Councillor Bentivegna knows where the re-election sweet spot is - pushes for $2 1/4 million in budget cuts

By Pepper Parr

November 29th, 2021



Each member of Council has the opportunity to put forward a motion that sets out the changes they want to see to the budget staff has put forward.

Keep in mind that taxpayers are looking at a pretty stiff budget increase and that Staff don’t see tax increases falling below 4% a year for the next five years.
Also, keep in mind that 2022 will be an election year.

Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna wants his colleagues to consider removing a number of items from the 2022 Budget.

He has declared his intention to run for office again in 2022. There is at least one rural resident considering a run at the council seat.

Bentivegna has figured out how he can get re-elected.

Maintaining Assets in Recreation Services to meet lifecycle requirements and reduce risk -$100,000

Stabilizing Management Structures and Managing Risk – $585,000 (4 full time staff).

Operationalization of the Bus Cleaning Pilot -$223,000 (7.6 FTE).

Dedicated space for Building Inspection and By-law – $110,000

Gypsy Moth Control Program – $110,000 (one-time)


Not big on overtime pay – likes salary reductions as well – wants to share the pain – speaks for the small business sector

Consideration to reduce Non-union HR increases in the 2022 Budget from 3% to 2% – $640,000

Consideration to reduce Overtime costs estimated at $1,745,517 by 30% from the 2022 Budget resulting in a savings of $523,655.

Consideration to remove tax funding from the 2022 Budget and move to Covid budget:

Additional By-law Enforcement Officers – $232,000 (one-time)

Free Transit for Seniors -$95,000

Rational for reducing impacts of the 2022 budget.

This global pandemic over the last 21 months has had many residents experience financial hardship. The economic impact has caused many families see declines to their household incomes. We have heard repeatedly through our committee Covid updates the result of unfavorable cash flows in our city and residents and businesses needing some type of financial assistance.

Many businesses have reported losses of upwards to 70% and some have shut down.

My experience in discussions with residents and having read the budget survey comments provided to Committee emphasizes the need to take a hard look at reducing this proposed budget increase of 5.45%.

Outcome Sought:
Reduction of $2,276,655 of on-going costs and $342,000 of city one-time costs.

Bentivegna has positioned himself as the voice of the small business operator.  Ward 6 has a significant number of rural residents who seem to have been forgotten in his budget reducing requests.

Spoke for the the small independent sector

Pushing for a two and a quarter million dollar reduction is a stretch – it will be interesting to see how his council colleagues respond.

Even if he doesn’t get support on any of his suggestions – he will come out of it as the Councillor who wants smaller tax increases.

Bentivegna has figured out what the public wants to hear in an election year.

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Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte sets out where she wants to see cuts made in the budget - Rainbow community takes a bit f a hit

oBy Pepper Parr

November 29th, 2021



Each member of Council has the opportunity to put forward a motion that sets out the changes they want to see to the budget staff has put forward.

Keep in mind that taxpayers are looking at a pretty stiff budget increase and that Staff don’t see tax increases falling below 4% a year for the next five years.
Also, keep in mind that 2022 will be an election year.

How much fiscal prudence and how much political skin is there in the Stolte budget change proposals?

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte set out the changes she wants to see.

Motions for Council to Consider:
1) Pride (Rainbow) Crosswalks
Remove $45,000 in funding for three additional Rainbow Crosswalks that are addition to the 4 that have already been committed and encourage community groups to engage and fund raise for future installations.

OR for further consideration:

Rename and repurpose the $45,000 to fund public art installations that support additional marginalized groups in the community (ie. a “Seven Feathers Crosswalk” in support of our First Nations/Indigenous community)
And Direct the Director of Roads, Parks and Forestry to generate “City of Burlington Decorative Crosswalk Guidelines” to ensure consistency for future funding requests of this nature.
2) Dedicated operations space for Building Inspection and By-law Staff
Remove $110,000 from proposed Risk Mitigation Measures budget increase.
3) Sherwood Forest Community Centre Facility 
Recommit previously approved funding, 2022-2024 capital funding totaling $6.2 million as well as 2022-2023 capital reserve funding totaling $600,000 to the Capital Infrastructure Reserve Fund until such time as the plan for cost sharing is approved by Council and the applicable Joint Venture Groups can provide documentation confirming feasibility of financial commitment.

4) School Playground Improvement Strategy 
Transfer $550,000 from the capital budget for School Playground Improvement Strategy to the Park Dedication Reserve Fund to assist with future strategic Halton District School Board land acquisitions and;
Direct the Office of the City Manager to re-negotiate the Agreement with the Halton District School Board regarding the use of City tax dollars to replace playgrounds on private HDSB property.

