Income Inequality in Halton - disturbing differences

News 100 redBy Staff

July 12th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The widening income gap between the rich and the poor can impact negatively on economic growth, standard of living, health and well being, and social inclusion. High income inequality also raises a moral question about fairness and social justice.1 In Canada, the income gap between the top 1 percent and the median household has been historically large and is growing steadily larger.2

Custom tabulation from Statistics Canada’s taxfiler data file provides an opportunity to learn more about income inequality in Halton Region. Determining the share of total income by population deciles is one of many ways to measure income inequality. The population is divided into ten equal groups (10% each) from the poorest (lowest decile) to the richest (highest decile) – according to the distribution of values of a particular variable. Then the proportion of total income captured by each group is calculated. If each group has 10% of the total income, there is no income inequality.

cdh Income differencesUsing the most currently available data, in 2018 the highest decile (10%) of the population in Halton has by far the largest share (25%) of the total after-tax income (disposable income) and the bottom decile captures only 3%.

Oakville has a wider gap between the highest decile (28%) and the lowest decile (2.1%) than the other three local municipalities.

The concentration of income/wealth becomes more skewed when looking at income of the top 1 percent of the population.

The top 1% of Halton’s population (5,730 individuals) has 7% of the total disposable income. The top 1% of Oakville’s population (2,040 individuals) has 8.3% of the town’s total disposable income.

Another measure of income disparity is to compare income levels of various income groups. The population is sorted according to their average disposable income and then divided into 10 equal groups (deciles) each containing 10% of the population.

In Halton, the average disposable income for the top decile (top 10% of the population) was 9 times higher than the bottom decile (bottom 10% of the population). In other words, on average, for every after-tax dollar earned by individuals in the top decile, those at the bottom decile earned 11.2 cents. In Oakville, the difference is 13 times. The individuals in the bottom decile earned only 7.5 cents. In fact, the bottom decile in Oakville has the lowest average after-tax income among the local municipalities.

CDH GRAPH 2 jULY 2021The impact of Covid-19 on the income gap among Canadians has been pronounced.

According to a CIBC Economics report,3 Covid-19 has resulted in a dramatic widening of the income gap.

The data shows that this has been fuelled not only by the expected loss of many low-wage jobs, but also by an unexpected increase in the number of high-wage jobs in the fourth quartile of the wage scale, which had year-over-year growth of more than 9% or 260,000 jobs.

In fact, the report goes on to say “…if it were not for the increase in high-wage jobs during the recession, the overall level of employment today would have been almost one million below the pre-recession level.”

As we come out of the pandemic, how we respond to those that have been most impacted is critical to recovery.
If you have any feedback/suggestions on the issue of income inequality in Halton, you can contact us at data@ cdhalton.ca.

Community Development Halton would like to acknowledge the ongoing financial support of the Regional Municipality of Halton.

 

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Unpopular 400 series highway - GTA West - moves into phase 2

News 100 blueBy Staff

July 12th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) is in Stage 2 of the GTA West Transportation Corridor Route Planning and Environmental Assessment (EA) Study.

After confirming the Preferred Route and 2020 Focused Analysis Area on August 7, 2020, the GTA West Project Team commenced developing the Preferred Route to a preliminary design level of detail.

gta WEST 1 ROUTE

With the decision made to proceed with the highway – MTO moves to Phase 2

Stage 2 focuses on a new highway and transit corridor.

Extending from Highway 400 in the east to the Highway 401/407 ETR interchange area in the west.

Includes a 400- series highway and transit, and potential goods movement priority
features.

To further meet the public’s needs and address community questions, a Webinar will be hosted by the GTA West Project Team on July 28, 2021 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The transit corridor will be 60m of the total ROW, will run parallel to the GTA West highway and will:

Gta West row

Right of way for a highway that will have lanes for buses as well

Allow buses (and potentially in the future, light rail vehicles) to operate on express schedules.

Include stations at strategic locations and provide transit connections with buses onto major arterial roadways, Highway 401, 407ETR, Highway 410, Highway 427, and Highway 400.

July 28, 2021 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.  Zoom registration link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_1VIpZJUbSWayDMAorhXiAg .

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Step Three of the Roadmap to Reopen at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 16, 2021.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

June 11th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The province in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health is moving the province into Step Three of the Roadmap to Reopen at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 16, 2021.

In order to enter Step Three of the Roadmap, Ontario needed to have vaccinated 70 to 80 per cent of individuals 18 years of age or older with one dose and 25 per cent with two doses for at least two weeks, ensuring a stronger level of protection against COVID-19.

Step Three of the Roadmap focuses on the resumption of additional indoor services with larger numbers of people and restrictions in place. This includes, but is not limited to:

Outdoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 100 people with limited exceptions;

wervbg

Community meetings like this will not take place during this stage of the Re-Open

Indoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 25 people;

Indoor religious services, rites or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services permitted with physical distancing;

Indoor dining permitted with no limits on the number of patrons per table with physical distancing and other restrictions still in effect;

Indoor sports and recreational fitness facilities to open subject to a maximum 50 per cent capacity of the indoor space.

Capacity for indoor spectators is 50 per cent of the usual seating capacity or 1,000 people, whichever is less. Capacity for outdoor spectators is 75 per cent of the usual seating capacity or 15,000 people, whichever is less;

Indoor meeting and event spaces permitted to operate with physical distancing and other restrictions still in effect and capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity or 1,000 people, (whichever is less);

Essential and non-essential retail with with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres;

Personal care services, including services requiring the removal of a face covering, with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres;

Brant Museum rendering

Museum can now be opened to the public.

Museums, galleries, historic sites, aquariums, zoos, landmarks, botanical gardens, science centres, casinos/bingo halls, amusement parks, fairs and rural exhibitions, festivals, with capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors;

Concert venues, cinemas, and theatres permitted to operate at:

up to 50 per cent capacity indoors or a maximum limit of 1,000 people for seated events (whichever is less)
up to 75 per cent capacity outdoors or a maximum limit of 5,000 people for unseated events (whichever is less); and up to 75 per cent capacity outdoors or a maximum of 15,000 people for events with fixed seating (whichever is less).

Real estate open houses with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres; and

Indoor food or drink establishments where dance facilities are provided, including nightclubs and restobars, permitted up to 25 per cent capacity or up to a maximum limit of 250 people (whichever is less).

Meed Ward in a mask

Mayor Marianne Med Ward can still wear her mask in public.

Face coverings in indoor public settings and physical distancing requirements remain in place throughout Step Three. This is in alignment with the advice on personal public health measures issued by the Public Health Agency of Canada, while also accounting for Ontario specific information and requirements. Face coverings will also be required in some outdoor public settings as well.

The pandemic is not over and we must all remain vigilant and continue following the measures and advice in place, as the Delta variant continues to pose a threat to public health.”

The province will remain in Step Three of the Roadmap for at least 21 days and until 80 per cent of the eligible population aged 12 and over has received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 75 per cent have received their second, with no public health unit having less than 70 per cent of their eligible population aged 12 and over fully vaccinated.

Other key public health and health care indicators must also continue to remain stable. Upon meeting these thresholds, the vast majority of public health and workplace safety measures, including capacity limits for indoor and outdoor settings and limits for social gatherings, will be lifted. Only a small number of measures will remain in place, including the requirement for passive screening, such as posting a sign, and businesses requiring a safety plan.

