The data is not good and the resources are beginning to be stretched - if the numbers get worse things will be very painful

News 100 redBy Staff

November 14th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The details are always in the data.

Burlington data for 13 Region

The blue line might be a little on the mis-leading side.

On balance the Regional Public Health office has been doing a very good job testing and tracing COVID-19 infections. There are certainly instances of situations where things went off the rails – but the people doing this work have been working flat out. It is a seven days a week operation putting in the hours that it takes to test and trace.

Covid cases for the region

These are the numbers for the Region. How close are we to capacity in terms of what the hospitals can handle?

Testing and tracing tells the Region what we are up against.  When the data is rolled up to the province we get to see the bigger picture.

Local data explains the part we play in all this.  The numbers are not good.

Lab testing

The percent positivity is the critical number. We are now very close to be unable to control the spread of the virus.

Spread and containment

These numbers are not sustainable. That Effective reproduction number is what we want – not what we have. The Region is currently at a reproduction number of 5

 

capacity graphics

With a seven-day moving average of 50+ cases a day it isn’t hard to see where we are headed.

 

The numbers on where we are with hospital capacity are approaching critical.

If the infections increase the number of people who enter hospitals and those who are in ICU and perhaps needing ventilation – bumps up against the number of ventilators available. As of Friday there were 8 classrooms in the Region closed with 11 people defined as infected.

The front line workers within the medical system are close to exhaustion – they have been at it since March with not much in the way of let up for them.

The Friday announcement that the four municipalities in the Region were now in a code Red status and the Premier suggesting that the province might well go into a second lock-down that will last longer than the first.

New Zealand chose to do a total lock down in August – winter time for them.  Their lock down lasted more than 100 days.  Canada is approaching its winter and our numbers are rising – because we did not heed what the data was telling us – the very mixed messaging didn’t help.

Is the writing on the wall?

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City recreation and facilities to remain open with new restrictions

News 100 redBy Staff

November 14th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Yesterday, the province announced Halton Region, including Burlington, will move into the Red (Control) Phase with additional restrictions to help control the spread of COVID-19. This takes effect on Monday, Nov. 16 and will be in place for a minimum of 28-days.

City of Burlington facilities and recreation programming can remain open with new restrictions in addition to ones already in place. Recreation Services staff are contacting user groups, renters and individuals affected by these changes.

New restrictions for City facilities and recreation as a result of moving in the Red (Control) Phase include:

• 10 people maximum for indoor programs such as ice pads, gymnasiums, pools, etc.

• 25 people maximum for outdoor programs

• Drop-in recreation programs will have a maximum capacity of 10 people. This includes Aquatic Fitness, recreational swimming and skating, lap swims, etc.

• Swimming lessons and indoor pickleball are cancelled

no no no

A lot of no,no coming out of city hall. Expect more of this in the days and weeks ahead.

• No spectators permitted at sports and recreational fitness facilities except for parent/guardian supervision of children

• All other program participants will receive targeted communication
These new restrictions will impact program providers in the following ways:

• For all team sport, indoor and outdoor game-play is no longer permitted

• Teams in City facilities and on City fields can adjust their programming to training and skill development with a maximum of 10 people indoor and 25 outdoor. Program participants are encouraged to reach out to their organization for additional information

• If you are a participant in a non-City program, please connect with your organization to understand how this may impact you

• No spectators permitted at sports and recreational fitness facilities except for parent/guardian supervision of children

• No contact permitted for team or individual sports

• Limit duration of stay to 90 minutes

• Require active screening, contact information and attendance for all patrons

• No live performances. Performing arts rehearsal or performing a recorded or broadcasted event permitted
• Singers and players of brass or wind instruments must be separated from any other performers by plexiglass or other impermeable barrier
Existing restrictions that will remain for City facilities and recreation include:
• Physical distancing
• Mandatory face coverings
• Mandatory health pre-screening, pre-registration and online payment

Virtual programming, Active at Home is still available at burlington.ca/activeathome and offers a wide variety of activities.

Anyone with questions should follow-up with their sport provider or user group or you can call Recreation Services’ Customer service at 905-335-7738.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward added her position to the provincial announcement.

Meed Ward with chain Sept 23-19

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

“Today, the Province revised the thresholds for movement in its new COVID-19 Framework and moved Region of Halton into the Red (Control) level with additional restrictions to help control the spread of COVID-19. The new level allows most businesses to remain open with additional protocols and restrictions.

I support this measure along with the new thresholds given the new and concerning modelling that was released this week. The Halton Mayors and Regional Chair had previously requested that any additional restrictions be based on transparent health indicators. The new data shows Halton meets the criteria for this change to a new level.

I continue to ask our residents to please follow the updated restrictions and guidelines from our Medical Officer of Health that include limiting social gatherings to household members, limiting outings to essential trips, and continuing to wear masks when social distancing is not possible.”
recommend everyone to check out the videos and stay active and safe.”

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Get to know your mask really well - you will be using it when you next put on sun skin care products - Really!

News 100 redBy Staff

November 13th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We asked the Regional Medical Officer of Health for some detail on masks.

What kind of mask works best and how do you care for the masks that you purchase. And what should one be looking for when they are buying masks on-line.

Dr Meghani at news conference Hamilton

Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Regional Medical Officer of Health

We didn’t get quite the answers we were hoping but what we did get was certainly detailed enough,

This is what your taxes are paying for:

Masks are most effective when they are worn correctly.

Wear a mask made of three layers, including a middle, filter layer for improved protection. Masks should be made of tightly woven materials such as cotton or linen. Two layer masks do not need to be discarded, instead consider making or buying a three-layered mask when it is time to replace your two-layer non-medical mask.

Wear a mask that fits well around your nose and mouth, without gaps at the sides (for example, cloth mask, balaclava, bandana, or scarf).

Clean your hands before putting on, taking off or adjusting your mask.

