Making decisions: Soon maybe on some key issues

By Pepper Parr

October 20th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

To get some sense as to where your ship is going – you want to know something about the person at the wheel and the decisions they make.

Same rule applies to the Mayor of Burlington.

There have been some very good decisions. The decision to have the Urban Growth Centre moved north was a good decision.

A smart lawyer and a planning department that didn’t understand just what the concept of Mobility Hubs (now called MTSA’s) was all about.

The Mayor was dead on about the bus station that was declared a Major Transit Service Area – as soon as she had all the information she saw the obvious.

The disturbing part of that was that the council that served from 2010 to 2018 neither knew or weren’t told by the planning department that the designation given that bus station was an error. Instead they left it in place and the result is the 26 storey Nautique that is now under construction.

Someone in Planning should be wearing that one.

Meed Ward understood the mood of the electorate and chose limiting development and making sure that the development that was coming was the right kind in the right place.

She basically chased the developers out of the downtown core.

Admittedly there are a number (about four with several pieces of land within the football that have not been dealt with) of development along Lakeshore Road and within the football that are a problem.

Mayor Meed Ward does not appear to be ready to take a position on the re-development of the Waterfront Hotel site. Is this one of those “right things in the right place”?

And of course there is the Waterfront Hotel development that could take the growth of the city as we know it today in a much different direction.

Perhaps it is time to think in terms of how Burlington could adapt to the change and make it work for them. We don’t see the city planning department getting in front of issues and being proactive.

The decisions in front of the Mayor now that are a concern are:

The Holiday market, which is now  a done deal that got through Council under the shadiest of circumstances;

The park within the Molinaro development at Brant & Ghent;

The Waterfront Hotel site and the redevelopment of that property; and

her enthusiasm for the Holiday market scheduled for December 9th to 12. The Mayor buys into the claim that 1000 people will take part. What that market will do to the merchants in the downtown core who are struggling to stay above water is something they Mayor doesn’t seem prepared to take into account.

Very recently the Molinaro Group took part in a Statutory meeting in which they revealed their plans for a half acre park that would be created at the east end of the development at Brant and Ghent.

Traffic for the towers on either side of Brant would exit and enter via Ghent. The half acre park is shown on the far right. Title to the land would be registered with the Condominium Corporation .

The plan was to create the park, then turn it over to the condominium corporation that would eventually be set up to represent the interests of the condominium unit owners.

The idea that the unit owners will go along with their owning and maintaining a park that would be open to the public is a real stretch.

Anyone who has served on a condominium board would tell you that this is one of the craziest things they have ever heard of.

This is described as a half acre part which was described as bringing some of Spencer Smith Park north

The Mayor seems to think that the city would get another park at no cost and residents of a condominium will cover the costs of keeping it operational.

Renderings on what a park could look like.

Will the information about the park for which unit buyers will have to be clearly set out in the sales literature? Will it be clearly set out in the condominium agreement – those things run to several hundred pages which only the lawyers read.

The Mayor does not appear to have taken a position on the proposed redevelopment of the Waterfront Hotel site. One has to ask: Where is the claim that this Mayor wants the right development in the right place ?

There was a time when Meed Ward was all about Truth to Power – now that she has the power Truth seems to have been mislaid.

Growing from a really ballsy ward councillor who brought about some significant changes to the way the city operates, we appear to have a Mayor who has lost the wind she used to have in her sails.

She has pulled together a large part of her re-election team and she is in campaign mode.

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman – considering his options?

And at this point there doesn’t appear to be anyone willing to run against her – except for Councillor Sharman who is probably considering his option.

Go for it Paul!

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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Tanlsey Woods Pool to be reopened on Wednesday

By Staff

October 19th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

This is one of those clear as mud messages from city hall.

The Tansley Woods pool will be open on Wednesday.

If you use the Tansley Wood Pool you might understand.

Updated: Tansley Woods Pool Closure

The issue will be resolved by the end of today (Tuesday, Oct. 19) and regularly scheduled aquatic programming will resume for Wednesday, Oct. 20.

Due to an unplanned maintenance issue, Tansley Woods Pool will be closed effective immediately (Friday, Oct. 15, 2021) until further notice. Staff will reach out to impacted customers and renters. The facility is still open for non-aquatic programming.

Update: The issue will be resolved by the end of today (Tuesday, Oct. 19) and regularly scheduled aquatic programming will resume for Wednesday, Oct. 20.

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Covid19 rules for sports situations are tightened up by Medical Officer of Health

By Staff

October 19th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health (MOH), Dr. Hamidah Meghani, has issued a letter of instructions to indoor sports and recreational fitness facilities to implement vaccination policies that require all eligible individuals to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to participate in organized sports and recreational fitness activities in these settings.

For businesses and organizations, this means establishing, implementing and ensuring compliance with a COVID-19 vaccination policy by no later than November 26, 2021 for all persons 12 years and older who attend an indoor area of the indoor sport or recreational facility for the purpose of actively participating, coaching, training, instructing, officiating or having similar involvement in organized sports and recreational fitness activities.

These instructions are being introduced to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and outbreaks, further protecting the health of all participants, coaches, officials, volunteers, spectators and others including those with weaker immune systems or who cannot be vaccinated because of their age or for medical reasons.

Robust compliance with masking, physical distancing and other public health measures in all facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities in Halton Region also remains essential to protect our community.

To read Dr. Meghani’s instructions for indoor sports and recreational fitness activities or for additional public health information and guidance, please visit halton.ca/COVID19.

 

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Development for Brant and Lakeshore could change what Downtown would look like

By Pepper Parr

October 19th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

From time to time there are news stories that grow to something more than a one or two day event.

We have covered a few that were significant – and important.

The legal problems surrounding the pier: when a crane toppled and steel that bent much more than was expected was found to be below the required standard.

It was a Pier that was built twice – at double the cost

The end result was the tearing apart of much of the first version of the Pier and starting all over at double the projected cost.

Another important event was the dumping of un-inspected land fill on the Burlington airport lands without the required permits.

We followed that story for three years, stayed strong during the libel suit that was filed against the Gazette and Vanessa Warren and Monte Dennis.

Tonnes of landfill from unknown sources was dumped on the air park lands. It is still there ruining at least one property for which there was never any compensation.

The libel suit was dropped but the land fill is still on the site – and the city is the poorer by half a million in legal fees.

Then there is decision on the part of Vrancor, owners of the Waterfront Hotel, who are expected to take the first required step to demolish the hotel and replace the 9 storey building with a 35 story tower and a 30 story tower that would sit atop a four storey tower.

There are those who like the idea; there are those who think it is a mistake.  The Plan B group certainly think it is a mistake.

The design of the towers is striking – it would be nice to live in it – but the Gazette does not believe those towers should be built on the Waterfront Hotel site.

During the pre-application presentation both the Mayor and the ward Councillor were given the right to speak. Neither made comments for which they will be remembered.

When first running for City Councillor Marianne Meed Ward was leading the Save our Waterfront Committee, demanding that the city not permit high rise towers anywhere near the lake.

The waterfront is once again at risk

Ten years later and all the Mayor had to say during the pre-application presentation was that the city had yet to receive an application. The first rule of stopping a development is to do everything possible to prevent it getting momentum.

