Developer asking the city to put the building of a transit shelter on hold until the construction is complete.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

August 24th, 2020



It has been a very bumpy ride for the Molinaro Group and their Paradigm Development on Fairview.

They were the first developer to propose a development alongside the GO Train tracks.

They were one of the first developers to hold a community meeting to hear what residents thought of their development before it went to the Planning department.

The development was to be done in two phases. The first phase has been completed and the company wants to proceed with the second phase.

Paradigm -3 from front

The three buildings on the North side are basically completed. The developer now wants to begin with phase 2 and learns that a bus shelter is to be built at the edge of where the final two buildings will be erected.

They got caught in the Interim Control Bylaw (ICBL) that put everything in the Urban Growth Centre on hold for what was originally going to be a year. They hadn’t done anything wrong – the agreement with the OMB that approved the development required them to go back to the city for specific site plan approval for the second phase.

It was a technical point that would not have been an issue if the ICBL had not been put in place – they would have shovels in the ground.

As the Molinaro Group gets ready to begin work on phase 2 they learn that the city wants to install a transit shelter right in front of the development site.

Most people would say: What dumb idea. The Planning Consultant for the Molinaros, Ed Fothergill, delegated to Council earlier in the month explaining the situation. Common sense should have prevailed.

North side from GO platform

The Paradigm development seen from the Burlington GO station platform.

The Molinaros had no problem with the transit shelter – once the development was completed it would add value to the units – having a bus stop right outside the building you live in would be a convenience.

For reasons that aren’t clear yet – the planning people didn’t see it that way.

The Molinaros have said they could move the transit shelter – put it in storage and put it back when the development is complete.

They see it as a hindrance to the trucks that will be entering the site during the construction phase and hazardous to pedestrians waiting for a bus.

The site is right next door to the GO Station where buses come and go on a regular basis.

One would have thought this would be a no-brainer.

Vince Molinaro will be delegating to city council on Monday to see if he can untangle the mess and let some common sense prevail.

The Molinaro consultant has told Council that they will have to oppose the building of the transit shelter at this point.

Working with city hall isn’t supposed to be this hard or time consuming.

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Public Board of Education to hold virtual Town Hall on Wednesday.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

August 23rd, 2020



When will schools open in September?

Group of students MMR

Gatherings like this inside a school will be possible IF all the students are in the same cohort.

The planned date was September 8th, 2020  but there are so many concerns over the number of students there are to be in classrooms – especially at the elementary level; the province is saying that standard class sizes are the rule and parents arenpushing back really hard saying they want no more than 15 students in classrooms.

The Toronto Public School Board is looking at smaller classes as well as a start date of September 15th and staggering the begin date.

Parents are concerned.  The school boards have to plan for whatever shows up on the day school starts and in many cases the school boards don’t know what a majority of the parents plan to do.

School buses

How many students will be allowed in each bus? Who will supervise the students while they are on the bus?

Will they keep their children at home and home-school them?  Will they form a pod with other parents and hire a teacher to run the classes?  Will the parents opt for having their children taught at home – on-line with the services the Board will provide or will they send their children to school.  If they choose the later – how will they get to school?  No one is certain just what the school buses are going to be able to handle.

On top of all this there is the issue of face masks.

Teachers will be decked out in full PPE gear – they may look like  visitors from some other planet.

It is going to be stressful on the younger students.

Students at Lincoln Centennial public school. Ontario school boards are struggling to find low-cost options to school additions to accommodate full-day kindergarten. Some options may include bussing kids. Reading are Heyley Ta and Zeynep Coskan-Johnson. Feb 21 2013. Bob TYmczyszyn/St. Catharines Standard/QMI AGENCY

No carpets on the floor; no soft cuddly toys, no sandbox and maybe masks.

Kindergarten, both junior and Senior is going to be really different.

No carpets on the floor.  Masks required – maybe.  No soft cloth or other covering toys, no sand box.

On Wednesday the Halton District School Board will be holding a virtual Town Hall that parents can call into and ask questions.

The Halton Medical Officer of Health will be part of the panel that will include the Director of Education and the senior superintendents that have been developing different scenarios to handle every possible situation they can think of – right up to shutting a school down if there is an outbreak

There is a very nervous parent community out there that does not feel they have the information, and assurance they need, to know that their children will be safe.


HDSB Trustee chair Grebenc – has become much more assertive.