1) The competitive bid process for the three additional Rainbow Crosswalks approved in 2021 resulted in a cost of $27,324 for crosswalk markings at the 3 locations. An additional cost of $32,000 was realized as a result of repaving required at 2 of 3 locations in order to maintain integrity of the markings
for a total of $59,324 or $19,775 per crosswalk.

Mayor Meed Ward has put a lot of her political capital on the Rainbow Crosswalks – that capital could be at risk.

The LGBTQ2S+ community in Burlington feels very welcomed and supported with the four new Rainbow Crosswalks around the City of Burlington and greatly appreciates that with the addition of these four Rainbow Crosswalks Burlington now, proudly, has more Rainbow Crosswalks per capita than any other community in the country.

The City of Burlington strives to be a place of diversity and inclusion and to that end the residents of the city are widely supportive of this funding being repurposed to include additional valued community groups and initiatives.

2) While the rationale for dedicated space for the Bylaw and Building Department needs are sound, it is premature to commit $110,000 to new leased space when the required space within existing City owned facilities has not been determined based on remote work arrangements. Efforts to confirm and consolidate existing City owned space allocations needs to be completed before committing to newly leased space.

3) Funding for projects that require Council approved cost sharing arrangements should not be committed until such cost sharing arrangements are confirmed.

Additionally, applicable Joint Venture Groups should be required to provide confirmation of feasibility of financial commitment before commitment of capital assets.

4) Upkeep, maintenance and improvements on properties owned privately by the Halton District School Board should be funded through Provincial Ministry of Education funding.

Will Councillor Kearns, on the left, second the Motion Councillor Stolte brings to the debate this week

Stolte now has to find a member of Council to second her motion.

This Budget Memorandum approach is different – it will be interesting to see how the other members of Council react to what Stolte has proposed.

2022 is an election year and members of this Council are going to have to defend the increases.

This just not a sustainable number – where will the cuts be made?

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The five year budget simulation doesn't do much to lessen the tax burden

By Staff
November 29th, 2021
Elsewhere in today’s news (these will follow) there will be memorandums from each member of Council on the changes they would like to see in the budget they are considering this week
As part of the budget exercise city council will be going through this week there is a five year simulation on what the public can expect – the assumption being that there will be no radical changes in the economic environment.
Not exactly something you can bet on.
To start – have a look at the tax levy numbers – they are not a pretty picture.

You might want to clip that and put it on the fridge -beside the “Burlington is the best city in Canada to live in.
The purpose of the simulation is to resent a 5year operating budget forecast as part of the City’s longterm planning.

The City’s LongTerm Financial plan contains the following key strategic objectives for the city:
1. Competitive Property Taxes
2. Responsible Debt Management

3. Improved Reserves and Reserve Funds

4. Predictable Infrastructure Investment

5. Recognized Value for Services

This simulation uses the 2022 proposed budget as a starting point and
adjusts the 20232027 forecast based on estimated budget drivers, information gathered in the Service Information Workshops and forecasted Operating budget impacts resulting from Capital projects.

As with any modeling tool, the simulation forecast has the greatest precision in the first year. It is imperative that the results are simply used as an information tool regarding major budget drivers and future projected tax impacts. It provides an analysis of what the future financial picture for the City of Burlington may look like, helps assess financial risks and the affordability of existing services and capital investments, and provides an
opportunity to analyze sensitivities to assumptions.

Magnitude and duration of COVID impacts

Senior Government Grant Programs

Changes in economic conditions and market demands

Fluctuations in customer expectations

Legislative changes

Reassessment impacts

Operating impacts from approved capital initiatives

Business process improvements

Climate change impacts

Staff have shown a realistic scenario where assessment growth is maintained at 0.6% in 2023, increasing to 0.75% in 2024 and then remaining steady at 1.0% for years 2025 2027. These estimates are based on future development projections including an allowance for assessment appeals. Infrastructure renewal funding is consistent with the 2021 Asset Management Financing Plan Update and repurposing of the hospital levy to infrastructure renewal as the commitments for the hospital decline.

These components provided the basis for estimating budget drivers and include the following assumptions within each item:

Maintaining Current Service Levels Base Budget

Inflationary Impacts and User Fees
With the exception of human resources and commodities (hydro, water, fuel etc.), 2.0% inflation per year has been applied to other expense categories (materials
and supplies, purchased services) and 1.75% increase per year applied to contributions to Local Boards and Committees.