If the Mayor is opposed to this development – and it this point we don’t know if she is or if she isn’t – saying nothing is not what the citizens of Burlington elected her for.

She was noisy noisy about Saving the Waterfront in 2010; she was noisy noisy when it came to pushing to get the Urban Growth Centre moved north and away from the Downtown Core in 2018.

She was close to mute when she had a chance to say something about two towers that would loom over Lakeshore Road if they are built.

The Gazette is of the view that few people fully understand what is taking place. There were less than 100 citizens participating in the virtual pre-application presentation.

In the two pictures set out below we try to give people an idea of what a 35 storey tower looks like when compared to what already exists on Lakeshore Road.

The tower on the left is expected to be on the Brant Street side of the development. It is 39 storeys high, the Hotel is 9 storeys high which would make the development more than four times as high as the current structure.

When set against what is currently the highest building in the city the difference is also very significant.

The Waterfront hotel – stands 9 storeys high.

Bridgewater condominium, currently the tallest structure in the city.

The tower on the right would be next to the Bridgewater development and at 30 storeys plus a four level podium come in at 35 storeys – one third higher than the Bridgewater condominium.

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Land Tribunal lifts Interim Control Bylaw on everything except properties between Brant and Drury on Fairview

By Pepper Parr

October 18th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Following the proceedings at an Ontario Land Tribunal hearing is not for the faint of heart.

It seems to take forever to get to the point where a hearing actually takes place.

Actually getting to a hearing for development applications in Burlington is complicated by the fact that there are at times more than a dozen developers appealing a city decision or appealing for relief from the OLT because the city has not made a decision before the clock ran out.

Among the issues before the OLT at this time are the Interim Control By Law and the newest Official Plan that has been approved by City Council and Regional Council and awaits the signature of the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs after which it becomes the law of the land.

Controversial from the very beginning, the long term care residence got caught up in the creation of an Interim Control Bylaw

The ICBL was holding up all kinds of development including the AMICA project that will rise on the Northshore Road and the ramp to the QEW.

At the OLT Case Management Conference last Thursday the Commissioner agreed with the lawyers (there were 20+ of them on the call) that the ICBL could be lifted except for several properties along Fairview between Brant and Drury Lane.

Some of the most valuable land in the city with some of the loosest zoning as well.

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Fake Taxi Fraud Occurring in Halton

By Staff

October 18th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) is warning residents of a fake taxi scam that is occurring in the region.

The fraud typically involves two suspects – one acting as taxi driver and the other acting as a customer. The fake taxi driver will refuse to accept cash from the fake customer for a fare. The suspect playing the role of customer will then prey on unsuspecting individuals nearby, asking them to use their debit card to pay the fare in exchange for cash (which will be given to the victim at the time).

The intent is to draw the victim to the taxi, where the fake taxi driver presents a point of sale machine to the victim. The debit card is swiped/inserted into the machine and the PIN number covertly obtained by the suspects. The victim is then distracted by the suspect playing the role of customer, at which point the driver switches the debit card (retaining the victim’s card and giving them a different one back).

The stolen debit card is then used by the suspects to withdraw money and/or make purchases.

The HRPS is investigating three such occurrences that took place in Oakville over the weekend; however this scam has been occurring across the province for some time.

HRPS investigators also issued a similar warning about this scam in November, 2020.

The HRPS would like to remind the public of the following tips:

• Taxis DO and WILL accept cash;
• Never give your debit/credit card to someone else;
• When making a purchase attempt to conceal your PIN;
• Be mindful of the point of sale machine when making a purchase and if you suspect it has been tampered with, choose another payment method; and
• If you believe you are the victim of a scam, contact police immediately.

Anyone with information in regards to these incidents, or anyone who has information about similar incidents, is asked to contact the Fraud Intake Line at 905-825-4777 ext. 8741.

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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Reshaping Aldershot: A Preliminary Vision for the Aldershot GO Major Transit Station Area

By Staff

October 18th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We start with the city of Burlington within which there is the village of Aldershot, within which there is now Aldershot Corners.  The Corners has five precincts.

There is a Preliminary Vision for the Aldershot GO Major Transit Station Area, and Aldershot Corners – a community within a village.

Located minutes from Hamilton at the western edge of Burlington, Aldershot Corners is a visitor’s first impression of Burlington when travelling east from Hamilton and Niagara on the Lakeshore West GO line.

The area is nestled within the Aldershot Village Business Improvement Area and focused at the corners of Plains Road, Waterdown Road and Cooke Boulevard. Part of the Treaty 3 lands, Indigenous People were stewards of the land for thousands of years before settlers arrived. Post-Colonially, this area was a major hub for brick manufacturing, and also has a rich agricultural past rooted in fruit production.

Aldershot Corners will continue to evolve as an urban area with a distinct sense of neighbourhood character, supported by a mix of residential, commercial and employment uses.

The colour coding sets out the precincts – detail elsewhere in this article explains what is planned for each of the precincts.

Taller buildings will be concentrated along the rail line and will decrease in height and intensity closer to Plains Road and the existing residential neighborhoods.

Aldershot Corners will be a vibrant, livable community with urban shopping and dining opportunities serving those living and working close by.

New multi-modal urban streets and active transportation facilities will better connect the existing community, providing enhanced mobility and improved access to the GO Station, leisure and recreation opportunities in urban parks and open spaces, as well the many other amenities Aldershot already offers.

The planners created a number of precincts, which are boundaries within which specified levels of development are permitted.

There are five within the Aldershot Corners part of the Aldershot part of the city.

Mid Rise Residential.

Compact residential communities, with a variety of low-rise and mid-rise building forms up to 11 storeys closer to main streets. This Precinct will provide housing forms at a lower scale and intensity including family oriented and ground oriented housing to support the creation of a wide range of housing options, including affordable housing.

Opportunities for commercial activities at street level on strategic streets may be permitted.  Policies will guide appropriate transitions from low rise residential development to more intensive mixed uses. Policies will guide appropriate transitions from the maximum height (11 storeys) to adjacent low-rise neighbourhood, which may include angular planes, setbacks and/or stepbacks.

 

Aldershot Main Street

This Precinct will advance the Plains Road Village Vision and establish a unique community destination with a focus on a continuous retail frontage and main-street pedestrian experience along the frequent transit corridors (Waterdown Road and Plains Road E.) Policies will introduce a requirement for buildings to have a “lower building” design to create a pedestrian scaled environment at the street level.  Policies will guide appropriate transition from the 11 storey maximum height to existing low-rise neighbourhoods, which may include angular planes, setbacks and/or stepbacks.  Precinct lands that are adjacent to existing low rise neighbourhoods, will have a maximum height of 6 storeys. To ensure functional retail and commercial spaces are created, a wide range of approaches will be considered, including but not limited to establishing minimum floor height for the ground floor of buildings, and considering a minimum retail unit size.  Opportunities for affordable housing will be considered in the Aldershot Main Precinct.

Cooke Commons

Serves as a unique retail and dining destination creating a comfortable and vibrant pedestrian environment with active uses at the street level and increased emphasis on pedestrian and multi-modal movement.  A flexible street is being considered to provide opportunity for a community gathering space and potential to close for special events.

