed.

Important construction work is happening this weekend that will significantly impact travel on the Lakeshore West GO Line.

Beginning in the late evening of Friday, Nov. 12, until the end of service on Sunday, Nov. 14, all Lakeshore West GO train service will be suspended so construction crews can safely work to replace older sections of track. These upgrades will improve train speeds, service life, and reliability.

By shutting down the corridor, construction crews can safely and efficiently get a lot of work done over the course of the weekend.

In particular, work continues on the Canpa switch plant, an important section of track and switches for GO trains on the Lakeshore West Line. The Canpa switch is particularly vital as it keeps GO trains running smoothly on the busiest line in the network. It also helps route trains into GO’s Willowbrook rail maintenance facility, the VIA maintenance facility, the Canpa spur, and more.

Additional track culvert replacements are also taking place near Oakville and Burlington GO. This work is vital to ensuring service reliability.

Photo from recent construction work on the section of tracks between Long Branch and Mimico, known as the Canpa subdivision

Recent construction work on the section of tracks between Long Branch and Mimico, known as the Canpa subdivision. (Metrolinx photo)

For customers going to the Leafs or Argos games on Friday night, GO has added an additional westbound trip making all stops to West Harbour GO that will depart Union Station at 10:30 p.m. and Exhibition GO at 10:37 p.m.

The last westbound train trip will depart Union Station at 10:40 p.m. and Exhibition GO at 10:52 p.m., making all stops to West Harbour GO.

The last two eastbound trips from Exhibition GO to Union Station will depart at 10:50 and 11:20 p.m., then will continue on the Lakeshore East Line, making all stops to Oshawa GO. Customers will also have the option to take westbound replacement buses from Union Station Bus Terminal, beginning at 9:34 p.m.

A heads up to Lakeshore West customers that use Long Branch, Mimico, or Exhibition GO Stations, there will be no GO service at these stations during this weekend’s service disruption. Customers looking to connect to Union Station can take the TTC (streetcar and buses). Use Triplinx to plan your route.

There will also be no Niagara train service during this time. Customers travelling between Niagara Falls and Burlington can connect with GO bus route 12 service. Customers who have purchased a WEGO ticket for this weekend can still board replacement buses with their ticket. If customers wish to be issued a refund, please contact GO Transit’s customer service team to assist.

Crews work on replacing large sections of track as part of major upgrade work on the Lakeshore West Line

Crews work on replacing large sections of track as part of major upgrade work on the Lakeshore West Line. (Metrolinx photo)

Crews work on replacing large sections of track as part of major upgrade work on the Lakeshore West Line. (Metrolinx photo)

Here are the details on everything GO customers need to know.

Friday, Nov. 12:

Eastbound to Union Station

  • The 8:58 p.m. West Harbour GO – 10:15 p.m. Union Station trip will be the last train to make all stops to Union Station
  • The 9:58 p.m. West Harbour GO – 11:15 p.m. Union Station trip will be cancelled
  • Bus replacements will start running at 9:10 p.m. from West Harbour GO:
    • West Harbour GO bus replacement departing at 9:10 p.m. will make all station stops to Port Credit GO and then run express to Union Station
    • Aldershot GO bus replacement departing at 10:00 p.m. will make all station stops to Oakville GO and then run express to Union Station
    • Clarkson GO bus replacement departing at 10:40 p.m., will stop at Port Credit GO and then run express to Union Station
  • Replacement buses will not service Long Branch GO, Mimico GO, or Exhibition GO
  • The Route 16 express service from Hamilton GO to Union Station Bus Terminal will run hourly
  • For customers attending the Toronto Argonauts game, trains will depart Exhibition GO at 10:05, 10:50 and 11:20 p.m.

Westbound to West Harbour

  • The last westbound train to West Harbour will depart from Union Station at 10:40 p.m. and from Exhibition GO at 10:52 p.m.
  • Customers travelling westbound will also have the option to take replacement buses  from Union Station Bus Terminal, starting at 9:34 p.m.:
    • Buses will run express from Union Station Bus Terminal and terminate at Port Credit, Clarkson, Oakville, Bronte, Appleby, Burlington, Aldershot, or West Harbour GO throughout the evening
    • 9:34/10:34/11:34 p.m. bus trips will run express from Union Station Bus Terminal to Oakville GO and make all stops to Aldershot GO
    • 9:44/10:50/11:44 p.m. bus trips will run express from Union Station Bus Terminal to Port Credit GO and terminate at Clarkson GO
    • 9:55/10:55/11:55 p.m. bus trips will run express from Union Station Bus Terminal to Port Credit GO and make all stops to West Harbour GO
    • 10:32/11:32 p.m. bus trips will run express from Union Station Bus Terminal to Port Credit GO
    • 10:37/11:37 p.m. bus trips will run express from Union Station Bus Terminal to Clarkson GO
    • 10:42/11:42 p.m. bus trips will run express from Union Station Bus Terminal to Oakville GO
    • 10:47/11:47 p.m. bus trips will run express from Union Station Bus Terminal to Bronte GO
    • 10:52/11:52 p.m. bus trips will run express from Union Station Bus Terminal to Appleby GO
    • 10:57/11:57 p.m. bus trips will run express from Union Station Bus Terminal to Burlington GO
    • 11:02/00:02 a.m. bus trips will run express from Union Station Bus Terminal to Aldershot GO
    • Please check schedules ahead of time in order to find the correct route for your destination
  • Replacement buses will not service Exhibition GO, Mimico GO, or Long Branch GO
  • Route 16 express service from Union Station Bus Terminal to Hamilton GO will run hourly

Image of a GO train running along tracks.

