Stolte and Kearns want to see streets made much friendlier to people during the summer - asking staff to come back with ideas

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr
May 4th, 2021
BURLINGTON, ON
It was a last minute motion put on the agenda by Councillors Stolte and Kearns.  The wanted it know that it was a joint motion in response to the number of people who were outside walking the streets and getting needed exercise and fresh air.
The motion read:
Direct the Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility and the Director of Transportation Services to explore options to increase the ability for physical distancing and safe passage in response to Covid-19 for the area of Brant Street (Caroline Street to Lakeshore Road) for Saturdays and Sundays, from July 3 September 5, 2021 with a recommendation and report back to the June 8, 2021 Community Planning Regulation and Mobility Committee.
Stolte and Kearns - budget book

The two of them cooked up their motion; asking council to waive the rules and have it heard immediately.

Reason:

Community feedback has been significant in response to overcrowding on Brant Street downtown sidewalks south of Caroline Street to Lakeshore Road due to increased local resident use, outdoor retail/curbside queueing, and flow through of Spencer Smith Park users.
Options should be an interim response to public health concerns directly related to the ongoing relevance of Covid-19 community transmissions. Options are intended to manage physical distancing requirements in response to observed increases of non-vehicular usage of the City’s municipal assets. Under no circumstances should any modified use be an invitation to congregate in the expanded space. For further clarity, there will be no advertisement, event coordination, sponsorship opportunities or promotional efforts made to draw crowds.
Whatever Staff have to say will be heard at Council on My 18th.
Related news story:

 

 

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Has the public stopped listening to those elected to lead? What happens when that happens?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

May 4th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Fortino signs

Signs appear everywhere in the supermarket. The private sector gets the message – why isn’t city hall getting the message?

When I walk into the Fortinos on Guelph Line I am met with a small cluster of signs telling me that I need to keep a six foot distance between other people in the store.

When I walk into the Fortinos in Hamilton at McNabb and Main, there is a young man asking me if I have experienced any Covid19 symptoms – when I say no – he directs me to the hand sanitizer to get a squirt.

For the hundreds of people who were in Spencer Smith Park on the weekend – there apparently wasn’t a single sign nor were there any visible bylaw enforcement people on hand.

What happened to the Parks and Recreation plan to have Ambassadors on hand, they would be traveling in pairs, to explain the rules and to “educate” people, for, if the signs we are seeing on people’s lawns is any indication, there is a lot of educating to be done.
City council will be meeting today – and if they stay true to past practices there will be comments from the Mayor on how necessary it is for people to Stay at Home.

People don’t want to stay at home and it would appear that they don’t want to listen anymore either.

Would it be a stretch to suggest that they no longer trust the Public Health Units or the elected officials either.

Spencer-collette-1-690x794

Nothing telling these people hat congregating like this is not permitted.

That would suggest we are experiencing a breakdown in the trust the elected must have if they are to effectively lead. While this is a stretch: this is the kind of situation that leads to anarchy.

There is a plan, or rather there was a plan to have city staff on the ground as it were to observe and explain to people.

Will those young men and woman who chose the municipal sector to create careers that involved public service feel safe approaching people and asking them to respect the rules?

What if one of the visitors to our city strikes a city employee? Of course they will be charged if we can find and identify them. The immediate result will have either the police or one of the ten bylaw enforcement officers escorting the Ambassadors.

This is not a pretty picture.

Why are we in this situation? What clues did we miss? Do the people with the signs on their lawns not talk to their Councillors?

We have not heard a word from the ward 2 Councillor. Why?

Meed Ward with chain Sept 23-19

“When the going gets tough; the tough get going” Time for the Mayor to get tough.

If there was ever an occasion for the Mayor to go into a closed session with her Councillors, all the members of the city’s leadership team as well as the Executive Directors to have so hard discussions – this would be one of them.

Some kind of a statement from the Emergency Control Group is also called for.

We are heading into a season that will include a lot of hot summer weather which will attract thousands.

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Public opposition to the 'lock downs' is showing up on lawn signs - it is going to take more than pleas from the MAyor to curb this one,

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 3rd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

If we were wondering how deeply felt the opposition to the current Stay at Home order is – the signs appearing on Burlington lawns might be a hint.

lockdown sign 1

Sign on a Burlington lawn

The Gazette published pictures of the way people chose t gather at Spencer Smith Park on the weekend.

Then we heard about the signs – there are two that we are aware of in the city.

The organization behind the signs has a web site – this is a cute one.

www.NoMoreLockdowns.ca

It is going to take a significantly different approach to change the way people behave – Council will have its hands full with this one.

Asked for comment earlier today, the Parks and Recreation department has yet to respond; they handle park related issues.

 

 

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Sharman wants to shake up the way the city budget is prepared - wants a tighter - 'unvarnished' - look at just what the departments are doing

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

May3rd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A very solid look at what the citizens of Burlington get for the money they pay Councillor Paul Sharman to serve as a city councilor is on the Council agenda this week.

Paul is a bean counter – an accountant with years of experience managing some tricky corporate budget issues. He was once on the payroll at Nortel,  a once thriving Canadian corporation in the communications equipment sector.

When it comes to numbers and process he knows whereof he speaks – and this week he is going to speak quite bluntly to his colleagues about some serious problems related to the way budgets are prepared by staff and handled by council members when they are submitted for debate and discussion.

Joan Ford, the city's Director of Finance knows where every dollar comes from and where every dollar gets spent.

Joan Ford, the city’s Treasurer knows where every dollar comes from and where every dollar gets spent.