Mixed-use buildings throughout the Precinct contribute towards the creation of lively, vibrant and people-oriented places.  Along the west side of the street, heights range up to 19 storeys maximum adjacent to the GO Central Precinct and up to 11 storeys maximum generally along Cooke Boulevard. On the east side, there will be up to 11 storeys maximum generally along Cooke Boulevard which gradually steps down to 6 storeys with appropriate transitions, which may include angular planes, setbacks and/or stepbacks, to the adjacent low-rise residential  neighbourhood.  Policies will introduce a requirement for buildings to include a “lower building” design to create a pedestrian scaled environment at the street level.  Direction to support the function of these areas to accommodate  loading and services and support a wide range of retail use will be investigated and imbedded in policy.

Opportunities for affordable housing will be considered in the Cooke Commons Precinct.

 

Emery Commons

This precinct will accommodate a concentration of residential, retail, employment and commercial uses.

Opportunity exists for a higher concentration of high density residential due to its proximity to an existing public park, a potential new major public park and the GO Central precinct.  Mixed-use buildings, of varying heights to a maximum of 19 storeys, contribute towards the creation of lively, vibrant and people-oriented places.  Opportunities for affordable housing will be considered in the Emery Commons Precinct.

 

Aldershot GO Central

The preeminent destination for Major Office, affordable housing and urban format retail in this MTSA focusing the tallest buildings (maximum 30 stories) close to the GO station.  Where Aldershot GO Central abuts Waterdown Road and Masonry Court policies will require pedestrian orientation development, including an emphasis enhanced public realm and enhanced spaces for waiting for transit. There is particular emphasis on the need to design a functional, safe and accessible transit plaza.  Polices will ensure that the MTSA will accommodate a proportional mix of residential and employment opportunities and ensure that the Aldershot GO Central precinct will be planned to accommodate major office employment.

This map provides additional detail on what is planned for the different parts of what is being called Aldershot Corners.

What is it that is driving these changes?

KEY CHANGES – A number of things have changed since the Draft Precinct Plans were presented to the public and Burlington City Council in 2018.   The following highlights the key changes that have been made or are being considered and the drivers for these changes.

Aldershot GO MTSA –

MTSA Designation and Boundary – Identified in Provincial Policy, the Regional Official Plan must first delineate and assign density targets to Major Transit Station Areas.  Regional Official Plan Amendment (ROPA) 48 delineated the boundary for the Aldershot GO MTSA which identified the removal of existing parks (Hidden Valley Park, Grove Park and Aldershot Park), areas north of the rail line, and established neighbourhoods from the 2018 Aldershot GO Mobility Hub boundary.

Employment – Regional direction through Regional Official Plan Amendment 48 is to include employment within MTSAs.  While Aldershot GO MTSA does not have an employment only precinct, Major Office employment type uses will be required in the Aldershot GO Precinct and it will be outlined through policy.  Other employment types, such as retail, institutional and personal services is broadly encouraged throughout a number of the mixed-use precincts. Specific targets for Major Office will be established.

Comments made by the developer suggested there would be some retail – a Starbucks Coffee shop – but no mention of a supermarket – something the ward Councillor is anxious to see.

Retail – The Aldershot MTSA will provide two unique pedestrian focused retail experiences.  The Aldershot Main Street Precinct provides ground floor retail with a main-street pedestrian experience.  Policies will be considered for ground floor heights and minimum retail unit sizes to ensure functional spaces are provided. The Cooke Commons Precinct will serve as a unique retail and dining destination leading to the GO Station, with a focus on creating a comfortable and vibrant pedestrian environment with active uses at the street level and increased emphasis on pedestrian and multi-modal movement.  In addition to those unique areas the opportunity to require, or in some cases encourage retail in every other precinct to support the day to day needs of existing and future residents.

The only decent park is LaSalle Park; a 15 minute hike that will be stressed once all the residential development is completed. Great park with splash pads and a wading pool. Upgrades will be needed at some point.

Public Parks and Linear Parks – As noted in the Provincial Policy Statement publicly accessible built and natural settings including parklands are important ways to promote healthy, active communities.  Potential locations for parks are identified with a green tree symbol.  The City is considering other opportunities for wider corridors along streets to act as linear parks to provide valuable open space/park space and facilitate connections.  A linear park along Masonry Court connecting Hidden Valley Park with Grove Park will connect residents, employees and visitors to existing green spaces. A new linear park extending along Cooke Boulevard from Plains Road East to new development north of Masonry Court will focus on providing opportunities to linger and to support safe, comfortable pedestrian access to the station.  Enhanced connections, linear parks, new parks and other connections are required throughout the MTSA in order to facilitate safe and more direct pedestrian and active transportation routes to and from the GO station.

Public Service – As noted in the Provincial Policy Statement, public services such as healthcare, education, emergency and protective services, cultural activities and civic administration are necessary to sustain healthy, liveable and safe communities.  Key precincts will provide community spaces, alongside new residential and retail development in key locations. In addition to that new focus in key precincts the “PS” icon remains in key locations where the consideration of the incorporation of public service facilities is critical.  Public services will be located strategically throughout the MTSA and policies will be developed to ensure that these services are located strategically to support population and employment growth in coordination will be coordinated with future development.

Integrated Mobility – In 2019, the City launched its Integrated Mobility Plan (IMP). This plan establishes a vision of safe, accessible, sustainable, balanced and livable mobility for the City of Burlington.  The goals of this plan represent a shift from a focus on cars to more choice in transportation options; with a target of 20+% of trips in urban areas to shift towards transportation choices other than personal vehicles. A Transportation Assessment is being undertaken to identify the local street network for each MTSA (see technical studies below) which will integrate the vision and goals of the city-wide IMP.

Newly built part of Station West – not much in the way of a complete street or parkland for that matter.

Complete Streets (formerly referred to as Green Streets in the 2018 Draft Precinct Plans) – The City’s new Official Plan identifies the need for complete streets strategy for all future street and road projects (new construction, reconstruction, resurfacing and rehabilitation). The OP also states that MTSA primary and secondary connectors (Plains Road East and Waterdown Road) shall be complete streets.  With a long-term view, the City is proposing that all existing and proposed streets in the MTSA allow for inclusion of some complete street elements over time which could include space for pedestrians, cyclists, transit, and streetscaping in addition to travel lanes for cars.

Active Transportation – The City is committed to implementing active transportation corridors to improve connections and transportation choice.  Planned active transportation corridors have been updated to be consistent with the 2021 Cycling Master Plan and the 2015 Community Trails Strategy.  Active transportation corridors and connections proposed through consultation are also shown in the MTSA.

Climate Change & Sustainability – The City’s Climate Action Plan establishes a net carbon neutral goal by 2050 for community emissions.  Work continues to identify ways for the City of Burlington to address the impacts of climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  In addition to the transit and active transportation focus of the Aldershot GO MTSA consideration will be given to other ways future development of this MTSA could address climate change including encourage building energy efficiency, urban design policies to address heat and tree cover, and opportunities to consider district energy.