Touch only the straps when putting on and taking off a mask.

Avoid touching your mask while wearing it to avoid contaminating your hands.

mask hold by strings

Hold the mask by the strings

If reusable, store in a clean place and wash regularly.

Discard non-reusable masks in a lined garbage bin if damp, soiled or damaged, and wash your hands afterwards.

Do not leave discarded masks on the ground or in shopping carts.

Masks or face coverings with an exhalation valve do not filter virus particles when you breathe out. In order to protect others nearby, wear a non-medical mask, balaclava, bandana, scarf, cloth or other similar item that covers the nose, mouth and chin without leaving a gap between the face and the mask.

mask n95

High end face mask

Medical masks, such as N95 respirators, protect against respiratory droplets from others entering the nose or mouth. Medical masks are needed by healthcare workers for medical procedures and to care for individuals who have COVID-19.

Some employers (that do not provide health care services) may require staff wear medical grade masks in order to meet safety requirements.

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Winter time fire pits in public parks - get your marshmallows before they sell out

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 12th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Fire pits in some of the public parks?

It was on the agenda and the city is taking a very serious look at them for the winter months

outdoor fire pits

A skin of mulled wine will make this a real winter event.

Corporate Service, Strategy and Accountability Standing Committee Chair Rory Nisan suggested people invest in marshmallow companies – there will be a run on them if and when the fire pits are actually put in place.

The Parks and Recreation took a bunch of ideas and ran them by council – budget be damned – the Councillors liked what they heard and wanted more information.

The free skating time that was sponsored by Tim Hortons isn’t on this year. They advised the city back in March that they would not be sponsors this year.

The city is looking seriously at 17 free skate event and six Sticks and Pucks event without a sponsor.

The home grown hockey rinks are on again – the city will supply the wood and this year they will provide tarps as well.

They are also looking at some artificial ice making machines..

Council is determined to do everything they can to give people places to go outdoors and plenty of things to do.

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There won't be a Santa Claus parade but Santa will be seen on the streets of the city.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

November 12th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa and he will be in your neighbourhood.

Ho Ho man himself Santa

The traditional Santa parade route will not take place this year but Santa is going to be seen around the city.

While the Santa Claus parade has been another COVID-19 fatality Parks and Recreation have gone above and beyond and come up with a really smart idea.

Santa will be cruising through the city for five different days.

He will be in different parts of the city using a fire truck to get around.  The intention is to have Santa in each of the wards – five days – six wards?  They’ll figure it out.

The Santa tour will take place between 11 am and 4 pm on five different days – Parks and Recreation isn’t saying which parts of the city and so far have not given out the dates.

They don’t want to see large congregations of people standing waiting for Santa to pass by.

But he will be there.

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Police Warn of Scam Involving Taxi's

Crime 100By Staff

November 12th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) would like to warn citizens of a scam that has been occurring across the Region of Halton. The scam typically involves two suspects – one acting as taxi driver and the other acting as a customer.

HRPS crestThe suspects will engage in a loud, verbal argument, where the taxi driver refuses to accept cash from the customer for the fare (often citing COVID-19 as the reason).

The customer will then prey on unsuspecting individuals nearby, asking them to use their debit card to pay the fare in exchange for cash (which is given to the victim at the time).

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

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

This scam has been occurring across the province and eight such incidents have been reported in the Region of Halton since late October, 2020 (five incidents in Oakville and three in Burlington).

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

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

Anyone with information in regards to these incidents is asked to contact Detective Constable Mike Tidball of the Halton Regional Police Service – Fraud Unit at 905-825-747 ext. 8743.

Crime stoppers logoTips 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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More demolition in the downtown core

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 12th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Molinaro John West side

Backhoe rips apart a building on the west side of John, just north of Lakeshore Road.

More demolition in the downtown core.

The block bound by Brant Street, Lakeshore Road, John Street and Pine, believed to be owned by the Molinaro interests, and for which there are some significant development plans, is undergoing some demolition on the John Street side.

Brant lakeshore - Molinaro b

A rendering that was prepared by the city of the block – Lakeshore Road at the bottom. The Molinaro’s were not impressed with what the city had in mind for the property.

There are a number of two storey structures that housed restaurants which are no longer operational. One of them is having a close encounter with a large yellow back hoe.

The demolition should not lead to speculation that a hole is going to be dug and a structure start rising.

If a property isn’t bringing in revenue – better to demolish it and pay a lower tax rate.

 

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Air Force doing fly pasts across the province

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 11th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It is almost as if the Canadian Air Force is putting up everything they have that can get off the ground as part of their contribution to remembering all that was lost in a terrible war.

flypast ottawa

An Air Force fly past over Parliament Hill

The tributes are taking place in every province. The following are the Ontario locations and the aircraft that will take part.

Hercules

130H Hercules

Hornet

CF-18 Hornet

Chinook

CH-147F Chinook

Griffon

CH-146 Griffon

Bancroft (CC-130H Hercules);
Barrie (CC-130H Hercules and CC-130J Hercules);
Belleville (four CF-18 Hornets and one CC-150T Polaris);
Canadian Forces Base Borden (CC-130H Hercules and CC-130J Hercules);
Campbellford (two CH-146 Griffons);
Clinton (CC-130J Hercules);
Deep River (three CH-147F Chinooks);
Foxboro (two CH-146 Griffons);
Frankford (two CH-146 Griffons);
Hamilton (CC-130H Hercules and CC-130J Hercules);
Havelock (two CH-146 Griffons);
Highway of Heroes (three CC-130J Hercules);
Kitchener-Waterloo (CC-130J Hercules);
London (CC-130J Hercules);
Madoc (CC-130H Hercules);
Marmora (two CH-146 Griffons);
Oshawa (three CH-147F Chinooks);
Ottawa (four CF-18 Hornets);
Pembroke (three CH-147F Chinooks);
Pickering (two CC-130J Hercules);
Renfrew (three CH-147F Chinooks);
Stirling (two CH-146 Griffons);
St. Catharines (CC-130J Hercules);
Strathroy (CC-130J Hercules);
Toronto (three CH-147F Chinooks and a CC-130H Hercules);
Trenton (two CH-146 Griffons, two CC-130J Hercules, four CF-18 Hornets and CC-150T Polaris) Wooler (two CH-146 Griffons).