The Halton District School board spent a long virtual trustee meeting last week and decided they would not make a decision on the wearing of masks in the classroom at every grade level  – they left that decision for another day.  They may not get to make that decision – there are rumblings that the province will mandate something.

The Gazette brought Michele Bogle in to create a group of parents who are serving as a sounding board.  Michelle will write as often as necessary with feedback from her group representing both levels – high school and elementary.  If you want to take part – email Michelle at

There is a link to her first sounding board report below.

The Gazette will be monitoring the virtual Town Talk and reporting on that.

Related news story:

Parents voice their concerns about sending their children back to school.



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Tellier paints an expensive picture - the cost of the planning staff to meet the demands is significant - it will take at least two budget cycles to find the money

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

August 23rd, 2020



Site Planning co-coordinator Jamie Tellier explans what is going to be built whereon the JBMH campus.

Interim Community Development Director Jamie Tellier has a lot of careful explaining to do in the years ahead.

It was just a Receive and File Community Planning transmittal report – it was also a marker as to what the planning department was going to come to Council in the way of an ask when the budget is on the table.

Interim Community Planning Director Jamie Tellier told the Standing Committee that the department was a mess. He was asking Council to:

Approve the Future State organizational structure for Community Planning in principle as identified in the presentation contained in Appendix A. The Gazette reported on that presentation earlier this week.

In September 2019, Council approved a new organizational design for the executive level of the corporation that puts an emphasis on strategic management, risk assessment and public accountability, while also positioning the city to attract and retain employees in a growing and competitive marketplace.

Amica development rendering

The north side of a very large complex development that is mired in an LPAT appeal and the problems created with the Interim Bylaw.

The new structure will also enhance and highlight the City’s attention to City-wide customer service and public engagement through business process improvements, corporate-wide training and ongoing transformations such as digital service delivery.

As a natural progression of Phase I, city departments are now considering their organizational designs.

The Staff report sets out the problem in pretty stark language. “The current state of Community Planning organizational structure is out of balance and consists of several staff in contract roles as well as several vacancies. While we are actively recruiting to fill some vacant positions, this level of instability adds to workload pressures while creating challenges to retain talented staff. The current state of Community Planning requires unraveling into a more coherent framework.

“Community Planning must respond to the shift from greenfield policies and development to urban intensification and infill. Increased complexities in legislation, policy frameworks, and development applications are limiting the ability for Community Planning to meet service expectations with the organizational structure and staff resources currently in place.”

There are significant workload drivers from both the development and non-development portfolios of the department. The following are examples

Approximately 50 Active Major Development Files.

About 7000 residential units, 40 Tall/Mid-rise buildings, Employment, Commercial.

30 Major Development Pre-consultations to date.

11 Appeals for Major Developments to LPAT. 31 Appeals to ICBL.

Pre-building permit application volumes are up more than 50% from this time last year.

Adopted Official Plan, Comprehensive Zoning By-law Review, Housing Strategy, Region MCR, Core Commitment, Various Urban Design Guidelines and a Cultural Heritage Strategy.

This is all going to cost – expect it to be major – in the millions.

The city is facing expense pressures on several levels and revenue shortfalls on even more levels.  Transit and Parks and Recreation have not produced that much revenue.  COVID-19 has eaten into revenue and pushed the expense side up.


The ADI development in the downtown took up months of planning time. An OMB decision on this development made it possible for developers to propose projects that have already changed to look and feel of the downtown core.


The Molinaro development in the west end required far less staff time

Phase II for Community Planning will have a financial impact on the corporation. Additional staff are required in addition to reconciling various contract positions into permanent roles.

Due to cost implications, the updated organizational structure of the department cannot occur at once – phasing will be required based on urgency and strategy. Four phases are proposed to implement the future state organizational structure of Community Planning and are outlined with approximate gross and net (tax supported) costs.

Parallel to Evolving the Organization – Phase II for Community Planning, a development application fee study is required to ensure fiscal sustainability of the department and that our fees are reflective of the effort in processing increasingly complex development applications. It is anticipated that the outcome of this study will offset some of the increased costs from the new organizational structure. The cost to undertake this study can be accommodated within the 2020 budget.

The transition from current state to future state of the Community Planning organizational structure over the next three years will result in an increased budget for human resources in particular.

The current state cost for Community Planning is approximately $3.4 Million ($1.0 Million Net Tax Supported).