Ontario’s epidemiological situation is distinct from other jurisdictions and the Delta variant is the dominant strain in Ontario, which is not the case with some other provinces. As a result, on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, face coverings will also continue to be required for indoor public settings. The Chief Medical Officer of Health will continue to evaluate this need on an ongoing basis.

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School Board Trustees explain their decision to rename Ryerson Public School

background graphic redBy Staff

July 11th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

shuttle worh and Tracy

Trustees Margo Shuttleworth and Tracy Ehl Harris delegating virtually before a city Standing Committee.

Halton District School Board trustees Margo Shuttleworth and Tracy Ehl Harris delegated before a city Standing Committee earlier this week to explain what the Board of Education was doing in the matter of renaming a school.

We have heard from many voices in the community and had many conversations which culminated with formal requests from community members, including those who are survivors of residential schools to consider a change in name of our school on Woodview Drive.

Of course, we have also heard from some who feel we are discounting the positive contributions of Egerton Ryerson to the Canadian education system. He did indeed create school boards, making textbooks more uniform, and making education free. He also advocated for the separation of Church and State within education….. apart from the education for Indigenous children.

For Indigenous students he drafted a Ryerson Industrial Schools Report which supports the creation of industrial schools. These schools have been called manual labour schools, industrial schools, boarding schools, and residential schools. They included religious instruction which Ryerson felt necessary to assimilate and civilize Indigenous children, .

students with nun

Instruction for the most part was delivered by Clergy

We need to be accountable to the legacy that Ryerson also left behind and the trauma and hurt it causes our students and their families to feel. We must be compassionate to the hurt and trauma that has been part of his legacy.

I am going to read for you an overview of The Ryerson Experiment compiled by Nishnawbe Aski Nation ( Nishnawbe Aski Nation Indian Residential Schools in Ontario, 2005 ). This group represents 49 First Nation communities within northern Ontario with a population of membership (on and off reserve) estimated around 45,000 people.

In 1845, a report to the Legislative Assembly recommended that industrial boarding schools be adopted for the education of Indian children. In 1847, Dr. Egerton Ryerson, the Chief Superintendent of Education for Upper Canada (Ontario) suggested a method of establishing and conducting the industrial schools for the benefit of Indian children.

Their purpose should be to “give a plain English education adapted to the working farmer and mechanic” and in addition “agriculture, kitchen-gardening and mechanics so far as mechanics is connected with the making and repairing the most useful agricultural implements”. To attain their objective, it would be necessary for the students to reside together, with adequate provision being made for their domestic and religious education. Dr. Ryerson especially deemed the latter essential. “With him (the Indian) nothing can be done to improve and elevate his character and condition without the aid of religious feeling”.

boys prayers before bed

Spiritual guidance was part of the curriculum at the residential schools.

For this reason he insisted that the animating and controlling spirit of each Industrial School “should be a joint effort of the Government and of the religious organization concerned. Decisions on the appointment of the School Superintendent, buildings to be erected and conditions for admission of pupils were also to be made jointly. The Government would be responsible for inspection and the laying down of general rules and regulations as well as making financial grants to support each of the operating cost, and provide spiritual guidance for the pupils.

It was these experiments that lay the foundation for residential schools. Ryerson’s approach was to separate Indigenous children from their parents in order to achieve assimilation and although it can be recognized that he made many contributions to the education system, this piece of his legacy has had a traumatic and harmful impact on a part of our school community.

The name Ryerson, for many, brings up experiences of trauma and mistrust of the education system. We value all students who are part of our HDSB community and we must live up to our commitments in recognizing the harm that some of our school names may have.

 

The delegation was then passed to Board of Trustees  Vice Chair Tracy Ehl Harrsion  to give an overview of policy and links to our Multi Year Plan

I am going to discuss the policy overlay at the Halton District School Board that compels this renaming process.

The Board adopted a new strategic multi year plan in late 2020.

  • The Multi-Year Plan (MYP) is a strategic four-year plan created collaboratively for the Halton District School Board (HDSB). The purpose of the MYP is to set direction and prioritize the collective actions of all stakeholders to ensure our efforts as an organization are aligned and coordinated to support the more than 65,000 students 9,000 staff and the broader HDSB
  • Five Key Areas & Commitments
    • Equity & Inclusion
    • Mental Health and Well-Being
  • Learning and Achievement
  • Environmental Leadership
  • Indigenous Perspectives and Awareness
  • The Board motion touches on a number of these commitments, including equity and inclusion, mental health and well being and Indigenous Perspectives and
  • Specifically the commitment related to Indigenous Perspectives and Awareness includes:
    • Provide opportunities for a whole community approach to understanding the  impacts of colonialism, past and present.
  • Foster engagement with Indigenous peoples, communities, practices, perspectives and realities to build awareness, mutual respect and shared
  • Enhance learning about Treaty relationships, Indigenous rights, residential schools and Indigenous peoples’ contributions to Canada to fulfil the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action for
Untitled

These were not small schools. Above is a photograph of the Kamloops Indian Residential School where the graves of 215 students who attended the school were discovered.

 With this as our backdrop, as Trustee Shuttleworth indicated that the Board received a number of requests to rename Ryerson Public School. We also received a number of messages indicating that we needed to do research to understand the positive contributions Ryerson has made to public education. When the renaming requests were received, the School Naming and Renaming Policy and Governance Procedure and Administrative Procedure were followed.

These were updated in January 2021, to reflect the new MYP and the current social context.

Once of the guiding principles of the policy is to “Consider equity, diversity and inclusion in the school community;”. The Governance Procedure details what is under the purview of Trustees, while the Administrative Procedure details staff responsibilities, and the two dovetail. In summary:

Renaming requests are submitted to the Director’s office, and the Chair and Director determine whether or not to bring forward a report to the Board. According to the Procedure, the renaming of a school shall be considered if: a) the current name constitutes a significant departure from generally-recognized standards of public behaviour which is seen to undermine the credibility, integrity or relevance of the HDSB’s contemporary values; or b) the current name was appropriated from a culture or community without the necessary recognition or awareness process.

In this case, a report was brought forward to initiate the renaming, and it was unanimously supported by the Board. Next steps include:

  • Forming an ad hoc committee, involving staff, Trustees, and members of the school
  • Notifying and seeking pubic input and ideas from the whole community (staff, students, community) which are narrowed down by the committee, and vetted to ensure the uphold the MYP and the criteria of the
  • A short list of up to five, fully researched names, are submitted to the Board of Trustees for discussion and ultimate selection of one

This process for the current school under consideration, is to be wrapped up by the end of November 2021.

The discussion at the Board table was not an easy one, and certainly there are complexities. At the end of the day, the Board must uphold the commitments of the MYP. Its development reflects the ideas and values of thousands of people in the HDSB community. Now is our time to be true to those commitments, not only to the words, but to the actions that as a community we decided will make a positive impact on this and future generations.

During the discussion at the Board table, it was noted that the adjacent park has the same name, and as such, the Board wanted to alert you to the process that is going to be undertaken for the school.

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City council hears from an Indigenous Elder on the matter of renaming parks and schools.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

July 9th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Standing Committee on Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services met earlier this week and almost swooned as they listened to Stephen Paquette talk about why the Ryerson school and the park adjacent to it should be renamed.