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Rural Burlington heard a promise from their MP to get them better internet access

News 100 greenBy Staff

November 10th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

If money talks, and it usually does, the rural parts of Burlington and Milton are about to see significant improvements in the internet access service they have.

But – there seems to be money pouring in from all over the place. Town of Milton announced an internet access project that makes no mention of the federal funds.

Their money came from the province. Hard to keep up with all these people handing out cash hand over fist.

AVK on computerIn a prepared statement Adam van Koeverden,  Member of Parliament for Milton (the riding includes large part of rural Burlington) said “Canada is facing the most serious public health crisis in our history. COVID-19 has altered everything about our way of life. It has exposed and compounded existing inequalities and vulnerabilities and has hit rural communities hard.

A significant part of van Koeverden’s riding includes parts of Northern rural Burlington.  He wants to see better internet access for them

“For too many residents of our constituency, lack of access to reliable high-speed internet has a dramatic impact on quality of life. Now, more than ever, everyone needs reliable access to high-speed Internet as we work, learn and keep in touch with friends and family from home.

Our government has long recognized the need to connect every home, every business and every community to fast and dependable internet. That’s why we put forward the country’s first national strategy to achieve universal connectivity, backed up by billions of dollars in federal funding. We are already seeing results, having had approved projects and programs that will connect more than 1.7 million Canadian households to better, faster internet

Recognizing the need to accelerate that progress, today, MP Adam van Koeverden is announcing the launch of the enhanced and expanded Universal Broadband Fund (UBF), which will help improve high-speed Internet access and mobile connectivity across Canada. That includes underserved communities here in Milton. Originally designed as a $1 billion program, the Government has increased funding for UBF to $1.75 billion, recognizing the need to act swiftly to connect all Canadians.

The enhanced UBF also recognizes the need for urgency. Connectivity can’t wait and we will not allow government bureaucracy to stand in the way. That’s why the program now includes the Rapid Response Stream, an accelerated application process that will allow shovel-ready projects to get started right away. The application period is now open and community partners are encouraged to apply for funding.

And that is where the problem lies: Are there any “shovel ready “projects?

In our short conversation with the Member of Parliament for Milton we learned that there really isn’t anything the poor souls in Campbellville with lousy internet access can do. It is up to a sponsoring organization to take the first step and access some of the federal funds that are available. The federal government has said the money is there – now someone has to step forward and see if they qualify.

That doesn’t match the hype the federal government has wrapped this project in.
If money talks, and it usually does, the rural parts of Burlington and Milton are about to see significant improvements in the internet access service they have.

But – there seems to be money pouring in from all over the place. Town of Milton announced an internet access project that makes no mention of the federal funds.

Their money came from the province. Hard to keep up with all these people handing out cash hand over fist.

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City Communications department stifles the flow of information

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 10th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Earlier this month we published a story on how the version of the Official Plan that was debated at a Standing Committee meeting on September 30th and passed at a Special Meeting of Council on October 6th.

The document then had to be sent to the Regional government.

What the Gazette wondered was: How does the city get the document to the Regional government where it has to be approved?

OP cover NEWThe document fills a five inch binder. Do they drop it in the mail or get whoever is going to be driving to the Region next take it along with them and get a receipt.

We sent a note along to Heather MacDonald who is the Director of Planning, asking her the following:

It is a job well done – the operative word being done.
Congratulations to you and your team?
What now?
You send it to the Region – how do you do that?
Do you have someone deliver the document in a thick binder – and if so – could we get a photograph or a graphic of that binder.
How long do you expect the document to be in the hands of the Region?
Do they send it back to you and YOU take it to Council?
Am I correct in saying that when council passes the approved OP there is a period of time (20 day – 30 days ?) for people to appeal the decision of Council.

In the past Heather MacDonald has responded to our questions.

She didn’t answer us this time.

We instead got a note from Kwab Ako-Adjei, Director, Corporate Communications & Government Relations for the city who said: “Hi Pepper – We’ll get you some info on this shortly”, which he did.

Kwab

Kwab Ako-Adjei, Director, Corporate Communications & Government Relations.

Other than a few casual words at city events I have never had a person to person conversation with Kwab. He runs a department that has 18 people including the Director.

There is a Director, a manager, 1 Supervisor of Creative Services, 7 other staff in this area responsible for web and graphic design and the digital copy centre (print shop). There is Corporate Public Involvement Consultant (engagement), 1 other staff in this area providing engagement and volunteer management support.

There is also 1 Government Relations Specialist leading advocacy to other levels of government and 1 Communications Manager, plus 5 other staff in this area responsible for communications and social media.

The department releases somewhere between 150 to 170 media releases each year.

Corporate Communications & Government Relations has a budget of $1.6 million.

The response from the Communications Director is part of a pattern the Gazette has experienced for some time. The grip the Director is placing on the flow of information was becoming a concern.

In the world of journalism reporters put calls out to people asking for a chance to talk to them. Sometime they ask what it is we want to talk about. There was a time when there was absolutely no difficulty getting an interview.

Now, the rule in place seems to be we ask a question of a senior staff person and get answers from the Director of Communications.

NNC landing

The Burlington Gazette is a member of the National Newsmedia Council. It was the first on-line newspaper to be accepted into membership.

That means there is no opportunity to ask follow up questions – and there are always follow up questions asking for clarifications.