Finance is and has been for some time the best run department in the city. This past 15 months have pushed them beyond the limit –  but they never faltered. Joan Ford, the treasurer, has been with the city for more than 30 years (33 I think) and has a cottage that she is said to want to spend more time. She has a fine staff – but it will be very hard to replace Joan Ford. That is not to suggest that she is leaving – we have no idea what her personal plans are.

Councilor Sharman has put forward a Staff Direction to:

Direct the Chief Financial Officer to report back in July 2021 as part of the budget framework report on process changes reflecting a coordinated corporate integrated business planning, measurement, budget and performance management process.

“Based on my experience and observations, as a Councillor,” said Sharman, “I believe we are experiencing increasingly difficult challenges with the alignment of the City’s annual budget process with strategic decision making.

Sharman has spent a lot of time explaining the finer points of budget matters to Councillor Bentivegna.

“In addition, Council has very limited routine knowledge about how well City operations are performing other than when we receive complaints from citizens. Key performance measurement indicators are not routinely provided to Council. Overall, I very much appreciate and value the efforts of staff, including the Finance Budget team, however a discussion on this matter by Council, is both timely and critically important to reduce performance risks of the type Burlington has experienced in recent years.

Dennison, Craven, Taylor with leashes

One year the finance staff gave members of Council the complete budget on a memory stick with a feature that allowed them to make changes in the budget and see instantly the impact on the tax rate. That memory stick was never made available to the public.

“While we have enhanced our efforts related to multi-year strategic planning, service planning/resource needs and operational risk management, the unrealistic expectations placed on the budget process is increasingly apparent. A few key considerations:

the culture of requiring Council to provide budget directions in July, inclusive of a staff recommended city tax rate change target, without in depth and disciplined understanding of the business performance issues contribute to our service and operating risks.

“After the “budget direction report” is approved, staff undertakes significant work to prepare a budget in which the majority of the Council discussion revolves around department cost centers and services where all recommendations are developed relative to the prior year’s budget (or base case), which is adjusted for inflation, employee compensation increases and other known increases.

“Following the Chief Financial Officer’s line by line review where base case adjustments are completed, staff assess what other additions might be acceptable based on Council sensitivity to a perceived tax increase target rather than a complete understanding of the business needs of the City. All of this leads to the completion of a proposed budget prepared by staff and presented to Council for review, modification, and approval in the absence of adequate understanding of current operational performance measures, issues, and risk.

“Formal Council Budget review and approval is accomplished through a “horse trading” process that revolves around a form called “Budget Action Request” (BAR), which is a list of items to be amended and tabled by each member of Council based on their review of the draft budget. Each item is discussed by Councilors and then voted on. Items that are approved have the effect of modifying the budget and lead to budget approval. The BAR form process is essentially short term focused and not suitable for dealing with longer term operational or strategic goals of the organization. Meanwhile, history tells us that departments are often struggling because there has been no continuous dialogue with Council about the extent to which operational needs exist in the City.

‘Some recent examples where Council had inadequate or no prior awareness of critical incidents that might have been avoided had what is being proposed been in effect, include:

Laura Boyd 2a

Laura Boyd once produced a report that set out all to clearly where the problems were in making the best use of the staff compliment.

• Transit staff working extended hours beyond legislative limits and service goals not being met due to inadequate budget.
• Incidents in Recreation Community and Culture related to facility preventative maintenance standards.
• Community Planning department seriously under-resourced to address existing and forecasted workload i.e., development applications.
• Roads Parks and Forestry seriously under-resourced to meet Council approved service standards and community expectations.
• By-Law Enforcement/Animal Control under resourced
• Human resources stretched particularly given the unprecedented impact on staff workload.

“Strategy formulation is the most important mechanism for prioritizing resource allocation for the long term, sustainable, benefit of the community we serve. That allows us to consider critical long term funding requirements, as was accomplished in previous terms of Council for a) JB Hospital expansion, b) Infrastructure renewal including new annual dedicated levy.

“With regard to strategy alignment with the budget process, the following should be in place recognizing it will not all happen in one year. There should be distinct business plans for each key strategic direction embedded in our 25 yr Strategic Plan and V2F 4yr Action Plan, even if only rudimentary, initially.

Sharman hand up

Councillor Sharman has always been very direct with his comments – he can be withering at times.

“These plans should be reviewed in depth every 5 years and consulted every year as part of a rolling 5-year Operating Plan. The first year of the Operating Plan would be approved as the budget for the subsequent year. The operating plan/1st year budget should be based on real, unvarnished, in depth reviews of a 5-year business plan for each service. The service business plans should be brought to Council for review before “budget directions” are provided.

“Council’s Strategic Plan and approved Operating Plan/Budget need to transcend elections and provide useful guidance to future Councils as part of the preparation of both documents (not a commitment). These plans will be subject to change, as all plans are. The premise of this suggested model is to place a focus on long term planning with short term adjustments. The approach is designed to shift the organization focus to the future rather than on the past, and to the business of the organization rather than vague and poorly informed assessments of community sentiment.

“Here is what I propose, recognizing that staff will need to report back:

1) Staff report back in July 2021 with a framework and proposed timing for the budget process enhancements related to alignment with strategic planning and ongoing service planning. Please note staff were already planning to come to Council in July, comments/guidance from council today will be helpful.

Sharman hand to head

Sharman: Waiting for the wisdom he has just sprinkled on council to settle in?

2) In September, real, unvarnished, in depth reviews of 5-year business plans for each service be held with Council in preparation for budget with short, midterm key metrics. Integrated into this reporting, the City Manager should include an update on multi-year resource needs in keeping with the recent Designing and Evolving the Organization (DEOO) initiative.

3) Staff to prepare summary report of service reviews to identify issues raised, risks, opportunities, priorities and recommendations. Service priority directions to be sought from Council.