Most User Rates and Fees are assumed to increase at 2.0% per annum, which is dependent on the nature of the revenues and external market conditions.

However, included in years 2023 and 2024 is an estimated normalizing of
revenue based on shift in consumer behavior and ongoing operational impacts postCOVID, resulting in projected revenues losses of $500,000.

Corporate Expenditures/Revenues

An annual increase to the provisions for Insurance and Contingency Reserves of $50,000 each.

An increase in Investment Income of $50,000 per year starting in 2024 subject to a moderately increasing interest rate environment.

Additional Base Budget Expenses
The simulation highlights larger scale base budget pressures for additional detail. The main drivers are the ongoing market competitiveness initiative with a phased funding plan of $1M from 2023 thru 2025 and the $280K reversal of the onetime funding provided in 2022 to address the shortfall in assessment growth is shifted to the tax base.

Impacts of Prior Council Decisions
As some decisions approved in prior budgets have financial impacts than span further than one year, the model identifies these under Impacts of Prior Council Decisions.

These include:
Tax base support for Tyandaga (2023 & 2024) 
Revisions to the Private Tree Bylaw fee structure (2023)

Impacts of Previously Approved Capital Projects
There is an estimated $1.7M in funding required to meet Corporate Infrastructure and Software needs over 20232027. Funding schedules align with Information Technology forecasts.

Infrastructure Renewal Funding
An annual increase of 1.6% from 2023 to 2027 for Dedicated Infrastructure Renewal Funding. This provides funding for capital renewal, as per the 2021 
Asset Management Financing Plan.

Includes the repurposing of the hospital levy to infrastructure renewal in 2023 ($150K), 2025 ($110K) and 2027 ($2.84M)

An annual increase of 4% to the Vehicle Depreciation Reserve Funds to sustain the City’s fleet and equipment inventory Risk Mitigation Measures
Key investment priorities identified in the simulation are classified within the 3 categories highlighted below.

Sustaining City Operations and Financing
Funding for the maintenance of Recreation facilities

As outlined in Business Case 2022039, Maintaining Assets in Recreation Services to Meet Lifecycle Requirements and Reduce Risk, staff estimate a $700K funding shortfall to adequately maintain Recreational assets. In 2021, a phased approach was endorsed, allocating $100K in each of 2021 and 2022, with the balance phased in over 5 years 20232027 in $100K intervals.

Improved investments in Forestry operations
As communicated in the Service Information Workshop, Urban Forestry faces funding challenges to address the level of service required for pest management and tree planting initiatives. As such, the simulation assumes a $100K increase in expenses in each year from 20232026 and a provision to a Forestry Reserve Fund of $350K in 2027 to be used toward future funding gaps and new initiatives.

OMERS for Part Time Staff
Effective January 1, 2023 part
time/temporary/casual employees will have the option to enroll in OMERS without a waiting period. In the past, these employees had to meet specific hours of work or earnings criteria for a twoyear period to have the option to join. Both the criteria and twoyear waiting period will be removed effective January 1, 2023.

At this time, it is hard to predict how many employees will take advantage of this change. To inform the multiyear budget simulation, Finance has modelled the impact at various levels of participation and it is estimated that the impact will be $420K based on a participation rate of 67%.

Designing and Evolving Our Organization
The forecast includes the continued phased implementation of the Designing and Evolving Our Organization (DEOO) initiative to be implemented over the period 2023 2027.

Enhancing Services
Investment in Transit services

Does Burlington Transit need new buses ?

As per the Capital Budget and Forecast and in alignment with the 5 year Transit Business Plan, the forecast assumes an additional $836K in annual expenses for 8 Transit drivers in each year from 20232026 and $135K for a Specialized Transit driver in 2023 and in each year 20252027.

This is based on the purchase of the vehicles through the capital budget the year prior to the operating expenses being realized.

Provision to Green Initiatives Reserve Fund
In April 2019, Council declared a Climate Emergency. Burlington’s Draft Climate Action Plan identified a number of initiatives to assist the City in reducing its overall carbon footprint.

As part of the city’s reserve and reserve fund review report (F2820) the city created a Green Initiatives Reserve Fund.  The simulation includes an estimated $550K in provisions to the Green Initiatives Reserve Fund over 20242027.

As we move forward, the city will need to carefully balance the increasing costs associated with being more environmentally conscious against the city’s other funding demands.

The upgrades to the Skyway arena show some of the best forward planning the city has done – the challenge is to get it funded.

Skyway Arena Revitalization
Enhancements at Skyway Arena lead to an operating budget impact of $304K in 2024.