Public Art at the intersection of Waterdown and Plains Road

Frequent Transit Corridors – Plains Road E. and Waterdown Road are identified as Frequent Transit Corridors in the City’s new Official Plan.  Pedestrian-oriented development is desired along these corridors to support the frequent transit service.  Policies will be identified to encourage pedestrian-oriented development along these corridors including consideration of lower heights at street level, urban design and public realm requirements.  Urban design and public realm can also improve the experience for those waiting for transit along these corridors.

Technical Studies Underway – The following technical studies are currently being undertaken and may result in the need for further revision of the Precincts.

  • Land Use Compatibility – There are some major facilities in and around the Aldershot MTSA which may require separation from sensitive land uses like residences, day care centres and education and health facilities. Work is being completed to confirm the potential for land use compatibility issues within the MTSA and to develop a framework for technical assessments to be completed as part of future development proposals.  This work may result in changes to the precincts or area specific policies in the Plan to guide land use change and minimize the potential for land use compatibility issues over time.
  • Transportation Assessment – The current Aldershot GO MTSA shows the planned South Service Road and Masonry Court as shown in the new Official Plan as well as the proposed new streets included in the 2018 Mobility Hub. Traffic congestion has been regularly raised as a concern by the public and a transportation assessment is being undertaken to determine the potential impact of adding the new people and jobs to this area.  In keeping with the vision of the IMP, it is anticipated that the Transportation Assessment results will focus on non-auto infrastructure and ways to shift people to other transportation choices. One of the key outcomes of the Transportation Assessment will be to confirm the need and location for any new local streets to support safe, efficient movement throughout the area.
  • Inclusionary Zoning – As part of the City’s Housing Strategy, an assessment of options to implement Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) is being undertaken. IZ is a tool to integrate affordable housing into future development.  IZ can only be applied to MTSAs identified as protected by the Province and Regional Official Plan Amendment 48 which requires the City to establish affordable housing targets for its Major Transit Station Areas. Should IZ be recommended for Aldershot GO, there will be a need for the appropriate guidance on how the tool will be applied.
  • Environmental & Hazard Lands –Studies are underway to identify areas that may be prone to flooding. Completed Flood studies for Aldershot are currently being reviewed by Conservation Halton. Identified areas may need to be protected through policies within some of the Aldershot GO MTSA Precincts.  A Provincially Significant Wetland has been identified to the northeast of the MTSA and any potential policy requirements are being assessed through updates to an Environmental Impact Study being undertaken as part of the background technical work.

Heights and Transition – The maximum heights in the Aldershot GO Precincts generally remain as presented in 2018.  There have been some minor changes including changing lands just east of Cooke Boulevard from Emery/Cooke Commons Precinct with a maximum height of 19 storeys to a new Cooke Common Precinct with a maximum height of 11 storeys.  Policies will be included to guide transition from the maximum height, typically closer to the main streets, to lower rise buildings adjacent to existing low-rise neighbourhoods.

There will be an in depth look at the Plans for the Burlington GO station area on October 19th and a similar event for the area around the Appleby GO station on October 26th.  On November 4th there will be a review of the plans for all three MTSA’s.

All will be virtual events.

There is a WORKBOOK for those who want to pass their views and opinions along to the planners.  The link to the WORKBOOK is HERE

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Planning the new Aldershot - time for public input - there is a workbook to help

By Staff

October 18th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Burlington has embarked on a huge city building project.

When completed the city will have three distinct neighbourhoods; the eastern part of the city will have a new neighbourhood centered on the Aldershot GO station.

This is the western boundary of the Station West Development built by the ADI Group.

A significant part of the community building has already taken place in Aldershot.  The Station West development by the Adi Group is well underway with three more towers to be built on the south west corner of the property that edges onto Masonry Road.

The other two new neighbourhoods will be centered on the Burlington and Appleby GO stations.

The city Planning Department is now working to get feedback from the people who will be impacted by these very significant changes.

A public meeting was held to explain what is planned.  To get feedback from the public the Planners have devised a WORKBOOK that they say will take 30 to 45 minutes to complete.

Completing the WORKBOOK is voluntary and the information people provide is confidential (even to city staff).

The Planners recommend you complete the workbook on a laptop, tablet or PC to view the images in a larger format and keep a copy of the Preliminary Preferred Precinct Plan open in another tab or browser window to assist you in answering the questions and as a point of reference.

The link to the WORKBOOK is HERE.  It is a little complicated.  Just scroll through the pages, click on the images and then return to the page.  There is enough instruction to get you through it.

The workbook is available in other languages. To request, e-mail getinvolved@burlington.ca.  You may also use the “Select Language” translate button found on the project page to translate both the page and workbook.

An MTSA (Major Transit Service Area) is the area within 500 to 800-metres of a higher order transit station (these are the three GO stations) that are expected to be about a 10-minute walk from the GO station.

These are seen as the three most critical locations within the urban area expected to accommodate the majority of the City’s forecasted growth to 2031 and beyond.

Through the preparation of the new Official Plan, new policies were developed to guide development and change in the Downtown and Uptown (at Appleby Line and Upper Middle Road). The MTSAs are now the remaining priority locations for which detailed planning must be completed to establish the vision for growth, to guide development, investments in transit, infrastructure and public service facilities, including parks, and to support significant future population and employment growth.

To some this project may feel familiar.  From 2017 to 2019 the City worked on developing area-specific plans (ASPs) for the three GO Station areas, then called the Mobility Hubs Study.  The MTSA ASP project will build upon, and advance, the work done through the Mobility Hubs Study.

The objective of this project is to plan to accommodate new residents and jobs by setting a vision for three unique, complete communities that are centered around the City’s three GO Stations along the Lakeshore West rail line.  These communities will be environmentally friendly, infrastructure-efficient, walkable, bikeable, and will support local and regional transit with a diverse mix of employment, housing, recreation, and shopping features.

What have we heard so far?

Engagement was a key element of the previous Mobility Hub Study work. From the feedback received through 2017 and 2018, a number of key themes emerged to provide guidance in planning for these areas:

Increase, Improve and Support…

Public spaces by supporting existing and new open spaces, parks and other community spaces that are safe, usable, inclusive and interactive, and incorporate public art, landscape features etc. to enhance placemaking.

Community amenities by encouraging an increased scale and mix of commercial/retail uses at grade, including grocery stores, coffee shops, community and recreational space etc.

Mobility by designing a well-connected, safe and accessible public realm with active animated streets and robust cycling and pedestrian networks, focused on direct connections to and from GO Stations.

Housing options by planning for a diverse range of different and affordable housing choices to cater to all ages and abilities.

Private Spaces by encouraging sustainable design and variety of architectural styles to create distinct buildings and enhance neighbourhood character, and by reinforcing midrise corridors.

Public engagement by providing residents with enough time to engage and increase resident engagement and clearly explaining the required growth targets for Burlington.

Parkland by planning for park and public spaces that consider the needs of the entire area including developing fair approaches to meet that objective.

Traffic congestion by supporting the public transportation network and investing in additional facilities for walking and cycling.

Solid Gold site as it exists today.

Building height and transition concerns by clearly explaining planning rationale for where height is being located, ensuring and explaining how height will be regulated, and by reducing losses of sunlight and privacy through appropriate building height transitions.