The more responsible senior staff understand that the public wants to know what is being done and the better ones are quite good at being helpful.

There is more to this story. Stick around.

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Rivers calls the Provincial Budget An Exercise in Creative Writing

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

November 10th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Ontario government released its latest budget last week, though you might have missed it given all the attention in the media about the US election. And you’d be excused for not reading it, given that it’s such a voluminous manuscript. Though if you like fiction there was a good amount of unashamedly creative writing about how quickly and effectively the Ford government sprang into action to tackle the coronavirus last spring.

Extendicare HAlton Hills

The Extendicare facility in HAlton Hills has received numerous notices from the government – but has been allowed to remain operational.

But there were no apologies for how poorly the province actually responded to the crisis in long term care (LTC) homes, in failing to stock adequate supplies of PPE (personal protection equipment) or how it is failing to protect all the students being sent into crowded classrooms this year. And there was no thanks given to the federal government for having to send in the army to save our LTC residents. And let’s not forget the federal cash subsidies which have kept us afloat.

Nov prov budget

Provincial budget being presented in the Legislature.

There are a lot of numbers which add up to give us Ontario’s largest deficit ever. Big business gets another huge break on electricity thanks to the taxpayers. And there is something novel, a staycation, to encourage people to travel around the province in 2021. How can that make sense when Mr. Ford keeps telling us to stay home, rather than go about spreading the virus?

So that may be great news if you own and rent out your lakefront cottage. For renters, if you can afford the two or three thousand for a week, you’ll be entitled to 20% of the rental price back with your income taxes. Rent is a consumable why not just drop the PST? And why provide an incentive at all, given that cottage rentals sold out like hot cakes last year in the midst of the pandemic?

Back to the US election, America’s four year bad dream is finally coming to an end as Joe Biden prepares to replace Donald Trump as America’s next commander-in-chief But the nightmare continues, at least for the majority of Americans who voted to change the channel. They are tired of watching the COVID death toll continue to rise coincident with ever increasing infection rates, and no end in sight despite vague optimistic promises from Trump about a vaccine supposedly just around the corner.

virus testing

Testing and tracing to control the spread of the virus can’t effectively be done at this stage of the contagion, even in most of Canada.

One can only hope that the pandemic can bring Americans together in more ways than it has divided them. Still with over 100,000 new cases a day and an exponential contagion which can accelerate by a factor of two or three, that will require hard medicine. Testing and tracing to control the spread of the virus can’t effectively be done at this stage of the contagion, even in most of Canada.

Hard medicine is what China and New Zealand and some other nations used to virtually eliminate their viral transmission. It’s called a lockdown. Keeping people from spreading the virus to each other worked because the contagion’s preferred transmission route is close personal contact and hanging out in closed areas where the viral load can concentrate.

The lockdown also was working for a while in Canada and even the USA. New York, once the hardest hit with graphic images of bodies being stored in refrigeration trucks, got the contagion under control and flattened the curve of infections. And so did Ontario and Alberta and even Quebec.

cafe crowd - no six feet here

Convincing people to stay at home just isn’t working.

But then we got impatient. Lobbied by those who had been shut down, our leaders bowed to the bar, restaurant and gym owners’ demands. And to appear even-handed the advisories allowed larger public gatherings – weddings, funerals and church services. So the epidemic naturally came back with a vengeance. Call it a second wave, it is really just a revival of the contagion our leaders did not allow to die off the first time.

There is no question that Ontario’s hospitality and entertainment industries have been hurt. But collectively they make up about 3% of the provincial GDP – 6% if we generously count the upstream and downstream economy. If the choice is between keeping the gyms and bars closed or filling the emergency rooms and morgues which should we choose?

Our numbers have yet to reach the levels we see in the USA, but wait for it. On Sunday Ontario reported over 1300 new cases. There have been 150 outbreaks in long-term care homes, nearly 1000 cases per day (7 day average) and the largest number of COVID-19 deaths in a single day. And Doug Ford has just loosened restrictions to the delight of the virus. Once our numbers parallel those in the USA does keeping the border closed even make sense?

So who is advising the Premier on this calamitous policy. He claims he is listening to his scientists. But they must not be talking to the medical experts on the front line like Dr. Irfan Dhalla, vice-president of physician quality at Unity Health in Toronto, who is also an associate professor at the University of Toronto and sits on provincial and federal committees related to the COVID-19 response. “It wouldn’t take much to put us on a path towards the kinds of outcomes we’re seeing in Belgium, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, many American states.”

Nov 9 COVID numbers ON

If this graph isn’t evidence enough – then we are in for a very hard winter.

It sure looks like all that pain we went through getting that curve flattened last spring was for nothing. Deja vu, again. And while it is up to all of us – we’re all in this together – we do expect leadership to navigate us all to safety. But at least we’ll get a tax break when we rent that summer cottage next year.

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

 Background links:

Ontario Budget –    More Budget –   Even More

Biggest Mistake –   Ford –     Virus Spread

Cottages –    School Infections

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Fire works may become a thing of the past but for now you can still set the things off in your backyard on two holidays.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 10th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Sharman hand up

“Let’s just ban them completely”

It was well into the meeting when Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman said he wanted to amend the motion that was on the floor related to the use of fireworks in the city.

“Let’s just ban them completely” he said.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward scurried to get a different message out – pleading with any media that might have tuned into the web cast to not say that the city was thinking of banning fireworks.

Meed Ward at BSCI

With the survey response as split as it was the Mayor had to make sure that she wasn’t offside by too much.

Little wonder that she took that position.

In a Staff report from the Fire department reference was made to a survey done by corporate communications that was said to be limited, we learned that fireworks was a big deal for a lot of people.

More than 50,000 people logged into the Get Involved portal to take part in a survey.

The City’s Corporate Communications and clerks, used the online engagement portal (Get Involved Burlington) to gauge public interest related to fireworks and more specifically around permitted discharge dates for family fireworks.