4) A distinct business plan be prepared for each strategic direction for the full planning horizon that estimates key activity milestones and resource requirements complete with short-, mid- and long-term key metrics.

5) A 5-year business plan be brought to council that reflects the combination of items 2,3&4 above. This represents the basis for budget decision making.

6) The consequent 1st year of the budget is to be presented in both perspectives of
a) Service budget, operational measures, and performance targets b) Department budgets reflecting the service budgets, multi-year resource needs, KPI measures, and targets.

7) Covid-19 verbal updates to be replaced in future by a City Service Operations Review Update “Ops Review.”

“What is proposed represents a huge change culturally and work wise. It is possible that all aspects mentioned exist already to some degree, but refinement is required. They require time to be accomplished. Burlington staff and Council have worked to implement all of the pieces over the last ten years. Now it is time to integrate and align them…it is now time to complete the work.

Sharman - hand raised

Ever the advocate – Sharman during the 2018 election – there was a period of time when his seat was at risk

“Doing so should simplify and massively improve Council knowledge, planning, budget preparation and approval. That said, I recognize that to introduce it all in one year is not feasible. Aspects can be implemented for the 2022 budget process, and that we consider doing what is possible, without creating massive disruption. The rest can be phased over the next year and perhaps beyond.”

Council is going to spend a lot of time on this one.  The subject is as dry as toast and as important as whatever you have in your wallet.

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For those who cannot work from home - vaccinations are available

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 3rd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton Regional Public Health Office has announced new vaccination schedules.

Eligible Halton Residents can (dependent on supply) now book appointments starting

50+ who cannot work from home Monday, May 3 (as previously announced)

40+ who cannot work from home Wednesday, May 5

30+ who cannot work from home Friday, May 7

16+ who cannot work from home – (attending school in-person does not qualify) Monday, May 10

To learn more about Halton Region’s COVID-19 Vaccine Program, including who is currently eligible and how to book an appointment, please visit halton.ca/COVIDvaccines.

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Spencer Smith Park - that Jewel in the Burlington Crown - didn't appear to have a single sign explaining to people what the Stay at Home order meant

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 3, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

What would we do without informed readers with cameras.

A Gazette reader sent us the following.

Her comments:

“So much for the “stay at home” order. These were taken Saturday. It was not even the busiest time. There is zero enforcement happening. Sunday was worse.

Spencer collette 1

The blossoms are beautiful – but where were the park Ambassadors the city was going to have in place to “educate” people and explain what the rules were and why they needed to be adhered to?

 

spencer colette 2

The new version of the Gazebo proved to be a popular gathering spot. There wasn’t as much as a sign to tell people what the Stay at Home order meant.

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114 Hot Spots in Ontario - Doctors want a Nation Wide Circuit Breaker put in place

News 100 redBy Staff

May 2, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A group of Canadian doctors in a letter to the government published in Macleans magazine said over the weekend that the country needs a two week circuit breaker to prevent to spread of Covid19 and its numerous variants.

CBC circuit breaker

Dr Annand Kumar, Winnipeg Critical Care doctor talking to Rosemary Barton on CBC. Dr. Kumar was one of the doctors who signed the letter.

The letter said “… a maximum COVID-19 infection suppression strategy with the goal of reducing infections to very low levels, and halting new outbreaks with aggressive contact tracing and local measures” are needed.  “We can initiate this strategy right now by starting with an intense circuit-breaker shutdown until case counts fall sufficiently to allow individual contact tracing, testing and isolation.

“Occasional limited local shutdowns, together with more rapid rollout of COVID-19 immunizations, can be utilized to control the epidemic.”

In Ontario the Public Health Units have identified 114 hot spots where vaccinations are available to anyone over the age of 18.

Hot spots are locations where there are corporations or clusters of places where people work and where there has been a sudden rise in infections.   They are identified by postal code.

The Public Health Units send in teams of people to do on the spot vaccinations

The list below doesn’t mean much to the average reader but it does point out the number of locations where the virus is out of control.

covis patient

Intensive Care Units are close to the breaking point in terms of capacity.

Once the virus is in a community, even something as small as a postal code, it gets transmitted.

Durham Region Health Department L1S, L1T, L1V, L1X, L1Z

Halton Region Public Health  L9E

City of Hamilton Public Health Services L8W, L9C

Niagara Region Public Health L2G

Ottawa Public Health K1T, K1V, K2V

Peel Public Health L4T, L4W, L4X, L4Z, L5A, L5B, L5C, L5K, L5L, L5M, L5N, L5R, L5V, L5W, L6P, L6R, L6S, L6T, L6V, L6W, L6X, L6Y, L6Z, L7A, L7C

Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit L3Z

Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency ServicesN2C

Wellington-Dufferin Guelph Public HealthN1K

Windsor-Essex County Health Unit N8H, N8X, N8Y, N9A, N9B, N9C, N9YYork Region Public HealthL0J, L3S, L3T, L4B, L4E, L4H, L4J, L4K, L4L, L6A, L6B, L6C, L6E

Toronto Public Health M1B, M1C, M1E, M1G, M1H, M1J, M1K, M1L, M1M, M1P, M1R, M1S, M1T, M1V, M1W, M1X, M2J, M2M, M2R, M3A, M3C, M3H, M3J, M3K, M3L, M3M, M3N, M4A, M4H, M4X, M5A, M5B, M5N, M5V, M6A, M6B, M6E, M6H, M6K, M6L, M6M, M6N, M8V, M9A, M9B, M9C, M9L, M9M, M9N, M9P, M9R, M9V, M9W

Southwestern Public Health N5H

Is this the beginning of a 4th wave?