Speaking of height limitations – this rendering represents what the owners of Solid Gold want to build on a site that currently has a single story structure.

Protect…

Established residential neighbourhoods by ensuring built form, height and transition support and respect existing character, and providing clear policies for heritage protection.

The planners learned that:

Beyond the broad themes highlighted above, a number of key themes specific to the Aldershot GO MTSA also emerged, including the consideration of:

– opportunities for new bike paths, including through Aldershot Park;

– opportunities for amenities to support residents and employees;

– opportunities for complete streets, including Cooke Boulevard;

– ways to manage the impacts of increased traffic along Plains Road;

– opportunities to incorporate mid-rise development along Plains Road and Waterdown Road; and

– excluding the low-density residential properties located on Clearview Avenue and a portion of St. Matthew’s Avenue.

 

A little more detail on what might go where

Now the planners need your feedback. The input you provide may inform:

– Refinements to the vision (i.e. land uses, building heights, urban design considerations etc.);

– Precinct changes (i.e. policy directions, boundaries, built form directions, etc.);

– The preparation of the area-specific plans or the development of policy.

There are more specific details about all of the work that has informed the preliminary preferred precinct plan, including technical studies, can be found at getinvolvedburlington.ca/mtsa.

 

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Mayor shows it can be done - people can meet in a live, real people in the room situation - she just doesn't want to do it for you

By Pepper Parr

October 15th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There they were.  Three Mayors: ours, the Mayor from Barrie and the Mayor from Mississauga.

Talking to the media and voicing their complaints.

No masks, sitting at what looked like a safe Covid19 social distance, not much different than the way they would sit in a non-pandemic environment.

The complaints about the province were the same – the only thing different was that we currently have a Premier who now knows he can do whatever he wants – and has a court decision to back him up.

Cutting the size of a city council down to about half of what it was “during” an election lets you know that Doug Ford isn’t going to listen all that closely to complaints from municipal politicians.

Mayor Meed Ward had a venue to die for; the set up at the Pearle Hotel and Spa was something to experience.  Being the politician she is Meed Ward would make the best of it all.

What most people don’t understand is – why can the Mayor hold an event and talk to the media the way she would in normal times but people in Burlington cannot delegate to their council in a similar live setting.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward – doesn’t appear to be prepared to meet her constituents in conditions that allow for real engagement.

Basically because she can.  She has said on any number of occasions that holding council meetings in a virtual setting works for her and it appears to work for a majority of city council.

It is less than a pleasant experience for those delegating virtually, fumbling their way through the technology that works – sort of.

The human interaction is missing.  The buzz that exists in a room when people can talk to each other and exchange opinions; support each other as they ask questions.

Gary Scobie with his eyes focused on members of Council as he delegates to the elected. Democracy right in front of your eyes

Jim Young reminding council that the power they have was given to them by the people who elected them.

Much is lost when people like Gary Scobie, Jim Young or Tom Muir arrive at the podium putting fact after fact on the table.  This city misses the likes of Vanessa xxx standing at the podium and setting the record straight.

It is time for Burlington’s city council to put at least put a toe in the water and begin to loosen its pandemic bonds.

Related news story:

Mayor takes off the masks and meets with media with looser social contact rules

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Police in Burlington Make 3 Arrests and Seize Shotgun and other Weapons

By Staff

October 15th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Investigators with the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) Street Crime Unit in Burlington have made three arrests and seized multiple weapons including a shotgun.

Several of those weapons could do some very serious damage.

On October 13, 2021, officers executed a search warrant at a residence near downtown Burlington. As a result of this search, the following items have been seized (see attached photo):

  • 1 12 Gauge Shotgun
  • 24 shotgun shells and 1 small calibre pistol round
  • 1 machete
  • 1 hatchet
  • 1 flick knife
  • 5 grams of methamphetamine
  • Drug trafficking paraphernalia (scales, phones, packaging)
  • $890.00 Canadian currency
  • 1 stolen licence plate
  • 1 motorcycle

Police have also made three arrests in connection with this drug investigation.

A 40 year old male from Burlington has been arrested and charged with:

  • Unauthorized Possession of a Firearm
  • Tampering with a Serial Number of Firearm
  • Knowledge of Unauthorized Possession of Firearm
  • Careless Use/ Storage of a Firearm
  • Careless Use/ Storage of Ammunition
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime (x2)
  • Possession of a Weapon for a Dangerous Purpose (x4)
  • Possession of a Prohibited Weapon
  • Possession of a Controlled Substance: Methamphetamine (x2)
  • Breach Firearm Prohibition Order (x2)

A 38 year old female of Burlington has been arrested and charged with:

  • Unauthorized Possession of a Firearm
  • Tampering with a Serial Number of Firearm
  • Knowledge of Unauthorized Possession of Firearm
  • Careless Use/ Storage of a Firearm
  • Careless Use/ Storage of Ammunition
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime
  • Possession of a Weapon for a Dangerous Purpose (x4)
  • Possession of a Prohibited Weapon
  • Possession of a Controlled Substance: Methamphetamine

A 33 year old male of Burlington has been arrested and charged with:

  • Unauthorized Possession of a Firearm
  • Tampering with a Serial Number of Firearm
  • Knowledge of Unauthorized Possession of Firearm
  • Careless Use/ Storage of a Firearm
  • Careless Use/ Storage of Ammunition
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime
  • Possession of a Weapon for a Dangerous Purpose (x2)
  • Fail to comply – Being on an Undertaking Form

All three accused were held in custody pending a bail hearing on October 14, 2021.

Names of the arrested were not released by police – unusual

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

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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Mayor hosts Mayors from 29 big cities - shows them what we have going for us

By Ryan O’Dowd: Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

October 15th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Ontario’s Big City Mayor(OBCM) caucus met in Burlington for the first time since the pandemic began yesterday. The housing crisis, municipal finances, COVID-19, and what the OBCM will ask of provincial candidates this election featured on the agenda. Rocked by the pandemic the OBCM issued a stern call to action for long-term stable funding for municipalities from the federal and provincial governments.

Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward with Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman and Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie.

Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, and Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie joined Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward to speak to the media about the meeting’s content.

The OBCM presented a united front on the lifting of pandemic restrictions, agreeing decisions on this matter should be made uniformly across the province citing citizen movement between regions under different levels of lockdown as a primary concern. They reiterated that lifting restrictions must be based on science rather than political pressure.

Mayor Guthrie wanted to see more action from the federal and provincial government to assist municipalities through pandemic recovery, accusing them of finger-pointing responsibility to each other. Guthrie pointed out the municipal government is the only sector of government legally not allowed to run a deficit. Guthrie felt municipalities have had to ask the government for assistance too often without action.

“Municipalities are ready, we already know what our impacts are from the pandemic, and we know what we need. So we ask respectfully the provincial and federal government to put the fingerprinting away and get to work on trying to help to make sure municipalities are made full, especially when it comes to the impacts financially, the deficits that we’re all facing. We thought we would only have those deficits within the 2020 year and here we are in the 2021 year.

“Our budgets are staring us in the face the next couple of months,” said Guthrie.