The poll options were:

Canada day fire works

Gathered on the Promenade in Spencer Smith Park hundreds watch the display – and that’s the way the city wants to keep it.

a. Victoria Day and Canada Day (currently permitted as per By-law 125-1992)

b. No family fireworks

c. Canada Day only, and

d. Victoria Day, Canada Day, Diwali, Chinese New Year and any other day for which a permit has been issued by the Fire Department.

It was clear early on, that the public’s interest level was high. The level of engagement exceeded staff expectations (over 50,000 visits to the site and approximately 46,000 votes).

• Victoria Day and Canada Day (904 votes or 2.0%)

• No family fireworks (23,838 votes or 52.5%)

• Canada Day only (109 votes or 0.2%), and

• Victoria Day, Canada Day, Diwali, Chinese New Year and any other day for which a permit has been issued by the FD (20,585 votes or 45.3%)

The poll indicated that individuals either enjoy fireworks and wouldn’t mind additional discharge dates (45.3%) or they disliked them and would prefer they weren’t allowed at all (52.5%). While the poll is not being used as a deciding factor for the recommendation provided, staff have a better understanding of the amount of interest around the subject of fireworks in the community.

The city had a hot one on its hands and none of the Councilors, with the exception of Paul Sharman, wanted to ruffle feathers.

They settled on permitting family fireworks on Canada Day and Victoria Day.

Queen Victoria

Councillor Kearns pointed out that Canada is a Constitutional Monarchy and that Queen Victoria’s birthday should be recognized – she got her way.

Councillor Kearns argued that Canada was a constitutional monarchy and that Victoria Day matters. The Good Queen got to remain on the list of occasions when you could set off fireworks in a family setting.

Staff had recommended that family fireworks only be allowed during Canada Day celebrations.
This Council didn’t have much in the way of an appetite for fireworks but they could read the data.
They did want to take a hard look at the sale of fireworks – the current bylaws allow them to ban the sale.

In addition, the Fire Chief is authorized to immediately grant exceptions to the discharge dates listed in the fireworks bylaw on a case-by-case basis, which was done specifically for the “festival of lights” (Diwali) on October 29, 2019.

The review of by-laws included the following:

• 125-1992 – Regulating the Sale and Use of Fireworks (Fire)
• 49-2008 – Nuisance and Noise Control (Building/By-law)
• 42-2008 – Business Licensing (Building/By-Law)

All that came out of the Standing Committee was a recommendation – it all goes to City Council on the 23rd.

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The full story on how the 40 year lease for LaSalle Park came to be

background graphic greenBy Pepper Parr

November 10th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Politics is not what it used to be.

The city is working towards a meeting with Hamilton to figure out a way to continue the lease of the chunk of land in the west end that is actually owned by the City of Hamilton but used by Burlington.

LaSalle Park has been leased from Hamilton for the past 38 years; that lease is up in two years. Burlington wanted to buy the land – Hamilton apparently didn’t want to sell it.

The lease we have now was negotiated by then Councillor Walter Mulkewich and Councillor Brechin.

Mulkewich went on to become Mayor.

The story he tells goes like this:

The Park has never been within the boundaries of the City of Hamilton; it is just a piece of property they own.

LaSalle-Park-Nov-2020

LaSalle Park boundary

Also, Hamilton Harbour Commissioners have a significant voice in what happens on the shoreline and adjacent water, and the dock, and area where the boaters winter store their boats.

And, technically the dock is in Hamilton as are all the boats that are docked there.

And, I believe the Pavilion is designated as a building of historical significance by Burlington, with Hamilton’s approval.

Burlington maintains the parkland, the walkway, the dock, and the shoreline walkway as per agreement.

And, the LaSalle Marina Association of boaters is a powerful entity and will be involved.

It will be interesting to see how the elected people in Hamilton and Burlington deal with the lease when the lease ends in 2023, only two years from now.

I bet they will renew the lease and live happily ever after, as they should.

waltermulkewich

Walter Mulkewich, former Burlington Mayor

Maybe the two Councils will have a friendly ball game to celebrate as we did in the eighties – but Burlington does not have enough Councillors to make a ball team of nine.

In Mulkewich’s time the Burlington City Council consisted of 17 people.

Related news story:

What it costs to run LaSalle Park.

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Procedural bylaw matters - Clerk is setting out some adjustments

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 9th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There was a bit of a rumbling and part of the earth that we know as Burlington may have moved just a bit.

The Clerk’s office released a report that will be discussed on Tuesday – changes to the Procedural Bylaw – the document that sets out the rule on how Council has to act.

Some good changes.

We have set out the report and added some editorial comment beneath many of the changes to give just what is being done some context.

In response to the committee review, the Clerk’s department has been working on expanding tools which enable residents to better interact with Council and in the Council process. The proposed amendments stem from an analysis of the committee review survey feedback, conducted in 2019. The survey comments indicated that the processes for communicating with Council were not apparent and that not having that information was a barrier to participation. Staff anticipate that these amendments will help to enhance communication for residents and Council, in creating rules and standards for Council correspondence, and petitions.

Additional amendments are proposed to align the By-law with legislation, and to create a timeline for when the public can reasonably expect when additional information is provided to Council and made available to public.

Addendum Timelines
At present, there is no timeline for how additional information is provided to Council or made available to the public. Staff are proposing to create a timeline for the release of additional meeting materials to ensure that both the Council and public have a reasonable expectation of when they will receive additional information. Staff will ensure that the addendum is posted not less than 24 hours before the hour for holding the meeting.

Finally – all too often addendum items have been added to the agenda at the last minute.

Should Council approve the proposed amendments, the additional items package will be renamed the revised addendum and that it be posted to the website for the public. Staff will ensure that the updated revised addendum is distributed to Council and posted to the City’s website not less than 12 hours before the meeting, to ensure that information is provided to the public.