The Councillors and the two school board trustees who took part as delegations were like high school students listening to a rock star.

paquette Stephen

Stephen Paquette.

Paquette on the other hand was sensible and balanced.

Sure he took a strong position on the getting rid of the Ryerson name but he said he could live with statues of Sir John remaining providing there was a plaque beside the statue putting the man’s role in context.

Unfortunately many are not as sensible and balanced as Paquette.

He taught the Councillors some important lessons; one being the way we choose to elevate some people and create a statue and put it in a public place without a full understanding of the person. He seemed to be saying the statues were more adulation than realistic accounting of the person.

The fear I have is that we will rename the park and the school and then move on to something else forgetting what the real issue is – first making amends for the harm we created and then giving the Indigenous people what they deserve. Decent housing and water they can drink.

A number of years ago Gord Downie stood on a stage and implored the Prime Minister who was in the audience to take care of the Indigenous people. And how much has been done for those people since that time?

I look to Paquette being the person who keeps our feet to the flame and helps us get to the point where the members of the First Nation are true equals.

I was impressed with the man – he is an Elder serving as a staff consultant with the Halton District School Board. He is an excellent spokesperson for his people.

Joseph Boyden, wrote a book: The Orenda. It is a hard book to read on the relationship between the Jesuits who came to Canada to civilize the “savages”. There was painful cruelty on both sides. Boyden created significant controversy writing on Indigenous people. Boyden is primarily of Irish and Scottish ancestry. A number of Indigenous writers and researchers came forward to publicly state Boyden did not have the right to speak on behalf of any Indigenous community because he was not a First Nations citizen and ultimately not Indigenous.

We are going to be dogged with controversy on the question of how we atone for some time. Hopefully the plight of the Indigenous people gets improved while we squabble.

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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City beginning to plan for events - sign that the restrictions might be easing up soon

News 100 blueBy Staff

June 9th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On April 10th of next year the people of Burlington will gather at the Cenotaph just north of city hall and celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the Cenotaph. The creation of the monument was the result of a large community driven initiative to honour the resident veterans that fought in World War 1.

The initiative brought together service organizations, churches and residents to raise the funds and commission the works, a true community effort.

Keenleyside with partial monument

Ed Keenleyside knows more about the Cenotaph and how it came into being. So much that he convinced the city to print copies of the book and make it available to the public.

Last year the city entered into an agreement to print copies of a book written by Ed Keenleyside on the history of the cenotaph and how it came into being.

There was discussion at a Standing Committee earlier this week about using the anniversary of the community spirit that brought about the Cenotaph and tying it to the same community spirit that is getting the city through the pandemic.

The Standing Committee decided the Cenotaph celebration should be a stand-alone event.

The area around the Cenotaph is to be identified in future as Veteran Square; (Not Veteran”s”)

April 9 is Vimy Ridge Day in Canada.

The Battle of Vimy Ridge is Canada’s most celebrated military victory. An often mythologized symbol of the birth of Canadian national pride and awareness.

There are two oak trees that were grown from seeds taken from trees in France at the Vimy Memorial; a piece of land that the French government deeded to Canada.

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Regional Public Health office provides an update - the Covid19 virus and its variants are still with us and still dangerous

News 100 redBy Staff

July 8th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

As of Thursday, July 8, 2021, 638,849 doses have been administered in Halton, which includes 394,519 first doses and 244,330 second doses.

This represents 79 per cent of Halton’s population aged 12 and up who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 46 per cent who have received both doses.

The vaccination status dashboard is updated Monday to Friday between 12 and 2 p.m.

The Regional Dashboard with data updated every day can be found HERE

 

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Rivers: Who is Going to Pay for Global Warming ?

 

“Exxon worked alongside Chevron, Shell, BP and smaller oil firms to shift attention away from the growing climate crisis. They funded the industrys trade body, API, as it drew up a multimillion-dollar plan to ensure that climate change becomes a non- issuethrough disinformation. The plan said victory will be achievedwhen recognition of uncertainties become part of the conventional wisdom’”.

 (Chris McGreal – The Guardian 30 Jun 2021)

 

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

July 8th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Over 700 people in B.C. alone have died so far this summer from the heat dome that sits over much of that province.  How could any rational person now dispute the link to global warming?  The rising temperature resulted in over 200 forest fires in what was to have been Canada’s biggest renewable carbon reserve.  Instead, the nation’s forests have now become another source of carbon emissions.

Lytton BC fore- street level

Street level view of a burned out Lytton, BC

It is estimated that over a billion marine animals have perished in the fires and heat, and we have no idea about the land animals we’ve lost as well.  And it’s not just Canada.  New Zealand has just recorded it’s hottest winter ever.  Siberia is on track for a repeat of last year’s hottest year ever.  And even Antarctica has recorded 18 degrees last February, the temperature I keep my house thermostat in the winter.

If there are still climate deniers, or those who doubt that human activity is responsible for the rapid change in the planet’s weather patterns, they should truly be ashamed of themselves.  It’s been over a century since scientists first suggested that all the CO2 being emitted would eventually warm up the planet.

In the 1970’s computerization enabled climate modelling which predicted pretty much what we are seeing today.  In fact climate scientists now worry that, if anything, they have been too conservative, have underestimated the speed of global warming.

Then there are the other scientists, the ones employed by the fossil fuel industries who knew what was coming as far back as the 1950’s.   But neither their boys in the upstairs board rooms nor the political leaders we’d elected to protect us seemed to get the memo.   The message was blunt.  If we don’t change we’re all likely headed for a doomsday scenario like we’ve never known.

But profits were good and the oil fossil fuel lobby was powerful politically, so their solution was to muddy the waters, create enough uncertainty so that nobody could be sure.  The answer was to deny global warming and, when climate change became inevitable, deny that humans were responsible.

denial is not policy glob warming

Government did their best to sabotage global efforts at reducing carbon emissions.

It is one thing to unknowingly endanger humanity, but quite another to do so deliberately, falsifying data, outright lying and deceiving the public, as the oil executives did during the nineties and 2000’s.  They and the GW Bush government did their best to sabotage global efforts at reducing carbon emissions, and perverted the serious discussion of climate change.

Bush almost immediately after being elected in 2000 pulled the USA out of the binding Kyoto emissions agreement.  And he and the energy lobby then proceeded to do their best to sabotage the international climate change deliberations.

Canada did sign onto Kyoto, and we might have met our first committed emission reduction, thanks to Ontario closing its coal power plants.  But Stephen Harper, who had been unsupportive of Ontario’s Liberal government’s climate initiative, had done little else to reduce Canada’s growing carbon footprint.  And no sooner had he won his parliamentary majority than he pulled Canada out of the agreement.

When considering the unethical approach of the fossil fuel sector to their business, it is not difficult to look at another industry which profited from misery caused by its poison.   Big tobacco had long been lying about the debilitating health effects of the product it had been pushing, and had deliberately misled the consuming public on its health effects.  Several court actions in the USA eventually persuaded the industry to pay up just under $250 billion for the endless suffering it had caused to so many.

Reagan - cigarette ad

Ronald Reagan, a future president of the United States promoting the use of tobacco. Almost everyone smoked — until we learned how dangerous it was.