Lakeshore West GO train service will be replaced by buses starting late in the evening on Friday until the start of service on Monday. (Metrolinx photo)

Saturday, Nov. 13 – Sunday, Nov. 14:

There will be no Lakeshore West train service on Saturday or Sunday.

Eastbound to Union Station

  • Replacement bus service will run between West Harbour GO and Union Station Bus Terminal:
  • Buses will depart West Harbour GO every hour (leaving 5 minutes past the top of the hour), 8 minutes earlier than regular train schedule times
    • These bus replacements will run from West Harbour GO to Aldershot GO, Burlington GO, Oakville GO, Clarkson GO and then run express to Union Station Bus Terminal
  • Additional buses will depart Aldershot GO every half hour or more to Union Station Bus Terminal
    • These bus replacements will service Aldershot GO, Burlington GO, Oakville GO, Clarkson GO and then run express to Union Station Bus Terminal
  • For service from St. Catharines and Niagara Falls, customers can use Route 12 and connect with replacement buses at Burlington GO
  • Route 16 express service from Hamilton GO to Union Station Bus Terminal will run hourly

Westbound to Aldershot/West Harbour

  • Replacement bus service will run between Union Station Bus Terminal and West Harbour GO:
    • Buses will depart Union Station Bus Terminal for West Harbour GO every hour (at 47 minutes or 52 minutes past the hour), running 2-7 minutes later than regular train schedule time
    • These bus replacements will run from Union Station Bus Terminal to Clarkson GO, Oakville GO, Burlington GO, Aldershot GO, and West Harbour GO
  • Additional buses will depart Union Station Bus Terminal every half hour or more to Aldershot GO.
    • These bus replacements will service Clarkson GO, Oakville GO, Burlington GO, and Aldershot GO
  • For service to Niagara Falls and St. Catharines, customers can transfer at Burlington GO to Route 12
  • Route 16 express service from Union Station Bus Terminal to Hamilton GO will run hourly

A bus moves along a side road.

Make sure to check the GO schedules before heading out this weekend. (Metrolinx photo)

Information for Long Branch, Mimico, and Exhibition GO customers

On November 12 to 14, there is no train or bus service at Exhibition, Mimico, and Long Branch GO stations during service disruptions. If you require service from these GO stations, you have the following options:

  • From Long Branch GO: Take TTC bus route 501 Queen streetcar to Osgoode Station and transfer to TTC Line 1 to Union Station. Total time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
  • From Mimico GO: Take TTC bus route 76 Royal York to Royal York Station and transfer to TTC Line 2 to St. George and TTC Line 1 to Union Station. Total time: 1 hour
  • From Exhibition GO: Take TTC bus route 509 streetcar to Union Station. Total time: 26 minutes

Information for Appleby, Bronte, and Port Credit GO customers

On November 13 and 14, there is no train or bus service at Appleby, Bronte and Port Credit GO stations during service disruptions. If you require service from these GO stations, you have the following options:

  • From Appleby GO: Take the Burlington Transit bus route 1 (Plains-Fairview) to Burlington GO. At Burlington GO take the replacement bus to Union Station. Total time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
  • From Bronte GO: Take Oakville Transit bus route 18 (Glen Abbey South) to Oakville GO. At Oakville GO take the replacement bus to Union Station. Total time: 57 minutes
  • From Port Credit GO: Take MiWay bus route 23 (Lakeshore) to Clarkson GO. At Clarkson GO take the replacement bus to Union Station. Total time: 46 minutes

Bus replacement details

To ensure GO bus drivers can be assigned to regularly scheduled GO bus trips, Metrolinx is working with Coach Canada to help get customers where they need to go.

Coach Canada and GO buses will be available at West Harbour, Aldershot, Burlington, Oakville, and Clarkson GO Station bus loops to get customers where they need to go on the Lakeshore West line.

GO staff will be on site to help guide customers and answer questions.

The Where’s My Bus service will not be available for replacement buses.

For customers not familiar with taking the GO bus, the bus terminal at Union Station is located at 81 Bay Street in Toronto at the north-east corner of Bay and Lake Shore Boulevard.

  • To access the terminal from outside – enter via the main entrance on Lake Shore Boulevard, just east of Bay Street or the entrance on the east side of Bay Street, across from Scotiabank Arena
  • If you’re coming from Union Station, you can take the indoor pedestrian bridge over Bay Street that connects to the bus terminal from Scotiabank Arena
  • Learn more about boarding at the new Union Station Bus Terminal
  • Please check departure boards before proceeding to your boarding zone and gate

A selection of PRESTO machines on a GO platform. (Mike Winterburn photo)

Pay before you board with these easy options

  • Buy your GO Transit tickets online to enjoy the ease and convenience of a GO Transit e-ticket or take advantage of one of the GO Transit Weekend Pass options
  • Ticket vending machines are available at stations to purchase a paper ticket
  • Mobile users – either using Android or an iPhone – can instantly load funds and passes onto your PRESTO card
  • PRESTO machines will be available for you to use at West Harbour, Aldershot, Burlington, Oakville and Clarkson GO bus loops
    • Eastbound: Tap on the PRESTO device at you originating station and tap off on devices located in Union Station Bus Terminal
    • Westbound: Tap on the PRESTO device at Union Station Bus Terminal or your originating station and tap off on the station PRESTO machines at your destination
    • Customers with default trips on their PRESTO Card will need to override their default by pressing the “Override” button on the PRESTO device, then tap your card as you normally would

GO Transit officials recommend Lakeshore West customers plan ahead before leaving the house as trips could take longer than usual.

