Is the city now asking people to file a Freedom of Information request and pay a fee to get what in the past has been on the city web site and available to anyone ?

By Pepper Parr

August 5th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On the matter of it getting harder to get public information from city hall – try this one.

A citizen who is active in civic matters; has delegated at city hall, appeared at Ontario Municipal Hearings and knows his way around public issues.

He wanted to check on something related to a former development application; there was some information related to wind studies and traffic projections that he wanted to review again. That information was online at the old city web site. Is there a reason why the same information wasn’t on the new web site? And if there is a reason, when is the public going to get wind of it?

The city communications people have explained that: “we are still in the process of updating these development webpages and configuring our website. Some site configurations, like the development projects pages, can’t be fully completed in a staging\testing environment so they need to be done on the live site. We are in the process of migrating supporting documents for applications, this is a extensive process as there are almost 60 application pages with at times over 20 large documents for each application.

“If you require specific documents please reach out if you do not yet see on the site.”

What we are getting from the communications people is reasonable – it would have been more professional of them to have alerted both the media and the public on what to expect as the changeover to a new web site design takes place.

What we are getting from the communications people however is not what the public is getting when they call their friends in the planning department.

In the back and forth communications set out below we are not identifying the city planner or the Gazette reader.

We don’t believe the planner is telling people on his own that the public should use FOI’s to get information. Our belief is that the planners have been told to explain this to the public

Our reader put in a call to a planner that he thought he had a decent working relationship with – and finished the call wondering what was going on.

In a nut shell he was told that if he wanted information on a development he could file a Freedom of Information request.

His comments about the state of engagement with city hall were blunt and direct – “It’s a sham.”

From the planner who was explaining how to use the FOI process.
https://www.burlington.ca/en/council-and-city-administration/freedom-of-information.aspx

The Gazette reader learned from the old city web site that: Most requests for information can be resolved without the formal use of the Act. We release certain types of records in response to an informal request as part of our routine disclosure. Fees for requests for information under routine disclosure are based on our Rates and Fees Bylaw (By-law 061-2021).

The Gazette reader wonders if the by-law and ” Fees for request for information under routine disclosure has been changed and adds that “If you follow the suggested process to find readily available planning docs you get the following:

“Information and material that is required to be provided to the City under the Ontario Planning Act is available to the public.
“You can request records with the Committee of Adjustment by phone at 905-335-7777, ext. 7629. You can direct all other planning record requests to 905-335-7777, ext. 7642 or planning@burlington.ca.

“Applicable fees will apply.

The Gazette reader: “I think this may give you everything you may need without me sharing my source. The question that comes to mind immediately is: Who is telling planners to stop being helpful and direct them somewhere else?

“Does this mean that public data is going to require an FOI request – for which I will pay a fee?’

It had a very very short term impact: City Hall didn’t like it and wanted changed made. Council voted unanimously to Receive and File the report

Burlington has been down this path before. In 2010 former Mayor Walter Mulkewich and the late John Boich wrote a report that was called Shape Burlington.

Current Councillor Paul Sharman was on the committee that wrote the report.

A link to the report is set out below.

The issues in 2010 were about city hall not providing the information the public wanted. Nothing changes – there is a mindset within the municipal sector that has them believing that they do not have to respond to what the public wants. And with Council members that do not make it clear to the city manager that staff are in place to serve the public nothing is ever going to change.

Link to the Shape Burlington Report – 2010

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Milton Mayor faces an unknown in the October municipal election

By Pepper Parr

August 4th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It is now official.

Milton Mayor Gord Krantz sitting in his office – which is just off the entrance to the Town Hall – little in the way of security. Krantz doesn’t think he needs any security.

Milton Mayor Gord Krantz is going to have to run a campaign but it won’t be against a member of his Council.

Saba Ishaq has announced she will be running for the office of Mayor.

As the incumbent Krantz has a very strong head start.

When you attach the word “incumbent” to Krantz you are talking about decades.

We weren’t able to learn very much about Saba Ishaq during our short call earlier today.

A sleepy voice answered the phone and said that yes she was running for Mayor – could we call back tomorrow or in the evening.

And that was it.

Other than a reference to a place of employment:

“Saba Ishaq. Director. 9 years of consulting experience, working with both senior executives to define strategic direction and team leaders to implement …”

there isn’t much more at this point.

We were not able to obtain a recent photograph of Saba Ishaq

For Ms Ishaq to have even a chance she is going to have to run a whirl wind of a campaign and hope that a fairy with a magic wand is on her campaign team

Gord will still be out there doing what he does quite well – telling the people of Milton what he has done for them.

 

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If there is ever going to be affordable housing decision makers need to know more about where people are living now.

By Staff

August 3rd, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Community Development Haltom is a non-profit organization that focuses on community wide issues within the Region of HAlton.
They provide data that aids decision makers at the Regional and municipal level.

The number of people living in a household, i.e., household size, can have various social and economic implications. For example, smaller households will increase the demand for more housing, most likely in the form of apartments or condominiums, and more household items like furniture and appliances. Financially, smaller households can have fewer wage earners and possibly lower household incomes. The opposite is true for larger households. In addition, members in larger households can enjoy some household economies of scale in the consumption of goods and services.

For decades, households were getting smaller due to lower fertility rates, higher separation and divorce rates, and more people remaining single.

However, there are signs that the decline is slowing or even levelling off.

The growth has taken place in Milton – they had greenfield land left. Now that the housing growth will be in high rise – there may be changes in where the growth happens. Burlington is going to create three new communities in the next two decades around the GO stations.

In Halton municipalities, with growth and demographic changes, household size trends might vary from the provincial or national patterns. The average household size for Halton Hill and Oakville has been at 2.9 for the last two decades. Burlington’s household size dropped in 2006 and levelled off at 2.5. Milton’s household size rose from 2.9 in 2006 to 3.3 in 2021.

The share of households by size varies among the local municipalities. In 2021, Burlington had the highest proportion of 1- person and 2-person households and the lowest proportion in the other categories.

Milton had the highest proportion of 4- and 5+ person households accounting for over 45% of all households within the municipality.

Large families were in houses – as high rise apartments appear – where will the large families live?