Factoring in all contracts and above compliment staff, the actual costs for Community Planning is approximately $4.1 Million ($1.5 Million Net Tax Supported). This is an increase of approximately $0.7 Million ($0.5 Million Net Tax Supported) above current state.

The proposed development V a

While just a proposed development at this point – this is a large project that will eat up months of planning staff at a time – these create the need for additional planning staff.

The estimated future cost for Community Planning is approximately $5.9 Million ($2.2 Million Net Tax Supported). This is an increase of approximately $1.8 Million ($0.7 Million Net Tax Supported) above actual cost.

Reserve Funds are going to have to be used to address immediate needs.

Service fee adjustments and consideration of business cases through 2021 and 2022 budget process will determine how and when the other phases get done.

Related news story:

Planning human resource problems – the numbers.

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Parents asked to submit the Intention forms to school board no later than 4:00pm TODAY

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

August 23rd, 2020



Parents who have students attending the Halton District School Board have until 4:00 pm this afternoon to submit the Survey forms sent to them by the Board asking what they plan to do in terms of which option they take in sending their children back to school.

The Board needs this data to plan for the start of the school year which is scheduled to begin on September 8th.

The information is critical to the plans the board has to make.

Miller July 22

HDSB Director of Education Stuart Miller

The HDSB will be holding a Virtual Town Hall on Wednesday the 26th. Director of Education Stuart Miller and his senior staff will be listening very closely to what parents have to say.

Dr Meghani at news conference Hamilton

Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Medical of Health.

Halton Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hamidah Meghani will be part of the panel listening to parents and answering questions.

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Planning department sets out how it should be organized going forward; it isn't going to be cheap.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

August 21st, 2020



Those who pay attention to what happens in the way of development in the city, most notably in the Downtown Core, have always had their concerns about the quality of the leadership of the department and the high level of staff turnover and the changes at the top.

Site Planning co-coordinator Jamie Tellier explans what is going to be built whereon the JBMH campus.

Site Planning co-coordinator Jamie Tellier at the time, explains what is going to be built where on the hospital campus.

Jamie Tellier, one of the nicest people in city hall, currently the Interim Director of Community Planning, serves as pretty close to a right hand to Director of Planning Heather MacDonald.

Tellier knows where all the bones are buried, not that he is likely to tell you exactly where they are but he knows.

Thus when it comes to taking a look at the organizational set up of the department Tellier is probably the best person to explain how it is set up and then opine on how it might be changed.

The heavy lifting on how the department evolves will come out of the mind of City Manager Tim Commisso who also knows where the bones were placed.

In a report discussed at Council last week we got a look at just where the problems lie and some of the potential changes that could be made.

Tellier set out the size of the workload and the legislative documents that planners have to comply with – he added that those documents are dynamic – they are not static.

The size of the task ahead of the Planning department is daunting.  Tellier explained that planning in an infill context is complex.

He added that there are approximately 50 Active Major Developments, about 7000 residential units, 40 Tall/Mid-rise buildings, 30 Major Development Pre-consultations.

There are 11 Appeals for Major Developments and 31 Appeals to the Interim Control ByLaw (ICBL).

Pre-building permit application volumes are up more than 50% from this time last year.

Add to the work load there is the adopted Official Plan that is undergoing a Scoped Review focused on the downtown, a comprehensive Zoning By-law Review, Housing Strategy, Region MCR, Core Commitment, Various Urban Design Guidelines and Cultural Heritage.

Here is the current organization of the department.

Current functional design

The structure is OK – it’s the staffing that ‘s the problem.

Current staff

Given the size of the workload, and to make it sustainable, more people are needed in the various positions.

Tellier explained that the department is a mess and cannot keep up with the demand. Increased staff effort in processing complex infill development applications means getting some help.

Full cost recovery for development planning fees is needed to support fiscal. The last development application fee review was completed in 2012.  An updated “Effort-Based” development application fee review is badly needed.  Council wanted to know why it wasn’t kept up to date. “We just didn’t have the time” explained Tellier.

He added that only development-related HR costs are recoverable from development applications.  Non development-related HR costs such as Policy are recovered through the tax base.

Tellier said Council should assume approximately 60-70% Community Planning HR costs are recovered by development application fees and 30-40% recovered through the tax base.

The change from what exists in the way of an organizational structure and what Tellier believes is needed looks like this:

Future staff

The department isn’t going to suddenly jump from what it is to what they believe is needed.  It  will have to be phased in.