Dr. Kumar said  “every time we think we have gotten ahead of the virus we have been proved to be wrong.”

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Covid19 vaccination phases -

News 100 redBy Staff

May 2nd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

When and where can you get the vaccine?

Ontario has a three-phase plan that prioritizes vaccines for those at greatest risk of severe illness and those who care for them. As vaccine supply is delivered across the province, public health units may have different vaccine administration rates based on local context.

Ontario is using different channels to administer the vaccines and reach most of the population. Implementation will vary as each channel, priority population and vaccine has specific criteria that require flexibility.

Vacination phases May 2

All of this depends on the reliable delivery of the vaccines. The Pfizer vaccine is now being delivered in volume regularly.

vaccine delivery

Vaccines arriving regularly –

Ford getting vaccinated AZ type

Premier Doug Ford getting his receives first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine. .

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Kearns gearing up for en event that has yet to be announced

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 1st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

This comes as no surprise to us.

Lisa Kearns has announced a virtual event to tell us all why she should be the Liberal candidate whenever the next provincial is held.

This is a Lisa Kearns event – nothing to do with the Liberal Party.

kearns announcementThere has not yet been an announcement from the Burlington Liberal Party Association on when a nomination meeting is to take place.

Kearns is in the process of scarring away anyone else who might want to go after the nomination.

When Lisa wants something she goes all out to get it.  Jane McKenna, the current member of the Legislature for Burlington, has the same character traits; It should be a heck of a race whenever it takes place.

In announcing her virtual event on May 7th Kearns said:

Kearns at bus depot

Lisa Kearns staking out the territory as a candidate for the Provincial Liberal nomination.

“Burlington is the best place to live, raise a family, start a business or age in place. I’ve learned that local government needs aligned provincial partners to deliver on what you value most. Quite simply, we need better representation that puts you first and prioritizes the health & well-being of our families and loved ones.

“We are a city that’s rich in community, possibility & inspiration. We’re also a city that simply deserves better. Changes are critical at the provincial level to serve you in the way you have asked. Let me continue to be ahead of the issues and make a space for your voice to be heard. Join the upcoming Town Hall to hear how I’ll leverage my professional experience and time in elected office to serve you better at the Provincial level where changes are critical.”

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Urban Forestry staff want to tell you about their street tree planting initiatives

News 100 greenBy Staff

April 30th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The City of Burlington is inviting residents, business-owners and landowners to a virtual information session to learn more about urban forestry initiatives in the city, including the Street Tree Planting program and the annual Gypsy Moth Control program.

Geese on Guelph Line and the apple trees

There were five apple trees on Guelph Line – the drive way leads to a church. The trees were cut down because the geese, who ate the apples, were pooping on the driveway. The promised replacements were never planted.

The open house will take place on Wednesday, May 12, from 7 to 8 p.m. on Microsoft Teams. Registration is not required and there is no cost to attend.

Link to join the meeting will be available on getinvolvedburlington.ca/forestry.

During the meeting, City of Burlington forestry staff will share information about:

• 2021 Gypsy Moth control program – As part of a multi-year pest management program, the City will be using a low-flying helicopter to aerial spray a bio-pesticide over four parks and wooded trail areas (City View Park, Killbride Park, LaSalle Park, Zimmerman Park) to control gypsy moth populations and protect city forests from heavy defoliation. More information about this year’s program, including locations and timing will be discussed at the open house.

• 2021 street tree planting program – Staff will provide insight about the goals for the future of Burlington’s canopy; plant healthcare challenges with growing trees on a street side; and plans to protect the city against future invasive species.

Trees Pine street

Cut down for a development

Quick Facts
• In total, Burlington plants approximately 1,000 trees annually as replacements, through capital projects, development and in response to resident requests for street trees. Trees are typically planted in boulevard settings but are also planted in parks.

• The trees within Burlington’s urban forest provide a wide range of environmental, economic and social benefits, including improved air quality, reduced storm-water runoff, energy savings, noise reduction, natural bird and wildlife habitats, higher property values and overall beautification of city streets and parks.

• The city’s Urban Forestry section is responsible for the city’s ongoing operations and maintenance of municipally-owned trees, forest planning and health, and forest protection. Key programs include: preventative maintenance through grid pruning, tree planting and stumping programs, and the administration of public and private tree protection bylaws.

Background:
Burlington struggles with the tree issue. Everyone loves them but far too many people want to ignore the need for a solid sustainable tree canopy when it gets in the way of what they want to do with their property.

The bureaucrats at city hall understand what the urban part of the city needs but are out of touch with what the rural property owners have to deal with.

mnbh

Old trees in Roseland – not nearly enough new trees being planted.

Roseland – many many really good trees but far too many tress that do not have much time left – there hasn’t been an intelligent planting program – something that should have started years ago.

The most contentious public meetings in the past ten years have been about trees and the private tree bylaw the city has in place.

Burlington really isn’t walking the talk.

Pity – when you pause at the New Street – Gooderam intersection and look south you see what the city has – there is no certainty that this is going to be the same in 25 years.

Belvenia trees-1024x768

What a beautiful street to walk or drive down. The properties on this street sell for a premium because of the trees. But even on this street some homeowners have demanded that they be given permission to cut down a tree.

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Norm Sterling named as Chair of Greenbelt Council; was a former Minister of Environment

News 100 green By Staff

April 29th 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Ontario government has appointed Norm Sterling as Chair of the Greenbelt Council. The former minister of environment, and founding member of the Niagara Escarpment Commission, will help guide the province as it undertakes what could result in the largest expansion of the Greenbelt since its creation in 2005.

Norm Sterling

Norm Sterling, former Minister of Environment named as Chair of the Greenbelt Council.