The following chart shows the percentage of the population in various sizes of household. In all municipalities, less than 10% of the population live in

This data is what is going to have to be fully understood – what is it telling us?

1- person households. Over one quarter (27%) of Burlington’s residents live in 2-person households. In Milton, only 4% of Milton’s population live alone. About one-third (33%) live in 4 person households compared to 16% in Burlington. Milton also has the highest share of the population living in 5+ households.

This data cannot remain the same – there aren’t going to be any new single family dwellings in Oakville and Burlington.

About 80% of Halton’s households lived in houses as compared to Ontario’s 68% and Canada’s 64% respectively. These percentages change with the size of households reflecting the affordability and availability of housing. For example, among the 1-person households, over 60% lived in houses in Milton and Halton Hills, 50% in Oakville and only 40% in Burlington (60% in apartments).

Community Development Halton/Source: Statistics Canada, 2021 Census Table 98-10-0040-01

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Still a lot of questions over the public spectacle the Mayor made of herself over an apology

By Pepper Parr

August 3rd. 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

With this great weather we get out into the community more often – at least once a day we get asked about the 14 minute spectacle that took place in June.

We excerpted the squabble between the Mayor and the Councillor over just when an apology was going to be said in a public session of Council

One reader took me aside and asked what impact does the Mayor and Council have on who is hired and who is fired.

City Manager Tim Commisso runs the administrative side of the city and acts on directions from Council. Anything that happens – administratively, happens because Tim Commisso wants it to happen.

City Council hires one person and only one person – the City Manager hires everyone else EXCEPT in those situations where he has delegated authority to one of his Executive Directors.

If that is the case said the person I was talking with – why was the Mayor permitted to speak to a situation that involved a Staff member?

Why did Tim Commisso not cut in – he would do that by asking the Clerk to give him the floor – and advise the Mayor that this is a staffing matter and he will take care of it.

The more we listen to the 14 minute back and forth between Mayor Meed Ward and Councillor Stolte – the more concerned we become over just what has happened to a Council that was the bright hope for most people in 2018

That 14 minutes is HERE

On the day of the Council meeting Mayor Meed Ward took part virtually – she was in London, Ontario attending her daughter’s graduation ceremony and was not always fully aware of what was happening in the Council Chamber.

Links to the event:

The Mayor comes out swinging – Councillor ducks and leaves the room

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Fatal Motor Vehicle - Motorcycle Collision on Appleby Line

By Staff

July 30th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

Earlier today at approximately 11:42am the Halton Regional Police Service responded to a motor vehicle collision in the intersection of Appleby Line and No 2 Sideroad in the City of Burlington.

A red Ducati motorcycle was travelling northbound on Appleby Line and collided with a black Volkswagen Jetta that was turning left from No 2 Sideroad onto Appleby Line. The motorcycle rider was pronounced dead at the scene. The Collision Reconstruction Unit has assumed carriage of the investigation.

Any witnesses to the collision who have not yet spoken to police are asked to contact the Collision Reconstruction Unit at 905-825-4747 ext. 5065.

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Regional Council sets out what it would like to achieve with its 2022-23 budget - limit tax increase to 3%

By Pepper Parr

July 27th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Yesterday, or maybe it was the day before Regional Chair Gary Carr officially announced he was running for re-election.

Today, the Region published a notice that on July 13th Council approved a direction to maintain low tax increases in 2023.

Is there a connection between the two – there certainly is – the one thing Gary Carr has done is keep taxes down – he has kept taxes so low that the Region has a better credit rating that the government of the United States.

Waste water treatment plant in Burlington’s Beachway

The Report lays the foundation for keeping taxes at or below the rate of inflation in 2023 while investing in critical programs and services that meet the needs of our community. The Report maintains the priority to ensure the property tax rate increase is targeted not to exceed 3 per cent and the water and wastewater rate increase is targeted not to exceed 4.1 per cent.

“Halton Region has maintained a strong financial position throughout the challenges of COVID-19 and through the pandemic recovery,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “This ultimately positions the Region to minimize the financial impacts on residents and businesses while delivering high-quality programs and services that support the health and well-being of all members of the Halton community.”

If that sounds like a re-election platform – it is.

Most of the Regional Councillors are running for re-election

Halton Hills Mayor Rick Bonnette – retiring.

Halton Hills Mayor Rick Bonnette has already announced that he was retiring.

Is Gord Krantz, currently the longest serving Mayor in the province and probably in the country as well facing the possibility of defeat in October?

Milton Mayor Gord Krantz is said to be facing a contender. Male and a current Council member is all we have at this point.

The key priorities for the 2023 budget include:

Public Health – an ongoing focus on the COVID-19 response, continuing vaccination needs and requirements and supporting the Public Health’s pandemic recovery. This includes the revitalization of Public Health services that have been suspended during the pandemic, such as catch-up of grade seven immunizations. Budgetary impacts include uncertainties in additional funding from the Province to offset costs.

Waste Management – investments in key initiatives that will extend the lifespan of the Halton Waste Management Site, increase waste diversion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Also includes ongoing planning for the transition of the Blue Box program to full producer responsibility in 2025 and monitoring the impacts of COVID-19 on the amount of solid waste material being generated.

Road Operations – investment in expanding the road maintenance program to ensure the state-of-good-repair of our roads and to support the expansion of the Region’s transportation infrastructure to accommodate growth.
Housing Services – investment for the Halton Rental Assistance Program (HRAP) due to an unprecedented increase in households in the shelter system related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Services for Seniors – making investments that support more direct hours of care for residents in long-term care. Also responding to increasing costs associated with additional staffing as a result of funding limitations.

Employment & Social Services – supporting the provincial government’s transformation of employment support services, including a new service delivery model to meet the needs of the local economy.

Paramedic Services – maintaining existing service levels while addressing increased costs associated with inflation, increased call volumes, response times and population and other growth pressures.

Children’s Services – investments to increase quality, accessibility, affordability and inclusivity in early learning and child care based on the Federal and Provincial Government’s Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) Agreement.

Digital Strategy – continuing to invest in expanding the delivery of digital services to the community. This includes investments in digital technology to support decision-making and delivery of the most requested customer-facing services digitally.