The phasing will probably cover two budget cycles – taking this to past the end of the current council term.

The phasing and the benefits that will be experienced is set out below:


The outline of what is needed will probably get tweaked; what isn’t in doubt is the organization structure planning staff have had to work under while the city moved into a dizzying level of growth that they were not prepared to cope with.

Does the plan that Tellier presented solve the problem? He has the total support of Executive Planning Director and the City Manager. Council is going to have to chew on this one for awhile.

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40 km/h set as the limit for dozens of streets. Would they dare do this in an election year?

News 100 redBy Staff

April 21st, 2020



The rate at which you drive down some streets is about to change.

If council supports the schedule set out below – learn to lighten the foot on that gas pedal.

speed 1
speed 2

Burlington residents don’t take lightly to being pulled over when they are caught on hand held radar in the hands of a police officer.

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Personal Water Craft Crash in Burlington – Charges Laid by Marine Unit

Crime 100By Staff

August 20, 2020

On July 25, 2020, members of the Halton Regional Police Service – Marine Unit-  responded to a collision on the waters of Lake Ontario, near the Burlington Pier, involving two Personal Water Craft (PWC) operators.

Marine 1

Marine Unit consists of a small fleet – this is the big one.

Following an investigation into the operating behavior of the PWC operators prior to the collision, the Marine Unit has charged both drivers with Careless Operation of a Vessel under the Canada Shipping Act – Small Vessel Regulations.

The Marine Unit reminds members of the community that operating such vessels in a dangerous manner may result in death and/or serious injury.

Further, all vessel operators should be aware that a 10 km/h speed limit applies within 30 meters of shore or structures attached to shore.

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Male Arrested after Trafficking Fentanyl in Burlington

Crime 100By Staff

August 20th, 2020



The Halton Regional Police Service has concluded a two week drug trafficking investigation in the City of Burlington. The investigation by the 3 District – Street Crime Unit has led to charges against the following individual;

Brandon STODDARD (32 years old from Burlington)

Trafficking (Fentanyl)
Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking (Fentanyl)
Possession of a Controlled Substance (Codeine)
Possession of a Weapon for a Dangerous Purpose
Breach of Release Order (2 Counts)

On August 19th 2020, Investigators with the assistance of the Tactical Rescue Unit and K9 executed a search warrant at a residence in the City of Burlington. As a result; the following items were seized:

Drug arrest Stoddard - knife5 grams of Purple Fentanyl
100 ml of Codeine
2 Digital Scales
5 Cellular Telephones
12 inch Knife
$380.00 Canadian Currency

$11,150 worth of drugs was seized as a result of the search warrant. (Photo attached).

STODDARD was held for a Bail Hearing on August 20th, 2020.

Anyone with information in regards to this investigation is asked to contact Detective Constable Cole Richards of the 3 District Street Crime Unit at 905-825-4747 ext. 2345.

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

People charged with a criminal offence are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.


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Survey to determine just how much damage was done during stages 1 and 2 under Emergency Legislation

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

August 20th, 2020



How much damage was there?

Region covid surveyThe Region is now in Stage 3 of the State of Emergency. All kinds of commercial activity was opened up to help Halton Region and local municipalities understand how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected businesses; Halton has put together a short 10-minute survey for local business owners and operators.

This joint survey is being conducted by Halton Region Economic Development, in partnership with the Burlington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC), and the Economic Development Divisions of the Towns of Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville.

Your input is valuable. The survey results will be shared with Halton Region and the local municipalities to inform how we can support businesses and help our local economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

How long will the survey take?
We understand that your time is valuable! The survey should take less than 10 minutes.

Who should complete the survey?
We are looking for feedback from business owners, operators or management executives with knowledge of the organization’s operations and forecasts.

Take the survey – CLICK HERE

Survey Deadline
Please complete the survey by Friday, August 28, 2020.

Please note that this is a one-time business survey on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected businesses in Halton. It does not replace Halton Region’s annual Employment Survey, which will start in September 2020.

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There are a lot of parents who have yet to decide how their children will be getting their education

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

August 19th, 2020



What do parents think they want to do about sending their kids back to school in September?

The Halton District School Board has been in session since 1:00 pm today – they expect to be there until at least 7:30 pm.
A table that was presented a few minutes ago suggests where some of the parents are:


The numbers total 40,872 students; the Board reports that there are 65,000 students in classrooms enrolled in the Halton District School Board


Is someone sending out for pizza?