Special Meetings
Current practice affords the Mayor or the City Manager to call a special meeting, the Clerk is then directed to petition Council to determine if there will be a quorum of Council present at the meeting. In review of the Municipal Act, S.O. 2001, c. 25 (the Act) section 240 the current procedure by-law provisions are incongruent with the Act.

Incongruent is putting it mildly

Council in memory

A majority of Council members could Call a Special meeting of Council. Good move – hobbles the Mayor who has been calling Special Council meetings at the drop of a hat.

The staff are recommending that the Procedure By-law be amended to align with the provisions outlined in the Act. This would allow the Mayor to call a special meeting, and they may be requested by a Council resolution to call a special meeting. In advance staff will poll Council to ensure that a quorum of Council is available before the meeting is called.

In addition, a proposed second clause to the special meeting section aligns with section 240 (b) of the Act. This would allow for the majority of members of Council to request a special meeting by petition. Upon receipt of the petition, the Clerk shall call the special Council meeting. This would allow for a majority of members of Council to request a special meeting.

We were not aware that the City Manager could call a Special Meeting of Council.  The Mayor has used the calling of Special meetings in a manner that this reporter has never seen before in 40 years of covering councils – they were being held at the rate of one a month.

Correspondence and Petitions
Currently, there are no provisions in the Procedure By-law that address how official correspondence, or a civic petition is received. According to the By-law, the only way to participate at a Council or at a standing committee is to do so as a delegation, this is echoed on the City’s website. The Clerk’s department currently allows for correspondence and has a provisional process in place for petitions but there are no resources that are publicly available. The proposed amendments set forth a detailed process and timelines which have been included in the accompanying amending by-law

In drafting the new sections, 42. Correspondence and 43. Petitions, staff have reviewed other procedural by-laws to better understand how other jurisdictions process these documents. Both correspondence and petitions will be handled in a similar fashion, with aligning deadlines. Staff have proposed that only petitions will be received at Council, as they will be ceremonially read into the record. If there are no additional motions regarding a petition or a piece of correspondence it will be received and filed.

It would be nice to see provision for one of the people behind a decision to be at the podium and able to answer questions from Council members.

Correspondence providing commentary on a matter that has been dealt with by Council will be received, circulated to members of Council, and filed, but will not appear on a minute record.

Correspondence that does not correspond to an agenda item, that is addressed to Council and received by the Clerk will be circulated. Petitions that do not correspond with an agenda item will be directed by the website to be sent to a member of Council, as it will require a sponsor. The member of Council who sponsors an item must submit a Municipal Officer’s report, outlining why the item was sponsored and the remedy sought. These items must abide by the deadlines regarding adding items of business on the agenda, the Wednesday, the week the agenda is published.

The requirement that a Petition be sponsored limits this tool.  If Council doesn’t want to hear what Petitioners have to say they could just be mute and ignore the Petition.  The Mayor should be appointed as the Sponsor of last resort or the Chair of the Standing Committee that will hear the petition

Administrative Changes
Staff are recommending the following administrative/housekeeping changes to the by- law.

Section Change
1.2 Italicize Name of Act
14.1 (c) Delete reference to “Citizen” in connection with citizen advisory committees
20.2 Capitalize the word Chair
27.3 Italicize Act name
41 Addition of Header – Public Participation
41.7 Deletion of incorrect references in Planning Act and correction
41.13 Deletion of incorrect section for delegations and correction

Strategy/process
The proposed amendments realign the Procedure By-law closer to legislation and with common meeting practices.

Options Considered
There are other areas in the current Procedure By-law that need review, these will be done over time and be brought back through subsequent amendment packages.

It would have been nice if these “other areas” were set out so that people could think about them and make comments to the Clerk.

Engagement Matters:
A public survey, hosted on the GetInvolvedBurlington.ca webpage open from April 30, 2019, through to June 7, 2019 received 385 respondents. The public survey posed questions to determine barriers to participation, advisory committee experience, and asked for suggestions to improve the system. This information was helpful in determining what services needed to be approved to enhance the overall experience for residents working with Council.

Kudos to the Clerk’s office for determining what services were needed to be approved to enhance the overall experience for residents

Should Council approve the procedure by-law amendments, supplemental materials will be created to help individuals navigate processes such as webpages and tip sheets.

Staff will work with Corporate Communications to ensure that public materials are reviewed to ensure that they are in plain language.

Conclusion:
Creating rules with respect to correspondence and petitions will help residents to understand what is involved and what they can expect. Rules and additional information will also work towards breaking down barriers, which will allow residents to more freely communicate and comment on agenda items that are before Council.

 

 

 

 

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Leaf collection began today - November 9th - just one collection this year

By Staff

November 9th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The City of Burlington’s revamped loose-leaf collection program started today –  Monday, November 9th.

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

Clearing the leaves along New Street.

Residents are encouraged to check the leaf collection schedule and rake leaves to the curb or edge of pavement if there are no curbs before their pickup date.

Each collection zone will have only one pick-up.

leaf-collection-map 2020

Leaf collection zones for 2020

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

New for this year is the Leaf Collection Hotline. As of October 15th, residents can call 905-335-7600, ext. 6129 for updates. If the collection is delayed or cancelled, the hotline will be updated and messages will be posted on burlington.ca/leafcollection as well as the City’s social media channels.

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

To ensure a successful pick-up, residents can:

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

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

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

Battaglia Mary

Mary Battaglia, Director of Roads, Parks and Forestry

Mary Battaglia, Director of Roads, Parks and Forestry explains that: “This year’s collection program is a little different. We’re hoping that by starting the collection one week later, that more leaves will have fallen and by ending one week earlier, we’ll avoid winter weather. We can’t control the weather so if we get an early storm or if the trees hold onto their leaves, residents should be prepared to bag or mulch their leaves.”