“Mr. Sterling brings important experience to the Greenbelt Council, and I am confident that under his leadership there will be incredible work done to support growing the Greenbelt,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “As a fellow grandparent, we understand the importance of leaving all of our grandchildren, and great grandchildren, with an enhanced version of the gem that is the Greater Golden Horseshoe.”

The Greenbelt Council was created to provide advice to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing on land use matters related to the Greenbelt, including education and outreach to promote the goals of the Greenbelt Plan.

In December, six members of Ontario’s Greenbelt Council stepped down — joining David Crombie, the council’s chair — to protest proposed government rules they say would gut environmental protections in the province.

Crombie DAvid

David Crombie, served as the Chair of the Greenbelt Council – resigned in protest.

Crombie, a former Progressive Conservative federal cabinet minister and Toronto mayor, says his resignation, which takes effect immediately, comes in response to measures contained in an omnibus budget bill tabled last month by the provincial government.

Sterling, doing his best to fill the Crombie shoes said: “It is an honour to serve as Chair of the Council as we work towards growing the Greenbelt. I will leverage my experience to work collaboratively with our council to ensure that we are working toward protecting and growing the Greenbelt.”

NEC mapOntario’s Greenbelt protects farmland, communities, forests, wetlands and watersheds. It also preserves cultural heritage and supports recreation and tourism in Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe.

• Established under the Greenbelt Act, 2005, the Greenbelt is a broad band of protected land that currently includes over 800,000 hectares of land in the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

• The Greenbelt currently contains 21 urban river valleys and associated wetlands. These are the valleys of rivers that pass-through cities or towns and act as urban gateways to the Greenbelt.

• The term of Mr. Sterling’s appointment is for three years.

• All Greenbelt Council Members receive a per diem for attending meetings.

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JBH President explains what the Pandemic Response Unit is being used for and why

News 100 redBy Eric Vandewall

April 29th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Since March 12, 2021, in response to the urgent need to vaccinate as many people in our community and protect high-risk individuals from the COVID-19 virus, Joseph Brant Hospital began operating a Halton Region Vaccination Clinic in the Pandemic Response Unit PRU. The PRU’s flexibility in design allowed us to quickly mobilize the PRU to serve this purpose, using our skilled staff onsite to administer the vaccines. To date, we have vaccinated over 16,000 individuals in our community and will continue to immunize prioritized groups established by Halton Region.

At the same time, daily news reports convey the troublingly high number of new COVID-19 cases across the country. It is important to remember the heartbreaking stories behind those numbers. At JBH, we feel every single loss. With each loss, we know that there are so many families, friends and colleagues in immense grief.

field hospital - long look

Beds can be moved and a vaccination booth set up in a very short period of time

In Halton, we continue to see high numbers of new COVID-19 cases and it is too soon to determine if we have reached the peak of this third wave. In terms of our hospital’s capacity, today JBH is at 91% capacity. We are currently caring for 28 patients with COVID-19 – 16 of these patients are in Intensive Care Unit (ICU). In recent weeks, the total number of patients (COVID-19 and non-COVID-19) in our ICU units has ranged on average from the low 20s to as high as 29. We have the capacity to surge to 32 patients in ICU if needed.

Understandably, given the dire situation, we have been asked why we continue to use our PRU as a vaccination clinic and why it is not being used for COVID-19 care to help manage patient overflow in regional hospitals dealing with record numbers of COIVD 19 patients.

I hear you and I understand your concerns. While I do not wish to minimize the seriousness of the situation, I would like to provide further context and explain where we are today.

Vaccination is a critical step to reducing the spread of COVID-19 as well as to keep people healthy, safe and well. We stand ready to mobilize the PRU back to providing patient care within 24 hours if additional bed capacity is required. That decision cannot be made solely by JBH. The decision to open the PRU to care for patients is a decision made at the regional level – at the HNHBB (Hamilton, Niagara, Haldimand, Norfolk, Brant and Burlington) Regional Incident Management System (IMS) table. The PRU was intended to be used when all conventional space in hospitals was exhausted across the region, as a “safety valve”, to relieve pressure on conventional hospital beds and to ensure there is sufficient capacity to care for COVID-19 mild to moderate patients who are on their way to recovery and to return home. Hospitals continue to respond internally to the growing demand for ICU care and we are seeing more mobile response units constructed to help expand capacity. The point of requiring the PRU for patient care has not yet been reached.

Hospital modular

Everyone who has been vaccinated at JBH and comments said it was “just great”.

Field hospital

The PRU structure is between the hospital expansion and the parking lot. It was set up in a very very short period of time – albeit at considerable expense.

Since the beginning of 2021, JBH has accepted 50 inter-regional patient transfers, including patients from the greater Toronto Area (GTA). All of these were serious cases placed in available ICU and acute care beds on designated units in our hospital. The most appropriate place for these individuals was to be located in conventional hospital space. Many of these individuals required ventilation and constant monitoring for a deterioration in their condition. In addition to using all the available space in our hospital to care for these patients, we have been able to increase the number of ICU beds up to 32. This has been done by reviewing our health human resources and placing all available healthcare staff in roles to support staffing these additional ICU beds, as a result of our surgical ramp down. I am incredibly proud of all of our team members, including those who have been redeployed to support the provision of comprehensive and compassionate care to our patients.

In conclusion, please understand that while our PRU is a well-equipped and robust temporary short stay field hospital space, it does not replace conventional inpatient beds in the hospital. The PRU was designed for individuals who are medically stable, presenting mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms, who require additional supports before they are ready to return home.

If the decision is made to mobilize the PRU back to providing medical care, we can make that happen in short order, relocating the vaccination clinic to an alternate space onsite. Every day we are working closely with our regional and provincial health partners to monitor the evolving situation, assess risk and determine the need for PRU capacity.