Throughout the budget planning process, there will be a continued focus on finding cost efficiencies across all areas to achieve these targets. The 2023 Budget and Business Plan is scheduled to be reviewed by Regional Council on January 18, 2023 and consideration of approval is scheduled on January 25, 2023.

Interesting to note that there is no mention of what it is costing to run the Office of the Medical Officer of Health – Covid19 responses have blown the budget they have wide open.  There isn’t much in the way of efficiencies at that level

By that time the re-elected will have been sworn in and their immediate worries will be over.

Is there a new Mayor for the Town of Milton in this picture?

 

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Mayor and Councillor Bentivegna seem to have lost their tongues - during an election?

By Pepper Parr

July 28th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

Candidate Angelo Bentivegna willing posed for photographs that were used on his run for Council in 2018.

 

The Love My Neighbourhood story that we have been following was attended by two members of Council: Mayor Meed Ward and Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna.

Mayor Med Ward stopped responding to questions from the Gazette almost from the day she was elected.  Before then she was always available.

We put the following questions to Councillor Bentivegna:

Do you have any comment on the Love My Neighbourhood you attended with Mayor Meed Ward?

Did you personally know the people who held the event ?

You were aware of the Love My Neighbourhood program  –  I have heard you speak about it very favourably in the past.

Did you read the rules and restrictions set out in the program application?

Did you yourself sponsor or support anyone in your ward who received funds for an event.

And added the following comments in the email sent to the Councillor

I would like to follow up with this story before the end of the week – if you would like to talk about this on the record – let me know.

I recall an occasion when you didn’t fully understand what “working a room” meant.

There is another phrase you should find useful:  Get out in front of a news story before it takes over.

Early in his political career Bentivegna was available for interviews and photo sessions.

We look to him to explain his position on the Love My Neighbourhood event

Related news stories:

Director of Parks and Recreation explains

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Brian Hall on a Report Card for the Mayor of Burlington

By Brian Hall

July 27TH,2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

With the recent school year just ending and report cards being given out, coupled with the recent Province of Ontario election now behind us, perhaps the time is right to shift our focus to the Municipal Election this fall and in particular, a report card on Mayor Meed’s first term as Mayor.

Here are 3 subjects to consider:

Currently under construction opposite city hall this tower will be 26 storeys high.

1) Original Election Platform – this was built on the promise to deal with and resolve the continued high rise condominium buildings destroying Burlington’s downtown appearance. Well, she has a 0 -7 record with the Land Tribunal people, resulting in mega legal fees for the taxpayers of Burlington, which currently are running close to $250,000 now. Grade score on this subject – “F”

2) Needless Spending – for special crosswalks to highlight only 1 small segment of many marginalized groups in the City and at a cost of $50,000 or more. What the City did to the Halton Catholic School Board, and I am not Catholic by the way, was a total ‘slap in the face’ and the City should be ashamed. Grade Score on this item “F”

Mayor Meed Ward at a diesel bus delivery announcement.

3) Transit – Each & every year over the past 15 years, Burlington Transit has probably averaged a staggering loss of $15,000,000 per year for a total of approximately $225,000,000 or just shy of a quarter of a billion dollars in total.

Thanks in part to the many outside consultants that the City continue to go to, who do not know Burlington, plus the lack of City leadership to find a better solution.

The City needs a good transit operation and the current one is not a good one and the fact the council and the Mayor continue to do nothing about it, is extremely disappointing and frustrating to see our tax dollars wasted with large empty buses. We need to be like a gardener and cut it right back so that new growth can come instead of wasting money year after year. Grade Score on this subject “F”

Well there you have it and the overall grade score of 3 ‘F’s, doesn’t look like a passing grade to me. Can’t wait till this October.

Brian Hall is a ward 3 resident who has operated a business that serviced the construction sector of the Burlington economy.

 

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COVID-19 vaccines available for children under 5 starting July 28

By Staff

July 26th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

Second boosters also available for immunocompromised youth 12-17

Following Provincial direction, starting Thursday July 28, 2022, parents and guardians can book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment for their children aged six months to under five years through Halton’s online booking system.

Immunocompromised youth aged 12 to 17 can also book their second booster dose (fifth dose) if at least six months have passed since their first booster (fourth dose).

Appointments are available starting Thursday July 28 at Halton Region Paediatric Clinics in convenient locations across the region (no walk-ins for six months to under 5 years age group).

Residents should check Halton’s Vaccine Clinics webpage regularly as dates and locations may vary from week to week. Appointments are also available through the Provincial booking system, participating primary care providers and pharmacies.

Children aged six months to under five years will receive the Health Canada approved lower dose paediatric Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in a two dose series at a recommended eight weeks apart. For children who are moderately to severely immunocompromised, three doses are offered at four to eight weeks between each dose.

“The availability of a COVID-19 vaccine for Halton’s youngest residents is exciting news for Halton families,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health. “The lower dose paediatric Moderna vaccine has been through rigorous scientific reviews and is the safest way to gain protection from COVID-19 and its variants. I strongly recommend vaccinating young children to protect them and their families.”

Parents and guardians with questions are encouraged to speak with their health care provider or contact the COVID-19 Vaccine Consult Service offered through SickKids. Information on the safety and efficacy of the vaccine should be accessed from reliable and accurate resources. A list of resources can be found at halton.ca/COVIDvaccines4kids.

Important information & instructions

Starting the morning of Thursday, July 28, the following groups can book appointments for COVID-19 vaccination through Halton’s online booking system:

Parents/guardians of children aged six months to under five years of age can book first dose appointments for the lower dose Moderna paediatric vaccine. Appointments begin Thursday July 28 by appointment only (no walk-ins). Children must be six months of age at the time of the appointment.

Immunocompromised youth aged 12 to 17 can book their second booster dose (fifth dose) if at least six months have passed since their first booster (fourth dose). Use Halton’s online calculator to find out when you are eligible.

First and second doses for children five to 11 years of age are offered by appointment or walk-in at Halton’s Paediatric clinics. Note: Walk-in availability may vary and residents should check Halton’s website before visiting a clinic.