Modifications to Service to address COVID

The simulation includes an estimated $500K in lost revenues over 2023 and 2024 as ongoing operational impacts postCOVID and a longerterm shift in consumer behavior impact City operations.

Allowance for Unknown Factors
As with all forecasts, it is imperative to recognize that there are unknown factors that will likely occur in the future that could impact the model. In order to address these unpredictable factors, an amount of $150K has been included in the 2024 forecast,
increasing by $50,000 per year until 2027. This allowance has been included to recognize that factors in the simulation such as future efficiency savings and assessment growth can be increasingly difficult to predict the further out into the future they are.

The 5 Year forecast is a tool that provides a highlevel summary of major budget drivers and the expected tax impacts. This will be helpful to establish future budget targets, as well as provide the ability to undertake tax impact sensitivity analysis should circumstances change.

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Are we looking at a very dark winter - the Covid19 variant news is not good

By Staff

November 28th, 2021



Ontario reported another 964 COVID-19 cases and one more death, according to its latest report released Sunday morning.

South African scientists identified a new version of the coronavirus that they say is behind a recent spike in COVID-19 infections in Gauteng, the country’s most populous province.

It’s unclear where the new variant first emerged, but scientists in South Africa alerted the World Health Organization in recent days, and it has now been seen in travelers arriving in several countries, from Australia to Israel to the Netherlands.

A graphic depiction of the most recent COVID19 variant – omicron.

On Friday, the WHO designated it as a “variant of concern,” naming it “omicron” after a letter in the Greek alphabet.

Health Minister Joe Phaahla said the variant was linked to an “exponential rise” of cases in the last few days.

From just over 200 new confirmed cases per day in recent weeks, South Africa saw the number of new daily cases rocket to more than 3,200 Saturday, most in Gauteng.

Struggling to explain the sudden rise in cases, scientists studied virus samples and discovered the new variant. Now, as many as 90% of the new cases in Gauteng are caused by it, according to Tulio de Oliveira, director of the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform.

The source for this information is the Associated Press, an internationally known and respected news service.

We are heading into a very dark winter.


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A very useful four minute video on child vaccination procedure - a must for every parent with children 5-11 who plan to have them vaccinated

By Staff

November 27th, 2021



The Halton Public Health people have put together a very good video for parents who plan to take their children 5-11 to a pediatric vaccination clinic.

This young lad shows how getting vaccinated is done – easy peasy.

There is a lot of misinformation floating around and some really stupid people harming the rest of us with their uninformed comments.

The video is really worthwhile Click HERE to watch it – it’s short – just under four minutes.


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Burlington Taxi did everything it could to continue to serve the public

By Pepper Parr

November 27th, 2021



In an interview done by Lawson Hunter on a blog he runs called Burlington Now Scott Wallace gave a very complete outline of just how the business he has run since he was a 19 year old unraveled.

Uber was what he called the first of a thousand cuts but he managed to reorganize the way his fleet of 55 cars + special vehicles used to transport students and still be profitable.

Burlington Taxi was able to pivot and challenge the Uber business model but then Covid19 hit the world and all the wheels stopped rolling.

Then Covid19 hit and to this day he has not been able to recover. First there was no traffic – or not enough to remain at breakeven; then when people began to want to use taxis he could not recruit the drivers.

The people he had just did not want to work in a Covid 19 environment.

Then there was the matter of insurance. There was a time explained Wallace when there was a reasonably competitive insurance market but that changed.

Consolidation in the taxi market result in sky rocketing rates that went from $5000 a year per car up to $18,000 per year per car.

That just wasn’t sustainable and the decision to close the business and move was made.  The last cab run ended at 5:00 pm on Friday.

Wallace did keep the city informed and did have a proposal for them to consider.

The city just wasn’t able to make the change within the time frames required.

Unfortunately the city has not been as forthcoming with what happened within city hall as Wallace has been with what he had to cope with for the past two years as he watched his money disappear trying to run a needed service.

Wallace has another business he runs and he will survive. He told Lawson Hunter that were he 35 he might have looked for ways to make it work but he isn’t 35 anymore.

Despite his age, (he is a very healthy mid fifties guy) and even wth the business he was struggling to keep operational Scott Wallace found time to help the Festival of Lights people put up the lights. His specialty was the helicopter – he was the person that put it together each year and fiddled with it until the lights came on.

Keep him in mind when you take the time to tour the Festival this year – he put a lot of himself into this city

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City looking for a way to save a taxi service - why is it taking so long?