Eric Vandewall

Eric Vandewall, at what was supposed to be a celebratory event at which the Minister of Health at the time was to announce a large provincial contribution to the building of the extension to the hospital. The Minister got stuck in QEW traffic so we all went home. The cheque did arrive.

Finally, please continue to follow the guidance of medical experts and public health officials. If you are eligible to get vaccinated, doing so keeps you and your loved ones safe, and brings us one step closer to making our communities safer. If you have vaccine concerns, talk to your doctor or please seek out credible sources of information like Halton Region and the Province of Ontario. I also encourage you to follow JBH on our social media channels to stay up-to-date on the latest news and information from our hospital.

Thank you again for your continued support and understanding during these challenging times.

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Regional Police Chief Stephen Tanner now the longest serving Chief in the Country

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 29th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Today, Halton Region Police Chief Stephen Tanner becomes the longest serving police chief in the country – 20 years.

His annual report to the Board is, according to the current chair Jeff Knowles, very impressive.  The Gazette will report on that when it is made public.

Halton Regional Police Services Chief Tanner wants to tweet with you.

Halton Regional Police Services Chief Stephen Tanner now the longest serving police chief in Canada.

Police Service Board meetings are not on the top of the list for very many reporters; unless there is something that has caught the public’s attention.

When Chief Tanner went out of the country around Christmas time many were upset and asking – why?

Turned out the Chief had permission to leave his post – that was given to him by the then Chair of the Police Services Board Oakville Mayor Rob Burton.

That decision cost Burton his job as Chair – he resigned.

Chief Tanner was one of many Chiefs who quickly told the province earlier this month, that Halton would not be using the additional authority the province had given them to stop people and ask where they were going and where they lived when the province was under a Stay at Home order.

Stephen The Regional Police have State of Emergency authority that they have not used and do not expect to use.  The City of Burlington Mayor declared a State of Emergency that immediately set the day to day operations of the city in the hands of an Emergency Control Group that makes decisions regularly at its meetings which often take place more than once a week.

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Halton residents 50+ who cannot work from home can book COVID-19 vaccination appointments starting May 3

News 100 redBy Staff

April 29th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Starting Monday, May 3, Halton residents who are 50 years of age and older (born in or before 1971) and cannot work from home can book an appointment to receive their COVID-19 vaccine at a Halton Region COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic.

“We are pleased to be able to offer more appointments to priority populations,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “We continue to follow the Province’s direction on prioritization and our ability to keep opening appointments to more residents is reliant on ongoing and dependable vaccine supply from the Provincial and Federal Governments. Our clinics are ready for more supply – we have the capacity to double the amount of people we vaccinate each day.”

Halton Region continues to follow Provincial direction on prioritization and does not have the authority to grant exceptions. Residents who are 40 years of age and older are also encouraged to book an appointment at multiple participating pharmacies in Halton for the AstraZeneca vaccine. This vaccine is safe and effective, and another way to gain protection from severe illness and complications from COVID-19.

“The more people we vaccinate each and every day, the closer we get to returning to normal,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health. “We have six clinics operating 7 days a week and participating pharmacies continue to offer appointments to those 40 and older. Please get the vaccine when it is your turn – the best vaccine option is the first one available to you.”

Important information & instructions:

  • On Monday, May 3, Halton residents 50 years of age and older (born in or before 1971) who cannot  work from home can book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment through Halton’s online booking system.
  • While booking online is the fastest way to schedule an appointment, residents can also call 311 if they require booking support. Residents who are not currently eligible to receive the vaccine are asked not to call 311 or visit the online booking system to ensure eligible residents have access.
  • Vaccinations at Halton’s clinics are by appointment only (no walk-ins) and must be booked through Halton Region’s online system or through 311. Please do not contact clinics directly. Bookings for Halton residents are not available through the Provincial booking system; residents who access the Provincial booking system will be guided back to Halton’s system.
    • Vaccinations at a participating pharmacy are by appointment only (no walk-ins) and must be booked directly through the pharmacy. Please do not call 311 for pharmacy appointments. If you are 40 or older, please visit ontario.ca/PharmacyCovidVaccine to find a location and information on how to book.
  • Eligible residents can book appointments at any one of Halton’s six COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics located in Burlington (including Joseph Brant Hospital), Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville (including Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital). Residents are reminded that parking is free at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital and Joseph Brant Hospital for those with scheduled appointments at these clinics.
  • Residents who have already scheduled an appointment for vaccination through Halton Region can verify/check their appointment details or reschedule first dose appointments.
    • Halton Region is reminding residents that have booked appointments at a Halton Vaccination Clinic and have been able to find earlier first and second dose appointments (for example, through a pharmacy) to please remember to cancel their appointments by calling 311 at least 24 hours in advance, so that someone else who is eligible can get the vaccine.
    • Please note that cancelling appointments is only for those who have not received their first dose yet and changing second dose appointments cannot be easily accommodated. Residents who have had their first dose are strongly encouraged to keep their second dose appointment, unless for extraordinary circumstances (for example, work schedules that cannot be rearranged, conflicting specialist appointments). Rescheduling second doses remains dependent on vaccine supply and appointment availability.

All appointments are contingent on the availability of vaccine supply.

 

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Telephone Town Hall worked - the public was well served.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 29th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In terms of communicating with the public it went exceptionally well. The latest in a series of Telephone Town Hall events ran for an hour last evening ran out of time before they ran out of questions.

Dr Dale K

Dr. Dale Kalina, Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control, Joseph Brant Hospital

Moderated by the Mayor, the strongest theme was information on the different vaccines being used by the Public Health units and the pharmacies.