There was legal action also in Canada, and hundreds of billions of dollars were delivered in assigned settlements, $300 billion for Ontario alone.  However, big tobacco cried bankruptcy and premiers Legault and Ford, last year, conducted secret negotiations with the companies.  And it now appears that, in a bizarre turn of events, big tobacco might be let off the hook providing they make an effort to get their customers to stop using their products.

There have been a rising number of legal actions in the USA against the oil companies and Big Tobacco is the model they are using since it fits the pattern so well.   But nobody should expect any kind of accountability among the political leaders, who like Stephen Harper wasted ten years, or Pierre Trudeau who helped get the oil sands project started back in the seventies.

And there is his son Justin who promised back in his first election to end public subsidies for the fossil industry and has yet failed to do so, and in fact is building a couple of new pipelines to serve the oil and gas industry.  Subsidies are the other side of a carbon tax – they effectively lower the price of fuel production and thus serve to promote its greater use.   Canada has been named as the G7 nation which most subsidizes its oil and gas sector.

O'Toole smug 4

Mr. O’Toole changed his messaging on the carbon tax

Mr. Trudeau has been outspoken on confronting global warming and that has helped him in the polls, particularly when the opposition party denies the reality of climate change.   That might just be the loud voice of Alberta and Saskatchewan struggling with the last gasps of their dying oil industry sector.   And it was a message we all got more from Mr. Harper and Mr. Scheer than the more moderate Mr. O’Toole.  At least Mr. O’Toole changed his messaging on the carbon tax after the court legality ruling, finally acquiescing, albeit with an unworkable tax model.

There are still many otherwise intelligent people who will tell you that they now believe that climate change is happening, but doubt that humans are mostly responsible.  If nothing else a big fat court ruling may help the misguided find themselves.  And realizing the mess we are creating and leaving it to future generations to start acting responsibly to  reduce their carbon foot print.

Rivers hand to faceRay 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:

Humans Caused –    Ford Knew –      Heat Dome –      New Zealand –

Trudeau –     Climate Scientists –   Antarctica –     Billion Marine Animals – 

US Tobacco –     Canadian Tobacco –     Oil Company Deceit –    “Air Pollution Deaths”

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Council instructs Clerk to prepare a plan for returning the public to council meetings

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

July 8th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

You won’t be able to actually attend a council meeting in September but expect to hear of a report that sets out how council meetings will evolve out of their current virtual format into what has been described as a hybrid set up.

Getting the motion Councillor Stole had onto the table proved awkward for everyone – for once the motion got passed the procedural bylaw that sets out how “walk on” motions are handled everyone was for the idea.

Burlington Bayhawks Under 14 girls soccer team, pose for the camera after being recognized by city council for an outstanding season

There was a time when the Council Chamber would be packed with people who were being recognized. When will that day return?

We learned that just a few days before the ECG (Emergency Control Group) had been discussing this very matter and opining that it was perhaps a good idea to discuss this.

The Clerk too had been giving this deep thought and advised council earlier in the week that the City Manager had asked that he prepare a report.

We did learn today there are some significant technical challenges in getting people hooked up into one seamless session with some in the chamber and some elsewhere.

The Clerk asked rhetorically who would be able to attend the meetings and the matter of vaccination was brought up.

If you’ve not been completely inoculated entry into any public space should be prohibited.

For some reason the ‘anti-vaxers’ feel that they have the right to threaten the health of everyone else just because they either don’t understand the science or have chosen to see it as junk science.

You can’t go to school if you haven’t been vaccinated for measles. If there are those who are not or don’t want to be vaccinated – let them attend virtually.

Nisan July5

Councillor Nisan congratulated Councillor Stolte for bringing the matter of public attendance to the Standing Committee.

There might be some benefit to keeping a virtual component of the public meetings.

Everyone congratulated Councillor Stolte for bringing the matter up – no one apologized to her for making it so hard for her to get the motion on the table.  She stood her ground – something the Councillor from ward 1 might learn to do.

Councillor Nisan publicly congratulated Stole for her efforts.

Related news story:

Ward 3 Councillor gives ward 4 Councillor a tough time

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Burlington now requires building permit applications to be submitted electronically

News 100 blueBy Staff

July 7th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The City of Burlington  has announced that applications for building permits can now only be sent to the City electronically.

This new online feature will enhance customer service for anyone requiring a building permit and reduce the City’s carbon footprint.

city hall with flag poles

No more trundling down to city hall – building applications have to be submitted electronically.

Applications which were processed before July 5, 2021 will continue to be processed in a hard copy format unless otherwise directed by Building and Bylaw Department staff. If you are unable to submit the application electronically, please contact the Building and Bylaw Department team at 905-335-7731, ext. 7470 or buildingpermits@burlington.ca.

To submit a building permit application online, go to burlington.ca/building.

The online system will make it easier and less time consuming for applicants as they will not need to courier, mail or drop off paper copies of the application.

For City staff, it will mean less printing and paper, improved review process and staff can access applications remotely.

Nick Anastasopoulos, City of Burlington Chief Building Official, commented that, “Throughout the pandemic, staff have been working very hard to get this new electronic system up and running. We’ve heard from residents and the industry that this was a high priority. Reducing our carbon footprint has been a key initiative of the Building and Bylaw Department and the introduction of electronic review will drive this initiative forward. We’re excited to have it in place so as to phase out paper submissions related to building permit applications.”

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Report from Clerk doesn't recommend a Campaign Contribution Rebate Program

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

July 7th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Running for office with little in the way of a community profile is very hard – but it can be done.

Running for office with little in the way of money is very very hard – but it can be done.

At the federal level there is a tax break for those who donate to an election campaign. A portion of a donation can be deducted from your income tax return.

City Clerk will oversee the municipal election and sign the document that makes the winners official.

Former City Clerk Angela Morgan signs the document that makes the election results official.

There is, at this point, nothing similar at the municipal level, however the Municipal Act permits a municipality to put one in place.  The Clerk sent Council a report that was discussed at considerable length earlier this week.

Campaign Contribution Rebate Program
The Act provides, but does not mandate, municipalities to pass a by-law to provide rebates to individuals who contributed to a Council candidate’s election campaign.

Rebates are funded through the general revenues of a municipality, in other words rebates would be a tax supported expense.

Municipal campaign contributions are not eligible for income tax rebates, as contributions to Provincial or Federal candidates.

The principle purpose of the program is to encourage participation in municipal elections by reducing the financial burden placed on candidates and campaign donors. A rebate program requires candidates to issue receipts to donors who would then apply for a rebate from the City.

Clerk Arjoon

City Clerk Kevin Arjoon – understands the procedural process exceptionally well.

Rebates would only be processed after the election, and after a candidate files their financial statements in compliance with the Act. Participation in the contribution rebate program by candidates is voluntary. A contribution rebate program enables a municipality to reimburse contributions made by individuals to a campaign of a candidate seeking election for Mayor or Councillor. A number of municipalities have implemented a contribution rebate program including the Cities of Ottawa, Toronto, Mississauga, Markham, Vaughan, Whitby, Ajax and Oakville.

The criteria for eligibility and rebate formulas varies between municipalities. Likewise, the rebate payout amounts will vary greatly.

A municipal survey was conducted specifically to determine the collective scope and financial impact of contribution rebate programs across Ontario for the 2018 Municipal Election. The results of the survey (there were less than 300 people responding) will be set out in a separate news report.