By Staff

November 25th, 2021



Most people have heard about the decision Burlington Taxi made to close their doors and their taxi service service effective Friday, Nov. 26, 2021 at 5 p.m.

City manager Tim Commisso, in a statement he released this morning, said: “Staff has been working on amendments to the bylaw to facilitate the temporary transition to another taxi service and will present this to Burlington City Council at the earliest opportunity.

Scott Wallace, proprietor of Burlington Taxi in conversation with former City Councillor Blair Lancaster.

“Council has directed staff to continue to take all necessary and reasonable measures to update bylaws and policies to create the conditions for the return of a taxi service to Burlington as soon as possible.

“On behalf of the City of Burlington, we would like to thank all Burlington Taxi staff, drivers and owners for their contribution and dedication to our community.”

For the significant number of people an “earliest opportunity” is just not good enough. Legal will putz and futz over the legalities while people worry about what is available to them in the way of transportation.

There are a lot of people who don’t like the Uber operation.

Getting the helicopter assembled and operational was one of the things Scott Wallace did for the city.

This is an issue that can and should be put at the top of the agenda – have an answer well before 5:00 pm on Friday so that Scott Wallace can take the steps needed to provide the service.

Both he and his staff have given back to Burlington in a big way for years. Time for the city to support him.

Few know that Scott could be found in Spencer Smith Park setting up some of the lights – he was the one who knew how to get the helicopter in place and working. Properly. Burlington is made up of people who give when it is needed – city hall could learn something from Scott’s example.

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Amendments Made to Temporary Mask By-law and Physical Distancing By-law

By Staff

November 25th, 2021



City Council has approved amendments to the temporary Mask By-law and Physical Distancing By-law to extend both to expire June 30, 2022.  They were set to expire on Dec. 31, 2021.

Mayor Meed Ward – she wasn’t always a mask advocate – but she caught on quickly.

Council has removed Community Centre from the physical distancing requirement in the Physical Distancing By-law as those requirements are regulated under other provincial legislation.

As the pandemic evolves, Council has the ability to pass a motion at any time to revoke these by-laws.  The expiry date of June 30 can be repealed in March should COVID-19 conditions be favourable and the Province lifts their mask mandate.

This does not mean that levels of health and safety protections will be reduced in these City facilities or that physical distancing will not be maintained.

Quick Facts:

  • The By-laws were implemented in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of the community
  • The amendments in 2020 to the City’s temporary Mask By-law were made for consistency with Halton Region’s Mask By-law


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Burlington is no longer building out - it is building up - just not in the right places

By Ryan O’Dowd: Local Initiative Journalism Reporter

November 22, 2021



About 50 people gathered in downtown Burlington to join Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns, on a walkabout through new development sites on a chilly Saturday afternoon.  The story she had to tell was dismal.

Early in the event Kearns outlined what the tour was and wasn’t. It certainly wasn’t: an optimistic growth story but rather that of a city trying to keep its vision of a downtown intact.

“I want to be clear” said Kearns, “about what this is and what this isn’t. I want you to be able to visualize and have a contextual sense of what these developments mean for you, the way that you will live here, and what you would rather see or like to see. What I cannot do is completely stop them.”

Much of Saturday’s walking tour consisted of Kearns contextualizing city decisions. She discussed the Urban Growth Center (UGC) designation in the downtown core, saying it did its job to direct investments and infrastructure to downtown, but is no longer needed.

The city worked for some time to move the UGC north to the Burlington GO station area and have the Major Transit Station Area (MTSA) designation removed from the bus terminal on John Street.

The Hon. Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing agreed and on November 10th issued a statement saying the UGC boundary would be moved . Kearns stated the city couldn’t request the change in UGC boundaries until they had an approved Official Plan. The altered boundary came disastrously late for many of city council’s ambitions to limit high rise development.

Kearns suggested council would have only been able to get the altered UGC designation moved at their first opportunity by approving the official plan tabled in 2018, one the newly elected council could not align themselves with. (Editor: we’re not at all sure that statement is correct.)

The authority to approve a boundary change rested with the Minister; when he agreed to the change he also grandfathered seven developments; five of which were in the downtown core.

The walk around was a tour of what many saw as the damage to a dream and a close to total evisceration of an Official Plan.

Kearns stressed she was there to explain the framework in which the city has to operate with the Ontario Land Tribunal(OLT), which continuously make decisions the city doesn’t want, making it difficult for the municipal administration to usher in their planning vision.

Kearns at the site of the ADI development. It was the first to break through above the 25 storey level.