Appointments to receive the lower dose paediatric Moderna vaccine are also available through the Provincial booking system, and on a limited basis at participating primary care and paediatric offices, as well as at participating pharmacies and Indigenous-led vaccination clinics.

Residents who require assistance can call 311 to book their appointment. Please only call if you require immediate booking support or do not have internet access.

Residents requiring additional assistance, language supports or other accommodations at a community clinic can contact 311 prior to their appointment to arrange for supports.

Transportation services to and from appointments are available, free of charge, for those who require it and parking is free at all clinic locations.

To prepare for an appointment:

complete the COVID-19 self-assessment before arriving at the clinic;

bring your child’s health card;

wear a mask (children 2 years of age and under are not required to wear a mask);

for children attending a clinic with an adult who is not their parent or guardian, bring the completed informed consent form; and

learn more about how to prepare for vaccination by exploring the fun activities from the Halton Heroes.

To learn more please visit halton.ca/COVIDvaccines4kids.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ward six now has a race: Bentivegna, who won by less than 50 votes in 2018 will face Rick Greenspoon

By Pepper Parr

July 25th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Rick Greenspoon’s trip to city hall to file his nomination papers took a circuitous route.

Rick Greenspoon: “It was Shawna Stolte who got me involved in the politics of the city”

When he learned that ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stole had said she was thinking hard about not running again, (she quickly recanted that comment – gave some thought to running for Mayor and decided that she would run for re-election after all) Greenspoon met with Stolte and let her know that was interested in running in ward 4.

When he learned that Stolte was in the race to retain her Council Greenspoon decided he would run in ward six. His residence in one block away from the ward 6 border.

“It was Shawna Stolte who got me involved in the politics of the city” said Greenspoon.

Stolte was working with Millcroft residents who were battling an attempt by a developer to turn some of the golf links into housing – there are two groups: one, Millcroft Greenspace Alliance, is fighting the Argo plans to develop some of the land that was part of the golf course the community was built around.  The other group, MAD – Millcroft Against Development will be meeting with Greenspoon later this week.

The Alliance was not happy with what the current Council member, Angelo Bentivegna, was doing for them, and by extension the Mayor who had aligned herself with Bentivegna, and were looking around for someone who might do a better job for them.

Stolte mentioned Greenspoon to them – and thus a candidate was born. The connector in this was Dainty Klein – she and Greenspoon spent two and a half hours in conversation – Rick left that meeting knowing he was going to be running in ward 6

Rick Greenspoon: had a retail operation in what was then the Burlington Mall.

So who is this guy?

Originally a Montrealer, fluently bilingual, Graduated with a degree from what was then Sir George Williams University (now Concordia University) from the Health Sciences faculty.

Rick moved to Burlington when his employer transferred him to the city. A transfer returning him to Montreal didn’t come about – which worked for Greenspoon – he came to love the city.

Back in the 80’s when he had a retail operation in what was then the Burlington Mall he and some of the other retailers in the city petitioned council for changes in the hours retailers could operate.

In those days stores were open Monday to Thursday and Saturday until 6:00 pm. Open until 9:00 pm on Friday.

Chance came his way and Greenspoon left retail and has spent the last 34 years in the automotive field where he operates an automotive brokerage business in Burlington.

He also served as a vice president with The Magic of Metals Children’s Foundation and worked with others to channel the foundations charitable donations into the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada. Before the group closed things – they were getting older and the charitable sector was undergoing a change they raised over $2,900,000.00. Most of the donations came from the servicing sector of the steel industry.

Greenspoon spent over 20 years in minor hockey with both the Ontario Minor Hockey Association and the Minor Hockey Alliance of Ontario as a referee, a supervisor and instructor.

The campaign literature – side 1

Played hockey with the Old Timers, realized his physical limitations and now referees some of their games.

He has been an active participant in the Sound of Music.

The first thing Greenspoon made clear to me during a lengthy interview is that he was seldom the #1 person in the many organizations he has been involved in. “I am very comfortable and prefer to work in the background to bring about changes.”

He and his wife Louise raised two daughters who got into soccer and when they completed their educations they moved into the  medical services sector; they are not campaigning  – yet.

One of his daughters posted on her Facebook page: Mt Dad does more that talk the talk – he walks the walk.

Greenspoon has learned that there is a lot more to municipal politics than he at first realized. There are many issues he has yet to decide just where he stands – he has a lot of reading to do in the next few weeks. It will be interesting to hear how he worked his way through some of the 1000 page plus consultant reports.

Greenspoon is not yet doing the door to door thing and his web site is a work in progress. He does have a single piece of literature that he hands out.

Rick Greenspoon: approach to a problem is to find a way towards a solution.

He is bothered by the sense of apathy he is experiencing and has yet to find a campaign manager.

Is he up to speed on the major issues? Not quite – he has yet to look at a budget document – that will be a bit of a shock once he starts going through the pages.

Parkland dedication issues – not read that document yet either.

But there is a deliberateness to Rick Greenspoon. He listens, gives you a pretty straight from the shoulder answer – if he doesn’t know he will tell you he doesn’t know.

His approach to a problem is to find a way towards a solution. The answer is not always obvious but Greenspoon believes there is always a way.

“When people say you can’t do that” Greenspoon first asks – “Why?”

On the affordable housing issue Greenspoon can only say “we have to do something.”

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New volunteer program launched to centralize all City volunteer opportunities

By Staff

July 25th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The City has launched a new centralized volunteer program to better serve volunteer needs.

You can now access City volunteer postings in one place to learn how to get involved. All volunteer opportunities with the City can now be found at burlington.ca/volunteer.

Michelle Dwyer, Manager of Engagement and Volunteers doing a little volunteering of her own.

As volunteer postings are shared year-round, residents will be able to apply for opportunities in areas such as:

Adult Programs
Advisory Committees
Animal Shelter
Aquatics
Child, Youth and Family Programs
Festivals & Events
Skating
Student Theatre
Tyandaga Golf Course

Recruiting for fall program volunteer opportunities will be posted in August. We encourage residents to check out the fall positions for the Animal Shelter, Child, Youth and Adult Programs and Swimming.