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Learning outdoors planned for Halton schools: Report on when and how due late September.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

August 19, 2020



The Halton District School Board is thinking very seriously about Outdoor Learning for as many schools as possible.

Outdoor learning photo

Is this what they are thinking about?

They aren’t talking about just the nice Indian Summer weather we get.

Trustees have asked for a report on what can be done and what might the cost be.

There is $200,000 in the kitty for this type of thing along with some COVID-19 specific funding.

Will the mitts the kids have to wear be covered in that funding?

Report will be ready for late September.

All the trustees were on for this.

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How many reports does it take to do a Scoped Re-examination of the Adopted Official Plan ? Lots!

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

August 19th, 2020


Most of the reports listed below can be reached by clicking on the link.

The “Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown” (Scoped Re-examination of the Adopted Official Plan) is a document-heavy process.

To get a sense as to just how document-heavy it has been – and it isn’t over yet – gaze at the documents listed below.

New OP graphic

That Closer Look amounts to a big pile of paper

The project team has released recommended modifications to the downtown policies in the Adopted Official Plan. These policies will guide development in downtown Burlington to the year 2031. The recommended modifications and associated reports are linked below.

The meat of it all is in the first document – not actually in the document itself – it’s in one of the Appendices.

The recommended modifications are discussed in staff report PL-16-20 and in Appendix 1 of PL-16-20, SGL Planning & Design Final Report.

The Official Plan recommended modifications themselves are contained in Appendices 2, 3, and 4 of report PL-16-20.

Appendices 5-14 of report PL-16-20 contain technical studies that have been completed in support of the Re-examination of the Adopted Official Plan.

Appendix 15 of report PL-16-20 contains draft Downtown Burlington Placemaking and Urban Design Guidelines, to be prepared by SGL Planning & Design and released in July 2020.

Appendices 16-19 contain information about public engagement that informed the recommended modifications to the adopted Official Plan. This includes responses to feedback received.

Appendix 20 contains updates on other City projects, as of May 2020. This appendix may be further updated in September 2020.

Appendix 21 of report PL-16-20 will contain a project update that will be prepared and released in September 2020, in advance of the public meeting. This appendix will address all feedback received up until August 28, 2020.

Next Steps

The City will share two more documents – expected sometime in September:

  • Financial Impact Analysis concerning the recommended policy modifications, and
  • Draft Downtown Burlington Placemaking and Urban Design Guidelines for public review.

Aug. 28, 2020: Deadline to submit comments on the recommended modifications to the adopted Official Plan so the project team has time to consider the feedback in advance of the Sept. 30 Committee meeting.

Sept. 2020: The project team will release an additional appendix to the staff report PL-16-20 that was published in June. This appendix will provide project updates and a response to all feedback that was received prior to Aug. 28.

Sept. 30, 2020: City Council will consider all reports at a public meeting of the Community Planning, Regulation, and Mobility Committee on Sept. 30. This meeting will include a presentation from City staff and the project consultants. The public will have a chance to delegate.

Oct. 7, 2020: Council will consider the Sept. 30 recommendations at a Special Council meeting on Oct. 7. Council will decide whether to endorse the recommended policy modifications and submit them to Halton Region for inclusion in the Region’s approval of the new Official Plan that Council adopted in Apr. 2018.

The Gazette will now dive into the pile of documents and report on what it all means.

Stand By and Stay Tuned..


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Trustees and School Board Administration debating in a private session

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

August 19th, 2020



HDSB graphic

The trustees have been in this private session for at least more than an hour.

The Halton District School Board has been in a private session for well over an hour.

Not healthy.

Parents want information.

The Board administration has most of the information and will put forward proposals for opening up the schools in September.

The conversations and debate taking place behind closed doors is conversations and debate that should be public.

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Public gets to ask questions on the review of the Downtown portion of the Official Plan: one of the best ZOOM productions so far this year.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

August 19th, 2020



It was the best ZOOM production we’ve seen since the lock down.


Michelle Dwyer handled the flow of questions exceptionally well. There may be a future for her in professional broadcasting.

Michelle Dwyer served as the moderator who took the calls during a virtual information meeting about the close-to-final report from the Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown event which she passed on to the team on the other side of the panel that included Alison Enns, Thomas Douglas and Jenna Pulato.