Several factors should be considered prior to establishing a campaign contribution rebate program including:

Eligibility criteria for candidates to participate in the program
Whether it only applies to Mayor and Councillor candidates
Eligibility criteria for contributors
Whether the program should be limited to only residents of Burlington or open to all residents of Ontario
Minimum contribution amounts
A minimum contribution amount is required to be eligible for the program
Formula for rebate
Whether the formula should be consistent for all contributions or vary depending on the amount of the contribution Maximum rebate amounts

werv

Marianne Meed Ward filing her nomination papers for the 2014  municipal election while husband Pete photographs the occasion.

A maximum rebate amount should be set
Administrative policies and procedures
Whether a candidate should be required to file an audited financial statement in order to be eligible for the program
Whether candidates must register in the program at the time of filing their nomination
Candidates requirement to keep meticulous records of all contributions received
The deadline to file all records and receipts with the City Clerk’s Office
Internal staffing resources required to support the program throughout the election period (before, during and after the election)

Administering a contribution rebate program will require staff resources for program administration, including analyzing financial statements, determining the eligibility of an application for rebate, and processing payment

Clerk Arjoon aghast

City Clerk Kevin Arjoon – surprised at a comment made.

Financial impact on Election program and budget
Residents were asked to rate their understanding of how a campaign contribution rebate program works, with 9% responding they had an excellent understanding of the program, and 27% responding they had a good understanding of the program. The majority of the residents therefore indicated they did not have a good understanding of such a program.

Of the 287 contributors for the question, 276 responded whether or not they support for establishing a program.
61% reported they are not supportive of the program, and 39% reported they are supportive.

Reasons for not supporting the program cited include:
A contribution is a contribution and should not be regarded as a way to get a rebate;
It’s taxpayer subsidized;
It sounds very complicated and unnecessary;
Responsibility should be up to the candidate to rally support. The municipalities have greater need for the funds;
There are other ways for people to support candidates.
Needs more transparency, major contributors (and the individuals most likely to benefit from this rebate) are corporate entities/developers/construction firms;
I don’t like that it’s funded through the general revenues of the municipality;
Added cost to administer;
The city should not be involved in the election campaign at all;
We don’t have enough money as it is;
There are higher budget priorities;
Contributes in favour of candidates supported by wealthy voters;
Tax dollars could be going to someone for whom tax payers did not vote.

Reasons for supporting the program cited include:
It removes the financial barrier which definitely negatively affects individuals participating in the election process and increases participation;
A good idea to promote contributions;
Support but consider minimum and maximum values.
Many people think they already get a tax rebate for municipal, because they do for federal/provincial. This would allow consistency with other levels of government and help fundraising, especially for residents who can’t fully fund their own campaigns.

At this time staff is not recommending a campaign contribution rebate program as it’s administratively burdensome and has not definitively demonstrated that it has a greater impact on voter turnout or the number of candidates. Based on the jurisdictional scan, using Oakville as a direct comparator, the program could have a budget impact of approximately $100,000 (just issuing rebates to Burlington residents) which equates to about 20% of the current election budget.

If approved, the cost to administer this program and the rebate amounts would be applied to the tax base and result in a 2022 budget impact. In addition, it is recognized that school board elections are the avenue where many may enter as first-time political candidates. Creating a by-law will benefit Council and Mayoral candidates, which may create inequities with the school board candidates. Should Council wish to explore the possibility of establishing a contribution rebate program for the City of Burlington, it may direct staff to report back with options related to the above considerations.

The Mayor loved the idea – other members of council were a little more hesitant.

More on this when we publish the results of the 20 question survey that less than 300 people responded to – that is not a number on which policy should be based.

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Suspect steals alcohol from two LCBO stores.

Crime 100By Staff

July 7th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On Tuesday, 22 June 2021 1601hrs., an unknown male suspect attended the LCBO store located at 501 Appleby Line in the City of Burlington and stole two bottles of alcohol valued at $93.55.

lcbo theft June 22

Suspect robs alcohol from two LCBO stores.

The same suspect committed another theft (Halton Occurrence #2021-195001) at this same store where he stole another two bottles of alcohol valued at $148.70. Total theft in two occurrences is $242.25.

Suspect: Male, White, in 20’s, approximately 5’10 and 200lbs., wearing a dark blue coloured “Dallas Cowboys” #9, Romo Jersey, dark pants, black running shoes and a blue coloured Dallas Cowboys cap. The suspect had a black coloured backpack. The suspect was wearing a medical mask PPE.

If you have any information on this case, please contact the HRPS or Crime Stoppers.

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Attracting talent to work at city hall is a problem - keeping those who already work for the city is an even bigger problem.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

July 6th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Laura Boyd, Executive Director of Human Resources, gave a presentation to staff on the problems the city is facing attracting the staff needed and keeping the staff they have.

hire problemsShe did not give them a pretty picture.

It was one of those Receive and File reports that was pushed down the line until September when some hard decisions have to be made on the staffing requirements the city is facing and a budget that could balloon to much more than the 5.47% projection.

The presentation was done in two parts – the discussion and debate and then into a CLOSED session where some of the hard and probably very expensive decisions will be outlined.  We never know what is said in CLOSED.

There are 48 positions that have to be filled; there are a number of very senior positions that are expected to take retirement in the not too distant future. At the close of the meeting it was announced that 31 year city veteran Vito Tolone will be retiring on August 27th.

past empl comments Glass doorAlmost every department needs additional staff and the brand, the way the City of Burlington is being described, perceived and seen by the public – on social media particularly, is taking a bit of a beating.

Boyd was telling council what the Human Resources Management Risks are and how she proposes they be managed.  She explained that the city does not have control of its brand and that from a staffing perspective they were headed for a perfect storm.

The ability to attract great people is going to require “new ideas and approaches”.

Another problem is the ability to retain great employees. Part of the solution is to “engage employees actively; develop them professionally and treat them fairly”.

The presentation was heavy on graphs that put a lot of facts before Council.

vacancies as of mid June 2021

Vacancies by department at mid June 2021

 

forecast requiremente to 2024

Where the retirements are going to take place.

HR org current

The Human Resources compliment now – several contract positions.

future HR ocer three years

The HR department three years from now.

Retention metric - turnover

Red line: Average Voluntary Turnover since 2010 = 5.4% Blue is the total turnover, orange is voluntary turnover.

retention + bar chart

Retention: Voluntary Turnover- Quits plus Retirements by Salary Grade. What is the data telling us? Voluntary turnover is trending beyond historical average.  Grades 10 and 11 have a higher rate of quits– losing future leaders.  Quits are double retirements in nonunion workforce.  Quits and retirements balanced in unionized workforce.  First four columns are union, others are pay grades.

The demand for people with very specific skills is being faced by every municipality in the province. The salaries that are being asked for would create a situation, explained Boyd, where you would have a staff member earning more than their supervisor. She added that talented people are accepting better offers elsewhere – when they leave we are losing our future leaders.

Boyd said she needed to get a handle on the compensation issue and beef up the HR staffing and improve the IT tools they have. “We are using five different applications and they don’t all work together.
However, it isn’t just having the tools that are needed – there is a cultural shift taking place; a work life balance is now important to the people being hired. The city is realizing that the “focus should be on people” and that all employers have reached a turning point.