People can create a profile through burlington.ca/volunteer to receive email updates on new opportunities as they become available. Each volunteer posting will include requirements for that opportunity which may differ depending on the scope of work.

Michelle Dwyer, Manager of Engagement and Volunteers said: “Our residents make a positive impact volunteering in our community every day. The City felt it was important to bring together all of the City volunteer postings shared across different platforms into one easy to find location. Our new volunteer program is intended to be helpful for everyone from students looking to complete volunteer hours for school to the active seniors giving back to Burlington.”

What Dwyer didn’t say is that the city also saves a bundle on staffing costs when volunteers take on the work.

Our understanding was that Volunteer opportunities were handled by Community Development Halton for the four municipalities in the Region where two Heather’s: : Johnson and Thomson were running a Regional wide program.

 

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Minister announces Plan to Catch Up returning 1.4 Million Elementary Students and over 650,000 Secondary Students to Classrooms

By Staff

July 25th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

This is not something you will want to tell the kids about as they enjoy the summer weather – the Minister of Education has promised that back to school will be on time in September and everything will be operational.

Band practice – after a two year hiatus!

In announcing the Plan to Catch Up Minister Stephen Lecee said: “ After two years of pandemic disruptions, Ontario today launched its Plan to Catch Up for the 2022-23 school year. The plan, which is supported by the government’s historic investments in education, starts with students back in classrooms, on time, with the full school experience including extracurriculars like clubs, band and field trips.”

The focus is on “ensuring students receive the best stable learning experience possible, and that starts with them being in class, on time, with all of the experiences students deserve,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, adding. “We have a plan for students to catch up, including the largest tutoring program in Ontario’s history, a modernized skills-focused curriculum to prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow, and enhanced mental health supports.”

The Plan to Catch Up is squarely focused on the priorities of parents and includes five key components:

Mental health support part of the Plan to Catch Up

Getting kids back in classrooms in September, on time, with a full school experience that includes extra-curriculars like clubs, band, and field trips;

New tutoring supports to fill gaps in learning;

Preparing students for the jobs of tomorrow;

Providing more money to build schools and improve education; and

Helping students with historic funding for mental health supports.

The government is going to open the flood gates to pay for key investments including:

More than $26.6 billion in funding for the 2022-23 school year, the highest investment in public education in Ontario’s history.Investing more than $175 million for enhanced tutoring support programs delivered by school boards and community partners, with a focus on reading, writing and math $304 million in time-limited funding to support the hiring of up to 3,000 front line staff, including teachers, early childhood educators, educational assistants, and other education workers.

Investing $14 billion to build state-of-the-art schools and classrooms and renew and repair existing schools, including $2.1 billion for the 2022-23 school year.

Allocating $90 million for mental health initiatives and supports for students, a 420 per cent increase from 2017-18.

Additional funding to support students with exceptionalities through a $93 million increase in funding for the Special Education Grant and over $9 million in funding to support the new de-streamed grade nine program, with an emphasis on supporting students most at risk including students from racialized, Black, immigrant, and Indigenous communities.

The buses will be back on the road in September

“With almost 50,000 children benefiting from Ontario’s tutoring investments every week, and summer learning programs underway province-wide, Ontario’s plan is getting students back on track,” added Minister Lecce. “With an emphasis on getting back to basics, our government is focused on strengthening life and job skills in the classroom, so that students graduate as financially literate, technologically savvy, emotionally intelligent leaders, ready for the jobs of tomorrow.”

Ontario’s public schools have an enrolment of over 1.4 million elementary students and over 650,000 secondary students.

Quick Facts

As of the beginning of April 2022, ministry-funded tutoring programs were underway across the province. From May to June 2022, on average, approximately 49,000 students participated in tutoring programs each week, with an average group size of less than five students to provide tailored and focused support.

With supportive policies and programs delivered by the ministry, school boards and partners, Ontario students have overcome many of the challenges of the pandemic, and graduation rates continue to rise. In 2020-21, 84.2 per cent of the 2016-17 grade nine cohort of students received their high school diploma within four years and 89 per cent of students received their high school diploma within five years.Since August 2020, more than $665 million has been allocated to improve ventilation and filtration in schools as part of the province’s efforts to protect against COVID-19.

These investments have resulted in improvements to existing ventilation systems; deployment of over 100,000 standalone HEPA filter units and other ventilation devices to schools; upgrades to school ventilation infrastructure; and increased transparency through public posting of school board standardized ventilation measure reports.

Up to 9,000 HEPA filter units were deployed to child care centres to provide further protection against COVID-19.

Over the course of the pandemic, child care programs stayed open and served children and their families, including providing emergency child care for front line workers during periods of school closure and remote learning. •

 

 

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How far into the public trough will candidates shove their snouts ? Using neighbourhood program funds to throw a party for the Mayor seem to be Ok

By Pepper Parr

July 24th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

What would we do without attentive, sharp eyed readers who know the smell of dead fish when it gets near their nose ?

Here is what came in today:

Are you aware of this? This is from the Mayor’s Facebook page.

What a great way to campaign on the taxpayers dime and look like a hero at the same time.

Why are the taxpayers of Burlington funding private street/block/condo parties? So I can plan a party at my condo building and the city will help pay for it?

Our taxes are already high enough. Is she going to attend every one of these parties along with the sitting councillor for the area?

The timing of this seems very questionable. I discussed this with several people – they were all dumbfounded.

Would love for you to investigate and report on. I keep thinking that I must be missing something.

Why Mayor Med Ward thought this was acceptable – taking part in an election event that was paid for with tax payer dollars ?

It wasn’t just the Mayor that was sucking on the public “teat”; ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna was in their as well.

What the reader is referring to is a city program that was put in place to give neighbourhoods and opportunity to get to know one another better and to improve parks, playground, spruce up the ravines.

The deal was, the last time we looked at it was the people applying had to come up with half of the amount they wanted to spend.  That half could be “in kind”.  The purpose of the grant, in the past at least, had to be spelled out and reviewed by Parks and Recreation.

Sparks will fly on this one.

It was a good program.  I doubt very much that this version of the program as it played out was approved.