Mayor Crombie brought up a request for a new model of funding for municipalities, saying “we’re still asked to build 21st-century cities with 19th-century tools.” She pointed to municipalities as the only sector of government that had to lay off staff as among the reasons long term sustainable funding is required. The OBCM members in attendance voiced their support for this request, a request Mayor Guthrie said has been discussed for some time.

Facing public transit ridership slashed by over 50% Mayor Lehman lamented the difficult decisions facing municipalities under the current funding model in deciding what services to cut.

“Ridership numbers are a big gap from where we were two years ago, and that’s going to require some changes to be made faster and that’s the kind of support that we will need now, it’s less about emergency funding week by week now it’s about how we recover strong; that will be addressing deficits that make cities make critical choices in terms of cutting services,” said Lehman.

Mayor Meed Ward put the figures of the municipal deficit strain in sobering terms for Burlington residents.

“In Burlington, the combination of lost revenues and added expenses for us is close to $5 million. If we had to make that up just through taxes, that is close to a quarter percent tax increase before we do anything else that is just to dig ourselves out of a hole. So when we look at all the other needs that we have in the community and inflationary pressures, we would be looking at outrageously high taxes – close to 10, or 15%, if we had to make it ourselves and clearly that it’s not palatable or acceptable or sustainable for anyone,” said Meed Ward.

Ontario’s Big City Mayor caucus features mayors of Ontario’s 29 cities with a population over 100,000 which means they represent nearly 80 percent of the province’s population.

Housing crisis considerations were discussed ranging from homelessness to the middle class, with what was labeled an increasingly clear gap between supply and demand in Southern Ontario. Rental costs were included in the discussion, where Burlington ranks the fifth most expensive city in Canada to rent, one-bedroom apartments averaging over $1800, as per the latest available data from realtor.com. The kind of policy-based action used to combat the housing crisis will grow clearer with requests put to provincial candidates this upcoming election.

Few municipalities have the breath taking views.

Discussions were had about bail reform and addressing what OBCM called the catch and release policy which has seen repeat offenders commit violent acts. It was a topic brought up in the meeting by former provincial leader of the opposition Mayor Patrick Brown, who did not appear for media availability, the present members voiced support for change.

The meeting was hosted at the new Pearle Hotel and Spa, an impressive venue at the waterfront.

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Early readership survey results show some surprises on how well the five new Councillors are thought to be doing in their first term

By Pepper Parr

October 14th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We are in the final ten days of running a readership survey.

Some interesting responses.

A few days ago we published a piece on what people thought about the size of the current city council.

Today – we want to show what readers thought when we asked which Council members had shown the most growth.

Those numbers might have a few council members re-thinking their chances of being elected Mayor going forward. At least two the Gazette knows have said they like the look of the Chain of Office.

 

The choices surprised us. We will need to match up which wards the responses came from to make the data more relevant. The Gazette’s view, garnered from more than four years of watching these people was quite a bit different.

The data we are showing here is from survey results collected in the first few days of the survey.

It will be interesting to see what there is in the way of changes once the survey is closed.

It would be very difficult for any one person to respond to the servery more than once – unless they used a different computer each time

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Community organizations can now submit applications for Regional funding

By Staff

October 14th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Community organizations can now submit applications to the Halton Region Community Investment Fund (HRCIF) for non-profit human service programs and initiatives that enhance the health, safety and well-being of Halton residents.

Applicants must describe how they will incorporate the latest COVID-19 public health guidance and how their program or initiative aligns with Halton’s overall approach to community safety and well-being.

“We are pleased to support the important work of local non-profits through the Halton Region Community Investment Fund,” said Regional Chair Gary Carr. “I would like to thank these organizations for delivering vital services to some of our most vulnerable residents and working alongside us to keep Halton a safe and healthy community.”

Funding is available in single year and multi-year grants through two categories:

Category One: Provides up to one year of funding, to a maximum of $30,000. Non-profit, charitable or unincorporated community organizations can apply to fund short-term, small capital and/or innovative projects.
Category Two: Provides up to three years of funding to registered charities for programs and initiatives.

Organizations that meet eligibility criteria may submit one application in each funding category. The initial application deadline for both categories is Monday, November 1, 2021 at 2 p.m.

Additional opportunities to apply for HRCIF funding will be available in 2022 for programs and initiatives that help respond to emerging community needs.

For more information about HRCIF guidelines, upcoming virtual information sessions and the application process, please visit the HRCIF webpage on halton.ca or call 311.

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Molinaro Group lets the public see what they want to take to city planners for the Brant - Ghent intersection.

By Pepper Parr

October 14th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Molinaro Group spent years assembling the 13 properties at the Brant and Ghent intersection.

Now they are ready to develop.

The proposed development spans three of the dour corners at Brant and Ghent

They have broken the development into three sites which they refer to as Parcel 1, 2 and 3

It will be the biggest development the Molinaro’s have taken on in Burlington and will be, in their words, a Gateway to the downtown core.

Looking south at the Brant – Ghent intersection

The development does not fully comply with the in force Official Plan but does comply with the approved but not yet in force Official Plan.

The proposal is for a Multi-phase, mixed-use development, comprised of a 25-storey tower and a 14-storey tower 425 residential units in Parcel A;

a 25-storey tower (328 residential units) in Parcel B and an

8-storey mid-rise building with 128 residential units in Parcel C.

Ground floor commercial area is proposed for Parcel A and B. Underground parking (including bicycle parking) and limited surface parking area is proposed.

None of the traffic will exit onto Brant – the intention is to have the traffic exit and enter from Ghent.

The design is considerable different than what the public was shown during a pre-application earlier in the year.

At that time the two towers on either side of Brant were mirrors of each other. It looked good at the time but the architects took a different approach at the Statutory meeting.

A park is proposed for the east end of the the development. The park would be owned by the Condominium Corporation that would be formed when the development is complete.

One of the most interesting aspects of the development was the inclusion of a park on the east end of Parcel 2. The park was to be a Privately owned with Public Access Space, known in the planning world as a POPS.
The really interesting comment that came from Ed Fothergill, planning consultant for the Molinaro Group was that the park would be owned by the Condominium Corporation.

Some renderings of what the park night look like – it would be accessible to anyone in the city.

To imagine that a condominium corporation is going to operate and maintain space that is open to the public is a stretch.

There were a few delegations.  The one delivered by Jeff Bienhaus didn’t pull any punches. Working from a document he called: Stick With the Plan Burlington, Bienhaus said the plan should be dismissed.

In a document that was included in his delegation Bienhaus wrote: “I would appreciate the support of our council to STICK TO THE PLAN of development as it was originally presented at the corners of “Brant and Ghent” with low rise development. The low rise is in keeping with our community and neighbourhoods in check with healthy growth and minimizing traffic congestion, noise and density.

I am opposed to the requested changes that are being proposed by the developer in
building  25 storey towers. This pace of building is overwhelming for this already busy
area.

I do hope that Mayor’s Meed-Ward original platform that she ran in stopping the
density will be kept and she does stand up for us …. PLEASE STICK TO THE PLAN

Pointing to the 2018 election results Bienhaus said the people he is working with want:

A clear message on what Burlington thinks about developer lead densification

A clear message that the Official plan for densification was not in the interests of residents.