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Opening things up doesn't seem to be working for us - is it a matter of 'lives over livelihoods?'

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 9th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Hopefully, there are some hard questions being asked within the groups of people who track the new COVID-19 infections.

Saturday the number was 1132, this morning, Monday, the number was 1328.

The province had decided to open things up; created a new template that would advise the public what people could do and what they could not do.

Burlington’s city council has gone along with an idea that would let restaurants remain open during the winter months using outdoor tents

Deciding who would be allowed to open would be determined by an Outdoor Patio Task Force that would make decisions on a case by case basis. The Regional Medical Officer of Health is reported to be part of the Task Force.

All the numbers are moving in the wrong direction.

It has come down to “Lives verses livelihoods” was the way Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie put it.

Indeed that does appear to be what we are doing. Why?

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LaSalle Park to get a solid review - lease has just over two years left.

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 9th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

LaSalle Park is back in the news.

The land is owned by the city of Hamilton.

Burlington has a 40 year ($1 a year) lease that ends in December 2022.

Someone is going to have to make a decision – soon. The people who have the agreement with the city to host private events at the Pavilion want to be able to take reservations into 2022

Ridge and Chris Murray - city managers

When it came to negotiating a deal for the sale or long term lease renewal Neither James Ridge of Hamilton city manager Chris Murray were able to settle on anything.

In 2017 Burlington’s then City Manager James Ridge met with the then Hamilton city manager Chris Murray to talk about purchasing the land. An agreement couldn’t be reached. There wasn’t much in the way of public information at the time other than that Hamilton wanted more than Burlington was prepared to or able to pay.

The park is a wonderful place that gets well used. There is a joint venture and licensing agreement with the Burlington Boating and Sailing Club and LaSalle Park Marina Association.

The city recently pumped more than $4 million to upgrading the wave breaks at the marina.

The report that goes to Council on Thursday is one of those Receive and File that no action is taken on. It will be interesting to hear where Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith stands on this one. His predecessor Rick Craven was a very strong advocate for the park.

LaSalle Park Nov 2020The 51.5 acre park has kilometers of trail both inland and along the shore, picnic areas, bocce courts, an accessible playground, a wading pool, 2 baseball diamonds, a boat launch, a marina, toboggan hill and public washrooms.

The park was built in 1915 by the Hamilton Parks Board and the pavilion was built shortly after in 1917 at a time when Aldershot was part of Hamilton. The park name commemorates prominent French explorer Rene-Robert Cavalier, Sir de LaSalle who is believed to have landed on this site in 1669.

The location served as an amusement park and entertainment venue. In its heyday and there was swimming on the shore. Hamilton residents would take a ferry boat to enjoy a day in the park. The LaSalle Pavilion had a restaurant on the main floor and ballroom on the second floor that would accommodate many elegant dinners, dances and musical performances.

LaSalle PacillionThe Pavilion was structurally restored in 1995 only to be destroyed by a fire in the same year. The entire building was reconstructed in 1997 to its original heritage design.

Running the park is not cheap – the cost of replacing what is here now and the cost of operating the site are set out below.

Operating costs

Capital costs

Operating costs

rePLACEMENT COSTS

The 2019 replacement value of park assets is $19.59 million.

Untitled

The 2019 replacement value of assets associated with these two organizations, totaling $8.48 million. $4 million of that was the result of a raid on a Hydro Reserve fund used to pay for the replacement of the wave break without which the Marina may not have been able to survive.

It is going to take some astute negotiating to get a new arrangement in place by December of 2022. It will perhaps be a different city on that date.

Former Mayor Walter Mulkewich explains the role he played.  “My recollection is that Council authorized myself and Councillor Brechin to negotiate with the Parks Committee of Hamilton re LaSalle.  I then knew many of the Hamilton Councillors..  We were able to negotiate a 40 year lease which both Hamilton and Burlington Councils endorsed. ”

City hall might want to give him a call.

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Members of Council have found a way to stiff people who want to address them

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

November 8th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We wrote last week asking where have all the good delegators gone – those men and women who pay attention to what is taking place at city council and then make the time to put their thoughts and observations on paper and speak to Council.

We wondered aloud if the issue was the limitations put in place by Covid19 or was there something else?

The something else is a change in the way the Clerk’s office handles requests for delegations.

You have to let the Clerk know that you wish to delegate – which isn’t unreasonable; the Clerk has to know how many delegations there are going to be in order to get a sense as to just how long a meeting might last.

What is new is the requirement that a delegate submit a copy of the delegation before they are told they can actually delegate.

The Chair of the meeting explains that this is done so that members of Council can think about what they are going to hear and be able to ask questions of the delegation.

On those occasions when there are no questions from council, the Chair of the meeting will tell the delegate that there point was so clear there was no reason for any questions.

Jim Young standing

Jim Young

That is so slick as to be just a little sickening.

It is the open sharing of ideas and the willingness to not only listen but to hear what is being said that keep a society stable.

Jim Young, a frequent delegator in the past,  put it so well when he told council during a delegation: “the power they have was given to them by the electorate “in trust” and that they were expected to use the power they were given wisely.”

Council seems to have tired of listening to the people that elected them.

Related article.
When was the last time …

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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Public kept out of the loop on all season outdoor patio debate

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 6th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It was a Special meeting of City Council.

Mayor Meed Ward

Mayor has the right to call a Special meeting of Council any time she wishes.

The Mayor has the right to call a Special meeting of Council.

The meeting had several items on the agenda.

Amendments to the Temporary Use By-law and By-law Regulating Temporary Outdoor Patios In All Seasons

The focus of this news report is the Outdoor Patio issue.

Council met on November 2nd at 1:00 pm.

There were a number of procedural matters, including the singing of the National Anthem and the Roll Call to ensure that every member of Council was attending virtually.