I expect bot the Director of Parks and Recreation, the people who run the program and the City Manager will be making phone calls on Monday.

The stunning part is that the Mayor was quite alright with seeing tax payers dollars used to pay for a campaign event.

You wonder sometimes just how far a politician will put their nose into the public trough?

The purpose of the Love My Neighbourhood program is set out pretty clearly on the city web site:

Director of Parks and Recreation Chris Glenn has this to say about the program: “Now more than ever, we need to build our sense of community and connections with our neighbours. This program is designed to help remove some barriers and build stronger connections among neighbours and communities by putting people together and having fun.”

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A Burlington political unknown throws his hat into the race for the office of Mayor

By Pepper Parr

July 24th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

When people decide they want to run for public office they usually want the public to know more about them.

Steve Rieck filed nomination papers which got his name on the list of people running for office that the city maintains.  Included in that listing there is something in the way of contact information.

Rieck provided an email address – nothing more.

There is some information on LinkedIn, a web site where you write whatever you want about yourself – sort of a self promotion service.

Given that that is all there is at the moment – we pass it along.

There are some contact listed that we will follow up on to see just who Rieck is and why he wants to be Mayor.

Do take what is posted on LinkedIn with several large doses ofs salt.  Not a word of it has been verified

About
‘An innovator that strives for constant improvement in making businesses more efficient and the world a better place.’

Steve Rieck

A well-rounded, resourceful and entrepreneurial leader and creative thinker capable and business visionary. A flexible and adaptable entpreneur and ‘people person’ who is ambitious, driven and adaptable.

Over 30 years of business experience ranges from
several start-up’s to large companies;
visioning and strategy leader;
marketing and sales roles,
processes and strategy efficiencies;
lead company turnarounds and acquisitions;
operational sales mgt, marketing, strategic alliances;
HR consulting, recruiting and staff coaching and training.

A natural networker with strong ability to ‘bring together the right mix of people and resources’ to get the job done.

Goal: to lead a high-growth organization that requires entrepreneurial energy and leadership to bring out the best in people, technology and resources to get worthwhile results.

To give back to community, I have personally started and provided seed funding for several NGO’s, Children’s health and environmental Charities and NGO’s. I have contributed as board member for a handful of technology and climate NGO’s.

My passions include the environment; technology; and working with great, ‘walk the talk’, like-minded people who want to make a difference!

Experiences:
* industry experience in environmental and green products & technologies, pharmaceutical/medical, internet, technology, software and communications industry.
* new product and marketing development,
* leading sales and dev team initiatives,
* new business research and development,
* senior sales, marcom and PR roles,
* deal-making, relationship-building and partnering,
* hiring, training and retention of staff.
* Senior mgt, new venture incubation, launch and management’An innovator that strives for constant improvement in making businesses more efficient and the world a better place.’ A well-rounded, resourceful and entrepreneurial leader and creative thinker capable and business visionary. A flexible and adaptable entpreneur and ‘people person’ who is ambitious, driven and adaptable. Over 30 years of business experience ranges from several start-up’s to large companies; visioning and strategy leader; marketing and sales roles, processes and strategy efficiencies; lead company turnarounds and acquisitions; operational sales mgt, marketing, strategic alliances; HR consulting, recruiting and staff coaching and training. A natural networker with strong ability to ‘bring together the right mix of people and resources’ to get the job done. Goal: to lead a high-growth organization that requires entrepreneurial energy and leadership to bring out the best in people, technology and resources to get worthwhile results. To give back to community, I have personally started and provided seed funding for several NGO’s, Children’s health and environmental Charities and NGO’s. I have contributed as board member for a handful of technology and climate NGO’s. My passions include the environment; technology; and working with great, ‘walk the talk’, like-minded people who want to make a difference! Experiences: * industry experience in environmental and green products & technologies, pharmaceutical/medical, internet, technology, software and communications industry. * new product and marketing development, * leading sales and dev team initiatives, * new business research and development, * senior sales, marcom and PR roles, * deal-making, relationship-building and partnering, * hiring, training and retention of staff. * Senior mgt, new venture incubation, launch and management

Activity

There are 217 followers which could mean 217 votes

 

Mere minutes after publishing this article we received the following from the candidate:

Coming Soon…

A New Kind of Mayor/CEO of Burlington

(if YOU want it)

 

A businessman, serial social entrepreneur, non-profit Executive Director, innovations consultant, climate advocate, and community leader. Industries include Cleantech, Wind Energy, E-learning, recruiting, and consulting. Recently launched innovations-based micro-venture think-tank focused on cleantech,
well-being, and social ventures.

Interest in marketing and climate psychology (why we do things we do and why we overcomplicate things and how to seek opportunities in problems). Fascinated by climate psychology and the WHY we are not solving the climate crisis. (Hint: We don’t want to!)

Community leadership roles:

Founder/co-founder/board member/lead of several community groups and initiatives from Burlington Green & BG’s Youth group, DADA, Bitnet (VP and Chair Jobfairs), AWP, Electric Vehicle Advocate, etc.

 

Interesting tidbits:

I love nature, jogging, biking, good people, acts of kindness, God, alone time and meditating.
TED Talks. EV’s.

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Is this what they meant by intensification? Council members felt blind sided

By Pepper Parr

July 22, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Lisa Kearns Councillor for ward 2 holds regular ward level meetings.

It is something she has always done and does better than anyone else.

I wasn’t able to attend the meeting she held earlier this week but her very able assistant was kind enough to send mt the presentation Lisa was working from – Lisa does intense presentations.

As I was flipping through the pages, which weren’t number, one page slipped out of my hand – picked it up and saw numbers that stunned me.

The graphic Kearns presented to her ward was related to a report that came to Council July 5th – my transcribing service didn’t get everything and I was planning on getting back to it.

It was a Receive and File report that stunned all the Councillors.

The graphic, set out below, showed where the high rise towers would be in the Burlington MTSA, an area that surrounds the Burlington GO station area where a significant amount of height was expected.

Look very carefully at all those 45 numbers. Are these going to be residential towers or office towers? If residential – is this what Burlington is going to become?