The pandemic had an impact on several levels. People found they were able to have more time with their families and at the same time realized that working collaboratively isn’t all that effective when it is done virtually.

Councillor Sharman was surprised to learn that the HR department no longer performs formal annual performance reviews. Boyd said that they found the review process didn’t add much value to HR administration. Sharman clearly didn’t agree with that argument.

The work being done by many of the departments is much more complex. The Planning department is desperate for staff – they need people who have experience with high rise developments. Burlington doesn’t have much experience with that type of concentrated development – and there are several of them that will see the light of day in the next couple of years.

LPAT hearings have become an issue – staff with significant experience are needed to take part in a hearing to make the city’s case.

The strongest thing Burlington has going for it is that it is a nice place to live. The flip side is that it is an expensive place to live.

One of the surprising things heard was that people like working in Burlington because they get to interact with members of city council, which apparently isn’t the practice in most municipalities.

Laura Boyd 2a

Laura Boyd – Executive Director Human Resources

All the data Boyd presented will be part of the hard look that will be taken in September when detailed reviews of everything the departments deliver in terms of services to the public gets drilled into. Staffing to deliver those services will be a large part of those sessions.

Mayor Meed Ward asked Boyd how many people on the payroll were contract workers – Boyd said she felt a little squeamish – she didn’t have those numbers.

Right now at times it feels like we are playing “wack a mole” going from crisis to crisis to crises with the hiring process. Hiring people virtually hasn’t made the jobs any easier.

Related news stories.

Boyd lays it all out on the table: there is trouble in paradise

Find a way to recruit the right people and then give them reasons to come to work with all their energy and creativity.

 

 

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City manager sets out the job he has to do - will he be there to finish it?

News 100 yellowBy Staff

July 5th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The City Manager sets the tone for what happens on the administrative side of city hall.

Once there is a clear direction from City Council the city manager knows what his marching orders are and he gets moving.

Every city manager has his own style – they have all been male in Burlington – and that could change in the not too distant future.

In a report to Council today Tim Commisso set how he interprets what he has been ordered to do.

Commisso’s report is lengthy. He ties a large part of his work plan to what has been set out in the city Vision to Focus (V2F) which takes those parts of the 25 year Strategic Plan and determines which parts of that plan are going to be implemented this term of office.

In his comments Commisso refers to a number of tables that the Communications people were not prepared to make available at this point in time.

Commisso puts it this way:

The objectives outlined in this document encompass specific priorities that the City Manager intends to actively pursue and accomplish over the next two years. The objectives encompass both proposed new and existing V2F items (Table 1) with an enhanced focus for 2021/22 being largely on “Our People”, given the importance of this area on the future prosperity and success of the city.

Commiso July 5 a

City Manager Tim Commisso

A summary of the key Council outcomes achieved to date and planned for 2021/22 YE is summarized in Table 2 (Organized chronologically by Standing Committee of Council).

For the City Manager, the process of strategic management starts with the development and integration of personal objectives. While the objectives need to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant and Timebound), they must also be easily understood and regularly communicated to Council and staff as to their performance status.

Clearly articulated objectives anchored by Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) represent the foundation for achieving organizational strategic performance. Stated simply, an objective is meaningless without a related measure of progress towards achieving the objective.

As indicated, for 2021/22 my new objectives are focused primarily on “our people” and “our workplace”. The most important or the Wildly Important Goal (WIG) is as follows along with the rationale. Note: the reference to WIG is based on terminology used in the strategy execution methodology outlined in the 4 Disciplines of Execution (Covey, McChesney and Huling –Published 2012).

Objective #1: Improving Workplace Culture including the level of Staff Engagement and Overall Positive Attitudes.

The above goal and KPI(s) are intended to contribute directly to realizing the key outcome of building a distinct and enabling workplace culture, a corporate culture which relies on and leverages very strong existing departmental workplace cultures. To excel strategically, our internal city-wide culture must foster, and support engaged employees to continuously add value by embracing change, driving innovation, and improving city business processes. Today’s leading organizations understand that they need to be more than just satisfied employees, they need to be fully engaged employees. Therefore, led directly by the City Manager and Executive Director of Human Resources, an employee engagement strategy is recommended that:

• regularly and efficiently surveys employees to accurately measure overall engagement levels and attitudes.
• provides informal and formal engagement and learning experiences.
• creates opportunities for employees to feel valued and recognized for their work.
• communicates results, regardless of the outcome, regularly and transparently.

Commisso H&S June 7th

Commisso spent years at city hall before moving to Thunder Bay, retiring and returning to Burlington to be drafted by the newly elected Mayor who then convinced Council to take the interim out of the title.

By utilizing “touch base” engagement surveys, asking the right questions, measuring the right factors with benchmarked results, the city will execute on a strategy to measurably improve employee engagement and in turn, our overall strategic management performance.

IMPLEMENTATION CONSIDERATIONS
The following are three key considerations for implementation of the CM 2021/22 Objectives

1. Review & refine the Objectives and related Strategic Actions
The CM objectives and related strategic actions will be reviewed over the next few months and will be fully integrated with the “refresh” of V2F planned for Q3 2021. Refining the objectives and executing on the strategic actions will be an iterative process recognizing that budget resource needs and organizational capacity may likely be constrained over the next two years. The key for the City Manager will be to work closely with Council and the leadership team and remain focused on achieving measurable progress with each of the objectives.

2. Communicate the Objectives
Effective communication of the objectives is fundamental to both accountability and transparency which is in turn critical to achieving the intended strategic outcomes.
A focus will be given to the following best practices related to communication:

• Focus on the need for change and urgency in the communication. Answer the key question – Why does the organization need to change now?

• Follow-through on communicating the status of the objectives as well the completion of strategic actions with all staff – Be accountable for results.

• Avoid communication that is flat and two-dimensional. Make use of all communications channels, including staff meetings, corporate KPI dash boards, direct email messages and social media.

Tim hand onn chin May 5

As city manager Tim Commisso sits in on the meetings to listen and when they need help he comments. The previous city manager had a much more intrusive style. Commisso is a listener.

3. Integrate Key Objectives into an updated Corporate Performance Evaluation Process
The City Manager must set the example by directly aligning and integrating personal performance objectives with the completion of the City’s key strategic actions in V2F.

As noted in Table 1, a specific objective has been included in the City Manager’s 2021/22 Objectives related to development of a new performance management framework, using a format which is easy to administer and linked directly to individual strategic workplan objectives. Working closely with the leadership team, a realistic target would be to have this framework in place over the next 18-24 months and aligned with the updated non-union job evaluation system. BLT org chart June 2021

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Process of setting the 2022 budget begins: early version has increase set at 5.57%

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

July 5th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It is that time of year again – setting the budget for 2022 and, from a Council member perspective, keeping an eye on what the budget will do to their re-election prospects.

Expect every member of Council to seek re-election with a maybe not for ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns (who has told one of her supporters that she will not run again) and possibly ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna who may find that the work load is not something he wants to take on for four more years.  However, he has said publicly that he is planning on running again.

In a Staff report that will be discussed at a city Standing Committee meeting Monday July 5th timelines for the 2022 budget are set out.