It ran smoothly, a truly professional production. The people who run the city web casts – especially the Standing Committee programs, could learn something from this team.

Dwyer would have looked even better if the camera had been adjusted just a little.

Each of the participants was working from home (Dwyer might have been working out of city hall) and were able to move from person to person without any glitches.

They were doing a virtual information meeting on one of the final Get Involved Burlington segments that was focused on the Scoped Reexamination of the Adopted Official Plan for the Downtown.

By way of background – the 2014-18 city council approved a new Official Plan that was sent to the Region where it had to be approved.  The Region sent it back saying there were parts of the Plan that didn’t fit with the Regional Official Plan – they needed some fixes.

That notice from the Region came in after the 2018 election which brought a lot of new faces to the council table and a Mayor who saw the development of the downtown core a lot differently than her predecessor.

In its notice to the city about the Official Plan that it was sending back, the Region said the city could look at other elements of the Plan and not just the four the Region had been specific about.

That gave Mayor Meed Ward the room she needed to take a deeper look at what could be done with the downtown core.

Mary Lou Tanner

Mary Lou Tanner, former Burlington Director of Planning

The city now had a new Director of Planning: Mayor Meed Ward did not get along with Mary Lou Tanner who was directing and defending what the 2014-18 Council had approved.

Mayor Meed Ward sent City Manager James Ridge packing and brought in Tim Commisso in as an interim City Manager who quickly became the choice of new full time city manager.

Most of the players had changed – which got the city to the point where the Scoped Reexamination of the Adopted Official Plan become almost a cottage industry in itself. The Director of Planning was given carte blanche to hire a consulting firm to lead the Review. They were thorough – and they weren’t cheap.

Heather MacDonald, the new director of planning, was given permission to do a sole source search – she hired SGL Planning and Design who began a process that produced literally dozens of reports with two more to come.


Alison Enns, part of the panel that took questions from the public on a virtual information meeting, worked very smoothy with Thomas Douglas on the ZOOM presentation

Thomas Douglas

Thomas handled most of the question related to transportation at the virtual information meeting.

The FINAL report with some surprising recommendations wasn’t available to the public until a few days before the live review; despite that many of the questions were very detailed – members of the public had drilled down and done their home work.

A transcript of the broadcast, as well as the broadcast itself is expected to be available “shortly” Both will be posted to the Get Involved section of the city web site.

Planning staff have asked for comments before August 28th.  The report will go to a Standing Committee September 30th and to Council in October.

If the report makes it through each of these steps, and doesn’t get bogged down with an appeal before it goes to the Region, it could become the law of the land before the end of the year.

It will have been a long, tortuous and expensive trip.

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School Board to Hold Virtual Town Hall - question is 'when'?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

August 18th, 2020



The Halton District School Board is planning on holding a virtual Town Hall meeting to bring parents up to date on September school opening.

HDSB sign and benchThe intention was to hold the event Thursday or Friday of this week but HDSB officials said “we just don’t have enough information from the Ministry and hope to do the Town Hall virtually next week.”

In a telling quote, an Official who asked not to be identified said: “The sands are shifting.”

School Boards across the province have been struggling to deliver on the directions the province has given them.

Parents are not happy with the options they have, school boards have found that they are not getting the opportunity to use the resources they have to deal with the challenge they face.

They were told just days ago that they can tap into their financial reserves; HDSB has $40 million that they need government permission to spend. They have been given permission to spend $6 million on PPE.

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Private sports facilities ask for and get a bit of a break from the city. Coach Dave felt like it was old home week

sportsgold 100x100By Pepper Parr

August 17th 2020



The Recreation Services Redesign plan for the fall to slowly reopen more recreational facilities including rinks and indoor pools to increase the number of recreational programming, activities and rentals available to Burlington residents was approved by City Council lasty Thursday at a Special Meeting.

Earlier in the day a Standing Committee heard delegations from a number of people who outlined the impact the COVID-19 rules were having on the private facilities sector of the sports community.


Coach Dave

Coach Dave, taught Councillor Nisan enough to get him to the point where he was a respected athlete during his high school days. Councillor Kearns was listening carefully while Coach Dave delegated and then spoke up and said: “So you’re the Coach Dave my kids talk about.  “Who are your kids asked the coach?  “That will be a conversation for another time” said Kearns

Audit Kearns 5

That will be a conversation for another time”

At that point all Coach Dave  needed was one more supporter and he could have gotten almost anything he asked for.  Councillor Galbraith, who runs a fitness club piped in and said he fully understood the financial pressure on the private facility locations.