Look carefully, there are six towers either side of the GO tracks – all are showing 45 storeys.

Where did that come from?

When 30 storeys was mentioned back in 2028, for that Burlington GO station area a lot of eyebrows were raised. Was that necessary – the city has to undergo intensification but 30 was seen as a bit much.

In an interview Kearns said she, along with the rest of Council were “blind sided” which is hard to accept – Councillors get these reports 10 days before they are presented publicly.

“What changed” asked Kearns?

Index for the 2028 graphic

In 2018 the public saw the graphic above, which is significantly different than the graphic council debated last week.

While the report was just a Receive and File Kearns did move a motion that required the:

Direct the Director of Community Planning to re-examine the Burlington GO Central Precinct with respect to requirements related to achieving maximum height permissions on a given site, alongside the provision of community amenities, affordable housing and community facilities commensurate with those maximum height permissions and the supporting policies and policy directions.

Kearns was not able to say when the report would come back to Council; not likely before the election in October.

Kearns was adamant that whatever gets built it “cannot change the quality of life for the people who live in the city.”

This is an issue that needs more attention.

Kearns drew attention to the staff members:

Alison Enns, Manager of Policy and Community,

Jenna Puletto, Coordinator of Community Initiatives

Samantha Romlewski, Senior Planner, Community Initiatives

Karyn Poad,Senior Planner

Rebecca Lau, Planner – Community Initiatives

leaving the clear impression with me that she wanted this group to be reined in and telling council much more than they are hearing at this point.

Kearns who advised the public that she had contracted Covid19 and while the symptoms are gone it “takes longer than you expect to recover completely.

“The virus wrecks havoc on your body, I’m still dealing with small issues.”

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The Model Parks and Recreation is Using to Serve the Seniors needs a re-think - soon.

By Pepper Parr

July 21st, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A heat warning has been issued by Halton Region beginning July 22, 2022.

When a heat warning is issued by Halton Region, residents can stay cool at all open Burlington Public Library branches.

Heat warnings are issued by Halton Region when temperatures are expected to be at least 31°C and overnight temperatures are above 20°C for at least three days or humidex is at least 40 for at least two days.

There are spaces that can be set up for sports that would involve seniors. There are those that would play the game and those that would watch.

We are seeing these media notices on a regular basis.

They look like they are going to be part of the new normal.

Where and who is doing the longer term thinking about how the city is going to meet the needs of the seniors?

This current weather is not going to stop – and this city has seniors who are not able to live decent lives – better to say existences.

Everyone is re-thinking their business model.

The city is no different.

Last year during the heat waves the Aldershot Seniors Group pressed the city to provide cool places where people could meet.  There was some space made available at Central but for just a few hours.

A flood of emails to city councillors brought about the decision to open up the libraries as cooling centers.  That was a good start – but a start is not enough.

There is space that can be used.

The city will say that there is no staff – and there is no staff – but if the city is ready to hire ten additional bylaw enforcement officers – then it had better get ready to hire just as many staff to provide what are really essential’s of life to people who deserve at least that much.

What can the Parks and Recreation people come up with in the way of program ideas?

The public meeting room at the Mainway centre is large enough to set up at least two – maybe three pickle ball courts.

There are a number of groups that would help with putting on some program for younger kids – and for parents.

It is going to take some ingenuity, some creativity and a willingness to look for ways to make it possible for people to have ways to cope with this heat.

This is something we will come back to in the weeks and months ahead.

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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Ward 4 candidate Eden Wood is now very public

By Pepper Parr

July 21st, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

No one knew anything about Eden Wood.

There was nothing on social media; some thought she was a stand in candidate in place to pull votes away from Shawna Stolte the incumbent candidate for the ward 4 seat.

Eden Wood, candidate for the ward 4 council seat

Turns out Eden Wood is very real, a mother of a daughter and a son who play soccer.

Mom has that clean cut Ivy League look to her. She is involved in police volunteer groups: doing victim support and public safety committee work.

She Has worked in the private sector with Fisher & Ludlow,  a Nucor company that makes industrial grating. She has taken community college level courses at Sheridan focused on accounting and business administration.

Wood was the President of the Burlington Crime Prevention Committee that “tackled issues on vandalism and crime prevention by recognizing the importance of homeowners landscape and design. We also worked with the Victim Assistance Volunteer Program, assisted by the Burlington O.P.P.

She has been the Apprentice Supervisor with the Hamilton S.P.C.A., building the empathy of youth. She has volunteered with Burlington Rotary at Canada’s Largest Ribfest. She worked for Average Joe Sports as a volleyball convener, as well as played volleyball through B.A.S.L and A.C.R.A.

She also played Softball and Ultimate Frisbee. Her children are members of the Burlington Soccer Club, and use many of the wonderful amenities Burlington has to offer.

While President of the Burlington Crime Prevention Committee she became a member of the Citizen Police Academy through Halton Regional Police Service, where good governance and transparency are front and centre.

She received the award for Active Citizenship from Mohawk College, where she attended the Police Foundations program.

Her web site is up and running.

Don’t know much about her views on the significant issues city council faces nor what her core values are – she does place a lot of emphasis on family and neighbourhood.

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Burlington.ca scheduled maintenance July 21 from 8:30 – 10:30 a.m - that's the web site - not the city

By Staff

July 20th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

City of Burlington’s website and some web applications temporarily unavailable for scheduled maintenance July 21 from 8:30 – 10:30 a.m.

During the temporary shutdown, the following websites and applications will not be available:

  • burlington.ca
  • burlingtontransit.ca
  • burlington.ca/calendar
  • haltoncourtservices.ca
  • Online forms for:
    • Service Requests
    • Parking ticket payment
    • Parking permit renewal
    • Parking exemption request
    • New dog licenses
    • Renew dog licenses
    • Tax assessment lookup
    • Business license renewal
    • Senior property tax rebates application
    • Property information requests
    • Marriage licenses
    • My festival and events applications

The following City of Burlington web applications will not be impacted:

The shutdown of a system as large as that of a municipality is always tricky business.  Particularly at a time when the Information Technology people are working on the introduction of a new look and a new layout of much of the city web site.