 

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Regal Road bridge that crosses Tuck Creek gets some public art. Slow down and have a look at it.

By Staff

November 12th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

New public art has been installed on the Regal Road Bridge. The work was done by bau & ćos. You can learn more about them at their web site: www.bauandcos.com

City residents were invited to share their thoughts on three finalists chosen by an independent jury. Comments received on GetInvolvedBurlington.ca, along with the technical and detailed design proposals, informed the jury’s final selection.

The artwork has been installed and features 10 laser-cut steel panels along the concrete sidewall of the Regal Road bridge that crosses Tuck Creek between Oakwood Drive and Swinburne Road. The bridge was upgraded in 2019 as part of the City’s flood mitigation project.

Art depicting life in and around the Regal Road bridge across Tuck Creek

The artists explain what was behind their thinking and design work. “Through changing seasons and everyday activities, the bridge over the Tuck Creek is the background, yet gateway to the community.

Tuck Creek days after the 2014 flood.

“From the bridge, we watch trucks and cars quickly swerving onto Regal Road. Evidently, the QEW spews into Walkers Line and then trickles onto the bridge. Lateral to the driving, we watch guardians and toddlers strolling; students running home for lunch and dogs walking with their owners, while small urban animals scurry away ahead of them.

Since there are physical relations between the silhouettes and community, this is designed to be a fun, relatable and interactive piece for everyone.

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Hayley Verrall will appear on the Performing Art Stage Sunday afternoon.

By Staff

November 12th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

After nearly 20 long months, the dark Performing Arts Centre stages are once again lit and shining the spotlight on incredible local talent!

The BPAC LIVE & LOCAL Music Series returns to the Community Studio Theatre on Sunday, November 14 at 4pm.

This series ensures a great early evening of live music hosted by an impressive trio, made up of the area’s most highly sought-after professional touring and recording musicians, and features hand-picked emerging and established homegrown talent.

What makes this event kind of special for ACCOB (Arts & Culture Council of Burlington) and those involved in culture and entertainment is the appearance on the stage of Hayley Verrall (2020 BPAC Hall of Fame winner).

While the guitar is the instrument of choice she is just as good at the keyboard.

The Gazette has followed Hayley for some time and watched her performances grow in both strength and quality.

The first time we heard her was in the living room of her home where we were interviewing.

What we heard and saw was a soft sweet voice and a smile that won you over.

There wasn’t a reputation yet but you knew there was going to be in at some point in the not too distance future.

Performances in Nashville and her popping up all over the place in Burlington resulted in an audience that wanted to hear her.

She was bound for the stage at a really early age. Her Mother did everything possible that local groups and organizations knew Hayley was eager to perform at almost any event. She was once a part of an election debate where she was the entertainment.

Hayley is the featured guest who will appear with Terra Lightfoot, Mark Lalama, Davide DiRenzo and Richard Moore. Described as the city’s own country singer-songwriter and rising star Hayley Verrall is a fresh young artist who has quietly but quickly been edging her way into the Canadian country music community with her roots and contemporary inspired original music.

An internationally and locally awarded artist, Verrall’s passion for performing and for people has not gone unnoticed as she was most recently named the 2020 inductee to the Burlington Performing Arts Centre Hall of Fame which recognizes persons who have made significant contributions to the performing arts in Burlington.

“Being inducted into the Burlington Performing Arts Centre Hall of Fame is an unbelievable feeling. I am so grateful for the ongoing support that both BPAC and Burlington have provided to me and my music.” says Verrall. “I feel completely blessed to be a Burlington artist and am ecstatic that BPAC recognizes my worth as such.”

The Burlington Performing Arts Centre presents
LIVE & LOCAL
Hosted by The Mark Lalama Trio
Featuring Terra Lightfoot and Hayley Verrall
November 14, 2021 at 4 p.m.
Community Studio Theatre & Livestream
440 Locust Street, Burlington, Ontario

Tickets can be purchased online or by telephone:
905-681-6000 | https://burlingtonpac.ca/events/steven-page-trio/
Tickets: Regular $39.50 / Members $34.50
ALL-IN PRICING INCLUDES ALL TAXES AND FEES!

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Hospital suspends some staff and terminates others over mandatory vaccination policy

By Staff

November 11th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

Eric Vandewall, President & CEO of the Joseph Brant Hospital, released the following statement:

In accordance with provincial direction, Joseph Brant Hospital established COVID-19 Immunization and Management policies in September that apply to everyone who works at and with the hospital.

Like many other hospitals in Ontario including those in our region, we recognize the importance of mandatory vaccination of health care workers as a critical tool in protecting patients, physicians, staff and volunteers safety, as well as avoiding disruption to vital hospital services and programs.

For these reasons, we made it a requirement under our policy that all JBH employees, credentialed staff (such as physicians), contracted staff, learners and volunteers are to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by November 1, unless they have a medical or Human Rights code exemption.