“The MTSA designation given to the bus terminal on John Street was the same as that given at Union Station and Pearson Airport. I don’t know about you guys but the John Street terminal is not Union Station. It’s warm and it has a toilet but it is not Union Station.

“What that did was allow a 26-storey tower using the argument that with the John Street bus terminal being an MTSA a 26 storey tower was appropriate. So of course 26-storeys made sense. Well, what happens is when you have 26-storeys there, every single application that follows will say, ‘well look this is absolutely applicable’,” said Kearns.

Kearns made it clear the city is not averse to growth, they know it needs to happen, but they are looking for something more compact and sensible than what the OLT has been permitting.

Ground zero – Lakeshore and Brant – entrance to Spencer Smith Park and the location of a development that will have two towers: one at 30 and the other at 35 storeys

Stopping at 2069-2079 Lakeshore Rd. and 383-385 Pearl St., Kearns said a recent OLT decision is emblematic of the direction development is taking.

“We lost big time at the tribunal,” said Kearns.

The city wanted to develop a 17-storey building on the land but begrudgingly settled for a cutoff of 22-storeys only for the OLT to decide on a 29-storey building. The OLT refused to recognize the city’s plans and threw out years of work and background information.

“That’s it. So everything people said, if anybody from here remembers a very cold blustery December day at the art gallery where everyone put up their hands to say they were against the development, all of that is forgotten. And the only thing that’s heard is the lawyers and the technical experts on the day with the rules in place on the day.”

It was the kind of sobering refrain heard during the chilly walkaround of a changing city. At one point some in the crowd asked: how someone got appointed to the OLT, Kearns joked “I’m sure they won’t be asking me anytime soon.” The citizen mumbled, “there’s a lot of us here.” And there were lots of them, some fifty all told. But Kearns’ walkabout felt less like a rallying call than an autopsy of Burlington’s existing downtown core.

There were few calls to action, no signs of optimism, just an exacerbated, if passionate, Kearns telling Burlington she and the rest of City Council did everything they could.

The city is continuing to spend tax dollars looking through its options with external lawyers for reconsideration or a judicial review

“It matters to the community that we’re getting at least close to  what the council can stomach, and closer to the Official Plan which is the vision for downtown, then what the Tribunal is handing us. We think it is very disheartening. I will say I will put it more than anybody else. I think it is very very disheartening that the adjudicators did not recognize the work that we have done on the Official Plan. So while the bus station was a major deciding factor to the 26-storey building next to it, they suddenly didn’t look at that anymore. But then they were like, ‘oh, let’s just use no plan.’ So it’s really difficult to try to play cat and mouse and keep catching up to whatever reasons are being used to undermine our local planning,“ said Kearns.

Congestion concerns and Lakeshore Road access were raised by some in attendance, there were scarce murmurs of the developments potentially buoying downtown retailers but overall the crowd shared Kearns concern. Kearns didn’t field many questions, she said she couldn’t due to time constraints. However, one wonders if after the described dealings with the tribunal if the councilor and the city writ large aren’t left with more questions than answers themselves.

Kearns walkabout stopped at ten development locations in the downtown core, they are as follows:

2020 Lakeshore Rd. Which is in the pre-application phase. It will use a proposed two tall buildings(35-storeys and 30-storeys, as well as a 5-storey podium). It will be used for retail, commercial, and residential space.

Core Development-2093, 2097, 2102 Old Lakeshore td., 2096, 2100 Lakeshore Rd. The application is under appeal. The application is for a 27-storey building consisting of commercial and residential space.

2107 Old Lakeshore Rd. & 2119 Lakeshore Rd. Old Lakeshore Rd. and 2119 Lakeshore Rd. The application is under appeal. The space will be used for a 27-storey building including retail, commercial, and residential space.

2069-2079 Lakeshore Rd. and 383-385 Pearl St. reached an OLT decision. The 29-storey building will host commercial, retail, and residential space.

374 Martha St. The building is under construction. It will be a 26-storey condominium with residential and commercial space.

2085 Pine St. The application is under appeal. It will be an 11-storey building consisting of commercial space, office units, and residential space.

407 Martha St. The application is under appeal. It will be used for an 11-storey residential building.

2082, 2086 and 2090 James St. The location is subject to Site Plan Approval. It will host a 13-storey residential apartment.

409 Brant St. A formal Site Plan Application is being awaited. It will be an 18-storey residential building.

421 Brant St. The unit is under construction. It will be a 23-storey residential, office, and retail building.






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Ward 2 Councillor to explain all the new development in the lower part of the ward this afternoon

By Pepper Parr

November 20th, 2021



If you haven’t made your plans for the afternoon – you might want to join Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns on the walkabout she plans in the southern part of her ward.