City Council approved a rental rate reduction of 25 per cent and added more funds to support Recreation Fee Assistance.

The rental rate reduction will help off-set the reduced revenue recreation providers are experiencing due to smaller group sizes, cleaning and additional costs associated with COVID-19.

Recreation Fee Assistance

Recreation is for all, regardless of financial situation. Recreation Fee Assistance is funding made available to resident individuals or families who need help to pay for City of Burlington recreation programs.

For more information or to apply see You can also leave a confidential voicemail message at 905-335-7738, ext. 8501 and staff will return your call to assist you.

Arenas and Indoor Pools

Some indoor pools and rinks will open for fall programs and rentals.

Indoor pools opening will include Angela Coughlan and Centennial Pool. Nelson Pool, weather permitting, will stay open until Thanksgiving, Oct. 12, 2020.

Central Arena is open. Appleby Arena ice pads 3 and 4 will open soon. Other arenas will open once demand for ice rentals reach 40-60 hours per week at each arena.

Stay tuned for recreational skating programs to resume later this fall.


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Online payments for business licence renewals and property information not available.

notices100x100By Staff

August 17th, 2020



Access to online payments for business licence renewals and property information requests currently unavailable

Online payment for the following online services is currently unavailable. Thank you for your understanding as we work to get this option back online as soon as possible.

• Business licence renewals
• Property information requests

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School Board faces challenges it has never had to deal with before - parents are apprehensive about sending their children back to school at this point.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

August 17th, 2020



Stuart Miller H&S

Director of Education for the Halton District School Board (HDSB), Stuart Miller

The Director of Education for the Halton District School Board (HDSB), Stuart Miller, is hunkered down with his staff at the Education Centre on Guelph Line in Burlington, taking part in a meeting that has them all in the same large room.

This is a group that will be very strict in the way people in the room social distance and wear masks.

They are there to figure out how they can handle the opening of the schools on September 8th.

It is not going to be an easy task.

The province has set out requirements that many feel are just plain wrong – but school boards have to do what the Ministry tells them to do.

The government wants students back in classroom and has directed that elementary schools operate just the way they did before the schools were closed in March.

Secondary students will spend some time in a classroom and some time working from their homes being taught synchronically by their teacher who will be in the school.

Last week the Board of Education sent a note to every parent asking what they planned to do with their children: were they going to have them attend classes or were they going to keep them at home?

As of last Thursday just over 50% of the parents had responded. The responses were supposed to have been returned by last Friday – that deadline has been extended.

istem Cafeteria-crowd-Nov-2018-768x371

When parents have questions they show up in droves with their hands in the air. This parents meeting took place at Aldershot High school when the iStem program was announced.

Directors of Education across the province are close to being totally fed up by the way the Ministry of Education is handling the delivery of education to students.

Of the 50% that did respond 81% of the parents of elementary students said they would return; 86% of the secondary parents said their children would return.

There are roughly 45,000 elementary school students being taught by the HDSB and roughly 19,000 secondary students.

The 50% of the parents that answered the survey as soon as they got it were pretty sure as to what they wanted to do – it is reasonable to assume that the other 50% were not certain.

If you do the math – you get a sense as to the size of the problem the HDSB administration is up against.

To get some sense as to what teachers are going to have to deal with. There are elementary schools in the system that have enrollments of 1200 students – Oakville and Milton have elementary schools that big.


Superintendent Terri Blackwell has led the development of the program for secondary school students during the pandemic.

Scott P - close up

Scott Podrebarac has led the program for elementary school students. Both Podrebarac and Blackwell are supported by a team of senior people

How does one keep the required control over 1,200 students – ensuring that they are wearing masks; ensuring that they stay within their cohort, ensuring that they don’t mix with students from other cohorts?

The HDSB has had a schedule of the condition of the HVAC systems in every school in the Region.

More than four months ago HDSB asked for permission to use some of the $40 million in the Board’s Reserve Fund account to upgrade the HVAC systems. They didn’t get a response; they were told that they could allocate $6 million from the reserve fund account to purchase the PPE supplies that would be needed.

Some school Boards, Toronto in particular, are pushing the province to permit staggered classroom openings. Nothing positive yet from the province.

The Province also said that 500 nurses were going to be hired and made available to the school districts. Nothing yet on who will be overseeing those nurses and how they will interact with the individual schools.