Dr. Dale Kalina, Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control, Joseph Brant Hospital pressed the point that the vaccine used was not a concern – what was important was that people get vaccinated.

Close to a majority of the questions asked related to the vaccines available.

Throughout the evening there were mini-surveys that asked what people thought about allowing public participation in public events suggesting that consideration is being given to opening things up a little.

There was just the one question on recreational issues; many of the people taking part in the call weren’t required to say a word.

The public was well served.

A transcript of the event will e published.

We will ask the Mayor what there are in the way of plans to open up events to the public – it will depend on what the response to the mini survey reveals.

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Drug Investigation in Burlington Ends with Arrest and Charges

Crime 100By Staff

April 29th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

So much for the Stay at Home order.

The Halton Regional Police Service – Burlington Street Crime Unit has completed a drug trafficking investigation with a pair of arrests and a number of charges.

On Tuesday April 27, 2021 investigators arrested Nicklauss Ancion (26) of Brampton and Megan Noble (29) of No Fixed Address in Burlington.

Ancion has been charged with:

  • Trafficking – Fentanyl
  • Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking – Fentanyl
  • Obstruct With Intent to Resist Arrest
  • Weapons Dangerous

Noble has been charged with:

  • Possession of a Controlled Substance – Fentanyl
  • Breach Probation

At the time of arrest, Ancion was in possession of a knife (which was seized by officers).

police drug bust april 28

The evidence

Search warrants were also executed at a residence in Burlington and a second home in Brampton. As a result of the investigation, officers also seized approximately 5 grams of fentanyl, and a small amount of cash (see attached photo).

There were no physical injuries sustained during the arrests.

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

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

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Halton Region invests in local programs that deliver vital services supporting the health, safety and well-being of residents

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 29th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Halton Region is investing $3.5 million in programs and services that support the health, safety and well-being of residents through the Halton Region Community Investment Fund (HRCIF) in 2021. This investment also supports the needs of vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 pandemic and addresses needs identified through the Halton Community Safety and Well-Being (CSWB) planning initiative.

Region - Carr

Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr.

“By investing in community-based non-profit organizations, we can help ensure that essential services are available to those who need them most,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “This funding is one of the ways we are supporting our community during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Thank you to everyone who is helping us move forward together.”

werfgt

Region of Halton administrative offices in Oakville

Programs that have received funding through the HRCIF continue to address a broad range of human service needs and priorities, including initiatives that strengthen the health, safety and well-being of our community. A total of 31 new grants have been approved to date in 2021. Some of the investments include:

• $30,000 to the Bob Rumball Canadian Centre of Excellence for the Deaf to support active living, education and inclusion among older adults who are deaf;

• $80,480 to the Oak Park Neighbourhood Centre to provide hub based supports for residents in an at-risk community in Oakville;

• $30,000 to Halton Women’s Place to upgrade the security system at its shelter locations;

• $26,690 to Christian Horizons to provide workshops that support internet safety for individuals with a developmental disability;

• $30,000 to the Syrian Canadian Foundation to provide online education and social connection sessions for Arabic speaking newcomer women;

• $139,895 to the Housing Help Centre for Hamilton-Wentworth (operating in Halton) to support clients with complex needs to have long-term housing success; and

• $107,540 to support the Halton Equity and Diversity Roundtable to implement initiatives to strengthen equity and inclusion.

Applications for funding through the HRCIF will continue to be accepted on an ongoing basis in 2021 to respond to emergent needs and address the continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizations that meet eligibility criteria may submit their application through the application form on halton.ca. Applications will be reviewed regularly until all available funding has been allocated.

For more information on the HRCIF and a full list of the programs and services that received funding, visit the HRCIF webpage on halton.ca or call 311.

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Burlington Mundialization Committee coordinates a virtual celebration of spring, including a live photo stream of the Japanese cherry blossoms in Spencer Smith Park

News 100 greenBy Staff

April 28th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Watching the Cherry Blossoms Bloom.
The City of Burlington’s Mundialization Committee invites residents to celebrate spring and the city’s friendship with its twin cities, Apeldoorn, the Netherlands and Itabashi, Japan.

To help limit the spread of COVID-19 and following the current provincial Stay-at-Home order, all celebrations will be held virtually this year.

These trees have been in place for close to 25 years and each spring their blossoms come out first in pink and then change to white and then fall to the ground. Each spring the hope, the beauty and the relationship with the people of Japan who gave us the trees is renewed.

These trees have been in place for years: each spring their blossoms come out first in pink and then change to white and then fall to the ground. Each spring the hope, the beauty and the relationship with the people of Japan who gave us the trees is renewed.

Virtual Sakura Festival
This year’s virtual Sakura Festival commemorates Burlington’s 32-year twin-city friendship with Itabashi, Japan and includes:

• Live photo stream of cherry blossoms: Follow the progress of the Japanese cherry blossoms on the Sakura trees in Spencer Smith Park as they get ready to burst into bloom over the coming weeks, with a live photo stream available on burlington.ca/CherryBlossoms.

Through the photo stream, residents can view new photos of the trees, taken every day, or select the time lapse feature to see the progression of the blooms to date.

• Videos celebrating Japanese culture: Between May 5 – 12, follow the City’s social media channels, @cityburlington on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, for videos featuring traditional Japanese performances in music, dance and more.
Canada Netherlands Day

This year’s virtual celebration recognizes the 76th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands by the Canadian Armed Forces and the 16th anniversary of Burlington’s twinning with the City of Apeldoorn.