Hear what your ward Councillor has to say about this development – it will replace the Waterfront Hotel.

She has invited anyone to join her while she comments on the development proposals that have been grandfathered by the Minister of Municipal Affairs; which means that they will probably clear the Ontario Land Tribunal.

The Mayor has said little and is reported to have done as much as she can to get the members of Council not talk about what the Ministry has done to the city.
You owe it to your self to spend an hour on the walking tour.

Starts at 1:00 pm – gather at the foot of Brant Street at Lakeshore.

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After quarter of a century of trying to reduce gas emissions is it time to admit it’s not going to happen without a miracle

By Ray Rivers

November 19th, 2021



After 26 annual conferences of the parties the world community is no closer to halting or even decreasing global warming. The COP spectacle is one of delegates gathering with false hopes and promises of reducing our global carbon footprint, even as that footprint continues to expand without a foreseeable end. After a quarter of a century of trying to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) it may be time to admit that it’s not going to happen without a miracle, and that our’s is indeed a dystopian future.

The Prime Minister attended – did Canada make an impact?

COP has become another one of those events where everyone wants to be – youth, indigenous peoples, disappearing Pacific islanders, government bureaucrats and mandarins, environmental organizations, and even the oil companies. It’s another venue to claim everything and get nothing and a chance to get a grant from the rich countries. These extravaganzas have become little more than an annual reunion for the attendees – see you all same time again next year.

I’ve attended a few of these COP meetings, once representing Pollution Probe back in 1998 and caucusing among the environmental groups. There had been a lot of enthusiasm back then. The Kyoto protocol had just been negotiated and the USA, the world largest historical greenhouse gas emitter, was leading the effort. Bill Clinton and Al Gore had helped craft a Kyoto protocol calling for enforceable emission targets with significant financial penalties for those signatory nations who found themselves out of compliance. It was a significant first step.

But by 2003, when I represented Clean Air Canada as part of the business community, that enthusiasm had been replaced by pessimism. GW Bush added to his legacy as America’s worst president ever, and his violations of human rights, by pulling the US out of Kyoto.

American delegates were seen disrupting the proceedings and the halls of the conference were cluttered with oil company representatives making their pitches that climate change was just another hoax.

COP26 had more lobbyists taking part than registered delegates. The people who are going to have to live with a climate that is not going to be kind were out in force. Were they heard?

Once the Americans scuttled the Kyoto deal there was little appetite for the rest of the world to continue, though Europe and even Canada did for a time. Stephen Harper, whose earlier views on global warming had placed him firmly in the denial camp, pulled Canada out of the treaty once he had gained a majority. And he did this, ironically, just as Canada came close to meeting its Kyoto commitment thanks to Ontario’s phase-out of coal.

COP 26 in Glasgow last week was an almost abject failure on so many counts. Despite pleas for climate action by host Boris Johnson, the world’s leaders have settled for business as usual. And that means greenhouse gas emissions are increasing globally instead of declining and will reach their second highest level this year, despite the pandemic.

Fossil fuels are the main culprit and emissions from burning coal the most egregious insult to our climate. India and China came to the rescue of the nasty coal – refusing to allow the term ‘phase out’ to be used in the final communique. China plans to peak its coal use somewhere around 2030 and India sometime later.

Coal still provides almost 40% of the world’s electricity. Yet 40 nations, including Canada, have committed to entirely phase out coal for electricity by 2030. But China, Japan, India, and the United States, which together account of over 75 percent of global coal use have refused to commit to that goal.

We continue to fail them – how might they react in the years ahead?

Some 20 countries and institutions are promising to end direct international public finance for unabated coal, oil, and gas and to prioritize financing for clean energy by the end of 2022. In addition to international financing, Canada provides the highest subsidies for fossil fuel development among all G7 nations. A group calling itself the ‘Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance’ (BOGA) including Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Greenland, Ireland, Sweden, Wales, and the Canadian province (nation) of Quebec committed to taking “concrete steps” to reduce oil and gas extraction.

Perhaps the biggest sign of failure was when the US and China (whose leader hadn’t even bothered attending), announced that they would take the conversation on emission reduction off-line. Gas lighting, double speak, or just an excuse to get out of the room, that bilateral approach is unlikely to amount to anything. China and the USA have to get over unfair trade practices, industrial espionage and Taiwan before they could have a civil discussion on climate change. And China, with the second largest global economy still maintains the façade of calling itself an undeveloped nation.