As of November 9:

    1,770 (97.25%) of our active JBH employees are fully vaccinated

    38 JBH employees have been placed on an unpaid leave of absence for not meeting the requirements of the hospital’s policy

    13 JBH employees have been terminated

When it comes to mandatory COVID-19 vaccination, each hospital is responsible for making decisions in the best interest of their patients and the communities they serve. All of our actions – including mandatory COVID-19 vaccination – are guided by our mission to provide quality patient care through our values of Compassion, Accountability, Respect and Excellence. It is what our community expects and what we strive for every day.

Eric Vandewall, President & CEO of the Joseph Brant Hospital

We also took this step with careful and thoughtful consideration of the potential impacts. Vaccination rates among our staff and medical professionals who work in our hospital have risen steadily since we introduced these policies two months ago. This helps reduce transmission of COVID-19 and decreases the risk of disruption to hospital operations caused by outbreaks and other unexpected staff absences due to illness.

Although the Ontario government has indicated that at this time there will be no province-wide mandate requiring all healthcare workers to become fully vaccinated, our commitment to our mandatory vaccination policies has not changed. We believe it is the right decision for JBH, to protect the safety of our patients, their loved ones, our teams and our community.

Thank you for your support of our hospital. Please, stay safe and take care.

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The all virtual council meetings will shift to a hybrid approach that will see public participation in March of 2022

By Pepper Parr

November 10th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Assuming the Standing Committee recommendation is approved and that City Council puts their stamp of approval on it – there will be a hybrid approach to attendance at council meetings.

While each member of Council can make their own decision there is said to be enough room for all seven members of Council to sit side by side separated by plexi-glass dividers.

The Clerk and the City Manager could also attend and there is provision for up to eight members of the public to attend.

Advisory meetings will continue to be virtual until there is a clear sense as to how much Delta version of the Covid19 virus increases the number of new infections.

Internal staff meetings will be dependent on the internal health and safety guidelines. Advisory committee meetings will be reviewed at a later date, and their meeting rules will build upon learnings gained from City Council and standing committee meetings and internal guidelines and policies.

The City Manager will be joined by some staff once the Council Chamber is opened up to public meetings.

If there are any changes made by Public Health Ontario, hybrid meetings will be adjusted accordingly to ensure participant safety, therefore the plan will be flexible and responsive. Modifications to the way meetings occur will be determined by the City Clerk and City Manager, in accordance with public health regulations, in consultation and with advice from the internal Health and Safety group through Human Resources.

Physical in-person participation of members of Council is optional. Staff are configuring the Council Chambers to be hybrid, to accommodate in-person and remote participation. Members of Council will have a choice as to whether to participate in person or remote (for each meeting). Work will be completed to ensure that all participants have an equitable and seamless meeting experience.

The assumption is that elements of hybrid meetings will continue after the pandemic.

Will days like this return?

There is no update on proxy voting provisions, or recommendations at this time. Staff will monitor other jurisdictions and keep Council apprised.

Last July Council passed the following staff direction, for a report back in September 2021 regarding in person hybrid Council meetings.

Direct the City Clerk to initiate the planning and implementation of a gradual transition of City Committee/Council meetings (as well as public access) to a hybrid model of Committee/Council that accommodates both in-person as well as continued virtual options and report back on a plan at the September CSSRA Committee meeting with a projected transition/implementation goal of Q4 2021.

As the pandemic progresses some of this information may become out of date and guidelines may be required to change. Staff will work with the necessary groups to periodically review and ensure the health and safety of those physically participating in Council Chambers meetings. Any changes will be effectively communicated to all participants.

From a public health perspective there is no guidance or regulation limiting the duration of an event or gathering. Exposures less than 15 minutes are considered low risk (in most cases), exposures over 15 minutes would need to consider other factors to determine risk. Mitigation may help reduce risk, such as masks, distance, ventilation, and plexiglass barriers.

The City of Burlington has a relatively small Council, with only seven members. A review of the Council table yields that there is enough room to distance participants around the Council table to allow for 10 participants. It is recommended that the 10 participants include, all members of Council, the Clerk, the City Manager, and members of senior staff speaking to reports. Total capacity in the chamber has increased to 20 persons, 10 around the Council desk, 8 in the gallery, and two AV Techs.

Public delegations will be permitted if the initial phases of the plan are successful, and this item will be fully discussed in a subsequent report in February 2022. For health and safety measures, members of the public will not be allowed within the dais, the metal partition within the Chambers.

Masks in the Council Chambers
Those who are intending to participate at an in-person hybrid meeting will be required to wear a mask when they are not speaking. Only one person will be permitted to take their mask off in the Chambers at a time. After a participant speaks and they have yielded the floor to the Chair, or to another speaker, then the mask must be put back on.

Council Chambers equipment will be wiped down by facilities staff (current practice). At present, small internal meetings are permitted, through the City of Burlington Safety Plan, however all participants must be adequately distanced and must remained masked at all times.

Cleaning will increase when members of the public are permitted into the Council Chambers. In addition, masking requirements may also change when members of the public are permitted. Currently the City of Burlington’s Mask By-law, 62-2020 as amended, indicates once a space is open to the public, masking requirements as per the By-law are in effect.

Setting up a hybrid approach still leaves that sticky question of: Do people taking part in a meeting at city have to be vaccinated. Apparently not.

Mandatory vaccination is only required to access certain listed spaces considered as high risk. In contrast, meeting and event spaces that are used for the purpose of delivering or supporting government services and court services are specifically excluded from the mandatory vaccination provision. Therefore, vaccination to enter City hall and more specifically the City Hall Council Chambers is not required provincially.