• May 5 – Follow the City’s social media channels, @cityburlington on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, to see two videos featuring distinguished guests, and musical performances from groups in Apeldoorn and Burlington. Highlights include a speaker who shares his experiences as a small boy at the end of World War II, and a unique performance by elementary school students from Trinity Christian School in Burlington.

Commisso and Mayor in Japan

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward leads the parade in Itabashi, Japan, with city manager (white shirt center) Tim Commisso following and showing fine form.

Itabashi, Japan

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward had this to say: “The cherry blossoms of the Sakura trees in Spencer Smith Park are one of our city’s most picturesque landmarks our community, and visitors, look forward to every year.

This year, as we do our part to stay home and limit outdoor gatherings to members of the same household, this virtual experience means that residents can enjoy these beautiful pink blooms no matter where there are. I’m also looking forward to commemorating an important milestone in Canada Netherlands Day marking the 76th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands by Canadian Armed Forces – arguably the birth of the deep connection and friendship between our two nations.

We are very fortunate in Burlington to have formed strong friendships with our twin cities – Itabashi, Japan and Apeldoorn, the Netherlands — and I thank our Mundialization Committee for coordinating this year’s virtual events in honour of these important and special relationships.”

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Province scrambling to find a way to get money into the hands of employees who have to take time off from work due to Covid19

News 100 redBy Staff

April 28th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Ontario government continues to work with the federal government to further support vulnerable workers by doubling payments made through the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) program, the province will introduce legislation that, if passed, will offer up to three paid sick days per employee.

Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, will introduce legislation on Thursday that would, if passed, require employers to provide employees with up to $200 of pay for up to three days if they are missing work because of COVID-19. This program will be retroactive to April 19, 2021 and effective until September 25, 2021, the date the CRSB will expire.

Queen's Park winter

Let’s see what happens at Queen’s Park on Thursday.

By providing time-limited access to three paid leave days, the province is ensuring employees can pay their bills as they help stop the spread of the virus, including by getting tested, waiting for their results in isolation or going to get their vaccine. The province will partner with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board to deliver the program and reimburse employers up to $200 per day for each employee.

“Our government has long advocated for the federal government to enhance the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit program to better protect the people of Ontario, especially our tireless essential workers,” said Minister McNaughton. “It is a tremendously positive step that the federal government has signaled their willingness to continue discussions on the CRSB. Now we can fix the outstanding gap in the federal program so workers can get immediate support and can stay home when needed.”

The province has also offered to provide funding to the federal government to double CRSB payments to Ontario residents, adding an additional $500 per week to eligible individuals for a total of $1,000 per week. Combined with the province’s proposed three days of paid COVID-19 leave, doubling the CRSB would provide Ontario workers with access to the most generous pandemic paid leave in the country.

If an eligible worker learns that they must isolate for longer than 50 per cent of the time they would have otherwise worked for the week, whether because of a positive COVID-19 test or risk of exposure, they may apply for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit if they haven’t taken a paid leave day under this proposal.

Let’s see what happens at Queen’s Park on Thursday.

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Registration for Summer Camps and Park Play Program opens May 1

News 100 greenBy Staff

April 28th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Is that light at the end of the tunnel?

The small buds on the trees are turning into leaves; the Farmer’s Market has announced they are opening in the middle of May.
And now the city Parks and Recreation department has announced that registrations for summer camps will open on May 1st.

This is progress.

The City is hopeful that Summer Camps and a new Park Play program will be able to run, with registration for both opening May 1, 2021 at 9 a.m. As always, any City-run program will be subject to the Provincial and public health regulations and could be cancelled as we continue to respond to this pandemic.

To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, summer programs will meet health regulations designed in consultation with Halton Region Public Health and in alignment with provincial health regulations. Precautions include lower ratios of participant to staff and capacity, physical distancing, mandatory health screening and enhanced facility cleaning.

Natural parks

No one within six feet.

Park Play Program
The Park Play program is for children and youth ages 8 to 14 years and includes fun, active and creative games run by City staff in four local parks: Iroquois Park, Mohawk Park, Cavendish Park and Leighland Park. The program will run July 19 to Aug. 13, 2021.

The participants may choose not to stay the entire time, they can leave and go home for lunch and come back or bring their lunch to the park to eat. Sign in and out procedures are the same as Drop- in programs, but only registered participants are permitted to participate with the group.

Summer Camp
Similar to 2020 summer camps for youth ages 4 to 16 years, this year’s program will offer outdoor and physical activities, active and quiet games, arts and crafts, and nature-based activities. These camps are inclusive for all participants and feature additional staff for a smaller camper to leader ratios to help maintain physical distancing in camp and ensure safe supervision of campers.
Summer Camps include:

• SNAP 4 to 10 years old
• Youth 9 to 14 years old
• Junior Leadership 12 to 14 years old
• Leaders in Training for 14 old 16 years old
• Music Camp for 7 to 10 years old
• Student Theatre:
o Arts Camp for 6 to 15 years old
o Theatre Specialty Camps for 9 to 15 years old

All programs have spaces for Individuals with Disabilities within each camp group.

To register or for more information, visit burlington.ca/summer.

Recreation Fee Assistance
Recreation Fee Assistance is funding made available to individuals or families who need help to pay for City of Burlington recreational programs.
For more information or to apply, visit burlington.ca/feeassistance. Information available by telephone – call 905-335-7600, ext. 8501 to leave a voice mail.

Glenn Chris

Chris Glenn, Director of Recreation, Community and Culture

Chris Glenn, Director of Recreation, community and Culture said: “Last summer’s camp programs went very well and we’re hoping to build on that success for this year. The new Park Play program is not a day camp but will offer many of the same fun games and activities that people of all abilities can participate in. ”

Links and Resources
www.burlington.ca/summer
www.burlington.ca/feeassistance

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