That’s what Rogers was doing when its business fell apart a week or so ago.

Wish our people well.

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Economic Development people present a picture that has some challenges but is do-able longer term.

By Pepper Parr

July 20th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

When Anita Cassidy, Executive Director, is presenting to Council, she finds herself speaking very quickly on issues that are important.

The agenda for any one day is often full and she seems to feel that she isn’t going to be given the time she needs.

Unfortunate because the picture she paints isn’t always rosy.

Anita Cassidy, Executive Director, Economic Development Corporation

She said earlier this month that “…we had a significant shift in our economic environment. In that time that we had it on pause, we had to reflect the realities of COVID-19 and look at the potential impacts. We also had the shift of the UGC to Burlington GO MTSA.”

The Economic Development Corporation, in its report to Council set out the background that they expdct the city’s economy to build upon.

They maintain the MTSAs provide the potential to create complete communities, expand the tax base, and provide a destination for employment growth for future generations. The MTSA developments will increase transit usage and help to make Burlington a destination while lowering carbon emissions. Burlington Economic Development has been working with the City of Burlington to develop an employment vision for the MTSAs and an implementation plan that positions us to expand our tax base through employment attraction and branding opportunities, as well as ensuring we continue to retain key industrial employers and other employment uses associated with the MTSAs.

This economic vision for the three MTSAs has been undertaken through the GO Investment Corridor Project.

“So what did that mean for unemployment attraction and retention perspective? Cassidy added: “We also wanted to make sure that we addressed any market and policy changes; as I mentioned, there were a number of policy changes in the background, ROPA 48 and 49 is coming down, we had the provincially significant employment zones for the province: a lot of policy changes to take into effect here.

“One of the key pieces of research we did was on taking into account the impacts of COVID on the office and retail environment, and what could that look like? The industrial environment for COVID, as I mentioned to counsel before, largely hasn’t shifted, as that is an in person activity. We’ve seen our industrial getting stronger through COVID. So we focused in on office and the retail.

“We had stakeholder workshops to validate those findings and hear from our developers and our businesses and our real estate, commercial brokers, what has changed over the last two years.

“Our assumptions were right here what we need to integrate in here.

“We had a subcommittee of our board reinstated with external experts to provide their expertise and then we integrated those back into the six guiding principles and the overall vision that we developed.

“There was nothing surprising from the SWOT analysis perspective. It’s everything that we’re seeing in the market already.

 

“We’re seeing that not unexpected displacement of existing businesses. And what we want to see is that the right kinds of businesses are retained There were examples of business displacement that have happened already over the last couple of years. We had one shop go to Mexico. They were a great employer – 150 high tech industrial jobs that ended moving operations to Mexico; part of that was they couldn’t secure a long term lease, and we don’t have sufficient employment lands to replace employers like that.

“We’ve gone from 27 hectares of shovel ready land back in 2015 to down to 14 now; that’s less than half. So this is a really a key focus area. We need to make sure that we can integrate these existing businesses as well as attracting new businesses to the MTSA developments – that is really going to be critical to achieving both job growth and that great split of tax base where we have commercial and industrial taxes to help keep our residential costs low as well.

“Our Go investment corridor vision has six guiding principles.

“To effectively develop each MTSA into a complete community that has a mix of residential employment, institutional and recreational uses a clear mission statement and understood and agreed upon objectives are in place.

“When we started this project, back in 2017, we took a pretty narrow economic development lens. And as we sat down with stakeholders, and we did workshops with people, we realized that the future of work at these GO stations is going to be very different from the type of employment development we’ve had in the past.

“Workers of the future do not want to work at isolated employer locations where they have to get in their car to do everything and they don’t have those communities around them. That’s what’s going to be the attractors to those MTSA locations – it’s going to be like a mini downtime environment where they’re going to be able to have all of those facilities in one spot while also being able to get on the go train and access those communities and to attend meetings in downtown as well.

“Our second guiding principle is to focus on planning for future services and infrastructure and secure sustainable development which means looking at integrating the right kind of infrastructure but also understanding in advance what the infrastructure needs are and planning not just for yourselves as a city, but with our regional partners as well.

“We’ve already heard the region is a huge part of this from a policy approval perspective, but also from an infrastructure and servicing perspective. If we don’t have the right infrastructure planned and in place then we can’t support the levels of development that we’re going to see.”

There is a significant amount of work to be done to ensure that all the players understand and buy into what is proposed. Work done in 2017 – 2019

Work done during 2021 and 2022 – it is an ongoing process.

The planners are now creating Area Specific Plans for each of the MTSA – which set out a clear path as to where the development can take place.

The Vision has been clear since the current Council took office. The moving of the Urban Growth Centre north of the downtown area has made it possible for the city to undergo the growth the province has imposed.  That growth will create the tax base need to cover the cost of making the city a place where seniors and those raising a family can live in comfort.

The challenge at this point is to get through the Ontario Land Tribunals and have an Official Plan that makes the vision possible

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Man Arrested After Gunshots Fired at Burlington Bar

By Staff

July 19th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On July 9, 2022 at approximately 1:50 am, Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) officers responded to the Port House Social Bar and Kitchen located at 2020 Lakeshore Road in Burlington, for reports of gun shots being fired.

Location was basically the Waterfront Hotel

Gun was fired into the air in the parking lot on the eastern side of the Waterfront Hotel.

An altercation had occurred between a group of people in the parking lot of the bar. At some point during the altercation the suspect produced a handgun from his waistband and fired five to six shots into the air. Fortunately no one was struck by the rounds and no physical injuries were reported. The suspect fled the area in a vehicle.

Investigators from the 3 District Criminal Investigations Bureau were able to identify the suspect and on July 15, 2022, a search warrant was executed at a residence in Hamilton.

Bashdar Kader (23) of Hamilton was arrested and has been charged with:
• Possession of a Weapon for a Dangerous Purpose
• Careless Use of a Firearm
• Carry Concealed Weapon
• Unauthorized Possession of Firearm

Kader was held in custody pending a bail hearing.

The firearm utilized by the accused has not been recovered.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact Detective Constable Lanaya Greco of the 3 District Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4777 ext. 2334 or 2316.

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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