The City has an option of imposing stricter requirements for either City Hall or Council Chambers, such as mandatory vaccination, on the basis of public health considerations. However, the regulation is quite clear that delivering or supporting government services is excluded from the vaccination provision, and restrictions may invite future challenges, including potential Charter challenges.

Air Filtration and Fresh Air into the Building
During the pandemic, the City’s air handling unit filters have been upgraded to a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value of 13, MERV 13 as recommended by the City’s Health and Safety Team, in consultation with Facility Assets/Operations staff.
The air handler has also had an adjustment made to increase the fresh air intake and is equipped to monitor carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations; the unit will automatically increase fresh air further, when needed. The system will be monitored regularly to ensure adequate fresh air is brought into the building.

Proposed Timeline
The following timeline is built on a best-case scenario. The timeline is iterative and deliberate to allow for staff to review how meetings occur, learn from experience, and adjust. We are constantly learning about the virus and prevention, therefore practices or procedures may be amended throughout the timeline. Should there be a spike in cases or another lockdown the timeline may be paused or rolled back to the previous stage.

Full Slate of standing committee meetings (Not Audit), staff making presentations will be permitted as a pilot.

Council meetings are relatively short, on average about one hour. In contrast, the standing committee meetings have extended throughout the workday into the evening. Council was selected as the pilot as it is customarily the shortest in the meeting cycle. In January, the hybrid pilot may include the Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services Committee (EICS) which is customarily the shortest standing committee meeting at this time.

Each member of Council will be separated by a sheet of plexiglass and there will be additional cameras installed.

Should Council endorse the plan, staff will include in the December 6 report, how the technology will be mapped out, as to how the technology will affect the remote meeting mechanics and the guide. Further instruction will be provided in advance of the hybrid pilot, to all participants.

This picture was taken in March of 2019 – while many didn’t know it but we were headed into a pandemic – this group didn’t seem to know or care.

Procedural Changes
Currently, City of Burlington remote meetings operate in the authority of the Remote Meeting Guide, working in concert with the Procedure By-law. If Council chooses to pursue hybrid meetings, the Guide will be reviewed in terms of the new technology and hybrid processes that may be introduced. Staff will return to the December 6, 2021 CSSRA meeting with a path forward. It is anticipated that the Remote Meeting guide will be refreshed and formally adopted as a schedule to the Procedure By-law.

In order to conduct the December 14, 2021 Council meeting, a special Council meeting on December 6, 2021 will be required, to ratify any procedural changes before the hybrid meeting occurs.

Advisory Committees
At present, Room 247 in City Hall has been outfitted for in-person staff meetings. A potential venue for hybrid meetings, the room has the capability to incorporate use of a meeting room computer, and a mounted camera. If the strategy is approved, throughout Q1 2022 Office of the City Clerk staff will work with their respective committees to determine whether their committees wish to pursue a hybrid model.

A decision to pursue a hybrid model will require a majority vote of the committee. If they are to resume, only six members will be able to participate in person (with one Clerk to make seven total), and masks must be worn at all times when in the building and throughout their committee meetings.

Strategy/process
Committee must determine whether the risk of adding more participants to a meeting in the Council Chambers outweighs potential benefits. As the virus continues, with each infection, the chances of the virus mutating as it replicates increases.

Mutations may lead to dominant variants, which may be stronger than the previous. With the Delta variant in Ontario, cases are beginning to increase, and there may be a fourth wave of infection. This variant is strong and contagious. The Delta variant has changed the approach to gathering controls, which has challenged previous thinking on public health protection.

Options Considered
An alternate is to defer this report until the pandemic has subsided to allow for hybrid meetings to be piloted in safer conditions. This would allow for the hybrid pilot to take place without having to factor in as many public health restrictions. The elimination of in- person delegations, and by only having Council and staff who are subject to the Vaccination Policy in the Council Chambers may reduce some of the risk. This will also reduce reporting, and the background research required.

That line above about: The assumption is that elements of hybrid meetings will continue after the pandemic.  Is there any need for that other than some members deciding they don’t want to leave the house and drive to city hall?

 

 

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Wearing masks in public places will be required for some time - well past the end of year date that was in place

By Pepper Parr

November 9th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

That normal we are all looking for may not be as close as we would like.

Council met today to review the masking by law – looks like the best we are going to get is sometime in June 2022.

Discussion was on By-law amendments to extend COVID By-laws into 2022.  They started with a recommendation to extend the expiry date of the by-law to June 30, 2022

The wearing of masks is something the province put into place; the Regional government then put their by-law in place and Burlington followed the Region.

Mayor Meed Ward was not an advocate for the wearing of masks when it was becoming clear that the world was in a pandemic. To her credit she figured out that she was about to be on the wrong side of history and she began to wear a mask – she still does.

During debate Mayor Meed Ward said she could see the province making an announcement late on a Friday afternoon – “as they often do” she said – and the city would have to scramble to get onside with the province.

After close to an hour of discussion that focused on the messaging and the need to be consistent Council came up with a solution that will become official at the November 23rd Council meeting.

Couple of things that council didn’t seem to appreciate – first not that many people are following the mask rules – they apply to city locations so the city has to be onside.

However, the moment the Premier makes an announcement the news will zip around the province and the masks will come off in a flash.