There was one delegation that pertained to the Amendments to the Temporary Use By-Law.

Brian Dean and the owner of Gator Teds spoke and explained how desperate things were for the restaurant sector.

Brian Dean 2 long

Brian Dean represents the interests of the downtown business community.

Dean spoke on behalf of those restaurateurs who were interested in tenting some outdoor space adjacent to the premises

At 1:48 pm Council went into a Closed Session.

The Motion to go into Closed Session which read:

Move into closed session in accordance with the following provisions under the Municipal Act, sections 239 (2)(f) advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege, including communications necessary for that purpose, with respect to Community Planning Department report PL-60-20 regarding Amendments to Temporary Use By-law and By-law Regulating Temporary Outdoor Patios In All Seasons (PL-60-20)

Closed Session End time: 3:02 pm

When they came out of that Closed Session they passed a motion to:

Authorize Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility, working in consultation with Director of Transportation, to approve extension of temporary restaurant patios and/or temporary retail space permissions on public property in connection with COVID-19 recovery to October 31, 2021, subject to such criteria and conditions staff deem appropriate; and

Authorize the Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility, working in consultation with the Director of Roads, Parks and Forestry and the Director of Transportation to undertake a case by case consideration of winter patios on public property and/or rights of way in downtown Burlington and to permit winter patios on public property and rights of way, where feasible, having regard to relevant operational considerations including winter control and winter maintenance of sidewalks and roads and general public safety;

There was quite  bit more to the motion.  We have set that out at the end of this article.

I could not see anything in the motion that was passed that related to solicitor-client privilege, including communications necessary for that purpose, with respect to Community Planning Department report unless the city’s counsel was there to tell the Planning people where they might be offside.

This is really very bad politics – a city council debating internally about which streets might be made impassable because a restaurant wanted to edge out into public space.

There are a reported seven restaurants who want to talk to the city about being able to have exclusive use of public space.  I could live with that – just make the decision in a public setting

I have no problem with the restaurants getting a break – they certainly need all the help we can give them.

Every restaurant will have to meet with a Winter Patio Task Force that will meet with the restaurateur and go through all the details to protect the public interest.  The Medical Officer of Health, Dr Hamidah Meghani, will be involved.

The issue seemed to be about snow removal and the problems the city would have removing snow.  Brian Dean, speaking for the restaurateurs, said they would be prepared to take on the task of removing the snow by hand.  That was nice of them wasn’t it?

Both Dean and the restaurateurs wanted clarity on the amount of insurance that had to be provided

What this amounted to was a debate about letting some restaurants take up public space and preventing you from using that space (sidewalks are an example) that the public was not permitted to listen to.

Lisa Kearns was bleating away about how good this is for the restaurants adding that “this is a dedicated and committed Council” adding that Council knows how to work fast.  The Mayor went her one better. “This is the Help and Solutions Council”.

The public has no idea what individual Council members had to say during the hour and 14 minutes. Was it appropriate for the discussion to be in cl0sed session in the first place?  And that should be a concern.

The balance of the motion the city passed is set out below.

Authorize the Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility, working in consultation with the Director of Transportation, to approve extension of temporary outdoor patios and/or temporary retail space on private property to October 31, 2021 subject to such criteria and conditions as staff deem appropriate; and

Authorize the Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility to grant or revoke such approvals, consents, agreements or other authorizations and take such other steps as may be required to give effect to the recommendations herein; and

Authorize the Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility to execute any documents and agreements necessary to implement the recommendations herein; and

Amend By-law 2020.422, a By-law to amend Zoning By-law 2020 of the City of Burlington to permit temporary outdoor patios as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic recovery efforts until October 31, 2021, attached as Appendix “A” to Report PL-60-20; and

Amend By-law 39-2020, a By-law to delegate authority to temporarily restrict the common law right of passage in connection with on-street restaurant patios and other on-street retail uses in Downtown Burlington to allow for temporary outdoor patios in Burlington until October 31, 2021, attached as Appendix “B” to Report PL-60-20; and

That the Director of Government Relations and Corporate Communications be directed to develop a landing site on the City of Burlington’s webpage as a resource for Operators to support consumer confidence in outdoor patios that are in compliance with municipal by-laws (SD-21-20); and

That the Mayor be directed to communicate to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH), and local MPPs to request a review of provincial regulations requiring 3m setback from buildings for patio tents, and other aspects of the building code that may be an impediment to business during COVID19 (SD-22-20); and

That the City of Burlington implement a grant program to reimburse the costs of Building permit fees in the estimated amount of $5,000 from the Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve Fund for outdoor patio’s and tent structures when a building permit is required, with an expiry date of October 31, 2021 (SD-23-20)

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City will learn what Region thinks of the Official Plan sent to them recently

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 7th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

OP 2018

 

Burlington’s New Official Plan is sailing through the Regional government bureaucracy at quite a clip
After being endorsed by Burlington City Council on October 26th, the Official Plan was bundled up in a bright new binder and sent to the Regional government.

As the approval authority, Halton Region is reviewing the City’s adopted Official Plan (2018).

City staff have collaborated extensively with Regional staff to:

• address issues of Regional and Provincial conformity,
• respond to Provincial policy updates occurring post-plan adoption,
• identify opportunities to enhance structure and readability, and
• incorporate housekeeping changes.

City staff have also requested that the Region consider the proposed modifications endorsed by City Council through the Scoped Re-examination of the adopted Official Plan in its decision.

The staff report and draft Notice of Decision will be posted to the Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility agenda on Wednesday, Nov. 18.

The draft Notice of Decision is the Region’s way of telling Burlington what they plan to do – Burlington gets a chance to review the draft and comment.

Assuming all the ducks line up the right way the city will be well on its way to being bale to give the final approval to the Official Plan that has been in the works for some time.

As soon as it is made final the developers can file their appeals

Progress

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