A clear message that residents not developers will say how provincial targets will be met.

He added:

This is not what existing residents signed up for

Proposed 25 story ask is not even close to the current zoning of 2.5 and 6 story zoning

Extreme heights are not justified

Developers win, residents lose, who do you represent?

And closed with:

We call for a complete and full dismissal of this ridiculous zoning proposal on these and other grounds shared by similarly concerned residents

The Mayor didn’t offer much in the way of clear statements other than pointing out that the development proposed did comply with the approved but not yet in force Official Plan.

 

 

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Mayor will be showing off one of the smartest locations in town.

By Pepper Parr

October 14th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

She is back – we missed those regular updates.

The Mayor does her version of a tell all – see it for yourself right here:

Later today she will be holding a media event at one of the smartest locations in the city -The Pearle Hotel and Spa on Elizabeth street.

The sweeping staircase is spectacular.  And the outdoor space is something you have to experience.

 

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Conservation Halton doing a virtual event on flood planes: if you are near one of the major creeks this is for you

By Pepper Parr

October 13th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Burlington certainly knows something about floods – that downpour in 2014 was not forgotten.

Conservation Halton (CH) really wasn’t  prepared for the amount of rain that fell but they learned what was needed and there is now a solid set of protocols in place to measure the flows and to get warnings out to people,

The Conservation people are updating floodplain mapping for the Tuck, Shoreacres, Appleby and Sheldon Creek watersheds of Burlington and Oakville.

A significant amount of work has been done on several of the creeks but there is still a concern; given the vagaries of climate change that concern is very real.

 

 

Floodplain mapping is used by CH and its municipal partners to identify areas that may be susceptible to riverine or shoreline flooding and to inform flood forecasting, emergency response, community planning, infrastructure upgrades, and other flood prevention efforts.

A floodplain is an area of land that is flooded by a nearby creek or lake during large storms.

There will be a virtual public engagement session on October 14, 2021 at 7:00pm to learn more about the work being done and an opportunity to ask questions.

To register, please visit https://lnkd.in/e9BhEpaV

For those who cannot join live, a recording will be posted online after the session.

 

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Burlington does OK on a Municipal Democracy Index; Oakville does better

By Staff

October 13th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We count our calories, watch our pounds and measure our blood pressure. But who’s measuring our democratic health? Is our political heart pumping smoothly or are we heading for the ICU?

The inaugural Municipal Democracy Index measures the political health of Ontario’s 32 largest municipalities.

The results are sobering and reveal a democratic deficiency, particularly in the areas of public participation and diverse representation.

Burlington was just a whisker short of being in the top ranking.

The full report can be found HERE.

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Rivers: A Halloween Scary Story - All Trick and No Treat

By Ray Rivers

October 13th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

City Council passed resolutions to phase out natural gas

Burlington is one of over 30 municipalities, comprising 60% of Ontario’s population, which have passed resolutions for Ontario to phase out natural gas electrical production by 2030. They get it. Fires, floods, droughts, insects, storms – climate change will affect us all. This week, Canada has been accused of being one of the top 10 countries by most responsible for bringing climate destruction upon the world. On a per capita basis, we rank No. 1.

Nature Climate Change, has published a new scientific report examining 100,000 events and concluding that 80% of our global land mass and 85% of the world’s population has already been affected by global climate change. The World Health Organization, the UN and health care practitioners have pointed out that air pollution from burning fossil fuels, which also drives climate change, is causing more than seven million premature deaths each year, that’s 13 deaths every minute – and almost twice what we have seen with the COVID pandemic.

Ontario was the first jurisdiction in North America to ban burning coal for electricity production, in part to clear the air of smog pollution, but also to reduce the province’s carbon footprint. By 2014, the government had shuttered the largest greenhouse gas (GHG) point source on the continent, reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the province by the equivalent of removing seven million cars off the road.

To replace coal, the province began the process of developing wind and solar energy projects to complement its nuclear and hydro resources. Gas powered electricity was included only as a transitional source while the province fully developed its renewable sources, and to assist with peak power demands

He marches to his own drummer – to a tune that sounds out of key.

That all came to a stop with the election of a new government to Queen’s Park in 2018. Premier Ford did everything he could to reverse Ontario’s transition away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy. He fought the imposition of a federal carbon tax; shut down Ontario’s emissions trading system at a cost of billions; more recently he has acquired new gas plants at a cost of $3 billion; and he has expanded natural gas infrastructure committing thousands more to the continued use of that fossil fuel.

Almost on day one Ford killed every single new renewable project he could, and even stopped those in process – some 700 in total at a cost of hundreds of millions to Ontario ratepayers. His intention was clearly to cripple the province’s renewable energy systems so that when the nukes go down, as they eventually will, natural gas powered electricity will be the only way to keep the lights on.

Natural gas is misnomer. Methane, its real name, is just another fossil fuel, and no more natural than coal or oil. However coal or oil don’t impact our climate unless they are burned. Methane, is a powerful greenhouse gas (GHG) on it’s own, as much as 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide. And methane is released at all stages of its lifecycle, from the well head to the home consumer.

As this is being written Canada is joining other nations in promising to reduce domestic methane emissions by 30%. But what are the chances of that if gas consumption is increased? Ontario will fail to meet the premier’s 30% emissions reduction target if fossil fuel use is expanded. And that would imperil’s Canada’s Paris commitment of a 40% GHG emissions reduction.

When the lights went out.

So when all those municipal resolutions requesting the province phase out gas production started arriving on his desk, Mr. Ford turned to the province’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), which manages the overall provincial supply of electricity. However the IESO is not as independent as their name implies and answered the premier’s call with the exact answer he was looking for. They scribbled two phrases on the back of their provincial pay packets. Phasing out gas by 2030 might mean power shortages and it might mean higher costs.

But this impact assessment, as they called it, is a sham. Real experts, people like Prof. Mark Jacobson of Stanford University, considered the world’s leading climate technology expert, tells us that gas power plants now cost twice as much as solar power. He should know, his team of engineering scientists and PhDs have been advising governments on renewable energy in over 140 countries, including the White House. And Canada’s ever increasing carbon tax will make the gas alternative even less competitive by 2030.

This is not the first time an arm of government, even one which calls itself independent, has let the government politicos hold the pen. And scary stories of lights flickering out and hydro bills leaving us without bread on the table could never be more timely with Halloween just around the corner. But this is very much a trick and no treat.

Wind farm in Eastern Ontario

2030 is only about a decade away. According to the Canadian Wind Energy Association, more wind energy had been built in Canada between 2009 and 2019 than any other form of electricity generation. Over that period wind energy alone went from scratch to meeting the needs of over three million Canadian homes. Does anyone really believe that only gas can keep the lights on? And the cost of wind energy has fallen 70 per cent in the last nine years,

That this IESO report lacks vision is undeniable. And it is shameful that the body which manages energy supply in Canada’s largest province could produce such a rubbish projection. That is what’s really scary – that the folks in charge of our energy supply haven’t a clue about all the technological progress occurring in renewable sources of energy and energy storage systems. And that the IESO has apparently never heard of global warming.