If there is an announcement from the province it won’t come at the end of June – it will be made about a week before the provincial election on June 2nd of 2022.

Part of the reason for debating the bylaws today was that they are set to expire on December 31, 2021 and although statistics on vaccination rates and infections are improving, it is expected that Public Health recommendations regarding these measures will extend past December 31, 2021.

A date of June 30, 2022 has been chosen merely for administrative purposes to lessen the chance that another report is required to extend the by-laws – ultimately reducing the workload for staff.

While the Province has indicated that their mask mandate may be lifted as early as the end of March 2022, staff are not recommending this as an official expiry date as it would still cause administrative issues.

Removal of Community Centres from Physical Distancing By-law
The Physical Distancing By-law requires that a minimum distance of 2 metres be maintained between non-household members on any public property within the City of Burlington. The by-law includes our Community Centres and indoor fitness locations.
Community Centres and indoor fitness locations have also been specifically regulated in the Reopening Ontario Act (unlike other buildings such as City Hall). Until recently, provincial regulations and city by-laws have aligned.

Recent amendments to the Reopening Ontario Act, Ontario Regulation 727/21 have now eliminated the capacity limit for our indoor community/fitness centre locations as long as ‘proof of vaccine’ policies are applied.

We all got used to keeping our distance when meeting with people.

This means if Physical Distancing By-law 17-2020 is extended as recommended, staff will need to determine a capacity limit for these locations which will ensure users can still meet the 2 metre distance requirement. This may result in a capacity that is less than allowed under current provincial legislation which could affect programming.

Given Community Centres are specifically regulated in the Reopening Act Ontario, they are subject to ‘proof of vaccine’ policies and directives from both the Provincial and Halton Region Medical Officers of Health in relation to their operations (due to the sport operation), staff no longer feel it is necessary to also include them in Physical Distancing By-law 17-2020.

This does not mean that levels of protection will be reduced in these facilities or that physical distancing will not be maintained. Removing an additional regulation would make it easier for staff to program the facilities for the future and reduce the number of publications that need to be reviewed in tandem.

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Council to consider permitting year round patio operations

By Staff

November 9th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

City Council is going to look into the idea of having year round patios directing the Director of Community Planning to report back in Q1 2022 with a report, including options and recommendations, outlining a plan and process for moving forward with a permanent city-wide outdoor patio program (post covid 19 recovery); and

Will this be the normal we are all looking for?

Direct the Director of Community Planning that the following areas and considerations be included:

  • Update and alignment of city patio related policies, zoning requirements and bylaws with current, pending or proposed Province of Ontario legislation/regulations inclusive of the Municipal Act;
  • Duration of the outdoor patio season(s);
  • Differentiation of patios on City-owned public lands and private property;
  • City patio fee options including potential waiver of patio and adjacent parking fees;
  • City departmental support to facilitate patio installation and safe operation of patios on City sidewalks, parking lots and/or road allowances;
  • Environmental scan of other GTHA municipalities related to the future of outdoor patios;
  • Access to potential funding and other small business support from federal or provincial governments;
  • Application of CaféTO best practices or similar patio program to the Burlington Downtown Business Areas; and

They will also debate directing the Chief Financial Officer to report on the future City operating and capital budget requirements to support the outdoor patio program in conjunction with the above report; and

Relaxing and enjoying much of what the city has to offer.

Direct the Director of Community Planning to complete a review of the City policy and bylaw changes (e.g. zoning) contributing to the effectiveness of the 2020 and 2021 outdoor patio program; and

Direct the Director of Planning and the Executive Director of Burlington Economic Development to undertake hospitality industry stakeholder engagement consultation, (including BDBA, Aldershot BIA & Burlington Restaurant Association) with the respect to the proposed plan for the City’s permanent outdoor patio program; and

Direct the Director of Community Planning to report on options for the standardization of patio materials for patios on municipal property.

The beleif is that expanding options for outdoor dining has the potential to improve vibrancy and community connections while accelerating recovery from COVID_19 impacts. Exciting changes were temporarily made to the way in which we utilize the public realm to expand hospitality space in Burlington. Best practice seeks to improve the look of the curb lane closure areas and increase options for café customization. Community vibrancy and municipal asset optimization can be enhanced by adding permissions for temporary platforms in curb lane café areas.

It is important to note the desire to create a unique café corridor in and around the downtown. As an area with unique conditions regarding encroachments on public lands that are not found elsewhere in the city, this includes the on-street parking assets – it is key to have clear program requirements to allow for certainty and investment in an expanded patio program.

Expanding support for hospitality businesses to provide safer spaces for liquor and food consumption will contribute to the economic recovery of a key employment sector within Burlington. A program that delivers standardized application and execution for the successful operation of expanded spaces will encourage further investment in our City by attracting patrons to additional local businesses and amenities. Allowing local businesses to establish temporary seasonal patios and seating areas utilizing on-street parking spaces within an articulated area or set of standards will result in improved longer-term uptake, improved financial planning for operators and an increased understanding of the program by other operators in proximity to outdoor patios.

Let’s see how this works out.

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It's waste management at the street level this time

By Staff

November 8th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Pot holes and waste removal – the bane of every council member.

They get the call. Some are better than others at responding.

When Marianne Meed Ward was first elected in 2010 she got a call Christmas Day about garbage bags rolling down a wind blown street.

What did she do? Hoped in her van and went out and picked it up.

Now she knows who to call.