COP 26 wasn’t a complete waste of time, there were locally sourced ‘sustainable’ sandwiches for the delegates, despite the three hour hybrid/gas guzzler delivery drive from Aberdeen. But this COP will not help the planet keep its temperature rising beyond what scientists have identified as the critical 1.5 degree C temperature increase over the pre-industrial period.
Global net GHG emissions from human activity would have to decline by about 45% from 2010 levels to 2030 in order for us to meet that goal.

Canada’s new climate plan comes close to that goal, but after all, it’s just another plan. This year’s heat dome and the river of rain climate-bomb, which knocked British Columbians into climate reality, occurred when the global temperature was only 1.1 degree C above pre-industrial levels. And the science community tells us that these kinds of climatic effects will only get worse – Ontario may be next.

If not COP, then what can we do? Concerned individuals could always help by consuming less red meat; making their next car an EV (electric vehicle) and converting their appliances to electricity, but the heavy lifting has to come from governments with their regulatory powers.

For example the federal government has committed to banning the sale of new gasoline powered automobiles by 2035, it has mandated the carbon tax, provides incentives to buy an EV, promised new caps on gas emissions and the phase out of coal for electricity by at least 2030. The previous Ontario government phased-out coal and started a program of renewable energy.

The world’s leaders once hoped that the Montreal Protocol, which saw a mostly successful cooperative global effort to eliminate ozone depleting substances, would serve as a model for action on global warming. They created the IPCC (international Panel on Climate Change) which has done a truly amazing job identifying the crisis and what we need to do about it. But none of that matters if the political leaders at those COPs won’t step up and do the right things for the sake of humanity.

Coal is used to generate whatever it is the facility produces.

Some politicians have mused that it may be time to reform global trade rules in favour of protecting the planet’s climate. I recall having a conversation with US officials, back in 1997, who were proposing tariffs on imports from nations with lower environmental standards than the US – sort of levelling the playing field. Conservative leader Erin O’Toole seemed to want to open the door to that kind of thing in his last election platform.

A massive boycott of Chinese-manufactured exports, for example, might help bring President Xi to his senses. We simply can’t wait till 2030 to begin phasing out coal. If the diplomacy of COP doesn’t work, then maybe it is time for a more forceful approach.

Political journalist Rex Murphy, who is as close to a climate change denier as they come, suggested in a tongue-in-cheek opinion piece that maybe it’s time for net zero COP meetings. In fact, looking at the failure of the COP process to reduce, let alone stabilize our carbon footprint, he may have a point.

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



Background links:

What is COP –  Greta Has Spoken –    COP 26 Text

Harper’s Climate Denying History –   Ford Lower Gas Prices

Rex Murphy


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Ryerson school will now be known as Makwendam Public School

By Staff

November 18th, 2021



At the November 17, 2021 Board meeting, Halton District School Board Trustees selected Makwendam Public School as the new name for Ryerson Public School, located at 565 Woodview Road in Burlington.

The name was unanimously supported by all Trustees. The new name will take effect immediately; a plan will be developed to make changes to school signage, website and sports uniforms.

The name Makwendam, pronounced muck-kwen-dum, is the Indigenous word for “to remember” in the Anishinaabemowin language.

Halton District School Board chair Andrea Grebenc

In their discussions, Trustees considered that this name would honour the reason for renaming the school, that is, Egerton Ryerson’s involvement in the creation of the residential school system. There have been growing calls to remove Ryerson’s name from public buildings and institutions and the HDSB has received formal requests to remove Ryerson’s name from the school.

“The choice of Makwendam Public School speaks directly to the purpose of renaming Ryerson Public School – as we as a country search for the lost children on residential school lands, we must remember, we must learn and be better,” says Andréa Grebenc, Chair of the Halton District School Board. “The Halton District School Board is committed to Indigenous Perspectives and Awareness, as outlined in our Strategic Multi-Year Plan commitments. We look forward to hearing the results of the City of Burlington’s naming process for the adjacent park.”

Egerton Ryerson: his role in the creation of the residential schools has, unfortunately, been distorted.

At the Board meeting, Trustees heard from Evan Rochon, a Grade 6 student at Ryerson Public School. In his delegation to the Trustees, Evan supported the name Makwendam.

The naming process began in September to ensure the parent/guardian, student and the broader community had the opportunity to provide input. In total, more than 1,200 names were submitted.

The City of Burlington is in the process of renaming the park adjacent to the former Ryerson school that shared the name of the man who gets credit for creating the education system that has served the province very well.

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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



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



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



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



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.


  • 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



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.

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: 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



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 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


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



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 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, 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



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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