Council Workshops –Service Presentations 

The budget projections for each of the 38 services the city provides will be reviewed on September 22, 23, 28 & 30, 2021

Budget Overview November 3, 2021

Budget Virtual Town hall November, 2021(TBC)

2022Budget Review & Approval  – November 30 &December 2, 2021

Council –2022 Budget  Approval December 14, 2021

Council Workshop sessions have been scheduled over 4 days to allow the 38 City Services to present overviews of their business plans to Council. Each of the City Services have been grouped into the 8 sessions by themes somewhat aligned to the Strategic Plan.

historical tax increases

With a projection for a tax increase of more than 5% the historical record looks a little dismal.

These workshop presentations will include:

A summary of current financial investment by service

An overview of current service delivery including known financial gaps and service needs

An overview of the asset investment required for service delivery

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

An overview of service goals and objectives

A portion of the presentation on the first day (Session 1) will be set aside to provide an overview of the incremental budget investments including staffing that have been made during this term of Council (2019-2021).

In addition, a portion of the presentation during the last day (Session 8) will include an update on the overall Designing and Evolving Our Organization (DEOO) process.

Reckoning and future direction:

Some of the spending done in the past few years is now going to have to be reckoned with.

This budget is going to be a turning point for the city.  The impact of the Interim Control bylaw that stopped approval of projects for a year (it has extended now to whenever the LPAT hearings resolve the appeals made), the creation of an approved but not yet in force Official Plan and the significant number of high rise tower development applications that are challenging the Planning departments ability to do its work on a timely basis.

assesmenet growth

The growth of properties that go on the tax base is too low – all the development that has people worried about what their city is going to look like does pay some of the bills. Right now those hi-rise towers are holes in the ground.

The success Mayor Meed Ward has had in getting the Urban Growth Boundaries moved well north of the downtown core and getting the province to realize that a bus terminal was not a Major Transit Service Area are wins for which she is not getting the credit she deserves.

The focus on getting high rise housing around the GO stations was aptly described by the Mayor as the creation of the new small cities.  Five years from now there will be a number of new city councillors to accommodate the new wards that will have to be created to accommodate the population growth.

While the fight isn’t over yet the desire on the part of the developers to put up tall buildings in the downtown core, especially in that football shaped piece of property between Old Lakeshore Road and Lakeshore Road, is no longer the slam dunk it looked like when the 2014 city council held its last meeting.

Coping with all these changes brings with it challenges that have to be dealt with – they all show up in a budget that also has to cope with the costs of a pandemic.

Fortunately the province has created funding sources that leave Burlington in pretty good financial shape in terms as to what the pandemic has cost the city.

The cost to the hospitality sector has been brutal and a number of operations in that sector will not survive.  Retail has also taken a hit.

Forecast 2022

It all adds up.

The financial fundamentals for Burlington are pretty good; the leadership on the administrative side has been what was needed to get us through the pandemic.  Going forward city manager Tim Commisso may not want to continue to handle the day to day grind.  He has found his future leadership within the organization and appears to have done a good job of nurturing and developing the administrative talent.

There are a number of senior level retirements coming up – legal and human resources come to mind.  The legal department has had difficulty finding talent with an understanding of the way the municipal sector works – it is a world unto itself.

Treasurer Joan Ford should be given medals for the job she has done.  Along with a superb level of service Ford has grown the talent within the department to ensure that the financial side continues delivering.

Managing the changes the pandemic has brought about has critically impacted on the way citizens who pay attention to what gets done at city hall are able to participate.

multi year simulation

A simulation based on the available data shows hefty tax rates for the last year in the current term of council and for the first three years of the next term of office. Can they be elected on this platform?

Having to go virtual has almost put an end to the kind of delegations citizens would provide.  Not being able to be in the room, actually see all the members of council and react to their body language, facial expressions severally limits genuine participation.

We all pay for the lack of thoughtful response from concerned citizens.

Council at work July 5

This is your city council in a virtual session. There were no delegations at this meeting. The view does not include all the participants.

The Public Board of Education manages to have some of the trustees take part in the meeting by being in the room.  Burlington’s city council is close to being at the point where limited public participation could begin – there has been no signal from the members of council that this might be in the offing.

Life is easier when you don’t have to respond to criticism from someone right in front of you – looking you in the eye,

Kind of convenient for them.

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A Municipal election without elections signs - council is talking about the idea. Mayor thinks it's great

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

July 5th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Is the city considering fees for election signs during the next municipal election?

There was a time when the city considered fees for election signs now some council members want to get rid of the things. Karmel Sakran lost in his provincial bid

An election without lawn signs?

And a campaign donation rebate program?

And the right to put bumper stickers on your car?

All part of a rather robust conversation at council this morning.

The report from the Office of the Clerk got nicely roasted by several council members – the document from the Clerk appeared to create more questions with few answers.

One of the problems within the Clerk’s Office is that all the top staff are new to the city and not fully aware of some of the really really stupid decisions made by a previous Clerk.

More on this when they return from lunch and a Closed session with outside legal counsel.

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Is Joe Dogs at risk? Probably

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

July 4th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Well – there goes that neighbourhood!

Joe Dogs is at risk,  the best that can be hoped for if the 26 story development is approved on the site literally next door, there will be an opportunity to quaff a cool one while watching the construction take place yards away.

The Renimmob Properties Limited, a corporation new to the Burlington development scene, has either purchased or obtained options on the property.  Approval of the development will be the beginning of a whole new look to the area.

The deep thinkers in the Planning Department have scoped out what they think that part of the city should look like.

site aerial

What we all know at the No Frills Plaza is expected to undergo a major change in terms of what is on the site and the uses to which it is put.

John Street, which is actually a lane north of Caroline, would be extended through the plaza property and reach Victoria Street.

Front and rear renderingsRambo Creek runs through the back end (east side of the plaza property) – the plans call for the creation of a walking trail with park benches and the shifting of the No Frills supermarket closer to Brant Street with large scale (17 storey) housing and underground parking.

If and when it is completed it will be a neighbourhood unto itself with a storied pub part of it.  All Joe Dogs has to do is issue patrons hard hats and hope everyone survives.

A couple of blocks to the north is the the Molinaro proposed development that will take up three corners of the Brant – Ghent intersection.

Both the Molinaro and the Renimmob developments are well north of what is seen as the downtown core. What they will do is create a much more vibrant community along Brant and meet the growth targets the province requires.

Even further north there are the properties that surround the GO station with the right to put up structures of almost any height – those proposed properties comply with the existing Official Plan and zoning in the area.

The graphic below shows what is in the works and what exists in that mid part of Brant street.

surrounding development
There is more to this story – tune in for part two on Monday.

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Tough questions being asked about an incomplete development on John Street: Carriage Gate in the spotlight again

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

July 2nd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns reports that her “office regularly receives ongoing concerns and questions about the progress on this property.”

She is referring to the property bounded by John, Caroline, Elizabeth and Maria that currently has a 24-story condominium. The original development plan was to include an above ground parking garage and a medical office at the north end along Caroline.

Medica One or the Carriage Gate project - pick the name you like best - will go up at the top of John Street and consist of a medical offices building, an above ground garage and an apartment/condo complex. It will bring significant change to the intersection and drive redevelopment of the plaza to the immediate north, A transit hub a couple of blocks to the south then makes a lot of sense.

The tower on the left has been constructed and is occupied. Some of the underground work for the garage is completed. The medical building is reported to be part of an application for additional height.