And even when they decide – or are told to – proclaim gas as Ontario’s future energy source, the IESO picked the wrong gas. They barely mention hydrogen gas, particularly for energy storage to back up wind and solar when the weather is uncooperative. The federal government and the oil and gas industry is pouring vast sums of research money into developing green, and even blue, hydrogen resources. And work is progressing on how to adapt existing pipelines for its safe transmission.

Smog

Burlington and the other municipalities deserve better than the slam dunk, shut down they have been handed by the IESO and the premier. Under the IESO plan, methane to produce electricity will skyrocket from 7% to 30% by 2030. The City of Ottawa has rejected the IESO report and demanded they go back to the drawing board. This will also impact the air quality of people living everywhere in the province, since methane burning also yields significant amounts of smog pollution.

What is really scary about this IESO report is that while most countries are trying to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels, the Ontario government is planning a major expansion of its carbon footprint – possibly expanding GHG pollution from the gas plants by more than 300% by 2030.

Even as global leaders sit down to discuss how they can further reduce GHG emissions, Ontario’s premier is thumbing his nose at those efforts. He is swimming against the tide to defy world opinion and federal climate policies. And he is ignoring the will of all the people he claims to represent in this province who, who unlike him, seem to care about the future of this planet.

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

Background links:

Ontario Coal Phase Out –   Methane Emissions –   IESO Study

Ontario Energy Policies –   Wind Power Cost –  Australia Battery Storage

Climate Change Impacts –   Canada Methane Commitment –  7 Million Deaths

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4-Week Loose-Leaf Collection Program Begins Monday, November 8th

By Pepper Parr

October 12th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The City of Burlington’s loose-leaf collection program starts on Monday, Nov. 8. Residents are encouraged to check the leaf collection schedule and zone map and rake leaves to the curb, or edge of pavement if there are no curbs, before their pickup date.

Each collection zone will have only one pick-up.

Collection Schedule:
• Zone 1: begins Nov. 8 (1 week)
• Zone 2: begins Nov. 15 (1 week)
• Zone 3: begins Nov. 22 (2 weeks)

Map of loose leaf collection zones.

This crew will probably not be clearing the leaves from your property. They were working along New Street when this picture was taken.

Residents planning on using the service are reminded that this program is weather dependent. Freezing rain or snow can cause delays or even cancel the program. Always be prepared to bag your leaves for Halton Region’s Yard Waste Pick-up or mulch them to help your lawns and gardens grow.

If the collection is delayed or cancelled due to weather or other circumstances, residents can call 905-335-7777 for updated information. Updates will also be posted on burlington.ca/leafcollection as well as the City’s social media channels.

To ensure the safety of collection crews and avoid damaging equipment, please keep the loose-leaf piles free of debris and sticks. Leaves mixed with debris and waste will not be collected. Please help prevent flooding by keeping catch basins and ditches clear of leaves.

The time frames for getting all the leaves off the streets is tight. They want to wait until all the leaves are down and the snow hasn’t started.

To ensure a successful pick-up, residents can:

• Rake leaves to the edge of the curb or roadway in a loose pile
• Remove basketball nets, cars and other obstructions from the road during pick-up dates
• Clear leaves from sidewalks and walkways
• Avoid placing garbage bags, bins, blue boxes or green carts on top of loose-leaf piles
• Give crews room to remove the leaves when driving

After the collection program is complete, any remaining leaves should be placed in yard-waste bags for curb side collection by Halton Region.

As a greener alternative, residents can mulch their leaves with their lawn mower to help feed the soil for the spring.

Related news story:

The evolution of leaf collecting in Burlington

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The size of city council and the level at which they serve

By Pepper Parr

October 12th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

What kind of representation does the public get from the current City Council?

The merits of the current members of council is not the issue – that gets decided during elections.

In a reader survey the Gazette is currently running we asked two questions:

1:   Is a seven member council the right size for the City of Burlington?

2:   Burlington Council members are also Regional Council members. Should there be two classes of Council members: 7 Regional and 7 City?

The responses were interesting, however the number of responses were too low to be considered statistically reliable.

When Burlington elected five people who had never served as elected officials in 2018 the five faced a steep learning curve and in their first six months relied heavily on the City Manager for support and direction, which was a little awkward because they were the City Manager’s boss.

Learning just what their new jobs as City Councillors was  took time and it was hard work, particularly for two of them.

Getting a handle on what was expected of them at the Regional level made it doubly hard.  At least two don’t see a lot of use for them being at the Regional level and would be quite happy if they could cover the Regional meetings virtually.

Some council members find city council on the small side and a little too “clubby” for their liking.  There aren’t enough voices and the tendency is to agree on everything.  If one listens to council meetings often enough you see some jostling for position but there isn’t much in the way of innovative thinking. They often appear to be a cheering section for senior staff who are described as “awesome”.

The focus at the Region is the “bigger picture” where the objective is to make decisions that impact the four municipalities that make up the Region.

There are roads that are a Regional responsibility that reach into all the municipalities.  Waste management and water services along with Social Services and Public Health are dealt with at the Regional level.  To be an effective Regional Councillor one has to have a deep understanding of the needs of the municipality they represent.  That kind of expertise takes years to accumulate.

There are some who believe there should be limits on how long a person should serve with two terms being the average.  It is at that point that a Councillor, if they prove to be good at the job of serving the public, has a solid understanding and some experience he or she can rely on to make decisions.

It also means that they are around to be held accountable when the decisions they made ten years ago have proven to be less than the great idea when it was first floated and millions were spent.

The number of city Councillors who get to become Regional Councillors is determined by the Region. Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills figured out how to comply with the Regional seat allocation by having two classes of Councilors: those who were Regional and Municipal and those that were just Municipal.

The difference in the amount they are paid is considerable.  Burlington Councillors draw pay cheques from both the Region and the municipality.  You won’t hear much about a change in the makeup of the Burlington Council – they individually have too much to lose.

Oakville has a council set up where there are those who are just city Councillors – they don’t attend Regional Council meetings.  The remuneration for council members is drawn from two sources – basically half of what they are paid comes from the municipality and the other half from the Region.

Milton and Halton Hills have the same set up.

In Burlington members of Council get an office, an administrative assistant, a cell phone and an iPad

Oakville Councillors get a cell phone.

In the past people have shown up for meetings at which the budget is presented and staff are on hand to ask question. Very little that comes out of these meetings makes its way into the budget; they are more of a ‘keep the natives happy’ type of event.

In the not too distant future Burlington is going to want to look at the number of wards and the size of the population in some of those wards.  There is the suggestion that the city might want to add a ward or two.

That will raise howls from those who think being a city Councillor should be a part time job and that they should be paid less.  Anyone who has looked at the size of the agenda that gets placed in the hands of Council – they run to several hundred pages on many occasions, would think twice about taking on the job part time.  It is a full time job and and calls for people who are well educated and widely read.

Burlington strikes a committee every four years that is independent and tasked with reviewing what Council members are paid and what they are allowed in the way of expenses.  Their report goes to Council and is usually accepted just as it was presented.

It will be interesting to see if that Committee is asked to comment on the size of city council.

 

 

 

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