It ain’t a pretty sight and it must smell.

The resident who dropped us a line on this situation said: “I just thought this might be something for you to follow up on. It’s a Reddit post about public trash cans on school property — or at least on the edge of it — that are overflowing with bagged dog feces.

People are saying this is a city-wide problem. Is this a sign that our public infrastructure and city services are not keeping up with the increased population?

The following comments followed her post on Reddit.

I feel like the cost of a second trash bin here would be less than the extra time it must take staff to dispose of this every week.

There is a second bin less than 100 feet away. I don’t get it.

I haven’t been out walking as much lately, but I feel like all summer there were overflowing trash cans everywhere we went.

Happens all the time at a couple bins in the orchard as well.

We keep adding people, so some areas are gonna need more services. I’d like to see more green spaces as well.

Which ward is that in? Chat with your councillor about it. Mine’s always been awesome at getting these kinds of things attended to (and actually fixed long term, not just cleaned up for one week).

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Drug Arrests and Charges in Burlington

By Staff

November 8th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Investigators with the Street Crime Unit in Burlington have made four arrests and laid nearly 30 charges after a month-long drug trafficking and property theft investigation.

On November 4, 2021, officers executed a pair of search warrants (one at a residence in Hamilton and the second at a residence in Burlington). As a result of these warrants, the following items were seized by police (see attached photo):

• 28 grams of fentanyl
• $12,400 in counterfeit cash
• Stolen identification
• Stolen licence plate
• Stolen cheque book
• Replica revolver
• Stolen Ford Explorer
• Chevrolet Blazer

Investigators also arrested 4 people as a result of this investigation.

 

A 39 year-old male of Hamilton has been charged with:
• Possession of Property Obtained By Crime
• Possession of Counterfeit Currency
• Possession of a Controlled Substance
• Breach Probation

A 28 year-old female of Hamilton has been charged with:
• Possession of Property Obtained By Crime
• Possession of Counterfeit Currency
• Possession of a Controlled Substance
• Breach Release Order

A 30 year old male of Burlington has been charged with:
• Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking (Fentanyl)
• Weapons Dangerous
• Possession of Property Obtained by Crime (3 counts)
• Possession of Counterfeit Currency
• Drive Disqualified
• Breach Probation (4 counts)
• Theft of Motor Vehicle

A 29 year-old female of Burlington has been charged with:
• Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking (Fentanyl)
• Weapons Dangerous
• Possession of Property Obtained by Crime (3 counts)
• Possession of Counterfeit Currency
• Breach Release Order

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

That might be a little on the difficult side – the police did not release the names of those arrested.  This is the second time the Halton Regional Police have done this.  We’ll check it out.  Usually because there is another ongoing criminal investigation

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

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Are we stuck with a 29 storey building on Lakeshore Road because the Mayor trusted the Minister of Municipal Affairs ?

By Pepper Parr

November 8th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Bad enough that the two witnesses from the city’s planning department were not on the same page; now we know that the city was fudging some of the material they were presenting and that they tried to argue that a media release, supposedly put out on June 15th amounted to policy.

Worse – the press release was really a transcript of what a planning staff member recalled understanding what the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing is reported to have said.

We don’t make this stuff up – it comes out of the written decision released by the OLT Ontario Land Tribunal last week that gave Carriage Gate approval to build a 29 story tower. The decision, which appeared to have surprised Mayor Meed Ward when she said:  This is a devastating and shocking decision imposed on our community, which completely disregards the vision of residents, council and staff for this area.

This decision completely dismisses the considerable feedback from residents in opposition to this file – and their valuable suggestions for what would be appropriate. This decision ignored over 100 people who took the time to attend a community meeting, delegate to council, and write pages of letters. There was no acknowledgement of our community’s voice in this decision.

The decision highlights the inappropriate application of Provincial Planning Policies to justify overdevelopment and underscores the importance of a speedy decision from the Minister to remove the Major Transit Station Area designation from downtown and adjust the boundaries of the Urban Growth Centre to the Burlington GO Station, where this scale of development should be. We will continue to work to defend our plan and put growth where it belongs.

Unless the city can pull a rabbit out of a hat – the building on the lefty is a done deal.

The City had argued that on June 15, 2021, the Minister announced that he was moving the location of the Burlington Urban Growth Centre from its existing location to the area surrounding the Burlington GO Station. As a result, the City maintains that the Development is no longer within a UGC area.

The City originally submitted that an adjournment “is required to allow the Parties to provide supplemental witness statements in order for the Tribunal to have the opinions of the expert witnesses on the effect of the subject lands no longer being within a UGC at the time of the Tribunal’s eventual decision in this matter. Without this, the city argued, the Tribunal will not have expert opinion evidence that reflects the policy regime that must be applied to consideration of the applications.

The OLT decision said: “The position taken by counsel for the City and for the Region therefore wholly depends on the contention that a new policy regime was ushered in solely by the Minister’s June 15th oral announcement. This alleged policy pronouncement is claimed to have been captured in an informal transcript filed with the Tribunal – prepared by an unidentified person – of the Minister’s remarks made at the June 15th press conference.

“It appears conceded by the City that the ‘unofficial’ informal transcript that is attached as an exhibit to the sworn Affidavit of the City’s planning witness Mr. Plas is not a complete record of the Minister’s comments made on that occasion. An adequate explanation for this was not offered to the Tribunal.