Will those nurses be assigned to specific schools or will they be assigned to the Public Health unit they are within?

What will a school do if they find they have an infected student? Close the class and send everyone home for 14 days or shutdown the whole school?

How will busing students to school be handled? Will there be enough drivers?

Miller expects today’s meeting to last all day and points out that most of his staff have worked every weekend since the lockdown took place in March. “This is a tremendous administrative task” adding that “there are more questions than answers – we are going to have to make things up on a daily basis. It is going to be a challenge.”

The trustees will meet for a virtual meeting on Wednesday.

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Call Clean Up - and just who would that be?

News 100 yellowBy Staff

August 17th, 2020



Thousands of people in this city know what it is like to take a pleasant walk along the pathways in the Beach part of the city.

Rubbish Beachway rubbish 3

A walk in the country – a seven minute drive from city hall

The picture on the right of the pathway is what makes a walk such a pleasure.

We know that city staff are stretched – too much work to be done and not enough people on staff to get it all done.

The citizens of the city often use the Gazette to bring  some of the problems to the attention of city hall .

Rubbish - Beachway 1

Rubbish on the walking trail. Send in the clean up crew. There is one, isn’t there?

There is an unsightly pile of rubbish along the Beachway trail.

Who do you call?  The Mayor? She is swamped.  The City Manager?  He is swamped as well.  Maybe the head of the city’s communications group.  We will forward this to him and see if anything gets done.

Would someone do whatever has to be done to get it cleaned up?

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Mayor does have Registry of who she meets with but there isn't the kind of transparency expected from Meed Ward.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

August 15th, 2020



City Council ended a long work day on Thursday – starting at 9:30 am and adjourning at just after 10 pm that night.

They started out as a Standing Committee, rolled it over into a Meeting of Council and passed a number of significant bylaws.

There was an interesting debate on plans to create a Registry within which members of Council would let the public know who they have been meeting with.

Politicians at every level don’t particularly like Registry’s. Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns has had one in place for some time.  She brought forward a Motion asking that there be a Registry that included every member of Council

During the debate Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said she has had a Register since the day she became Mayor.

Meed Ward as a delegation

Transparency was Meed Ward’s operative word before she was even elected to office.

That was a surprise to me – it was something I had never heard of before. With Mayor Meed Ward everything she does that is new and different is mentioned often. She sees and positions herself as a politician who is going to do things differently. She used the words accountability and transparency every time she delegated at Council as a citizen.

The Gazette reached out to the Mayor’s Communication staffer. Got a message that he was working from home.  Our message to the Communications Staffer was:

At the Standing Committee last night the Mayor said that she keeps a record of everyone she meets with along with minutes of the meeting and that that information is publicly available.

Can you tell me where that information is located?

Thank you

Shortly after we got an email from Suzanne Vukosavljevic, Manager of Communications, City Manager’s Office.  We did not reach out to Vukosavljevic – she appears to have been advised by the Mayor’s Communications Staffer that the Gazette was asking questions.

She responded:

Wearing chain of office

Marianne Meed Ward after being sworn in as Mayor of Burlington

The Mayor’s Office maintains a record of meetings with developers, with minutes. They are not online but, as stated, available to the public upon request and can forward.

We responded asking for a link to the information.

Vukosavljevic replied:

Good afternoon Pepper,

The Mayor’s Office maintains a record of meetings with developers, with minutes. If there is interest in a particular meeting, we can forward those minutes. The only meetings that have taken place this year have been:

  • Clearview – Adam Peaker, June 29
  • Millcroft Golf Course – Frank Bon, Feb 6

Thanks, Suzanne

That is not quite good enough.  Where are the records?  Written up in a little black book?   Are they in a place where they can be accessed by people in the Mayor’s Office and changed?

During the debate the Mayor said the information was public and that it was online.

That isn’t the case.  It certainly isn’t transparent.

Politicians are judged by what they do – not what they say.

We applaud the Mayor recording her meetings and keeping minutes.

We would like to see the complete record of every meeting along with the minutes.  The public has a right to see everything not just what City Hall functionaries decide to make available.

In a conversation with a former Mayor of the City he said that anyone who wants to do something in the City meets with the Mayor.  “It all comes through the Mayor’s office” he said.

Of course it does and the Gazette wants a mayor who preaches accountability and transparency to practice what she preaches.

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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