“I agree with residents that this matter has gone on much too long” reported Kearns in her most recent Newsletter.

“Since the onset of my term as Ward 2 Councillor, I continue to advocate on behalf of the community to have this project move forward. In response to many inquiries, see the following chart recently received from the City’s Legal Department. As soon as my office is in receipt of information of progress on this site, we will be sure to share with residents.”

This development was problematic from the day it got to the city Planning department. The council at the time had concerns about the development being completed and put in a clause that would ding the developer for $300,000 if the developer failed to deliver on schedule.

Carriage Gate - three buidingsMuch of this was well before Kearns began to care a hoot about what happened in the ward.

In the data the Councillor refers to there is a chart with questions and answers reported to have come from the legal department.
Never seen responses like this from the Office of the Solicitor for the Corporation of Burlington.

carriage gate data

In a September 2017 news story the Gazette reported:

“… John Street construction site is to include a public garage and a medical centre – they will follow the construction of the condominium. Medica One or the Carriage Gate project – pick the name you like best – will go up at the top of John Street and consist of a medical offices building, an above ground garage and an apartment/condo complex. It will bring significant change to the intersection and drive redevelopment of the plaza to the immediate north, A transit hub a couple of blocks to the south then makes a lot of sense.

The city expected all three projects to rise at the same time – and were worried enough about the construction actually taking place that they had the developer commit to coughing up $300,000 if the project doesn’t proceed by March of 2020.

City hall does appear to fully appreciate the market forces the developer has to contend with.  The utility poles will disappear – all the cable will be underground. Getting that decision in place was no simple matter.

Berkeley - Maria entrance

A portion of Mario was closed during construction of the Berkley. Not many developers get that kind of leeway.

.

Carriage Gate, the developer, has had their share of grief with both the city and Burlington Hydro over the existence of utility poles on John Street. A hydro line had to be pulled in from Lakeshore Road to the site – an expensive job. There was much discussion over whether or not all the hydro wires would be underground.

The developer was prepared to pay for the cost of burying the cable in front of their project but wasn’t prepared to pay for the cost of burying the cable for every foot of the distance from Lakeshore Road.

And they didn’t like the price for doing the work that Burlington Hydro had put on the table.

It’s getting resolved – with the developer trying hard to keep the lawyers out of the room.

When completed John Street will take on a much different look. Other developers have already begun to acquire and assemble property on the street.

As construction continues the planners are looking for ways to improve the look of the rest of the street and bring more activity to the area.

Not much has changed.

Related news stories:

Is eight going to become 18?

 

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Local Art being Commissioned for Waterfront Trail along the Beachway

News 100 yellowBy Staff

July 2nd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Beachway is getting a lot of attention these days.

Lovely part of the city – just find a parking spot when you get there.

In the not too distant future we should be seeing some local art to brighten the place up

The city sent out a Request for Proposals for Temporary Public Art Signs at The Beachway

Deadline: Friday July 30, 2021

Budget: $500 (design only), 15 commissions available

Here’s the fine print:

The City of Burlington public art program is launching a temporary art project, RE:DE(SIGN) as part of the 2021 Culture Days. Running from September 24 – October 24, Culture Days is 4 weeks of arts and culture experiences indoors, outdoors and online.

Waterfront Trail - from east - few people

This quiet path was once where two railway tracks carried freight from Burlington to the rest of the world. Freeman Station was one of the stops.

This project will commission 15 Burlington artists to create small-scale works that will be installed on signposts along the Waterfront Trail, stretching from Beachway Park to the Lift Bridge. This project will provide trail users with a safe and accessible way to enjoy art and to learn more about the amazing creators in our community. Each artwork will be accompanied with a profile of the artist.

This call is open to Burlington-based artists and is open to all art forms that can be presented in a sign format. This includes, but is not limited to: visual art, graphic art, photography, poetry, writing, etc. Sound-based work such as music, spoken word, theatre, etc. may also be presented using QR codes.

Project Goals

The theme for the 2021 Culture Days is RE:IMAGINE. Arts and culture emerged as a lifeline of joy, providing gifts of colour, hope, and reprieve needed to make it through this past year. Collectively, we’re imagining what a post-pandemic world could look like and how we can each contribute to that picture being brighter. Through that lens, Culture Days has chosen RE:IMAGINE as the very apt 2021 theme.

RE:IMAGINE signals a positive turning point – the commitment to building tangible change into the future of arts and culture.
Artists submitting proposals for RE:DE(SIGN) should take inspiration from the RE:IMAGINE theme.

Is this a big part of the dream the Mayor is looking for? How big a part of the city is the waterfront? Is it more than just something to look at?

The Art work will be placed along the Waterfront Trail right up to the canal.

Additionally, the artwork should:

Be easily legible to pedestrian traffic, artwork that incorporates text must adhere to AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) guidelines.

The artwork must be suitable for presentation in a public space, for all ages (i.e., the artwork may not contain profanity, hate speech, graphic imagery, etc.)

Important! Please read the full Call for Artists document (Click HERE to download PDF) before submitting an application as this contains important project details and application instructions.

Submit your Application Online

Applications may be submitted online, using Submittable. Click HERE  to start your online application. You will need to create a free account to use Submittable. Please contact Kim Selman, 905-515-9334 or kim@cobaltconnects.ca if you need assistance with your application.

The Beachway is a storied part of Burlington.  It was once a self-sustaining community of several thousand people.  You can search the Gazette Archives for stories on what life was like in that community

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Art Gallery appoints an Interim Executive Director: Lina Jabra starts July 6

artsorange 100x100By Pepper Parr

June 30th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Art Gallery Board moved with dispatch in finding an Interim Executive Director for a minimum of six months while the Board does a thorough search for a full time Executive Director

Lina Jabri AGB

Lina Jabra; new interim Executive Director at the Art Gallery of Burlington

Lina Jabra will  join the AGB on Tuesday, July 6th, and remain in this position for a minimum of six months while the Board undertakes a search for a permanent CEO.

“The Board is very excited to welcome Lina to our organization,” said Jane Depraitere, AGB Board Chair. “Her experience in the arts sector including staff and volunteer leadership, her demonstrated strengths in community and audience engagement, and her commitment to innovation highlighting diversity and inclusion will help position the AGB for success during this transition period as we move forward”, said Ms. Depraitere.

Lina brings over twenty years of experience in the not-for-profit arts and culture sector. She is a graduate of the BFA program at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington DC and completed Executive Education Certificates in both Art and Non-Profit Management from Ohio’s Case Western Reserve University.

Since 1988 Lina has served with Arts-based organizations both as Executive Director as well as Management Consultant, including the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in Toronto, VSA Arts of New Mexico, Through the Flower Foundation (TTF) attached to artist Judy Chicago in New Mexico, and the Ontario Clay and Glass Association in Toronto.

AGB live auction - closer look

Visitor to the Art Gallery looks closely at a painting listed in the auction catalogue.

Lina said:  “The Art Gallery of Burlington’s dedication to supporting and transforming the appreciation and love of art for all communities aligns with my experience and interest in the arts and art education, community building, and innovative programming, within a caring, collaborative and creative environment. I look forward to working with the AGB’s staff, volunteers, Board, members and all stakeholders in this exciting role”.

 

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