“Despite the unusual evidentiary basis described above, there seems to be no controversy between the Parties about the main gist of the Minister’s remarks made at this press conference. However, Lakeshore’s (This is the Carriage Gate corporate name for the proposed development on the NE corner of Lakeshore Road and Pearl) counsel adamantly maintains that those verbal comments by the Minister did not and could not constitute the formal lawful introduction of new provincial planning policy.

For marketing purposes it will be known as Beausoleil

During the time period leading up to the hearings, the Region of Halton adopted ROPA 48 (Regional Official Plan Amendment) on July 7, 2021, which, among other things, reflects the noted change in location of Burlington UGC that was apparently mentioned orally by the Minister on June 15th (although Ms. Yerxa for the Region points out that the prior process leading up to ROPA 48 was of considerable duration and reflected much work and consultation along the way, much of which is contained in the supporting Affidavit of Ms. Poad). ROPA 48 is apparently now before the Ministry for approval.

“However, beyond the remarks of counsel for the City and the Region, there was no evidence to demonstrate that the Ministry will approve it beyond a statement to that effect from Mr. Plas in his Affidavit tendered before the Tribunal. In the Tribunal’s view, this is not proper subject of opinion evidence – it is merely argument, which was repeated in more detail by counsel for the City and the Region at the Motion hearing.”

“In response, the Appellant filed an Affidavit from Mr. Smith, an experienced Planner who challenges the conclusions expressed by Mr. Plas about the effect of the press conference announcement from the Minister and also the allegation that the Minister’s oral announcement was “supportive of ROPA 48”. Again, in the Tribunal’s view, Mr. Smith’s statements are also not proper opinion evidence determinative of this particular issue.

“The Tribunal is unable to accept the contention that the oral remarks made by the Minister at the June 15th press conference, taken alone, constitute the promulgation of new Ontario planning policy by way of an ‘update’ or other ‘revision’ of the Growth Plan in terms of the location of the Burlington It is to be noted that the Minister’s remarks do not specify the precise boundary of this apparent location change, nor do they indicate the effective date of the change. In any event, the Tribunal was not convinced by the City counsel’s submission that no written statement or enactment of the change in the Burlington UGC location is required by law.

Did the City of Burlington get screwed over by the Minister of Municipal Affairs or did he just plain forget what he said he would do?

“Neither Counsel for the City or the Region could cite any jurisprudence specifically on this point to support this unique argument. Moreover, in the Tribunal’s view this notion seems counter-intuitive in light of the very detailed provincial planning regime currently in force. The Tribunal specifically disagrees that the Minister’s remarks described above can be treated as a lawful, formal issuance of Provincial policy within the meaning of s. 1, 2 and 3 of the Planning Act.

“The Tribunal also agrees with Lakeshore’s counsel that for the purposes of this appeal the relevant provincial policy provisions include those set out in the current Provincial Policy Statement (PPS)  and the current GP. The Tribunal thus rejects the contention that the current GP has somehow been changed or ‘updated’ in relation to the location of the Downtown Burlington UGC by reason either of the June 15, 2021 oral comments of the Minister or the content of the draft ROPA 48 which has not been approved by the Province.

“The Tribunal is of the opinion that the City’s proposition that a hearing should be adjourned to deal with anticipated possible future changes in provincial policy is:

(a) without foundation and without case law authority;

(b) amounts to a repudiation of long-established jurisprudence since it requires the evaluation of planning applications on the basis of alleged “emerging” policy intended to signal a new evolution of priorities for intensification in the City; and

(c) is highly unusual given that the very notion of modifying the UGC boundary in the City was not introduced until nearly 2 years after the Appellant’s applications were deemed complete by the City.

This is the Urban Growth Boundary that Mayor Meed Ward fought hard to have changed. She thought she had – the Minister of Municipal Affairs said he would approve but had not yet signed the decision. So, legally it has not been changed and the Beausoleil development get the go ahead from the Ontario Land Tribunal

Nick Carnecelli had a stronger case and lawyers who knew what was acceptable in terms of evidence – something the city didn’t have .

The Tribunal also agrees with the submission of counsel for the Appellant that:

“the press conference statement itself goes no further than suggesting the Minister “will be moving” the UGC, not that it already has been moved. This is a statement of possible future intention and nothing more. It provides no indication of how or when. It does not discuss implementation at all. There is no reference to ROPA 48 despite the statement of Mr. Plas. It refers to “long-term planning” as opposed to immediate effect”.

As a final matter, the Tribunal further disagrees with the argument of the City’s counsel that the purposes and policies underlying the Tribunal’s Rules of Practice and Procedure in any way require the granting of the City’s adjournment motion in the unique circumstances of this case, and the Tribunal declines to exercise its discretion to do so.

What does all this mean? First that the city is made to look like a couple of high school students screwing things up.

Secondly, it leaves the Mayor with a problem with the OLT decision, which, try as she might, is likely to hold.

This piece of land and the site of the Waterfront Hotel will be the next battle ground. Then there is the north side of Lakeshore Road from Brant to Martha that will get the developer treatment.

What impact is the decision going to have on the several development across the street in a piece of land known as the football where there are two developments working their way through the application process and at least two properties within the football that do not have any development activity ongoing.

Mayor Meed Ward had put everything on getting the Urban Growth Centre Boundary moved and she thought she had it done.

Both Planning and Legal are responsible for this one.

How many more like it are there out there?

Related news story.

City planner described as not an expert witness in OLT decision.

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